Summer Walks

In August 2018 I was feeling reflective, In June I had been walking along the cliff tops in Northumberland. Summer walks can be some of the most beautiful walks.

My summer walks were shortlived. Returning to London in the heatwave in June, was intense. I had work to do and a course to attend. I wish I could have spent a whole month just doing summer walks across the cliff tops. Instead, I had to get back to London after a few days. As always work and courses dominate my life.

Summer walks just taking in the Stunning scenery in Northumberland  

Northumberland, Craster coastline

waves crashing on cliffs

Blue sea rugged cliffs, June 2018 Northumberland

Old friends (eh not so much of the old,!) go back a long way…  from Newcastle & South Shields enjoying the sunshine


looking at you, looking at me

Handsome cliff side sheep


Politics/Unite, Angel-Islington & Farringdon, London

On a recent UNITE REP course situated between Angel and Farringdon, I found this little spot by the Canal to sit in at lunchtime. No matter what I’m doing or where I am, I usually find hidden spots. The Unite Course was intense for a whole week, so finding a bit of space was heaven.

Although I haven’t had the time to go on any more summer walks lately, I’m still Clocking up the steps.

Walking from My house to Herne Hill and from  Farringdon Station to the Unite Office; I walked up to Upper Street Islington for lunch and walked back to Farringdon at the end of the day to take the train, this all clocked up about 5 miles a day.

As well as walking at the weekend from Victoria to Blackfriars to the TATE MODERN  walking 8 miles. It all adds up.

five minutes from Angel Station

                                Regent Canal  Islington

Dave a Unite Rep & bus driver, told me this story

I love my walk to work. It’s about 7 kilometers and takes just over an hour. The first part of the trail is through the quiet back road, through a park,to the local area City Centre (Woolwich ).

Here I can jump on a bus (if running late) to work. It’s the highlight of my day; taking a bag of peanuts to feed the squirrels in the park. Where I can get my best ideas walking. Arriving at work my mind fully charged with ideas.


a chair a bridge an old boat and a cancal

Away from the main street was this little spot- Regents Canal Islington


As a Unite Rep Dave deals with drivers on a daily basis; who are dealing with poor health due to the job demands and lack of healthcare from the privately-owned companies. It is a dog eat dog world & all he/we can do is fight for our rights for better working conditions.

Helping ourselves is the first step towards freedom. Keeping on walking and getting the exercise as well as just seeing different places makes a whole load of difference to a mind that is filled with politics of one kind or another; be it office politics or general politics. There is no end to it all.

As Old man, Bob Dylan said, “you gotta serve somebody.”

My next idea to start a new walking Meet Up Group is on the cards, and I will roll that out in September and see how that goes. It will start slowly, leading occasional Sunday walks. Watch this space.


RAA headlines

Daily Crap Headlines

Grayson Perry RA coordinates the biggest, brightest and most colorful Summer Exhibition yet, in our 250th annual celebration of “art made now”.(RAA)

summer exhibition



I attended the Royal Academy Summer Show again this show, not knowing what to expect. It’s always reassuring to see the massive collection from the sublime to the ridiculous. It’s been my ambition for a long time to write about art. As yet I just haven’t got round to it. I may do yet. 

storm in a teacup! or not?!


The summer is coming to an end, and the heat was intense making some situations unbearable, so I’m glad to see the back of it and embracing cool beautiful September & October, with much to do as always.

Coming up next month


last month has many more episodes of the exciting North East Trip

Escaping the heatwave




Escaping the heatwave

I tried escaping the heatwave, but even in Newcastle it was hot.

It was so hot in fact everything turned green!  Well all of my photos. Escaping the heatwave is easier said than done, I kind of like how the heat somehow melted my pictures of sea and sky turning everything a greeny-blue haze. Trying to get out of the heat by going North, wasn’t a bad idea, but Escaping the heatwave, was proving to be somewhat impossible!

Escaping the heatwave and seeing green!

everything has gone green & bluey green!

Spending time in Newcastle,  South Shields& Northumberland.

The heatwave was more durable due to a breeze from the Tyne or the sea.

Fewer buildings & people does help but the heat was still intense. The green shots were taken along the rugged coastline Smugglers Bay, just passed South Shields.

Not quite sure why they came out like that but consider it an art installation moment. Art is anything you want it to be.! A vision!  I’m looking forward to the 250th RA summer exhibition next month,

I love my gigs and always try to see live music when up in Newcastle.

The Cluny, one of my favourite music venues situated in the  Ouse Valley, tucked in at the edge of Newcastle City Centre, away from the Bars and usual clubs.

I just managed to make the gig on time, due to my train from London being on & a half-hour late. (the heatwave again !)

It was an acoustic evening, so therefore seated. The opening act Fred Abong sang his own quirky very short songs but flowed well.

Headlining was Kristen Hersh who I can only describe as understated perfection! It’s all about the synergy twisting the words to fit the rhythm


Up in Northumberland

I visited Alnwick where my tour guide (old flatmate) led me through  Hulne Park

two women painting in Hulme Park

A painters paradise, lush green trees, with a gentle running river flowing by


Hardly a soul about we walked for about 6 miles before lunch in Alnwick Centre.

The following day we did a circular walk around  Craster, my favourite area. Last time I had visited it was pouring with rain, whereas this visit at the end of June, it was hot enough to swim.  I discovered that behind the castle a five-minute walk to the beach was in sight, sandy beaches for miles.

My last shot on  35mm film leftover from NYC Gateway to the sea View from outside pub at Craster. A beautiful day, I could have stayed there all day.

Newcastle upon Tyne

Meeting up with an old friend and visiting the Baltic on a hot summer day was a highlight for me. We loved this picture of our shadows.


The Baltic

We came across a project from 2018 called Ceremony

Presented as a large-scale film installation. It follows the artist’s search for a decommissioned 1970’s statue of German philosopher Friedrich Engels. As the film tracks the statue’s journey from one side of Europe to the other on a flat-bed truck, it starts showing the bewildered faces of the older generation some not understanding why they have to remove it.

It shifts from one sense of history to another. In parallel, it cuts to stories of Collins’ collaborators in Manchester, including a young dancer who struggles to make ends meet, a factory worker who had to go back to work straight after a stroke.

The statue ends its journey in the centre of Manchester, among the towering new glass and steel buildings that act as alternative monuments to corporate wealth an aspiration for some by no means all.  What would Engels think now?


Also showing was series of displays and projects, questioning What is the North, to quote Paul Morley in his book The North, “the North that is written is a hallucination as much as it is a history, a non-fiction dream of what might have been rather than a documented expression of the definite” 

Always a lot to think about in the Baltic.

No pre-planned walks at present, but who knows what will come up, Next post end of August.


All I need is the air that I breathe

 All I need is the air that I breathe. A new advertising campaign from Transport For London A great song in its day

The song us used as part of an advertising campaign to raise awareness of air pollution issues in the capital and the new Ultra Low Emission Zone. Less cars means better air.  The campaign features a choir of children singing the famous Hollies hit. ‘The air that I breathe‘ is a truly lovely song and an important issue. Living in London the air I’m breathe in  on a daily basis can’t be doing me much good.

The pollution in inner cities is rife, . As a cyclist who works in the inner city, I get blasts of fumes in my face on a regular basis. I get sore throats and headaches as part of the parcel. Getting out of the inner cities & London as often as possible is essential.

Hastings to Rye

Walking to Rye from Hastings recently I clocked up 17.1 miles which is equal to 39,340 steps and 85 floors, a long walk! I can’t pretend it was easy as it was only my second attempt of leading this walk and left most of the decisions to Martin who was co-leading.

The mist at the beginning of the walk didn’t help by throwing us into corners and then having to backtrack. We got there in the end. I think after much thought I prefer the walk to start at Rye and finish at Hastings.  Might try to master that before the summer ends.

sheep relaxing

Happy sheep among the daisies, sitting outside Cambor Castle


We walked in the mist all the way through Hastings Country Park by the time we got to the military canal leading to Rye it had cleared up nicely.


Winchelsea ButteRfly on a Buttercup

Picture of a Winchelsea Butterfly landed on a buttercup, courtesy of Chelin Miller who also blogs



Not a very nice walk to The Lovely Gallery!

Last Sunday more to do with the trains not working than any real desire to walk, we trudged uphill on an urban walk from Brixton to Sydenham High street; the walk was about 6 miles. For some reason, I decided to let the map on my I Phone dictate the way; whereas usually when walking to Penge East I would at least walk to Crystal Palace  & down through the park. We missed a couple of turnings so it was a bit of a bore.

We were rewarded for our efforts, as we visited The Lovely Gallery. It was great that the artist gave a talk about his work and as it was the last day there, we were presented with wine to help us appreciate the exhibition. It takes time to adjust the eyes from an Urban sprawl to see beyond everyday reality.! Got there in the end.

Followed by homemade scones with jam and strawberries, lovingly baked by the gallery owner, we had an off the cuff great day out. Worth a visit if you are in the area

The  Lovely gallery

Down to Earth

Down to Earth -Martin Fidler displaying his latest collection


Canterbury Trails-Kent Linear Walk

From door to door, the walk added up to 16.5 miles, 24,230 steps and climbed 25 floors.  We ambled alongside The Great Stour river through Blean woods to the University of Kent Campus . After which we descended into the City Centre and stopped a while for a few beers in the City of Canterbury. A whole day of Sunshine!

Sheep flat out in Cantebury

Came across herds of sheep flat-out.



looking down towards Cantebury

Heading inland to Canterbury


The Canterbury walk, although long was nowhere as strenuous as the Hastings to Rye, or the Seaford to Eastbourne I led recently. I’m determined now to go back and get the  RYE TO HASTINGS ROUTE under my belt.

I prefer having the option to stop at Winchelsea & have a sit down near the beach at  Petts Level before ending up in Hastings, it just works better. Additionally, Hastings is a bit more lively than Rye.  At Hastings  you have a load of pubs and possibly a bit of live music to look forward to at the end of the long walk.

I just need to work out if there’s a way of cutting out the Country Park perhaps going around, I have done variations on this route following other leaders so it’s worth a try.

I’m currently up in Newcastle Upon Tyne my hometown visiting The Cluny in Ouseburn Valley and getting out and about up the coast. I will regale you with More tales about that next post, as always at the end of the month every month. 








Walking With The Beast

I’m Walking- I’m just walking, I’m walking with The Beast!

Taking that long-needed walk can release the beast in all it’s might; Throw it around a bit, wrestle with it and hopefully beat it. As well as a songwriter I am fond of wrote a song called walking with the Walking with The Beast. RIP Jeffery Lee Pierce.  It is something I can relate to, I can describe it as that suffocating feeling like an Incubus nightmare; when you feel smothered and overwhelmed.

sun coming down at Eastbourne

Nearly there yet. Along the cliff tops.


I have been writing about Walks and things discovered along the way for some years now. It’s an infinite subject.

Are you walking away from someone or something? Or towards an event; walking for charity? on a Demo, a stroll in the park, walking for health, walking with the Beast? I love my little 25-minute lunchtime walk, it can take the edge off as I leave my desk, log out of my computer and phone, I walk up Camberwell Grove to smell the roses!


My planned walk from Seaford to Eastbourne


Blue Skies Open Heath, wild flowers

Blue skies open space


Fortunately, the sun came out in the afternoon which made for a very pleasant day walking. We covered the actual Seven Sisters in an hour and got to Eastbourne for 5 pm. We  walked 15 miles by the end of the day.

picture of walkers at Beachy Head

walking from Seaford to Eastbourne, a bit too busy clifftop


The Wellcome Institution. 

I have been popping in there for some years now. You never know what you will find. I rarely plan a visit there.


Strange picture of Bull with sperm straws on his back!

Strange Beast indeed!


A series of large photographic portraits of bulls at an Irish stud farm Dovea Genetics.  The sculptures represent different characteristics that are being bred into cattle such as being hornless, being able to withstand changes in climate. The colourful straws are semen straws! Somewhat complex content. See Link Below for full details.

 If that wasn’t strange enough I then find this!

Under -A Video Installation

 2 video projections named Under exploring the 3 elements which measure free diving:  time, distance and depth

Each of the Under films was entirely shot and performed on a single breath of air in the Red Sea.

Coming Up

Tomorrow I lead the walk Hastings to Rye see my Up & Coming walk page for further details.



leading a walk

Leading a walk, or sharing a led walk!

Leading a walk alone is somewhat easier than a joint walk with two other leaders. Although I was grateful to be with two map reading experts, I still found the experience somewhat difficult. To make matters more difficult we were starting at Hastings, walking to Rye, and previously we had started at Hastings and finished at Rye. I found out after this walking experience that starting at Rye was the best option.

 I’m not a great map reader, I’m inclined to lead the walk in the main from memory. The map is a back up if I get lost.

It is essential to prepare for the walk, this is to find out; what works, & where the toilets are, knowing where to eat, be it a picnic or a pub lunch, how long the walk takes including the stops,  and any changes that may have been made En-route.

I’m sure when I lead the walk on 1/6/2018 it will be a perfect day! 

Hopefully, Martin will be a joint leader on this walk. Martin & I had previously walked this route, led by another South Bank Group member, from Rye to Hastings, so both of us were sort of doing this a bit based on that memory, and our third leader was doing it all by the map.

view of Hastings town from top of stairs

A view from the hill of Hastings.



 In a way, this was really creating a new walk, based on some knowledge of the area. Getting to Hastings was easy and we headed straight through the old town and turned in at a side entrance by The Dolphin Inn, there is a steep staircase leading up to East Cliffs Hastings.


Bollards sign post routes

These bollards really help


Martin is well acquainted with Hastings, as he occasionally displays his artwork at a Gallery near the seafront at St Leonard’s. On this occasion, he met us in Hastings and told us there was a warning about erosion in Hastings Country Park which meant we would be diverted.


a bridge crossing over near

I recognise this bit, it leads to a naturist beach!


We were keen to avoid too much of the steep climbs of which there are many.

The diversion worked quite well as we only had 3 difficult steep climbs in which you have to stop at the end to catch your breath. I had walked some hellish steep steps in Hastings Country Park, in the past. It is pretty well signposted but is vast; if you are not careful it is easy to get waylaid then exhausted. 

Texan Jane, the other leader, held firmly to the map correcting us when we were going wrong. Both Jane & Martin have been leading walks for many years, but still, it was ‘my walk’, but we all contributed to making it happen. The rain poured down from 2 pm- 6 pm, we had no choice but to carry on.


coming out of woods to cliff overlooking sea

Coming out to Fairlight Bay

picture from cliffs coming out of Hastings Country Park

Looking out to Sea, huge clouds, lots of rain, from 2 pm-6 pm


Gray and blue skylight picture of sea

looking towards Petts level

seat with a view over coast

Seat with a view, out to sea.


leaders leading the way

Where now Jane? eh, Martin?!!!

a picture of sign post in three directions

I’m sure it’s this way, yes definitely, I ‘m sure…… 


Buying the right tickets & learning how to get around the somewhat overcomplicated  system can be a bit of a pain.

My word of advice is to avoid advanced tickets if possible and try to get the off-peak return instead. Split ticketing is another way of possibly getting a cheaper ride and using the oyster up to Zone 9 then  buying a train ticket for the rest of the journey out of London.

I occasionally attend a Blog Meet UP Group in Euston and would recommend this blog about travel. blog/travel-money-matters/5-tips-for-cheap-train-travel
 Having the right clothes

Having the right walking gear is essential, the subject deserves it’s own blog, although that might be a bit boring. Google, Goretex! and you will be on the right track. It is not fun being soaking wet, knowing we have another 8 miles to walk in the rain, believe me!

 Camber Castlecamber castle near RyeLooking through the window of Camber Castle

picture of ruined but still standing Camber Castle


When I first joined the Ramblers in 2011 I received a free copy of The Best Walks in Britain, and took it with me on my first visit to Seaford; from where I took a bus to East Dean then walked back to Seaford via The Seven Sisters; after I completed my Accredited walk leaders course, I started taking a group out doing variations on a theme.  I have extended my walk this year to Eastbourne.



Until next time keep on keeping on