What makes a good day out?

Apart from a change of scenery what else makes for a good day out? 

Good company, weather, and a confident leader can all add up to make a very good day out. I am a walk leader, therefore, I appreciate how difficult that role can be. You need to know exactly where you are going, how long it takes, where the loo breaks are (if there are any!) what time the trains are and find a pleasing place for both picnic and pub lunch. It’s quite a responsibility! especially with a large group.

Madelon is a member of East Finchley Walking group. She kindly suggested taking me out on this walk. It felt good to let someone else take charge. 

We started at MILFORD ON SEA which seemed a bit complicated & tricky to get to. As always when going out on walks, it’s usual to take a tube or train to one of the mainline stations. This time it was Waterloo; then followed by a local bus. Perhaps it’s revisiting with an overnight stay. ?  It was a lovely visit, although it included a lot of travelling which meant not enough time to have a really good day out.

Trudging along on the shingles towards Hurst Castle. Summer was on the Horizon but it still felt far away.


Hurst Castle is situated at the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford-On-Sea.

I felt a strange sense of isolation walking along the quiet beach. Shingles are tough to walk on. We took the less pleasing option, which was not to take the ferry over the water to the pub for lunch. Which in hindsight would have made for a more enjoyable day. Instead we walked back the same way, along the shingles. It got a bit monotonous. As Ramblers we are used to this kind of walking!

The end of the spit, only three-quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight, and the views from the top of the center keep are spectacular, so I had been told!

Hurst Castle was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544.

The nature resort after the coastal walk
Remote & wild

Remote & wild

a little boat




We are all Black Sheep here.

We are all Black Sheep here.!


I tried not to think of such images but couldn’t help it, I imagined fights and deaths as it was a smugglers paradise some years ago.


NEARLY SUMMER- looking towards The Isle of Wight




There’s something romantic about the lighthouse, it’s remote and secure, cut off from everybody else.

I recently saw a film called Frank a black comedy (loosely based on the character Frank Sidebottom.) Maggie Gyllenhaal sings a haunting melancholy song, I want to marry a lighthouse keeper. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance film festival. It was released theatrically in Ireland and Britain on 9 May 2014.

It’s worth a look


All for now






Excel/ Docklands & Trinity Buoy Wharf

 Excel/Docklands Trinity Buoy Wharf & London

Walks along the Thames, hold a myriad of possibilities. This particular new route was a delight. Previous to this day I’d never heard of Trinity Buoy Wharf.  It’s always a pleasure to get a bit lost & stumble upon somewhere interesting. I am especially fond of the Docklands.

looking back towards the dome


I took the tube to North Greenwich and a cable car over the river,(fantastic views)

This was my first time ever to venture on the cable car, to the Excel Centre. If you take your oyster card with you on this journey, you can use it the same way you do on the tube or Thames Ferry.

The lure of the sun and river pulled me back out, of the conference centre.

As I sat out on the steps eating my lunch I noted there was a bridge that you could walk over. It was the Queen Victoria Dock Bridge. This took me along a very quiet residential area alongside the river.

Then I veered towards the industrial part of the area, not quite knowing where I was going, but I did recognise some of the more industrial parts from a previous walk.

I eventually found a path alongside a busy road that was directing me towards Canary Wharf & East India Docks
Trinity Buoy Wharf

I slipped off the main road and found myself in this little nook. It is part residential, and overall industrial, it hosts an artistic hub. For further information about workplaces see below.

Look at  http://www.trinitybuoywharf.com

The other side of the sculputre music vibe man

The other side of the sculpture music vibe man


This instrument picks up on the rhythms of the tide and chimes music, I would have loved to have been there at night on a full moon.

They do have a café where live music is played but you need to book well in advance as it is a tiny space.

To the left of it is an instrument that reads the moon tides.

To the left of this strange-looking sculpture is an instrument that reads the moon tides



The entrance to the Wharf has a varied display of street art .Sculpure & murals.

The entrance to the Wharf has a varied display of street art Sculpture & murals. 

Walking along the Thames from Woolwich via Greenwich to Blackheath

As always the best way forward is to put one foot in front of the other and there you go. The river walks are my favourite. There is so much life and history along the riverside.

Thames Barrier

Sculpture on Thames.


Old Barge Along River


Until next time, keep putting one foot in front of the other, you never know what you might find.



On the road to nowhere

 This walk often felt like being- On the road to nowhere

Following directions isn’t always easy. We had a print out of a walk, I had found online. It was very detailed but difficult to follow, it felt like we were on the road to nowhere stuck in a field not knowing South from North. 

Moving up- dusty path upwards


which way is South?

Map not included!

Over the years though, I have improved and continue to push myself out of my comfort zones. Other skills required to be a Good Walk Leader are:

  • Being punctual!
  • Thinking ahead,
  • Booking trains in advance, (that can be very time consuming, and very confusing)
  • Wearing the right clothes for the right weather,

Last but not least, just getting out and doing a walk when I might not feel like it.

HOLY COW IN SOUTH DOWNS with two new borns..

HOLY COW IN SOUTH DOWNS with two newborns.


I had printed the Walk instructions from Ramblers Routes( 09 )  This walk was not as straightforward as most of it was in fields

Uhh. Which way is South?

It takes time to learn these things. Not everybody was brought up in the country reading ordnance survey maps, I didn’t have a  map or a reception to get google maps on my phone. It’s fair to say I wasn’t prepared. Still, we managed in the end.

Trying to make head or tail of the instructions while standing in the middle of a field! It was turn left here, turn right then left at a hedge then over a stile 30 meters from a fence facing West, etc…then bear south! (Help!)

looking back towards Ilford a lot of fields a lot of sheep


On top of any walk, there are usually ‘hidden extras’, walking to & fro from the station. Meandering around a town or village looking for somewhere to eat or drink. (In this case there wasn’t a town to walk about in!).

 We arrived at a place called Iford not to be confused with Ilford.


It is officially a village and civil parish in the Lewes District of East Sussex. It does not have a shop café or pub, only a church, and a few random houses. Had I misread something? I was anticipating some kind of vineyard or Spanish Cafe towards the end of the walk.! Where did I get that from!

Now, what was that written in the walk description?
Still it was 28th of March and we were glad of some fresh air and light. 
At last the days were getting longer. At the top of a hill, we cross the South Downs Way carrying on with slight ascents and descents and endless seclusion, we pass Breaky bottom Vineyard, but no sign of any cafe/wine tasting sessions.

It got a bit confusing again after this as there weren’t clear directions as to how to get to the coastal town of Saltdean. We walked and walked until we got down to a football pitch and then came out to a road with some holiday homes. We headed to the main road, which was the main road to Brighton then and jumped on a bus and headed for the Bright lights.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyFitness
Until next time, keep on keeping on.

Stow On The Wold

 Stow On The Wold Cotswolds 

My first ever weekend away with The south Bank Ramblers Walking Group visiting Stow On The Wold

 A wake up from my winter slumber I stumbled out of bed & reminded myself it was for my own good and go I did.

We took a train from Paddington to  Stow on The Wold.  It’s not far from Oxford, so that is under 2 hours to get to Morton on Marsh where we caught a 10 min bus ride to Stow on the Wold.

 Away we go!Away we go!

I hadn’t done this sort of thing since I was in my early 20’s, and even then it was with a much smaller group.  The cost was £70 which included accommodation & the remains went into a kitty which covered breakfast and one evening meal.

It was a good deal. We had three nights there and two full days for walking.


Tree Trunks at church door Stow on Wold

Tree Trunks at church door Stow on Wold


Sign to Lower Slaughter

Sign to Lower Slaughter


I was taken with The Old Mill at Lower Slaughter  “voted most beautiful village in the Cotswold.


A shop created by Gerald Harris (well -known Jazz Singer and Crooner) who had said his aim is to create an environment that is a blast from the past. Walking into the shop it’s like walking into a different era, with the music of Ella Fitzgerald and other old jazz artist playing

I would have loved to have bought stuff but I wasn’t really prepared for this and didn’t want to be walking for another 4 miles with cast iron door knobs or whatever!

Shop / Museum/ Cafe at Upper Slaughter

Shop / Museum/ Cafe at Upper Slaughter


Current Stock Includes: Sheepskin Flying Jackets, wool Caps (Patchwork), Oil Paintings, Selected Furniture Pieces, wooden Chopping Boards, leather handbags; Not to mention: saddle stones, books of interest, local walking books, and much, much more!
view of Upper Slaughter

View of Upper Slaughter


MILL IN LOWER SLAUGHTER amazing shop gallery and village

MILL IN LOWER SLAUGHTER amazing shop gallery and village


Monarch’s Way to Broadwell

On the second day, we went along the Monarch’s Way to Broadwell, then via Donnington to Longborough where we stopped for a drink. After that, we went south to Upper Swell for lunch, onto Lower Swell and back to Stow. Lots of strange names, to grapple with and new places to see.

Walking in space!

Walking in space!

A beautiful sunny peaceful day on Sunday. Daffodils in full bloom, sheep grazing & peaceful blue sky, lovely.

“It is a designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the largest in the country, and its quintessentially English charm predominantly spans the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire;  while also reaching into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire.

Longborough a perfect spring day for a lunch time drink. Beautiful.

Longborough a perfect spring day for a lunchtime drink. Beautiful.


 Usually, I go to sleep with the sound of police cars a few blocks away. The occasional helicopter hovering overhead can often enhance the noise pollution. Often this is in the early hours, and not long after I’m awake there is usually the presence of a siren or two. The frequent planes join in with the early morning chorus. I have a fully orchestrated background at all times really, be it a noisy one.

The desire to escape is strong at times, but saying that, it can be extremely disconcerting to be somewhere so quiet


After a couple of days, I really started to relax a little. It takes time and as often is the case, as I start to unwind and get used to my new environment it’s time to go back.

Mushroom seat

Mushroom seat


until next time, put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on.. 






Westgate to Margate circular

Westgate to Margate circular 


I have walked this many times now, it’s as familiar as a stroll in the park. I still enjoy the Westgate to Margate circular.  As always it is invigorating. Saturday proved to be an ever-changing day.

The Sea looked grungy brown but calm & the wind almost blew us to Margate.  

Then came the hailstones, the sand rising from the surface and blowing towards Margate like a desert storm; as suddenly as the hail storms appeared, they then disappeared and blue skies appeared lighting up the Turner Gallery on the horizon.




 The Contemporary Turner Gallery 


It’s always great to see the Turner Gallery.  If only to take a break from the wind! There is always something on in there, and the views are great; Like the Tate in St Ives, a modern building, situated on the seafront designed to fit in with the landscape.


The Harbour Arms.




Micropub is defined as being independent of breweries serving local beers and ciders.

It is very tiny too and felt a bit like being on a stage set, it is not a pub as such but an old harbour office made into a small space with a bar and a few tables… There were about 14 people huddled in there if you added another ten it would have been jam-packed! The prices are good too. I had half a raspberry cider and my walking partner had a half local beer! £3 a pint; nice!




Is Margate moving on?

Walking back to Westgate along the seafront, I notice the modernisation of the old hospital is still in progress. The old Royal Sea Bathing Hospital was a pioneer hospital. Famous for its open-air treatment for patients suffering from tubercular complaints. It was founded in 1791 for the poor of London by Dr. John Coakley Lettsom, a Quaker physician. It is now being redeveloped into plush apartments.

 Resorts such as Margate had modesty hoods that could be let down to allow a woman to enter and leave the water in privacy.
If desired, the woman could also be dipped in privacy under the shelter of the hoodsalted sea water and be helped with cures for TB

Walking back to Westgate from Margate always seems longer than walking to Margate; especially with the wind in our face as we were attacked by another batch of hail stones…
We had planned to have another swift half in the micro pub in Westgate but they closed from about 2.30-5 pm, so missed out on that. 

There is a lot of misery in many parts of the country due to excessive rain. I’m hoping it will calm down soon, as a short w/end in Devon is on cards & got a couple of walks with the South Bank Group penciled in for February and a W/end of it in March.


Until next time Keep on Keeping on.