As a kid, I was engrossed by Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series of books, and must admit to having re-read them as an adult too. The same goes for Cath too, and she’s been trying to get her son into them (I gave up on this with my offspring years ago after being constantly called a “muggle” by them – it was a forlorn hope). Now every time I’ve mentioned to Cath about the walks I’m doing in the top right-hand bit of Essex, she has been reminding me of Secret Water and, basically, pestering me for us to arrange a suitable Expedition.
And so it was, that nearing the end of the Essex Way, and mentioning that it goes within a mile or two of “Secret Water”, a plan was hatched to attempt the audacious combination of a circumnavigation of that area and the completion of the Way. I think she sees herself as a bit of a Nancy Blackett (really ? Peggy maybe, as she’s a bit of a galoot). For this trip, as the local guide, I would take the role of the Mastadon (albeit sans splatchers). Continue reading “The Secret Achipelago Expedition”
Three years ago, I took my son for the Official Annual Birthday Camp (mine, not his), and chose a spot on the North Downs that has forever after been known in this house as Slug Meadow – you can probably imagine … Continue reading Return to Slug Meadow
A little over a week later from my first section of the Essex Way, I was back and ready for more. This time the plan was to pick up where I left off, conveniently at a bus stop, and walk to White Notley where there’s a station. My mapping software, into which I’d imported a GPX of the route, told me it would be about 27km – but I knew it would be more as I could see the supplied route had cut a few corners. So I didn’t expect to polish it off in one day, and so planned for a camp out. Continue reading “The Essex Way: Part 2 – A1060 to White Notley”
The Essex Way is a long distance route of 130km (81 miles) stretching from Epping in the West to Harwich in the East. It was created as a result of a competition organised by the CPRE in 1972, and some of the original CPRE-branded waymarks can still be seen on the route (although now largely replaced by Essex County Council waymarks). The route is described as “… lovely, taking you through ancient woodland, open farmland, tree-lined river valleys and leafy green lanes, with plenty of picturesque and historic villages along the way.” So it seemed like a decent candidate for a mini-project. Continue reading “The Essex Way: Part 1 – Epping to the A1060”
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”
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”
The Mardyke is my local river (ignoring the fact that the Thames is actually nearer), and I’ve done many walks along and around it. This time last year I even took Little Miss Hillplodder for her inaugural wild camp in … Continue reading The Mardyke Bivvy
I was having a sort out the other day and came across some interesting bits of paper… Continue reading “Resurrecting Some Old Walks”
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”
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”
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”
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 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”
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 ?”
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)”