Cambrian Way #9: Bryn y Fedwen to Mallwyd (Days 20-21)

The euphoria of knocking off 15 miles and nearly 1000m of ascent on a day when I was feeling sluggish soon wore off. The wind picked up in the night and was really pressing on the tent. Again I had bits of cheap Chinese inner in my face. I was glad to get up, but boy was it cold. I set off wearing 4 layers. Continue reading “Cambrian Way #9: Bryn y Fedwen to Mallwyd (Days 20-21)”

A Different Coast to Coast – Devon

I’ve already told the story of the actual walk, but also wanted to wrap up some comments on the planning for the trip and some general thoughts on the walk and route themselves. So here goes… Continue reading “A Different Coast to Coast – Devon”

A Different Coast to Coast – Part 4: The Bottom Bit

Ivybridge to Wembury: 15 miles, 1 day

The half day did us both good in topping up the tanks ready for the final stretch of the walk. I don’t think either of us had particularly high hopes for this final day’s walk, but personally I can pretty much steel myself for anything with the knowledge that a single day walk lies between me and the finish line. All we were really concerned with was how long it would take and what time we’d get our curry back in Okehampton. Continue reading “A Different Coast to Coast – Part 4: The Bottom Bit”

A Different Coast to Coast – Part 3: Dartmoor

Drewsteignton to Ivybridge – 38 miles, 2½ days

Paul’s feet seemed to have got a second wind, and he was back in the lead as we climbed up out of Drewsteignton onto the Castle Drogo estate. Familiar territory now, and I’d visited all of these tors earlier in the year, so it wasn’t a long visit. We dropped down onto the path that runs by Sharp Tor, spent a few moments there and then carried on to Hunter’s Tor. We had brief notions of a detour to the cafe for breakfast, but the few metres ascent in the wrong direction lost out to the idea of seeking sustenance in Chagford instead. And so we continued. Continue reading “A Different Coast to Coast – Part 3: Dartmoor”

A Different Coast to Coast – Part 2: The Middle Bit

Knowstone to Drewsteignton, 29 miles, 2 days

As is always the case on a long distance walk, a night spent in a proper bed and the body filled with a proper breakfast gives you a bit of a spring in your step. And so it was as we started out for day 3, tempered only by the knowledge that the next bit of the DC2C is generally considered to be “the boring bit”, not worth doing and even suggested in some quarters to be worthy of skipping altogether. But that would remove completely any element of challenge in the project. And so we ploughed on, minds refreshed to give us the best chance of getting through a couple of days of underwhelming walking. It came with a few surprises though… Continue reading “A Different Coast to Coast – Part 2: The Middle Bit”

A Different Coast to Coast – Part 1: Exmoor

Lynmouth to Knowstone – 27 miles, 2 days

The rain started just as we got to Lynmouth, banishing the hopes that had arisen that the forecast didn’t seem to be playing out. We stepped onto the beach to take the obligatory start photo and then turned our faces southward and into the rain. Before we got going in earnest I popped into a shop that had what seemed like the only cash machine in Lynmouth, needing to top up after the unexpected expense of a taxi from Barnstaple. With no more cash machines forecast for several days, lack of cash was a serious risk to the pub crawl. I asked the machine for £100, it gave me £80 and then promptly shut up shop. Yes I’d cleared the whole village out of cash, and I left hastily before the woman waiting to use the machine realised this. Continue reading “A Different Coast to Coast – Part 1: Exmoor”

Cambrian Way #7: Strata Florida to Ponterwyd (Days 16-17)

Ice cream and tea consumed I got on my way, leaving sleepy Strata Florida behind and heading along a lane that would take me to the Teifi Pools. Climbing up gently over grass, I gained a trackway and soon saw the first of the lakes – Llyn Egnant. Continue reading “Cambrian Way #7: Strata Florida to Ponterwyd (Days 16-17)”

Cambrian Way #6: Llandovery to Strata Florida (Days 14-15)

It probably wasn’t a great idea to begin a 4 day backpack through remote mid Wales with a night of virtually no sleep. Even less a good idea to do so with a newly hurt knee obtained in an ill-advised game of garden volleyball at a gathering with the in-laws a few hours before. And it’s probably best not to mention the recovering ankle that caused me to allow more days for this walk and to adopt full-on boots rather than my usual trail shoes. Anyway that’s the hand that I somehow dealt myself, and so it had to be played out…

Continue reading “Cambrian Way #6: Llandovery to Strata Florida (Days 14-15)”

The End

Dover was miserable as I stepped off the train. A walk through town saw me narrowly avoiding being accosted by some rather dubious-looking characters. Not responding to their calls was probably the smart thing to do. Continue reading “The End”

South West Coast Path 2016

Dad and I spent a week walking along the coast path from St Ives to Padstow. I’m not going to write a long story about this as it tends to get repetitive, so will confine myself to a few remarks and then leave it to the photos to tell the story…

Continue reading “South West Coast Path 2016”

The Missing Canterbury Tales

WHEN that Aprilis, with his showers swoot….

So pricketh them nature in their corages;
Then longe folk to go on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seeke strange strands,
To ferne hallows couth in sundry lands;
And specially, from every shire’s end
Of Engleland, to Canterbury they wend

(From the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer)

Chaucer scared the crap out of me when I was at school, and at the time I counted myself fortunate that my acquaintance with him was fleeting, a mere advert for the horrors that might lie in wait for me if I were to undertake English Literature A level (of which there was no chance whatsoever anyway it has to be said). Of course, years later and maturity threatening to set in, I developed an interest in seeing what I’d “missed out” on all those years ago, sampling many of the greats and developing a particular fondness for Dickens. Hell, I even read the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and that makes Chaucer look like reading the Beano. Maybe Geoff isn’t so bad after all. Continue reading “The Missing Canterbury Tales”

A London Countryway – Planning

I’ve decided what I’m going to do as my local long distance path project for this year – it’s the London Countryway.

The London Countryway is a long distance walking trail that circumnavigates London. It lies outside of the two better-known circular London walks – the Capital Ring and the London LOOP – and so is a much more serious proposition. Having walked the LOOP and enjoyed it far more than I ever thought I would, the idea of doing similar at a greater radius from the centre of London really appeals. If I add to that the allure of a little-known path, it’s not a difficult decision to do it. Continue reading “A London Countryway – Planning”

A Look Back at the Wealdway

So I’ve now completed the Wealdway, my Long Distance Path project for 2015 and it’s worth a look back at how it went. Continue reading “A Look Back at the Wealdway”

A Long Man and a Long Walk (Wealdway: Berwick to Eastbourne)

The sun was still trying to inch its way up into the sky as it I got back to the car from last night’s camp, and such was the direction I was headed in that I found myself driving almost head-on into the sun for most of the drive. Irritating but a positive sign for the day as a whole. I arrived in Berwick and dumped the car in the station car park, taking advantage of the fact that a short ride on the train would neatly return me here at the other end of the day. Continue reading “A Long Man and a Long Walk (Wealdway: Berwick to Eastbourne)”