For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Day 18 - Skipsea to Reighton

A wonderful two and threequarter hour walk along an immaculate beach from Skipsea to Bridlington. Bridlington was buzzing and I buzzed off as quickly as I could.

I was aiming for a site at Reighton but it was about twenty miles. At Marton there was a Brown Sign pointing to Bempton which was on my route and about five miles short of Reighton. The sign said "camping and caravan - Bempton - 1.5miles". That looked like good news. Arriving Bempton there was a very posh caravan site that didn't take tents, and a bit further on a Caravan Club CL which didn't take tents because it had no toilet facility. Having been wrongly informed by the Brown Sign I marched on towards Reighton on a moderately busy B road. One mile short of Reighton I found a C and C. Club CL, and there is a reputedly decent pub about three hundred yards up the road.

From brief conversation with people I have had today there is no doubt that I am back in Yorkshire.

Coming out of Bridlington toward the cliffs there is a line of seats along the path all with sea views. This line of seats extends for perhaps half a mile with seats at twenty foot intervals. All the seats are dedicated to loved ones who have passed away many with maudlin statements. I don't know how this is arranged but I found it a bit depressing.

I made a short cut today from my original route planning by missing out Flamborough Head.

Stile count still at sixteen.


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Monday, 28 June 2010

Day 17 - Hornsea to Skipsea

After yesterday with more than twenty miles on the hottest day so far, I decided to have a short day today.

I shopped in Hornsea for tent pegs. The original Terra Nova ones lost their steel tips then the carbon shafts just split. I bought some small biodegradable plastic pegs in Lowestoft and they just snap into pieces with any pressure. I have had to settle for some rather large, red plastic pegs. The trouble is that the ground is so hard with lack of rain it is difficult to put pegs in at all.

It has been good to be back with the sea again, and the cliff path mostly delightful, but every so often the landscape is blotted with very badly planned, and often ramshackle static caravan sites. The last one at Skipsea, where I am now, took over the Coastal margin for a kilometer, so I had to walk inland where I have discovered this very well administered camping and caravan site. The lady gave me first hand information about walking to Bridlington on the beach, and she checked the tide tables for me.

I have had a shower and washed all my clothes and now intend to explore the village.

The stile count has mounted up a bit and now stands at sixteen.


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Day 16 - Humber Bridge (south) to Hornsea

Last night was dreadful. On getting back from the pub meal at about 8.15pm the people in the next tent were playing heavy beat music and drinking and talking. As far as I could tell they were husband and wife and a visiting male friend. Thankfully at 9.00pm they turned the music off... but at 10.20 it came back on. I stuck my head out of my tent and asked them to turn it off. There were mutterings and drunken laughter but it was turned off, then I started to worry about a possible reprisal. They were talking about their hi fi at 1000 watts and his brother's at 2400 watts. The husband's language, with hardly any exageration, included the f word in between practically all other words. They then started boasting to each other about fights they had been in, and being arrested and all sorts of altercations with police. These were very unpleasant people and I became more worried that they may try something on. There was not much I could do, but I fixed my phone so that the key pad was at default with a view to ringing police if neccessary. They went on making noise and doing exagerrated belches etc. Until 1.15 am. As far as I know i never slept all night. I was up at 5.30 and away by 6.15.

The crossing of The Humber Bridge took 40 mins. Exiting the other end was a problem because a marathon was being run and various walkways were closed, so I lost about twenty minutes finding my way. The walk along the Humber shoreline to Kingston was long and hot.

I was following The Trans Pennine Trail which follows an old railway line right out of K on H, and then all the way to Hornsea. I had found a cafe coming out of the town and had two bottles of Lucozade but bought more at a pub on the way. It was one of the hottest walks I can remember.

Arriving at Hornsea the site I was aiming for had closed years ago. The taxi driver I asked pointed me to a Caravan and Camping Club CL site that I must have walked near to on the way in. He instructed his assistant to take me there for free and I agreed. As I had already walked past this point earlier, and will continue from here in the morning my consience is clear about potential cheating, and in any case I am the one making the rules.

At the site nobody was at home save for one caravan on the site. I sat and waited in the shade. After fifteen minutes the guy from the caravan came and told me the owners were away, so after some discussion I decided to pitch. Brian and and Sue invited me to their van for tea and cake and we chatted happily for a couple of hours. They were pleasant and interesting people, and it is these kind of happenings that make these trips memorable.

It is now 7.00 pm and I have put the tent up but there is no shade and it is too hot to cook inside so I am now considering cooking outside.

There is no signal here so this will most likely get posted tomorrow.



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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Day 15 - Barnetby le Wols to The Humber Bridge (south)

A fairly short day. Departed Barnetby 9.0am, arrived THB 3.15pm. The reasoning was that there is a campsite this side of the bridge and none for a long way after, so tomorrow I can get well clear of Hull before considering accomodation. I stocked up on two days food yesterday and now find there is a pub round the corner, so it looks as though I will have carried more food for further distance than intended.

I spent about ten minutes today watching an enormous hare working it's way accross a field without concern for me. It was so big I thought it was a fox at first. A lot of today has been accross agricultural land which I reckon is only one stage removed from walking on busy roads. I have been following an LDP called The Viking Way for the last few days, and whilst it provides a satisfactory integral part of my route it is not a walk I would recommend in it's own right. I have met very few people today and never anybody seriously walking the VW - I have walked on quite a number of these invented LDPs and wonder how often they are walked- some of them are very contrived and leave a lot to be desired.

For Gayle. I have now categorised another faff after mini, midi and major faffs - it is the multiple faff. This is when you decide you need to remove an irritating stone from the cleat of your boot sole, and also take a drink of your precious water, and maybe take a GPS reading because you have had a nagging feeling for the last fifteen minutes that all is not right in the navigation department. So you can stop and have a multi faff.


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Friday, 25 June 2010

Day 14 - Market Rasen to Barnetbt le Wold

First a little anecdote from last night.

I had eaten my main course, and as a regular custom decided to do the washing up before I had my fruit salad and coffee, this being the treat for doing the dishes. I put water on to heat for washing up, then turned the stove off. Next I managed to drop my only gas cigarette lighter into the wAter - it was looking bleak for coffee. A bit of an anti climax, but I went and borrowed some matches from one of the caravans. Next morning the lighter was functioning ok.
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This was going to be a long day. I was off by 7.00am.

Arriving at the village of Claxby I ascended the first hills on this trip. These are The Wolds and at about 600ft there is a road running along the top. The views to the north and west are great: Lincoln Cathedral, Brigg Power station, and, I was told "on a clear day", which it was, the Derbyshire hills. I had met an elderly gent up there who walked half a mile each way from his car combatting his bad knees. I met him at his turning point and we walked back slowly to his car whilst he pointed out all the landmarks to me. There is a radar ball on the top, and he said jets and military helicopters approach from the plain and pull up over the ridge of The Wold at the last minute, I suppose to see how near they can get without being detected. He said a lady horse rider had been killed when her horse bolted as a result of that activity.

Descending into Caister I found The Tea Cosy where I had a bacon butty, a very large pot of tea with hot water, and some Swiss Roll - it was heaven. I then shopped for two day's meals not being sure what I am going to encounter before and after the Humber crossing. I continued with a heavy rucksack through mixed agricultural and ordinary footpaths. At one stage I had to stop for about twenty minutes to rid my socks of all the embedded grass seeds of many different species.

At My destination the pub that had been recommended by some cyclists I met was full of contractors again. I have found The Holcombe Guest House where I have been given an annexe, but what is actually a house in it's own right on the other side of the road , and I have it to myself. There is a full kitchen including washing machine and tumble dryer which I am using, yipee! This Is all for £32.50 including breakfast.

I'm off to the full pub to eat (if they have room).


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Thursday, 24 June 2010




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Day 13 - Short Ferry to Market Rasen

TF 078 896

I forgot to mention yesterday that I was bitten by a dog (yes Tom, it can happen to anybody). I was walking past a farm on a public footpath track and four dogs came out together barking and leaping round me. I stood my ground but a yellow Labrador bitch caught my hand, but fortunately didn't break the skin. I screamed and shouted as loud as I could and waived my arms and the dogs backed off a little but were still threatening. When I was about fifty yards down the track a woman came out of the farm but it was too far away to communicate and the dogs were still in between us so I just pressed on. It could have been a lot worse.

Mixed walking today on paths and minor roads. I was aiming for a site marked on th OS map at Market Rasen. About four miles out I was coming down a farm track and the farmer coming the other way in a 4 x4 stopped for a chat. He was a nice guy and told me all about his daughter who had cycled round the world. Looking at my map he wasn't sure about my target camp site, but he pointed out a farm (a friend of his) about 1.5 km to the north of my site. When I got to M.R. My site had closed down. Armed with the knowledge I found the site mentioned by the farmer and it turned out to be a superb, secret hideaway Caravan Club CL. When I got there they were already expecting me - the farmer had telephoned his friend about me. if I had not spoken to the farmer i doubt if I would have found this site. There you go again Gayle - something always turns up.


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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Days 12 and 13


I am in cluding this next bit which relates to yesterday and is part of a rewrite.


From Boston I followed an old railway which also follows the River Witham. This a large canal like river with pleasure boats, but modest in number. The river has it's own magic, but the Lincolnshire country side tends to be a bit monotonous.

The caravan\camping site at Chapel Hill was very comercialised and the owners were not particularly friendly. the site is also next door to RAF Colingswood where it would seem jet fighter pilots are trained. Most of the time I was there two or three planes would be in the air at the same time at low level doing take offs and landings. The noise was awful . I ate in the local pub which was quite good but I was the only one eating. There was a group of locals talking and one in particular with a very loud voice who drowned everybody else out with boring anecdotes.

Day 11 Chapel Hill to Woodhall Spa

I was glad to leave Chapel Hill. The route continued to follow the R Witham mainly on a quiet Tarmac road passing various pleasant houses on one side and the pretty river on the other. I got a good sight of a Grebe on the river and saw many other birds.

At Woodhall Spa I rejected the first site which appeared to be a mess in somebody's back yard. I found the Camping and Caravan Club site. I went into town (a sort of imitation mini Harrogate failed).
Bought some Tyrozets (thanks Tom) and some stuff called Iglu for my sunburnt lips. This stuff puts a pseudo layer of skin on which is almost impossible to get off and made me look like a monster. I ate in the tent - InstantPotato and corned beef hash followed by fruit salad, coffee and biscuits.

Day 12 Woodhall Spa to Short Ferry
TF 085 719. alt 46ft !

More varied today but quite a lot on busy Tarmac. I met a guy just outside the village of Bardney and he walked and talked with me then invited me for a coffee when we got to his house in the village. He was a retired schoolteacher and had done quie a lot of walking including The Tour of Mont Blanc.

At Short Ferry I am staying on a Camping and Caravan Club CL. I think I should really have joined because it's members only but she just charged me £5.

Off to the local pub to eat and rehydrated it has been hot today.

If I loose this three day post I don't know if I will have the willpower to repeat it, and each time you do that it seems to get diluted.





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Monday, 21 June 2010

Day 10 - Near Fosdyke to Chapel Hill

TF 207 546

Breakfast at the Little Chef just up the road from the CL. Normally I wouldn't entertain a Little Chef but under these circumstances it is like a gift from heaven.

Hot and sunny all day. Arrived Boston about 11.30. Tourist Office has closed down. Found a dentist and they flatly refused to see me. They said two partners had left and they were severely stretched. They gave me the number for NHS Direct. I listened to many different options and music then spoke to some body who asked me endless questions, one of which was "where are you?" when I said Boston she said "where's that?" They then gave me a phone number. I rang. Despite my asking who I was speaking to this was never made clear, but it seemed to be some sort of clearing house for Boston dental appointments. I was told the next appt. Would be 11.0am tomorrow. I gave this up as a bad job. I think that it is just an inflamed gum and it has settled down a bit now so I plan to battle on for the moment with the help of Voltarol and Ibuprofen.

I walked out of Boston following the river north along a dismantled railway path for about five miles then another five miles on road to Chapel Hill. It has been very hot and that stretch from Boston was quite demanding. There is a pub here so I plant eat and rehydrated there tonight.


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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Day 9 - Sutton Bridge to near Fosdyke

TF 294 341

A longer day than expected, but first last night. I was just ready to go to the bar for water when Tom returned. He took me into his house and gave me a cup of tea. He is a domestic machine repairer, and we had a good long chat. Then his wife and daughter and two grandchildren arrived. Tom's so in law had died of cancer and Tom said he was a sort of surrogate father for the kids. He told me all the history of the bridge over the Neane next to his house, and of the port of Sutton. He was a very interesting and likeable guy.

Next morning (this morning) I was able to go accross to the bar for a monster breakfast for £4.95, so I didn't get walking until 8.45.

I walked right round the dykes to Fosdyke. This involved rraversing half of the bottom line of The Wash. Most of this was on knobbly turf and a bit hard going. There Is a large military firing range on this shore but fortunately it doesn't operate on Sundays, but part of it's infrastructure included quite a long length of Tarmac.

It took me 8 hours to Fosdyke where I found no accomodation. I was told that the Wagoner's rest a mile up the road would provide. It turned out to be a mile and a half, and at the one mile point I passed a Caravan Club CL site and dithered but pressed on. The wagoner's Rest was closed down so I had to walk back to the CL. It is all that extra walking you have to do sometimes after reaching your destination that spoils things a bit, but it has been a great day and this is a de luxe cl with a heated cabin with toilet and shower which I have all to myself. It is now 6.45. So I am going to eat.

Tomorrow I will get to Boston where I an going to have to try and find a dentist to sort out annoying toothache.


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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Day 8 - Sandringham to Sutton Bridge

TF 482. 211

A bit of a low point this morning. I left Sandringham at 7.40 in the rain. My knee and ankle were hurting and it was Tarmac all the way to Kings Lynne. The only bright spot was seeing a stoat frolicing in the grass about ten yards ahead of me. Of course just at the moment I had excavated the camera it disappeared, but it was a brief uplifting moment in a dreary morning.

It was midday when I got gown to where the passenger ferry goes accross the Ouse. I found a rather posh cafe and got a bacon sandwich and tea, then started to try and replot my route, but my printed OS maps did not cover all the roads I wanted and i found Mem Map Adv. 2800 just didn't, give enough overall picture. I left my rucksack and went to the town centre and bought a road map, then returned to the cafe and sorted my route out over a cup of coffee (ten out of ten Pete).

The weather continued with showers. The ferry crossing was quite exciting with a very strong wind and fast incoming tide, and I was feeling much much bettter.

I have walked on Tarmac all the way to Sutton Bridge, but it has been pleasant enough. Information gleaned back at Kings Lynne said there was B and B at Sutton. Sutton Bridge is a key point having the bridge over the River Neene. Just over the bridge was a bar that advertised B and B. It was full up, and I was told that all other accomodation was booked up because bloody windmills are being built nearby and contractors are rife until the end of the summer.

Now then Gayle, as you say something always turns up. A chap in the bar offered to let me pitch on his lawn right next to the river and only about 100 Yds from the bar. I am now pitched and will have to go back to the bar for water and I may have problems avoiding a boozy do - they were all a merry biunch in there, so i'm off accross the road now.


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Friday, 18 June 2010

Day 7 - Holme on Sea to Sandringham

Reasonable walking but not as good as the last few days. I met a guy bird watching coming out of Hunstanton and chatted. He had been on expedition to Siberia spending weeks at a time on his own in total wilderness, but modest and very interesting. I could have stayed and talked all day with him.

I am on the Caravan and Camping Club site at Sandringham. Looking at my maps for the next few days it looks very bleak with no camp sites. Looks as though I may have to carry three days food and wild camp until I get past Boston. Finding water could be a problem. There are some farms marked on the map, but you never know if they are still occupied. I guess phone signal may also be a problem.


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Day 6 - Stiffkey to Holme next the Sea

Thursday 17th June

I had already posted yesterday's report, or thought I had. I phone said it was posted but then the signal went and when I looked today it wasn't there, neither had it been saved. So that is why it is now rewritten a day late,

This morning the path from Stiffkey was a bit boring and continued so after Wells next the Sea . Then I walked along a vast wild, desolate beach dodging the waves as the tide came in and me trying to walk on the consolidated sand - always good fun. The light is very special with blue sea and a vague hint of glowing orange.

This was a long day because I needed to get to the next camp site on the map. I reckon I have done about twenty miles with quite a bit on Tarmac, but this can never be totally avoided on these kind of walks.

The camp site is small and family run and I was received by a ninety year old gent who could hardly walk with arthritis and was also deaf. I have left the Mili battery charger for my iPhone with him and am now in the pub having eaten. I hope I will be able to retrieve the Mili when I get back, if not it may be a late start in the morning.

I had some good chat in the pub with an elderly Scots guy and his wife and daughter.

On the site I chatted to a motor home couple from Defbyshire and they gave me a cup of tea.

I climbed my third stile today. Sandringham tomorrow with luck, but not, I think, as a guest of Her Majesty in either of the contexts that I know of that phrase.


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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Day 5 Cromer to Stiff Key

Wed 16th June

Not far out of Cromer I encountered the first hill on this trip - a bit of a shock.

Sherringham has a long and impressive promenade with beach huts. I stopped to congratulate the street cleaner guy on the prom's spotlessness. He said he was waiting for the tide to go out so that he could do the beach. He had seen a dead seal that was going to be left by the tide and he would have to deal with it - not your average street cleaner's job.

Out of Sherringham watching the golfers on their posh course to my left with skylarks singing, and on my right waves crashing and black headed gulls, and the wind at my back. It was a grand morning.

The path developed into a dyke sea defence giving splendid views. Approaching Cley Beach I saw an informal car park and jokingly asked a passer by where the ice cream van was. He pointed out an insignificant little van which turned out to be selling coffee. The van was all set up with a machine in the back and coffee was excellent. I stayed a while and munched my cheese and biscuits.

More idylic walking with abundant bird life. I saw and heard reed warblers, and then half a dozen avocets.

I camped at Stiff Key (pronounced stooky locally) a pleasant site and ate in the local pub.

Still only two stiles so far.




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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Day 4 - south of North Walsham to Cromer

TG 204 424 alt 88ft

Another enjoyable day of countryside walking. I planned this route with no prior knowledge using public and other paths and tracks shown on the OS map. So far, apart from a short stretch of track that turned out to be private, the paths have been easily identifiable, well defined and dry underfoot.

I am becoming a student of items thrown onto road verges from cars. When you se a McDonalds carton you wonder how far away the nearest outlet must be and why it took them so long to discard the trash. Today I saw a goat's milk carton - I wouldn't have expected the kind of person who drinks that product to be the same as a litter lout. Lucizade bottles still proliferate.

There have ben a few gentle inclines today after the absolute flatness of Norfolk.

I was heading for two camp sites shown on the map just west of Cromer and as I chugged up the road, glory be, the first one turned out to be The Caravan Club site. I am member and the standard of their sites is superior to any other. They even have a restaurant and a swimming pool here


Many happy returns to Liz today.


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Monday, 14 June 2010

Day 3 - stokesby to S of Nort Walsham

TG 289 286 Alt 29 ft !

Another good days walking. Early on I saw a deer leap all the way accross a field of green corn about two feet high. It moved very fast alternaty popping up and disappearing. A fine sight which comes from being the first person on a footpath early in the morning.

Then it became very boaty following the river up to Potter Heigham. All familiar names from the Arthur Ransome books and I intend to read the Broads ones again; I guess a lot has changed since his day.

I arrived at this site which is shown on th OS map as a caravan and camping site. It turned out to be an exclusive caravan site for adults only. The reception guy was a real jobsworth and at first was not going to let me stay but he did in the end but charged me £15. He was eventually (after a dose of my expert diplomacy) quite helpful.

I should hit the coast tomorrow at Cromer I think, so it is a sad goodbye to the boaty Broads, but seeing something new every day is what this is all about.

Before I do leave The Broads here is a real cliche picture for everybody.



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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Day 2 - Reedham Ferry to Stokesby

TG 43100 10523 alt. 13ft

What a great day walking up the river and Breydon Water to Great Yarmouth. Swans taking off In formation, then flying fast downwind three feet above the water. Reed warblers seen and much heard. Sandpipers, oyster catchers, and many more. Tops of boats and sails ghosting above the reeds. Always something to see. Then after about four miles The Berney Arms Inn and attached tea rooms for a late breakfast - it was like Leighton Moss with knobs on.

The second half of the day had more boats and less nature walking west down the River Bure. I thought I might find camping or accomodation at The three Feathers Inn, but on arrival found that despite it's name on the OS map being on my side of the river it was on the other. I pressed on another two km to Stokesby where an American lady and English husband have allowed me to camp in their garden on the edge of the river and right next door to the pub, so I am ok for a meal tonight. The couple are retired ex civil servants and have lived all over the world and had no hesitation in allowing me to camp.

Up till now I have only encountered two stiles. For the moment this is great walking and I am looking forward to tomorrow.
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The Languedoc

I said I would comment on
my early withdrawal from France.

Various reasons combined. The main thing was that I went too early. Many places were closed and logistics for food and accomodation were more difficult than I have previously experienced. In approximately 16 days of walking I never met another genuine randonneur on the trail and virtually nobody else. A lot of you will know that I have no problem with pronged periods of my own company but I did find this a lonely and somewhat depressing trip. Much of the walking was on forest tracks with not much to see, and apart for the Nacelles Gorge there was no real contact with mountain terrain so it was neither one thing nor the other. In contrast the present walk I am doing is unashamedly country walking through villages and what qualifies for top quality holiday locations of a countryfied nature in this country, and the walk does not pretend to be anything else. It is relatively easy and there is always something to see. Perhaps I am just getting soft, but I do still want go back to Scotland later in the year and get back in amongst some real mountains again, so I think there is still some life left in me.

Well that's enough of that, I'm off to the pub for some proper beer and English food.


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Saturday, 12 June 2010

Day 1 - Lowestoft to St Bees Head

From Reedham Ferry- TG 40540 01450

A great day's walking once clear of Lowestoft. Much variation on good paths. Archetypal English country villages, several tea shops, and a grand finale crossing on the Reedham Ferry to the pub and camp site directly on the other side. Charges a bit steep at £12. I intend to eat in the pub tonight- report to follow.

What a contrast our villages are with the French which all look like deserted film sets from years ago, and even if there is a shop or bar it is generally closed. Our villages actually have people living in them even if they are rich commuters.
This has been a good start to the walk and if it keeps up I think it will be rewarding. Of course the weather has been kind today.




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Friday, 11 June 2010

Back in the UK

It is now 4.00 pm Friday 11th June. I left a little village in The Languedoc called Montdardier at 10.00 am on Wednesday after waiting for the epicerie to open so i could get some breakfast. It was raining.

I walked about ten miles to Vigan with occasional views of The Cevennes through cloud and rain. At Vigan the tourist office was closed until 2.0. I went for lunch then found I could get a bus to Nimes and a train from there to Lyons. It was still raining. Arrived Lyon train from airport at about 7.0 pm. Four hotels in a row were full so I took the shuttle bus to the airlport. By chance i found
a girl on the Easy Jet desk. To alter my flight for tomorrow (Thursday - 10.20 am) would cost £119, or if done on line using the airport's Internet £30. I walked off to attempt the latter - 2€ for 30 mins. It was hopeless. The computer had a French keyboard. It took me ages to find out where the proper full stop was which involved using the shift key! I then found that Easyjet needed me to log in with a password I couldn't remember and also I had changed my email address since making the original booking so I could not be recognised. It was now about 10pm. I tried the airport hotel but it was full so spent the night on an uncomfortable airport seat. At 6.0am paid Easyjet the £119 and stooged around until flight time which ended up being 40 mins late.
Got into Gatwick abot 11.0am our time. Train into London. Tube journey to Liverpool Street to get train to Lowestoft with about 4 mins to spare - at last a bit of good luck. Still raining. Arrived L about 4.30 pm. Did some shopping then 30 min bus to camp site where I had posted my maps to. I also expected to pick up my Pocket Rocket burner which I had not been able to take on the flight from Liverpool and posted home. I had asked Jill to post it to the camp site but it had not arrived. I eventually got pitched and for the first time in over 48 hours got some sleep.
This morning (Friday) the burner arrived in the post . I have been into L to shop, cash in euros and post some items home and will set off to tomorrow on my Lowestoft to St Bees Head walk.
I had omitted to bring my bus pass on this trip but the drivers on the Lowestoft buses have let me travel for free.
I will do another more subjective post shortly to give some rationale for my earlier than planned return to the UK.
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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Days 11/12/13 from St Jean de Blaquiere de

The rest of day 10
The stay in the chambre d'hote at La Tour sur l'Orb was excellent. A full evening meal with pork terrine, barbecued pork chop with endives and courgets, and a Ginger and barbecued pineapple desert, all with a generous supply of good quality Languedoc rose and then red. This was all done to very high standards by these ex resteraunters The cost including an excellent breakfast was 75 euros. Can't afford to do many of these!

Day 11
La Tour sur l'Orb to Lodeve

Pleasant and varied walking. Very hot - 32 deg on descent into Lodeve. Arrived at gite d'etape. Gardien very kind plied me with chilled drinks. Excellent town centre gite purpose built. Had good meal out in the town.

Day 12 Lodeve to St Jean de Blaquiere.

This was the rendezvous with my brother Rod and family at the villa they have rented for the last three years. A long steep ascent fro m Lodeve onto the plateau, then a branch off onto the GR 653 for the 8 km to St Jean.

I arrived about 2.00. Rod and co at 4.45. Party consisted of Rod and Veronica, daughter and husband Melissa and Darren and their son Zach. Time spent in the large swimming pool very enjoyable. Very good evening meal with lots of bitings-on to start then asparagus starter, chicken and roast potatoes, beans et al. Apple cake to finish- all with lots of rose wine.

Day 13

Still at St Jean. Heavy rain and thunderstorms. Trip to supermarket and then to local winery to buy more wine. Plan to leave here tomorrow to continue on GR 7.




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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Day 9 - from Lamalou les Bains Wed 2nd June

Walked into town for 8.30. Bought croissant etc at boulangerie then went to bar to eat my purchases with cafe allonger, that is cioffee made bigger literally, instead of the
minute serving you normally get.

Next I walked three km to an Intermarche and a Brico where at last I got some gas. Then I walked the three km back. Now It was time for lunch. Moules et frites and a couple of pensions in the sun. Pleasant conversation with decent English couple, and then much more satisfying conversation in French with a mother and daughter - the mother claimed to have had some
connection with Lord Mountbatten that I could not quite understand. Now doing the siesta in the tent which very fortunately is in the shade - just luck, not my skill at pitching.

My Mili iPhone charger is charging up at the campsite office

Looking forward to eating in the town tonight although still A bit full after lunch.
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The moules had a predictable effect, but I recovered enough for the evening meal.

Day 10 - Lamalous les Bains to La Tour sur l'Orb.

Cloudless hot day. Enjoyable country walking on varied tracks, roads and paths. Wonderful scents of broom, herbs, honeysuckle and many others. Picking ripe cherries off the orchard trees overhanging the tracks - delicious. Who needs to carry water?

Arrived La Tour to find camp site closed. Only option was a chambre d'hote where I waited 2 hrs for the owners to return from shopping. Writing this up waiting for meal at 7.30. I think this going to be expensive but it is decent. The owners are English and ran two restaurants in London. I learnt this from a neighbour during my long wait. He gave me a chair to sit on and a bottle of chilled Evian. I also spoke to Jill on the phone and learnt of the awful shooting in Whitehaven.

For Afoot in the Hills. Yes the gps did let me down on a cloudy day in the trees with no signal when I really needed it. I have only just found out how to make it fire up at the previous location you were at instead of having to tediously scroll through your route for the last few days,

For Dorothy. Thanks for your good wishes message received before I left.




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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Days 6/7/8

Raining when I set off at 6.50am. Rained all day and violent wind. Mainly forest tracks. Nothing to see, nowhere to stop. Walked about 25 miles - 11 hours. Oonly took rucksack off once. Carried water for about 10km - this is not what I came for. Put up tent on side of forest track in 10 minute no rain interval. Very hard walk next day. More mountainous and a few really good views, but don't worry about chopping down trees in the amazon -they have got enough for everybody in France. Late in the day I was faced with a 450m ascent in 2km - that is half a good Munro! Loaded up with water and carried on another 4km or so. Did about 20 miles altogether. Arrived Lafarge to find gite occupied by children's group so was not allowed to stay, but they let me camp. Some of the highest winds I have ever experienced In a tent during the night but no more rain.
Pleasant walking and varied for long descent to Lamalou les Bains for 12.45. Office de T closed till two. Camp sit office
closed till four. Waited at camp site. 11.5 euros per night. Staying
two nights. Search for gas not promising - this getting critical now.






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For Gayle

I have now started to think about Your wonderful faff word in terms of mini, midi, and maxi faffs


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