Walking 1004.9 miles from John O'Groats to Lands end in aid of Accommodation Concern! (starts august 3rd 2014)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Taste of things to come!

Things have been a bit too quiet on the blog, local walks dont really warrant posts so nothing much has needed to be blogged!
But with plans well under way for one of next years walks I thought I'd share some details!
As the map shows its a nice 152 mile circular walk starting and finishing at Ulverston.
I've named it "The Cumbrian Roman Ramble" a change from its original title. To follow on nicely from this years Hadrians wall walk, i decided to give it a nice theme by linking up about eleven roman roads/forts/bath houses/fortlets etc!.
 The route also takes in some stunning mountain walking, including the peaks of Blencathra, Skiddaw, and The old man of Coniston!. To call it a ramble is stretching the term! but that part of the name is in homage to "The Allerdale Ramble" which we (me and Alfie) will be following for a while in the north!.

The ups and the downs!
Planning is about 90% done including costings for train tickets and a new tent (the bivi was to much of a squeeze!), Dunno what I'll do for the rest of the winter!
Probably lots of training! the heights of Northamptonshire don't really prepare you for mountain long distance walking!.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Winshield farm to a woodland wildcamp

<p>After a night at winshields bunkhouse we part company with dave and Willow the chocolate labrador , heading off route we follow last years lejog route to Haltwhistle for a resupply of provisions quite a deviation but nice to go back and sit on the bench outside co-op and think of last year!
Getting back to the present we walk west out of town road walking for a few miles to the roman museum at first Greenhead making good use of the cafe, tea and cake later we are back on the wall walking towards Gilsland ,after a quick stop for  a pint the path out of town goes past the remains of the wall where it crosses the river. ....... and up steep banks either side an impressive feat even today! Past the field study center above and a couple of miles further we reach the woods selected for tonights wild camp, after a short search a good spot between two fallen trees sees us bedded down for the night on a soft mattress of wood sorrel! Can't believe how much sorrel is in this small wood!.

Wildcamp to Crosby on eden

With everything packed away we head out of the wood to pass a farmhouse no more than150 yards from our pitch, whoops ! Glad it was well hidden  ;)
More walking along general wades road to a place called banks and its field walking, passing Haytongate(farm once?) We find one of those rare wonders of the walking world, an honesty box cafe! Tea later:-) and we start passing the latest batch of west to rest walkers, passed about fifteen! Then the weather turned,with heavy head winds and strong rain ,its time to just go for it, and so we do to Crosby on eden, where a quick stop at the hotel there changes our fortunes, its one of those places way to posh for a scruffy walker and his mucky pup, but they still let us in breaking there own rules!
Finally getting a mobile connection, I find there's a bunkhouse just up the road so to make our timing for the train home work out we finish the day here, and what a place to stay the Crosby house bunk house is great £12 for a plush shared room with TV, and attached kitchen and shower room! Mucky pup is now a ginger ball of fluff!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Chollerton to winshield farm

A little more  b road walking(yes the same one!) Out of chollerton and we head slightly of road under overcast skies to walk along now quite impressive remains of the wall! With at one point the remains of a mithraic temple!(pic)
Back over the road we follow the earthworks to the point where we finally escape the b road! And head onto the famous part of the wall following the winsill ridge which the wall hugs all the way to greenhead, which we reach tomorrow, for now the rollercoaster ride that is the ridge takes us to winshield farm(familiar to jp and Ruth from previous visits) where we make use of the bunk house to avoid the now continuous rain! 

Beside the Tyne to chollerton

Well after such a beautiful sunrise, the going was equally good, a couple of miles walking and we enter Heddon in the wall where we bought a few extra provisions before heading of on the b4218 which we were to follow for the whole day, not particularly interesting with only vague roman remains buried by the road, incidentally this is another road built by general wade! Busy chap!
By midday we had reached "the Robin hood " pub(gets everywhere doesn't he!) Where a nice sunday lunch of roast chicken was had:-)
More following the b road had  us criss crossing the road between way to many cow fields,  culminating in a field of extremely irritating cows who along with there massive bull chased us out the field.. .......guess the farmer thought walkers would know a bull was there without the need for a warning sign!(rant)
Sticking to the road for a bit we get to the dog unfriendly Elkington arms.. ... where we head off road and out of cow country(thankfully) 
A bit of pleasant field walking and we finally see the first bit of hadrians wall since walls end(1.5 days later)
Then down hill into chollerton to set up camp at the riverside camp site ,where you can order indian food deliverys too!

O2 are crap!

No signal since newcastle now close to carlisle!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

This is home!

A perfect start to the day laying in the bivi cooking porridge and coffee under a ceiling of leaves which are catching the first rays of the morning sun, lovely !
Oh and the Robin is back!   :-)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Breath in Alfie!

To say the bivi is a squeeze is no real surprise! But it works:-)
Back to our arrival.
Got to newcastle central station, found the metro, found the metro confusing, went the wrong way! Finally got to wallsend got out the train to gentle rain .could have been worse, then it got interesting, we couldn't find the start?! We could see the path through high iron fence but the only way to it was to pay to get into the museum! Sod that! So following a parallel road we eventually got to this lovely sign and on to the path! 
It all became clear as we walked on tho the planners of the trail seem to think that everyone walks from the west, a good 30% of the signs don't  point the way west at all and no sign indicates the ahem finish in the east!.
From this point things really improved tho,  the sun came out as we entered newcastle, and throngs of people were cheering us as we walked, tho could have been something to do with the first day of the great north run!  ;).
This proved really popular and passage along the trail slowed right down with the numbers of people jamming the roads, good atmosphere tho, pushed on and after following the Tyne for miles in lovely sunshine we found a pub by the Tyne called the "row men" or something like that ahem! A pint to ease the feet and a further couple of miles and we reach our planned wild camp point for the night, good spot too! While cooking dinner under the trees we were visited three times by a little Robin! Must be nesting nearby. Time to sleep its getting dark,  night world!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Pre walk pack weight

After numerous little alterations to the pack, additions as well as things being removed or updated I've managed to lose 1.52 kilos from the weight of my old lejog pack pretty pleased with this!
The weight for our hadrians wall C2C before food or water but inclusive of fuel for the stove is 8.94 kilos :-)
Obviously the biggest change is the bivi tent, no real idea as to how well this is going to perform but that's half the fun!
Its good to be back!.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A few little changes to the blog!

As the title points out a couple of widgets have been added to the blog, to the right is the return of the "where am i" widget, allways nice for people to follow!, and then there's "The Next Horizons" where i'll post my hopes and dreams for future walks!.
At the top of the future horizons listing is "hadrians wall" after the abandonment of the "east west way" this year I was determined to get at least a small coast to coast walk in! which i'll be walking with alfie (as ever) at the end of next week!. looking further down the list the "east west way" has been rescheduled for 2013 for completion or at least the next stage!.

The road goes ever on and on!

Back on track!

Well new home and now finally a functional mission control for CTH!
(Think Alfie is impressed !?)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

More gear!

OK the walk may be postponed but the show (and tell) goes on!
Have found and bought the best value (£120) bivi tent I've ever seen, made by  Vaude and imaginatively named "the bivi tent" it weighs in at a minuscule 0.91 kilos! And is single skin goretex its designed to be four season too! (according to the pamphlet) tho it could easily get buried in a small snow drift!
All the kit I carried on lejog fits in and tonight I'm going to see if one man and his dog can comfortably nest down for the night.
I can't imagine a tent that could be better for discreet wild camping, it would pitch anywhere!
OK it looks like a green coffin! But during my brief test today it proved comfortable, as a bonus you can open a slot under the hood (?) where you could warmly observe the nights sky and or breath if it gets stuffy!
Looking forward to trying this out! Will let you know how it goes!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The walk is now on hold!

Well having been back in Kettering for nine days I'm still no nearer knowing when my new job is to start!
The uncertainty of this means I'm in limbo, I cant rejoin the walk and I can't consider a restart date!
So sadly for now the walk is on indefinite hold, most likely I will have to complete the distance in stages as and when work (when it bloody starts!) allows.
Not ideal, to use Johns favorite phrase "another great day" will come I just don't know when :(

Friday, 6 May 2011

Day 5 6/5/2011

Waking up with the sound of rain hammering onto the outside of the tent is not an auspicious start to the day, but very quickly the rain stopped and with grey clouds scudding across the sky a sharp climb uphill from the campsite tested the legs, and with blue patches appearing in the sky the tiny b road that was to guide our way for most of the morning tested the sore soles of my feet!.
10k in we spot the bubble of Wales botanic gardens below us looking like a mini Eden project , something to visit another time! , for today the horizon held some more immediate interest in the form of Paxton tower, set upon its high seat looking down the valley to Llandelio (pic) as lunch was due this seemed a great spot to settle for a break.
From the tower our path led along the ridge top which now under pleasant blue skies gave panoramic views left and right, with the river towy twisting to our left, progress to Ffairfach was hastened by the prospect of the option of a train back home, not that this is the end of the walk at such an early stage, more like completion of stage one!
John is now back home, and alfie and I take a late night train back to Kettering to see what reality has been up to!

Day four 5/5/2011

What can I say about today?
Hmmmn........ Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain! And lots of road walking to get to carmarthen so if it had to rain today was a good day for it!
Along the way we saw a nice belltower with external ropes, still attached and no yobs hanging of them...... It was tempting tho!
The views through the rolling country side would have been smashing without the damp grey veil, but at least it brightened up at carmarthen enough to dry us off, the beer, and fish and chips (morgans chippy very recommended!) put a good end to the days walking.
I have to talk to Kettering council after a letter arrived at home....... Probably doesn't Bode well for the walk but at least I have written verification of the new job.......

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Special blog!

This is purely to say thanks to the landlord at The Lamb at Llanboidy! Free camping. Ale, tea and then this plate of sausage and chips for £3.50!

Day three 4/5/2011

Alternative title "A day of apple, garlic and a huge plate of chips!"

After an as hoped undisturbed wild camp at Llys-y-Fran reservoir we head east on a roller coaster ride over the hills and valleys east under a clearing sky through wood park, where I find some wood Sorrel to nibble on (tastes of apples!) then on till we reach ffynnongain farm where the path disappeared into a tangle of brambles. pushing through this tangle that appears to have not been walked in decades, we find the path has some excellent council built board walks and bridges that I can't imagine anyone ever has used! Still they suit our purpose. On we go!
Following high banked tiny "b" roads to Llandissilio a mass of spring ransomes (pic... The white flowers!) and "Jack under the hedge" give me the garlic taste to the walk! Followed by pie from Llandissilios bakery yum!
More road walking to Login then a stretch uphill through woodland and farmland to another road section to our night stop at Llanboidy where the taste of chips comes in (see separate post!) and what looks to be another great nights sleep..... After a few pints!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Day two 3/5/2011

After a windy night at new gale campsite, a good fryup (thanks ruth) has us steeled against the fridged wind we have to walk into, up the main a road to Roch  with a quick shop stop, and head out of the village past old roch castle, now being converted into a retreat....... Retreat from what I don't know but I hope the windows facing out over the shear cliff of the boulder the castle is built upon are securely locked!
Farther out of town we pass the site of an old ring fort at plumstone mountain(a hill!) then head down into Treffgarne and Spittal (where the pub has now closed down!) field walking takes us to and through Walton east (no "John boy" comments made!) then down to the cafe at the Llys-y-fan reservoir (pic) and then of to wild camp for the night...... We hope!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Day one 2/5/2011

a day of coastal walking proves just how unfit I am!
Aside from that the views were stunning! Ranging from lovely sea panorama, to a shrine to St Non (?) lime kilns(pic) in inlets and the local flora, which I took pleasure in identifying and consuming some of the edible varieties!
Food and drink stops were good and by the end of the day revitalization was sorely needed!
Rolling into the campsite late we spot Ruth set up for the night! Very handy as the campsite doesn't allow dogs, so alfie could stay in her car!.
Naturally a pub meal later we roll up for the night!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Change of plans!

OK its like this the east west way isn't going to happen...... Circumstances have changed and this has enabled me to bring it forward in time to the beginning of May!
Training? ....er......ok...... None yet! But the maps are printed, a gear check is progressing well, a small alteration to last years tent (see pic) and newer boots are really the only changes made from the lejog kit!
What's even better is that to soften his disappointment for his canceled lejog  JP will be starting his trek west to east at the same time!
Not a lot of time to add to the blog as I've got to scan google maps for the essential stops.... Pubs, spars co-ops etc so I'll leave this days blog as it is....... Can't wait!

Friday, 25 March 2011

What to do on a lazy friday!

Well what else but go for a walk in the sun! And of course stop for a pint amidst the wonderful spring flowers in the Tollermache arms at Harrington! Bliss!
And in blast back to the seventies chicken in a basket for lunch!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

St Davids head

A view of the end of the walk .......care of a calendar at alderwoods!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Changes are afoot! (Boom boom)

My apologies for the Basil brush pun in the post header,  but it had to be done!
I'm finally updating the blog and inputting most importantly information about the next walk!.
If your reading this directly from the blog you know already ! this post is just a heads up for anyone who followed last years trail and who automatically gets emails from the blog.
To those who get the email if your interested please come over and look at the blog, its getting a fresh new look and lots of modifications!
The address is the same but the blog is now titled "Chasing the horizon!!" A description I have always given to my long distance walks!
Look forward to any comments
Andy and of course Alfie!