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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.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in – looking back towards Viking Bay

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

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

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

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!!

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england

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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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

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, walks in england, english channel , sunrise

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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Getting off to a good start yesterday, today I left it a little late to start my walk so only got as far as Dumpton Gap before I headed back home. The weather has been so mild it’s almost difficult to believe its mid-winter. However there was a storm brewing across the channel and the sea was a completely different animal today with wild waves smashing up against the harbour wall and sending spray in every direction including over the gathering observers! It’s fascinating to see how these waves attract more and more people, it seems we cant resist a bit of wildness in our lives.

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super waves

As usual I was unable to resist and so before I set off for Dumpton Gap, I walked down to the harbour to watch and film the wave action. That sounds when the water hits the wall is so thrilling….a loud wwhump that sends shivers through the ground and up your spine.

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

stormy weather

I spent ages just watching and filming, getting wet by a rouge wave that crept up from behind and splashed me with icy water. Not the first time and probably won’t be the last!

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

waves smashing against the harbour wall

A brisk walk across the beach towards Louisa Bay and as the tide was coming in I had to walk along the concrete walkway rather than continue along the beach. I love this wild kind of weather, it’s so exhilarating and vibrant and energetic…make me feel so alive!

I find the chalk cliffs along the coastline to be endlessly fascinating. It’s incredible to think that these cliffs were once beneath the seas and formed from the skeletal remains of minute planktonic green algae that lived floating in the upper levels of the ocean. It’s sad to realise how quickly they are disintegrating and wearing away from sea erosion. The lumps of chalk left behind have hardened into rocks forming an alien landscape.

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chalk cliffs on the Isle of Thanet

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

Dumpton Gap – the rocks from the worn away chalk cliffs look like an alien landscape

Coming back the clouds had moved on and the sky was a vibrant blue with puffy clouds here and there.

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reflections at Dumpton Gap, Isle of Thanet

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

beautiful Broadstairs, a sight that always lifts my spirits

Once I got home, my daughter and I sat on the couch chatting about the baby and the different options she has now been left with since baby is presenting as breech. Little blighter….oh well. We’ll see.

Besides walking, I’ve been finishing off some of the little cardigans and matinee jackets I’ve been knitting for my grandson. His arrival is now well and truly imminent and we are waiting with bated breath for him to start his incredible journey, the first of many.

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a cardigan for Peanut

I’ve also been reading the 2nd of the books I bought for myself for Xmas: ‘Arabia’ – Levison Wood. It’s really hard going. Not from the reading aspect because he is a very descriptive author and it’s so interesting, but rather it’s the appalling history of the area and the terrible horrors perpetrated against the Syrians that I’m finding so hard to contemplate. I won’t go into too much detail here because I want to write a proper review, suffice to say it’s mind-numbing and shocking stuff.

Day 2 /365 – Broadstairs to Dumpton Gap : 4.68 kms, 8008 steps

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Viking bay to Dumpton Gap

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Wow, I can hardly believe that it’s already 2019!! How did 2018 fly by so fast? But if I consider how much happened during the year, and because I was almost wishing the year away so that we could get closer to the date when my first grandchild (a wee boy) is due, I guess what with the jobs away, my many excursions and shopping expeditions (for some who normally loathes shopping…it was no hardship to shop for baby clothes LOL), the days just flew.

So here we are in 2019. We, my heavily pregnant daughter, excited expectant son-in-law and I, very excited and impatient Granny, saw in the new year watching the London fireworks on BBC1, had a glass of wine to toast the new year, sang a few lines of Auld Lang Syne and by 1am we were in bed. Finally I can say my grandson is due to arrive this year 🙂 🙂 Hoorah.

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Never have I been more excited about a new year’s arrival…

Starting off afresh, for 2019, I’m keen to get back to my walking since I didn’t do much after the mishap I had during my Pilgrim’s Way pilgrimage in August (in fact my walking pretty much came to an abrupt end after that), and I want to be able to make the most of my time at home. So on New Year’s Day, but not too early mind considering the hour of bedtime….I set off on the first of my 2019 #walk1000miles excursions. There were a few people about, mostly dog walkers, but on the whole the streets and beach were empty.

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Viking Bay looking stunning on New Year’s Day 2019

The scenery along this section of the Kent coast is so beautiful and I never tire of walking the same route, which is a good thing, since that is pretty much my only route except when I walk to Margate. I hope to get back to that one of these fine days, but I’m waiting till baby arrives before I venture too far.

Walking to the end of the Ramsgate Harbour arm and back I managed a decent 9.37 kms.

On my way back, as I rounded the corner at Louisa Bay I noticed a huge crowd on the beach at Viking Bay. Puzzled as to what could have attracted so many people, I increased my pace to see what was going on.

walk 1000 miles, new years day swim broadstairs, viking bay, kentish coast

In the distance the crowds…what is going on?

At about the same time I got a whats app message from my daughter to say that they were on the beach to watch the New Year’s Day swimathon!!! Oh my gosh! I had completely forgotten about that. In fact, I had been trying to coerce my son-in-law to join me and take a dip, but he was steadfast in his refusal LOL

So I hurried up even more and with 6 minutes to spare I hit the beach only to hear the countdown, 2 minutes early according to my phone, and before I could get close enough they were running down the beach and into the water.

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New Year’s Day swim in Broadstairs

A perfect day for this insane excursion, the water in Viking Bay was like a pond and the air wasn’t freezing or wet like the year before when it rained. I was astounded at the crowds…not only lining the beach, but the pier was packed as well at the Promenade.

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The crowds and swimmers in Broadstairs

First time in the 4 years we’ve lived here that there has been such a turn out for the New Year’s Day swim.

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Hardy souls? Or in need of therapy? New Year’s Day swimmers in Broadstairs

After most people had clambered out and we had taken as many photos as we could, as we were leaving we spotted Santa so stopped so that Peanut could meet him for the first time hahaha and for a photo with Mummy.

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Comparing girths…Peanut meets Santa for the first time LOL

After which we retired to The Old Curiosity Shop for tea and cake, and then home.

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The Old Curiosity Shop, Broadstairs – where the service is as good as the cake 🙂

A most satisfactory first day of 2019 and one day closer to Peanut’s arrival. 🙂 Hoorah

*footnote* – Apparently, and according to my daughter, we’ll ALL participate next year….thankfully that is still 364 days away LOL

Day 1/365 – 18, 209 steps : Broadstairs to Ramsgate

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Map my Walk

 

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Ready?….no, not really. Set…..all packed. Go…oh okay, if I must…

Walking The Pilgrim’s Way

I had been planning my pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury for nearly a year. After my Camino in 2017 I was all ready to just go and walk another, but with one thing and another (like finances and work) I couldn’t just up and go, so I decided that in 2018 I would walk the Camino Ingles. But, before I did that, I thought it would be a good idea to walk another UK pilgrimage first…it seemed like the right thing to do.the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, the pilgrims way uk, walking the pilgrims way, walking the camino, pilgrimage to canterburym

So I set about planning for a walk along The Pilgrim’s Way for 2 weeks and then home for a few days to refresh, repack and then fly to Spain to walk the Camino Ingles, starting on the same date I had in 2017. Plans……?

With that in mind I set up my spreadsheets, bought the books and started planning. It all went really well and I had most of my accommodation booked, put money aside every month, repacked Pepe (my backpack) for the umpteenth time and started with some training.

Then life, as it does, decided differently and a number of issues arose..

  1. I investigated the possibility of taking a ferry from Southampton to Spain, but firstly it was extortionately expensive and 2nd the ferries only went to Santander, which is not what I had in mind.
  2. Investigating flights, I found that the prices had almost doubled since the previous year (Brexit??) hmmm. Not sure I want to spend that much money.
  3. In May I got the best news a mother could ever get….my daughter was pregnant and I was to be a Granny Suddenly knitting seemed way more important than getting out and practising, getting fit. LOL
  4. Summer 2018 happened. I do not like the heat. I do enjoy lovely blue skies, and pleasant summer days, but I do not enjoy extreme heat, and most especially if I have to go out in the midday sun and walk in said heat.

And so it came to pass that

A) I never did book any flights. Which was just as well considering….

B) I spent more time knitting than anything else…the needles were in my hands at any          given free moment….I have loads of beautiful cardigans, bootees and matinee jackets.

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I even took my knitting with me and made a pair of ‘adventure’ bootees for my grandchild 🙂

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Peanut’s ‘adventure’ bootees

C) My plans to walk during my breaks to keep up my fitness levels were scuppered by           the heat, and I was resting on my 2017 fitness laurels. Tut! Tut! Not good.

I did get to do some walking in preparation, but truthfully I really didn’t get anywhere near enough walking done as what I did preparing for my Camino in 2017.

And as August rapidly approached I suddenly found that actually I didn’t want to walk at all…..I felt like all I wanted to do was be at home with my family and knit LOL

But after a few weeks of deliberation as well as a lot of uhmming and ahhing, and some discussion with my daughter I decided to go ahead with the UK walk but postpone the EU/Camino walk till 2019…..which is what I did.

And so it was ready, set, go……

Andddd I’m on my way; finally on the 18th August 2018, after nearly a year of planning and some preparation, Pepe, Gemini and I were on the train and on the way….BSR to SOU via London.

First up, Southampton, where I had planned to spend a couple of days exploring the city, as well as spend a day in Winchester revisiting favourite places. Then starting off on 21st August for the long walk; 136 miles and counting 🚶🚶🚶 Excited. Trepidatious.

This is what I’d be doing for the 15 days bar one. Coddiwomple! What a marvellous word. Love the English language.

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coddiwomple

Wow, how much excitement!! After months of talking and walking (some) and packing and preparing, I was finally on my way Ready to coddiwomple across England; a  pilgrimage Winchester to Canterbury; along The Pilgrim’s Way.

Initially I had planned to stay for just 2 nights in Southampton, but I probably wouldn’t visit the city again in the future so decided to extend my stay by one extra night and have a whole extra day to explore. The other day would be spent in Winchester revisiting favourite places and get myself ready for the big walk.

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The Pilgrim’s Way passport – how gorgeous is this passport

On arriving in Southampton I made my way over to my AirBnb venue and checked in. The room was very basic and simple, but comfortable and had a t.v. Even pilgrims like a bit of luxury LOL I didn’t do much by way of exploring that night since I was quite tired and it had been a long journey, so I just took a stroll up to the nearest food store and bought myself some supper and snacks for the night.

I settled in to bed after a lovely hot shower and watched t.v. till lights out. Big explore tomorrow.

More blogs in the series:

Revisiting the City of Winchester

Exploring Southampton

 

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A few days ago I looked at my calendar and suddenly realised that this ‘big’ pilgrimage of mine that I have been talking about for months was only 3.5 months away!!! Shock and horror. Where has the time gone and how did this suddenly creep up on me. Although I have joined the #walk1000miles challenge for 2018 again, I have been quite lazydasical about getting out and walking….always at the back on my mind is the thought of ‘hey, I walked 240 kms across Portugal and Spain last year on my Camino’ ergo I should be fit!! Uhm, no!! Not really. In reality I’ve really slacked off and once I reached the magic number of 1000 miles in 2017, my brain said “okay, enough already, time for a break”.

Then we had winter. Enough said on THAT subject. Urgh. Mind you I was lucky enough to experience snowfall in Montgomery, Wales that turned the world magical.

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the WW2 Monument in Montgomery

However……with the prospect of 136 miles from Winchester to Canterbury ahead of me, the realisation that I best kick my ass into gear has hit home.

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Pilgrims’s Chapels Winchester and Canterbury

And so I have started training in earnest once again and boy has my fitness level dropped since September 2017. Blimey. So, although I have managed just over 373 kms/ 233 miles since 01.01.2018, I figured I best get my act together and do some serious walking again.

the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

3 in 1 : North Downs Way, Vanguard Way, Greenwich Meridian Way,

I’ve been working in Oxted since 01.05 and I’ve managed a few walks up to and through the Titsey estate, some of which takes me along the Pilgrim’s Way on the North Downs, albeit just a little way.

the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

The Pilgrim’s Way, North Downs, Oxted

The brilliant aspect of the walks in this area is that there’s a substantial amount of uphill walking which is giving me an excellent cardiovascular workout. The first day I did that I thought my heart was going to pop right out of my chest!!

the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

a good cardiovascular workout

This was a tad disappointing since last year, when I was working here, I used to follow that route almost daily and after a few weeks was climbing to the top of the ridge, hardly out of breath. Clearly my fitness levels have indeed dropped.

the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

walking along the North Downs

Walking in this area is always a pleasure and the views from whichever level you choose to walk are spectacular, at any time of the year.

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View from the ridge; Titsey House in the distance

And now on the cusp of summer is no exception. The trees are sprouting leaves by the million; some of which are that fantastic luminescent green that seems otherworldly.

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summer greens

The rapeseed fields are ablaze with tiny bright yellow blooms that spread like butter across the landscape, so bright you could surely see them from space!

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Bright yellow rapeseed fields

I’ve seen a few walkers, quite a few dogs and a number of rabbits. The weather has been spectacular albeit very hot for long distance walking. We had loads of rain over the previous weeks and the ground in many areas has been sodden, like a quagmire and traversing these areas has been a bit of a challenge!! I took a walk through a small copse of trees hoping to see bluebells like last year’s crop…but sadly most of them have already faded.

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just a smattering of bluebells left

I’m mindful of the fact that we may well have a lot of rain in August and September, in which case I’ll have to be walking through said quagmires which is decidedly unpleasant…..I may just have to get the wellies out! LOL But I’m hoping for days like this..

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across the fields at Titsey Place

And so the training has begun in earnest. I’m planning on walking from Broadstairs to Folkestone in the coming weeks and that should give me a good workout as I’ll be walking with Pepe (my backpack) fully loaded. As always Gemini (my walking poles) are in hand to support me on my walks. I really love those poles now and feel quite naked when I walk without them.

Titsey Place and Gardens

Titsey Place and Gardens

 

 

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