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”

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”

Decision time - the path splits

North Downs Way 9: Dunn Street to Chilham

I learned something overnight.  Something which was actually pretty obvious and staring me in the face the whole time.  And it’s this….you really don’t need that much stuff to have an ok time.  Let me elaborate…. Continue reading “North Downs Way 9: Dunn Street to Chilham”

Typical NDW scenery 2

North Downs Way 8: Detling to Dunn Street

Last week I was all packed and ready to go on this walk, but for one thing – my fitness.  On the morning of the walk I realised my ribs were still not healed enough for it to be a sensible thing to do.  So reluctantly, but in hindsight pleased with myself for making the right call, I changed my plans and hoped that the weather would hold for another attempt later in the month.

Now with another week of rest, I can feel my ribs getting better everyday, although they still hurt like hell when I first get out of bed in the morning.  But yesterday I had to go to the post office in town, a round-trip of about 4 miles on foot, and felt good.  In fact rib-wise I felt better after the walk than before.  So I decided last night to risk the walk, Continue reading “North Downs Way 8: Detling to Dunn Street”

Kit's Coty

North Downs Way 7: Blue Bell Hill to Detling

Dropped off at the picnic site, I started by walking back up the road to the exact spot where I’d stopped the day before and walked along again to the picnic site off-road. It was still a bit hazy over the Medway valley, but it was already warming up nicely. With legs still smarting Continue reading “North Downs Way 7: Blue Bell Hill to Detling”

Leaving the woods at last

North Downs Way 6: Wrotham to Blue Bell Hill

I thought I wouldn’t get much more walking in this year, but with a delay in starting work (due to not having any yet!) and a spell of fine weather, the opportunity was too good to miss. Continue reading “North Downs Way 6: Wrotham to Blue Bell Hill”

Crossing fields atop the escarpment

North Downs Way 5: Knockholt to Wrotham

5 years after I started the North Downs Way, I walked down the lane from the centre of Knockholt Pound, retracing my steps on my last day. We skirted around the edge of the Chevening estate and followed waymarkers through the woods.

Leaving Knockholt - 5 years late
Leaving Knockholt - 5 years late

Emerging at a stile liberally festooned with NDW arrows on every side we looked down into a grassy valley and tried to decipher which way to go – we couldn’t even use the trick of comparing the waymarkers from our approach side with those on the other side as they were everywhere. So we made an educated guess and followed the fence around the valley side heading in a roughly south-easterly direction. We got to the bottom and I realised that we weren’t on the NDW and I cursed aloud. A post has 8 NDW waymarkers on it, I follow the one going in about the right direction, and it’s still wrong. Continue reading “North Downs Way 5: Knockholt to Wrotham”

The Pilgrim's Way

North Downs Way 1: Farnham to Guildford

With walking now firmly established as my main hobby, I wanted a project that could keep me ready for the hills inbetween trips, and I settled on the North Downs Way.  It’s an obvious choice really as I live just over the Thames in Thurrock, and so is relatively easy to get to.  Also having been brought up in the Gravesend area, I know part of the path between Wrotham and Cuxton, and it would be really good to join it all up.  Having been to the east of Kent in the car, it’ll also be nice to understand the area better by walking through it.  A walk every 2-4 weeks is the plan, and this will see the NDW comfortably completed before the end of the year.

Having waited until the worst of the winter weather has gone, it’s a good day for it.   Continue reading “North Downs Way 1: Farnham to Guildford”