Dartmoor: Not Quite as Forecast

Last weekend was the first trip to Dartmoor of the year, as a combination of illness and uninspiring forecasts made me decide to forego the now traditional Dartmoor New Year. Consequently I was itching to get out to camp somewhere I didn’t have to hide, both overnighters so far this year having been in lowly Essex.

I arrived at Paul’s midday Thursday, dumped the car and headed up onto the moor by way of the East Okement and the Tarka Trail. Not having come this way before, it proved to be a pleasant way up onto the moor. Continue reading “Dartmoor: Not Quite as Forecast”

The Essex Way: Part 2 – A1060 to White Notley

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”

Unexpected Joys in the Clag

Barely am I back from my cruise to Greenland, Iceland and Norway (more about that if I get around to it in due course), then the post-holiday gloom of returning to work hits full face. A lack of decent walking opportunities on the cruise, means it’s 3 months since I did any form of backpacking, and I’m itching to get out. One break from work quickly spawns the need for another.  Continue reading “Unexpected Joys in the Clag”

TGO Challenge 2017: Day 7 – Everything Looks Better After a Big Glass of Whisky and a Poo

Renewed hope surges through me, thanks to the liberal application of whisky last night and some ibuprofen this morning. To cement the deal, a big cup of tea for breakfast and then I seek out the “facilities” – it’s my … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2017: Day 7 – Everything Looks Better After a Big Glass of Whisky and a Poo

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”

The Quest for a Furthest South

Just as I arrived at Paul’s, he had the news on and a general election had been called. I took this as an omen that there could be no better time to lose myself for 3-4 days in the middle of nowhere. Continue reading “The Quest for a Furthest South”

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”