WALKING OENGLAND – EPISODE 57 -FINALE.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING OENGLAND WALK

 

If you wish to continue following my progress round the Proposed England Coast Path please use the link below

https://still0england.wordpress.com

I have now progressed to Episode 66  and 67 will follow directly I recover from my Summer Hols.. When asked as all teachers do, what I did in my Summer Hols, I can now say I didn’t do any more walking round England ……

because I was sleeping in the South of France. …..vive la sieste.

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The final Episode of Walking Round England, concluded at Gibraltar Point

The highlighted Map below shows the extent of my OEngland walk

 

If you want to continue covering my journey round the Coast of England then transfer to   https://still0england.wordpress.com         where you’ll find the latest Episodes. 

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

Sad News.

All things come to an end, and my blog about Walking round the English Coastline is not spared. It simply ran out of space. Also prior to its demise, it received complaints about its selectivity . Apparently I’d left someone OFF the mailing list. In defence I would say that it is public and anyone can read it.  I would have suspected the problem for some was being ON the mailing list.

Anyway, I can now announce that the new Blog  ” Still O England ” will be more of the same, the only difference being that I will only notify recipients who wish to receive it.

So if you wish to be included please confirm by email to rdmaccord@outlook.com .

Note the new email address.

And I understand the first Episode of StillOEngland  is ready for publication  – just join the mailing list by emailing    rdmaccord@outlook.com

Progress to 16 May 2016

THE EXTENT OF MY WALK RECORDED ON OENGLAND.

Farewell – hope to see you again on StillOEngland

 

https://still0england.wordpress.com

WALKING OENGLAND – EPISODE 56 – 85 MILES TO GIBRALTAR POINT FROM BARTON ON HUMBER – GRAND TOTAL 2264 MILES.

Progress to 16 May 2016

The latest progress map shows the walk has reached beyond Skegness on the East Coast,  I just need to join up with the Crimson Worm on the opposite bank of The Wash at Hunstanton. Looks easy but that’s quite a trek around the Wash and quite isolated.

Where was I last time on this coast? – Oh Yes  – The Humber Bridge – Lincolnshire side at Barton On Humber

 

 

                Looking at Lincolnshire from Yorkshire, alongside and beneath The Humber Bridge

 

Walking days 159 to 166; 9th- 16th May 2016

This irregular walk from the Humber Bridge to Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, beyond Skegness,  was 85 miles long, spread over seven  discontinuous days, excluding a rest day whilst I awaited back up to cross some more desolate desert scenes between Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe. . The rest day/s were spent in the Peak District, more specifically watching Eventing at Chatsworth House – can’t get much more coastally deprived than that…

And where I eventually finished up , at Gibraltar Point beyond Skegness, just before the coastline turns into The Wash…

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Gibraltar Point, National Nature Reserve – local Map – I did the complete circuit after walking due South from  Skegness, through the biggest seasonal resort car park I have yet encountered. This acted as a buffer between the ridiculous built up playground world of a seaside resort and the vast open sublime expanse of the unspoilt Nature Reserve.

 

Are you sitting comfortably, Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie?

Then I’ll begin!

 

Last week I had planned to resume my East coast walk southwards from the Humber Bridge, Hull, which I had reached last January 21st on the 139th day of The Walk.  I was significantly inland and had wandered off the coastal piste in order to cross the Humber to Barton on Humber.

My plan was to head directly for the coast again at Grimsby and Cleethorpes, walk to Mablethorpe, followed by Sutton on Sea, Chapel St Leonards, Skegness and finishing up at Gibraltar Point. I was ably assisted by buses 1,3 and 9, and trains on the Community Line, but I wasn’t very well prepared for the journey between Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe. It was too far for a day’s outing,  sparsely populated, sand dunes and difficult to walk loose sand.   I opted to take a break whilst Aygo  back up arrived at Baslow, which also allowed us to celebrate properly Maisie’s second birthday.

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Sunrise at Standen Campsite – one windy night sent neighbouring tents home early; but I’m ok!

 

I added another couple of nights to my stay at Standen Camp Site just outside Mablethorpe, and with the aid of Nanny keeping an eye on me while I crossed the sandy desert ( if you ignore the sea) I accomplished a respectable 85 miles in the seven walking days, and most of that was direct progress, with little circuitous walking and almost no getting lost. I will check to see if this is a record distance at one visit although slightly tainted by the day off in the middle. I even managed to keep the gizmo functioning and recording my progress with regular power transfusions and uploading courtesy of McD’s Free WiFi, and downloading at their conveniences. This last function is a major concern, which I’m not ready to share right now, but to be an all powerful blog of my activity the truth should be told sooner or later. Taken short, there are just not enough conveniences. More detail later. For now ignorance is bliss.

The only downside of such a long trip is fatigue creep; normally three or four days walking , camping overnights and a return home to rest requires an equal time to recover. But any more added days the weariness creeps in a bit earlier each day, until the legs just stop!

This is where back up comes in! Or poor decisions get made. Or I get lost…. Not only that but memory fades and writing the blog becomes educated guesswork. You can see how taking things out of order confuses what’s left of my brain.

 

And  so to the pictures….. I ‘ve tried to order them from North to South although this was not the chronological order. Starting from  Barton on Humber Community  Railway Station

…heading for Grimsby and its resort, Cleethorpes, where I officially counted myself back on the coast

 

The memorable Barton to Cleethorpes  Community Rail Partnership, featured above, acted as my guide back to the coastline. I followed this through or near Barton Waterside (for Humber Bridge), Barrow upon Humber, New Holland, Goxhill, Thornton Abbey,  Ulceby, Habrough, Stallingborough, Great Coates, Grimsby and Cleethorpes. It had more level crossings than Stations, complete with stern instructions for do it yourself operation. I helped one or two motorists to complete the manoeuvre. Other features were the pub next door to the Gunshop, which merited further inspection with an un-named beverage, but I did not buy a gun.

 

 

Thornton Abbey station serves the The Remains of the  Augustinian Abbey,  founded  1148. The gatehouse is most impressive – what must the Abbey have been like, through the archway? Certainly extremely wealthy.

 

Before reaching Grimsby, there are the Oil Refineries of Immingham to negotiate. Difficult to miss, the stacks all around  point out the new industrial area , accessed by  a network of newly constructed trunk roads. Rapidly overshadowing Grimsby itself , whose docks are quiet and many of the warehouses, dock buildings and industry have been flattened .

I tried in vain to get to the old dock side and the newer jetties but all the sites were protected by Gatehouses, with strict control over access. The nearest I got was the East Fish Dock at Grimsby. I wonder how Natural England are going to negotiate access for the England Coast Path along the waterside. I wasn’t too bothered by this censorship, because strictly speaking this was still The Humber Riverbank and not yet the coast. I was satisfied that the coast proper began again at Grimsby Docks.

Here are pictures of old and new ..at  Grimsby

The old docks lift bridge in town; flattened dock side areas; a new cold store looking quite idle; the new buoys in town; abandoned works and conveyor belts no longer loading ships; unsafe timber docks railed off for safety.

 

Moving quickly on, Cleethorpes is Grimsby’s resort annexe, and much more cheerful by comparison.

Cleethorpes Pier and the sands either side. For a while the promenade has been modernised and developed into a beach resort called Pleasure Island. Many of the usual outlets ply their wares here, and we spent a night in a Premier Inn  Hotel, since my back up is allergic to tents.

 

 

As I walked south the beaches and sands became evermore extensive and became dunes and marshes, nature reserves and bird sanctuaries. Meanwhile an ambitious scheme is going on futher south where contractors are one week into a six week process to suction dredge off shore and discharge the sand on the high water line to replenish the sand beaches and raise the beaches to counter the threat from rising sea levels. They appeared to be Dutch workers and dredges under the eye of the Environment Agency. Apparently they are programmed to repeat the exercise over six years.. The pictures somehow dwarf the pipeline and machinery , but they are shifting some generous portions of sand . Let’s hope the hole they are dredging doesn’t infill with beach sand running back in.

The dredger offshore pumps sand and seawater through the metre diameter pipeline to the waiting plant on the shoreline, where it is distributed along the high water line. to increase the flood defences.

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A mobile exhibition illustrates the work and reflects on the flooding of 1953 when a surge came down the coastline from the north to engulf the low lying areas and sweep away flood defences. This also affected much of the South coast and hundreds were drowned that night.

 

End of the line. Leaving Pleasure Island and civilisation, the final link was slipped at the end of the miniature railway line, where the steam loco uncoupled  to head to the new front  of the train and haul the lucky holiday makers back to  their caravan parks and seaside attractions….

From now till Mablethorpe, I took Photos at One mile intervals, to record the ever changing nature of the shoreline.

Let’s see if it worked!

 

Pictures taken at about mile intervals as I progressed southwards past Haile Sand Forte, Tetney Marshes Nature Reserve, North Coates Airfield Horse Shoe Point R V with back up, Stonebridge Cottages, and Donna Nook National Nature Reserve. It was here that I walked briefly with Stuart and Annie, who were local farmers taking a stroll in their fabulous back yard and curious to know all about my walk.  As usual, when taken  by surprise I cannot recall where I’m going or where I’ve been, but they were that convinced they’d  connected with something a bit unusual that they came back and asked for the Blog details. And as usual when confronted by an audience I gabble away and forget all around me and stop navigating. When left alone I feel slightly lost and disorganised.

Advice for future interuptees; you are more than welcome; I love talking about where I think I might have been and you’ll always get a kind reference in The Blog, but make sure you leave carefully; ignore protestations that I know where I am , and gently point out the correct direction for the next few miles.  Anyway Stuart and Annie, I hope my conversation tallied with the blog.

I must exude a certain lostness , because before long, when trying like mad not to intrude on yet another Military Danger Area, a ‘boy’ much too young to be flying with the RAF, came and asked if I was lost. The bungalow he occupied was plastered with all sorts of official secrets notices and I feared the worst. But no, it was fine – no bombing today -it’s Sunday and I could walk the footpaths to my heart’s content, but mindful not to pick up any metal objects….. This state of affairs continued well past Saltfleet and Theddlethorpe St Helen. As well as being Bomb Alley this stretch was also Donna Nook National Nature Reserve. Strange bedfellows!

And even stranger – I included the crop sprayer as a warning – it appeared from nowhere and got upwind of me without interrupting his spray – consequently I received a burst of  mist – should I develop any strange symptoms then blame the machine.

Mixture of coasts  from nature reserve to air to ground military action land… heading for Mablethorpe…..

And more specifically the RNLI, housing two  inshore rescue boats

Mablethorpe Inshore Rescue Boat Station, where I got my souvenir mug of the rescue craft from Karen and Dorothy, volunteers in the shop. I always patronise RNLI Giftshops, the money goes to a very worthy cause, The Lifeboats and Volunteer crews. My collection of mugs is growing. Keep up the good work – you are very much appreciated.

 

 

And I’m on my way to Skeggy… in a storm. See my wayward footprints and the after effect of the blowing sand was facial glow akin to sunburn –  a bit like being gritblasted. Not for  the first time

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Samples of the Promenade below

 

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And look at The  View, a very pleasant eating  establishment, just a mile or so short of Skegness, where I parked up between Breakfast and Lunch, whilst I walked to Gibraltar Point. If I recall correctly, Breakfast was full English, and Lunch was Scampi and Chips. It was this stretch of the walk that lack of convenient facilities, apart from The View, once again stretched my endurance. If you’re wondering why meals have capital recognition, it’s because a sit down nose bag is a rarity on my trip.

 

Now heading for Skegness and The Pier; views up and down the coast line; empty promenades out of season and reference to other activities  – wind generating electricity off shore

 

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The transition from Skeggy to Gibraltar Point takes place at an enormous resort carpark – the playful skyline suddenly becomes  deserted nature reserve.

 

 

 

 

Gibraltar Point – The end of the Line – and the path back to Skeggy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WALKING OENGLAND – EPISODE 55 – 8 MILES WITH DONALD AND STAN – FROM DURDLE DOOR, LULWORTH COVE TO SMUGGLERS INN – GRAND TOTAL 2179 MILES

Saturday, 30th April,2016;  with 158 days  and 2171 miles of England Coast Walking completed, I have reached Bridport on The South West Coast Path, heading West; but I had omitted a stretch between Lulworth Cove and Osmington Mill to be completed today, especially in the company of Donald and Stanley.

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 Rendezvous with Donald and Stanley was Durdle Door Holiday Park, more specifically the Zip Wire

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The three of us on the South West Coast Path with one of the many milestones, to guide us – as if the cliff edge wasn’t enough….

 

 

PHOTO CREDITS

If the writer features  in the picture then Donald probably took it;

If Donald features then the writer probably took it;

If Stanley isn’t in any then that’s a surprise;

If all three of us feature, then we waylaid some passing nomad.

 

 

OVERALL PROGRESS

The crimson worms re turn below… if its crimson I’ve walked it!

Coastal Access walked 5 May 2016

By kind permission of English Nature  my progress on their stretch map,. highlighted, in crimson’ all the stretches of The Proposed England Coast Path that I have walked since November, 2013.

It does not include my connections  via Hadrian’s Wall and Offa’s Dyke, for the simple reason they are not on the coast. But I have joined them up because it looks much more impressive up

The Grand Total of  2179 miles walked so far does include 182 miles for Offa and 88 for  Hadrian, so I’m expecting my eventual Grand Total to well exceed 3000 miles – by how much depends on how lost I get.  I will do a mileage  summary  of what’s left to complete; but briefly it is the rest of the South West Coast Path from Bridport to Combe Martin; the East Coast from Maldon to Barton on Humber and the North East Coast from Newcastle to Berwick on Tweed.

 

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

This is the continuing story of Stan’s trek along the South West Coast Path last stop the  ice cream shop at Lulworth Cove. This time we patronised the café for an early coffee for the adults and a fruit drink for Stan, setting us up with a hit for the duration.

The camp site at Durdle Door Holiday Park was a short walk from Lulworth Cove which  warmed us up  for the ascent  from the beach to the first lookout point over Stair hole.

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Leaving the Car Park at Lulworth  heading for Ringstead (or the Smugglers Inn) finish line.I see they have optimistically added in Minehead, at the other end of the South West Coast Path. Only about 600 miles away?

 

The next ascent was on the first section of England Coast Path, at Hambury Tout spot level 134 metres. and although quite steep, Stan managed to get to the top via his own route. The formal paved track was too easy , he insisted on taking the parallel sheep trails. We soon established our priorities -We all got a jellybaby for reaching the bottom of a descent and a Chocolate Button for each high point we completed.  Others sweets are obtainable. In fact other walkers asked to be included in our incentive programme.

St Oswald’s Bay and then Durdle Door came into view.

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Stan and Donald’s first rest overlooking Durdle Door.

Stan and Bobl hang on; jet skis appear from nowhere to investigate; and Durdle door disappears into the lower distance as we gain more elevation, slowly.

 

Stan makes friends with cows along the way and much to his amusement most of the Milestones referred to Bottoms ; here was Spring Bottom; Scratchy Bottom was the first and Middle Bottom and West Bottom came later.

 

There was very little respite from ascending and descending, no sooner had we struggled up one mountain we had to  carefully pick our steps  down hill again. The weather was good to us , no rain and the wind generally helpfulTop right is Stan walking away from Hanbury  Tout – spot level 134 metres; and middle right striding away from me;  bottom right Permission from National Trust to visit the Undercliff at White Nothe, but it all looked quite mobile and uninviting, so we kept to the path – spot level here was 169 metres.  And Stan learning to fly.

 

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Getting back to the shoreline at Ringstead;  and Stan posing  with two other buoys in front of novel Port and Starboard gateposts; The Smugglers Inn is always round the next corner.

 

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Maybe round this corner…..  that’s Portland in the distance

 

 

Here it is!

 

 

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At Last! The Smugglers Inn. We found a sunny corner and more nesting birds with a tame wagtail in the thatch over our heads; and Stanley tucking in to fish and chips – and two pints of Shandy?

And Stan found new friends to play with.

 

 

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Waiting for the taxi back to Durdle Door at the end of a very satisfying day – eight miles walked. I reckon we spent almost as much time in the Smugglers Arms as we did walking….. I think we all deserved the rest.

We completed the evening back at Durdle Door Holiday Park in the Entertainment  Venue (bar) serenaded by a folk duo and occasional forays on the soccer machine, until Stanley fell asleep on the settee and had to be carried back to the tent; the only bit of the eight miles completed today , that he hadn’t walked himself.

The new grand total miles walked is 2179, at the end of Walking Day 158.

 

We slept very soundly that night and headed off home first thing on Sunday, mostly on the M5, non stop (nearly) to coastless Herefordshire for Donald and Stan and Shropshire for me.  The RAV4 has to go back to the garage – loss of power- probably caused by bird droppings…. and the tent needs to be thoroughly laundered  for the same reason! The only black marks of the whole adventure.

 

Next visit to the South West Coast Path will be to meet Terry and Barry and  progress the walk to Lyme Regis and beyond…… meanwhile until then I’ll have another look at  Barton on Humber, in Lincolnshire, just below the Humber Bridge.

And I must comment on the latest travel programme  showing celebrities and their dogs doing their  favourite  coastal walks, descriptively entitled  – “Coast Walking With My Dog”. .They are not half as much  fun as Coast Walking With My Grandkids!

 

Both cars were misbehaving – perhaps the crows got at them?

 

 

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WALKING OENGLAND-EPISODE 54-PORTLAND TO BRIDPORT- 31MILES-TOTAL 2171 MILES.

Camping at Portesham Dairy Farm Camp Site waking up to a heavy frost!

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

All the touring round  England has taken its toll, not only on my moving parts but also the normally most reliable camping wagon , the Toyota Rav4. All plans were temporarily suspended last week when the garage, to an already impressive list of known faults in the dual mass flywheel, now added the head gasket and brakes, plus a couple of front tyres  thrown in for free, and they rounded the bill down to the nearest half thousand. I pointed out we were effectively buying half a new car, albeit with well over six figures on the clock. The  accountant, Nanny, has said no new vehicle until the walk’s finished -I’ve already selected it, in Britsh Racing Green with a yellow stripe —  a kitset Caterham mobility scooter……  0-60  in 4.5 secs……..with towbar. So start running.

Last  Thursday, 28th April, I picked up the re-assembled RAV4 from the garage after its major surgery and drove nervously down to Portesham in Dorset to pitch the tent at the now familiar Dairy Farm Camp Site. Pre-Bank holiday weekend, not much competition and I could select my pitch – but chose the same one as last visit, and the same ravens. Below is the view awaiting me on the following freezing cold frosty morning, inside and out. The cold  had even temporarily silenced the birds, and the chilli bins were superfluous

To get warm, nothing else to do but start walking. The target was to pick up from where I had left off at Portland in Episode 52 and walk in the direction of Lyme Regis on the South West Coast Path, in two days before my family guests arrived; Donald and Stanley were due to join me at the weekend to finish off the missing link between Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Smugglers Inn, which will be subject of Episode 55.

I was aided and abetted by the No 1 Bus  to Portland and the X53 to Abottsbury, navigating on O S Explorer MapOL15, completing 16 miles on Thursday, day 156 and 15 miles on day 157, Friday. The grand total miles walked has now reached 2171. The cold weather soon changed to glorious sunshine, and the wind seemed to be behind me. Whenever the storm clouds threatened, serendipity kicked in and the  rain fell on someone else nearby.

The photos show the changing nature of the walk, huge shingle banks, fragile sheer sandstone cliffs, solid Portland stone cliffs,  built up areas, sandy beaches and grassy fields, and marshy fields.  I never know which boots to choose from the full range I carry; wellies; solid climbing boots; flexible walking boots; used well fitted pavement boots; best trainers for pubs; jandals for showers and huge fleecy slippers for comfort and aroma. Invariably it comes down to the driest with three pairs of socks and fitted insert.  I always take time getting my boots on; the slightest wrinkle in socks, or sharp toenail can create real grief, blisters and unpleasant feeling given half a chance.  Although my feet wouldn’t win any beauty competition, I always carry a comprehensive manicure set and plasters. The right tension in the boot laces is critical particularly walking downhill, to stop your foot wallowing in the boot and colliding with the underside of the toecap – this bruises the toes and makes walking even more painful. So far I’ve got away with one large blister (new boots), one broken toe (nightmares), and a few irregular toenails (lost glasses); pretty lucky really.  But tempus fugit;  tying bootlaces gets problematic with age and my arthritic fingers being quite too

 

far away from my feet; soon I’ll have to take an obligatory Grandchild to act as lace monitor.  Next agony column following foot habits will describe food habits in Episode 55 – if I remember.

 

On the route to Ferrybridge  from Abbotsbury- various styles of stile

Further along the Ferrybridge Route to Portland, views of the Fleet Lagoon – a Nature Reserve, as is the enormous shingle bank of Chesil Beach in the background. Very little access is permitted  and boats must be oared. You must keep to the marked trail away from the shoreline and there is a comprehensive list of ‘don’ts’.

 

 

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Herbury Island is not really an Island but another  nature reserve, skirted inland  by the South West Coast Path , given over to conservation. At high water the neck to the island is flooded and otherwise permanently wet giving the appearance of an Island. In winter donkeys from Weymouth Beach used to over winter giving it the nickname Donkey Island.

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Another style of stile – this one warning of ‘Danger- Fast Horses’.  ?.

Still heading for Fortuneswell on Portland, walking parallel to Chesil bank and alongside the fleet lagoon the following pictures reflect  conservation interests of the various landowners – much held by National Trust and Nature Reserves, with a bit of military thrown in.

After the ‘Fast Horses’ an open paddock for running; entrance to Military Firing Ranges, no red flag so I took my chances walking round by Tidmoor Point – keeping to the path; to find Littlesea Holiday Park – now that would make good target practice; and views of the Fleet Lagoon; and a diversion caused by the Royal Engineers Bridging Hard, where I watched Sappers being put through their paces erecting a modern version of a Bailey Bridge.

 

South West Coast Path looking towards Portland, the top of the plateau is my target via The Ferry Bridge now closed down; and the view  from the top of the plateau looking along Chesil Bank; and over Portland Harbour with the National Sailing Academy and Portland Marina. Sixteen miles walked  today. So a well deserved bus ride home to Portesham Dairy Farm Campsite via The Kings Arms.

 

The next day, Friday began much better – no frost – a camp breakfast – everything out of packets – a warming shower and set off again this time to join The South West Coast Path at Abbotsbury, with its remains of St Peter’s Abbey and various ancient relics before heading for the even more ancient eroding  Jurassic Coast as far as Burton Bradstock.

 

 

Rolling green countryside around Abbotsbury and the signposts leading to The South West Coast Path.

 

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The Abbotsbury Parish Church of St Nicholas, I like the  circular turret appendage presumably for a stone spiral staircase

Following the foreshore from Abbotsbury to Burton Bradstock it mostly keeps aligned with The South West Coast Path through Bullers Cliff, West Bexington, Cogden Beach to Burton Bradstock. A few interesting diversions on permanent duckboards means sometimes it must get very marshy. Walking the shingle beach is very strenuous – always looking for a firmer patch to march on. Much of the land is in the care of National Trust , which I much admire, as a member I get free parking.

 

Burton Cliff descends into the River Bride that flows through Burton Bradstock carving is own channel through the beach shingle. I forded this with ease but assuming it might not be so easy in wet periods. The proper footbridge crossing is a deviation  about half a mile upstream.

At the top of these crumbling cliffs is Bridport and West  Dorset Golf Club. I expect special local rules prevail when the cliff erodes as you’re playing your shot…. These fragile heaps of sand are 46 metres at their highest. I placed myself in double jeopardy by walking both along the beach to Bridport and back  along the clifftop.

 

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Bridport City Limits; East Cliff and the Harbour. – My turning point on this trek – 15 miles  from Abbotsbury today, bringing the grand Total up to 2171 miles – plus 800 metres ascent/descent. That’s the killer!

 

Next Episode – Re Introducing Stanley and Donald to finish off the previously omitted roller coaster of Lulworth Cove to Smugglers Inn – I reckon tomorrow will be a great day

 

 

 

 

WALKING OENGLAND – 2140 MILES – EPISODE 53 – NORFOLK COAST PATH from WELLS NEXT THE SEA TO KINGS LYNN with JAKE AND MAISIE

 

 

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Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

More of you Grandchildren and your parents succumbed to the pleasure of joining the walk around England in this Episode. I’m pleased to report that Jake and Maisie took time off their holiday in Cromer to help me travel along the Norfolk Coast Path  from Wells-next-the-Sea towards Holkham Bay, and together with the tour of Cromer –  looking for food – Jakes favourite pastime – I can credit both of them with six miles   to add to their previous tour of Hastings and Rye two years ago. That leaves about 2990 miles to complete your  OEngland personal best. I think I may have another seven hundred miles, always with the caveat of assuming I don’t get lost. Unlikely.

Another birthday today – Rosie, Lauren and Stanley all attended Rowan’s third birthday treat at Luctonians followed by cake and fizzy drink at home. Happy birthday Rowan.

 

 

 

Back to the current walk report – days 153 to 155, April 18th to 20th, 2016. Staying at the lovely Grove Hotel in Cromer, notable for its very full English breakfast which, with additional black pudding intake from non-consumers, fuelled my 35 mile trek this trip. Making the current tally  2140 miles. I used Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps 250, 251 and 252. No buses were harmed this time with full motorised  back up from Little Andy, Caroline and Marilyn.

This trip was slightly out of context, having jumped ahead from Humber Bridge, but it was Andy and Caroline’s preferred destination – hardly surprising when the next towns to be visited were Immingham and Grimsby. The beaches we traversed were those recently featured in the Royals home movies  (recently  celebrated on TV), whenever  they visited Sandringham.

Apart from the walkabout in Cromer foraging for food for Jake, the walk basically followed the Norfolk Coast Path , except the final session walking into Hunstanton I kept to the A149, because the footpath signage was poor and I had left the O/S Map behind. The contrast and danger walking the lanes rather than the footpaths was total.

Otherwise all the right towns were visited , not necessarily in the correct order from Cley- next-the-Sea, by the River Glaven, past Blakeney National Nature Reserve, where young seal pups were arriving,  and Stiffkey to Wells-next-the-Sea on Day one. Day two, Jake, Maisie, Caroline and Little Andy joined at the start by  The RNLI Buildings at Wells until it was time for sandcastles and ice creams on the beach. I carried on along a very irregular coastline varying between sand dunes , flood barriers and salt marshes, barely climbing more than five metres above sea level. After Deepdale Marsh, and Burnham Deepdale, Brancaster Staithe and Branodunum Roman Fort, the walk was a permanent duckboard raised above the marshes and progress was good finishing the day at Royal West Norfolk Golf Club House.

The final day we said our goodbyes to the children and their parents who were having to  endure yet more days of beaches and fine sunny weather after we had left.   I visited Titchwell, Thornham and Holm-next-the-Sea on my way to Hunstanton, where I was weary enough to agree to speeding off home  after walking 35 miles in three days.. I think my average needs to pick up a bit if I’m going to make the finish line before I’m seventy

 

Here are the pictures…

Wells-next-the-Sea car park where Jake gets ambushed by ducks; the huge blue sky and expanse of sands; help with map reading and the Lifeboat Station.

 

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Wells Harbour; The Granary Development; the Lookout Station housing the modern equivalent of volunteer coastguards; and Jake and Maisies family; Maisie carries more baggage than I do – or rather someone carries it for her – while someone else carries Maisie.

 

The variety of coastline  that the Norfolk Coast Path traverses between Wells and Cley .

It changes very little in level and provides the only safe route between protected areas of National Nature Reserves and National Trust areas.

 

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Enlarge the description to read the fascinating story of Salts Hole, particularly the strange smell…..algae accumulating at the bottom of the pool gives off methane gas….. and a pong

 

The vegetation has changed to Sand Dunes, still with very little change in level. But look at that blue sky – in April

 

The turning point of the Norfolk Coast Path at Holkham National Nature Reserve, heading back inland towards Burnham Overy Staithe – staithe  means an old manmade docking area for ships, the forerunner to harbours where ships could berth and load and unload.

 

More civilisation – habitation – signage telling of enormous maltings buildings at Brancaster Quay and National Trust property.

More National Trust in the shape of an old Roman Fort site at Branodunum

 

More National Trust sites – holiday lets!

 

 

Traffic builds up as I approach Old Hunstanton, via Holme -next-the-Sea, Thornham, Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve, and the Old Hunstanton Lighthouse below.

 

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Can anyone see Maisie?……..     Behind you….. ?                  ..There she is!

 

DSC_0621And it’s goodbye to the Grove Hotel….. see you again – maybe

 

WALKING OENGLAND -2105 MILES – EPISODE 52 – SOUTH WEST COAST PATH – RESUMING THE TRAVERSE OF LULWORTH RANGES -with STANLEY I PRESUME?

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Greetings from Lulworth Cove!

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stanley, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

I’m concentrating now on getting as many accomplices walking with me till I finish the walk. so get into training, particularly for the very last walk into Southend , culminating with a Conga along the longest pier in the World – hopefully stopping before we fall off the end…..

 

For those of you missing the progress of the Crimson Worms, I have news that they are coming out of hibernation and will slither their way back into the blog to illustrate my progress around England’s perimeter…. or maybe I’ve just lost my Crimson acrylic map marker gizmo?

MEANWHILE..

Natural England regularly update their Stretch Map showing the progress of the installation of the England Coast Path due for completion in 2020. With their kind permission I reproduce it here with my completion of their ENCIRCLED NUMBERED stretches highlighted in yellow. I estimate that I have walked over 2,105 miles so far , although not all  in the right direction nor necessarily knowing where I am……  .

coastal-access-england-map April 13th 2016

…….. The more observant will notice Hadrian’s Wall – Carlisle to Newcastle –  and Offa’s Dyke – Prestatyn to Chepstow – are missing . This is presumably because not being on the coast, by definition they cannot be on the coast path. Nevertheless  I have walked both these stretches in order to preserve the continuity of my adventure  and included 268 miles in the grand total accordingly.

 

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Beneath Clavell’s folly, Donald, Stanley,  Big Andy and my sticks rendezvous  at Kimmeridge Car Park prior to  starting the roller coaster walk to Lulworth Cove

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Three generations…..just about to set off from Kimmeridge.

 

SUMMARY

The previous  visit by Major Big Andy and The Writer  to the South West Coast Path was interrupted by poor timing preventing us crossing the Military Ranges at Lulworth. It was  midweek and closed to civilians.   I have now returned with MBA and reinforcements, son Donald and Grandson Stanley and with my ex-military escort,  we’re about to out-manoeuvre the practice battlefield. The South West Coast Path at Lulworth Ranges is normally civvy  accessible most weekends providing you keep strictly to the yellow markers and keep away from the real life broken  shot-up tanks and derelict army shrapnel  and moving target equipment.  Stanley was awe struck and tested to the extreme keeping back from such a wondrous playground. This was strictly for the big boys.

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Base Camp at dusk -tents pitched just in time – cooking  by courtesy of local pub. – noise care of trees full of nesting crows – a good alarm call – although Stanley was even better.

Our base camp was at Portesham Dairy Farm Campsite, allowing a short drive to Lulworth cove, where we left one car before driving to Kimmeridge Bay to meet MBA, in the shadow of Clavell Tower and walk back along the Coastline  via Tyneham Cap,  Gad Cliff,  down to Worbarrow Bay beach specially for Stanley,  and back up to the cliff top to Lulworth Cove and ice creams and coffee, and the car ready to take us back to the other cars in Kimmeridge.

In the last two days of the big adventure, we walked around Weymouth Harbour before Donald and Stan dropped me off at Smugglers Inn to attempt the completion of the missing link between Durdle Door and Weymouth. Unfortunately the real rollercoaster – the big one – remains unwalked between Smugglers Inn and Durdle Door. That is a Special Op and more reinforcements needed – get in touch if you want some extreme walking.

Finally on the last day I did the circumnavigation of Portland taking in Portland Bill,  when the weather changed from its worst to its best behaviour.

 

NUMBERS

Walking Days 150, 151, 152;  9th, 10th, 11th April, 2016

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL15;

Walkers; Stanley 5; Donald 41; Andy 41; The Writer 68.

29 Miles walked this session – Total  2105 to date

8 miles walked by Stanley along the S W Coastal Path

Buses x53 past the campsite and 1 to Portland from Weymouth

41 of the 67 English Nature England Coast Path Stretches completed – with a Special Op required to complete Durdle Door to Smugglers Inn stretch 11.

LETTERS BEGIN

You will all have a chance to join me on my walk around England, Stanley was the latest this last weekend on the South West Coast Path from Kimmeridge Bay to Lulworth Cove. Rosie and Lauren have already walked parts of Offa’s Dyke.

Just setting  out –  folly at our backs ;

Kimmeridge Oil Fields nodding donkey;

and Stanley’s Dad building sandcastles for the tide to destroy as it piles up plastic on the shoreline.

One day, son, all this will be yours!.

The yellow markers strictly define the course;

Stanley had no difficulty following the course aided by Chocolate buttons on each marker post;

And finally it’s all downhill from now – please.

 

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Stanley stands guard over a captured tank

 

Eventually we arrive at Lulworth Cove  – that’s eight miles that we all walked – I didn’t even have to be carried. The ice creams were waiting on the other side of the cove, as was the RAV4 ready to ferry us back to Kimmeridge, thence to Portesham Dairy Farm Campsite for a well earned sleep. Big Andy set off for London and home

 

Photographic contribution from Big Andy

 

I’m amazed at some of the things I walked up…… but Stan was unbelievable.

 

The following morning Stanley, Donald and I drove to Weymouth to have a more relaxed stroll around town.

Stanley showing us around Weymouth Commercial Pier in Sunshine

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Oscar and Hector crabbing near the Lifeboat Station; Dad did all the work and his technique was excellent with two crabs in the bucket – apparently bacon bait is the key. Stanley is observing and I can see where this is going…

The lift bridge remained firmly shut despite us waiting for the midday opening – but if no one  is waiting to sail through then they don’t bother  – very laid back.

After a brunch in the docks, we set off for Smugglers Inn for me to resume walking back to Weymouth whilst Donald and Stanley headed off back home to Herefordshire to see Sarah and Rowan after two nights under canvas.

 

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Here is Stan outside The Smugglers Inn helping me with my sticks before we go our separate ways – he back home, me walking to Weymouth.

The roller coaster  of steep climbs and rapid descents has now softened into gentle hillside as I make my way to Weymouth, with Portland looming in the background.

 

Evidence of the out of season  Seaside resort now more obvious as I approach the Harbour.The fine sand was being whipped up by the wind, getting everywhere and covering the promenade. The wind also started whipping up the waves and the rain returned.

DSC_0445I managed to get to the end of the Pleasure Pier but the South Pier was only safe for a short distance – any further and the wind and rain would have made sure I ended up in the sea.

360 degrees around the South Pier  showing the harbour, Nothe Fort, Portland  and The National Sailing Academy  lost in the mist.

The end of the Mainland  at Ferrybridge Inn  leading to Portland  – much too wet and windy to go on, I caught the bus to go back to the car in Weymouth and then back to the Campsite. What weather will tomorrow bring ?- I’ll be trying to walk around Portland  from here onwards.

Day Three and I’m on my own again; missing Stan Donald and Andy’s company and responsible again for my own navigation – it’s good having someone else to get lost with….. Today’s target is to walk round Portland via Portland Bill – here’s the result.

The weather began dreadfully with constant rain , and a soaking straight off as I push through sodden overgrown tracks,  but see what happens as I progress ……

The circumnavigation of Portland began in soaking mist; the abundant quarries and seaviews all disappeared into greyness.

Plenty of information on the derelict defences of Portland;

The RAV4 remains idle and forlorn in the  misty carpark with superb vistas  that reappear later;

Much evidence od abandoned and worked out quarries;

Plenty of data on the historic industry.

 

 

Leaving Fortuneswell and heading for the East coast via Church Ope Cove, I begin to dry out and sea views and close ups of beetles – this one defending his rock as I tried to dry out..

Evidence of old quarries  is abundant and now visible as the threat of thunder storms recede and I’m down to just one layer of waterproofs. Halfway round I stop for lunch  at the very opportune café by the lighthouse – that’s my tea being served as I wander off – the sunshine is going to my head

 

I’m getting good at selfies – Portland Bill Lighthouse and some bombers but I’m obscuring the Obelisk – and that’s The Pulpit Rock  which is going to challenge me….

Views in on and around The Pulpit, although I took great heed of the DANGER NOTICE and did not attempt the final holey pockets to the top…

 

The Westside of Portland walking along the clifftop was characterised by many diversions and dangerous  piles of stones – the more dubious heaps I ran past….- the weather is fine now and I’m dry again.

 

All the diversion signs taking me away from crumbling cliff edges as I approach Fortuneswell again. Memories of the 2012 Olympic Games . the sailing was centred on Weymouth and  marvellous  views must have been had from atop these cliffs.

As a pointer to my return  I have compass references and grid numbers but nothing beats a signpost pointing anywhere!

Keep reviewing this particular blog as I update some of the pictures with those taken by Andy and Donald

NEXT

Trip to Cromer – Jake and Maisie to join the walk, with Andy and Caroline

 

WALKING OENGLAND – EPISODE 51 – HUNTERS INN TO COMBE MARTIN – 17 Miles – Grand Total 2076 Miles

 

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Great Hangman from Little Hangman on the South West Coast Path

SUMMARY

Resuming the South West Coast Path from Hunters Inn on Exmoor in Devon, to  Coombe Martin  via Heddons Mouth and Peter Rock  on the River Heddon; East Cleave to North Cleave, past Holdstone Hill, 349 metres, across Sherrycombe to Great Hangman, 318 metres, and Little Hangman, 219metres,  finishing up at Combe Martin. But also add half day trip to Ilfracombe and wander round shops, whilst recovering from Amber warning winds..

Numbers – Walking Days 147, 148 and 149; 8th to 10th March, 2016; Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL9; Marilyn’s 21st Birthday; two nights at Hunters Inn; Winds gusting to 60-65mph;  No 21, North Devon Wave Bus

 

If you would like to see a summary of all the stretches of The Proposed England Coast Path that I’ve completed then click on the following link

Coastal-access-england-map highlights  –   this map shows the proposed  England Coast Path due for completion 2020. I have highlighted in yellow the extent of my completed walks. In addition, I have joined Carlisle to Newcastle by walking Hadrian’s Wall National Trail and, similarly connected The Wirral and Prestatyn to Chepstow by way of Offa’s Dyke NationalTrail.

 

First day out from Hunters Inn was spent walking round Peter Rock, East Cleave to North Cleave, it was damp and slippery but, as yet, not very windy.

Excellent Hunters Inn in the Heddon Valley, where we stayed in very variable weather for three days; it started damp; became extremely windy and ended up pleasantly sunny. We think it was the residue of the latest  named storm – Jake

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Looking back to Trentishoe from North Cleave, on the first evening; quite calm, just wait for tomorrow!

Trying to get at Great Hangman. National Trust Territory.        A Windy Adventure.

Strong winds blew up on the second day, shortly after these pictures were taken. I was unable to take any more photos – the wind just knocked me off my feet and I couldn’t use the map as it would have been shredded. And the Maps App on my phone was not functioning. The S W Coast Path or Tarka Trail as it also has been named, passes straight through Great Hangman; the highest spot level being 318 metres. Marked by a cairn. I never found it . Well not today any way. I had been seriously seduced by a false trail heading to oblivion.

As soon as I realised that I had gone off track by wrongly following that strong trail that led to the seaward side of the Gr Hangman, I aborted the walk and attempted to retrace my steps.  The main clue was a permanent notice saying it was extremely dangerous to carry on.  I  got on all fours and crawled to the edge and peered over into the abyss. Not often you can make a statement like that. No irony, simile, metaphor  or overstatement.  Just a bit of a sinking feeling. Didn’t see that coming.

I found a cave that was sheltered enough to let me read the map,and I realised my error of circumnavigating Great Hangman instead of ascending it. I rested for a while and  I plotted a course due South, that would eventually intersect the previously arranged bail-out course, Vellacot Lane, and safety.  Unfortunately the wind wasn’t so accommodating, and a walk I estimated at two hours tops  became over five hours before I walked into Combe. Parts of the walk were actually a  crawl, keeping down and making a smaller target for the wind. I got bowled over once or twice but the heather formed a softish crash pad. Re-viewing  my actual route on the gizmo is quite interesting . The escape route was dead-straight-compass-accurate South, through brambles and boggy field, across two steep cleaves full of tumbling water, back up a steep farmtrack, through a bramble hedged earth and stone wall and onto the Vellacot Lane, where Marilyn and rescue had just disappeared out of sight!

I carried on, practicing the Conga heading downhill into Combe Martin, with the wind at my back, and eventually found the rescue vehicle and driver.  My escape route was a straight line over and under, up and down or through any obstacle, as  I emerged from that hedge just as Marilyn as passing. Too late though! Just a few miles progress felt like twenty.

Now on the sheltered Vellacot Lane heading for Combe Martin  via a track and emerging on the beach

The wind was coming straight off the sea and the ten metre tidal difference was quite apparent. All the treacherous rocks are submerged. Tomorrow will be different….

 

 

The third day had sunshine, so much that  a tour of elderly ladies were out tackling  Great Hangman.I wonder where they were yesterday? I overtook them at the first stile and headed straight for the summit . The faint haze on the North  horizon is Wales, maybe Porthcawl or Swansea, across the Bristol Channel.

 

The Stone Cairn atop Great Hangman and views East and West  from the top of the stones. The last shot is Little Hangman overlooking Combe Martin.

 

Great Hangman from Little Hangman… .  ….  …….and  vice versa.

According to the Official National Trail Guide, ‘Hang’ is Saxon for slope and ‘man’ is derived from ‘mynedd’ meaning hill in Celtic.  Thus  ‘hangman’ means sloping hill. I think they should reconsider and add Saxon/Celtic for “windy”……. I will never again be able to look at the first picture circle above without my eyes being drawn to the spot where I took shelter, which appears as a notch in the most prominent slope. Enlarge it and it doesn’t get any easier, and now add winds gusting to whatever!

 

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Sign to  Wild Pear Beach, next bay is Combe Martin – nearly there.

Journey’s end  in Combe Martin Car Park where they have excellent  toilets that are open unlike Neighbouring Ilfracombe where they lock them up in case someone uses them.

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Querying Ilfracombe Tourist Information about  all toilets being locked  up , elicited the reply that you could sneak in Wetherspoons and use their facilities…. I wonder how Wetherspoons feel about that?

We also found this  lady, Verity, below who was obviously in some wind discomfort afforded by the lack of Ilfracombe conveniences . A Local,  Damien Hirst, has loaned Verity to Ilfracombe for twenty years, or until they open some toilets. She  was the, or maybe still is the tallest Statue in UK – taller than the Angel of the North! She is standing on law books to get her that vital lift  (20cm) above Anthony Gormley  and has the scales of justice secreted  under her rear end as if to say “Well! If  you lock the toilets, what else can I do?”

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Actually we did visit the toilets at  Wetherspoons , but not before having a celebratory G and T. That should have been your round , Ilfracombe!

We were in such a hurry to get home that we overtook High Speed 99;    and  at Annie, Rosie and Lauren’s, Nanny found her Lemon Drizzle Birthday Cake awaiting….and a cup of tea.

Lifeboats at Ilfracombe – but no open toilets……even in an emergency?

 

Windswept at Ifracombe – doing anything into the wind was fraught with danger….Needless to say we found Ilfracombe a most inconvenient place.

Next Episode

Probably resuming the South West Coastal Path on the South Coast and Maybe the North East Coast from Barton on Humber

April is booked for Cromer on the Norfolk Coast.

 

 

 

 

AVE ATQUE VALE     TIM CHADWICK  – Rosie and Lauren’s Dad

Tim passed away last Saturday morning, 5th March,2016

Our journey was tinged with much sadness, particulary on the way down as we drove through Chepstow, which was the final stage of my Offa’s Dyke South walk in December,2012.  This was an element of the OEngland Walk that Tim   had joined in – Annie and their daughters Rosie and Lauren were also to join in later,  on other sections of the Offa’s Dyke Trail nearer to The Mill.

Tim and I had driven to Rock Farm near Brockweir on the River Wye, not far from Tintern Abbey. The weather was dreadful and it didn’t take too long before we were both soaked.

On the other side of the Wye an ancient monument appeared out of the mist.

” Tintern Abbey” I pronounced.

“Tis” said Tim, with all the authority of someone who knew the area well  and had repeated the joke a thousand times.

Tim hadn’t been well lately and I ‘d chosen this shorter walk, so as not to put too much pressure on him. But what impressed me was his strength to keep forging ahead, – he led most of the way and we never got lost. Even as we passed through suburban Chepstow heading for Sedbury Cliff, the official end. It seemed to be a series of back allies, and deviations caused by fly tipping. Not totally scenic. In  one case someone had deliberately altered the official trail signs so we headed off completely in the wrong direction – but Tim sussed it out – and we were soon heading correctly again. As we approached the end, it got steeper but Tim was clearly the stronger and making strides to  the finish. But then he stopped. And said words to the effect that it’s your walk and you should be the first to get to the end. And he congratulated me finishing . We celebrated with hot coffee; there again, probably not hot.

Whether we took photos or not I can’t say, I’m looking for evidence and if so, will add as soon as I can.

We retraced our steps and Tim mentioned he’d seen a bus. He shot off, talked to the driver and generally held up the  bus until I’d managed to clamber aboard. It seems it was going our way. Or had Tim just persuaded the driver somehow? Or had he introduced me to serendipity….

We got off and crossed the River Wye; quite dark; still raining; still wet; and  an uphill struggle to get to the car. Again Tim was in front.  Where did he get his energy?

At that same time,  Tim was helping me clear up a huge mess caused by illegal occupants of our barn.. All sorts of misdemeanours had been occurring, including a drug farm. The police had already destroyed anything illegal and the tenants final act was to rip the place apart with a JCB. With no help from the insurance company; tidying everything up wasn’t pleasant, and Tim’s energy helped enormously;  we started a large fire . I have no sense of smell, following a slight skirmish with a fuel tank, and it wasn’t long before Tim pointed out, that in his experience as a Magistrate ,  the smell was possibly soporific. To say the least.

We decided to call the police before neighbours did that very same thing to us, and as luck would have it, the original arresting officers  attended. And were highly amused! Apparently, one gentleman had been detained, found guilty, sentenced to two years and deported back to Vietnam.

During this time, walking and  working closely with Tim, he demonstrated his humour and effort. He even attempted to teach me the guitar, no one had ever attempted anything so rash.

There were many other family walks with Tim, mainly around Offa’s Dyke in Shropshire, with Annie, Rosie and Lauren. But another venue was near Preston when I was ‘doing’ the North West Coast. Tim joined me for lunch  at The Tickled Trout , nestling between The River Ribble and the M6, but sadly was unable to take part in the OEngland  Walk in his manor, as I progressed up the North West Coast of England.

He left us far too young, he was very talented in many ways and he had such a lot to give Rosie and Lauren had he not been unwell. Rest in Peace, Tim.

 

 

 

 

 

WALKING OENGLAND – EPISODE FIFTY – MILFORD-on-Sea to DURDLE DOOR – FIFTY MILES – GRAND TOTAL 2059 MILES.

 

Rant Warning  – This product contains at least one rant.

Low memory warning  – Despite sharing the load with Big Andy, I ran into Severe Post Event  Recollection Malfunction – forgive that the records below might show things in the wrong order!

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The Blogger –  photo by courtesy of Major Big Andy – at Durlston Head lookout. One of the many attributes of walking with  MBA was getting pictures of me with a normal expression rather than my posed, stressed, uptight, up close selfies, accentuating facial features best hidden and receding hairline. At least the above merges with the grey sky. I shall be approaching Berghouse for a quid pro quo – Gortex Jacket, Fleece, Over trousers, and two rucksacks – All Berghouse. Otherwise I might be tempted to cover the logo…… that wasn’t the rant.

 

 

Blog 50

The Crimson Worms going West temporarily blockaded by the military at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, Dorset, on the South Coast; and just entering Exmoor, at Hunter’s Inn, near Martinhoe, on the North Coast. The Maps are by Kind permission of English Nature, with my route superimposed in crimson.

SUMMARY

Merging  the finish of the Solent Way and the start to South West Coast Path at Poole; Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps OL22 and OL15

Although, not necessarily reported in the correct chronological order because of memory lapses, this trip went like clockwork, very muddy, but that helped lubricate the parts and everything slipped into place, to enable fifty miles to be accomplished over four days 143 to 146; Sunday,February 21st to Wednesday,  24th, 2016; with Grand Total of 2059 miles.   With the outside aid of buses X1 (Milford to Bournemouth) and 50 (Bournemouth to Swanage), two ferries, at Mudeford and Sandbanks ; and the exceptional lodgings afforded by Pete and Pam at  Swanage Auberge, for three nights, I have now begun the East entry to the South West Coastal Path, at Poole Harbour, which will take me all the way to Minehead over 600 miles away. I’ve already nibbled a bit off the other end at Hunters Lodge so I’m on my way, and should meet myself somewhere halfway  (maybe Lands End?) depending on the prevailing wind. Let’s hope Serendipity continues to rule – OK? And Sunday  buses turn up unexpectedly; ferries run to time; the weather behaves and particularly the wind is behind me; and when it inevitably rains there is shelter in the middle of nowhere; and the tides are at a low ebb when I need to cross a beach. All this happened. And the sun shone.

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ABOVE – The brambles actually helped stability through the mud, if you didn’t mind a handful of thorns.

 

. There were many slides and falls but the landings were generally soft, BUT WET. I didn’t complete the whole  route from Milford on Sea to Durdle Door because of the imposition of the red flags posted by the army between Kimmeridge and Lulworth Cove. I didn’t want to be shot by a tank, or meet any SBS Gentlemen, so I obeyed the signs and kept out. I will return with reinforcements when they are more receptive – ie on weekends – to fill in the missing piece of the jigsaw.

DSC_0183          Mud! Mud! Glorious Mud! Major mud problems – we brought mudch of it back with us

 

For one day of the trip I had my own private Army, taking over security and navigation and taking first go at the tricky bits. This was in the  shape of Major Big Andrew, all you cousins’ second cousin. Complete with latest gizmos and everything necessary for our safety,  comfort and General well being. I could therefore turn off, and  concentrate my ailing, aging faculties on grazing, hydrating, moisturising and staying vaguely  upright on this very shakey , but enormously impressive bit of scenery. Which gave rise to a number of firsts; of which the premier was never before have I crawled on all fours, or sixes, if  including knees, to make deliberate progress uphill  – because it was too tricky to stand up. I’m hoping Big Andy has no photographic evidence. But I can confirm there is definitely no photographic evidence   of the highly provocative  Studland Bay Naturalist Reserve, where peacock exhibitionists strut their stuff in full plumage  to the consternation of Ancient Maiden Aunts who , unintentionally or otherwise stray off piste, as it were.. I expected to find a St John’s Ambulance Revival team dispensing smelling salts. The only warning you get is a blue sign saying ” Naturists may be seen beyond this point” – as if it were a rare tourist attraction! Times I wished  I had a catapault. I kept my camera firmly under wraps in case I overexposed the negative ….ohh it’s not like that any more – is it?

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image2Angel of the South?  Approaching Egmont Point -Berghaus please note I’m sporting four  of your products, Gortex Jacket, Over trousers, Fleece lining jacket and rucksack, with complete reserve kit at base – I lost my gloves and forgot my sticks – which probably delayed the mud wrestling walk. But that’s a lot of kit……

 

Hi Kids!

Are you  a bit uncomfortable?  Then I’ll begin ….

 

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

We’re slap bang in the middle of Birthday Parties; Stan’s having his fifth birthday party and second cake this weekend; Jake is four as well this Saturday; and not to be outdone will have several cakes too. And the biggest cake of all will be Nanny’s – which will have to hold at least twenty one candles in two week’s time. And rumour has it all the cousins will be together for Easter at The Mill.   That’s a lot of eggs.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STAN AND JAKE AND NANNY FROM THE SOUTH WEST COASTAL TRAILDSC_0173

FROM BIG ANDY AND BOBL NEAR CHAPMAN’S POOL.

Note – We’ll have to get Big Andy and Little Andy together to see if the names should be reversed

In chronological order, I began this walk last Sunday by driving to Milford on Sea and heading for Bournemouth along the Romantically named E9 European Long Distance Route via Barton -on-Sea (not to be confused with Barton-on – Humber, where I was two weeks ago) – to revisit Mudeford and little Gundimore, and take the ferry across the mouth of Christchurch Harbour to Hengistbury Head, whose corner I turned and headed for Boscombe and finish the day at  Bournemouth Pier. And the last Sunday Bus to Swanage Auberge, which I boarded with minutes to spare after fourteen miles walking. Timing!

 

The E9 European Long Distance Coastal Route with strong winds blowing straight off the sea  made the going quite bleak. The warning tells of wartime metalwork being exposed as the coastal erosion bites chunks out of the land. Today the strong winds were heading straight off the sea –  making headway was hard going.

ABOVE – The bleakness turns gradually to  expensive property prices as I head for Sandbanks  -£89,950 for a beach hut –  at Mudeford. Where resides Little Gundimore, a listed building, which I worked on for Terry Smith with Danny Fox , Peter and Daniel Hall many years ago. Memories dim but the main pre-occupation was protecting the carpets and piling all the furniture in one room; as work progressed then moving it to the next room; and so on. At the end when no more rooms were vacant we threw it in the biggest skip ever; much bigger than the one below. And the carpet too!.

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Little Gundimore

 

Above – From top to bottom ; the Ferry journey from Mudeford Quayside across the Christchurch Harbour entrance with the first mate tieing  up on the sandspit side heading for Hengistbury Head.

ABOVE – Life on the other side of Christchurch Harbour- Hengistbury Head – plenty of sand and British Rail might look at H S  99 Altho’ it’s already very green……

Beach balls – Sand migration seems to be endemic approaching Bournemouth – better than erosion though

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ABOVE – Approaching Bournemouth Pier at five thirty pm – in a hurry  – Sunday  bus to catch at 17.41pm and I don’t know where the bus stop is! No time for any more photos.

 

I made it  – now on the X1 bus back to the car at Milford on Sea. I’ll be back in Bournemouth shortly. But first I’ve got to establish contact with Pete and Pam, at The Swanage Auberge Bunkhouse, where I’m staying for three nights. It turned out to be perfect for what I’m doing and the accommodation excellent value. It’ll spoil me for camping. Memories of Youth Hostelling……

 

 

But Big Andy arrived  on Monday and a chance to make progress along the South West Coast Path. We drove to Kimmeridge Bay, on the edge of Lulworth Range Danger Area, – O/S Explorer Maps description – not mine! And left his car in the biggest, emptiest CarPark and trusted to Andy’s memory where to find it again. The plan was to walk back the twelve and a half miles to Swanage  and return in RAV4  to find his vehicle so he could drive home. As I said earlier , I’m taking the day off from memory type tests.

The gruesome twosome at isolated  Kimmeridge Bay Car Park with the view of Clavells Tower Folly,  listed building built by Rev John Clavell in 1830, as an observatory and folly. The other views show the S W Coastal Path terrain.

Monuments , obelisks, milestones and posers around and about Chapman’s Pool.

 

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Royal Marine Monument 1945 -1990

The South West Coast Path around and about St Alban’s Head, the Lookout Station and National Trust territory at East Man and in the distance Anvil Point Lighthouse guarded by Hereford cattle, and the milestone to Durlston and Langton.

 

 

Durlston Head Castle and Globe with milepost to Anvil Point, and the old entrance to TillyWhim Caves – old limestone workings that used to be tourist attractions well over a century ago.

Approaching Swanage  towards the end of the day’s walk with Big Andy. Passing Peveril Point and Swanage Pier. We had trekked twelve and a half miles through very muddy conditions so it felt like a lot more – and there were many steep ascents and descents – wished I hadn’t forgotten my sticks!  Some pictures were taken revisiting the day after because it was getting too late, including the one showing wrecksites   around the Poole Harbour Area..  seems its quite dangerous out there.

Andy and I finished with the obligatory Guinness at A Swanage Pub, helping to get the tiredness out of our legs – the mud seemed to double the distance. By the time we decided it was time to retrieve Andy’s car back at Kimmeridge Bay, it was very dark. Andy was totally entrusted with navigation and the only alarm we had  driving through the Isle of Purbeck  to retrieve his car, was finding the gates to the carpark  shut and notices declaring this was private property. Alarm Bells! Andy tried the gate and it swung open – We took the only car there, fortunately it was his, and headed back home – well  – Andy back home – me back to the Swanage Auberge.  It was a pleasure to have his company and experience as guide – I relaxed and enjoyed the free ride – by taking far too many pictures – and now trying to edit them.  It was also strange having company for the whole day; and almost seemed sensible in the middle of nowhere. I hadn’t given that much consideration before.

But the late change of itinerary afforded by Big Andy’s Presence, taking Kimmeridge to Swanage out of order, was a huge bonus in terms of progressing the walk but my schedule was now out of kilter and I find  it difficult now to piece together the actuality. I have to be very strict with myself to adhere to the proper route and ensure, at the end of each session I have covered the total course and link up with previous finish points.. I don’t want any doubts that I may have missed bits or taken short cuts in my  trip round England. It would be pointless! Sometimes I deliberately overlap more than the required amount to satisfy my OCD.

Approaching Old Harry Rocks along Old Nick’sGround and round The Foreland or Handfast Point. The National Trust certainly lay claim to some fabulous Naurel scenery. Compare and contrast with the industrial scenery – below – taken from the top deck of the Breezer 50 Bus (open top) returning to Swanage after walking to Bournemouth pier from the south; waiting for the shipping to pass across the chains of the chain ferry at the entrance to Poole Harbour at Sandbanks , but another ship came by slowing our progress to South Haven Point. Never mind – every silver lining has a dark cloud – in this case the guy sitting up front – top deck – foghorn voice- in addressing the lady next to him , in fact the whole top deck was included –  had an APP that enabled him to tell us the total navigational history of the ship ahoy, that it was a new service from the continent laden with semi- trailers but no driving units and the Captain’s inside leg measurement. Here started a discussion on the why’s and wherefores of the new shipping route. Uptil now (like until but heavier going?)  I had bitten my tongue and kept quiet as their conversation foghorn had boomed that all NZers were Racist; (I’M NOT – Remember Little Andy was born in Takapuna! – so can’t be?) – they cast aspersions on the West Midlands and generally had something to say about anything else I had ever been involved with). It turned out to be a two hour bus journey with all the delays – so I got to hear his AND her career path ups and downs – Dear Reader , you’ve got the blog to bore you – take it from me you don’t need to hear the teaching career morphing into … whatever …. ahhh my selective memory has returned and I’ve forgotten. Anyway I needlessly  defaulted into the conversation, by adding the bleeding obvious that the new route was by-passing port troubles at Calais. The lady immediately wanted to know what APP did I consult for this information? Apparently  no approbation appears until approved by appropriate APP. I only mention this as contrast to my normal walking mode of isolation – Sandbanks for me will always be tinged with enforced earbashing in carcerated in an open top bus top deck on the mid-deck of a chain link ferry stranded in port.  Give me the freedom of the shoreline anytime…..

Rant over – return to out-of-sequence pictures of Bournemouth Pier, which was where I was returning from!

 

 

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ABOVE – Entrance to Poole Harbour  -This was the second ship that delayed the ferry at Sandbanks – home of ‘Arry – taken from the top deck of the open top bus whilst waiting  on the chain ferry deck  earwigging inappropriate conversations.

 

I’m not necessarily worried that I find it quite arduous piecing together all the detail to record the blog in logical order – I put it down to handling a huge amount of new information relentlessly – after spending days beforehand researching transport, weather, accommodation and the route. The only surprise to me is how much serendipity  plays an enormous part. Not luck – I won’t say I leave nothing to chance, but I do a lot of homework  and the more I do, it seems the more serendipititious I get. But I am conscious now of my limitations, and that they are not improving as the walk, fortunately, is hopefully into its final third.

This is all by way of saying I have an enormous amount of material accumulated over these last four days of walking and, whilst not wishing to over promote my photography skills,  I find it very difficult to choose what to leave out, so I’ve included most of it – most of it uncaptioned – so take it from me  – all the following pictures were taken somewhere between Milford -on – Sea and Durdle Door. But none on the Military  Danger Zone between Kimmeridge and Lulworth Cove.  Good Luck!

Lulworth Cove and the start of the Path towards Durdle Door – how can I leave any of these out?

Leaving Lulworth over Hambury Tout  and arriving at Durdle Door – as far as I got this trip – and now the return to the car at  Lulworth via the beach……

That was a long trek over the beach round  St Oswald’s Bay, with a set of fresh footprints to guide me – I didn’t know for certain that I could get out at the other  end, but the tide was at its lowest ebb and the map showed footpaths to Dungy Head.The exit to Lulworth Cove was steep and slippery, but this time I had my sticks.  And soon I was reunited with my car and heading north for Shropshire.

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Reminder that there are over 600 miles to go on the South West Coast Path

 

The approach towards the chain ferry from Studland to Sandbanks

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Two miles after Old Harry Rocks  – heading for Old ‘Arry’s pad on Sandbanks. And Spurs go marching on ….. Dare to believe?

 

 

WALKING OENGLAND – 2009 MILES- EPISODE 49 from BEAULIEU to MILFORD on SEA through THE NEW FOREST.

Disclaimer:   This blog is intended as a guide,  and education,to our  six  grandchildren aged one to eleven, when they are old enough, and ready to walk round the perimeter of England. Rosie and Lauren  have already joined me on exploratory  walks, and I hope to take  all six eventually.  Anyone else is welcome to read , and contribute verbally, and join in physically, but the onus is on you, dear reader, to dumb UP to their intellect. Earlier Episodes will acquaint you with reasons, rules, anthem and history….. good luck! I make no apologies for including my favourites serendipity and jocularity; not to mention wit, irony, sarcasm, innuendo, double entendre, mockery, contempt, euphemism, rhetoric and very occasional subtlety and understatement, with total hyperbole   etc but I do make allowances for readers in some of our former colonies and the Euro zone.

The Crimson Worm (metaphor) has reached as far as Milford on Sea heading west with its tail at Maldon , Essex. The other one – more serpent-like  (simile) stretches from The Humber Bridge across Hdrian’s Wall down through Wales and just about to devour the S W Coastal Trail beyond at Hunter’s Inn, Lynmouth

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Walking Days 140 – 142, 9th – 11th February, 2016. OS Explorer Maps OL22

This Episode, I walked 39 miles in the wake of Storm Imogen, through the New Forest from Beaulieu, and Bucklers Hard, the 18th Century shipbuilding Village, to Milford on Sea trying to keep to the Solent Way, and crashing through the 2000 mile barrier at Keyhaven. After suitable celebration I visited nearby Hurst Castle at the end of the shingle spit sticking out into the Solent, which must be the nearest the mainland comes to The Isle of Wight,  threequarters of a mile and narrowing, or maybe widening. Probably depends on  Global warming.  The fortifications of Hurst Castle, date back to 1541 when the Eighth Henry feared invasion by France whilst he was defending our faith, accumulating wives, and generally knocking heads together. The good old days.

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The Isle of Wight viewed from the shingle spit that is the base for Hurst Castle – that current and undertow were vicious, and the shingle bank steep and treacherous

Storm Imogen made sure the more remote sections of the Solent Way were well flooded, and,to avoid deep muddy puddles, I veered off the Way to try the B roads, which were drier but busier. I only managed to use one bus route – the X1 – to reduce the amount of circuitous walking. So of the 39 miles covered this trip , only about half contributed to direct progress. But spending more time finding alternative routes through the New Forest was certainly no hardship, it is a superb area to be exploring or even be lost in.

Unfortunately, I missed out on formal accommodation the first night away, but spent the two subsequent nights at Hurstview Leisure Campsite, where my pitch was next to a Pink Elephant.  Another first.DSC_0122

A few days ago Lauren was nine, and in a few days’ time Stan will be five and Jake four. Happy birthdays all round.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Then I’ll begin…..

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

I delayed starting this session, not only because I had a broken toe but also because the weather forecast was foreboding. I was rewarded with another day at home chopping firewood in between showers (no! that’s not how I broke a toe – it was far sillier than that –  refer Episode 46); and further rewarded by especially clement weather when I did journey to  Beaulieu to restart my trek westwards on the Solent Way.   The unseasonal warmth and dryness lasted until the final day, which only became the final day because the rain started and anyway my  nine fit toes were not lining up willingly. I’d got as far as they wanted to go. You could say they weren’t toeing the line – or at a stretch, a stitch in one saves nine. Anyway I eaten all my Victoria Sponge. Enough.

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I took the ROAD from Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard because the footpath was very soggy and difficult to follow with lack of signposts..

 

The first place I headed to out of Beaulieu, above, was Bucklers Hard, an 18th Century shipbuilding village on the River Beaulieu, still very much inland, perhaps I’m missing the sea – I don’t look very happy below!

Three vessels taking part in the Battle of Trafalgar were built here using oak from the New Forest. The nearest I’ll get for a while will be Sowley Lane. St Leonards contains the ruins of an old Grange, Chapel and barn.

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One of the drier Solent Way  tracks through the New Forest, but it had it’s drawback – being incorrectly represented on the OS Map; I’d managed to be the wrong side of a bramble hedge and a full drainage ditch at an intersection with  Sowley Lane . To avoid doubling back, I had a choice of leaping the ditch with no run up  or, bursting through the brambles. You can guess which by studying the cuts on my wrists, which were the only unprotected area of my body. I think you’ll find this eventuality is covered in the Anthem, The Rolling English Road  by GKChesterton Verse Three – see Episode Seven!.

 

Muddy tracks on the Solent Way or B roads with no footpaths, both ways cross WWII Airfields with warning signs that the odd aircraft may still be taking off or landing.

 

It wasn’t until I reached Lymington that I got back to the sea again, or more accurately the Lymington  River. After Bucklers Hard I was never much more than a mile from the sea, and caught glimpses of water from time to time, but to feed my OTT/OCD I really had to start paddling in the briny again. Don’t worry, after crossing the Lymington River, my habit was soon fixed.

That first night I roughed it in Lymington not having found a pitch in time, but the sunset and calm ensured a peaceful night’s sleep. Not to mention a pint in the The Ship Inn, not Guinness because they were cleaning the lines ….. before 10 pm too….a bottle of Peroni wasn’t the same, quantity nor quality, although the price hurt. .

 

Approaching 2000 miles and back at the seaside, with Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes Nature Reserve separated from the Sea by the seawall. Two swans glide in to celebrate the double millennium.

 

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The upturned boat and two posts in Keyhaven Harbour, mark the  exact spot where I reached 2000 miles walked from the start of this escapade, although subsequent checking showed it was actually 2000.1 miles. The swans above were probably more accurate.

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The Gun Inn at Keyhaven that served up a 2000 celebratory pint of Guinness, prior to walking the Shingle Spit to Hurst Castle.

The Solent Way extends as far as Hurst Castle and lighthouse, reached on the narrow shingle spit, which brings the mainland to its closest point to the Isle of Wight. The very first photo at the start of this episode, shows the serious currents sweeping through the narrowing gap.

The Castle was de-militarised in 1956 and returned to English Heritage and Friends of Hurst Castle. Now I know what happened to our LWB Landrover, now immortalised at the entrance to the castle  next to a sign that warns the drawbridge is alarmed. I was quite surprised too…..

 

I returned to the campsite early, to find I had upset Wing – the owner – by parking on the wrong pitch – I was informed I should park in front of the Pink Elephant. They had said that when I arrived but Wing was Very Happy, so I thought he was hallucinating .

The Camp blurb advised there was a pub – The Chequers – about a mile away, down a few muddy tracks, so I finished my rations and set off to further celebrate. Sadly in the dark , although with torches, I managed to find several well deep muddy puddles. I don’t know if it was this that I brought into the pub, that ensured a speechless evening of two pints of the Guinness – most expensive yet – or was it the fact that the all female Kiwi support staff seemed to be having a leaving do and all was huggy-huggy, kissy kissy, with regulars  –  except for the stranger. Who took to writing up his diary in the manner of a Pub Inspector, hoping to extract some curiosity. It was only natural that I wanted to tell someone I had just completed 2000 miles round England and hadn’t I read ‘Wildboy’ Brando Yelavitch’s book about his walk round New Zealand .  Still not surprising to meet Antipodean barstaff, they are bludging  everywhere especially where there’s sailing, booze and rugby going on. They didn’t recognize one of their own – albeit naturalised – maybe I’m just too quiet? And I didn’t carry a crossbow like ‘Wildboy’.

But I still had to negotiate the well deep muddy puddles on my return to the pink Elephant; but who cares with two pints of Guinness on board; you just make a bigger splash? Essential before bed.

 

Nearing the end of this trip and the shape of things to come. The Solent Way appears to have morphed into the Metric E9 European Long Distance Route. What’s more, there is  a bus service – X1 – going my way. That’ll save walking there AND back.

The largest picture above shows my final view of the Isle of Wight and the Needles at the finish near Milford on Sea; the others taken on the last day while I deliberated my day’s programme, in the warmth of the Eye Café over a large latte, as the storm gathered; no brainer – I elected to have a piece of Victoria sponge, before departing for home……

ps no change in BMI. Must be that toe.

 

NEXT EPISODE  -Return to Mudeford?

 

 

, and Bucklers Hard