2 friends and the coast to coast walk

Last Warm-up Walk Before the Y3P by gleavem
March 31, 2010, 12:15 pm
Filed under: exercise, friends, training | Tags: , ,

Although the forecast was for heavy rain, I was determined to make it out for a walk this weekend.  We met friends at Westerham, tucked into a delicious pub lunch, and fully fuelled headed out for a walk through the woods south of the town.  It’s fair to say that perhaps we should have had a lighter lunch before the walk; the boys pies were massive and we were much slower than normal for the first hour or so.  Happily the weather was much kinder than expected and there were only one or two little drops of rain, and most of the time we were just walking in t-shirts, which made a lovely change.

We started by following the Greensand Way south into Squerryes Park, and on to Goodley Stock.  We stayed on the Greensand Way all the way to French Street, where we picked up a track through Hosey Common to return to Westerham.  Although not a very long walk, it was a very enjoyable one.  We always like walking in woodland, and the woods around Westerham were lovely, and the land undulating enough to get our legs working a little.  I’d love to return again in a few weeks as much of the woodland looked like it would be awash with bluebells. 

So that was our last walk before the Y3P (Yorkshire 3 peaks) and our holiday in the lakes.  The weather doesn’t look good for the Easter weekend, but we’ll go fully prepared for wind, driving rain, bogs and maybe even snow, and perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Happy Easter Everyone!


A Change of Plan by gleavem
March 1, 2010, 6:27 pm
Filed under: exercise, friends, weather | Tags: , , , ,

This Sunday’s walk was meant to be a biggy, both in terms of distance and in terms of people.  The plan was to get 6 of the Yorkshire 3-peakers together to practice walking together over a longish distance around Ditchling and Devils Dyke.  Yet again Sunday started as a miserable day and we lost two walkers before we even left the house.  We consulted the others and opted for a shorter walk near them so we could more easily escape the weather.

The walk started at the pub in Skimmington, where we picked up the Greensand Way, following it to the top of Colley Hill:
View from Colley Hill

We’d all learnt from the previous week and were fully waterproofed-up.  It rained on and off for much of the walk, though the rain was fairly light and we could take our hoods down occasionally.  The ground however was saturated after a week of rain and there were massive puddles and lots of mud everywhere:
Very wet path

Folly ceiling

We walked along the ridge, passing a beautiful folly and a victorian water tower, before joining the North Downs Way for a while.  This section passed through some lovely woodland and we’d love to walk here again on a sunny day.  Turning south to Buckland we began to head back to Skimmington and our pub lunch (delicious and very welcome).  In the end the rain eased off and we had a thoroughly enjoyable and varied walk, despite the mud (route).
On the bridge

Putting the boots back on…at last! by gleavem
May 9, 2009, 8:06 am
Filed under: exercise, training, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

This bank holiday Monday we finally managed to dust off our walking gear and stretch our legs.  We didn’t stray far from home; just over to Thornden and West Blean woods near Canterbury, parking at Gypsy corner.  It was a fairly flat, but pleasant walk through the woodland (a short stretch across fields) enjoying the many bluebells and nice weather.  The surroundings were a bit mixed at times, as there were large expanses of deforestation which looked a bit like the end of the world! Despite this is was an enjoyable walk in the sunshine.

Bluebells 2

Since the 3-peaks is just over a month away it was comforting to find that our boots still felt comfy and familiar, and we had no trouble covering the 7 or so miles in a little figure of 8.  We might try to getout on our bikes for a change this weekend, before a much-anticipated week in the Lake District – hooray!

The Crisp Packet Walk by gleavem
January 12, 2009, 5:31 pm
Filed under: exercise, post walk walk, weather | Tags: , , ,

We awoke to a beautiful morning; sunny, fresh, a little frosty, but not quite as cold as it has been; just the weather we’d been hoping for, and perfect for our first walk of 2009.  We hopped in the car and headed for Kearsney near Dover.  Looking at the map we felt the best option for parking was Kearsney Abbey, which is happily well sign-posted, so we got there without a hitch.  After changing into our boots and taking a few pics we set off towards Sherherdswell (about 10am).

Me very close to falling overAs seems to be all too often the case, the walk started with a long incline.  I suppose at least it warmed us up and got our legs moving.  We skirted the edge of some woods, following a good clear track most of the way.  I skipped ahead to get a snap of Sid on the frosty path and managed to catch him just has he slipped – what timing!

After a couple of miles we turned north, passing through fields and woods before descending briefly into Lydden.  It was as we were leaving Lydden that we encountered some rather unusual sheep (in our experience anyway).  Rather than running away, these sheep approached us persistently, we’re not sure whether it was friendliness, hunger or they were protecting their territory. Either way, we didn’t hang around long as all we had to offer was fruit.

We ascended fairly steeply out of Lydden, skirted the edge of a rather awkward hole, and headed for the A2.  On the way we passed over Lydden tunnel, housing the railway. There was something quite cool about knowing that somewhere far beneath us there might be a train, we also spotted the air shafts.  Happily the A2 was easy to cross on a Sunday morning and just a mile later we reached our planned lunch stop; Shepherdswell (or Sibertswold?).  Arriving outside the Bell at about 12:05pm we were devastated to see no signs of life despite the sign saying they opened at 12!  Eager for food, we headed down the hill to the other pub in Shepherdswell, the Cricketers.  However, it turns out they don’t serve food, so in desperation we picked up some provisions from the Co-op before heading back to the Bell for one last check.  We were very happy to see it had opened in the mean-time so we headed in for our lunch.  We’d planned on having a light lunch as we were having home-made curry for tea, but their Sunday menu was all big meals, oh well… Two roast beef dinners and a beer later we re-donned our muddy boots and headed back out into the sunshine.

Tres Muddy bootsFrom Shepherdswell we joined the North Downs Way for a while, this was where the mud really began. Some of the fields we’d crossed thus far had been quite claggy, but in the second half of the walk the mud took on a whole new character.  Due to the cold weather the ground everywhere was pretty hard underfoot, but thanks to the milder weather today, the frosty top layer had thawed to leave a slippy, slimy surface which made every step move underneath us and coated our boots in a very thick layer of “clag” so that they became incredibly heavy!  The only highlight of this section was a mysterious tower near Waldershare Park, which really captured our attention, we just couldn’t figure out what it was!  When we got home we did a spot of Googling and found out that it’s called the Belvedere tower, built in the 18th century for no particular purpose other than as a garden feature from which to admire the view (big feature!).

Cool Building 2

After Walderhsare House we turned South to head back to Kearsney and were confronted by a sharp wind and more claggy fields.  This section was really hard going and tiring thanks to the combination of wind (Sid’s least favurite weather) and mud. It was a great relief to reach Singledge Lane for a little easy road walking and to bash the mud off our boots!

One more muddy field, then it was back across the A2 (or rather under it) to a steady descent into Kearsney by way of a pleasant woody path.  We easily found our way back to the car and were very happy to remove our mucky boots and pop into the tea rooms for a nice hot drink (a very pretty and ornate tea rooms by the way!).
Overall this was a very nice walk (despite the clag), which would be even lovelier on a spring or summers day. There were some nice views, a good variety of paths & surroundings, some points of interest and a couple of options for breaks (Lydden also had a couple of pubs).

Windy Lyminge by gleavem
August 11, 2008, 12:44 pm
Filed under: exercise, training, weather | Tags: , ,

Yesterday was our final training walk before we begin the C2C.  We plotted a circular route from Lyminge, via Stowting, Rhodes Minnis and Elham. It’s a lovely area we’ve walked in once before (Barham-Elham Circular), its got some hills (by Kentish standards anyway), nice scenery and plenty of little village pubs for lunch or refreshment! The only down side to this walk was the wind, and as Sid reminded me frequently, he HATES WIND!

We started by taking the Elham Valley Way (EVW) south out of Lyminge, until we met the North Dows Way (NDW) at Swingfield radio station.  We than followed the NDW past Postling, through some very undulating access land to Hempton farm.  From here we continued on the NDW to Stowting, where we had a delicious lunch (NB: Sid is never again to have Lasagne whilst walking) at the Tiger Inn.  Taking a small path north out of Stowting we passed some noisy nosey geese and encountered our first major navigational challenge. 

Let me pause here to fill you in a little on a recent purchase: Pete Hawkins’ book on map and compass skills. I’ve just finished reading it and Sid is nearly at the end, all I can say is why oh why didn’t we read this years ago!  Those of you who are regular readers will knpw that we often face some navigational challenges, and don’t quite know exactly where we are at all times…well not any more!  As well as being our last training walk, this was our chance to try out our newly learnt navigational skills; we made a route card, we took bearings, we adjusted for magnetic variation, we took back bearings, we “ticked off” and consequently we didn’t get lost!!

To continue the story we came into a field of broad beans; the path through them strted on roughly the right bearing, but fizzled out to nothing about half way across the field.  Surrouded by above head-heigh beans, we were forced to forge our own path to the boundary! On exiting the field we were obviosuly unsure whether it was us of the field that was in the wrong; by a couple of bearings soon told us that we were where we should have been but the path was missing! 

Anyway, we continued up Stowting Hill (a bit of a slog after lunch) to reach Highfields farm, where we headed east through the woods to Rhodes Minnis and onwards to Elham. After a refreshing diet coke, we rejoined the EVW for a plesant low-level stroll back to Lyminge.

Highlights of this walk: lots of friendly dogs, good views, nice lunch & our superb navigational skills!

This week’s walks by gleavem
July 4, 2008, 11:15 am
Filed under: exercise, training | Tags: ,

This week we have mostly been … walking to work.  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week we walked both to and from work.  It’s about 6 miles we think (Ramsgate to Sandwich) making 12 miles a day.  Turns out that 12 miles of walking plus a full day’s work is quite tiring!  Its a pretty easy walk, so no complaints except my slightly sore little toes 😦    but it does get a bit repetitive by the third day.  On the plus side we do get to see and hear lots of wildlife, including hundreds of snails, particularly on Wednesday when it was drizzling…they were all over the path and we had to concentrate hard not to cause a snail massacre with our big boots!

We’ll also be venturing off for a walk at the weekend; planning something in Kent probably around the Wye area, incorporating some of the North Downs Way.  We’re also hoping to pop to Maidstone so we can go to the big Cotswolds store for a spot of shopping!

A Little (Mishapen) Lollipop Walk by theshed
June 22, 2008, 11:27 am
Filed under: exercise, training | Tags: ,

Now that I’ve wrestled the laptop away from Michelle (she’s strong for her size you know!) it’s my turn to blog about our latest walk.

In our quest for hills in Kent we decided to grab one of our maps and look for a spot with plenty of relief lines.  With Kent being one of the flattest counties they stand out a fair bit and it wasn’t long until we started looking at Elham Valley.  Situated just off the A2 just north of Dover it was fairly easy for us to get to.  A quick drive past work and through Wingham soon got us to Barham, the start of our walk.  The plan was to walk down the Elham Valley Way to Elham.  You can see the planned route on gmaps-pedometer.  You can also see the route we actually took over there too.

The walk was really good and we’d highly recommend it.  We went out of Barham towards Redgate Shaw taking in our first hill of the day.  From there it was over some fields, down a steep bank where we could see all the bunny tracks leading out of the hedges (we saw the track creators on our way back and there we’re tonnes of them little critters :)) and then through Covert Wood.

During the day we went through plenty of wooded areas.  I don’t know what it is but there’s something I really enjoy about walking through woods. On the walk Michelle and I decided that our ancestors must have been wood dwellers rather than farmers or some such thing.  I think it must be something to do with the mystery of woods.  You know when you look at the trees they’ve been there for a lot longer than you, they’ve survived the wars, they’ve had years worth of visitors and in all that time they just stand there chilling out.  Combine that with all the fairy tale happenings of woods and the horror stories you watch and you have a pretty cool place.  I’d love to camp in one somewhere.

Shell in the woods

Once we came out of Covert Wood it was a little further until Redoak Cottages.  This is where our lollipop became mishapen.  For some reason we confidently strode away down a well marked path.  I think it’s well-markedness gave us confidence.  What we should’ve done is looked slightly to our right to see another well marked path.  As it was we overshot Little Breach Farm and got to South Barham Farm instead.  No big deal, it only added a mile or two to our walk but it’s bloody annoying when you get lost.  It just drive me up the wall.  We have map and compass and then we just stride on without looking at either.  We can be fools sometimes.

Once we got back on track we were Elham bound and what a lovely place it is.  We came into The Square which was absolutely packed.  It turned out that it was Elham Garden Open Day.  We avoided the crowds and headed straight into the beer garden of The Kings Arms.  Off came the gaitors and boots and down went the pints of ice cold diet coke and a couple of packets of Salty Dog crisps.  We even decided to have a little lie down before getting the boots back on and heading back.

In the pub with the boots off

Since I’d done such a bad job with the map on the way there Michelle took over navigation and I took charge of the camera.  That’s probably why there’s so few photos on the way back and also why we didn’t get lost!

On the way back it was more of the same, angry dogs, good weather, lovely forests and fields and just generally a brilliant walk.  In total we climbed about 200 metres which is pretty good going in Kent (you can walk for miles and only gain about 5 metres!)  The plan is to revisit it at some point and document it to go onto Walking World.  We pick up a few of our walks from there so thought we should give something back to that community.

You can see the photos over on our Flickr pages.

Next week camping.  WooHoo.