Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Go west

Its west, west , west from here on in. Every step taking me towards Cornwall, the last of the 13 English counties that I go through. Sorry but I haven't a clue what the Scottish ones were, perhaps someone could help on that.
I'm composing this over a pint of Cotleigh Nutcracker in a Wetherspoons in Exeter. Sorry but my vow of daytime sobriety didn't last long, I succumbed to the lure of Otter bitter yesterday in the Vine at Honiton and who in their right mind could resist this place - check out the pic.
On my way this morning I passed the local airfield, that certainly would have been easier for me.
Just a thought, when I see Aaron and Katy at Lands End they, too, will be End to Enders. They drove up to JOG the week before I started and will arrive at LE on the day I do. I will have walked it a week quicker than they've driven it.
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Monday, 28 June 2010

Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home

I've lost count of the places I've stayed at and but each night they've been a haven for me, and I've always been greeted with a friendly smile and wished well as I've left. I was even upgraded in Chard so I had my own bathroom. I suspect because guests from other places have phoned their complaints about me.
I've stopped in Stockland, about one third of todays journey done, and the landlord has taken pity on me and sold me a lemonade.
Its another hot day but with a pleasant breeze and my right foot is painful but a little better than yesterday.
I wonder why I bothered to get in in time for the footbal yesterday. Watching it was more painful than walking.
I'm in Devon now, I can tell because the wheelie bins have changed.
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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Its been a good year for the roses

A chance remark this morning by Rob led to this title, and there's a pic to show it.
After a hearty breakfast I set off at 9.00 with 3 companions - Rob, Jo and little Alexander. They walked with me for the first 1.3 miles (Alexander ran most of it) and it was a great send off.
Less hills today but just as much sunshine led to another fairly slow walk but who can complain when walking through villages with names such as Compton Pauncefoot and Queen Camel ( must win a prize for that one).
I stopped for a lemonade in QC and collected some donations. Honestly, when I say lemonade that's what I had. I'm a big boy and don't always have to have beer.
The good news is that my left foot is no longer hurting, the bad news is that's because I've developed an enormous blister under my right foot and the pain from that blocks out everything else.
Still, only 180 miles to go and a ccouple of pints of Banks's Best should help numb the pain.
Pics today are my companions, roses and the church at Compton Pauncefoot.
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I am a cider drinker

I'm in Somerset now so today's title had to be something by the Worzels. I'm stopping with Jo and Rob, and little Alexander. I was treated to a glass or two of Rob's home produced cider last night, very palatable.
I think that Alexander believes that Santa has come to stay as he's on his best behaviour and is being very attentive to me.
White whiskers clearly have their uses.
I hadn't realised how hilly this part of the world is but I had 5 or 6 fairly long climbs yesterday and together with the heat and a couple of new blisters it turned into a pretty tough walk. I intended to celebrate getting to Shepton Montague with a pint at The Montague but it ha closed for the afternoon when I arrived, oh well these things can't be helped.
Off to Yeovil today, when I arrive I will be only 10 days from finishing.
Pic is a view across the Mendips
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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Come on Eileen

My companion today was my future Son in Law Aaron and he was really good company, he had me in fits of laughter when he was discretely attending to a call of nature only for a lady in a 4x4 to drive through the gateway into the field. Don't know who was more embarrassed.
Our route took us through the lovely town of Bradford on Avon and right past Eileen and Derek's (Aaron's parents). We spent a good couple of hours there and dined on a sumptuous lunch. Thanks very much Eileen, both for lunch and the donation from the both of you. All I need now is for Eileen to get a caravan and get in front of me each to provide lunch.
I'm well impressed with Aaron as I walked him hard today and despite his blisters and aching legs he completed the day without complaint, well done.
The days I've spent in Corsham have been great, I've been really well looked after and will have to walk hard over the next few days to get back to my fighting weight.
Pics show Bradford on Avon, happy walkers after lunch, Radstock and tired walkers with Butcombe bitter
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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Ease on down the road

You may think that I'm running out of song titles and that's the reason that I'm blogging 3 days in one. Actually, I forgot to bring my charger with me so I've not had any technology to use until Helen came today with the appropriate bit. Apologies to all.
Since my last post I've walked from Evesham to Andoversford in the Cotswolds with Jon and Paul, then on to Oaksey in Wiltshire with Steven and finally to Corsham by myself.
The Andoversford walk was simply stunningly beautiful - across the Vale of Evesham and up into the Cotswolds. Winchcombe is a must revisit for me.
The walk to Oaksey wasn't so spectacular but Stevens company more than made up for it, and we did go right through Cirencester - another revisit methinks. We also had the privelage of having to wait 2.5 hours for the Wheatsheaf to open for our end of walk drink. It may be worth contacting Guinness book of records. I also missed the opportunity of photographed the Thames as a babbling brook.
Today was another long walk through pretty countryside, Malmsbury being the highlight until I got to Corsham to begin Katy's birthday celebrations.
She's a star as she's spent this afternoon stood outside Sainsburys collecting for Alzheimers.
Pics show the Stratford walkers ready for Andoversford, alnshouses in Cirencester, view of Malmsbury and Katy and me supporting Alzheimers Society
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Saturday, 19 June 2010

I walk the line

Mainly the white line along the side of the road. Although, to be fair, today was mostly along footpaths and the back streets of Evesham.
A lovely walk, accompanied by Mike Yapp from yesterday and also Neil Alexander, the only downside being some heavily overgrown and soaking footpaths and coming face to face with a very amorous bull. Fortunately I wasn't the object of his desire and I was able to slide by while he was enjoying himself elsewhere.
Lunch was spent with a pint of Adnams in Cleeve Prior and I was pleased that my legs ached less today than yesterday. Off to Andoversford tomorrow.
Pics show River Avon, my companions for the day, and one of the backstreets of Evesham
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Friday, 18 June 2010


Three days relaxation at home was great. Finished it off with a tasty lamb stir fry at the Shahi last night.
Now sitting outside the Navigation in Wooton Wawen, enjoying a pint of Bath Ales Golden Hare whilst waiting for my afternoon walking companions to show up.
This morning I walked some of the Arden Way, not such a good idea considering the nettles, thistles, and tall crops I had to plough through. Not to mention the 30 or so young cows ( think they're called fiers) who took exception to my presence. They kept an intimidating close watch on me, breaking into a trot towards me from time to time. I reckon It was only my poles and my Crocodile Dundee whilst walking the last 100 yards backwards that kept them away. Sorry to say I wasn't brave enough to stop for a photo.
Some pics of Redditch

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Monday, 14 June 2010

Homeward bound

Dear Santa: I would like a pair of legs for Christmas

Today is the day that I've walked into Redditch, my home town, and I've shared the journey with Stuart ( my son) and my old mate Tony.
What a great day, along the canal from Birmingham to Kings Norton, and then down the roman road to Redditch via the Coach and Horses in Wetheroak ( we did partake of a few ales whilst on site but modesty prevents me from telling how many),
After braving the nettles and thistles of Tony's footpath over the fields, and then the errant golfballs on Abbey golf course we were greeted with a welcome party of Helen, Jenny, Beth, baby Zack and Trin the dog who had all walked down to meet us. It brought a tear to my eye, goodness knows what I'll be like at Lands End.
I've said it before but having walking partners really helps, I just don't know where the miles go when I'm not on my own.
3 whole days off now before I see my friends in Stratford.
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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Flying without wings

I just seem to be making so much progress, and its down to two things. Firstly, having walking partners now on a regular basis - tomorrow its going to be Stuart and Tony and then I've got companions for the first 3 days after my break in Redditch. Secondly, I'm now on home territory and sleeping in my own bed. Be it ever so humble there's no place like home.
Yesterdays walk was leisurely and pleasant, included a pint of Mucky Duck and a pint of Black Sheep ( this was a gift from an admirer, Maggie, so I couldn't refuse). I can't work out the rail system where I get charged different prices for single tickets between the same two stations but in opposite directions.
A couple of pics on the canal from Burton to Lichfield
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Friday, 11 June 2010

Roll out the barrel

What could be more appropriate as I've made it to Burton on Trent.
It was a walk which contained so many aspects of Britain. Beautiful countryside, industrial estates, city centre architecture and prosperity, together with more deprived areas. Then, in the afternoon Clive and I walked the canal into Burton. A good day in fine weather following a pleasant stop in Mickleover, I can't thank Jane and Clive enough.
Two of the sights of Derby
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Roll out the barrel

What could be more appropriate as I've made it to Burton on Trent.
It was a walk which contained so many aspects of Britain. Beautiful countryside, industrial estates, city centre architecture and prosperity, together with more deprived areas. Then, in the afternoon Clive and I walked the
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Thursday, 10 June 2010

If you let me stay

Its by Terence Trent Derby and I'd be happy to stay in the Rowditch pub.
Despite the early rain its been a great day. Meeting Clive and Jane again after so many years, a visit to the Rowditch where I had rather too many Woodeford Wherry's ( an old favourite), getting to know Paul and meeting Richie McKay after something like 30 years.
My only problem is whether I'll be fit to walk tomorrow.
Lots of pics today
Chesterfield in good mood, ready for the world cup.
Old skips never die, they only float away.
The Peak district is there somewhere.
Heage windmill.
View from Bridge Inn, Duffield.
Richie, where's your curls gone?
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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Its gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day

At least that's what I'm hoping for.
I've had a really lazy day in Chesterfield, mostly spent in bed but with a stroll into the town centre for some provisions and lunch at Wetherspoons.
A couple of pints in the Chesterfield Arms (CAMRA's pub of the year 2010, and only 100 yards from my B+B) and a cheese cob this evening has set me up for an early start toward Derby tomorrow.
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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rain drops keep falling on my head

What a surprise last night when Richard and Liz walked in to my hotel. It was really good to be able to share a meal with them and to gossip about friends and families.
True to their word they were back again this morning so that Richard could join me and Liz could act as back up in the camper van. What a great incentive to get under way in the rain.
After an hour we met Tracy from SOS and there will shortly be a piece in the Rotherham paper about me.
The weather improved as the day wore on and I even got a donation from a passing driver.
What was potentially a bad day turned out really good thanks to my companions, and they may even join me again in Cornwall.

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Monday, 7 June 2010

I can't sing, I can't dance, only thing about me is the way I walk

Here I am at 4.00 at the end of a fairly unremarkable walk from Pontefract to Parkgate on the Northern fringe of Rotherham.
I walked the last 30 mins in torrential rain so arrived pretty wet.
As usual I get a good shower, have a cuppa and disappear into bed for a couple of hours. I find it takes the ache out of my legs fairly effectively and sets me up for the following day.
Tomorrow I'm meeting Richard and Liz Sheffield ( appropriate given where I am at the moment) and he's walking the day with me. Hopefully we can meet up with Liz on route.
Walking with someone really helps the day go quickly, let's hope it doesn't rain too much.
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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Singin in the rain

Its rained pretty much all day so I've done my best Gene Kelly impression to relieve the boredom.
My B+B is a standard 3 bed house in a cul de sac about 30 mins from town centre, fortunately I had the foresight to eat before I got here, its not 8 o'clock yet and I'm tucked up for the night.
Tomorrow I will get away before 9 and should make the fitzwilliam Arms in Parkgate by 3.00.
Tracey from SOS should be there waving her banner, I hope.
Any more of this and I'll feel like a celebrity.
No pic tonight because of the weather.
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Saturday, 5 June 2010

He aint heavy, he's my brother

Just finished my 30th day on the road, Northallerton to Ripon and over 17 miles. Alan joined me and I have to say that he did extremely well, we made good time and managed a few pints of Black Sheep Bitter before Karen came to collect us.
Sad to say that Al has now seized up and has a couple of blisters. I have great respect for anyone who opts to walk a full day without any preparation, I know I couldn't do it.
Hope he recovers and is walking better soon, he looks absolutely knackered now.
I asked Al to walk in front on busy sections today, I think he thought it was for safety reasons but really it was so I didn't have to look at his Liverpool FC shirt.
I've covered over 500 miles but the hardest steps have been each morning here when I have to face this picture as I come down the stairs
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Friday, 4 June 2010

I would walk 500 miles

Just realised I did it today
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On Ilkley Moor Bah Tat

Its the only Yorkshire song I've heard of.
I have to say that I'm slowly changing my mind about Yorkshire. I've always held the view that the best thing out of Yorkshire was the road to Lancashire but now I reckon its the people. Everyone I've met has been so friendly. Today I've been invited into 2 gardens for tea and had donations from two others, Bernadette Lobo in Staveley gave me a tenner - very lucky really as I was at least a mile off route at the time. Andrew Kennedy who gave me a cuppa also produced a video of me for Youtube, how surreal is that?
I've been really well looked after by Al and Karen and I'll be sorry to leave in a couple of days but the call of the south is strong and I have to go.
It won't be long now before I get to Redditch and a whole 3 days off.
Its been a good day today, my feet and legs behaved and I heard from Russell that he's completed his walk to JOG in 7 weeks, just fantastic.
I was also really lucky that Al just happened to drive past with an ice cream for me, it pays to have local connections.
Having completed day 30 today I will be walking day 29 tomorrow with Alan.
I reckon the house in the pic is Copgrove Hall, but I may be wrong
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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Half way to paradise

Or, if you like - What a difference a day makes.
I've made it to the half way stage, both in miles and walking days. I can't describe how good that makes me feel, its worth all the pain - I think!
The last two days couldn't have been much more different. Todays weather has been glorious, churlishly I'd say it was too hot. The people I've met have been different as well, Mrs Briggs stopped her car to donate a fiver and Paul at the Black Bull in Great Smeaton opened his pub specially to serve me a lime and lemonade. People are just so kind.
This evening I went with Al to the local and downed a couple of pints of Widgley's Mild.
Today's pic is the bridge at Croft on Tees, when I walked over it I left Durham and entered Yorkshire.
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Sam enchanted evening

I was collected yesterday at the end of a very wet and dispiriting day by my gorgeous neice Sam. Never was a lift so needed or so gratefully accepted.
At one point the rain was so bad that I was merely looking for a tree to stand under so that I could assess my options. I found one and, once sheltered I quickly realised that the building alongside was a cafe, heaven. While in there, drying off over a large cup of tea, the rain actually stopped and I started back on the road again.
While the weather was good I didn't dare stop, passing several pubs and cafes. I reckoned that I would stop somewhere if the rain came back.
Of course, when it did rain again I couldn't find a stopping place.
When I arrived at Piercebridge I had arranged to meet at the Carlbury Arms, this was closed so I walked an extra half mile to the George hotel, overlooking the river Tees. I ordered a pint of Black Dog Brewery Schooner and got changed into dry clothes. Then I tried to phone Sam to tell her of the change of plan, no luck, no signal. No one was willing to let me use a phone with a signal so I drank up, picked up my gear and headed back the way I came.
Still, it all worked out well in the end and I had a good evening with Al, Karen, Sam and Frankie.
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