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

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!!!