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

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Another little extension to the blog

I've finally sat down and figured out how to add download links from the blog for my routes!
I've been meaning to do this for at least a year and half !!!! finally pulled my finger out and links are now available towards the bottom of the right hand bar, gpx files for Garmin or various other apps on android or I phone and kml files for Google maps or Google earth.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Day thirteen-End of stage two

Another peaceful woodland night leads to a dry packing of the tent with the dawn chorus heralding our departure!, With half a mile walked we cross paths with the A508 in a full rush hour chorus of its own, I know which I prefer!.
Through Lamport and back into the fields to Faxton along more familiar paths to Mawsley and into Kettering via Great Cransley two weary pilgrims of the trail finally collapse onto a very familiar sofa..........Until next year!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Day twelve-its all looking mighty familiar!

With no trees overhead last night the tent is very soggy with mist far from the first time! Packed away as it was we followed the canal north to Braunston, with many a good morning to the barge folk-nice people these :)
into the village and another provision stop (more dog food!) and we're on a familiar path the jurassic way, many parts of which I've followed in my walking! Not this bit tho. Through the lovely Ashby St Ledgers and over what might be the busiest collection of routes I've seen with a railway,a canal,an A road and the M1 all crossing the path within eight hundred yards or so!
Through Watford (known for its gap!) Staying with the jurassic way to West Haddon, east across country we we're spoilt with a free air show as the last remaining Vulcan bomber circled overhead for a good fifteen minutes!
Onwards through Hollowell and Cotesbrooke we reach the far south west edge of my local walking territory! And find another wild camp this time next to the Lamport valley way, near Hanging Houghton.
Which leaves us with a very short stretch to get us home tomorrow !

Day eleven-overtaking ourselves!

After another very surprisingly undisturbed night we head off at first light, with a gentle mist around us we pass through Newbold Paceys hall grounds to get to the road at Ashorne. A couple of miles of this takes us over the M40 , squeezing through an overgrown kiss gate and the unobvious path takes us to Chesterton, passing its fairly remote church we cross country to Bishops Itchington for restock of provisions, on through Ladbroke, over the hill via footpath and over a road named on the map as the Welsh road (no idea why?) More obscure paths lead us finally (after much swearing) to Napton on the hill, or more importantly the folly pub on the Oxford canal,a nice pint of doom bar (didn't know you could it so close to home!) And a good meal see's us following the canal north, with lots of chatting to barge dwelling folk and a relaxing pace as we are ahead of schedule, lazily watch the evening approach and set the tent up for the night on the tow path.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Day ten-pushing my luck!

An early start at the wild camp and we still had a visit from a local dog that couldn't decide what the tent was and just grunted at it! Phew!
Hot footing away in the early morning light we crossed through pretty fields again under a blue and sunny sky.
Into Alcester a pretty little town! And breakfast at the welcome cafe, nice they allow dogs in too :).
Heading out of town we pass through a preserved but lived in lane very pleasing on the eye.(pic to follow), on to B roads again Walcote where an old ex pub (called the crown I found out later) had an enormous old cider press (pic) never seen its like before!
Across the fields and into withycomb wood where an ancient pear tree (about thirty foot high) was shedding sweet little round pears, much appreciated!.
Into the pub at wilmcote where I learned the name of the old pub, out the village passed Mary Arden's house, following the canal for 5km we enter the mind boggling rush of civilisation (shock to the system!), passing a jester statue a quote from twelfth night was most apt "foolery sir does walk about the orb like the sun. It shines everywhere" here's to foolery I say!.
Across the Avon we restock at Tiddington then to the apparent river crossing at Alveston the only way across is via a long defunct ferry, luck smiled on us tho as true gent I'd been chatting to lived on the rivers bank and rowed us across! Can't say enough thanks to Gordon!
Five kilometers of field walking and we had to abandon the day to exhaustion and a hedgerow by a small lane, with far to much farm activity we once again settled down for the night with fingers crossed!...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Day nine-almost hallowed ground!

Nice to stop at Ketch camp site again, equally nice was following my old lejog path into Worcester, quite odd to be humbled again by that massive achievement!
Through the barge docks and I was hopping to grab breakfast at the same cafe near the cathedral but as it was Sunday they didn't open till ten am, still nice to listen to the bells as I hunted for an alternative breakfast.
admittedly I can't navigate in Towns without my GPS! Glad to get out tho as the road east wasn't half as pleasant as the path north into town, can't have everything.
quickly over the M5 having taken eight days to get back to this point after driving south!. A combination of footpaths and B roads take us to Crowle for refreshments at lunch followed by nice rural footpaths to Flyford flavell where a car sales garage had a dodgy old Mercedes going for £999 registration L7MAO  funny if you understand text speak!. The next garage was the one I was aiming for to stock up at its Londis shop, while there a group of scooter enthusiasts road in good friendly bunch, even beeped at us as they passed further down the road :).
six kilometers of more field walking sees us wild camped precariously between two farms in a thin stretch of woodland..........nice listening to the owls hooting!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Day eight-the final hurdle!

From our woody bower a quick walk through the woods bought us to the  network of small B roads that linked us up with the Malvern hills, nipping up these with relative ease the panorama of the east spread out before us in a beautifully flat way!, along the roller coaster tops to beacon hill and down into Malvern town where we snacked at an organic cafe....very green!.
Malvern town is pleasant with unusually farm land in the middle! , out through the suburbs and B road
Walking to callow end pretty village with a great little shop on the village green, interesting church tower/spire didn't see more than this, then field hopping on the west bank of the river Severn to Ketch camp site at Worcester where we camped in 2010 enroute to john o'groats!.

Day seven-f in hedges!

Hoarwithy was a lovely little village, great pub and an amazing church with a nice bridge with an old toll house over the Wye then a bit of road walking to Kings caple out this village in a gentle breeze with sun showing and crossed the fields above the Wye to How caple passed the church and monastic (?) Buildings and then right on a footpath through woodland to stocking, we never actually saw stocking as the path came out onto the road half a kilometre further down the road than marked on the map, this was fine as the footpath we were after was another hundred yards down the road. :)
Over stubble fields to chapel farm (which actually has a chapel!) Then after a chat with the farmer we cross an old bean field and hit the b roads to much marcle stopping only to engage in a one way conversation with a brummie who was just moving into his new home and was intent on slagging of his old neighbors! Each to they're own!
Finding the pub in Much Marcle for dinner I engaged in conversation with the temporary manageress who lives in my sisters home town! Small world!, checking the website of my planned stop for tonight proved invaluable as the site had closed early due to the wet summer! Very glad I did as it was a couple of K off route!.
Walking away from the pub and into the fields I wondered if I'd drunk more than I had as every path I followed dead ended at five foot high hedges then continued on the other side! Much swearing at the absent farmer later we made it to Preston hall a magnificent wooden framed building! walking up its main drive was a treat and the following paths to Ledbury were fine,a quick shop stop at the Co op and we headed north a wooded hill for a cosy wild camp.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Day six-Border territory......pun!

Out of Pandy after a cracking fry up breakfast, with the sun shining and a day mostly of road walking ahead we were soon leaving the hills behind us. Still up's and downs but flat in comparison with the last days walking. We finally crossed the border(pic) into England at a tiny place called Kentchurch walking uphill off road for a while we found a rough hewn table and bench looking back towards the brecon's as it was lunch we took advantage of the view and chilled out for a while. :)
There followed an eleven kilometre road stretch with intermittent views through the tall hedges of largely crops and spinney's a pleasant change! Finally leaving the road we crossed a sugar beet field thick with borage, I've never seen so much of it!.
Finally we descend down to the cute rural village of Hoarwithy where we are camped by the river Wye for the night, with a great evening view of the local Church!

Day five- out of the Beacons

Shouldering a now heavy pack we hit the roads out of Crickhowell to Llangenny, with plenty of blackberries to boost us up hill we quickly found a sharp descent into the village, as with all descents there follows an ascent, this one up sugar loaf (mountain?) Which I nearly diverted around as it wasn't essential to the route, glad I didn't as although it was a tough climb with a very full pack the view east was stunning with visibility to the Malvern hills two and a half days walk away! The furthest we've seen so far?.the decent was so much easier to forest coal pit (village name?) Following a track around the hill with pleasant sunny (still !) Views we turned south east onto a road near Stanton, lovely easy going to Llanvihangle Crucorney which boasted Wales's oldest Inn, impolite not visit at lunch so we stopped for dinner :).......yes and beer!.
A quick walk to Pandy and we reached a planned stop for the route, early in the afternoon but stopping at this time helped with synchronising all the remaining planned stops, so making use of the bunkhouse at the old Pandy Inn, which I can't recommend enough for Offas dyke Walkers (john!)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Day four- bright thing blue stuff too!

Stopping by the stream proved a good plan, not only did we not get washed away in the night but with the rise of the sun blue patches appeared in the sky and the clouds finally broke!.
The push up to Pen y fan was hard going with stiff legs but we did overtake some pensioners.......ahem!, the views behind were great though the old lady(The hill) still wore her veil, wind battering the top we sheltered for a brief snack and were passed by a chap named Michael (has a dog called Alfie !) Who was walking the Beacons way too, quickly lost him in the cloud we left the top and started to see our surroundings at last....stunning!..I'd forgotten how nice this area is!
The view left to brecon was past the shear cliffs of Craig cwm sare with a ridge to the left I've previously walked, I followed that old route south easterly below Tor glas in lovely warm sunshine with the top of Pen y  fan now visible this kept my camera busy!.
Around to the left on a b road and off onto a forestry commission track around Talybont reservoir with more stunning views and blackberries too!
Up onto the ridge south east of the reservoir we meet some lost German mountain bikers, I think I managed to pass on the correct directions it was difficult to tell if they understood or not!.
Heading east down a pretty little farm track with lush green pastoral views we descended into Llangynidr where the path now follows the Monmouth shire and brecon canal all the way to Crickhowell, pretty and easy walking with yet more lush blackberries!.
Entering town we restocked our empty provision bag and found a campsite right next to a dog friendly pub "the bridge end" fed and watered sleep next :)

Day three -heads in the clouds

Leaving a soggy Glyntawe behind us have the inevitable slog uphill out of the valley, straight into the clouds and following on the rain that didn't stop all day! Of immediate interest was the abandoned Penwyllt mine and caving centre, with the mine came access to the abandoned railway line which shadowed our route and with a change of mind became our route, much easier! This linked directly onto forestry commission trails which passed through an area of pillow mounds, but by now the rain was so bad it was a case of heads down and march,a quick break under a convenient Hawthorn bush and a path led us down to a stream then uphill passed a monolith called Maen Madoc (picture to follow), interesting script down one side...no idea the language!.
Through woodland to afon llia and up the hill Fan Llia with the inevitable non existent path, passing two equally bemused doe groups coming downhill, with the wind battering the rain into our backs we were pushed uphill (some consolation!) And with no view we passed over fan dringarth and Rhos Dringarth cutting left and down past Craig Cerrig gleisiad a cliff side nature reserve where we escaped the wind for a coffee, opting to follow an a road for a bit we  reached a just closed tea waggon who kindly supplied us bedraggled Walkers with tea and mars bars! needed!.
ongoing we eventually reached the path up to Pen y fan but with worsening weather I called a halt and wild camped by the stream in a very soggy tent!.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Day two- or where's the bloody path!

After a far to restful night at the wild camp I oversleep until 7.30...oops should be on the trail by now!
Was a lovely morning though and walking away from the pitch and uphill the view back to the castle seemed to improve with each step, really must go back here one day.
Uphill steps just killed me today with food for three days in the pack for two the weight was not good!
Also I'm not hill fit as expected.
Losing the path for a bit worked in my favour as upon reaching a tiny b road my GPS showed the brecon beacons way heading uphill slightly to our left. finding it was another matter and as I was to discover later signs and path are pretty much non existent for this Welsh trail....hmmn!
With the path invisible I took a short cut from Pant Nant fforchog (great name!) To blaenpadol then foel fawr......wish I hadn't as the road section I had avoided had a tea and hot rolls waggon in a layby! Oh well. On to the top of moel gornach and the clouds came right down visibility was 15 yards and with an invisible path the going was to say the least difficult! We saw nothing of foel fraith coming down the other side we played dodge the sink hole...an interesting pursuit in these conditions!
Turning sharply north to go up Towyn swnd the rock formations (pic) gave an excellent pathway to the highest point of today then down and south east to Esgair Ddu where sheep tracks led us a bit too high, the "proper" path when we got to it was boggy all the way to Banwen Gwyn still the going was fine all the way to Glyntawe where we are currently camping at the Dan yr Ogof caves campsite were for once we're water rich......and I don't just mean the rain that's now coming down! ;)
All things considered it was a good day though reading this may suggest otherwise!

Day one, going backwards again!

After a very quick decision was made last Monday we (me and Alfie) are back on the backwards east west way starting from Ffairfach (pic) near Carmarthen we're walking home to Kettering a total of 192 miles (which probably needs checking!) In just under two weeks.
Kick off for this walk has been eventful with the first cockup happening before I'd even left the house, like a right Muppet I left my boots in the hall at home! Didn't notice until we were miles down the road :( glad I was wearing some old goretex boots, which incidently I was wearing for the first leg of this walk last year! So worked out ok in the end :)......so far anyway!.
Under way from Ffairfach our rout was uphill mostly on road, until we took a very indistinct footpath through boggy ground to the top of the southern range of hills, slightly down and past the imposing Carreg Cennan castle and we find a nicely sheltered spot by a stream to wild camp for the night.pics to follow!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Day six, or a short walk for breakfast!

Not a great deal to write today but......
Up in no great rush with an amazing sunrise glancing through our oaken roof! And the fresh cut crop beautiful in the morning light, the simple beauty today really explains the point of these ventures, to escape the pointless pressures of day to day life and just be.......happy!
Back to the trail!
A simple route along the coast through field,woodland and the last marsh land of Newtown estuary  with the mainland to our right and Yarmouth an easy five miles ahead we soon ate up the distance in time to reach Yarmouth for breakfast at the gossips cafe, with a full English consumed and a wander around the port,the ferry far to quickly carried us back to the mainland a quick coffee then the train to Lymington. where we parted company with john until next years big adventure........ details to follow ;)

Day five

<p>Up with the rain this morning, I suppose you can't have it good every morning ;)<br>
Into Wootton bridge just down the hill and the resident coffee bloodhound (john) found a spar that served coffee, also a bench within ten yards!.<br>
Refreshed we hit the b road to Cowes , pleasantly wandering through woodland and field to Whippingham where we passed St Mildreds church (pic) where Queen Victoria prayed when she visited the isle. Now the resting place of her daughter Beatrice and husband.
Into Cowes and over the river Medina via the free chain driven ferry (most impressed its free!) we enter the twisty roads of Cowes centre a pretty shopping area.
Back to the sea front for lunch, then around to Gunard bay where the path follows cliff tops until we veer inland through a holiday camp to avoid an army training area and the Newtown river inlets, Newtown itself is tiny and has a greatly distorted old town hall, either down to subsidence or bad construction, hard to say!.
A bit further and we get to the new inn at Shalfleet where a slap up meal of belly I of pork was had, sharing the table with another coastal walker named Eric from Nottingham.
Off into the setting sun we walk through Nunneys wood and around to the main inlet of Newton river where we set up camp under an oak tree in soft grass with lovely views around.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Day four

Out of the campsite by six thirty and road walking to Bembridge, a quick stop at a shop and johns ability to locate an early morning coffee works well yet again!
Suitably invigorated by caffeine we head for the coast arriving where the Bembridge coast guard pier juts out to sea, following the coast around we enter Bembridge harbour, walking around we passed a multitude of house boats in many states of repair either floating or run aground but very picturesque!
Into saint Helens briefly then over a slim spit of land bisecting the harbour to a great cafe looking out to sea where the full English was of very high quality.
Further north we pass a ruined church which was standing when Nelson sailed from nearby to fight the battle of Trafalgar,a little further on we had our own battle where the path wended through very muddy paths to a private beach which we walked regardless, heading inland we passed the hotel the beach belonged to called "the priory" I always knew my addiction for walking would get me here one day! ;).
Into nettlestone we thread our way through twisting Allys just as the heavy grey skies opened up and started a prolonged rainy part of the day.
Into a pub at Puckpool point then along to Ryde watching as we went the hover craft zipping over to Portsmouth and back, going into a soggy Ryde we find the hover craft terminal (pic).
Out of town the path goes through a golf course then past the ruins of old Quarr Abby, with the rain finally abating we pass the more recent Abby with its little pig farm, Alfie was very interested in the pigs,we were more interested in drying out at the nearby pub externally at least!
Finally on to our camp site at kite hill for tonight.

Day three

From or cracking little camp site at the orchard (pic), we hit the road for St Lawrence walking below the cliff to path through lush woodland with various paths with closed signs due to erosion which became the standard for many parts of todays route including many changes of route for the coastal path. Including little mistakes in navigation for instance taking the road through the majority of St Lawrence until we found a path by the botanical gardens which carried us close to the cliff with stunning views along to Ventnor.
An early breakfast here fortified us all for the day ahead, coming out of ventnor we again walked below the cliff but this time following the correct path through seemingly jungle like woodland with vine hanging everywhere (no Tarzan tho!), what we did find was plenty of rare moths and butterfly, much to johns pleasure and out amazement at him naming them all!, further along we found the lesser spotted home made preserves stand! Blackberry jam in rucksack we wandered out of Luccombe village and into the flesh pots of Shankling and Sandown where the great white beached whale was in great evidence! ;),  pleasant beaches to fair and much bank holiday merriment was taking place.
The final push of the day was over Culver down past the Marlborough monument and taking a confusing side route to get to our campsite near Bembridge airstrip.packs of food sleep......

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Day two

After a great but windy night on Tennyson down we wake to a lovely sunrise, walking in the suns direction we pass the Tennyson monument, (a big Celtic cross).
Then on beautifully smooth grass (thanks sheep!) We head down to the pretty fresh water bay village where a tiny gift shop supplied us with a nice coffee, spending ten minutes to drink this in a prettily mosaiced shelter looking over the bay with fort redoubt built into the chalk cliffs to our right.
Now with a grey sky over us we head up hill along the side of Compton down, descending and progressing along the now crumbling clay cliffs we pass Compton, Shippards and Chilton chine's (little gully in the cliff) until we reach the pearl centre with its cafe where tea and bacon rolls were eaten in its cafe. :)
Coming back to the cost we pass more chine , (grange, Shepards,whale and black gang) with a stop at the white mouse inn at chale for dinner (bangers and mash for me and Alfie).
Moving onto St Catherines point we have a long view back to todays start point (pic) and down to the light house we could see blinking last night.
Down from the point and into pretty Niton village we follow the road out of town to the orchard camp site, a very basic but pretty site set in woodland.....now sleep yawn! :)

Sunday, 26 August 2012

End of day one

<p>Had a lovely lazy sunny morning wandering around Yarmouth (not great Yarmouth) and just on time at midday johns ferry arrives, and after a quick cuppa we hit the trail. wandering past the marinar and over the river Yar we then hit the coast walking anti clockwise on a varying gradient with Hurst fort on a promontory of shale from England to our right.following the coast around we come to the village of Totland with its tiny sea front, cheesy chips were had by all ;)
Wandering on we head uphill into beautiful heath land and around to the less than amazing Arum bay and on to the needles with its cold war rocket facility.
We're now camped up on Tennyson down for the night with lights twinkling at us from the main land.

Isle of wight coastal path.New forage!

Our first newly identified (for us) plant, sea parslane, as with most coastal edible plants this is just salty to the taste, but as I've not packed any salt that can only be useful!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

On our way again!

The first step on a walk is normally by train these days and this pic is us heading south for once, to meet up with John Parsons to walk the isle of wight coastal path :)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

New boots!

I got a cracking deal on some light leather boots, so decided to experiment with diy dubbing.
Seem s like pork dripping works perfectly!
A trip up Snowden this weekend should test it's longevity! :)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A quick Dodge!

I never seem to get on with hotels! Couldn't get to sleep till gone twelve then woke up at 5.46 with inflamed sinuses! Sneezing blood wasn't pretty :( ,what was annoying about waking early was breakfast didn't start till nine, more of a lay in was good for Alfie tho.
With the weather forecast for tomorrow not looking at all good we've cut a corner missing out both Ravenglass and muncaster fell shame to have to but I really want to get over the old man of conniston before the skies open.
So after with a fry up inside we head east at a hobble I'm getting cramps in both my calves grrrr ! All I can do is walk it off ,shame that it was spoiling a beautiful day with lambs in fields all around and the fells looming large ahead, all was sorted eventually and with mountains on all sides and blue sky above my spirit's lifted.
Walking through a hamlet named Eskdale green we pass an outward bounds center, with loads of kids scurrying about with rucksacks twice their size on, comical to see, but we've all been there!
Walking through woodlands above the Eskdale valley I bump into more outward bound groups, so good to see kids away from they're computers! Just below the Hardnot pass I get chatting to a lady walker,turns out she's the third person I've met on this walk who moved here from my home town!
Ascending the pass we finally see a  good solid Roman fort ! (Pic) then walking a high path above the road we hit the top ,and turn south to follow the western flank of some forestry commission woodland, tho as is often the case just stumps, this was to our advantage as the view across the Duddon valley is to superb mountain scenery.
And its with thus view we wild camp for the night with the old man of conniston just over the valley for first thing tomorrow!

Friday, 27 April 2012

A holiday!

After yesterday's long distance walked I over slept and didn't get moving till 7.30,then wandering along the bay past the c2c start point had the pleasure in seeing four walkers off on their walk across the country, taking photos for two of them, this is where I started my long distance walking so a special place indeed!
We didn't even get past the café without second breakfast, of Cumbrian sausage rolls! Yummy!
With such wonderful weather a walk along the coast is exceptional with Scotland and the isle of Mann visible and just gannets, curlew , oyster catchers and sea gull to keep us company over the miles it was soporific with inevitable paddling in the sea! :)
For a couple of miles the coast is lined with beach houses ranging from ruins to smart little homes ,spent a while chatting with one fellow, I've never meet anyone who could be described as so in his place !! A very relaxed man in a great place to live, lucky fella !
A bit further south and we pass sellafield nuclear power station not so ideally sited in my opinion! Sellafield village was a nice enough place where we restocked food for a couple of days. Walking out of town on a B road there's a queue of cars held up at a crash, it took ages to get past as drivers and the police were fussing a very sleepy Alfie!
Walking into Drigg we stop at a hotel to give Alfie a rest hopefully with a warm night's sleep he'll be fit again tomorrow.

Some things survive some don't!

After an uncomfortable but mostly dry (inside the tent!) night we crawl out into the mud and roll up the equally muddy tent, the rain has dropped no end and the wind still blowing strong is behind us and helping us on our way south west, deciding to ignore the Roman fort at maryport we stick with walking on the wet sand which was very good walking! Later in the day we're told that the fort is actually worth seeing! Next time! Through the quiet old port ,which is rather nice! And along more beach, where I notice that both of my boots are splitting! No wonder my feet are wet and sore ! So keeping away from the beach, to allow my boots to dry and following a railway that runs along the top of the beach  we head into workington. With a new bridge being built we divert to a temporary bridge crossing the river (derwent again! ) and immediately get lost in town! Most of the time I'm using my GPS is in towns! Still with  dinner found at a subway we walk through hoping to find an outdoors shop, no luck here but following a b road in town we pass a motorbike shop also selling ex army gear amongst which were waterproof socks at £9.50 a pair perfect! Finally my feet have a chance to dry!
With happy feet we hit the cumbria coastal path to Lowca then via Parton to Whitehaven this is one very fascinating town/port the port used to be one of the top three ports in its day and this is where the Cunard line began! The place was even invaded by the americans ! So much history here I cant begin to do it justice from my phone!
Edits to follow!
Taking the footpath out of town we head to familiar territory with our finish of the day to be at St Bees! Once again crossing this great trail we set up camp,cook and then crash out! We walked at least 22 miles today, expecting leg spasms in the night!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Good luck n bad luck!

Awake and away by 7.45 still no one at the campsite office so free camping!
Out of the site, down the road and turn left into a lane .puddles everywhere, deep long wide puddles! Thick mud at the bottom .......lovely lane other than that!
Out of the lane and through pretty fields with the path next to a stream until we reach the Allerdale ramble path which we follow past countless lambs, and into boggy woodlands by bassenthwaite lake, looks like its been a rough winter here as a third of the trees appear to have fallen, mostly in the way of the path!
Over a road and along another lane we find a small zoo of which I think we saw through the fence most of the interesting animals like bison and tapier !
Moving on the path follows the river derwent where at a small fisherman's bench we stop for a brew, sun shining on the river was lovely.over the derwent and up watch Hill and we get a good view of cockermouth walking down Hill a fell running scares the living daylights out of me far to quiet on her feet ,very glad I wasn't singing to myself!
In cockermouth itself I replaced my old rucksack cover, saying a fond farewell to the cover that had survived lejog :(.
Quick stop at Gregg's for dinner and chuckle to myself at all the townies staring at me with the "is he a tramp" expression! I'd have happily answered yes to that! :)
The neighbouring village of papcastle is built on the remains of a Roman fort ,the only sign I could see of this was the cute little Roman road now lane that we followed out of town (pic to follow)
Now with the wind getting stronger we follow roads to a place called Tallentine then north west on footpaths to Crosby, as we drew close the rain started, quite heavily so we stopped at the local pub in the hope of accommodation, with none to be had and a beer in my belly we brave what is now a storm and head to look at the Roman mile fortlet on the coast, this earthwork at least had some info!
But with the weather not improving we didn't hang about, south east and we're setting up the tent in a nature reserve under a hawthorn bush ,the only shelter visible! Interesting!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Its funny what the high point of a day can be!

We left Hutton moor end c&c site at 7.45 with the brooding blencathra towering above us in low cloud! So sticking with the just do it attitude we crossed some farm land and headed up the nearest shoulder of blencathra called scales fell ,now this is damn steep ! With full backpacking gear on its ###+*** hard! Progress became walk 10meters then rest ! And so on, this is how we went up to 450meters above sea level then things leveled out a bit (I should say no rain yet! ) with cloud billowing up and back over the cliff to our left visibility was poor, bit very moody! As we approached the top with the terrifying sharp edge visible to our left the cloud rose above the peak for the first time showing the last sharp ascent had actually started! To our right a chap was actually taking on sharp edge and behind us another chap was following us up ,first to the cloudy summit we flopped onto the rocks for a snack just in time for the chap following to take our pic! :)
Then we headed to foul crag and downhill on munrigsdale common to the cloven stone where a path lead us to the remote yha hostel below Skidaw ,here we met a recently married couple walking the cumbria way for they're honey moon!
From the yha its straight up sale how (a hill! ) once again back to the ten meters and stop approach! Then onto the ridge approach up to skidaw the cloud had dropped again and visibly was nill but the final approach to the summit is pretty easy, getting off is another story !
The rout down was over scree jagged slate type scree and since the path was lost in the cloud it was down to luck! If that's what you can call it, this scree was at least 60 degrees from horizontal so slipping down hill we eventually found  longside edge our route now this ridge was amazing the views so grand, on a clear day you couldn't want for a better view! Roll on that day!
The three kilometres down long side edge took quite some time but very good walking ,then back to reality for a quick push along the a591 to a campsite near bassenthwaite ,entering we meet a fella called Tony who gave us the great news that the local pub the Sun inn served food and was dog friendly! :)
A good meal and few pints later I was chatting to Tony again, mentioning we're heading past conniston he remarked that he knows a girl runs a pub nearby in Torver which also allows camping! Perfect! This chap is the highlight of the day, its only when your out doing this kind of thing that you really see the value of what you get given!

A day of delights!

Well that was a cold night! Definitely below zero Alfie's water had frozen!
First glance out the tent at 5.45 and we were still in the clouds! But by the time breakfast had been cooked and eaten a magnificent view of the easterly ranges greeted us with far off blencathra a just a distant smudge through the haze!
Setting off along high street again we climb over loadpot Hill the last ascent on this range ,no more than a Hill but tired legs told different! Downhill all the way from here to pooley bridge a delightful 8k with Ulls water to our left. entering the village the first stop was for a fry up the first proper meal in two and a half days! Lovely!
A stop for provisions then out of the village and immediately over a conical hill (a mere pimple it had looked from above! ) now through farmland to Dacre with its castle (will have to visit another day! ) and through more fields to Penruddock visiting my first pub of the walk for a beer and sandwiches, road waking east from here to trout beck where the Roman camps marked on the map were barely visible. ..not worth a picture sadly, carrying on along the road blencathra dominates the horizon and our rout up is visible so too is sharp edge. ...no no no never going up that, looks terrifying! (Right hand side of picture).
Now with an early finish (just after four ) we can rest up a bit and charge gadgetry for tomorrow.

Monday, 23 April 2012

What a day!

From an early rise we were walking by 7.15 a little rain over night had left the tent and the going soggy but not a problem, into town and quick re stock of provisions and we're off ,realising quickly that I'd overdone it yesterday, wobbly legs proving you can't train for the mountains in Northamptonshire!
But today was the big push up the first mountain range and nothing was stopping that!
Walking out of windermere we past a stunning house that would have fitted into a Harry Potter book very nicely (pic to follow) then up Hill past Orrest head and into some farm land a quick hello to the sheep and then onto Dubbs road, a track that leads nicely around applethwaite common and up to buck crag, with the mountains in front that we are to ascend  (right hand range in pic) we pick a painfully slow path up the first peak yoke then bell then froswick  views around are stunning and the weather is perfect with small clouds scudding across an azure sky lovely!
Past froswick we pick up our first Roman road "high street" which we follow to rampsgill head then over high raise the highest point of the days walking at 802 meters ,I'm really flagging now and eating jelly babies to keep my energy up!
This gets us as far as wether Hill where at six pm we stop tent up and doze off !
Waking up at nine with a hungry belly, a quick look outside shows its been snowing! Explains why Alfie had squeezed into my sleeping bag!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Mission one accomplished

Its always difficult to judge your fitness for the first day of a trek, and as ever it was a push! That said I'm very pleased to have completed the 18 miles to bowness on windermere it was definitely a rollercoaster day and may prove to be one of the harder days walking we'll have!
But interesting its definitely been, the wild forage has been far better than at home with ramsons (wild garlic) in profusion, wood sorrel in a greater quantity than I've yet seen ,Jack by the hedge in good numbers and borage too in one area! Plenty of ground elder to :)
I'd love to name all the hills we've been over but they don't appear to have any on the os maps, so I'll give an idea of rout - from ulverston we headed in a generally north easterly direction to Greenodd where having crossed the A590 we enjoyed 2kilometers of flood plane walking (the only flat section of the day!) To an impressive clock towered building near haverthwaite , shadowing the a590 we head uphill around Backbarrow through pretty woodland, till our path went through last years bracken covered slopes, behind us in the distance was the monument from last night now reduced to near invisibility !
To the north was newby bridge but out route headed more easterly into a steep sided wooded Hill, weather was still fine and the blue sky though the trees was a treat ! The top of the Hill is very boggy and some really gnarled old trees clung onto life amid the inevitable pine trees moss clung to all and sundry giving it a primordial feel!
Out of the wood and along a track we hit out first problem on the map a footpath passes another trail to a nearby road, sadly through private property! An extra mile of diversion and we're back within two hundred yards of where we were! Oh well!
With lake windermere on our left we're now heading north zigzagging along the top of the ridge on boggy paths, inevitably it starts to rain, gently so no problem. Downhill and into Bowness and were now tucked up in the tent at a c&c site, love that they have little shops!
Another great day!
Alfie is already asleep as I write this, nice to know I'm not the only one suffering! Night all! 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Arrived !

Well we're now at the official start of CRR camped near the Hoad hill monument, which commerates the life of sir John barrow Bart. (More info to follow)
The train journey up went very nicely with Alfie charming his way into the hearts of many travelers, particularly the women ! Good dog! ;) and one kindly ticket collector who gave him a biscuit every time he passed, lovely chap!
The weather is fine if a little chilly at the moment but far better than expected! Thank you weather God's !
Here's hope it holds!
My apologies go to Russ for not publishing our itinerary, time ran out! Guess you'll just have to read the blog ! :)
For now all is good and time to cook dinner!

And we're off !

En route to ulverston,this  mornings weather shows a sign of improvement so a weeks worth of worrying over weather apps will hopefully prove pointless!
Here we go!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

soon off!

just a quick post to say we're off at the end of next week 20/4 to start the Cumbrian Roman Ramble, hard to believe my last post was november!!!!!
Shocking waste of blogging time!!! still I will be blogging (connection permitting) all my route with some stunning views of the lakes, sunsets/rises from mountain tops that kind of thing! oh and the odd pic of Alfie of course :)
this next week had better fly cos i wanna be there already!!!