Old Skool

Recently I unearthed a couple of sets of typed route instructions for sponsored walks I did at school in the late ’80s. I remember these being in the region of 20 miles, which I polished off fairly easily, which was nice because I was at a sporty school and was crap at most of those sports. I remember feeling slightly smug being one of the only kids with proper walking boots. I remember feeling less smug when my Dad was operating on my heels to pop the resultant blisters, a job he botched so much I still have rough skin there to remind me of those days.

In recent years, the vague memories of those days have set me wondering about these routes and they’ve achieved an almost mythical status in my head. Many is a time I’ve been out for a walk on the North Downs and felt a stirring of a distant memory or wondered if such and such a path were part of the original walks. Now this is all solved. Continue reading “Old Skool”

Making it up as I go

What little fitness had been instilled in my legs in Wales already felt like it was ebbing, and so it was time to top them up. The aim was simply to do a long walk and carry a decent load – and to have a bit of up and down. That ruled out staying my side of the river – it’s pancake flat here. I quickly hatched a plan whereby I’d catch the Tilbury ferry to Gravesend and do a big circular walk on the North Downs from there, finding somewhere to pitch up overnight. The sort of thing I’ve done many times before, usually when training for a bigger walk to come. Continue reading “Making it up as I go”

Resurrecting Some Old Walks

I was having a sort out the other day and came across some interesting bits of paper… Continue reading “Resurrecting Some Old Walks”

The Mislaid Mojo

Somehow over the last month my mojo has gone awol. I’ve looked high and low for it and nothing has turned up. Until this weekend…

Continue reading “The Mislaid Mojo”

A Walk on the Essex Fens

After last week’s 14 mile jaunt around Canvey, the plan was to up the mileage a little bit – essential if I’m to have a hope at completing the 10-in-10 in June (feel free to sponsor me by the way). 16 miles was the target and I plotted a route of just about that – a mixture of familiar paths along the Mardyke and some new exploration.

An early start was decided upon, mainly because that fitted best into the day, but also with secondary benefits of being out before most other people. Continue reading “A Walk on the Essex Fens”

A Slow Start to the Year

Plans for the year have been formulated, potential weekends for escapes to the hills have been identified, but still it feels like 2016 is yet to get off to a proper start walking-wise. The New Year trip to Dartmoor was almost a wash out, with only one walk of a respectable length, and then I came down with the bug that was going around. Half of January was gone before I felt like venturing out again. Continue reading “A Slow Start to the Year”

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”

The London Expedition

The plan was hatched at the New Year Dartmoor gathering, and it was simple: the London contingent would meet at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) for a look at the Enduring Eye exhibition of Frank Hurley’s photographs from the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by Shackleton. And there may be a few beers after too. It needed something else, though and it wasn’t until a day or two before that I remembered my file of London statues, and more specifically that there was a whole set of statues of explorers. The big question, though, was would they be distributed sensibly. Continue reading “The London Expedition”

Last Camp of the Year ?

Like a fool I passed up the chance of a camp the weekend before Christmas when the weather was clear and warm, and so put myself in the position of having to do a last minute camp in order to successfully complete my one wildcamp a month challenge. Having managed it all the way up to November, it would be a shame to fall at the final hurdle. Continue reading “Last Camp of the Year ?”

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)”

The Last Wealdway Camp

Moonlight bathed the tent in streaks of silver, filtered by the straggling branches of the bush sheltering us from the big open field, and from the gaze of any passers-by foolhardy enough to be out on this cold night. In terms of other life, all was quiet – no birds, no small mammals, not even the deer that I spotted in the woods the last time I passed this way. Just the occasional knocking of a tree branch against another as the breeze stirred it from its statue-like stillness. A winking light through the wood at first making me think there were other wild campers abroad, but soon realised as a sign of civilisation beyond the trees. The distant swoosh and hum of traffic passing down the A26, people with places to go on this chilly Saturday night. Continue reading “The Last Wealdway Camp”

Screech Wood

I’m no stranger to this particular patch of woodland on the North Downs. Numerous walks have been done through or alongside it, but always solo. This time though I had some company. Continue reading “Screech Wood”

A Camp on Pheasant Down

A sleepy Saturday afternoon it was in Meopham as I parked the car. A rather leisurely-looking game of cricket was taking place on the green, a cyclist was taking a rest and that was about all there was in terms of signs of life. I threw my pack on my back and headed off down a nearby footpath. Continue reading “A Camp on Pheasant Down”

There may have been some swearing… (Wealdway: Uckfield to Berwick)

The plan was ambitious, and as it turned out, too ambitious. A dry and warm forecast for the weekend, and the need to get out for a camp in August to maintain the goal of a wild camp every month led me to the attempt to finish the Wealdway.

It was always going to be a big ask: two 15-18 mile days to finish the thing, which is a bit of a commitment even when I’m feeling fit. And I’m far from fit at the moment, the inevitable decay and atrophying of walk muscles that takes place when I’m working sees to that. Still I thought I’d give it a go. Continue reading “There may have been some swearing… (Wealdway: Uckfield to Berwick)”