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”

A Look Back at the Wealdway

So I’ve now completed the Wealdway, my Long Distance Path project for 2015 and it’s worth a look back at how it went. Continue reading “A Look Back at the Wealdway”

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 in Slug Meadow

“Civilisation”, or what passes for it in the Medway Valley, was winding down for the night, as we abandoned the car in a lane chosen for its proximity to our target, whilst still being, sort of, a built-up area. We headed up the lane, a party clearly on the go in someone’s garage and garden. Jeers directed at our rucksack-laden backs from locals swigging tasteless lager. Continue reading “A Camp in Slug Meadow”

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud (Wealdway: Gravesend to Tonbridge)

It’s not often that I get this excited about a walk in the days leading up to it, and I don’t think it’s ever happened for a local walk. But I sat there at the weekend, finalising the route map for the Wealdway and giving some thought to where I might camp on the first night, and the desire to simply be out on the walk was huge and getting bigger. Continue reading “Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud (Wealdway: Gravesend to Tonbridge)”

Planning the Wealdway

The Wealdway is a long distance path that runs from Gravesend in Kent, on the south bank of the Thames, to Eastbourne in East Sussex, where the South Downs terminate in chalk cliffs rising above the English Channel, making it the primary coast to coast walking route in the extreme South East. Continue reading “Planning the Wealdway”

Our canopy for the night

A Birthday Camp

Every year on the weekend nearest to my birthday I go away for one or two nights with the tent. Whilst it’s good to get out, the main driver is the fact that my daughter’s birthday is 3 days after mine and she somehow manages to pull rank when it comes to any parties scheduled for the weekend. As her birthday celebrations usually involve a gang of giggling girls staying over in the house, the tent is actually the best place to be. Not that I’m given any choice… Continue reading “A Birthday Camp”

What the Dickens?!

Today is a very special day – Charles John Huffam Dickens, one of my favourite authors, was born today 200 years ago.  Ok, plenty of people are talking about this, writing about it, and there’s several Dickens-themed things on TV, so what can I add ?  Continue reading “What the Dickens?!”

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”