The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Day 16 - Bawdrip to Cheddar

30 April
Distance: 15 miles
Number of cute puppies encountered:1

It was a disturbed night's sleep at Fairways Touring Park. The rain had let up (not that rain would have disturbed us) but other things were conspiring against a restful night.

The first disturbance was when I was awoken by the sound of a tractor coming straight at us. With my mind addled from the sudden transition from asleep to vaguely-aware I was convinced for a moment that we were wild camping in the corner of a farmer's field and that he was about to mow us and the tent down.

Realising that we were actually on a campsite I relaxed a little and put the noise down to nocturnal tractor movements on a nearby lane.

When I awoke an hour or so later and having gone through the nightly ritual of getting dressed and popping over to the facilities the noise was explained. For reasons unknown the campsite had chosen the middle of the night to do ground works. The tractor that I had heard had actually been a digger. That digger proceeded to dig for the next few hours.

I assume that the digging had something to do with the electric supply as it was a dark experience in the ladies.

It didn't take much shivering in the dark for me to look up and notice that the sky had cleared and the temperature had dropped, so back in my sleeping bag I did the hood up tight around me. And then came the next disturbance; the next time a heavy vehicle woke me I found that I was lost within my sleeping bag. I must have twisted round in it and could I find the opening? Frantically I flailed around thinking that I was going to have to wake Husband to help me, when finally I located the opening and returned myself to the proper position.

The earthworks finally came to an end at about 4.30, but still we were not to be undisturbed. It seemed that we had only just settled when the (unwelcome) alarm started trilling.

The morning saw us return to the apparently closed cycle route and from there a few lanes and some very wet grassy fields, not to mention quite a few electric fence obstacles and locked gates, saw us head across the levels.

Our biggest navigational head-scratching moment happened in admidst all of the drainage ditches. It was one of those moments when what the compass said didn't seem to tally with what we could see. It took a while to work out that we were walking along the wrong drain and that the only thing we could do was walk back to the last bridge (admittedly only a couple of hundred yards) and put ourselves right.

More navigational challenges led us to the village of Blackford where the Sexey's Arms was to be found, which served us a good lunch which set us up for the afternoon. It also was where we met a local by the name of Mike, a Lincoln City FC fan, who added £10 to our fundraising.

Dragging ourselves out of the pub and into a passing shower, the afternoon did not start well. A failure to make a turning shortly after the pub caused a bit of a tour around the edges of the village before we got ourselves back in the right direction.

Today we were following the route suggested by the Cicerone End-to-End Trail book and it was clear that these paths are not well trodden. It was also clear early on that using 1:25k OS maps would have been much easier than following the sketch maps from the book.

We'd just negotiated a particularly tricky double stile (stile is perhaps a generous word here) that involved a bit of limbo dancing on the first part and clambering on the second, when ahead of us in the field we saw a chap with a big backpack.

Given our location it seemed pretty likely that this was another LEJOGer, and so he turned out to be. His name is Conrad, he's 68 (and had a knee op just at the end of last year!) and it appears that he left Land's End on the same day as us but whereas we headed south on the coast path he had headed north along it.

As nice as it was to have someone to walk with for the afternoon we did all lose our concentration somewhat with the chatting and merrily continued following the route we had plotted, even though we had decided to vary it. Half a km out of our way we went before we realised and turned back, making a complete meal of the navigation the whole time.

Finally we put ourselves firmly on the revised route and arrived at Cheddar Bridge campsite at a reasonable hour of afternoon. Pitching was followed by the obligatory gear chat with Conrad over a cup of tea, which is always an enjoyable way to pass the time of day.

Conrad will get ahead of us tomorrow as we have an easy day, but our routes coincide for a while yet (up Offa's Dyke so it's emminently possible that we will meet again.

So, that's two other LEJOGers we've met this week. I wonder how many people there are in total walking this walk right now?

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Day 15 - Bathpool, Taunton to Bawdrip

29 April
Distance: about 15 miles

The tiredness of last night seeped into this morning. The alarm went off at the usual time of six am, but rather than leaping out of my sleeping bag I turned over and slept for another hour - no mean feat with the racket being made by the peacocks and cockerels.

The unplanned lie-in meant it was knocking on for 9am by the time we wandered away from the campsite and back down to the Taunton and Bridgwater Canal.

Having walked quite a considerable part of its length over the last two days I've had to conclude that it's not a well frequented waterway. I'm used to the Trent & Mersey canal where even on a drizzly Tuesday morning there will be boats on the move and even more life in those moored. On the Taunton & Bridgwater I could count the number of moored craft on one hand and we saw none moving.

The tow-path was almost as quiet. We had miles at a time to ourselves, so it was quite a surprise an hour through the morning to hear a bicycle bell behind us.

The chap on the bicycle, Mike, slowed down to talk to us and ask what we were doing before he carried on his way, but he'd not got more than 50 yards away from us before he stopped and turned. As we caught him up he gave us £10 for Macmillan. So, a big thank you to Mike; not only has Macmillan benefitted but it put a smile on our faces too.

Whilst people were absent, there were birds and ducks aplenty. I've lost count of the number of herons we've seen over the last few days and there are lots of swans sitting atop their impressive piles of nests. We even saw a deer today, in the rather unlikely location of an open wheat field; it was standing right on the opposite edge of the canal. We stared at each other for a while until it bounded off across the wheat and finally went to ground.

Our attention was then drawn by the Somerset Space Walk which features along this canal. It's on a scale of 1:530million and gives information about each planet as you pass its relative position in the solar system. Each planet is on a milestone (a kilometre stone, really) giving the distance to Bridgwater and from Somerset, although we suspected that some of them were slightly less than accurate.

With the morning's showers turning to more persistent rain, we walked straight past the only pub we saw all day, and soon after we took a bit of a flyer and left the canal.

My plotted route would have seen us go into Bridgwater and back out again for no reason other than an apparent lack of bridges over the River Parrett. However, when I scrutinised the map this morning it looked to me, by the presence of a cycle route, that there may be a way across at the point where the railway crosses. I deemed it worth the diversion to go and have a look and worthwhile it turned out to be. There was indeed a walkway on the side of the rail bridge and it saved us a mile of walking up the river to walk back down again. Given the pain in my left foot which had appeared about five miles into the day, omitting an unnecessary mile was a happy event.

Oh, but the rain. It came down and showed no sign of letting up. A quick change of socks to my Sealskinz was made before we started tackling the long, wet grass of the fields that would lead us to Bawdrip.

A farmer wielding a shot gun was the only sign of life we encountered over the last couple of miles (got us a bit worried when soon after we passed him we heard shots) and soon we were heading towards the village.

All we then had to do was to pick up a cycle route that would lead us directly to our campsite. Finding the cycle route was easy enough. The problem came about 100yds later when we got to the tall locked gate. The previous pedestrian gate had also been closed off by the addition of tall palings.

Husband was all for taking an alternative route, but scrutinising the map I was certain that we were in the right place and that the cycle route lay on a RoW. Over the gate I climbed, Husband following my lead and within half a mile of good path we were tackling a very nasty main road to cover the last 100 yards of the day.

We arrived at the campsite in the still-lashing (I had used the phrase 'pissing' there, but Husband told me that was an inappropriate word to use on my blog!) rain but were cheered by the chatty owner who kindly donated all of our pitching fee to Macmillan.

We're now huddled in the tent, with everything wet and hoping, with all things crossed, that the weather is going to perk up tomorrow (oh, and that my foot recovers).

Monday, 28 April 2008

Day 14 - Sampford Peverell to Taunton

28 April
Distance: 18.75 miles
Number of killeresque dogs: 1
Number of dogs who wanted to eat my lunch: 3
Number of overly friendly sheep: 16

A couple of hours of yesterday evening were spent chatting to Eileen and Frank. They were brought to our attention when we arrived at our campsite for the fact that Frank set off from Land's End, with his Border Collie Tess, two days after we did. Frank's wife Eileen is supporting him in their camper van.

Although we were on the same campsite Frank is actually a day and a bit behind us and our routes diverge in a couple of days time so it seems unlikely that our paths will cross again.

He poked his head out of his camper van this morning as we set off on our way and we all wished each other the best of luck with the rest of our respective routes.

For us it was back to the Grand Western Canal which we followed under initially clear blue skies until it came to an abrupt end, from where we followed its former route for the rest of the morning (at times walking down the middle of the trough that used to be the waterway).

Plenty of mud was found to cover our shoes and trouser bottoms, which made me say again that I really must wash the trousers - it's just a bit tricky when you don't have a spare pair to wear during the washing and drying process!

Having left the wet part of the canal, our navigation across fields was assisted by way-marks but would have been easier still with a 1:25k map, something that was inexplicably was missing for most of the morning's route. It wasn't until I came to turn over the 1:50k page that I discovered that the 1:25k was printed double sided and all of the head scratching as to which side of hedgerows we wanted to be had been needless. It certainly would have speeded us up when we had map and compass in hand in a field of overly friendly sheep, giving them time to run from their various corners of the field to accost us.

Whilst all of this was going on, the ominous skies which had developed over the course of the morning duly delivered rain, albeit not heavily enough to warrant ferretting in the packs for waterproofs.

A lack of lunchables led to a short diversion at lunchtime (which fell at about 1pm today) to Bradford-on-Tone, a village which provided us with both refreshment and good company in the White Horse Inn.

The afternoon saw us following the river Tone for what should have been just a couple of hours' stroll to just beyond Taunton.

We'd barely got into our stride, following the higgledy piggledy path alongside the meandering river when we spotted rain coming. We didn't need the following rumble of thunder to tell us that waterproofs were going to be wise this time.

It was one of those downpours that, had we been in the tent, would have had us saying "I'm glad we're not out walking in this". It was one of a number that caught us during the afternoon, some more torrential than others, but cruelly in between times the sun came out to make us overheat in our GoreTex.

Having reached Taunton and paused for longer than was justifiable in Tesco's cafe whilst sorting out tomorrow's food supply, we found (with a modicum of difficulty - the trouble of navigating through towns where there's just too much information to show clearly on the map) the canal that would lead us to our campsite.

With tiredness upon us after what had been a long day, the last mile and a half out of Taunton seemed interminable. Of course, we did finally reach our night stop and having paid our £4 (and that's for the two of us, not each) we have a pitch for the night.

There is more upon which I could comment (the lack of mallard chicks, the trees in leaf, the rape fields in bloom) but exhaustion is now too great for thinking and my sleeping bag is calling my name.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Feet and Food

There are some people reading this, who rather cruelly perhaps, are itching for news of crippling blisters, chafing of parts that should not chafe, and similar discomforts.

Almost two weeks in and the blister count so far is three and all of those are mine. Sorry to disappoint but they have also all been very small indeed.

On Day 7 without me noticing I got a blister on the same place on the underside of each heel. About the size of two pinheads they were hardly enough to write home about and they were soon dealt with.

A couple of days ago a third blister appeared on a toe in such a position that I can only assume that it was caused by a bit of grit in my sock. Again, there was no pain involved (at least not until I decided last night that I should burst it!).

The only other foot ailments are the bruised little toe nail caused by the now-departed toe-eating shoes and a numbness of the underside of the big toe on my right foot. I seem to recall having read of someone else who had the same numbness affliction. I recall not whether it's a permanent condition or whether I can expect the feeling back at some point in the future. Either way, there are worse things that can happen than a bit of numbness in a toe.

Mixing feet and food, I'm pleased to say that we're not wasting away yet. In fact, I've been eating so much that with 200 miles down I wouldn't be surprised if I've put on weight.

The average day sees us consume first breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea and tea!

On the subject of food all of our dehydrated meals have worked very well. Thanks to the tip given by Peewiglet on a forum a few years ago, which tip related to the mixing of Beanfeast and mash, we've found that both Shepherd and lentil stew are very tasty when mixed with Smash. You just have to make sure that you don't pay too much heed to what it looks like!

Husband declared that Thai Green Turkey and Smash was a slightly less successful combination...

Day 13 - Tiverton to Sampford Peverell

27 April
Distance: 6.5 miles (plus about 0.5 around Tesco!)
Number of other walkers seen: Approx 125

It's amazing how fast the body recovers from a battering. After 3 consecutive 19 mile days, the bulk of which have been on hard surfaces, my feet were making their feelings known last night.

Throughout our Thai meal they protested. In bed they protested. Waking up this morning they vaguely grumbled. After a cooked breakfast they were, if not raring to go, then at least prepared to cover 6.5 miles.

With the lack of a small grocery store on our route through Tiverton we made for the big Tesco where we piled on the miles as we wandered rather aimlessly up and down its aisles.

With significantly heavier packs we found our way to a cycle route which follows the path of a disused railway before picking up the Grand Western Canal, which in turn would convey us to our destination.

Along the cycle route (paved at first, boo hiss!) we saw two women walking towards us wearing matching t-shirts. We rounded the next bend and all we could see were people walking towards us in those same t-shirts.

Eventually, after an awful lot of helloing, I had to stop someone to ask. It was a sponsored walk, 4 miles in length, in aid of Marie Curie. From what we saw they had a good turnout.

Passing a sign that informed us that it was an offence under the Public Health Act to exercise a donkey on that path, we left the disused railway and joined the canal.

A brief detour was made at Halberton, per my plotted route, to miss out a loop taken by the canal. Despite the short section of moderately busy road it was a good move as without it we would not have seen the old Priory, the owners of which have put a few information signs outside explaining the works that they are doing to restore it and, more particularly, its gardens.

We were nearly upon Sampford Peverell when our singing of rounds of 'row row row your boat' (caused by having seen a rowing boat, predictable enough) was interrupted by a voice behind us asking "are you really walking Britain?".

Without the chat that ensued, we likely would have wandered into the first pub we found in Sampford Peverell. As a result of that chat we followed the recommendation and headed to The Globe. It was the words 'good ale' that did it.

A pint of Otter Bitter (being the girly lightweight that I am these days my beer selection criterion is: the weakest ale available) is being supped as I type this. Our afternoon session will be just half a mile long and upon arriving at our destination it's fingers crossed that our supply parcel has arrived. Never mind the food, we need those ferrules...

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Day 12 - Yeoford to Tiverton

26 April
Distance: 19 miles
No. of yappy Yorkshire Terriers that gave chase: 1

With the skies promising a lovely sunny day we set out from Yeoford bright and early, with our feet refreshed and the spring back in our steps.

Lanes took us to Crediton where our lack of food situation was resolved. Armed with food, we were standing in the street trying to work out where to put two bananas, when a woman came to us and asked whether we were walking for charity. We confirmed that we were and she thrust £2 into Husband's hand - then she continued on her way as we shouted our thanks after her. With the £10 given to us by Winnie at the B&B as we left, it was looking like a good day for Macmillan.

Once done faffing in Crediton it was more lanes and a few footpaths (including having to climb over a locked gate and ignore 'strictly private' signs on what we were absolutely cetain was the line of a ROW) to Thorverton.

Most of the villages that we've passed through in Devon have been quite lovely, but Thorverton was a cut above.

The stream running down the side of the road, next to the stone cobbled pavements was picturesque, but then we reached the green just at noon which felt like a good time for a shoe-off break. The immaculately trimmed grass was very well endowed with benches which looked towards the wide stream in between two stone bridges. With the sun shining on us we could have stayed there much longer than the 20 minutes we allowed.

It was from Thorverton that we picked up the Exe Valley Way and enjoyed some stunning and far reaching views up and down the valley. Plenty of photos were taken and as I turned back to the direction of travel after snapping away at the view behind us I exclaimed "It's that house - even the car is beside it" (for anyone who doesn't know the significance I'll explain with picture and links when we get home).

Another break would have been nice before we reached Bickleigh; the sun was on us, we were getting hot and we'd tackled rather a long and sustained uphill section. However, Husband was out of water which was forcing us to ignore the protesting feet and carry on.

The pub on the way into Bickleigh appeared not a moment too soon and after a sojourn inside glugging lime and soda we crossed the road to a picnic site for a further stop for bread, cheese and melted chocolate. It made for a long lunch and that was welcome.

The afternoon session (which didn't start until after 3pm) was also alongside the Exe but this time with mud under our feet. It was quite an interesting walk, particularly when we left the main path and found oursevles clambering over and under fallen trees!

By the time we approached Tiverton the effects of 12 consecutive days of walking were showing. Red hot pokers were sticking through my feet and I was mightily glad to get to our destination.

Being in another B&B tonight (it's been a week with a lack of campsites) tea was had in a Thai. It seemed rather appropriate that the message in my fortune cookie told me "You are going to have a great adventure"!

I now sit here with tiredness upon me. However, tomorrow is a very easy day. 6.5 miles with neglible ascent. The other good news is that the worst of the lane walking is now behind us. From hereon canals and footpaths start to run in the right directions and we will take full advantage.

Warren's Farm

Each day when we reach our destination we look at our route for the following day and look at the accommodation plan for the next five or so days, in case there's anywhere that we need to phone.

A few days ago we saw that our planned campsite in Crediton had a question mark next to it.

A phone call confirmed that it did exist but also informed us that it didn't have any facilities. The thought of a 21.25 mile day without a hot shower at the end of it didn't greatly appeal, so I set Vic (who, along with my sister, is doing a sterling job of providing remote support) onto the challenge of finding us a B&B on our route and preferably a couple of miles before our intended destination.

She came up with Warren's Farm in Yeoford, and it turned out to be a place that deserves a post all of its own.

We arrived at this 400 year old cob-built long house yesterday afternoon with very weary feet. A very warm welcome awaited us and after showing us our vast room (huge bed, lots of antique furniture and like the rest of the house lots of character) Winnie, our host, invited us downstairs to the dining room for a cup of tea.

She appeared not only with a hug pot of tea, containing four cups apiece, but also with scones, jam and (to Husband's rapturous delight) clotted cream. Husband has been hankering after a cream tea since we set out, yet we never seem to hit cream tea vendors at appropriate times.

Having drunk the entire pot of tea and lapped up the scones we sank, with audible ooophs, into the very soft armchairs at our disposal.

A hot shower was followed by the thickest fluffiest towels known to man. We thought we'd landed in heaven, and yet it just kept getting better.

The local pub (once again a very nice pub with normal people in it; twice in one day!) was stumbling distance down the road and after food and ale we returned to our room and sank into the sumptuous bed.

I already knew by this point that this B&B was a real find and that I would have to rave about it - then it got even better again.

The other B&Bs in which we have stayed so far have started serving breakfast at 8am, but have obliged with our request for a slightly earlier 7.45 sitting. At Warren's breakfast is served from 6.30, which meant that we could be up at our usual time and out walking at a reasonable hour (a good thing with a 19 mile day ahead of us).

We walked into the dining room this morning to find a beautifully set table - but it wasn't that which made us go ooh. That was the roaring fire in the grate.

So we sat in front of the roaring fire, making our choice between the ten different cereals on offer before being given three different types of toast and our cooked breakfasts, including homemade hash browns and eggs from their own chickens.

And the cost for all of this? £30 each.

This isn't just a B&B that I would recommend that you use if you happen to be in Yeoford in need of accommodation. In this case I would recommend that you go out of your way to stay there. It would be a strange person who would be disappointed.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Day 11 - Sourton Downs to Yeoford

25 April
Distance: 18.5ish miles
No. of vaguely killeresque dogs: 1

Our campsite last night was situated within 100yds of the A30. For the purposes of traffic noise we may just as well have pitched the tent on the central reservation.

Perhaps it was surprising, given those circumstances, that the noise didn't bother me at all. I was asleep within thirty seconds of turning on my audio book (I did briefly wake to turn it off some time later) and was dead to the world until the alarm woke me at 6am.

I was one tired girl, and I set out this morning with heavy legs and many a yawn. It felt distinctly like a 'day 3' sort of a day, which was a bit unexpected on Day 11.

The first 3.5 miles of our day were not worthy of note. A traffic free ex-rly route was better than a road, and the flatness meant that we made good inroads into our mileage, but the tarmac was less than welcome. A slate shingle surface would have been a much happier situation.

At Okehampton we finally got some mud under our feet on woodland tracks, and a while later we started skirting the edge of Dartmoor on a very picturesque (and very muddy) riverside path. It was the most tenuous of tasters of Dartmoor but I liked what I saw. We must return and indulge in the rarity of lawful English wild-camping.

Leaving Dartmoor a quick detour was made to Sticklepath to remedy Husband's omission to put any water in his bladder before we left Sourton and whilst we were there we had tea and elevenses to supplement our first and second breakfasts.

More paths and tracks and plenty of ooohworthy houses (they like their thatch in these parts, don't they?) brought us to Spreyton where a lack of food in our packs made us happy to find that the pub marked on the map not only existed but was open. By how busy it was on a Friday lunchtime it seemed that we had fallen on our feet.

Talking of our feet, having walked over 12 miles before lunch with only a few brief stops (none of the shoe-off variety) our feet were feeling pounded and were protesting at the news that they still had 6 miles to go.

Beer, and sandwiches containing a good pound of cheese (in my case) and a pound of ham (in Mick's), plus the sit down revived us greatly and we continued on our way (all on lanes this afternoon) almost with a spring in our step.

The view down to Yeoford made 'last half mile syndrome' kick in good and proper and it was a relief to be able to sink into a comfy chair at our destination.

Without wanting to make it sound like we're now in pub-crawl mode, we're now sitting in another very fine pub (the Mare & Foal, I do believe it's called), supping yet more real ale.

("Do you have any vegetarian meals" I asked. "I'll ask the chef" replied the bar person. Next we hear the cry "Vegetarian? Vegetarian? Who would want something vegetarian?". The serving wench tried to have the chef lower his voice and pointed out that
there was a veggie in their midst. The locals are still talking loudly about the phenomenon although I note that I've started a rush on the hastily thought up veggie option.)

Thanks to the miracle of Gehrwol(sp?) Foot Cream, we're even feeling like we can tackle tomorrow's 19 miles.

(BTW: regarding my earlier post and just for the avoidance of doubt (mainly for the benefit of PT who will think that my standards have slipped), I do know that there is not a second 'e' in Messrs. Unfortunately using the method of blogging that I am I can't correct typos once I've made them.)

Day 11 - Lunchtime

Messers Tolhurst, Hartley and Sloman, to name but a few, would be pleased to be where I am right now.

I'm sitting at the bar in the Tom Cobley in Spreyton, where a startling selection of 19 ales is on offer.

For the first time in our walk we've found a really nice pub, where all of the people seem normal.

I have a pint of Bays Best in my hand and a sandwich on its way. The chap we've been chatting to is a Wolves fan.

Outside of the door is a very quaint village full of thatched cottages.

Add to that the factor of a splendid morning of walking, and I think that most would agree that it's a fine way to spend a day.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Day 10 - Launceston to Sourton Downs

24 April
Distance: about 18 miles
No. of killer dogs: 1 (although Husband claims it was friendly)

What a good day of walking!

It started on lanes, which led us to the River Tamar which was significant as it marks the boundary between Cornwall and Devon. A photo was duly taken (I'm sure we won't be so enthusiastic about other county borders) then we struck out across fields.

The morning was all fields and lanes as we followed the Two Castles Way, which thankfully turned out to be reasonably well waymarked. Waymarking hasn't been an issue until now (and shouldn't be from now either) as everywhere we find ourselves crossing farmland I have 1:25k maps which clearly show us where to go. For reasons unknown I omitted to print any for today.

Now, as many of you will already know, there's a chap called Daryl May who last year walked LEJOG and is currently walking JOGLE. You'll find his account over at I really wanted to catch up with Daryl as he passed by the Midlands and having missed him there really wanted to pass him on route. Today was the day when our paths crossed. Unfortunately, whereas we were on the Two Castles Trail, Daryl was on West Devon Drive and I wanted to walk along a road about as much as Daryl wanted to yomp across muddy fields.

There was just one point in the day when our paths could cross and it was a bit of a long-shot as it was about half way through our day but much earlier in Daryl's. Just as a heavy shower hit us (it was a day of sunshine and showers and at one point even hail) I spoke to Daryl briefly and learned that we had missed him by some margin. That was a real shame and made me think we should have taken the foot punishment of the road route (it would have been a lot shorter than our meandering route too).

As the day wore on we yearned for a pub, but luck was not with us. Both of those we passed (the first having the appearance of a real dive, the second being a glorious example of a thatched inn) were closed.

Variations to our planned route have become common as when we look at the route on paper (rather than on the computer screen on which I plotted it) better routes become obvious. So far those routes have been either the same distance as the original or longer, but definitely nicer. Today a far more sensible route jumped off the page at us that was not only shorter but also very pleasant indeed, including lots of nice paths and tracks through bird filled woodland and alongside babbling streams.

As we reached the edge of Dartmoor we took to the disused rly line, which involved crossing an impressive viaduct of which I would have taken a photo a mile previous had I realised we were to cross it.

The cycle route along the former rly line was a lovely setting. It was just a shame about the tarmac surface.

It led us to our campsite for the night where we were met with the nighmare scenario of the words 'fully booked for a caravan rally'. I duly batted my eyelids, smiled winsomely and said that we only needed a very small patch of grass whereupon we were offered the owner's front lawn or the grass in front of the 'campers BBQ area'. We chose the latter.

Even better our pitch is about 20 paces from a pub (another pub stuck in the 1970s) which has not only provided a passable glass of wine but also a table on which to type.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Briefly Online

After ten days without internet access, I've managed to find myself briefly on-line this afternoon - so I've been able to read all of your comments. Unfortunately I don't have time to respond to you all individually, but I do thank you all for those comments - it is nice to have some feedback!

I've also been able to see how much I've been writing. The Pocketmail is a fantastic device, but because of the size of the screen, I had no idea how much I'd been writing. The answer is: more than I thought! Just goes to show how easy it is to type on the device.

Day 9 - Five Lanes, Alturnun to Launceston

23 April
Distance: 9.5 miles
Number of killer dogs: 1 (a chocolate lab; shouldn't labs be friendly?)

The Kings Head (no apostrophe, apparently) Hotel in Five Lanes was quiet on a Tuesday night. We were the only guests and we were the only people eating there, although there were a few others propping up the bar.

It provided us with a comfy bed, a very large evening meal, a very large breakfast and the heating got our washing dry, so we were happy.

There was a change of plan for today. When we inspected the route I'd plotted (as we tend to do each night) we found that not only did it at one point (by necessity) follow three sides of a square but one of those sides was an A road. An A road for a couple of km is not a satisfactory place to be walking.

An alternative route was quite obvious once I looked (the benefit of looking at a map on paper rather than on a computer screen). Although it removed about a kilometer of fields and replaced them with tarmac, that tarmac was a very quiet lane that followed a green valley side, overlooking (where the hedgerows permitted) the sun drenched patchwork of more green fields variously containing cows, sheep and even goats (complete with very cute kids).

An early part of our route followed a little of the Inny Valley Way. It didn't appear to be a well trodden route (except by cows; they'd caused some interesting mud obstacles for us to overcome) but for the most part it was very well waymarked with well maintained stiles.

It was at the point where we left the Inny Valley Way that we spotted something just off the path. It turned out to be a Geocache, which of course begged for an inspection of its contents, having done which it seemed rude not to leave a little note in the book ourselves.

On arriving at the edge of Launceston at 1pm, almost at the end of our nice short day, my first priority was to find a post office. I've carried my redundant toe-eating shoes for long enough, so they were packaged up and mailed away, reducing the weight of my pack by 800g in the process (although some of that was promptly negated by the purchase of a copy of TGO magazine which will probably remain in my pack for a couple of days until I leave it somewhere for someone else to read).

And now we're at Rose Cottage B&B, a pleasant establishment in an elevated position looking down at Launceston. It's our second B&B in as many nights and due to a dearth of campsites hereabouts, there'll be two more later in the week. We'll be getting quite spoiled by these comfy beds and warm rooms!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Week 1 - Land's End to St Mabyn


One week gone and my goodness how fast it went. I've wondered whether time goes as fast when you're walking as it does when you're reading the daily account of someone else's adventure and the answer is that yes it does.

By way of a bit of a 'first week gear review':

Tent: Given how cold some of the nights have been, I think that we were right to bring Vera Voyager. Even she has struggled to cope with the low temperature and the lack of breeze on some nights.

Bushbuddy: Things started well with the Bushbuddy. We used it the first three days and were getting into quite a routine involving cups of tea and evening meals in one lighting. With the help of tinder paper I've really got to grips with lighting it too. Alas, then the wet weather started and it's just sat in my pack the last few days. Even if we found dry wood I don't fancy sitting outside in the rain to light a fire. As a result we've now used up our first canister of gas.

Shoes: In case I overstated the shoe situation the other day, I'm not on the point of disaster with the shoes yet. On day 1 left foot suddenly became too big for my Salomon's, which I've worn quite successfully for the last eight months. They'll be heading back home next time we pass an open post office. Fortunately I'm now liking the Roclites a lot. Fingers crossed that the heels last a few more miles yet.

Hair: loving the lack of hair. Contrary to what I said before, I may actually keep it this way.

Husband: He has a beard! The 40 day razor lies unused in his pack.

Other kit: Except for a few emergency/first aid items, everything in my pack has been used. Contrary to common practice of sending things home at this stage as unnecessary weight I have actually addd a couple of things to my pack. I'm happy on a short trip to use my MSR Kettley Thing as a mug, but with the Bushbuddy found that a separate mug was useful and more efficient, so a plastic mug has been added. A notepad was also found to be an omission which has now been rectified.

Day 8 - St Mabyn to Five Lanes, Altarnun

22 April
Distance: 16.1 miles
Number of killer ponies: 0

It's been a day of meeting nice people and crossing fantastic terrain.

The meeting nice people actually started last evening when Mary stopped at our tent to say that if we wanted any hot water for a drink then we only had to call at her chalet. With the day having been quite considerably wet there was little dry wood to be found for the Bushbuddy so in the interests of fuel conservation we took Mary up on her offer. Half an hour was spent chatting to her and her husband Ron and we may have stayed longer except that after 7 days spent out of doors it was just too hot for us in their chalet.

It was a few miles into this morning when we reached St Breward, which is currently battling to save its Post Office (where, in hindsight, I should have gone to sent my toe eating shoes home). Edibles were bought at the village store and per our practice we went just outside of the door to eat most of it (weight saving!) where we were joined by Christine from the shop who chatted to us for a good ten minutes until another customer called her away. With St Breward being on most people's LEJOG route, they see quite a few passing through.

Bodmin Moor was the next really notable point of the day, which is also where we met Janice and her friend whose name we either didn't learn or we forgot.

Bodmin is not a place to which I recall having been before and therefore I had no picture as to what it would be like. In fact, I don't think that I'd even guessed at a picture.

I was very pleasantly surprised with what we found, from the masses of (not scary) ponies to the terrain. With the sun shining down on us it was truly lovely.

We met Janice and companion just as we were all considering indulging in some trespass but were being put off by the big 'No Entry' and 'Private' signs. We ended up all taking the detour together around the edge of the not-access-land area and up the side of Brown Willy.

As you'll already know if my earlier post got through, lunch was taken atop the hill, and a goodly long break was had.

From the top of Brown Willy a bearing was taken and off we set in a straight line, detouring a little every now and then to avoid the worst of the bogs and to find better crossings of waterways until we met the road that would lead us to Five Lanes.

There we met a nameless lady who having passed us came back to ask to where we were headed today. Had it been further she would have come back with us to give us tea and cake at her house. As it went we were only half a mile from our destination so she continued on her way after a brief chat. She intends to do LEJOG soon, on a tandem with her husband.

For the first night in eight, we're now in a B&B, or to be more precise a pub. The good news is that our room is not en-suite and thus we have a bath at our disposal rather than just a shower - and lashings of hot water. Big grin.

A huge meal has been eaten (got to keep the weight up) and some wine is washing it down nicely.

Day 8 - Lunchtime

I'm sitting on top of Brown Willy, the high point of Cornwall. The sun is shining down. The wind is still. The superb views and rugged surrounding stretching out around us made the detour to the top worthwhile.

A fine place for a lunchbreak indeed.

Monday, 21 April 2008

The missing Day 4: Garras to Carnon Downs

(sorry, this post took a bit of a detour. Vic)

18 April
Distance: 17 miles
No. of Killer Dogs: 2
No. of Killer Horses: 1

As we set out from the campsite just outside of Garras at 7.35 this morning (having used the Utility Room at the campsite as our Breakfast Room) I was wearing my merino longsleeved top, my windshirt and my waterproof. On my hands were my gloves and on my head was my beanie.

The wind of the previous two days was still with us, but in place of the blue skies was a greyness with passing showers which promised to turn to sustained rain later.

By an hour in I had added my overmitts in an effort to get some feeling back in my hands. Half an hour later the waterproof trousers were added too. My hat was supplemented by both the hood of my windproof and the hood of my jacket. The rain had started and it was cold. I yearned for my winter Paramo attire.

The morning started along lanes, with the classic banks and hedgerows at the edges, housing flora and fauna galore (if only I was more familiar with wild plants). I hadn't realised until this week that those hedgerow topped banks had stone walls as their basis (but then this is the first time that I've been in Cornwall for 16 years, so I've not really had cause to contemplate the subject). The bonus of being on the lanes was that the banks were acting as excellent windbreaks, protecting us from the wind we could hear howling above our heads.

Striking off across country late in the morning we were well and truly into the rolling Cornish farmland, where a lack of waymarking and a lack of trodden paths tested our navigation (a test that I'm happy to say that we passed today).

With hunger gnawing away at me I desperately wanted to stop for lunch, the problem being that with the rain lashing at us such a stop would be more uncomfortable than the hunger.

Having negotiated some cows and a quagmire, it was like a gift to enter the next field to see in its top cover a corrugated roof. The shelter wasn't big and it had no walls, but it was protected by banks on two sides. It had appeared exactly when we needed it.

Stopping for lunch solved the problem of hunger but created a different one. I got cold within moments. Not just a bit chilly but shaking uncontrollably cold. Out came the down jacket and the stove for a hot drink.

I left the down on as we set off again, adding it to my other eighty layers. I looked fit for an arctic expedition, never mind just a stroll through some fields! I did finally warm back up, but it took a while.

More fields brought us to more lanes and a couple of villages. It was as we passed through (hmm, can't remember the name and sitting in a pub as I am right now I don't have a map to hand) one of them I spotted a pub.

Fortunately we had caught it just before it shut after lunch. Unfortunately we only just caught it before it shut after lunch, so our sojourn in its warm interior chatting to the landlord (he sees a lot of LEJOG cyclists passing through) was short-lived.

Still, it was only two miles from there (uphill, why do our days always end up a hill?) to our campsite, where to our relief we found not only that our food parcel had arrived but also that there was a pub across the road.

The £15 charge for two backpackers nearly made me cry 'how much?', but the facilities are first class - and heated :-) Of course, I've had to make sure that we get our monies worth so we each spent about a week and a half in the hot, powerful showers.

Despite the adverse conditions, we still had a very enjoyable day (singing songs from Chitty Chitty as we went). It's a very short day tomorrow. A lie in - bliss!

Day 7 - St Columb Major to St Mabyn

21 April
Distance: 16.5 miles
Number of killer dogs: 1
Number of camels: 0

We were offered a lift this morning. A chap with a very strange conveyance stopped us to make the offer. In chatting it turned out that his name was Noah and that he was only able to offer us a lift because we were a twosome. I believe that his exact words were 'Backpackers come in two by two, between the killer dogs and the cows going moo'.

Given our mission, we declined the lift and stayed out in the rain: the rain that started before we crawled out of our sleeping bags and showed no sign of letting up at any point during the walk.

Unfortunately it seems that the killer dogs also declined Noah's kind offer. Instead they made for a farm on our route where they lay in wait to chase us up the lane, snarling and snapping with teeth bared.

Quiet rainy lanes (which, when I glanced out of my world of Underhood afforded good but curtailed views of the rolling green countryside) led us to the River Camel and, more to our interest, the Camel Trail. It's a 17 mile long trail that takes the route of a disused railway, and follows the River Camel.

We were only on the trail for a couple of miles, if that, but the grit surface gave a pleasant change from tarmac and the freedom from needing to listen out for cars allowed us to appreciate the bird song in the splendid natural woodland.

Having not stopped all morning (as much as we longed for a convenient bus shelter or similar to appear, none did) we were storming towards our destination for the day when I noticed a 'PH' on the map - exactly on our route. I've not had an alcoholic beverage in a week now. A pint of beer and a real fire was calling my name.

All looked like it was going to rats when there was no evidence of the footpath we needed to get us to the pub and no obvious way to even follow its line.

There was an alternative route. It did involve significant trespass and a little bit of clambering, not to mention an extra half a mile, but it took us back to the road on which the pub lay.

And so I sit here at 1pm in the Slades House Country Inn, Sladesbridge (whose decor and music collection was last updated in about 1972), with a pint at my side and with just 5km or so left to walk this afternoon (provided that the campsite exists and will allow us to stay).

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Day 6 - Shortlanesend to St Columb Major

20 April
Distance: 16 miles

Had I put any thought into the matter, when we got back from Truro yesterday afternoon, I would have taken advantage of the campsite facilities. I could have washed my trousers that I covered with soot from the Bushbuddy on day 1 and then used the spin drier and tumble drier to make sure that I wasn't left with wet clothes for today.

What I actually did was to lounge around in my sleeping bag. It was half past eight before I thought that it would be a good idea to at least go and throw all of the wet stuff into the tumble drier.

So, today I started out again in dirty trousers and a smelly top, but at least I had dry socks and a dry towel. I'm sure the other things can wait until our first B&B in a couple of days time.

All was quiet as we walked through Shortlanesend this morning - hardly surprising at 7.30 on a Sunday and it remained quiet as we wandered down to Idless and into the Forestry Commission owned Idless Woods. It was to be our only real off-road walk all day, and jolly pleasant it was too, particularly when the sun won over the high cloud and started weakly shining down on us, at least at intervals.

More roads saw us cross the A30, following its verge for 100 yards. My goodness, all of those cars seemed in a rush, no doubt covering in five minutes the same distance as we had covered so far today.

With fine views of the rolling countryside, then over Newquay and latterly over Indian Queens our route took us through St Newlyn East and White Cross (in between which we spotted an albino pheasant) to the outskirts of St Columb Major where our campsite lay. We must have kept a good pace going as we arrived at 2pm having made short work of the 16 miles.

The very welcome word we heard as we checked into the campsite was 'bathroom'. £1 bought us enough hot water to fill the bath and although it was a small tub, we managed to squeeze in (Husband got the taps, naturally). There we soaked for an absurdly long time until our fingers and toes resembled prunes.

We've a lot of road noise here and we seem to be right under the flight path of Newquay airport, but all of that noise has been repeatedly drowned out over the last few hours by some impressively heavy rain showers. I'm glad we weren't walking when they hit.

The bad news of today is that my two-shoe strategy is falling apart (literally). My Salomon's (in which I've backpacked before without incident) have started hurting my left little toe a lot. The Roclites are not causing any bits of my feet to drop off, but it looks like they're going the same way as my Terroc's did. With only just over 100 miles on them the inside of the heel is starting to hole. With the prospect of finding myself by the end of next week with no comfortable shoes, I'm starting to fret.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Day 5 - Carnon Downs to Shortlanesend

19 April
Distance: 6.1 miles
Number of llama seen: 2 (not killer variety)

It was a lazy day. We had an indulgent lie in and then an unnecessary and very indulgent second shower in the heated facilities, taking our time so as to allow the wet clothes we'd spread over the radiators the chance to dry a little. I even took the opportunity to use the complimentary hairdrier to dry my half inch locks.

To pack away Husband trotted off to the warmth and dryness of the shower block giving me the whole of the tent to sort myself off. He'd been gone quite a while when I got to the point of taking the tent down. It turned out that he'd been chatting to a chap who'd once cycled LEJOG and had some camping tales to tell. He returned just as I was half way through the depitching, with another donation for the Macmillan pot from said LEJOG cyclist.

Packed away we didn't set off on our route but rather returned to the pub (an unknown chain whose branches all look identical) for breakfast and many cups of tea. Wet gloves were spread on their radiators but we refrained from adorning the breakfast area with our pants and socks too!

With it knocking on for 11am we ventured back out into the rain. It was to be another day when the rain didn't let up at all, but fortunately the wind had dropped to a sensible level and that made all the difference.

There's not much to say about the walk. Save for the last half a mile, it was all on tarmac and the day being so grey there were no views to be had.

Our spirits were not dampened, however. We still sang our way along parts of the lanes (for anyone who has ever had the misfortune of hearing my singing voice let me assure you that there was no-one around to hear).

Arriving at our campsite within 2.5 hours of setting out, we had the tent up in record time (the rain hurried us along). Within fifteen minutes of arriving we were back walking the way we had come, this time without packs and destined for the village of Shortlanesend to catch a bus to Truro.

So, the afternoon was spent looking at the cathedral, looking for a canister of gas (Campingaz, easy to find; screw canister, not so easy), and drinking pots of tea and eating pasties and cakes in a little cafe. It was a fine way to spend an afternoon off.

Back to full mileage tomorrow. There's only one part of my body that hurts after the first five days and that's the little toe on my left foot. I'm hoping that it stops feeling like it may drop off overnight so as not to hamper the next few days...

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Day 3 - Prendannack to just before Garras, via Lizard

17 April
Distance: 15.5 miles
No. of killer cows: one entire herd

The day did not start entirely well. Not only did we take an age to pack away, but I'd got something awry with my pack and couldn't get it comfortable.

Even so we were walking by quarter to eight and were soon back on the coast path, under clear blue skies once again and enjoying yet more stunning scenery.

The distance to Lizard wasn't great, only about five miles, and the terrain was perfectly easy walking - reasonably flat with good conditions underfoot.

How then did it take us the best part of two and three quarter hours to cover those five miles?

The wind. It was strong and at all times either head on or buffetting us from the side making us stagger all over the cliffs. My, it was a bit nippy too!

I was jolly glad to see Lizard come into view, and we even managed to battle the wind to take a self-photo at the most southerly point. Once I'd run down to the beach and back, to dip my feet in the sea, we headed straight for the nearest cafe.

Here, as people staggered in asking whether it was always this windy ('no' was the answer), I unpacked my bag all over the floor and packed it again in a more satisfactory way (it was all to do with the thermarest in the back-pad pocket).

Protected for a while by hedgerows, we then made our way north - a satisfactory direction to be heading, given our objective.

The find of Anne's Famous Pasty shop was timed just right. It was just what I was hankering after and I was even more pleased to find that they sold meatless Cornish pasties, which saved me having to pick the meat out!

We were then on to footpaths across farmland and we managed to negotiate them without mishap. There was the one hairy incident, involving me leaping over a gate rather than pausing to open it, but that was due to a large and rather frisky herd of Fresians which decided to stampede us.

The one bit of route for which I was working on a 'crossed fingers' basis was the area of apparent nothingness just west of Goonhilly Downs. I was banking on being able to trespass beyond the access land, find a way through the wind far and reach a road beyond.

Knowingly trespassing always makes me nervous. I always expect the land owner to come running, waving his shotgun and shouting 'gerroff my land'. Today facing that fear seemed the better alternative than the road based diversion that would be required.

From the map it looked like we should be able to find a way through, but of course what you can't tell from the map is what the going is like. My plotted straight-line route was perhaps rather overly optimistic!

It was very nice underfoot in the main, with only a few areas of bog and long grass. The foray into prickliness was foolihardy and shortlived, but then we found ourselves hemmed in by barbed wire fences and impassable woodland.

Due to distances, I didn't consider backtracking to be an option, so poring over the map I came up with plan B. It added on some distance, involved a bit of undergrowth and meandered a little, but it worked.

Nobody challenged us, but I was still very pleased to be back on access land and more pleased still to have reached the required road.

We were early to our campsite today - 16.15 compared to yesterday's 17.30 (and we had a long lunch today too), which made the whole set of camp chores much more relaxed than the previous two days of racing against darkness. Incidentally, we've managed to use the Bushbuddy each day so far - notwithstanding the strong winds (and that tinder paper stuff is the business!).

The excellent news of the day is that I've realised that there was a typo on the schedule and tomorrow is only 17 miles, not 18.8. After 50 miles in three days, that was a welcome find.

Day 2 - Other thoughts

With the sun sinking last night and with great tiredness upon me there were a few things I didn't mention in last night's post (actually there was lots that I didn't mention but I have to be a little restrained!), so I'm just going to jot down a few details piecemeal:

We woke up yesterday morning to a frost. It had certainly felt a bit nippy in the night, but I'm pleased to say that the phd Minimus 300 sleeping bag did its job admirably.

The blue skies may have looked the same as the day before, but the difference on this day was the easterly wind. Rather than Tuesday's walk in shirtsleeves and a sunhat, this was weather for a beanie, gloves and windproof - although it was jolly warm on the three occasions that we got out of the wind.

On the stunning coast path (if the whole walk is to be like this I will run out of superlatives) not only did we have the natural scenery to enjoy but also the remains of three old tin mines, which are fantastic, interesting structures. I certainly wouldn't have fancied working on the construction of the chimenys being, as they were, so close to the cliffs.

Later a cliff was adorned with long-ago rusted up winches. What purpose they had formerly served was not evident.

At a couple of places the path crossed sandy beaches. Good for shaping the ankles but hard going with the weight of the pack.

When finally we got to our campsite after more miles than intended we got to talk gear, Scotland, TGO Challenge and a host of other subjects with the warden before he told us that we were welcome to help ourselves to water then go and wild camp up on the cliffs. Given the strong winds and the distance we had already covered we opted to stay put.

All was well until about 9.30pm just as we were retiring, at which point a helicopter started circling around us. We bemoaned its noise at length, but then both managed to fall asleep regardless.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Day 2 - Marazion to Predannack

16 April
Distance: 18 miles (allegedly)
Number of killer dogs: 0

Today was a day of two parts.
The morning section to Porthleven:
In an uncharacteristic display of organisation we were up, showered, breakfasted and away walking by 7.30, soon finding ourselves on the coastal path where we were to stay for most of the day.

Whereas yesterday our experience of the coast path had been towns and concrete, today it was 'coastal path proper'. And mighty fine it was too under the clear blue skies. The wind had got up, mind and it was an easterly, which isn't the best news when your day is heading generally east.

Drinking in the views and oohing and aahing often, we passed a few coves and then found ourselves at Praa Sands, rather later than expected as it had felt like we'd been keeping a reasonable pace going.

Having met hardly anyone all day we arrived in Porthleven at about lunchtime (that being 12.45 today) and after stocking up at a conveniently placed supermarket we sat on the harbour for half an hour lapping up the sustenance.

The afternoon:
The problem with the afternoon was that I was tired by the time we reached Porthleven.

Months ago I had commented that I was concerned about the length of three of our first four days, and it turned out that I was right to be concerned about today.

Yesterday's 17 miles had been easy. There was no testing terrain. Today, however, we were on the coast proper with all of its many undulations. Plus there are so many wiggles in the path that I'm sure that the route is actually a lot longer than the map measurer will tell you. The undulations and wiggles should not be underestimated!

With my body protesting I dragged myself back up after lunch, not relishing the thought of another 7 or 8 miles.

However, despite the mind screaming at me to stop, I was not miserable. For how could one be so when there are such views to be had and such geology to be seen?

Finally my legs won over my mind and convinced it that it could go the distance. Alas that was at the point where we misplaced the coast path, with just a mile or so to our destination (how, I ask you? It seems so simple: keep the sea on your right). The result was an extra kilometre or so walked and a detour along tarmac. It was nearly enough to make me whinge a bit.

We made it, however, and at our campsite found the warden to be a chap who is doing the TGO challenge for the first time next month and an advocate of wild camping. That will have to be a tale for another day though as I seem to have lost the light for today, which must mean that it's time to rest up for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Day 1 - Land's End to Marazion

15 April
Distance: 17 miles
Number of killer dogs encountered: 0

I did not have a good night's sleep. The nervous excitement that I had been expecting to keep me awake throughout the past week finally snuck up on me.

Fortunately, the lack of sleep was in no way a reflection on our B&B. Our room was very well presented and immaculate. The bathroom was vast and we had at our disposal everything we could possibly want including a sumptuously comfortable bed. If you find yourself in the vicinity of Land's End and in need of a bed then I heartily recommend Weavers.

It was 9am by the time we had breakfasted, I had resolved an emergency sewing requirement on my trousers (and we'd not even set foot on the trail!), had done photos at Land's End (no signpost man in attendance at that hour), signed the End to End book and set out.

We bade farewell to Noelle, the Macmillan fundraising manager who kindly came to take photos and wave us off, and off we went.

All was going well, we had followed lanes and located our first footpath without a hitch. Then we rounded a corner and in front of us the track became a large pool of water for maybe twenty yards. We fannied around the edges for the while, but the water went right up to the walls and hedgerows. There was only one thing for it. Husband rolled up his trousers and went first. I saw it as a good opportunity to test the Sealskinz so had a quick change and soon followed.

With liberally mud covered shoes and socks we continued, not long after finding ourselves faced with a crossing of a wide stream. Now I expected to have to ford water obstacles once we get to Scotland, but I confess that I didn't expect it on day one in Cornwall!

Having heard many warnings about the state of Cornish footpath upkeep it was inevitable that we would meet problems. Crop fields and a missing stile started it and we would have missed the line of one footpath whilst searching for a way over a hedgerow if it hadn't been for some chap who had walked it before us leaving his footprints in the furrowed field we were trying to enter. Those prints led us to a way to scramble over a wall and we were away again to face more and more varied navigational challenges.

Of course, when we finally did the inevitable and made a navigational faux pas, it was in a really easy place on a very obvious path.

Lanes and fields eventually led us back to the coast, first through Newlyn then Penzance. The views were magnificent, but they weren't enough to distract my mind wholly. By the time we reached Penzance I was beginning to feel like I'd walked far enough for one day.

A mental slap sorted me out and with the uninterrupted view of St Michael's Mount and sandy beaches to distract from the fact that we were walking on concrete, we reached first Marazion then our campsite for the night, eight hours after setting off.

And the weather? One cloud obscured the sun for about 2 minutes when we stopped for lunch. At all other times the sun beat down allowing us to walk in shirtsleeves. Heaven.

They're off!

Mick and Gayle at Land's End this morning.
Honestly, it is Land's End. The sign gets taken down overnight and not replaced until 10am.

Thanks to Noelle Wilton from Macmillan Cornwall for the photo.

Monday, 14 April 2008

A Day of Travel

I like train travel. Especially when, like today, it goes entirely to plan.

A book was read, a newspaper browsed, scenery was admired and by and by we reached Plymouth for an hour wait for our connection.

The Penzance train was busy and we'd only just boarded when a nice lady rushed over and thrust a five pound note into Husband's hand. She had seen the promotional panel on the back of our rucksacks and so we came by our first donation to Macmillan given by someone met en-route.

Another hour waiting for a bus in Penzance gave us time to take a quick walk around the town, as when we arrive there on foot tomorrow we will just be passing through.

The bus journey to Land's End I would describe as interesting. Some of those lanes are very narrow indeed. About the width of a double decker bus in fact, which is precisely what we were on.

Having reached the B&B some ten and a half hours after leaving home, how did we choose to spend our last night before the off? Resting up? Nope. For some reason we thought it a good plan to walk a few miles to a pub in Sennen Cove.

In the process we could, technically, claim to have started our walk. We have been to the start point and we have walked the first little bit of our route. It wouldn't technically be cheating to step out of the B&B tomorrow and turn right instead of left.

But of course that is not what we will do. It would feel entirely wrong. We will get up in the morning, return to Land's End and start properly with our packs on.

And if the weather is anywhere near as good as today's, it promises to be a mighty fine first day.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


Our bags are packed.

The spare kit and food parcels have been handed over to our Logistics Manager (my sister).

Taking care of the Blog (primarily removing the annoying Pocketmail footer and updating the progress graphic) has been handed over to my friend Vic (who has promised not to post any photos of me with dodgy perms or the like in my absence).

We’re all ready to go first thing in the morning, from when we will spend the whole day wending our way down to Land’s End on trains and a bus.

The final pack weights (including some food and with 2 litres of water each) are 10.4kg for me and 11.4kg for Husband. I did offer to carry something for him but he chivalrously declined.

There were a few final tweaks of my kit, mainly to trim a bit of weight, but nothing particularly worthy of mention. The final backpack decision for me was the OMM Villain. For shoes I’m going with both the XA Pro and the Roclites. I’m hoping to gain confidence in one pair or the other pretty quickly and send the other home.

For a tent we’re starting out with the Voyager. The Voyager will be swapped for Wendy* when we reach Monmouth and will stay with us until at least Whitchurch. Husband’s rather hoping that we’ve come to decide during that period that Wendy is suitable to continue with us, as she saves him the best part of a kilo off his pack weight.

And so now it’s time for all those months of planning to be put into practice, but before then fingers are crossed that all of our transport runs smoothly tomorrow…

The Final Piece of LEJOG Kit

I got my hands on my final piece of LEJOG kit today. It is my very own LT5 Tilley Hat.

Husband’s had his for a couple of years now and whilst I’ve been getting burnt ears and suffering from my baseball cap being blown off in the wind, his fair skin has been well protected and his chin-strap has stood up to hat-stealing gusts. He’s even smug about the rain protection that it offers (potential to use glasses more than contact lenses, I ask myself?).

Even with the ‘his and hers matching’ issue, I’ve been lusting after my own Tilley for a while. It was the shearing of the hair that was the deciding factor; my neck was demanding protection. Tilley Endurables even helped me along with the purchase when they kindly gave me a very favourable price.

There are some items of kit that I have to use for quite a while to finally decide whether I like them or not. I just know that this is going to be an item that I’m going to like from the outset.

(Oh, and I did go for a different model and colour from Husband so as to reduce the ‘his & hers-ness’ a little bit).

Friday, 11 April 2008

An Unexpected Letter

I got home today to find a House of Commons envelope on my front door mat. That could only mean one thing: a response to the letter I sent to my MP regarding the wild camping issue.

I sent my letter on 28 January. The response was dated 7 April. It took a while, but at least I have a response.

As well as apologising for the delay, my MP reports that she has raised the issue with Jonathan Shaw MP at DEFRA to ask him if the government has any plans to bring England into line with Scotland in this matter.

She provided me with a copy of her letter to Jonathan Shaw, in which she does point out that the current position between the two countries is inconsistent.

I expect that the next response, if one is forthcoming, will be predictable (‘oh yes, but Scotland is different’), but let’s wait and see.

Whilst waiting for this response the number of names on the petition has risen from a couple of hundred to over a thousand. If yours isn’t on there and you’re eligible to sign, please consider adding your name. You’ll find the petition here.

Sunshine or Showers?

Whenever I’ve pictured us setting off from Land’s End my mind has had the day as being grey and wet. As much as everyone is wishing us good weather for the trip, I don’t think that we can realistically hope for three months of fineness* and my inbuilt pessimism has had me assume that we’ll start in a downpour.

Looking at the weather forecast for next week is a pointless exercise. The weather will be what the weather will be and it will have absolutely no bearing on our plans. If it’s torrential rain we will set out in it the same as if it was blazing sunshine (granted, the outer layers may differ a little). Moreover, I never trust a forecast given more than a couple of days in advance.

However, Husband couldn’t resist a peek at Metcheck’s predictions and what he found was a pleasant read. Tuesday and Wednesday will allegedly involve sunniness and a lack of rain.

I’ll gloss over the longer range forecast for the rest of next week and into the week after and focus on the good.

(*and if we did have a freak dry spell then it could cause drinking water problems, so call me fussy, but I’d like it dry, warm and overcast in the day and a bit rainy at night).

Thursday, 10 April 2008

...Gone Tomorrow

I’ve never before met a hairdresser who was genuinely excited to be cutting my hair*.

I’ve never before left a hairdresser with more money than I went in with.

Both happened today.

The barber in question is Blades in Burton-on-Trent, who very kindly offered not only to cut my hair for free, but also volunteered a donation to Macmillan.

There was none of the usual faffing with having my hair washed (I really can’t abide the massage thing that hair-washers will do, so that was a bonus), it was straight into a cape and into the chair.

The first snip took off my pony tail.

Then out came the shears.

This morning my hair was 12 inches long. It’s now half an inch long.

As promised, here are the before and afters:

This morning:



And an after caught mid-laugh (Husband had just said something very rude!)

A few people have been quite distressed at the thought of my hair going. To those people, please be assured (and I cannot stress this enough): it will grow back!

(*She’s apparently never had the experience of taking the clippers to a woman's foot long hair before!)

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Hair Today...

For many a year now I’ve worn my hair long. It’s not a vanity thing, it’s laziness; to wear my hair long means that I can tie it back and not have to mess about with hair driers and styling. It also means that I can get away with going for months without a visit to the hairdresser (I’m not a girl that enjoys a trip to the hairdresser).

Whilst long hair is fine for sitting in an office, I find it far less than practical when walking. For one thing, it’s constantly in my face. “Tie it back” is the oft-given advice, but my hair has an escapist attitude. I can tie it back and put a buff over most of it and strands will still escape to try to blind me on a hill-top.

Then there’s the way it manages to tie itself in almost unfathomable knots when it’s whipped about by the wind.

Then there’s the practicality of washing long hair in campsite showers. The more hair there is the more water it will hold and the more water it will drip over you as you try to get dry. It demands a towel all of its own and that’s just extra weight.

Then there’s the quantity of shampoo needed to wash it and the time it takes to dry.

So, to my mind, it’s not practical for me to have long hair and to walk for three months.

Tomorrow I will be visiting the barber. Before and after photos will follow.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

LEJOG Countdown

One week today.

Really bouncing-up-and-down excited now.

New Trousers

Husband had been umming and ahhhing over whether to take one pair of trousers or two.

He’ll definitely be taking his Montane Terra Converts, but was still undecided as to whether to also take his Terra Pants. The weight penalty was 255g, but he wasn’t happy to go with only one pair of trousers (personally, I am going with just one pair; if that pair is being washed and dried and I need to go out then I’ll just have to look silly and wear my waterproofs).

Last week Montane Featherlite Pants were mentioned to him. The postman delivered them today (top marks to Hike-Lite as they were ordered yesterday and arrived today; fewer marks for the postman who didn’t even think to knock on the door to see if we were in, but at least he left them in the shed).

Admittedly, they’ll never win a fashion parade and at a glance it does look like he’s wearing shell-suit bottoms, but they give that extra pair of emergency trousers whilst only weighing 115g.

His starting trouser position is now decided. He starts with the Converts and the Featherlites. If he finds it unsatisfactory then he has the option of getting the Terra Pants forwarded on.

More Random Thoughts

As well as separating out the food into resupply parcels, we’ve been doing the same exercise with the maps. It caused a fraught half an hour. I was busy checking as best I could via the interweb that all of the campsites I’ve planned to use still exist and so asked Husband to sort through the maps.

I am intimately familiar with our route. Husband is not. That led to lots of questioning of my methods and theories.

He didn’t quite concur with my ‘it’s in my head’ methods. He also didn’t quite concur with my apparently random map numbering technique (which involved me numbering only a very few of the maps, with the numbers tying up with the days on the itinerary, rather than numbering them sequentially).

The maps are now numbered sequentially. They are split into four separate piles. The last set of maps (which we pick up in Hebden Bridge) is quite hefty so we may decide to split that batch into two – the only concern being entrusting maps into the hands of Royal Mail. We really can’t be doing with maps going astray.

Sore Shoulder
It’s like ‘last half mile syndrome’ (the syndrome where you don’t hurt at all until you realise that you’re only half a mile from your destination, then you relax and that last half mile becomes painful and/or difficult; the length of the walk has little bearing on this syndrome, it’s entirely related to the closeness of the finish) – yesterday I got a bit of a sore knot in my left trapezoid muscle.

Ordinarily it’s not something that I would bat and eyelid at. I would think ‘that’s a bit sore’ then move on. I’m sure that it will be fine in a day or two.

The proximity of our walk makes such little trifles seem much bigger. I’m not at the point of obsessing about it yet, but I am questioning whether it could be the new pack that has caused it.

Simple Little Things That Are Just Genius
Admittedly it has been said that I have the ability to get very enthusiastic about the simplest and most ordinary of things. The object of this burst of enthusiasm is incredibly simple and apparently mundane, but is so exactly what I needed that I think that it’s justified that I’m rather pleased with it (or maybe it just shows how sad I am?).

Whilst visiting Backpackinglight last week, in the process of taking all of my kit out of one backpack and putting it in the next, Bob noticed that I was juggling with the kitchen kit. The problem I have is that the Bushbuddy doesn’t quite fit inside of the MSR Kettley Thing, so the lid ends up balancing on the top. The lid then falls off each time I take it out of/put it into the sack. I then try to balance the gas canister on top of that.

“Hang on a moment” said Bob and disappeared. He came back with a stuff-sack – but not just any stuff-sack. This is a stuff-sack that Bob has commissioned to be the exact right size to hold an MSR Kettley Thing encased in a pot cosy, containing a Bushbuddy and with a gas canister balanced on top. The circumference is exactly what it should be, so there’s no potential for the items to slop around inside.

I don’t believe that he’s selling these yet, but if you use a MSR Kettley Thing based cooking system, then I recommend them once he does start stocking them.

Talking of Stuff Sacks
A knock on the door, a parcel is handed over, more last minute bits of kit are received.

I’ve never been a multiple stuff-sacks sort of a person – I’m far more disorganised in my packing technique (or maybe I just don’t usually carry lots of little things?). I even raised an eyebrow when I saw Peewiglet’s pack contents for her C2C trip last year as she is right at the opposite end of the spectrum, keeping everything very organised in separate bags.

I have finally seen the light. I’m suddenly likely organisation very much indeed – even at the cost of a few extra grammes. This morning’s parcel included lightweight stuff sacks.

It also included another batch of socks to bring my sock stores up to an acceptable level.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Random Thoughts

Last Walk
Saturday saw us take our final preparatory walk. It was 11.5 miles over Cannock Chase with full packs on and it served to check out a couple of things that I’ve been toying with.

The weather gave us a bit of everything. For the first three hours it was goodly warm sunshine interspersed by occasional snowy flurries, during which the temperature dropped (jacket on, jacket off, repeat). Then a big dark cloud came in, the wind picked up and the temperature turned arctic.

Talking of arctic:
One week today we will arrive at Land’s End. It will then be the middle of April which, to my mind, is a time of year when there may still be the occasional frosty night but in the main the weather will be warm.

So, to wake up to a blanket of snow yesterday morning gave us more to think about than the usual ‘oh isn’t it pretty’. This morning we awoke to a frost. My sleeping bag is not going to keep me warm in wintry weather (and I did research average temperatures in various regions of the country before I bought the new bag). My fingers are well and truly crossed for spring winning the weather battle at some point in the next seven days.

Montane Featherlite Smock
In the slightly inclement and rather cool weather on Saturday I decided that it would be a good test of the feasibility of taking the Featherlite Smock in place of the Paramo Fuera. The Fuera is lovely, very comfortable and of a reassuring weight. It has the weight of, and is as comfortable as, a sweater and therefore it kids me into thinking that it is as warm as a sweater.

The Featherlite wins on weight but doesn’t have that sweater-like comfort factor.

However, I was once again surprised. Even when the temperature plummeted, with the Featherlite under the waterproof (and over a long sleeved baselayer) I was warm enough. I wouldn’t have wanted to sit around in that combination, but then that’s why I have the down jacket. The Featherlite may yet beat the Fuera into the kit list (the other option is that it joins me in May, by which time I’m hoping that the weather may be approaching summery).

Our walk on Saturday saw me test out the OMM Villain. It had its first outing on the Malvern Hills, but as that was only a few miles I couldn’t really class it as a valid test on which to base a LEJOG-Pack decision.

The result of Saturday’s outing was that the Villain was declared to be more comfortable than the Aura. I even went so far as to opine that it was the pack that I would be taking with me next week, albeit with the disclaimer that I am female and therefore I do have the right to change my mind without warning or good reason.

I’ve mentioned before that the problem I have with my Salomon XA Pro shoes is that one of the lace anchor points puts pressure on my foot. It’s a pity as except for that one square centimetre on my left foot they’re very comfortable. I have in the past tried various things to relieve the pressure including taping a piece of cotton wool to my foot and a Compeed Plister (sic), both of which worked with reasonable success (but in the latter case an expensive way of making a pair of shoes comfortable).

Whilst browsing Superdrug on Friday, for the purposes of restocking the first aid kit, I came across self-adhesive chiropody felt.

I tried it out on Saturday and it was very promising. Even walking down steep, rough slopes I felt no pain from the usual pressure point.

As much as I’d like to have a pair of lightweight shoes that fit me properly without having to stick things onto my foot, I’ve been failing on that score for a long time now. This looks like a good compromise solution that will make the shoes comfortable.

Another Big Thank You

On Friday last week, having met our initial fundraising target, we raised the bar to £3000.

Just three days later I’m thoroughly gob-smacked to say that we’re now so close to the new target that we’ve raised it again. This time we’re aiming for £3,500.

A huge thank you in particular goes to the employees of Data Systems & Solutions and of Ultra Electronics PMES. Both offices were subjected to us going desk-to-desk with the big green collecting bucket and gave generously. The result was another £423 to Macmillan (plus even more donations via the website).

Thank you, thank you and thank you once more.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Pre-LEJOG Accommodation

This morning I thought that I’d quickly check the bus times to get us from Penzance to Land’s End next week. A two minute task, I thought.

Except that bus times weren’t quite working out, so I thought that it would be better to get ourselves to somewhere in the vicinity of Land’s End the night before.

The first B&B that we tried (oh yes, I win and get a real bed the night before we set out!) was already booked. That was a shame as it’s the nearest to Land’s End and would only have added a negligible few minutes onto our first day.

They were, however, able to give us details of another,
just up the road. That one came up trumps.

I’ve no idea why I didn’t sort all of this out at the same time as I booked the train tickets (for it would certainly have had a bearing on the time of train that I chose), but at least it’s sorted now.

Then the question arose as to whether we start the walk on the Monday evening rather than Tuesday morning, walking as far as the B&B, which would give us a first day of … a whole two thirds of a mile!

Even though it wouldn’t be cheating in any way, it just doesn’t feel like it would be right. So, we will instead add 0.66 miles onto our first day (unless, by chance, someone offers us a lift from the B&B to Land’s End).

Another task off the to-do list.


I am absolutely fed up of cooking three extra meals each day that I’m home. I’m likewise fed up of doing the dehydrating bit, particularly when poor time management has seen me dragging myself out of bed in the middle of the night to tend to the drying process.

With time running low, we thought yesterday that it was time to take stock. All of the meals were laid out across the floor in neat lines, which were then sorted into date order to make sure that we eat the oldest first.

The reality on the floor was then compared to the records, at which point we found that reality didn’t match the spreadsheet (see Alan, I’m not that precise with my records!). There was the mystery of the missing six batches of chilli (since found) and I must have forgotten to add some of the pasta sauces into the records, so some weeks we’ll be eating pasta more than once.

The outcome of that exercise was to confirm that we now have 98 meals prepared. It’s not quite my target, but I’ve conceded that with another two it will suffice (i.e. I really can’t face cooking any more and I’m sure that Husband will be glad to be free from the extra washing up too!).

Then I set about the task that I’d naively thought would be simple: splitting the meals up into resupply parcels. It was at this point that I realised that it wasn’t just a matter of divvying the meals up, but that a bit of thought would be required as without first working out where we would be able to receive parcels, I couldn’t work out how many meals to put in each parcel.

Head-scratching over the itinerary in a plan that looked to be workable (the most dehydrated meals that we’ll be carrying at any one time is six).

Finally, with a plan in hand, I had to decide what we would want to eat in each batch of meals.

So we now have 11 parcels of food. One is going with us. One is being posted before we go. One is being hand-carried to us by my cousin. One is being picked up by us as we pop home for a day as we pass by the Midlands. The next one will be waiting for us at Ma-in-Law’s for when we pass by. The other six will be posted out to us by our Logistics Manager (that’d be my sister).

Another job off the to-do list.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

A New Backpack - Part 2

To recap: I’d tried on the Go-Lite Pursuit, the Gregory Jade 60 and the OMM Villain MSC 45+10 at home and decided on the Villain.

Then I had a conversation with Rose at Backpackinglight and soon afterwards an email arrived* suggesting that when returning the other packs I should also try on the OMM Mountain Mover.

Arriving at BPL I wasn’t just given the Mountain Mover to try, but a whole pile of other packs. Here are a few thoughts about the ones that I can remember:

OMM Mountain Mover
At 55+10 litres this is a big pack (but then I had said that the 45+10 was a bit tight). With the extra 10 litres comes a lot of extra weight (it's 1650g, or 1500 without the chest pouch) much of which I would put down to a different hip belt construction to the Villain.

It swallowed all of my gear without having to think about nooks and crannies, and it didn’t feel dissimilar from the Villain on.

On the plus side, it’s got a clever side pocket design. It also has the same MSC and gear rack as the Villain. However, the big loss, for me, is the lack of hip-belt pockets. In my opinion the chest pouch is not a substitute for hip-belt pockets, and I’m not sure that I could do without those now that I’ve got used to them on my Aura.

It wasn’t looking good for the Mountain Mover, but the girth of the hip-belt put the final nail in its coffin. As comfortable as it was I was back with the problem that I was within an inch of its smallest adjustment; it was enough to take it out of contention.

Go-Lite (Odyssey?)
Next came a massive Go-Lite pack, which was probably the Odyssey. Far bigger than I need, but just out of interest I tried it on.

Urgh! Hideously uncomfortable even without weight in it, mainly due to a hip-belt so stiff that it was almost unmovable. Perhaps a necessary feature for a pack that size, but on me it would bruise my hips without even walking anywhere.

I was coming to the conclusion that I’m just not suited to Go-Lite packs.

Mystery Pack (Looking at the website, it may have been a Lightwave)
I liked this one a lot. The hip-belt made me go ‘ooh’ in surprise at how nicely it sat. It’s shaped such that it cups the hips, which felt very good indeed. Even the hip-belt pockets impressed me (stretchy, elastic topped ones). Unfortunately the only one that BPL has left is a large and my back’s not that long (but if you are a long backed person, I’d recommend that you have a look at it).

It’s also too simple a pack for my current purposes (it’s not adorned with a choice of pockets, nor place for a hydration bladder), but I’d certainly look out for the right size of this one for future for short trips.

Gregory Z Pack
I’d been finding that none of the women specific packs were making me happy. Added to that, a few days before, I’d taken Husband’s Osprey Atmos out for a walk and been surprised to find that it was more comfortable than my Aura (the only problem being, unsurprisingly, the size of the hip-belt).

Having rejected the Jade 60, I tried the Z pack, which is the boys’ equivalent but in the more suitable 50 litre. It was very nearly a winner. The design is much more to my liking than on the Jade 60, in that it has the big pouch pocket on the back, plus a smaller pocket on the back of the pouch. It has a decent size of lid pocket and side pockets and it happily took all of my kit. Being only a few grammes heavier than my Aura (it’s 1.4kg) it even scored favourably on weight.

My only complaint on the design was that (per the Jade) the hip-belt pockets were once again big enough to hold lipsyl and a mobile, but not big enough for my very modest compact camera.

Notwithstanding the hip-belt pockets the comfort was such that I would have chosen this pack. The only problem was that (yet again – sorry if I’m sounding like a broken record) I was within an inch of the smallest size of the hip-belt.

Husband and Bob both agreed that I need to eat more pies…

OMM Villain MSC
That brought us back to where we started – with the Villain, but it’s not quite the end of the story.

I was already grateful to Bob for having talked me into giving this one a try. During that conversation he had also mentioned to me the ability to remove the provided back-pad and replace it with a thermarest. Removing a bit of structure that seems to be quite integral to the pack didn’t appeal (I’ve read Andy Howell’s thoughts on the subject of back systems, but I still wasn’t buying it myself), so it wasn’t something that I'd tried in trialling the pack.

Trying it on again at BPL, Bob requested permission to replace the back-pad with my thermarest, just so that I could try the concept before I rejected it.

I was very surprised at the result (and once again, very grateful to Bob for talking me into trying something). The pack was every bit as comfortable without its stiffened back-pad as it was with it. The huge bonus though was that without my thermarest taking up room in the pack, it became big enough for everything I needed to put in it.

So, it was jolly interesting to try on all of those other packs, but (in the classic female way of buying) I ended up going back to my original choice.

(* That's another feature of BPL’s service that I like: I’d told them I was going to buy one of their packs, notwithstanding which they contacted me to suggest something different; I can’t think of any other retailer who, once I’ve expressed a final decision, has taken the time to tell me to try something else).

Friday, 4 April 2008


A huge thank you to everyone who has so kindly helped us to reach our initial fund-raising target before we even set off. We’re absolutely chuffed to bits with everyone’s generosity.

A special thank you goes to Tessa and Alan. As far as we can make out from the names, we don’t know them and we have no idea how they heard about us, but yesterday afternoon they donated £339.76 - the exact sum which brought us up to our initial target of £2000.

That was so unexpected that it took a fair while after seeing it for me to pick my jaw back up off the floor!

Knowing that there are still more people out there who have said that they will sponsor us, I don’t want to put them off donating to the worthy cause by seeing that we’ve achieved our target. So, we’re raising the bar. The new target is £3,000.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

A Man With A Mic and Big Earphones

In 1990, at the age of 16, I found myself early one morning sitting in a studio at BBC Radio WM being interviewed by Tony Butler on his breakfast show (the subject was a competition I had won).

Unsurprisingly my proud mother, sitting at home glued to the wireless, had taped that interview and played it back to me when I got home.

I was horrified. Until that moment I had no idea what a strong Wulfrunian accent I had.

During the intervening 18 years I have managed to avoid hearing anything but a small snippet of my recorded voice.

So, when Andy Howell thrust a microphone at me at the Outdoor Show it was enough to scare me.

Last Monday the Blogger Special Podcast was released on The Outdoors Station and I cringingly listened. Then I had to listen again as Husband realised what I was listening to and made me go back to the beginning. Except for the fact that I sounded absolutely petrified throughout most of it, I wasn’t too horrified by the result. I even managed not to utter a single Malapropism or Spoonerism.

You can hear the result, together with interviews with some of the other Bloggers (see the links on the right side of this page) by clicking below:

Show 08- Bloggers!

Download MP3 File
Alternatively, there are lots of other interesting and inspiring Podcasts over at The Outdoors Station. Personally, I challenge you to listen to any of the ones involving Paddy Dillon and not want to go off and do whatever walk or walks he’s talking about!