Jun
2019

walking in all sorts of weather, and map reading

On a recent practice walk, I started off at Eastbourne a 12-mile walk to Seaford.

During the course of the day I endured: hail, sunshine, wind, (against me) rain, some more sun then back to hail. Like a full wash, I was put through the whole cycle. One thing I did not have to deal with on the Jurassic coast weekend was the weather, it was perfect. After all my cliff walking and jogs around the park, I felt more than prepared to lead the Seven Sisters Walk in June.

Darkness looms over the Seven Sisters.

 

I had been jogging around the park, since December 2018 there are a couple of small hills in Brockwell Park, so running up and down has kept my ankles strong, as well as my legs. They can handle hills and cliffs. I am aware that not keeping fit, will mean each time I do a strenuous walk, such as The Seven Sisters, or Eastbourne to Seaford, I really feel the pain. If I do enough exercise on a regular basis, I can almost take it in my stride. 

 

Majestic sun and sky, ending the day here, before heading back to London

 

Another year leading the walk for The South Bank Walking Group

 I thought this would be a doddle!  I checked the weather report which said high winds but I didn’t give it too much thought. 

Walking into a Storm called Miguel, just along the Seafront at Seaford.

 

As the train was pulling in at Seaford, I saw the sea was looking wild. There were 13 people waiting outside the train station for me. One of them was keen to advise me, that the wind was blowing in a southwesterly direction. She further warned me, if we walked over the Seven Sisters from East Dean we would have the wind against us. There were predictions of gusts up to 50 miles an hour. They weren’t wrong. I took heed and suggested we walk from Seaford to East Dean instead but this was also problematic.

 

Walking up to the Seaford reserve with the wind blowing us sideways

 Many of the group were forced to sit down. I made an executive decision to go inland away from the cliffs. With the help of some very experienced ordnance survey map readers, we headed in and through Friston Forest to walk towards East Dean.

The sunshine came out and everything calmed down. No more howling winds, only a bit of a rustle through the trees. The walk turned out well. We were in a lovely part of the South Coast and we started to enjoy the rest of the walk. https://www.sevensisters.org.uk/things-to-do-at-seven-sisters/visitor-centre/

At Cuckmere Haven, the other side of The Seven Sisters there is a fabulous cafe and a tourist centre, with toilets, and places to sit. I found a little spot where I could eat my packed lunch and feel the sun on my face.

Afterwards, I spent some time browsing in the tourist centre and was very tempted to buy a collection of their handmade cards, alongside other interesting items. I didn’t really want to carry them around in a rucksack and get them squashed, so I resisted purchasing anything. Another time.

Now that I have experienced the other side of the Seven Sisters, I shall explore a little more and find some new walks.

Escaping from the cliff edges, going in Land to The Sussex Downs

 

DARTMOOR MAP READING SESSION

Two Blondes Walking have a website, like me, they write about walking. They also run courses in map reading, among other things, The major point I learnt that day, was that Stanfords’ the Map Shop has moved from Long Acre, Covent Garden, and has now relocated to Mercer St WC2. I hadn’t checked this out before leaving. It was upsetting to arrive, faced with a scribbled note on a closed boarded up door saying it has closed down.

http://www.stanfords.co.uk

Still, the show must go on. I found Stanfords’ new venue and met one of the two blondes. As well we had help from The Ordnance Survey Group, they were really helpful. Using a compass and a map, we practised how to find our way back if we got lost in Dartmoor surrounded by fog!  I understand the concept, but my map reading is something that will take practice.https://www.twoblondeswalking.com

Live Theatre- The Cheviot The Stag and The Black Black Oil

Live theatre tucked in a side street off the Quayside; is a small independent theatre. This was my second visit and I hope not my last.  I hooked up with an old friend to see this Scottish theatre group. The play was about the Scottish Clearances, as well as each actor playing multiple roles, they were also multi-talented musicians, and the Fantastic Live Music made this a great fun production.

The Magnificent Bridges overlooking the River Tyne at night.

 

Out in the ‘toon’ at night!

https://www.live.org.uk/whats-on/cheviot-stag-black-black-oil

I decided to go on a day trip to Edinburgh from Newcastle

After an early start waking at 4.45am!  My energy levels were a bit low. However, I still managed to walk 10 miles that day.

St Anthony’s Chapel Edinburgh, near Arthur’s seat. I avoided joining the crowds going up to Arthurs’ seat

 

I had no real destination as such but I was looking for a vegan cafe called Holy Cow, which was situated off Queen Street in a basement.  Eventually, I found it and got the chance to sit down somewhere relaxing. As I arrived from Waverly Station, there were numerous tourist places where I had picked up a map up of the town centre and wanted to get my bearings. I realised I wasn’t too far from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery,

Georgian architecture is very typical in Edinburgh, I love the wide paths, and roads.

A view of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery a very grand interior.

national galleries.org

Dublin Street looking out towards the hills and sea.

 

 

Until next time keep on keeping on.

May
2019

Hiking along the Jurassic Coast

A weekend hiking along the Jurassic Coast

Hiking along the Jurassic Coast is something I have been looking forward to since December last year. Funny how time flies and all of a sudden here it comes.

I had heard a lot about how stunning the Jurassic Coast is.  I was told, it isn’t as steep as The Seven Sisters.  They were wrong, it was every bit as challenging if not more so. 

The Jurassic coast is a world heritage site; stretching over  96 miles long, from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay, Dorset.  

 

I had deliberately not read too much about the camping arrangements. It might have put me off!

 

https://www.longthornsfarm.co.uk

 Both nights were freezing. The second night I couldn’t get to sleep, I heard; owls, cuckoos, giggles and snoring. I tried reading with a torch, but it was too cold to keep my face and hands out of the sleeping bag. I slept with all my clothes on.!There were glamping options; If you felt the need to upgrade.

One of the group from Discover Adventure did give up a night of camping for glamping and reported back that it was lovely and warm. I reminded myself that it could be worse I had managed to raise £550.00 for War Child already, so all I had to do was relax, this was only for 2 nights. I wasn’t a refugee and I did not have to live like this. 

We were only going to walk 26 miles or so over two days.

It wasn’t as tough as I thought and I gathered, the jogging around Brockwell Park had made me stronger.  As well I had hiked from Eastbourne to Seaford the week before under the duress of hail and wind! 

There were a lot of places and names new to me, such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle door that we visited over two days. We visited Kimmeridge Bay and Tyneham Village, a deserted village, partly left standing and never restored.

I find it difficult to recall all the names and the exact order of the walk, there was so much to take in. Focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and plenty steep climbs kept me focused on doing the walk.! I need to visit places a few time to really get to know it.

Wild Garlic in abundance at this time of year.

WILD GARLIC was out in abundance here it is, making a home in a derelict house. It smelt divine.

http://tynehamvillage.org

Discover Adventure

DA as they were known to the travellers, took care of all our needs; from putting up the tents to bringing us food and snacks. 

It’s somewhat a bit of a strange setup, but I had signed up for it now and there was no going back. Only three of us were fundraising, and I was the only one who had raised funds for War Child. Going uphill, one step at a time, take it easy, steady and slowly gets you there in the end.

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

 

Fundraising for War Child.

Some of that fund went tot he organisers, who did all the work; from picking us to up, to cooking dinners, providing tents, and dropping us off at the Coast. I couldn’t have done without them.

Everyone was extra friendly, and it was just like going out walking with any walking group. I forgot to take my War Child Teeshirt, for the publicity shot. I’m obviously not a publicist! The main thing to me is that I raised the funds.

The walk ended at Duddle Door, which was stunning but full of tourists.

DURDLE DOOR

FAMOUS LANDMARK ON JURASSIC COAST, THE ARCH AT DURDLE DOOR

 

More information on walking the entire South West Coast Path including the Jurassic Coast can be found in this link.

 

 

https://jurassiccoast.orgComing up

My next walk is  (Yes again!!) East Dean to Seaford, I’m leading this for the South Bank Ramblers on June 8th. Please see Up and coming walks page for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr
2019

The Turner Gallery- the Coast and Grayson Perry

April, the days are longer,it’s a good time for a little adventure

  I often visit Margate, but usually, it is hurried; as part of a longer walk. On this occasion, we actually spent some time in the town having a general amble around. The menu caters for most Peoples palates, the prices are reasonable, and the ambience is just right. It is situated opposite the Turner Gallery. I would recommend this café, I always go there when visiting. There are surely more great cafes I can sample.  Next time I will try something new.

The Harbour Café Bar Margate

A place that exists only in moonlight: Katie Paterson & JMW Turner at TheTurner Contemporary. Installation photography by Stephen White.

After lunch, we went over to the Turner Gallery to see what was on. They usually have free exhibitions on and we were pleased we saw the Katie Patterson exhibition.

 

picture of promotional poster

Night Stars and Moon

 

https://www.turnercontemporary.org/exhibitions/katie-paterson-and-jmw-turner

Looking out from the Harbour Bar at Margate

The lovely Margate harbour

 

The exhibition was mesmerising,a piano quietly tinkled in the background attributing to the magic that exists among the night-time stars.

After the exhibition, it was time to sample some of the Kent Ciders. I was especially taken with the marmalade cider suggested to me by the woman, working in a micro bar along the seafront. My next trip, I vow to sample more of the ciders.  Margate has tons of festivals and events; as well as micro-breweries. After a while gazing out to sea, we geared  ourselves up to carry on walking, along the seafront to Westgate;

 

 

 Since December I have been jogging around Brockwell Park weekly. As of yet, I have not managed further than 2.9 miles.

Walking from East Dean to Seaford a couple of weeks ago, the climbing seemed easier than I remembered.  The days are lighter and longer; so travelling further afield is easy. I’m back out, walking the distance, doing the walk.  It’s perfect to practice climbing the steep ascents and descents The Seven Sisters cliffs, and Seaford Nature Reserve; is a fantastic place to take exercise; as well as breathing in the fantastic views, wildlife and sea air.

SEAFORD

 Running up and down the hills in Brockwell Park I feel would be boring. Yes, I could get super fit, that’s for sure, but that’s not my only goal in life. More on that later!

I had a day out in Bristol recently and was pleasantly surprised when I arrived.

When stepping off the coach. I was heartened to see the openness of the city, and how the river seemed to be at the heart of it.

 The green spaces give people a place to hang out, it felt stress-free! Maybe it was just in contrast to London. There were many cyclists, and with the central river and many bridges, it had a feel of being a bit like Amsterdam.

I must go back for another day trip. Down by the docks, there are numerous cafes, bars and restaurants. We found a great  table with a place to sit overlooking the river.

Past and Present

There are hardly any highrise buildings and the new buildings in the city merged well with the older style architecture.

A SNAPSHOT OF PADLOCK BRIDGE

PADLOCK BRIDGE

 

The South Bank Group have some good walks this year.

I decided to do this instead of Eastbourne to Seaford.

We took the 9.30 train from Liverpool Street London, on the Norwich train it took about an hour to arrive at our starting point Manningtree.

As we arrived it didn’t look promising. All night long the weather had forecasted hurricanes. So when we were greeted by rain, my heart sunk a bit, but this eased off pretty quickly. All 30 of us walked through town and country, before stopping at The Strangers Home for a sit-down lunch.

Afterwards, we carried on along the estuary ending at Wrabness for a further 4 miles adding up to a 9.5-mile walk.

 

 

CURIOUS COWS, not seen a whole load of people walking before, obviously!

Very fast walkers they don’t stop for long!

It’s a wildlife out here!

 

 

On our way to Wrabness from Manningtree

I do like a beach hut

 

 A shrine to Essex

 

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/may/10/grayson-perry-a-house-for-essex-stonking-shrine

 

I had been keen to visit this house for some time, so I’m disappointed we didn’t get a chance to really stop and look at it. The walk had overrun, and it wasn’t possible on this occasion.

As we approached the house we were told to hurry up as we were going to miss the train.! We were in the middle of the country, therefore, would have waited an hour in the station for the next connection.

I had hoped we might be able to go inside but it is not a museum. There is a lottery you can join to get a chance to spend a weekend there.

 

https://www.living-architecture.co.uk/the-houses/a-house-for-essex/overview/

There are figures of naked women all over the side, and the name Julie engraved on top of each figure.

A remote place for a strange house.

EERY SKY LOOMING OVER THE HOUSE ON THE HILL!

 

The walk to the house from Manningtree was mostly in the countryside, we also walked as 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.

 

Coming up in May 2019

 

 My Jurassic Coastal weekend for War Child is scheduled for the 10th of May, I intend to walk from Eastbourne to Seaford on Saturday, my last chance for a practice walk! 

 

Until then keep on keeping on. Please feel free to comment or share.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar
2019

A week in politics is a very long time

 

Don McCullen at Tate Britain

After my experience of the recent Don McCullen exhibition, I still have the images clear in my mind.

DM is well-known as a War Photographer which he hated as a title, as he sees himself as a human photographer. Someone who sees the person and feels their anguish. Some of the photographs are  horrific they brought tears to my eyes. He covers most wars of the 21st century; Vietnam, Cyprus, Congo, Northern Ireland, to name a few. Be prepared to look at the photographs and the person/s humanity and pain. It’s not easy. 

He also photographed London and the North in the 1970s, in Black and white, the extreme poverty is blatantly clear. Some of the Northern Industrial landscape photographs are, nevertheless, stunning.

Remember the phrase, Don’t look away?

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/don-mccullin

 

Doing what you can

After a week on a Unite Rep education course in North London

( a week in politics), I left feeling tired but I am determined to follow through with learning more about workplace issues & what needs to be done. A bit like Brexit, the problems are not easy to solve. But Knowledge is power and teaming up with like-minded individuals is inspiring.

I CAN’T EXPLAIN MY FEET AD HOC MEET UP GROUP

SPENCER -GORESPENCER GORE OIL ON CANVAS PAINTING OF MORNINGTON CRESCENT

I started this meetup group in late October and have taken a few willing victims on my ad hoc walk!

We start at Mornington Crescent, to pay homage to the once named Music Machine. The building hasn’t changed since the 1900s but it has since gone through several name changes. I prefer to remember it when it was The Music Machine and it was £3 to see 3 bands.! Koko, just doesn’t do it for me.! We then walk over to the old cigarette factory, with its marvellous art deco, and statues of Egyptian black cats. (The Carreras building, now offices ) Then we walk to a house where WALTER SICKERT’S rented a room and painted many of his paintings.

Sickert one of the Camden Artists, Collective, & a perfectly decent artist, his reputation is somewhat tainted, as he was accused by Crime fiction writer,  Patricia Cornwall as being Jack the Ripper. Recent evidence has suggested it was someone entirely different. Perhaps she should stick to fiction.

The walk carries on down  Parkway over to Grosvenor place & along Camden lock followed by a quick hike up to the top of Primrose Hill. After we admire the views of London and try to name the buildings in the summer haze,  we head back down to Chalk Farm to the Roundhouse and Camden Stables, where I talk briefly about the railway workers and the horse hospital.

Finally, a short walk up to the Fiddler’s Elbow, at the edge of Kentish Town, we take a brief look at the second-hand bookshop, we make our final part of the journey, to where the walk ends at Camden Market Hall. Camden has it all, but for now, I am putting in on hold, to get fit and prepared for my Jurassic Coast weekend

 

 A few pictures from my Camden Meet Up

mural of Amy Winehouse

AMY WINEHOUSE mural at Camden Market Entrance

camden lock

Along the canal the almost translucent mossy green walls. Make a good picture

 

 

GORE-TEX Guaranteed to keep you dry! Extended Comfort Footwear

VIB RAM Your connection to earth

The Strap Line for my newly acquired, lightweight, waterproof walking shoes.  I have recently purchased these for my Jurassic Coast Weekend in May, and I’m breaking them in. Tomorrow I will return to my favourite walk, East Dean to Seaford, along the Seven Sisters, to get some practice in.

Keeping fit is the aim this month. I Have got to the point where I can jog 2.9 miles round Brockwell Park and aim to be fit for five miles by the end of the month.!  I can only try, as time is creeping up on me.

Also if I can squeeze in a bit of yoga to loosen up the old ham strings! & not to forget to slot in a bit of upper body strengthening as advised by the physio for my RSS and shoulder pain.

 

Greenpeace Headquarters

A great day was had by all, where we learnt a lot and enjoyed the beautiful weather at  lunch time out in the backgarden.

picture of whitewashed window reflected in pond

Greenpeace Headquarters back garden

 

No more Business as usual. 

 

GREENPEACE, IN THE SUN, IN THE GARDEN

Picture of an additional work space in garden at Green Peace Headquarters

 

Greenpeace did a great presentation recently presenting Michael Gove a huge bottle made up of plastic bottles

 

 The Deposit Return Scheme works in other countries,

such as :Germany, Norway, Austria and Estonia. It is a comprehensible solution to the excessive use of plastic bottles. Not only the chance to recycle, but to reuse, again and again. Unfortunately some councils don’t want to support the scheme as they worry that they will lose money as they will have less plastic collected through their kerbside recycling system to sell.

Industry is also lobbying against the scheme. Seriously, loss of profit for business is not a good excuse. Greenpeace have provided me with information and I will follow through by taking a plastic bottle to my MP with the message to back DRS.

 

NEXT MONTH-The trials and tribulations of training for Jurassic coast.

Feb
2019

It’s Spring, it’s February in London

Off the cuff –

A walk through Ruskin Park

What a pleasure to finish work early, leaving at 1.pm, with time for a gentle easy walk, home. I cut off from the forever busy Denmark Hill in  Camberwell into the magnificent Ruskin Park, strolling down to Herne Hill where I live.

picture of plants in walled garden

Beautiful faded winter  at the beginning of February 2019  in Ruskin Park

It was a welcome change to go on a couple of led walks this month.

Victorian Walking London Meet up Group

It’s been a while since I have kind of switched off my brain, and followed someone else. Indeed it was interesting to see how the two leaders, led their groups.  We all have our own style and set of experiences

The first walk I went on this month was with  The Victorian Walks meetup group. It was only 7 miles but it felt vital to get out and walk with a new group in an area I am unfamiliar with.

We started at Walthamstow Tube station. (there are two entrances) check which entrance to meet, and in a group of about 20 we headed off down the high street turning in at William Morris House, the only real part of the walk that had any Victorian theme!; then onto Lea Marshes,  a fairly flat and straightforward route, following along a canal & ending up in Hackney. It was windy and a bit grey but still worth the effort.

It was good to meet some different people in a different setting, and a few of us ended up having a few drinks at the end.

The second walk I went on was with a fellow member of The South Bank Group.

pic of water tap feature garden

Water tap feature in St John’s museum garden

A historical look into the revolutionaries of Clerkenwell

A three hour guided tour in and around Farringdon and Clerkenwell. Led by Artist Martin Fiddler, I was the backmarker on this occasion; herding the group, who kept drifting into the road or straggling behind taking pictures.

It’s a fascinating historical area and the second time I have attended this walk/tour. Exclusive to South Bank Ramblers only.!

Discovering plants & the Natural World.

One of my recent growing interests is in the natural world, this has grown alongside my love of walking & discovering new places.

I often take photographs of plants that catch my eye, but I’m not always able to identify them. Writing a blog and publishing online, it is essential that I name my photographs. Knowing what they are called is even more useful!.

SMALL PERFECTLY FORMED OLIVE TREE

OLIVE TREE ST JOHN’S MUSEUM GARDEN

 

 Talking about photographs, last year I was somewhat befuddled on a couple of occasions and managed to lose a couple of I phones.  I have already given myself a good talking to and taken penance; in many a teetotal night as a punishment. To be fair, some of the more stressful events of last year weren’t helped by drinking alcohol, it’s a bit like adding fuel to fire. Having a break from it all has felt like a much-needed rest.

I will be stuck with the I phone 5 until September.

The I phone 6 took great pictures. I’m sure the I phone 7 or 8 will be even better. I need to negotiate a deal for my next camera /phone. I’ve given up on buying a camera, as they are too bulky when out walking.

Picture of plants in Camberwell The Grove

Plants poking through the railings. Camberwell, The Grove.

 

pic of crocus blooming

Crocus have their time out in Camberwell, The Grove

 

MY MEET UP WALKING GROUP SUNDAY 24/2

 I started a Meet Up Group towards the end of last year. Staying in with the theme of my blog, I called it I can’t explain my feet ad hoc walks. Introducing Urban Led Walks in London. My first one started in Mornington Crescent, and around Camden, Primrose Hill, Chalk farm area.

What if it all goes terribly wrong?!

Cartoon image of confused person1

I have done this twice now and as yet have the Brixton to Chelsea walk to introduce.  There is a problem in Meet Up groups in that people seem keen to join but then drop out. The verdict is still out about whether to carry on with this.

I have also joined up with Victorian London Walkers as a walk leader.

I had been studying a bit about Camden in the 1900s for my own walk and figured I could somehow incorporate some Victorian History into my Camden walk. Victorian London can be seen in the architecture; all over Camden, the old pubs, and theatres. Camden was unscathed during ‘the war’; apart from a bit of the tube station.! 

https://www.meetup.com/tourists-travellers/

 

WAR CHILD

I have reached my goal and raised the £550 for Warchild so  I will be walking the Jurassic Coast over 2 days in May. My priority is to build up my fitness gradually. I want to get in at least three strenuous walks before then. Equally, important is getting rest in between

 

As always, until the end of next month, keep on keeping on