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Archive for the ‘walks around the UK’ Category

Today marks one of Peanut’s ‘due dates’…..and nope, he has not arrived. Not sure how I feel about that! On one hand I’m pleased because he will arrive when he is good and ready and not because the NHS are still working on calculations that were first established in 1744 (?) I mean seriously…..we’re now in the 21st century, we’ve put a man on the moon (apparently), we’ve sent rockets into space countless times, we sent astronauts into space to live on a space station; the International Space Station that circumnavigates the planet on a daily basis, we have invented phones that can do just about anything you want it to except eat for you, and yet the NHS are still working on a calculation made by a Dutch doctor in 1744. If you could see me now, I’d be rolling my eyes!! LOL

On the other hand I am impatient….after 34 weeks of excitement at the thought of becoming a Granny, I am now waiting impatiently. However, either way and whichever day, by at least the 19th he should be here. 🙂

Meanwhile I am making the most of every day to get out and walk. I want to be sure to have a photo of the sunrise on the day he is born…I hope it’s a spectacular one and not grey like today!! I’m making a book; The Incredible Journey of James Alexander aka Jamie aka Peanut and would really love the photo to be of a stunning sunrise!! 🙂

I left rather late just after 9.15, opting to linger a bit longer in bed with a cup of tea after peeking out the window and seeing the grey clouds. It is definitely getting colder and today my hands were red by the time I got back. I also didn’t venture very far since I am the nominated driver for when my daughter does go into labour and I do not want to panic about getting back from a walk if I’m miles away. I’ll get back to the long walks once baby is here.

Grey and grizzly as it may be, the view from the clifftop across Viking Bay is still beautiful.

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tis a grey day on the Isle of Thanet

I didn’t get to walk along the beach since the tide was well and truly in by the time I got going so I walked along the promenade to Louisa Bay and walked down to the concrete path along the sea wall and made my way to Dumpton Gap again.

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the tide is in – looking back towards Viking Bay

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the tide is in – Dumpton Gap : looking south along the coast towards Ramsgate

There were a couple of labrador dogs running about and investigating; they are such happy animals with their wagging tails. I should have taken a photo, they were that cute. But instead I just photographed the seas and then headed back home.

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the tide is in at Dumpton Gap, no chance of getting through there today

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the tide is in at Dumpton Gap and soon my footprints will be washed away

It was a bit windy today too and the seas were rough and wild. I had planned to head down to the harbour later on to photograph the waves, but with one thing and another, I never quite made it that far.

After a breakfast of croissants from the Old Bake House

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The Old Bake House on the corner of Serene Place and the High Street is where I buy our croissants; the most delicious you can imagine, always fresh, never burned with a delicious spongy interior. My favourite are the almond fillings. Bradstow House, the building on the corner of Serene Place and the High Street, is early 18th century and was originally constructed as a single house but is now a house and the Old Bake House and cafe. The shop front that you can see was constructed in the 19th century.

and a cup of hot steaming tea, I strolled along to Toffs and Tarts Hairdresser in Albion Road and had my hair cut. I finally found a hairdresser who knows how to feather cut hair using a razor! Hoorah. It feels so much lighter now and he did a really good job.

Day 5/365 and today I walked 3.79 kms and 5713 steps and we are 5 days closer to Peanut’s arrival 🙂 Soon I hope to be taking him on my daily perambulations to Ramsgate!

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Viking bay to Dumpton Gap

 

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Had a fantastic walk this morning. I set off much earlier than usual today….even before the sun rose above the horizon!!

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Viking Bay at 07:46 on the 4th January 2019

There’s a distinct difference in temperature between yesterday and today… I almost needed gloves 🧤

The tide was still out but on it’s way in, so I walked down to the harbour and set off across the beach at Viking Bay and chased the incoming tide to Ramsgate.

The colours of the clouds and the sea were absolutely stunning as always and I stopped often to take photos….when do I not?

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Viking Bay at 07:53 on the 4th January 2019 – a different perspective from the clifftop to the beach

And occasionally I get photo-bombed LOL

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photo-bombed by a mad dog

When I got to Dumpton Gap, I realised that the tide had made considerable progress and if I was to reach the Ramsgate walkway which I could see in the distance I needed to get a move on. The sun was now peeping through the clouds and in the distance across the waves I could see one of the Coast Guard boats that regularly patrol this section of the channel

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sunrise on the Isle of Thanet and the Coast Guard patrol

It’s a fair distance from Dumpton Gap to Ramsgate and I  covered it very quickly without stopping to take any photos!! It’s quite exhilarating to race the tide…. lapping at my feet and making me take detours across the rocks to avoid the waves that were rushing closer and closer, and getting my feet wet. LOL

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reaching Ramsgate before the tide came in: Dumpton Gap in the distance

Once on the concrete walkway at Ramsgate, I again stopped briefly to look more closely at the chalk cliffs which I find totally fascinating. In particular the layers of flint stones are so amazing. I popped across to wikipedia to find out more: “Certain types of flint, such as that from the south coast of England, contain trapped fossilised marine flora. Pieces of coral and vegetation have been found preserved like amber inside the flint. Thin slices of the stone often reveal this effect.”

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the chalk cliffs interspersed with flint stones

Besides history, geography and geology are two of my favourite interests. Flint is commonly used in buildings along the coast and Broadstairs can boast a great number of houses, chapels, walls and this seaside pub; The Tartar Frigate, built with flint.

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The historic Tartar Frigate is one of the only 18th century flint restaurants in Kent.

It’s incredible to think that they mostly contain fossils of sea creatures, insects and vegetation that is millions of years old.

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back to Broadstairs just before 9am and still the sun lingers behind the clouds

And of course the section where I’m standing for this amazing view, is right on top of the chalk cliffs…now tamed by man, and hollowed out with a network of smugglers tunnels!!

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a network of smugglers tunnels wind their way below ground in Broadstairs

Day 4/365 In total I got in a decent 6.32kms & 9554 steps from Broadstairs to Ramsgate

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it’s a lovely stretch of coastline

 

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After having to cut my pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury short due to an injury, I went home to rest & recuperate. However, I still had a booking in Canterbury that needed to be picked up. Unfortunately I couldn’t cancel the booking since I had already moved it once from 2017 to 2018….

But, staying in Canterbury is no hardship, so even though I was disappointed at not being able to arrive as a completing pilgrim, I still had my booking at the Falstaff to look forward to.

So on the afternoon of the 4th September, my daughter and I took the train to Canterbury. I checked in at the Falstaff and although it was disappointing to not be sleeping in a room in the older, more historic part of the hotel, to my delight I had the most amazing room you could imagine. It was huge!!!

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my room at The Falstaff Inn, Canterbury – can I just move in and stay?

My daughter and I immediately made ourselves comfortable on the bed LOL

We had tea and chatted about life, my short pilgrimage, Canterbury and the baby.

To my absolute joy, the baby was very active that day and for the first time I got to feel my grandchild kicking away. I could enjoy that every day!!! 🙂 It’s such an extraordinary feeling. I’m so excited to be a Granny.

After resting for a while we walked into the centre of the city and went shopping. We found a fantastic baby carrier and I bought a lovely little puzzle for the baby. I love puzzles, baby’s Daddy loves puzzles , so I guess this little bambino will be learning how to build puzzles as soon as old enough to be able to puzzle them out.

I also bought a baby grow 🙂 too cute

We had a lovely afternoon meandering about the city…it’s so beautiful, then popped in at our favourite eatery….Eleto Chocolate Café for pancakes and tea.

pancakes

this is one of the most heavenly pancakes I have ever tasted. clearly we do this fairly often LOL taken on another trip to Canterbury

After that I walked my daughter back to the station where we said our goodbyes…I felt sad at leaving her coz she was meant to have not only walked the last day of my pilgrimage with me, but was to stay the night in Canterbury. However, with her being pregnant and all, our plans changed.

I strolled back into the city centre, photographing things I have photographed many times before LOL….I can never resist. The cathedral grounds were open now and I walked around just enjoying the sheer beauty of such an extraordinary building. I hope to return sooner rather than later after completing my walk along The Pilgrim’s Way.

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As soon as it was too dark for photos. it was back to the room…time for a long hot shower, tea and biscuits and into bed to watch tv.

I had a wonderful sleep – The bed was so comfy I could have stayed there for a week. Bliss. After a lovely cup of tea and a lazy morning, I went down for breakfast and then packed up to leave……homeward bound.

And so ended my first attempt at walking The Pilgrim’s Way. I hope/plan to finish the walk in April 2019, but I am quite keen to actually just walk the whole length again from Winchester…..insanity!!! Have I forgotten Boxhill already???

In case you missed the start of my pilgrimage from Winchester to …….Oxted (as it turned out) – my journey started here:

Revisiting the City of Winchester

Exploring Southampton

Day 1 – Winchester to Alresford

Day 2 – Alresford to Four Marks

Day 3 – Alton to Farnham

Day 4 – Farnham to Guildford

Day 5 – Exploring Guildford

Day 6 – Guildford to Shere & Tanners Hatch

Day 7 – Tanners Hatch to Merstham

Day 8 – Merstham to Oxted

Day 9 – My journey endeth – Homeward bound

 

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Today I set off much earlier that the 2 previous days and had the joy and privilege of watching the sun rise. Sunrise was at 07:59 and I reached the promenade at 08:03. It is such a pleasure to be taking winter walks along this section of the Kentish coast, the views truly are just stunning and I enjoy it anew each and every time. When the time comes it is going to be very hard to leave this area….

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Viking Bay…….what a glorious view

Still very overcast and cloudy the colours of the sun against the cloudscape were breathtaking. The sea was almost, but not quite like pond today, the colour of mercury and because I was a lot earlier the tide was right in and I had to walk most of the way along the clifftops. I got as far as the Ramsgate Tunnels and then turned back for home. This section of the east coast is so beautiful and I feel so lucky to live here.

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a beautiful sunrise on the Isle of Thanet

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stunning light on the sea

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Ramsgate, Isle of Thanet

As usual most of the people out at this time of day were walking their dogs and I got to say hello to any number of happy little fellows, one of which was a gorgeous Labrador puppy…I got lots of wet nose kisses and muddy paw hugs from him. So cute I wanted to take him home with me LOL

I spent the rest of the day helping my daughter to sort out her laundry cupboard and part of her office. She’s so heavily pregnant now that any sort of exertion is just too much for her. Besides which she’s picked up a nasty cold that is making her so tired with the coughing and stuffy nose. She was at an event a few days ago and one of the women there had a heavy cold and had the audacity to say “Oh I get colds but I don’t pass them on”… Fuck. I do wish people would be more considerate and stay at home when they are ill. All they do is pass on their nasty germs to those who are more vulnerable and less able to cope with a cold. My daughter is banning anyone from visiting the baby if they have even so much as a sniffle.

Day 3/365 – Broadstairs to Ramsgate : 8.33 kms, 12823 steps

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Broadstairs to Ramsgate Steps

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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloMonday 27th August 2018 Day 7 – Tanners Hatch to Mertsham : 18.90 kms / 43,317 steps elevation 374 meters.

Even though it’s a hostel, with all the accompanying irritations like snoring, switching lights on in the middle of the night, early risers repacking their bags, I do enjoy sleeping at the YHA. Tanners Hatch YHA was a delight.

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see that bed….bottom left…that was my bed 🙂 perfect – (pic captured off their website)

By morning I was even more determined to book another stay. In the light of morning, sans rain, I had a chance to explore a little more fully….the setting is beautiful, and quite enchanting.

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A couple staying at the YHA offered me a lift to my starting point for today; Box Hill & Westhumble Station. I gratefully accepted as were seriously wayyyy off the Pilgrim’s route. I made myself a quick breakfast of plain pasta and a cup of herbal tea. I was rather hungry by then. Fortunately my trainers had dried out in front of the fire and my clothes too were dry.

A longggg walk later, we finally reached the car park. Note to self….if I do book to stay again, it’s a long walk to the location….don’t take too much stuff. LOL

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Box Hill & Westhumble Station, the starting point for the section to Merstham

By 09:32 I was on my way. I passed the Stepping Stones pub and made a mental note to eat there (next trip??) LOL I loved the house across from the pub.

Within 10 minutes I crossed beneath the motorway….I stopped to admire the beautiful mural before continuing.

Page 78 of the guide: “Walk south along the road with the traffic to the right. At the bus stop go left into a wide entrance. Keep forward past a car park”. Car park?? Uhmmm nope. This I did, except if you go forward you end up on private property. What the guide could have said was ” At the 2nd bus stop go left ….”. This was one of many inconsistent/obscure instructions in the guide book. There were a few more still to come.

My instagram post later that morning: “Box Hill viewpoint: I’m beginning to hate this guide book 😞😞😓 After saying goodbye to the ever so delightful Tanners Hatch YHA, I started off from the Westhumble and Box Hill Station. Not long and the guide doesn’t give sufficient information and once again a local had to direct me. Safely traversed the Stepping Stones across the River Mole and started up Box Hill. Now if you’ve never climbed Box Hill..seriously give it a miss, its a bastard and very HIGH with HUNDREDS of very steep steps. The guide says at the start of the 3rd set of steps go right into the trees which I did, and the field is on the right, but it wasn’t it was on the left, so I climbed back up to the steps, carried on climbing, but no further turning to the right and now I’m at the top of the bloody hill, and if I’ve come too far up (no other paths to be seen), then that means I have to go back DOWN these horrible steps and go back along the path I took originally.. I’ve already fallen coming up the slippery slope. No damage but I’m fed up now with the guide. Either way I guess I’ll have to just crack on“.

Box Hill Stepping Stones. Of all the route I had seen or read about along the Pilgrim’s Way, this was what I was most afraid of. The Stepping Stones. My sense of balance is not good and I was wary of crossing them, but I took it slowly, delighted to reach the opposite bank without falling in. 😂😁😁

Ahead of me was Box Hill. Little did I know that this was going to be the biggest challenge of the whole walk, and also the beginning of the end….

As per the guide: “At the start of the 3rd flight of steps go right, on a narrow path into the trees. The way, which bears slightly left, can in season be sometimes indistinct“. hmmmm

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Box Hill steps….this was not fun!!

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what do you mean I have to go up there?

At what appeared to be the 3rd flight of stairs (the guide doesn’t say how many steps are in the 2nd flight) I turned off and followed the path. “Later it climbs a little and soon is near a field (right)“. Again…hmmmm??? Nope, the field was to my left?? I checked mapmywalk and saw that I was headed very close to the river, closer than indicated on the map in the guide. So I walked back up the way I had come and started climbing the next flight of steps….and climbed and climbed and climbed. All the way I kept looking for this narrow path the guide talks about…and I couldn’t find anything. Further along in the guide he mentions “The path, running ahead and with pylons to the right, is on the line of the PW….” Well, no matter which way I looked at it, I could not find a path that would put the pylons on my right! Unless it was this one? Which was a National Trust nature trail?

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was this the way? it didn’t look like it. it did however look a lot like the path I fell down yesterday

So instead I just kept climbing and after about the 1000th step, steps that are in places so high that I had to lift my legs up individually under the knee with my hands …..and then.. I fell UP a step. A very hard fall that smashed my right shin, left me flat on my face and unable to get up – I just did not have the energy to lift myself up with the backpack on. Fortunately I didn’t fall BACKWARDS, and there was someone on hand to help me up. Seriously, I was exhausted by that stage. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of climbing anymore steps, but I had no choice….all I could do was just to continue going UP and up and up. There were some lovely trees to see….as a bonus LOL

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one of the benefits walking through the countryside…lots of beautiful old trees

More steps….

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more steps…..the gravel between was treacherously slippery

Finally after what felt like hours of climbing more steps that I ever want to see in front of me ever again. I reached the Box Hill viewpoint.

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what a view 🙂

Referring back to my instagram post: “Box Hill viewpoint: I’m beginning to hate this guide book.

I saw that the North Downs Way, which is so well marked, was in my vicinity. So I packed the guide book in my backpack,  and carried on walking….I figured that since most of the Pilgrim’s Way is largely a ‘made up’ route and much of it follows the North Downs Way which is well marked, whereas the Pilgrim’s Way isn’t marked at all….

After walking for a while I reached Salomon’s Memorial where I stopped to take a few photos and then carried on walking along some seriously tricky terrain I came out of the trees to a welcome sight before me…a restaurant!! Hoorah. It was 11:46 and the restaurant; Smith & Western opened at 12noon….I figured it would be a good idea to wait and have some proper food….I hadn’t had a proper solid meal for a couple of days. Good move. I had the MOST delicious veggie fajita, a pot of tea and a lovely cold coke. I don’t usually drink coke, but I was in dire need of sugar. After relishing my meal and resting my feet, after an hour I set off once again. Although to be honest, I have no idea how I actually ended up at this place….but boy am I glad I did.

Diving into the gloom of the trees, with the guide still packed away (?) I discovered that the terrain was really difficult with lots of tree roots, and steps…..more steps!!! Jeezuz. I was sick to death of climbing steps whether up or down. In all I was not a happy bunny. This day was turning out to be a nightmare.

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This last section was a true test of endurance. I’m still not sure how I managed….but I did. Trudging on I followed the markers crossing Reigate Hill

and passed the ‘Flying Fortress’ B17 WW2 memorial,

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This clearing in the trees was created at 5.42pm on 19 March 1945 when a B17 (G) aircraft, a ‘Flying Fortress’ creashed into the side of Reigate Hill, killing all 9 crew members on board

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the two wooden sculptures reflect the wing tips of the B17 that crashed

then Reigate Fort, which I briefly explored,

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crossed the Reigate Hill Footbridge and finally Gatton Park where I  stopped at the refreshment booth for an ice-cream and a drink, had a rest, a quick pit stop to the loo and after taking a photo of the views and the sundial I picked up what was now the Pilgrim’s Way again and set off towards Merstham and my bed for the night.

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what a fantastic view

Its been a day of sheer unadulterated endurance. But I’m nearly at my destination. Hoorah

Gatton Park is really beautiful and I so enjoyed walking along what was now fairly flat terrain.

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hoorah….no steps

On the way down the hill I passed the Millennium Stones; these awesome stones, built to resemble a megolithic stone circle, were created by Richard Kindersley during 1998 to 1999 to mark the double millennium from AD1 to AD2000. The first stone in the series is inscribed with the words from St John’s Gospel, “in the beginning the word was …”. The subsequent nine stones are carved with quotations contemporary with each 200 year segment, ending with the words of T S Eliot.

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Millenium Stones

After examining the circle and reading some of the inscriptions, I left the stones behind me and after crossing one last green field, I soon reached a more suburban area….nearly there 🙂

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at the end of this field was my destination…Merstham

Finally I was in Merstham. It was exactly 7pm and I was so ready for bed.

Thankfully the AirBnb wasn’t too far from where the path ended so in no time at all I found the venue and was greeted by two of the loveliest hosts I have ever met. They were so welcoming, made me a lovely mug of tea and provided some hot food. We had a lovely conversation and then with my eyes barely held open, I made my way upstairs, had a hot hot shower and hopped into bed. Bliss

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my wonderful bed at the Merstham AirBnb

My instagram post: Merstham: Well. All I can say is that today’s lesson was about not giving up despite the pain, the exhaustion, the frustration and climbing more steep steps than I ever expected or wanted or ever plan to do again 😂 😂 😂 Frankly I even amazed myself today at my capacity for endurance. But I can say for sure that I did not enjoy today’s walk. I am shattered, and walked so slowly that I’m surprised 🤨 🤨 that I actually got to Merstham at the time I did. My right hip was exceptionally painful today after yesterday’s fall and falling on the steps at Box Hill today didn’t help matters much. Getting to the top of the hills; Box Hill and Reigate, was excruciating but oh my gosh, the views… Stunning. I dosed myself up on 2000 mg of paracetamol over the day and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. However, arrive I did. My Airbnb hosts are absolutely lovely and we had a wonderful chat over a hot cuppa, I’ve wallowed in a scalding hot shower and now I’m horizontal on that fantastic bed. The route was meant to be 15.6 kms, I walked 18.9 kms which included about retracing my steps 3 times. I left Westhumble Station at 9.15 am and arrived at Merstham at 7pm with an hour for lunch and 3 short breaks. The guide book suggests it should take 3.5 hours  😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 on another planet maybe 🙄🙄🙄

Both the best and most challenging of days. Once again I had to dig deep to carry on, tried to ignore the pain of the 2 falls, enjoyed the views, appreciated good food and climbed more stairs that I ever want to EVER again LOL. But now I’m in a deliciously comfy bed, clean and refreshed….Goodnight…..

p.s. that bottle of water on the bed-stand….remained unopened.

In case you missed Day 6 of my pilgrimage from Winchester click here

Today video of scenes from Day 7

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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloSunday 26th August 2018 Day 6 – Guildford to Tanners Hatch : 9.73 kms / 21155 steps    elevation 216

after a fairly good night’s sleep I started off fairly early after a solid breakfast. Walking along the main road, I was wishing it wasn’t Sunday so I could take the bus back to St Catherine’s village LOL

I reached Ye Olde Ship Inn fairly quickly. First stop was St Catherine’s Chapel;

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St Catherine’s Chapel, Guildford

built around 1317 as a chapel of ease for St Nicholas Church in Guildford, the building was abandoned during the reformation. A lovely little kitty visited me for a chat while I was exploring. The views from the hill were amazing.

Trotting back the first of MANY a downhill over the day, I walked along Ferry Lane passing some super houses towards the River Wey where I discovered this lovely little poem alongside the stream.

I crossed the bridge over the river and walked through a really beautiful nature reserve.

I reached a large green; Shalford Park and following the guide crossed the road and into one of the very few references to the Pilgrims Way I saw along the whole way. Not all roads are pretty.

Passing a pretty cottage that looks like it has the best location ever,

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my ideal location

I followed the sandy lane and soon entered Chantry Wood….now this is more like it. Dappled sunlight shone through the leafy trees, with a breath-taking view across the fields. I stopped for a short while for food etc and watched the world go by…everyone and their uncle cycled past! Weird.

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Chantry Wood, the Pilgrim’s Way

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fantastic views across Surrey

Just after I pulled my backpack on and started walking again, it started to rain and that’s where my troubles began…the ground is very rutted and very sandy in some areas, and walking in the rain along slippy gravel roads was no fun at all, albeit very beautiful. I had by now lost one of the feet off Gemini (my walking poles) and was walking with only one pole, so it was quite tricky to keep my balance. Beside that I couldn’t walk with a pole and carry a guide book in my hand at the same time LOL

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The Pilgrim’s Way

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The Pilgrim’s Way – many feet have passed this way…

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my ideal environment, along the Pilgrim’s Way – flat!!!

I eventually reached St Martha’s Hill about an hour and half after leaving St Catherine’s Chapel and set about climbing and climbing and climbing. Jeepers….I knew from the guide that it was a hill, but holy moly, it’s one thing seeing a hill on a map to actually climbing it with a heavy backpack in the rain. But twas sooo well worth the effort for the views.

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Sometimes called Martyr’s Hill after Thomas Becket, the hill rises 570 feet above sea level giving a view of 7 counties…on a clear day. Today was NOT a clear day, but the view was still amazing. The church; Church of St Martha on the Hill, dating from about 1100, is the church the old man that I met had mentioned the day before near Seale.

The church stands at 573 feet above sea-level and the views are extraordinary. It’s traditionally believed that the original name of the hill was Saints and Martyrs Hill, the martyr being St Thomas of Canterbury.  It is the only church in Surrey to be right on the Pilgrims’ Way.  I stepped through the door to explore and managed a few minutes visit before the morning service began. The Verger kindly signed my pilgrim’s passport and showed me around, pointing out a few of the more significant features. There’s a stained glass window featuring St Thomas Becket.

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I left the church and set off downhill as per the guide. It was raining quite solidly by now and the ground was very wet and slippery. I went down down down and down some more…hanging onto the roots of trees and anything else I could get my hands onto, I slipped and slid down a very steep and most unpleasant pathway; almost vertical. A few people passed me going up..possibly to the church. As I walked I kept referring to the guide for the landmarks, but wasn’t seeing them. I was becoming a tad concerned that I may well be going the wrong way. Suddenly and without any warning I slipped and fell….really hard, onto my bottom. It took the wind out of my sails. I decided to check my walking app and yes, I was definitely not going in the right direction….now, in pain, and slipping on the wet sand, I had to climb back up this blasted hill. It turns out I had been heading downhill towards Chilworth Manor….which was not my destination. urgh.

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going the wrong way… downhill

Finally I got myself back up, reached the crest of the hill and tried to decipher the instructions in the guide, and after much head scratching I realised where I had gone wrong. “Walk through the churchyard and on the far side follow the sandy path which soon veers slightly to the right to go downhill”. Which is what I had done in the first place. What he doesn’t say is that the correct side is directly behind the church (going east) and not to the side (going south). While doing my research on the history of the church, I noticed this information: (The knoll is crossed east-to-west by the Pilgrims’ Way, which is otherwise on the North Downs.) Now THAT would have been useful information in the guide!!!

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leaving St Martha on the Hill church through the EAST gate, not the south LOL

I was totally unimpressed and in quite a lot of pain by now.  But I pulled up my big girl panties and made my way down what was a very sandy path, but a lot less steep and somewhat easier to navigate. the writer may want to rethink his description for this section (amongst others). I now saw the landmarks mentioned in the guide…hoorah! I was on the right track, albeit still very steep and very slippery and it was still raining. I was getting more and more wet, despite the rain poncho, and wasn’t very happy.

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although I’m on the right track, this was almost as bad as the wrong track..slippery and wet

The promised landmarks were now visible and accounted for….

I trudged on but somehow I was totally off course and ended up walking along the very busy A25 motorway, with cars rushing past. I managed to criss-cross the duel carriageway according to where it was safe to walk, and eventually I reached The Silent Pool just on 12.40. Beyond arriving at The Silent Pool I really had no idea which way I was meant to go. I had packed the guide away because it was getting soaked in the rain and besides which I couldn’t see through my misted up glasses.

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The Silent Pool…..a really beautiful place….and it’s still raining

My planned accommodation for the night was YHA Tanners Hatch on Ranmore Common which was well off the Pilgrim’s Way route. Since I had no idea where I was in relation to the YHA, was soaking wet and totally dispirited and totally so not in the mood for any further walking, I made the difficult decision to quit for the day. However, being a Sunday, none of the taxis would come out for less than £20, so since I did have to continue on to Shere…only another 2 miles they said, I continued walking. 😦

My instagram post revealed just how dispirited I was feeling : “The Dabbling Duck, Shere: Well I’ve had to concede defeat and quit for today. Its been raining since 10.15, I’m soaked to the skin, I can’t see out my glasses to read the guide book, which is a moot point since the book is so wet I cant see the words. 😢😢😢 I’ve stopped in a village called Shere which is roughly halfway, having lunch of lovely hot tomato soup and a pot of tea. I’ve organised a cab to pick me up and take me to my accommodation for tonight. The paths are treacherous and slippery or just puddles of water and I’ve already had a fall walking THE WRONG way down a virtually vertical path down St Martha’s Hill, nothing damaged except my dignity. Except I then had to climb back up again, at which point I surveyed the landscape more thoroughly and found the right way. One of those slightly obscure instructions again. By the bottom of the hill I abandoned the guide book and put my glasses in my pouch and followed my nose, finally arriving by luck at Silent Pool. From there they guided me to Shere where my walking for today must end. From here its on to my accommodation for tonight, a hot shower and bed. I believe tomorrow will be better weather. Hmm 🙄🙄🙄😜😜 So onwards.

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The Dabbling Duck; a hot bowl of red pepper soup and rustic bread. delicious

Shere…oh my gosh…what a stunning village. Despite the rain, I was enchanted by the architecture. One of those villages that you wish you could live in; Shere is your quintessential English village with picturesque ancient houses, quaint beyond words. It’s featured in Bridget Jones’s Diary amongst other films. I am definitely going to visit again. Delighted to discover that Shere is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book 🙂

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By now, being wet and very cold and as mentioned before (LOL), I had to sit in a tiny corner of the restaurant to avoid dripping water all over the place. I was absolutely not in the mood for walking. So I gave up and arranged for a cab to take me the final distance to the YHA. I enjoyed the soup at the Dabbling Duck and the tea warmed me up. It was a very good idea to have a meal since there was nothing at the YHA and I didn’t have any food on me besides dried pasta (which I had for breakfast the next day).

My final instagram post for the day – Tanners Hatch: Just about the time that I was starting to despair, after having walked another 4 kms in the rain (after my cab dropped me at the post code but not the location  which is seriously remote and off the grid 🙄) I popped in at a farm for directions. I could see the YHA on my Google maps but not how to get there. 😢😢 Anyways eventually I found the place after stumbling about and almost caving in to despair, and after checking in, I have a bed for the night, a dry towel, dry clothes and a cup of lovely hot herbal tea. Atm I’m sitting in the lounge of the hostel and knitting the 2nd bootee of a pair while chatting to the other occupants.

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bootees for Peanut – I’m hoping these bootees will encourage my grandchild to be adventurous

There’s a marvellous fire burning brightly in the grate and its lovely and cosy. I’m almost dry and nearly warm 😊😊 So glad I decided to use my contingency fund towards a cab and get here earlier, I would never have found this place in the dark.😖😖 So this is me, signing out till tomorrow.

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our YHA host; Dave got a lovely hot raoring fire going…just the ticket

The area around the YHA is stunning, trees everywhere you look and so many shades of green. Although it was very wet, it was so beautiful I wished I could stay a few days. I’ll definitely have to go back.

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tucked away amongst the trees; YHA Tanners Hatch

After chatting to the other hostelers over tea and the delicious warmth of the fire, I said goodnight and went to bed at about 9pm. Oh gosh I was soooo tired. Too many hills, too much rain, too cold and too hungry. Oh well….onwards LOL

For more about the history of St Martha’s Church http://www.parishofchilworth.org.uk/history/st-marthas/full-history/

In case you missed Day 5 of my walk along The Pilgrim’s Way – click here

A short video of the walk; scenes of the route

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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloSaturday 25th August 2018 Day 5 – (day in Guildford to explore) 4.68 kms / 12,773 steps elevation 65 meters

I had a lovely 5 km amble around Guildford this morning.

The town is located near the site of the “Golden Ford” an established crossing place; it is this Ford to which Guildford owes its name. An ancient track-way which ran along the North Downs descended to this river crossing. The first written record relating to King Alfred about Guildford dates from around AD 885.

Retracing my steps from previous visits I walked up the fantastic cobbled and pedestrianised High Street where I passed the Abbot’s Hospital; founded in 1619 by George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury as a gift “out of my love to the place of my birth”. Built as a shelter for the elderly poor of the town – 12 single men and 8 single women, it’s not open to the public for touring, but if the door is open do pop in to the edge pf the courtyard for a glimpse of the courtyard. It’s a stunning building and I enjoy popping in whenever I’m in Guildford.

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Abbot’s Hospital built 1619

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Abbots Hospital built 1619

The High Street contains some fantastic old buildings, the Guildhall with it’s marvellous clock.

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the Guildhall and it’s fabulous clock

I passed the Three Pigeons Pub; a mid-18th century pub with a fabulous facade modelled on a late 17th century house in Oxford.

Further up the High Street at the junction of Upper High Street, is a statue of George Abbot looking not quite down the High Street.

On my way back down the High Street I stopped off at the Holy Trinity Church where George Abbot is buried. There was a choir practising for a concert that night; Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’….I wish now that I had made the effort to go watch. Missed opportunity.

I  strolled along the Town Path, a narrow lane that takes you out towards the castle.

There’s a wonderful sundial featuring Edward and Eleanor (1272-1307) on one of the buildings in Castle Street.

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Edward and Eleanor sundial Guildford

A visit to the castle is a must, with fabulous views across the town. Built shortly after the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror, today the Keep is the most substantial section that remains. It is however not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book so was probably built later. The gardens are a kaleidoscope of colourful flowers and plants.

I searched for the Alice Through the Looking Glass sculpture eventually and found it within a small garden in the perimeter of the castle grounds; a memorial to Lewis Carroll who stayed in his sisters’ house; The Chestnuts from 1868 until his death in 1898.

I walked downhill and passed through Castle Arch; constructed in 1256 by John of Gloucester , King Henry III’s master mason.

As I strolled along Quarry Street I passed the Guildford Museum so popped in for a short visit…..the museum forms the gatehouse and annex of Guildford Castle and houses as fantastic collection of artefacts with over over 75,000 objects, dating from c.500,000 BC (the Lower Palaeolithic) to the modern day.

I had planned to walk along the River Wey to find the Alice and the Rabbit sculpture, so set off, first visiting St Mary’s Church where they were preparing for a wedding. Sadly no pilgrim’s stamp.

I crossed the medieval town bridge, constructed with wood in 920, it has stood for 7 centuries (albeit partially destroyed in 1900 by a flood),

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Guildford Bridge

and found what I was looking for…what a delight.

Along the way I passed St Nicholas Parish Church which didn’t appear to be open. It’s a marvellous looking building and a church has stood on that site since 1300.

Another delightful sculpture is at the bottom of the High Street; The Surrey Scholar by Allan Sly, unveiled in 2002.

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The Scholar, Guildford

After a few hours I made my way back to the airbnb and spent the rest of the day, preparing a good meal, repacking my backpack and resting…a long sleep was beneficial.

Here’s a link in case you’re interested in finding out more about the Abbot’s Hospital
https://www.abbotshospital.org/

In all, Guildford is a fascinating town with a wonderful history and so much to see. Although I have visited Guildford a few times in the past, I was glad of the opportunity to spend some more time there. It’s such a fascinating place.

In case you missed Day 4 of my walk along The Pilgrim’s Way – click here
I’ve made a short video of my day in Guildford

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