Jan
2020

New walks 2020

 New walks in 2020 are plentiful

There are literally hundreds of thousands of New walks in 2020. Finding and selecting is the most difficult part to do. I’m not laying out any plans yet.  My ideas are many but the practicalities and the arranging of finances are complex. I did my first walk of the year in Buckinghamshire, and the following week I decided to take a stroll along the river and pop into Somerset House. I was curious to see the illuminated bridges. It is still a work in process. 

Illuminated river

https://illuminatedriver.london/bridges

By winter 2020 all of the bridges will be illuminated. It’s a huge and expensive project, but how magnificent. The city already looks fantastic at night, it is a treat to see.

LONDON BRIDGES AT NIGHT

We only got as far as the Millenium Bridge as it was dark and cold, but the work looks promising.

In the warmth of Somerset House, it was fun to experience a relaxing pod, they are displayed in the foyer you can sit in there for 20 minutes listening to tranquil sounds. I had no trouble getting into that.

Coming up at somerset house.

View from Somerset house at Dusk

https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/mushrooms-art-design-and-future-fungi

I love a little night time read 

Patti Smith has written a highly original book called Year of the Monkey which is a year of solitary walking, (not logical) a dreamlike visionary read. see my page- Good reads for further reads.

SKY WATCHING. This is something I will get round to one of these days. A lot of the activities are during the week, in the Brighton/Lewes area. If you have the time, well worth a visit.

 

Stargazing extravaganza returns to South Downs National Park

Moongazing on the i360 on 9 February.

LOOKS IMPRESSIVE.

Glide up gently to 450ft in the futuristic glass viewing pod and enjoy views of the National Park and night’s sky, guided by Dark Skies expert Dan Oakley. The venue will be turning off the lights for an exclusive and extended 45-minute stargazing pod flight as part of this year’s Festival. While onboard there will be an opportunity to explore the views from the BAi360 pod through telescopes. Booking is essential. For more details see https://britishairwaysi360.com/event/dark-skies-festival-british-airways-i360/

Chelsea Physic Gardens is another place to visit and cheer the soul on a bleak winter day.

Check out their heralding spring event starting 25/01/2020- 2nd February. It’s a short window, but check out their other events.

Cactus in Greenhouse at Physic Gardens

 

DENHAM TO RICKMANSWORTH (LINEAR) - 
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
This was the first walk of the year Denham Village and golf course along the Grand Union Canal and Colne Valley Trail to Pynesfield Lake then along the Hillingdon Trail with some inclines through fields and woods with stiles, to Rickmansworth. We stopped for lunch at the Coy Carp pub alcohol-free of course!
It’s only about 30 minutes outside of London and has a great nature resort. Only last week Chris Packham was protesting about the plans to build the HS2 line through this area. Jonathan Pie in the video below sums it up! 
https://www.facebook.com/JonathanPieReporter/videos/948717915459274/
It does have a fantastic nature reserve and I can’t imagine they are just going to go direct through that! Are they?

HAPPY LADY /COLD DOG ON CANAL

I aim to do at least one 'official' walk with a walking
 group each month, and I hope to find some new walks this year.
For inspiration further afield
Why not consider a 7 day walking tour with 
the Ramblers?
 hhtps://ramblerslatest.com/1K7P-6O0O5-2CPUJYY2EB/cr.aspx

SATURDAY 1ST OF FEBRUARY
BENFLEET TO SOUTHEND-ON-SEA (LINEAR) - 
for further details see my walks coming up page
Up & Coming Walks Page

 

My friend Karen passed away this month, after a long battle with cancer. RIP Karen, you always remained positive and thanks for encouraging me to carry on walking and writing at times, when I felt like giving up.

 

 

 

 

Dec
2019

My best walks in 2019

 Looking back through Pictures & My best walks in 2019

My best walks in 2019 seemed to be mainly in the first half of the year and dwindle somewhat once summer arrived.

I spent April and May on the South Coast practicing walking from  Eastbourne to Seaford & over the Seven Sisters. It’s a great training ground and stood me in great stead for some very steep hills along the Jurassic Coast the following month.

Walking towards Eastbourne, as the hail started. I walked the 14 miles to Seaford. This coastline is a magnificent training ground.

 

WALKING THE JURRASIC COAST

Map of Jurassic Coast

We were starting our first day walking around Kimmeridge. The first day we covered about 20 miles of the coast, a brilliant open space.

The second day was slightly shorter but we had some incredibly steep hills to climb,  it was tough. The walk finished at  Duddle Door. I think of the British Isles as a small area until I get to the coast, and start walking! 

Over two days we covered about 35 miles approximately. I guess the whole coast could be walked in over a week. Seven days should do it.  It takes preparation, but weather permitting the walk is doable. 

for further details see.www.jurassiccoast.org 

https://www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/durdle-door-p1262763

I was the only one on the walk raising funds for War Child. There were are a few others raising money for different charities.

It was May the weather was good. We were really lucky to have two days of clear sky. I had raised £550.00, now all I needed to do was put one foot in front of the other & follow the leader.

 I felt proud to have completed the walk and wondered afterward what I had been so worried about. 

BLUE HAZE. People from the group taking a break on a hilltop

 

Camden Walk, from victorian art to punk rock

Back in London, I was rediscovering Camden. Having started a Meetup Group towards the end of 2018. I loved exploring and finding out more about the area and connecting the past to the present. My walk was a sort of literary art/rock n roller theme led walk. It was a short-lived experience, but interesting nevertheless.

 

Camden Canal

I think I enjoyed the organizing, preparation, and discovery of creating the walk more so than the meet up itself.

I had created a walk which was about 1 hour and a half.  Starting at Mornington Crescent, with what I lovingly knew as the Music Machine, where I spent a lot of time in my early 20’s.

Five minutes from there,  round the corner, we stopped at Walter Sickert’s `old digs’-He was a famous Victorian artist, who had painted for a living and was part of the Camden Collective. see my blog, A week in politics is a very long timeSPENCER -GORE

His name has been slandered by Patricia Cornwell the crime writer, as she has spent millions to prove he was Jack the Ripper. The top crime experts dispute this claim.
PIC OF TOWN CRIER IN FULL OUTFIT

OLD FASHIONED TOWN CRIER

mural of Amy Winehouse

AMY WINEHOUSE mural at Camden Market Entrance see my post Revisiting Camden

Revisiting Camden

By August I had given up on the Urban Led Walks as a Meet Up Group.

I carried on walking along the river and embankment on Sundays,  It’s surprisingly quiet along Chelsea embankment and Pimlico.

Hungry Seagulls coming in-land for food

Seagulls along the embankment

 

Another intriguing day was The walk to the house that Grayson Perry designed.  

Manningtree was mostly in the countryside, we also walked along the estuary which was eerily serene. Storm Hannah was there in the distance, at times kicking the sand up into our faces and giving the trees a good shake. No serious damage was done.

The mural at the train station near Grayson perry’s house MANNING TREE

Grayson Perry designed this house and can be rented out by signing up for a lottery. My name came up a couple of times, but unfortunately, I did not have a couple of thousand pounds to spare to treat my loved ones!

The house that Grayson Perry built

Another place I have been revisiting is the North East, born in South Shields and I  moved to Newcastle upon Tyne aged four; then left for London at 17. I never get tired of taking pictures of the magnificent bridges.

The Magnificent Tyne Bridge, view at night.

 

This bird picture, somewhat out of focus is one of my favorite pictures. The Cormorant birds are making a comeback. Only recently I saw a flock of them hanging out on a barge at the Chelsea Embankment. Previously I knew little of this bird and when I looked it up, it stated they loved fishing. That’s why this is one of my favorite pictures.
The cormorant

No fishing allowed!

 

The last of the Summer wine.!

These thistles stood out to me when walking in Kent, it was towards the end of the summer and a very hot day.  We were lucky to have a little breeze, the apples were bright red, good enough to pick from the tree and eat.  Walking through the orchards they looked beautiful. We walked about 10 miles that day in the heat.

Wild, n dry Thistle, Oare, Kent.

MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES

Last but not least. THE ISLE OF WIGHT in September -my other favorite month for being outdoors

I eventually had a few days out in September in The Isle of Wight. It was worth the wait, we had four days of blue sky and warm enough to be out all day. I would visit again for sure.

 

Coming out from a 4-mile walk  in the woods, this was the first sight at Ventnor

Near Freshwater Isle of Wight

Hammersmith Mid week.

Back to reality. Work has taken over and after a dismal job interview, I decided to treat myself to lunch by the river. The sky was vast & the river wide. It felt great to sit upstairs out on a balcony looking out at the scenery.

The year is now over and more adventures to start again in 2020

I’m up for the challenge of Dry January. See the Blog Post here if you are interested.

Until then Happy New Year 2020.

Nov
2019

Favourite Walks

Margate is now officially on my list of  Favourite Walks

I will be putting together my Favourite Walks of 2019 during the Xmas break at some time. I like to look back at what I have done during the year. Coastal Walks are my favourite walks, as are river walks, They are places I go back to time and time again. For more posts on Margate see the link below or archives.Westgate to Margate

Brightly painted huts along the seafront at Birchington on Sea

I don’t know Irena !-but the sea is on the left, and watch out for bikes and mobility scooters

 

BIRCHINGTON ON SEA TO MARGATE

Getting off the train at Birchington on Sea, within 2 minutes you will be at the seafront.

We picked up the high-speed train from Rochester to Birchington on Sea, this is an easy flat walk along the promenade for about 5 miles. The sun was out, the sky was blue, a perfect cold day for a walk

What’s not to like? Lunch at the Harbour Cafe in Margate, facing the sea, followed by a visit to the Turner Gallery, and then a drink at a microbrewery bar; a great place to sit and look at sea and sky while nursing a local brew. It’s so easy to get to from Victoria London on the train.

BLUE SKY, blue sea-  CATCH THE LIGHT, before the day is through.

 

I had wanted to see the contenders for the 2019 Turner prize.

Having recently been shown one of the exhibitors work on someones I Phone, curiosity spurred me on. It doesn’t take much persuasion to get me to Margate. My contender for the prize is, Tai Shani’

Her practice encompasses performance, film, photography and sculptural installations, frequently structured around experimental texts

I am a word person and love the spoken word, as well as the mystical. To see the contenders for the 2019 Turner prize see the link below.

https://turnercontemporary.org/whats-on/turner-prize-2019/

Speaking of favourite walks, you don’t get much more familiar than walking about Brixton. Having lived here for decades,  I tend to not hang out so much here, but on Sunday I decided to check out a local event.

Coldharbour 360˚ VR Film and Oral History Exhibition

https://www.independentfilmtrust.org/coldharbour

Last chance to see 14/12/2019 Highly Recommended!

Using virtual reality we got a trip around the market places, some of the music clubs, & record stores, as well as some brilliant poetry, being recited, shot right outside my flat on the Zebra crossing.

I came out feeling inspired. Looking at Brixton with new eyes & I took a few street photos.

For some time I had been meaning to take another look at the mural in Brixton station, having listened to an interview with the artist on the Robert Elms show.

see link below for more info on the artist.

Brixton tube Mural- POLICE OPPRESSION, BLUES CLUBS AND GHETTO BLASTERS.

 

Brixton library The Ritzy looking towards Brixton Road

 

Granville Arcade part of the indoor Market

black n white/ street Art

Cool thing..
Street Photo Electric Lane
Brixton

 

Walking the Walk and talking the talk

We decided to take a walk up Josephine Avenue to Brixton Hill down past the prison, and across  Blenheim Walk to see the original Windmill.

The Windmill

I knew of the Windmill Pub/music venue having frequented there for many years and even worked briefly in the bar there, but I hadn’t visited the actual Windmill. It’s about 1 minute from the Windmill Venue!

The windmill is undergoing some major work to transform this site into a visitor/education centre for schools, tourists and the wandering curious. Looks like it could be a good spot on the map for future urban walks.

Walking in my area

At the end of the day, we had ditched the idea to go and do the Isle of Dogs walk and stayed in Brixton.

We walked back down up Brixton Hill, we cut through Tulse Hill over to Brockwell Park, as we approached the Brixton Water Lane entrance, I bumped into an old friend of mine, it had been a long time, nearly 15 years!, so we popped over  to the Hobgoblin for a beer and a catch up then stumbled into Khans for a shared meal. 

 

 

Until next time keep on keeping on.

Westgate to Margate revisited February 8th 2014 for more writing about Margate see this link.

 

 

 

Oct
2019

Autumn Walks

Spring is fine, summer divine, but you can’t beat Autumn Walks.

North Welwyn Hertfordshire

I hadn’t planned any Autumn walks other than Hastings. Out of the blue, I got an email invite from a member of the Finchley Walking group to join a Sunday walk around North Welwyn. It is only 35 minutes from London, so it turned out to be a very good idea.

I saw the open sky, wild mushrooms, galloping horses, and had a good walk. It slightly rained for about half an hour but overall was a fine day. 

Beautiful Mushrooms

These little creatures are popping up a lot in the British Countryside.

 

Autumn Walks don’t get much better than a meander along the river.

Boulevard al a Hammersmith, the first day of the week without rainLOOKING OUT AT THE RIVER FROM THE BALCONY OF PUB

GOOD MORNING HASTINGS.

A sight for sore eyes. It was great to be greeted by the open sky and sea. We met at Hastings at 10ish, walked up to the castle to take in the views of the sea, then over the cliffs and down to the town.

Apparently, Alister Crowley (occultist-who practiced the magic of the black arts) Lived in the blue house for a brief period

WALKING AROUND THE TOWN, INTERESTING TYPOGRAPHY

OLD BOHEMIA MEETING PLACE, (MAKE A WISH)DRAMATIC SKYLINE,

We were lucky and managed to get an early lunch while it rained for an hour at lunchtime.

 We walked in and around Hastings, through the woodland environment of Bohemia and Summerfield. We extended our walk along the seafront to St Leonard’s on Sea with its bohemian artists quarter and numerous cafes. A great place to end the walk and have a drink or two.

 

Hastings is part of East Sussex,  around 20 miles from Lewes, and 60 miles from London.

Other towns in East Sussex are Brighton, and Hove, as you get to Worthing you are venturing into West Sussex which borders on Kent.  I’m eventually getting very familiar with the South Coast of England. Being a Northerner it has taken me a long time to truly appreciate it’s diversity.

 

Also coming up- The Isle of Dogs Sunday Walk, and a circular walk to Margate.

 

 

Sep
2019

Discovering The Isle of Wight

On this visit it was like discovering the Isle of Wight for the first time

My memory of my first visit is sketchy. I recall, staying  in a converted Mill and was told that E.P Thompson; Historian and Author (The Making of The Working Classes) had some connection to it. What that connection was I’m not entirely sure.  I did feel as if I was discovering the Isle of Wight for the first time -it felt like a distant land, surrounded by sea.  Imagining living there I thought I might feel a bit cut off. Although the idea of being away from a major city like London and having all that space has its’ attractions.

Awesome Plumes Windswept…sea grass magnificent…can you spot the butterfly at back of pic or the great whale diving into  the sea!!!

 

Discovering the Isle of Wight public transport

Getting to the Isle of Wight from London is easy, take a train from Waterloo to Portsmouth. Then from Portsmouth, a ferry (Catamaran) to Ryde pier. From Ryde Pier there is an old fashioned London tube train and there is one line only.  At this time of year (off peak) only one train an hour. You can pay on the train. Once on the Island, they have a very good bus service.

 

Rosehips all over the Island

 

Good enough to eat, we picked a few en route, and they were delicious

On our first day without much of a plan we walked over 15 miles 

Exploring the Isle of Wight, is fairly easy, as the coastal path is well sign posted, and accessible. We started off at Shanklin walking along the top of the beach  and headed  uphill and down towards Sandown bay. We just kept going and hoped for the best.

Sandown, 2 miles into the walk

You are never far from the Sea on the Isle of Wight.

Bembridge, Discovering The Isle of Wight

White Light at Bembridge

Bembridge Discovering the Isle of Wight

St Helens Discovering the Isle of WightWe had lunch at the Crab and Lobster in Bembridge then carried on over towards St Helens and  Seaview where we walked aside the windswept waves, taking care not to get swept away!

Seaview Discovering the Isle of Wight

The coastal path is very well sign posted, but we had to go inland a lot, it was pleasant enough in the woods mainly. Eventually ending up at Ryde at about 7pm. It was a long day, but worth it. We hadn’t made plans for the following day but wanted to avoid the Goth Party at the Hotel later on.!  After that long walk, I might have fancied a spa, or swim followed by a massage and early night, but there was no chance of that!

Ryde Discovering the Isle of Wight

Birds sweeping in at dusk Ryde

Eating out in Shanklin

On the first evening we ate out at The Black Cat a Thai restaurant. The Guy serving us was from London and it was his families business. He was a journalist and had lived in Brixton. This made for some easy conversation; he made us feel so welcome. We had a similar experience the following evening after our 15 mile walk.  We were pretty tired, and ate out inPendletons.www.pendletons.org where again the waiting staff were so friendly and welcoming.

Fantastic Friendly service is something unusual these days

On our third night we ate in an Indian restaurant and then went over the road to a makeshift bar. There the landlady kept us amused telling us of her outsider status; she had worked in healthcare but somehow ended up taking over the business from her daughter. We got a 2 for 1 drink and chatted with her.  We told her the name of the hotel we were staying in , The Nightingale which ‘everyone in the village’ has heard of!. She seemed to think there were orgies going on in there due to it’s Gothic Status.

 

 The Nightingale

Originally it was a private house (a mansion, of which there are a lot on the island) known as Blenhim in the late 1800.s and named the Nightingale as an ode to Keats the poet.  

The murals outside were mainly of dead rockstars! all of whom I have loved, in my time.

It was a bit of an eyesore to see a mainly black painted hotel with: Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain and Amy Winehouse images painted on it. However, the heated outdoor swimming pool was welcome, and the room was small but nice.The hotel did advertise as having a vegetarian restaurant. I had been looking forward to sampling the food on arrival, but we were told it was closed for the season.

Although we were welcomed and invited to the Gothic party on the Saturday, at £40 a head! (that was just to reserve a seat.)When I booked the hotel, I had asked if there were events on and had been told no. So I wasn’t impressed, but what can you do. Perhaps a complimentary bottle of champagne or Prosecco  might have helped! (I think my goth days lasted about 3 months, sometime around 1981! I just wasn’t in to that.)

https://www.nightingale-hotel.co.uk  

Instead, we stayed out in town sampling the local beers till as late as possible, there was a bit of live music on in town. We returned later for a couple of dances in their private bar later. Who knows what was going on behind closed doors in the early hours. I was past caring at that point

Walking from the Needles to Freshwater Bay
Freshwater Discovering the isle of wight

Looking from the Needles Battery to Alum Bay Isle of Wight, beautiful colours in the cliff side.

The following day we jumped on a coastal route bus

You can jump on and off the coastal bus for a 24 hour ticket for a tenner. I was a bit disappointed with the Needles, we jumped off there and were faced with a tourist trap. So walked a bit further until we came across the Needles.

We visited the National Trust Exhibition at the Needles, 

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery/features/the-needles

Followed by a walk up to Tennyson Monument and down to Freshwater where we sat at the seafront with an ice cream watching the sea

Freshwater Discovering Todland in the Isle of Wight

Somewhere in Totland! Possibly Freshwater!

 

 I liked the look of Ventnor and would visit again

We picked the bus back up to Ventnor and considered walking back to Shanklin and decided against it as time was running out; as the days draw in. It was just as well really, as the following day, we walked from Shanklin to Ventnor and 4 miles of the walk was in woods. I wouldn’t want to get stuck in there late at night.

Ventnor seems to me to be an interesting little town. However the train does not go there. As we were heading up and out of the town, back to Shanklin.  I looked back and noted a plaque to `karl marx, turns out he lived there for a period of his life.

Our last walk was from Shanklin to Ventnor

 

en route to Ventnor Discovering The Isle of Wight

Window to garden with flower “A thing of beauty is a joy forever!’ KEATS.

 

We really didn’t have a clue about the island, so it was a real treat to find this walk. Mainly in the woods alongside the coast. It felt so refreshing with hardly a soul about. What with a cold coming on and a hangover, we were feeling somewhat fragile at this point.  We arrived at Ventnor and had lunch on the seafront. It was a bit late to get to the Botanical Garden, & we felt like we were done with  walking.  We were travelling back to London the following day.The only thing left to do was have a rest before going out for out our final meal in town.

Ventnor Discovering The Isle of Wight

Seafront at Ventnor

 

Photo Gallery for more photos go to my photo gallery.