Northward Bound

South Shields-my birthplace



We had a great 5-6 mile walk along the cliff tops. I guess we take our heritage for granted, but having spent some of my childhood there & later teenage years, I spent little time walking along the beach. The coastal area is maintained by the National Trust and although the area has been damaged to some extent by previous recessions it is resilient.

Souter Lighthouse to South Shields walk graphic

Craster in Northumberland

We then ventured Further up from the South Shields coastline to visit Craster in Northumberland. It had started raining fiercely and we got a bit frightened off by the massive herd of cows who seemed intent on blocking our path at the gate that led to Dunstanburgh Castle. The photo of the cows doesn’t quite do it justice, but it was funny They were grazing down by the rocks and when they saw us coming they all ran towards the gate! I didn’t have the nerve to just walk through them! City Dwellers at heart.

These cows were actually galloping!


You can just about make Dunstanburgh Castle in the background, but being soaked through after walking about a half a mile we walked back and sat under shelter and enjoyed the local Craster kipper in a bun! I need to spend more time in Northumberland and make at least a week of it.


kippers at Craster

Craster fishing village in the rain

Craster fishing village in the rain


Live Theatre

Heading back to Newcastle Upon Tyne, where I lived from about 5 years old to 14 then returned on and off in my 20’s. 

We saw a wonderful production at a new play called TYNE written by Michael Chaplin.;

A fantastic talented musical cast journeying in time and space along the banks of the Tyne. This brand new play maps the epic history atmosphere and soul of this mighty river in story, music and images.

Chaplin’s TYNE live theatre

Illustrated with evocative imagery of the River Tyne is accompanied by live songs and music inspired by the river compiled by musical director, Kathryn Tickell. The music was exceptional and extremely moving. http://www.live.org.uk


I’m going to be doing a few walks around Kent/ Rye and Hastings over the next few weeks. 


In the meantime I am looking forward to swimming /cold beers and cinema!!!..xxx

Will keep you posted.





365 photographs and finding walks

Posting 365 photographs

Lately I have doing a bit of background tidying up, streamlining my work on line. I was recommended an online project by a photographer friend of mine. The basic idea is that you post a picture for every day of the year. You don’t have to post a photograph every day, but you do need to post 365 photographs


 I don’t have a digital at the moment and am using film, so my contributions are a bit ad hoc. I’m half way there and certainly don’t post a picture every day. Eventually though I will post a full 365 pictures. I have a few followers and I enjoy seeing other amateur photographers.


Linear walk Hitching to Letchworth

I recently joined up with a new walking group based in North London, we went out a  couple of Sundays ago which was the hottest day of the year at that point.




Although now we seem to be having a heat wave, it seems  a good time for me to do a bit of research. I have an intense aversion to heat! It makes my skin boil, and I get very irritated. I don’t know if it has anything to do with me being a North Country girl, but I actively avoid too much sun.

The linear walk Hitching to Letchworth via the old town of Hitching then Oughtonhead Common Nature Reserve led to a Lavender field. It was surprising to see such nice countryside and only about 30 miles outside of London A train from Kings Cross took about 30 minutes.

I did a couple of country walks with my South Bank Group, on different occasions both around 8 mile walks. I’m starting to get to the point where I want to make up my own walks and do them when I feel like it.

Research and reading maps

I’m becoming interested in researching places and reading maps. A group can be good but I am also very independent minded and like to do things my own way. Still I would encourage anyone who wants to get out of the city to join a walking group. If like me you have spent more years than you care to remember living in London as (wonderful as it is.)There is more to life. Anyone who knows London will know you can’t just get up and go for a walk , to really get anywhere scenic you need to travel at least 30 miles but more like 50 -60 for coastal walks which I prefer.

I’m also looking into the Saturday Walkers club

http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/they publish walks and maps.

If you like to read a bit of history and view maps, you can also print out walks and download an audio programme outlining historical references to any area that you are interested in researching.

I haven’t been very successful with the phone application map my walk as I find it a bit fussy and difficult to read a map on a phone with the sunlight blaring on it. Far easier to have an idea first and then just amble along. I’m not too worried about getting lost really. It’s not like I’m going off into the Amazon Jungle.


Until next time please keep reading commenting sharing.


200 Flights were cancelled at Heathrow

Due to one aeroplane having to make an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport 200 Flights were cancelled


We were told we would not get a flight that day &  we were sent away from the airport in a state of disbelief. This made no sense whatsoever to us, and we were not offered any alternative flights.  Arriving back at Brixton in the pouring cold rain was a miserable way to begin our Bank Holiday Weekend.  We were looking forward to going to Berlin for what had promised to be an exciting Gig /Birthday Party. That was now out the window. 200 Flights were cancelled at Heathrow does not make a good headline. I’m astounded as to how one plane had an issue and the casing came off the jet engine, meant they had to cancel all of the flights going out to Europe that day. Surely they could have just done a quick check.


There was little we could do about it, the money for the flight and hotel would be refunded, but what now? Our Long Bank Holiday Weekend. ? We had missed the gig therefore, we weren’t going to go back to the airport the following day to pay again and hang about with thousands of others trying to find a flight. Surely British Airways could have shifted the plane and got some planes out to Europe! So close yet so far! It’s not like it was a major catastrophe just a fault in one of the plane’s engines.


I won’t book with British Airways again.

We were without a plan and peeved off but decided to just have a walkabout and managed 10 miles on Saturday, starting at Aldgate in the East End. I had thought maybe we could meet up with the South Bank Walkers who were following Jack the Ripper’s trail through Victorian London’s sinister East End but somehow got off at the wrong station and it was too late.

I will spare you the details, but we missed this walk by about five minutes. Feeling a bit jinxed at this point we wandered over to Petticoat Lane Market.

This was an area I hadn’t visited in years. I picked up a few goodies at the market then we walked through the city of `London’ The City of London is surprisingly quiet at weekends. We then walked to London Bridge, where we stopped off and had a lovely pub lunch by the river.

I spotted a massive dead fish floating down on a very a fast tide along the Thames. It looked strange just bobbing along being carried downriver with the waves.

We carried on walking over Southwark Bridge to Blackfriars where we stopped for a drink. The sun was beaming at this point and a nice breeze blew from Father Thames. We then carried on down the Embankment towards Vauxhall and walked to Oval then further to Brixton. The day out was nice due to the weather, but you know I would have preferred to have been to Berlin. 

A quiet place in the City of London – Bank Holiday when I was meant to be in Berlin


On Sunday I took my book out with me – ‘Walking Haunted London.’

I wanted to test out a short 3 mile walk around St James & Green Park area. There are some very interesting stories in the book with plenty of historical references and stop off points.  A nice lunch was had at  Shepherds market Mayfair and then a walk back through Green Park, past Buckingham Place to Victoria train station and back to Herne Hill. It was the best we could do under the circumstances. We tried to get away and just couldn’t, what a blow.

I want to try a few more of these walks and possibly lead one in the autumn when the dark evenings set the stage for a good Ghost Walk. I’m aware there are professional walks available all over London already, for more information try.




Until next time Keep your chin up and one foot in front of the other.





The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Written by Rachel Joyce published by Black Swan 

A tale of a walk of 627 miles in 87 days from Kingsbury to Berwick

book cover Harold Fry



The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, is a work of nonfiction. A story about a man who went for a very long walk. I would describe it as an old-fashioned English story; quaint, sweet, innocent & sad. In short the main character the elderly retired Harold is living an intolerable existence, his wife barely speaks or looks at him, they live separate lives both thwarted by the experience of their son’s suicide.

The story takes off really when Harold gets a letter from someone called Queenie to tell him she remembered his kindness and wanted to thank him and that she was dying.

He wants to do the right thing but isn’t sure what it is.  Initially, he is going to post a letter to her but just can’t face it and feels, in the light of someone dying a letter was nowhere near adequate. He starts walking to a letterbox not quite able to post it.

After meandering past 3 or 4 post-boxes he gets the idea to keep walking and personally visit Queenie. This mission starts in Devon where he lives, to Berwick (in Northumberland but on the border of Scotland) where she is dying in a hospice.

Walking from Devon to Berwick a free map image – Google Search

We are not too sure who this character Queenie is at this point. A lot of the background isn’t revealed until midway in the walk. At this point Harold is extremely undernourished and ill-prepared for an arduous distance of 600 miles.

The story of how his life became so unbearable becomes clear as the walk evolves.

Walking from Devon to Berwick. A long way indeed.


He meets waifs and strays along the way, and even becoming a minor celebratory with many people jumping on the bandwagon with their own reasons for being out there! There are pleasurable aspects and a newfound joy to be discovered in the simplicity of walking and living outdoors.


He discovers that life still holds many beauties under an English sky and countryside, something he had forgotten to take time to appreciate.
He encounters both a painful recollection of what it is he is escaping and the joy of not knowing 
where he is going, the unknown future he is moving towards. 
It is about reconciliation and redemption. A fantastic read.


For further reading to do with walking see my Best Reads Page. Good ReadsThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry



Until next time, we all have walks we can do for many reasons





























ÓJulie Connelly




Sharing Blogs

Sharing Blogs

Sharing blogs with other writers and journalists helps us to create a  writing community.  Online forums are a useful place for writers to connect with other writers, or for those who write a blog.

Online forums are a great place to share information & it is encouraging to be part of a group.  It gives us a chance to open up to a larger and more diverse audience.

We can all benefit from this experience.  Writers often work alone and they do need some sort of feedback. Writers can  be a lonely lot at times.

I think sharing blogs is a good idea. Manjuaga is a devotee to yoga and Buddhism. He also writes blogs that are a joy to read. He is a thoughtful, & natural writer.


It was at The Buddhist Centre called Dhanasoka in Scotland where we met. After the retreat, I read Manjuanga’s blogs.  He lives in Manchester and runs yoga classes on a regular basis. He can be found on twitter.@Manjunaga.


Some of my pictures from the retreat

A rare quiet road

Spring Rites

In his blog called Spring Rites, Manjuaga writes about the riots that broke out in Paris; caused by the Avant-garde nature of the new music to hit the Parisian audience.


The avant-garde nature of the music & the new modern form of choreography caused a riot in the streets of Paris.

Artists such as Stravinsky and Nijinsky taught a new dynamic invention, in which they broke away from old traditions. They created a different type of dance. the audience did not know what to do!


The Punk revolution had the same impact on society.Manjuanga believes that practicing yoga can benefit us all from being rigid and stuck in our ways.

The act of movement keeps us alive and well.

to see more writing from Manjunaga -the link is here. www.manjunaga.com