Nov
2014

Getting away!


To be honest I’m not great at ‘Getting away!

Can we truly ever getaway?  We can take a break, and have a chance, but not for too long. But this getaway wasn’t pleasing. I need a bolt hole, not a tourist holiday. Sometimes though I do give in or give up. This was one of those times, of having to admit defeat. I was working hard towards designing a new website for a friend, organising a meetup group for other Word Press /website developers and having to deal with a lot of technical problems that were a bit over my head. 

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I can’t say this was ‘Getting away’ from it all but I managed to get to Mallorca for a short break & that was what I needed.
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 I wasn’t getting anywhere with a new project I was working on, enough is enough. I’m a rover and a rambler, not a tourist!! Admittedly I have my moments and enjoy myself. The hotel was fabulous but I didn’t really take to the entertainment and the cheap cocktails. 

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Clean beaches and palm trees, almost picture-perfect. It wasn’t long before the beggars appeared. They were selling stuff so at least we’re trying to do something useful. I wasn’t in the mood for the hassle so I didn’t hang about the beach much.  It’s a bit too commercial for my liking. I prefer hidden beaches!

A bit like this picture of Cate Blanchett Pleasant enough but relevant?

CATE BLANCHET – the face of Palma!?

colorful shop window

 

STRAY CATS Everywhere

 

Plenty of food back at the hotel so I made sure the local cats got my portions of meat and fish. I nearly got my hand bitten off at one point, but the cats were clearly starving.

 

https://www.theothermallorca.com/blog/2015/01/10-interesting-facts-about-mallorca/

 

All in all I didn’t get a lot of walking done, a bit but not enough and I can’t say I found anywhere captivating or magical. A dissapointing break.

Oct
2014

Madelon Lyle walks 100 miles to raise money to save the tiger!

Madelon Lyle Is my guest blogger this month; she has bravely walked 100 mile to raise money to save the tiger. A dead tiger is worth £100,000 to a poacher so it isn’t surprising they are being killed every day


To save the tiger is a test. If we pass, we get to keep the planet.” Marjorie Stoneman Douglas (conservationist)

http://www.justgiving.com/Madelon-Lyle

This August I walked all of the Cotswolds Way – 100 miles -and only fell over once.

Walking with a group of ramblers from Chipping Camden to Bath we averaged 12 miles a day over 9 days and it was very strenuous – the total uphill walking added up to a surprising 10,600 feet. I did this to raise money for the charity, which aims to prevent tigers from becoming extinct in the wild.

Please see this link if you would like to donate as I still have a long way to go to reach my target of £10,000. The link tells you more about the plight of the tigers and what motivated me to do this. www.justgiving.com/Madelon-Lyle

We stayed 6 nights in Cheltenham and 3 nights in Bath.

A mini-bus took us to the start of the walk each morning and collected us at the end. This enabled us to do the entire Cotswolds Way as a linear walk without having to carry our luggage. The scenery and colors were beautiful with plenty of butterflies and wildflowers.

The path itself was very easy to follow being well marked & maintained. Surprisingly we encountered very few other walkers so we felt we had the whole stunning landscape to ourselves!

My favorite part was the section from  Chipping Camden to Cheltenham which passes through many pretty Cotswolds villages such as Stanton with its ancient houses, Broadway and Winchcombe.

The section from Cleeve Hill to Cranham is a ridge walk with great views of Cheltenham. Near Cranham is the famous cheese-rolling hill which we walked past (but not up thankfully). Here people participate annually in the ancient tradition of rolling cheese down the hill and many legs get broken in the process.

Another lovely stretch was from Kings Stanley to Dursley taking in fantastic views from Coaley Peak and Cam. From Wootton-Under –Edge to Bath.The landscape changes becoming more gently undulating and agricultural though still with the occasional incredibly steep hill.

On the subject of hills, the one leaving Dursley called Stinchcombe Hill should be re-named “Stinking Hill” and if I did the walk again I would miss it out, possibly taking a bus from Dursley to Wotton-under Edge and rejoining the path from there.

66 miles to Bath

 

The Cotswolds Way takes you past ancient monuments and follies (e.g Broadway Tour, Hailes Abbey, Grenville Monument) and historic sites such as long barrows and the battlefield where the English Civil War was fought – we walked through the field on which the recent movie “A Field in England” is based.

It also passes many National Trust houses and places of interest such as Sudeley Castle at Winchcombe, Stanway House and Fountain, Prinknash Abbey & Bird Park, the Rococo Gardens at Painswick, Horton Court, Dyrham Park to name but a few.

BROADWAY TOWER ON COTSWOLD WALK

I loved the wildlife as well as the scenery and walking through a forest we stumbled across a herd of Gloucester Old Spot pigs wallowing in the mud. We also came across muntjacs, rabbits, birds and many types of sheep and cattle and masses of butterflies.

 I did not see the rare blue butterfly which apparently can be spotted in the Cotswolds if you are lucky.

I would highly recommend this walk to anyone considering doing it, but you do need to plan quite carefully and allow lots of time.

The end of the walk

And now a little bit more about the tigers:

Tigers are extinct in 11 countries and 3 subspecies are already extinct. They now live in just 7 % of their historic range. By saving cats, the impacts are far-reaching and conserve vast landscapes upon which many species depend, including humans.

These quotes sum up the reason I am fundraising for tigers:-
“Future generations would be truly saddened that this century had so little foresight, so little compassion, such lack of generosity of spirit for the future that it would eliminate one of the most dramatic and beautiful animals that this world has ever seen” – George B. Schaller (field biologist).

 

Sep
2014

Thorney Island A strange hypnotic walk & The south Downs

 

    Thorney Island & The South Downs 

A Moderate walk following the coastal path around the island; “Birds, boats and beaches.” 

 

Windswept on Thorney Island

 

A strangely hypnotic walk, the water was lapping loudly to the left of us. It became trance-like. Perhaps the strong taste of salt coming from the water and the fresh air added to that feeling. The water lapped and slushed as it pulled in and pushed out. I felt adrift again! away from buildings, people, and cars.

 

lunch on the beach

Thorney Island

Thorney Island in August

 

 

http://www.westsussex.info/thorney-island.shtml

The village of West Thorney lies on the east coast and has been incorporated into a British Army military base that occupies the southern part known as Pislay Island, which is an RSPB nature reserve.

There is a coastal public footpath, which is part of the Sussex Border Path, encircling the island. Public access to the south of the island is limited to the footpath and the church of St Nicholas at West Thorney.

Walkers using the footpath may be asked by intercom to provide their contact details (name, address, and mobile phone number) at the security gates to access the southern part of the island.

It was an unusual and enjoyable day out. We found a local bar and felt as in another time.

My next walk was in the South Downs 

 

 

LEWES TO SALTDEAN (linear) – 10 miles

My walk was from Lewes to Saltdean, at first it felt like a fairly familiar walk, having done something similar the previous month. This time we covered a lot more ground and it felt liberating to be out in the South Downs.

It was a moderate hilly walk with panoramic coastal views as we walked via a couple of small villages one of them being Telscombe. We had a Pub lunch at the Abergavenny Arms, in Rodmell and then walked further on down to the coast at Saltdean. The walk ended there, where we picked up a bus to Brighton, then a train back to London.  A good walk.

BIG SKY SUSSEX

 

Until next time, keep on keeping on.

Aug
2014

Editing posts

I understand the difficulty of being an editor. Lately I have been busy editing posts.

I thought I would say a few words about the process of editing posts. The writer in me has struggled to get certain posts out. That sort of takes away the natural writing process. Google will ignore you if you don’t do what they want. That is to name and categorise posts, to tag everything, and to write SEO keywords for each post. I was fantastically enthusiastic when I first started writing about walking. I had only joined a walking group and I don’t know what took me so long to do it. Getting out of London and going for a very long walk, can be very inspiring.

 

More words from the editor, then I shall get back to more tales from my walkabouts.

 

 

The devil is in the detail. Being a walker, sometimes a walk leader & photographer & writer, I have my work cut out for me.

I have been working a lot on editing & I noticed a typo on one of my recent blogs.  I only looked back because I had been getting a lot of pings and track backs, I was curious as to what was happening. I don’t understand pings & track backs but I think it boils down to people spamming the site. They may place their advert on your post, or a link. 

Looking back, over old posts turned into a good idea. Often as a writer I’m excited as I’m writing my point of view or about a place I have visited. It’s so easy to miss a minor detail that can totally ruin an otherwise good post. Thanks for alerting me spammers! Since then I go back to old posts every now & again and really enjoy the process of editing. Adding, taking away, and remembering facts I hadn’t mentioned. Editing is cool. 

Back to my walkabouts. Where I have been in the last few weeks.

The answer is blowing in the wheat!

This sea wheat grass is always stunning  to look at, it stands alone against the sky & against the sea, blowing in the wind. Magical.

 

I walked from Rye to Hastings again a tough walk with a lot of steep ascents and descents. Just over 14 miles, a circular walk from Lewes, a fantastic walk, but the last 4 miles were tough. At the highest peak in the South Downs we were 590 feet above sea level.

The fantastic spacious South Downs is an excellent place to walk, it took over 5 hours of walking. I’m planning to do two more walks in August and will go back to my 35mm film.

 

The first walk I’m doing is Lewes to Saltdean which I have done before but not with the group so I will be interested to see what route they take.

A gateway to the Sea at Dover

 

After a lovely day out but not quite clear enough to see France.

More from Dover next post.

 


 

Jul
2014

Writing blogs & Photography in posts

 Photography in posts

I have learned that Photography in posts is an essential part of blogging. After a conversation with a work colleague, I failed to convey any real sense about why I continue to use film instead of digital. Still, even after getting my film developed, I have to decide on maybe 3- 5 pictures to publish in any given blog. I walk, I write about it I take a few pictures. I don’t want to get technical. How do you even choose a digital camera.!

All my cameras have been given to me, and none of them have lasted! SEE some interesting quotes about photography, below.

https://petapixel.com/2014/05/29/70-inspirational-quotes-photographers/

As always summer in Brixton is a joy to behold!  

Sitting at my desk trying to be productive; the sound of SIRENS going past the window every five minutes, cars zooming down the road at top speed, people shouting into their mobile phones or just shouting generally, to themselves or someone else, is my background soundtrack. 

 

I‘m still not 100% sure whether I really want to do the 14 miles walk from Rye to Hastings. But I’m getting claustrophobic.  Neighbor’s to either side of me, (A party last night,) possibly another one tonight!. I think I’m going to have to go on the walk

There I have talked myself into it again. I may come back bedraggled with sunstroke but I will give it a go.

 

My last trip to France was a bit fraught what with the train and taxi strike to contend with

It was an exceedingly hot day and we stopped off here to have a coffee and listen to a sound check for a band performing that evening, so it was HOT & LOUD.

 

Getting to Cahors from London left me slightly frazzled, ditto coming back, and to top it all the temperature was peaking around 34 Celsius on some days. 

Not my ideal weather by any means. I did not do a lot of walking, far too hot, but there are dedicated walkers passing through the village of Montcuq every day as part of a pilgrimage they do. It’s a famous walk they do and one year I may even do it. Who knows?

Having a film restricts the number of photos you can take, because of the time, & the cost of film development. I like the process admittedly, as I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get. I’m going to try another old digital camera that has been given to me and see how I get on with that. Another thing I love about 35mm film is the quality of the photographs, they have a more artistic look about them, which is difficult to describe.

 

The river Lot runs through Cahors and onward down towards an area we visited for a picnic by the river and to visit a historic village called Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.

I sat there for a while, pondering. A photograph is equivalent to a thousand words. How could you describe everything you have seen on every walk you have gone to?  I need to go digital I know.

Before visiting France I spent a nice weekend in Newcastle and the coast and the weather was perfect. June has to be my favorite month.

Someone sailing away- wish it was me

perfect day in june tynemouthA perfect day in Tynemouth this photo could be anywhere it was truly lovely, and very relaxing.

port of Tyne june 2014

One of my very favorite sights has to be the bridges over the Tyne, this was taking from the riverside having pub lunch on a Sunday in June.

tyne at nightThe night before walking back from The Cluny having seen The Rezillos,(not seen them since about 1979 at Middlesbrough Rock Garden )

It was a beautiful evening, there was hardly anyone around as well which was strange. The revellers for some reason don’t make it down to the river!! They stay in town.

Then off to a Dover walk around 12 miles
A gateway to the Sea at Dover

A gateway to the Sea at Dover

 

White cliffs of Dover

White cliffs of Dover

 

 

Wild flowers on cliff top Dover

Fantastic wildflowers on a cliff top in Dover

Last but not least... I did not expect to see these on my walk......
Very curious creatures, they ran towards us as they were extremly curious

Very curious creatures, they ran towards us as they were extremely curious

 

Yes walking can be interesting at times, you have to keep on going and you never know what you might come across.

 

Until next time

Best Wishes

Julie