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

Monday, 27 May 2013

27/5 The end of another epic walk!

As the title says we've finished! That's all four compass points of Britain walked an amazing accomplishment for a small ginger dog, well done Alfie :-)
More to follow on this post. batteries in phone are a bit low!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sun 26/5 A lazy day!

Rising late at 7am we didn't get away until nine, with the sun already high in the sky and the day warm we walk thru and out of Bungay, following a tiny B road that looped in line with river waveney to a hamlet called Ship meadow, a little Lane to our left took us to the path east that links with the Angles way a local path that we will follow to Lowestoft, for now it takes us through the glorious sunny meadows that flank the river. Away from the meadows and into Beccles a very pretty town which I can't recommend to highly! Quaint - impressive architecture and especially in the sun a vibrant town, tho after the last few days weather everyone has a good reason to be cheerful!
After a long lunch at the local Wetherspoons pub we enter the marina with the hundreds of other holiday makers walking past many an impressive and no doubt expensive river cruise boat. leaving the crowds behind but not the boats as many pass us as we walk along the river bank with plenty of waves and hellos from boat to bank and vice versa :-). We continue along the banks passing many different wild fowl on our left and cattle to our right until we set up camp on a loop of river miles from anywhere, as we settle to sleep the wildfowl sing a rather raucous lullaby!

Sat 25/5 out from the storm

Waking in another fine woodland wild camp with sun streaming thru trees doesn't get much better than this!
Until four hundred yards around the corner a ruined church to St Mary presents a very novel alternative! Shame we didn't see this earlier! Still with a such a  marked improvement in the weather and smiles once again on our faces nothing could dampen our spirits the way forward passed quickly thru Tivetshall st Mary and cross country to Pulham market where the village shop on the idyllic village green resupplied us for the day ahead, gentle country roads and paths led us to kemps corner where our path dead ended at an impassable footbridge thick with brambles! A quick reroute along a busy little B road called "the lonely road" ironically. North of Aldburgh until we found a b road that a cycle path linked up with that ran along the valley to Bungay, a quick pint in Earsham at the friendly queens head and we reprovisioned at Bungay and on to the Outney meadow caravan park for our pitch.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Fri 24/5

As forecast a night of heavy rain, not so bad for us tucked under the bows of a chestnut tree at the Dower house camp site during a lull in the rain we packed our gear away and headed off once more into the woods and then more rain which stayed with us most of the day.
Keeping to the roads we walked thru East Harling and Kenninghall, upon reaching Banham we spotted a walkers shelter that turned out to be the highlight of the day, it  was a religious shelter on tail called the Via Beata running between Lowestoft and St Davids! Pictures to follow!
Heading on thru the rain for the rest of the afternoon we stopped at two pubs sadly both closed! Until we reached or designated wild camp in woodland, where the rain finally stopped!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Thurs 22 a colourful day!

An early start from a wet tent at the Ram hotel campsite (basic but adequate site in Brandon), had us enjoying sun and deep blue sky as we wandered into the town for some provisions, pleasant small town with the first flint built houses seen on the route.
East and out of town we entered Thetford forest a temple of green hues in the sunlit trees, the peace and scent of the woods a balm for these fen weary walkers! Thru Santon down with its pretty church (surprisingly open!) and back in to the woodland with flights of tornados lining up to land at Lakenheath air base. we follow the St Edmunds way thru trees glistening with dew and delight in taking macro photos as we wander.
Over the riverThet via a nice wooden bridge with water weed streaming in the current.following the river east (where else! Lol ) we pass the earthworks of the ruined church of St Helen and the holy well.. Which had long been dug up for flint excavation.
More woodland walking led us to a huge factory with a massive chimney..... What possesses planners to allow construction like this in beautiful woodland is beside me!... RANT!
A quick stop at a weir for a snack and the weather changes drastically no more sunshine here comes the rain......! Splashing our way on to Thetford we pass very protective geese with their chicks and skittish ducks with theirs!,  into town we pass the ruins of the priory and into the modern commercial temple of the town centre, a stop for dinner of some lovely fish and chips during a break in the rain and out of town via the tesco superstore for supplies, while here the heavens opened and hail pounded the ground, we happily watched this from shelter until the hail became a downpour which we decided to brave.
Eastwards on road we pass a war memorial cunningly designed to catch water and fill a trough at the front... Nice design! With black clouds coming in waves now we road walk until we meet an old friend The Peddars way! Turning right along this over the remembered plastic board walks above the wet lands, we enter more forest and shelter from the rain, passing a heard of rare breed sheep and some fine bulls as we enter the fields again we finally reach our campsite during a break in the storm!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Weds 22 The last of the fens!

An early start see's us away from Littleport and back into the flat and timeless trudging thru the lands of the east, pushing our luck too far we follow farm tracks into farmland without rights of way, big smiles and an act of ignorance gets us past a farmer in his tractor, to allow us to link up with a b road that ran straight for a few miles until it met the little Ouse river. heading eastwards, we spent most of the day following the river with deer scattering ahead of us (with Alfie chasing them of course!) and swan's nesting to our right! Overhead pairs of tornado fighters from Lakenheath would push the sound barrier until it broke in the distance.
About three miles of dust track walking away from the river lead us inevitably back to its banks in time for dinner, with storm clouds building (which never broke!) we follow the river more, tho this section is rarely used as the thickly overthrown path showed, eventually this cleared with lovely meadows leading us to Brandon and the Ram hotel for dinner and camping in the rear fields.

Tue 21/5 A day of one half!

After a very disturbed windy night wild camping on the 100 foot drain we head off into the slightly damp morning. Going underfoot was fine especially as we left the drain and followed the road to  Wardy Hill,  renamed by us "Where De Hill" due to the complete lack of hill! Going thru here and into Coveney one of the fen island villages with views to Ely the biggest.
From here we went cross country thru the odd dry and granulated soil of the fens to little Downham. This nice village allowed us to stock up with food and coffee (which the Kindly Asian couple made us :-) ) before following track and road into Littleport where the pub by the railway watered and fed us, quickly down the road to a local campsite and we completed our lazy half day!

Monday, 20 May 2013

An odd land!

After the glorious sunshine yesterday it was a bit of a surprise to wake up with gray skies and a wet tent! Not that it was raining and neither did it rain all day! No complaints ;-)
As we headed off I can't say I made a mistake in navigation more like I just didn't bother to navigate at all! So after a nice circular walk in the lush meadows by the Ouse realisation sank in that this wasn't the route! We did see a nice church at Hemingford Grey .... Justification enough?. Back on the route half a kilometer from the start with two kilometers walked (ahem) and heading east (finally!) we wander thru a lush woodland called the thicket, part marshland with a nice paved cycle path running thru it keeping progress easy, the eerie call of peacock in the woods around us but none came to view before we walked into St Ives.
The hustle and bustle of the towns market was a sharp contrast to the woodland but pleasant enough, a coffee and breakfast roll eventually arrived from the tardy service at Greggs!, following the great Ouse way out of town past the delights of heavy lorries transporting sand and gravel from the pits we were walking thru to a place called Holywell where we found the well! Or recently bricked over spring by a church.... Nice little garden by it tho.
From the village onwards we enter the fens and find some wild Alexanders an edible cow parsley like plant introduced by the Romans into Britain and last seen at the beginning of this walk in St Davids!
The trail continued by the Ouse past a wide expanse of wet land with a profusion of water fowl and lap wing, into the dreary town of Earith to resupply before dragging our waining attentions for eight kilometers along the very straight and flat hundred foot drain, which goes all the way to King's Lynn thankfully without us!
At Mepal we restock water and head back to the drain to find a wild camp for tonight.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Hot n sunny!

After a blissfully sunny wake up call from the dawn chorus, memories of an earlier wake up call from a baking fox last night return to my mind, a first for me!
Thru a sunlit green tunnel under the trees we approach Old Weston, dropping off our rubbish from the night before at a village club's bins, out of the village and east thru the fields to the idyllic village of  Leighton Bromswold which was basking in the sleepy Sunday morning sunshine, walking under the avenue of chestnut trees towards the church we come upon a thousand year old stone that was used as meeting point (one of four in this part of England) for justice to be dealt out and taxes to be handed in!
Across the fields again thru the brightly glowing Oil seed rape and into Barham a very deliberate choice of Waypoint this as my family on my mother's mother's side came from here, they ran the local pub which is sadly long gone... No free beer! Into the tiny local church and a break was had by the graves of my ancestors the  Huffords, a quick look into the church which had been kindly opened by a chap we met as we rested.
Following a Lane we headed into the fields Nibbling on Shepherds purse as walked. more rape fields led us down into a shallow Valley and on to Alconbury where we followed the old "great North Road " to a bridge that spanned it's modern counterpart the A1, the path led us into an ongoing dressage competition, a pleasing surprise! Then in hot still air we plodded through more fields to Huntingdon where a garage supplied us with fresh orange juice to quench or thirst as we sat in the grass near the pumps, much to the bewilderment of folk filling up they're cars! He he!
A quick stop at sainsburys for dog food and the path by the great  Ouse river led us through parkland and out of town.
Now weary we walk into the impressive village of Houghton where our campsite for the night is at a fully functioning water mill. Quickly set up and to the pub for dinner at the three horseshoes, which leaves us nesting down for the night with a woodpecker near the tent tapping away trying to do likewise! Lol!
(pictures will follow when data permits!)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Going backwards again!

Or back on the backwards east west way! Lol
Lying in the tent after a nice easy 16.5 mile day having Walked from my front door to a wild camp near a village called Old Weston.
The weather has been pleasant with no R word  occurring only getting wet once at the pub in Titchmarsh and a very nice local wet ale it was named  Wherry!

The path has lead us out of Kettering (thank goodness!) thru Warkton to Grafton Underwood passing a small holding with a nice variety of rare breed sheep and fowl.,. then via Slipton to the grand Drayton house (picture to follow) Lowick was it's usual pretty self, following the road East took us into the Nene Valley where the old gravel pits are now a beautiful wild fowl reserve, hundreds of swallows were dogfighting overhead as we crossed the valley putting on a thrilling display!
Into Titchmarsh for the aforementioned pint and out  again following a roman road East, a field of highland cattle by the road added a pleasing interlude to the road walk!. With the road turning north away from our path we pass Molesworth airforce base, which still brings back memories of the CND peace camp here back in the eighties!
Tonight tho no military police are showing interest in our little wild camp.... For now anyway!.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Off again!

This coming Saturday I'm finally setting off on the last stage of my backwards East to West way! Walking from home, (the end point of last year's stages) to Lowestoft a final distance of 136 miles of huge open skies and flat farm land.
So in preparation and to test it, I've made up a four meal batch of chilli to take with me!
Excellent weight loss between the cooked and the dehydrated meals! With the dehydrated meal weighing in at one third of the cooked version, this is after I've taken off the weight of the plastic container shown in the picture ;-)
Naturally I'll knock together more dehydrated food for the trip to Scotland in June, this batch will at least be a good test of its nutritional value not to mention whether it's actually edible when prepared in the field!
Keep an eye on the blog! :-)