The Essex Way: Part 5 – Mistley to Harwich

…or strictly speaking Harwich to Mistley, as for logistical reasons I decided to do this last section in reverse. In any case, I’d already experienced the walk into the end at Harwich on the Secret Archipelago Expedition last March, so even if I had opted for the big climax by the sea, it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise. Ultimately, doing it east to west meant I could squeeze in a last camp, and moreover a camp in a marginally more inspiring place than the corner of a farmer’s field or the middle of a wood.

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The Secret Achipelago Expedition

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”

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”

The Essex Way: Part 1 – Epping to the A1060

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”

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…

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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”

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 ?”

The white course

Becoming part of the food chain

Today I nearly became part of the food chain, when a hulking great beast tried to eat me.  Here’s how it happened… Continue reading “Becoming part of the food chain”

Fenplodder strikes again

I can’t always go to the hills to walk, and so have to make the best of what’s on my doorstep.  Unfortunately, for a hill walker, that best is pretty poor.  Not only does my local terrain have very little in the way of ascent, parts of it are actually below sea level, if my GPS and Anquet are both to be believed.  Today’s walk was typical of the terrain, and apart from some faffing about in Thorndon Country Park at the start, most of the walk was technically downhill.  That’s not to say it was easy though. Taking advantage … Continue reading Fenplodder strikes again


It’s so low and flat where I live that my GPS sometimes shows me as being below sea level, and today was no exception when I grabbed an opportunity for a last walk of 2011.  Given the short daylight hours, rather than opt to be dropped off at Hampton Court, near where the rest of the family were spending the day, and then walking a stretch of the Thames Path and getting a train home, I went for the safer option of a local walk. Continue reading “Fenplodder!”