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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloTuesday 28th August 2018 Day 8 – Merstham to Oxted : 20.75 kms / 45,608 steps    elevation 309 meters

My early morning instagram post: Merstham: Morning all. I’m still alive LOL Had a really good sleep, feeling refreshed. Atm I’m relaxing in bed with a cup of tea. My hosts at this AirBnB are/were amazing, they’ve even left breakfast for me 😊😊 These images are from when I was at Shere where I ended my journey on Sunday. We didn’t have network or WiFi at Tanners Hatch so couldn’t share. Shere is gorgeous and definitely bears a return visit on a sunny day. I had lunch at the Dabbling Duck which was lovely, albeit very busy and they initially forgot to take my order. Shere is a Domesday Book village. As you can see it was just raining. I lost about 12 kms of the route on that day. Not a lot, but enough to irk me. I’ll have to come back another day and walk that stage again and probably break it down into 2. And I definitely must have more time to explore Shere.

It amazes me how quickly my body recovers with a good nights rest and a hot shower. My leg and coccyx were however still rather tender, but I wasn’t about to let them stop my pilgrimage. While enjoying my lie-in and cuppa, after posting some photos from the day before, I consulted the guide to see what lay ahead of me for the day.  Apparently “the original route from Mertsham to the top of the North Downs has been changed by the arrival of two motorways and two railway lines“.  So my slight guilt at not following the guide yesterday was dispersed hah!!

But first…Quality Street; once the main road to Brighton, is named after JM Barries’s play Quality Street in 1902.

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the famous Quality Street in Merstham

The famous tin of sweets, launched in 1936 by Mackintosh’s of Halifax to coincide with the release of the Quality Street film, had a bow-fronted shop on the lid similar to houses in the street, which include 17th and 18th century buildings. Merstham, is also, to my delight, a Domesday Book village of 1086 as Merstan; Its name was recorded in 947 as Mearsætham, which seems to be Anglo-Saxon Mearþ-sǣt-hām = “Homestead near a trap set for martens or weasels”. courtesy of wikipedia

I passed the Old Forge, a Grade II listed building, unfortunately partially blocked by a van, but nonethless quite awesome to see, as well as some other amazing houses.

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The Old Forge, Merstham

After crossing the motorway I reached St Katharine’s Church which dates from c. 1220 and replaced an earlier church built c. 1100, it is however believed that there has been a church of some form on the site since c. 675 AD. In the grounds I met 2 ladies from Germany who were walking the North Downs Way. Before progressing, I popped into the church for a visit. Quiet by accident I discovered some fabulous brasses cleverly concealed by carpets…hah! I have a nose for these things.

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The route crossed a motorway, took me through a suburb and then into thick undergrowth, beneath the motorway (not decorated like the one yesterday), through some open fields anddddd….up the first of the hills I was to encounter today! A notice urged me to please keep to the North Downs Way…my pleasure 🙂

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the only selfie I took on the whole 8 days LOL and I obeyed the request 🙂

my instagram post – Redhill: What was that they said about the way flattening out?? Just climbed 2 steep hills in quick succession. Urgh 🙄🙄 mind you the view is fantastic. So today I’ve packed the guide book away since the route from Merstham to Oxted follows the North Downs Way. Hoorah. Much better.

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North Downs Way

After reaching the crest of the hill, I met a lovely old gentleman and stopped for a wee chat, after which I stopped in a field for a few minutes of respite and then a lovely long lane beneath a tunnel of beautiful trees…..in the distance I could see the two ladies I had seen earlier at the church.

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going upppppp

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and uppppp

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goodbye friend 🙂 looking back downhill towards Merstham

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fellow pilgrims in the ditance

I had just reached a junction in the road when I looked to my left (for oncoming traffic) and saw to my delight a signboard for…….’Chaldon 1086′, whoo hoo.

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Chaldon AD 1086 – 🙂 a Domesday Book village

Another Domesday Book village. I had a quick look on mapmywalk to see how far the church/village was, and found to my dismay that it was a good long walk from The Pilgrim’s Way/NDW. But, since these villages are part of my Project 101, I decided to make the diversion (just on 1 mile away) and suck it up! LOL And boy am I glad I did. The church was FANTASTIC. I stepped through the door and found the breath-taking medieval painting; Ladder of Salvation, featuring a drunken naked pilgrim holding an empty wine bottle

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The Ladder of Salvation – a medieval painting in the church of Chaldon

– painted c. 1200, 30 years after the murder of Becket, when the church was in the care of Merton Abbey where the saint had been a pupil. On a pillar near the door there is a pilgrim mark in the shape of a T for Thomas.

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T – Thomas Becket – Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Chaldon

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As I walked around the church I thought to myself…”Oh I wonder if someone would be able to give me a lift to the top of the hill?” As I thought this 2 people entered the church. I said hello and carried on out the door. After strolling about the graveyard, I walked through the gate at just about the same time as the couple who arrived earlier. There was a blue van just in front of me…..the couple made for the van, and totally on impulse, the words popped out my mouth “any chance you could give me lift to the top of the hill?”…and what did they say?? Yes!!!! Oh my gosh. I was delighted. I hopped into the back of the van and sat on the floor amongst the detritus of a working man, grinning from ear to ear. The Universe delivered…big time LOL We had a lovely chat all the way up the hill, they were really interested in my journey. Wished me well & goodbye 🙂

My instagram post: Chaldon: Making good progress today . After climbing that hill earlier the way has indeed flattened out. I took a small diversion to visit Chaldon, a 1086 Domesday Book village and the parish church. Walking down the road I questioned my sanity…..going down usually means going back up again. Nonetheless, what an extraordinary church. The west end of Chaldon Church, dating from 1086, is covered with the Ladder of Salvation painted about 1200, thirty years after the murder of Thomas Becket, when the church was in the care of Merton Abbey, where Becket had been a student. While walking around the church, in my mind I was thinking “I hope someone with a vehicle visits while I’m here so I can ask for a lift back up the hill.” as I was leaving a couple in a van drew up, briefly popped in at the church (turns out they’re checking the lightening conductors in the county churches), so I asked them for a lift back to my route….. 😅😅😅 Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. A charming couple, we chatted as we drove and they saved me the long walk back. My prayers were answered and thank you to the Universe 🌌 😍 Where I rejoined the route I saw the very first Pilgrim’s Way sign 👏👏👏 which I would have missed if I hadn’t made the diversion. atm I’m sitting at the Harrow Pub and just about to tuck into a huge baked potato. I’m enjoying today 😊

They dropped off one very grateful pilgrim back at the junction and I set off once again, well pleased that I had indeed made the diversion. As I set off I looked up and noticed the sign board…..PILGRIM’S WAY Hoorah. One of the very FEW markings for the route, I would have missed this if I hadn’t decided to visit the church.

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one of the very few route markers for the Pilgrim’s Way that I saw the whole 8 days

If nothing else the route is varied!!! I passed the house mentioned in the guide: After Hilltop (left with a clock and a view) the way is alongside woodland and fields where I met a lady and her dog….we commiserated with each other as we tried to navigate the mud….the ‘way’ is not always conducive to an easy walk.

Not much further along, at a junction where I had to cross the road again, I spotted The Harrow pub and on impulse decided to stop for lunch. It was already 13.20 and I was HUNGRY!!! I ordered a baked potato with a peppery filling… it was delicious, albeit very spicy hot. wheww. My mouth was on fire. Oh and I had a beer 🙂

Refreshed and replenished I set off once again and passed a rather odd looking folly (probably why it’s called a ‘folly’). The way now took me along a tarmac road and along some lovely shady woodland paths.

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So beautiful. I didn’t see a soul for ages until just before 3pm when I met a young woman out walking her dog. We chatted briefly and then she went on ahead while I strolled along, just enjoying the peace and quiet.

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shady paths – a good place to rest for a while

The path once again was rustic, taking me through woodland and up hill and down dale…and then in a sheltered meadow I spotted a weathered wooden bench. Time for a rest me thinks. I offloaded Pepe and took off my socks and shoes, and lay down on the bench in the sun and just chilled. Bliss. Once again I hadn’t seen anyone for ages.

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a wonderfully peaceful place to rest

After a short rest I set off and shortly encountered the first set of steps (urgh).

The route took me through some beautiful woodland, England’s counties sure are pretty

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I love these benches; they offer stunning views of the countryside

and then…..I took to instagram again…Woldingham: And suddenly I’m on familiar territory. After lots of ups and downs and flats and twists and turns, I can see Oxted ☺️☺️ in the distance and to the left I can see the fields I used to walk along while training for last year’s Camino and briefly, for this years walk. Its been a hard day again, but thats mostly coz after 7 days of walking I’m now very tired, and not because it was just hell. Rest day tomorrow, albeit for End of Life training in Tonbridge. So, none too soon, I’m almost at the end of today’s stage. Show. Me. The. Bed!!! 😂😂😂

Just before heading down to the lower paths on the downs, I stopped off to rest on a bench I spotted about halfway down another flights of steps.

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I’ll be really glad to leave the steps behind. When I did reach the lower footpath I regretted my thoughts almost immediately….the path was very narrow and lined with scratchy prickly brambles.

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not a pleasant section of the route

The sun was beginning to sink behind the ridge and I needed to get a move on. From the guide book: “The path now goes downhill to a hidden kissing gate.” Hidden?? Hidden?? It’s bloody grown over with a thick bush of brambles. I had to bend over double just to get under the brambles. Getting through the gate, bent over double with a backpack on my back was not fun at all. I ended up with scratches all along my arms. Urgh.

Now I was on familiar territory. I had walked these oaths dozens of times before when working in Oxted. It was lovely to see these paths and fields again. I crossed the road leading into Oxted and then followed a familiar route up a short hill with the idea of sitting on the bench where I used to sit on my Camino practice walks. When I got to the top I was absolutely dismayed to discover that some vandals had destroyed it completely

It was so lovely to walk along paths I had so often walked along before. The fields are so lovely and I had seen them at different times of the year

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familiar fields….it felt so good to back walking this path

Oxted: Whoo hoo and hoorah. I’m standing on the Greenwich Meridian Line, ergo I’m just about to cross from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere 😁😁😁👏👏

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crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line

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standing with one foot in the west and one foot in the east

I’m almost at my journey end, and now standing in the fields I could see in my earlier photo. I’m well ahead of time, so I’m going to walk part of Thursdays route just to save some time on that day, coz it’ll be a late start and nearly 20km day. – okay so this was not one of my brighter ideas. I followed the rutted road past Titsey Place

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walking past Titsey Estate – I’ve walked along here a number of times

and had to navigate a swamped area, passed under the M25 motorway and reached the B269. Under the best of times this is not a good road to walk along and I had in fact forgotten that this waited at the end of the route past Titsey Place. Nonetheless, there I was. It was busy. I spent the next 15 minutes dodging cars and trucks by jumping into the hedgerows lining the road. Finally, unscathed, I arrived in Limpsfield village

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Limpsfield, Surrey – a 1086 Domesday Book village

….my destination: St Peter’s Church.

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I love this little church and it holds fond memories…..it was the place where I got my very first Pilgrim’s stamp earlier in 2017 before my Camino along the Portugues Coastal Route to Santiago. I stopped off at the church to look around and stamp my passport and then walked back into Oxted. There are some stunning old houses in Detillens Lane.

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Limpsfield appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Limenesfeld

I soon reached Oxted Station and hopped on the next train to Hurst Green where I was to stay for the night at another AirBnb venue. After a short walk I reached the house, had a lovely cup of tea, some hot soup and bread, a long conversation with the host and then a shower and into bed. Hoorah.

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my bed…..hoorah

As soon as I was in bed I headed over to instagram for my update: Hurst Green: After 7 days of walking, here is my pilgrim’s passport and the stamps I have managed to obtain. Its very different to the Camino where just about every establishment, restaurant, cafe and refreshments stall (even ice-cream stands) have a ‘sello’. Most of the churches I visited along The Pilgrim’s Way don’t have pilgrim passport stamps. I left a message in their visitor books saying how nice it would be to find one when visiting. Most businesses don’t have them either…I guess email has made them obsolete. However, I’m happy with what I have so far 😊😊😊 a record of my journey

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My Pilgrim’s Passport – Day 1 – Day 8 🙂 Sadly not all the churches I visited had pilgrim stamps

From Merstham to Oxted along The Pilgrim’s Way. A good day. I met some lovely people along the route and enjoyed a number of interesting albeit short conversations. At the church in Limpsfield I saw in the visitors book that a lady from Greenwich passed this way on the 19th, also following the Pilgrim’s Way. 🙂 How cool is that!! That’s the 2nd person whose details I’ve seen in the visitors book in a church. And at journey’s end, a lovely host, good conversation, a cup of tea , a hot shower and a comfy bed….what more could I ask for? A leg that wasn’t absolutely aching, would be a start….urgh. I think that pushing that last few km’s along the Pilgrim’s Way past Titsey Place and onto St Peter’s Church was 4 kms too many. My leg was in agony and very swollen. I applied loads of my aloe vera heat lotion and took 2 paracetamol. With my leg raised against the wall, I lay back on the bed and contemplated just how far I had come.

I felt really good at how much ground I had covered, how many obstacles I had overcome, at the number of steps I climbed at Box Hill (for the record = 275 steps!!!) felt more like 27500!!! LOL I was looking forward to the training at head office the next day in Tonbridge, and a day off from lengthy walking and most especially from the bloody guide book. Other than that, I felt good. So glad to be walking the Pilgrim’s Way…a long held dream.

Goodnight.

read about Day 7 of my pilgrimage along The Pilgrim’s Way click here
I made a short video you may enjoy

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After a number of overcast, wintry days, yesterday dawned bright and sunny and no frost… Perfect for an adventure. Our neighbour loaned me his map of the Montgomery area showing various walks (yellow publications), and suggested a local walk that would take in a section of Offa’s Dyke; (Offa, the Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796 – had a great dyke built between Wales and Mercia from sea to sea). This border between Wales and England was built to prevent the Welsh from infiltrating the country. Not sure why they thought it was a good idea, but on closer research it may well have been a defensive wall.

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can’t complain about that view

Kitted out with shoes and poles I set off with determination. To reach the section where I planned to walk was a fair trot from the village and my initial terrain was a good solid tarmac road. The route goes through Lymore Park and farmland. All went well, I passed the Lower Pond and a farm, crossing multiple cattle grids and eventually reached the border between Montgomeryshire and Shropshire where I encountered #4 cattle grid (urgh, they are horrible to walk across), and a field of dozy sheep. They are such silly creatures.

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dozy sheep. Offa’s Dyke path

Starting off along the path, I was sceptical as to how good an idea this was going to be…the path was a slushy, muddy morass…mostly churned up by previous walkers and a few horses, and I considered retracing my steps and leaving it for another day. But my philosophy in life is: do it while you are here, it may be the only opportunity you have.

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along the dyke….the walking was not pleasant…although the scenery was lovely

So with that in mind, I started walking along the path… Mud, mud not so glorious mud. Slushy, mushy, slimy, grimy mud. The first 3 sections were just bloody awful and I spent a lot of time trying to find stable spots to place my shoes without slipping or getting too dirty. Sloshing through craftily hidden pooled water, standing on tussocks that were not as stable as they looked, slipping and sliding as I attempted to get from one spot to another and accompanied with lots of laughter, cussing and wtf am I doing, I later forded a small rushing stream; a very tricky section that was a sheer, unadulterated quagmire. Creeping gingerly beneath overhanging branches, my poles planted firmly before advancing, I made it safely and relatively dry, albeit a tad more muddy, across the wee bridge, but after walking some distance further I realised /discovered I’d gone off course, so had to back-track and ford the stream once again. OMG!! Seriously.

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this is where I went wrong…

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going back….fording a stream…the ground on the other side of the stile was a quagmire

I didn’t escape unscathed this time around. After crossing back over the bridge and stile, I surveyed the immediate terrain and spotted what looked like a stable spot. Alas it was not so…instead, as I trod down my foot sank ankle deep into mud that sucked at my shoe, reluctant to let it go 😱😱  After a bit of a tussle, hanging onto my walking poles for dear life trying to stay upright, I won….The mud finally released my shoe with a sucky slurk. However my shoe was now completely covered in thick mucky mud.

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I won the tussle 🙂

Onwards…. I found the track once again (thank you mapmywalk), and from thereon the terrain was fairly stable and a lot less muddy albeit still churned up in places..and those hidden pools. Sigh.

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Offa’s Dyke as I thought it would be….how gorgeous is that stream

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Offa’s Dyke; now that’s more like it

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Offa’s Dyke – a long distance walk on the border between England and Wales

6.53 kms and 1.55 hours later and my shoes and walking pants were in the washing machine. 🤔🤔🤔🤔 That was a quite insane walk.

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map my walk

Well worth it though, the countryside here is astoundingly beautiful. As with most of the UK, Wales and the bordering English county of Shropshire are stunning. Much of the land here is given over to farming and raising sheep or horses. Dotted across green fields are huge trees, now bereft of their summer greenery, but nonetheless absolutely stunning. I actually prefer to see trees without their leaves; far more interesting.

And as weird and exhausting as it was, I felt it was good practice for any UK walks I have planned… It rains a lot in this country (duh!! who’d have guessed?) and there’s no way I’ll enjoy the kind of weather I had in Portugal and Spain in September 2017.

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I loved walking alongside the ocean. I stopped off in this area to rest and just enjoy the scenery

It’s given me pause for thought in terms of my shoes. I may/will have to invest in something more hardy. I was just glad I didn’t have my backpack on when my shoe got stuck in the mud… That could have caused a different outcome in my tussle for possession. and once again I had occasion to be thankful for my walking poles. Truly, I will never walk any long distances without them ever again. They have saved my ass so many times; on the Camino and certainly on the many walks I have undertaken in the UK; my Canterbury Tales & Way of St Augustine

More about Offa’s Dyke: ref wikipedia

Offa’s Dyke (Welsh: Clawdd Offa) is a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the current border between England and Wales. The structure is named after Offa, the Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia from AD 757 until 796, who is traditionally believed to have ordered its construction. Although its precise original purpose is debated, it delineated the border between Anglian Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys.

The Dyke, which was up to 65 feet (20 m) wide (including its flanking ditch) and 8 feet (2.4 m) high, traversed low ground, hills and rivers. Today the earthwork is protected as a scheduled monument. Some of its route is followed by the Offa’s Dyke Path; a 176-mile (283 km) long-distance footpath that runs between Liverpool Bay in the north and the Severn Estuary in the south.

scheduled monument is a “nationally important” archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorised change.

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So excited to be part of this fantastic challenge #walk1000miles 2017

It’s literally changed, improved and saved lives, and taken people of all ages, from toddlers to oldies, from all walks of life, in all manner of situations, out and about; in cities, towns, villages, hamlets and the countryside, to and from and in all parts of the world – whether it’s 500 or 5,000 the members have risen to the challenge and gone walking 🙂

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….one foot in front of the other…

Join us along with Country Walking for 2018 and walk 1,000 miles or maybe even 5,000 – yes, some people have walked in excess of 5,000 miles this year. Awesome 🙂

Walk 1000 miles in 2018 from Country Walking on Vimeo.

https://vimeo.com/245014566

 

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On the eve of my impending journey to my next assignment, this time in Lancashire I decided to write and update on My Camino and the journey so far. You may recall I wrote a post a short while ago about ‘doing’ the Camino my way. Well ‘doing’ it correctly is clearly advisable, so in order to gain some insights I joined two Camino groups on Facebook (I have since joined another). I have gleaned so much by way of interesting and useful hints and tips as well as safety advice that I am beginning to feel a little more ‘prepared’ than I was when I first started to lay my plans. Of course one of the most important aspects of walking the Camino is being at least relatively fit…a fact attested to by many of the walkers in the group. Feet appear to be the worst hit!

camino 2016; the journey so far

My Camino; the journey so far

One evening in May this year, my daughter and I took a walk from Broadstairs to Joss Bay; something we do quite frequently…go for long walks, that is. When we got back home, I suddenly realised that this is what I could do as part of my training.

We often walk to Ramsgate and since I walk a lot anyway this seemed an ideal way to up my distances and improve my fitness…..in order to keep track of my progress, I downloaded a fantastic little app called MapMyWalk that tells me how far I’ve walked each day, how long it’s taken me and what my pace is per km…I immediately started using it…..this is my journey so far! The app gives you a lot more info but those are the 3 items I’m most interested in.

Since starting these walks, I’ve learned quite a lot about myself.

1. I am far more durable than I though. A bit like the Energizer bunny I just…

my camino; the journey so far

…keep going

2. I’m way more resilient than I thought. 319.11 km’s walked so far

3. I can endure walking in the rain!!! LOL

my camino; the journey so far

not too much singing going on…but I did walk in the rain LOL

 

4. I can walk wayyyy further than I have since I was in my 20’s. Sandwich 28.54 kms

and

5. I’ve confirmed that I really do enjoy my own company.

my camino; the journey so far

not a soul in sight…

Just walking, not responsible for anyone except yourself, gives you a sense of freedom. I’ve always enjoyed my own company and seldom get lonely. But walking on your own for 185 miles through a foreign country is a far cry from holing up at home with a good book, or spending a week away on my own, so we shall see. I do believe however that the route/s always has people walking or residents of the hamlets and towns along the way…so if I need company, I’m sure I’ll find it.

I haven’t had any of the lightning-bolt epiphanies that people say they experience when walk long distances on their own, but I have learned that in my 60’s I am still very much happy to walk and walk and walk, and talk to myself. I call it ‘doing a Forrest Gump!! I have some very interesting conversations. I also tend to rant a lot, which wouldn’t surprise my daughter in the least! LOL

I can’t share any spiritual or emotional insights so far, but that may well still happen when I do walk the actual Camino…..in the meantime this is my physical journey. The one day that impressed me the most was the day I walked to Sandwich!

Day 1 : 19/05/2016 Broadstairs to Joss Bay – I’m not sure how far I walked this day as it was pre mapmywalk, but its been really interesting since then to see my stats.

my camino so far

Day 1. 19.05.2016 the day it all started

Although I haven’t walked on consecutive days, I have walked whenever opportunity arose

Day 2 : 22/05/16 : Broadstairs to Royal Esplanade Ramsgate and back : Walked 12.38 km  -2 hours 59 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 2. 22.05.2016 Ramsgate Royal Esplanade

By day three I was really keen to stretch myself a little bit so undertook a marathon:

Day 3 : 23/05/16 Broadstairs to Margate and back : Walked 17.94 km – 4 hours 5 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 3. 23.05.2016 Margate

As you can imagine after that walk!!!! I needed to rest for a day LOL  Then it was off to London for work and a new environment in which to stretch my legs 🙂

Day 4 : 26/05/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston and back : Walked 7.37 km – 1 hour 32 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 4. 26.05.2016 Kingston

Day 5 : 27/05/16 Thames Ditton to East Moseley and back : Walked 6.73 km – 1 hour 19 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 5. 27.05.2016 East Moseley

Day 6 : 28/05/16 Thames Ditton; circular walk : Walked 2.24 km – 25 minutes

Day 6 : 28/05/16 Thames Ditton to Canbury Gardens, Kingston Upon Thames : Walked 7.64 km – 1 hour 33 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 6. 28.05.2016 Canbury Gardens

Working so near to Hampton Court Palace was tantalising so I asked for an extended break

Day 7 : 29/05/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston then to Hampton Court Palace and back : Walked 11.59 km – 2 hours 42 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 7. 29.05.2016 Hampton Court Palace

On the 31st May my gear arrived!!! 🙂 I was so excited to be unpacking just some of the items I would need so I could start trying them out. However, with testing various items in the meanwhile, I have in fact discovered that there is much I actually wouldn’t need

my camino; the journey so far

Clearly I am a fan of Mountain Warehouse 🙂

While working, my breaks are usually two hours and I found I could easily fit in a walk to Kingston and back. Although it was very hot over that period, which I found most unpleasant, I really enjoyed the walks; such a lovely part of the river.

Day 8 : 31/05/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames, Canbury Gardens and back : Walked 8.19 km – 1 hour 43 minutes

Day 9 : 01/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames, Canbury Gardens and back : Walked 7.81 km – 1 hour 45 minutes

Day 10 : 02/06/16 Thames Ditton; circular walk : Walked 3.93 km – 48 minutes

Day 11 : 03/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames and back : Walked 8.38 km – 1 hour 44 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Scenes from my Thames Ditton to Kingston walks

Day 12 : 04/06/16 Thames Ditton circular walk : Walked 3.43 km – 46 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 12. 04.06.2016 Thames Ditton circular walk – stopping to smell the roses

I was keen to make a 2nd attempt at a walk along the Thames riverbank to Hampton Court Palace, so one day I took myself off. I love the palace so it was a treat to visit, albeit briefly.

Day 13 : 05/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames then to Hampton Court Palace and back : Walked 10.90 km – 2 hours 53 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 13. 05.06.2016 Hampton Court – it was very hot this day..I rested in some shade

Day 14 : 06/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames, Canbury Gardens and back : Walked 8.72 km – 1 hour 56 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Friends – I’m sure I will make new friends on the Camino in time

Once I got home to Broadstairs after that assignment, I got right back into walking to Ramsgate and back, which I find is a good stretch without being too exerting.

Day 15 : 08/06/16 Broadstairs to Ramsgate and back : Walked 7.43 km – 1 hour 24 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 15. 08.06.2016 Ramsgate

I was keen to see if I could manage another walk to Margate and to my surprise found it much easier the 2nd time….I even walked right around the bay….When I left home it was overcast and gloomy, by the time I reached Margate it was a most glorious day…I do love living at the seaside.

my camino; the journey so far

Day 16. 09.06.2016 the other side of Margate Bay

Day 16 : 09/06/16 Broadstairs to St Peters Village to Margate and back : Walked 23.59 km – 6 hours 23 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 16. 09.06.2016 via St Peters to Margate

Day 17 : 10/06/16 Broadstairs to Ramsgate and back : Walked 9.42 km – 2 hours 33 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 17. 10.06.2016 Ramsgate

All too soon I was off to my next assignment at Bexhill on Sea, and having worked in the area before, I knew it would offer great walking opportunities…and so it did. The East Sussex Coast is beautiful; very flat with pebble beaches, great for walking although I didn’t do much walking on the beach – it’s really hard to walk on pebbles.

my camino; the journey so far

Bexhill on Sea

Day 18 : 12/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Cooden Beach and back : Walked 5.71 km – 1 hour 36 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 18. 12.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea

Day 19 : 13/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 7.03 km – 1 hour 42 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 19. 13.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea

Day 20 : 15/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 7.70 km – 1 hour 42 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 20. Bexhill on Sea

Day 21 : 16/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 7.47 km – 1 hour 53 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 21. 16.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea

Day 22 : 17/06/16 Bexhill on Sea circular walk : Walked 4.90 km – 1 hour 14 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 22. 17.06.2016 Bexhill on Seas

After quite a few decent walks I was dead keen to try a walk to Hastings and back. If I came unstuck I could always take the train back LOL. And so the next day, having arranged some extra time for my break, I set off for Hastings. What a marvellous walk. Truly beautiful and I so enjoyed the time alone with the sea breezes gently blowing off the sea. I felt that this is what it would be like on the route from Porto to Caminha which is where I would head inland to Valenca and then crossing the Minho river into Spain near Tui.

Day 23 : 18/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings and back : Walked 17.36 km – 3 hours 30 minutes ( I really enjoyed this walk).

my camino; the journey so far

Day 23. 18.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings

Although I didn’t make it all the way into Hastings itself, I did get as far as the Pier which was superb…it stretched quite far out into the sea and offers fantastic views looking back.

my camino; the journey so far

Day 23. 18.06.2016 From Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Pier

Day 24 : 20/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 6.65 km – 1 hour 37 minutes

Day 25 : 21/06/16 Bexhill on Sea circular walk : Walked 4.58 km – 1 hour 33 minutes

Day 26 : 22/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 8.35 km – 1 hour 42 minutes

Day 27 : 23/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 8.84 km – 1 hour 52 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Days 24-27. Bexhill on Sea

Even though most days I walked much the same route, with a few slight variations, I made the most of my breaks to keep my fitness levels up. I had all sorts of weather to contend with; blazing heat with the sun baking down, windy blasts from across the channel and rain…..rain that soaked me to the skin, at which time I discovered that in fact my shoes were not waterproof hahaha. One day I got so wet my shoes squelched.

After two weeks it was back home; once again to enjoy my lovely long walks along the Kent coast.

Day 28 : 25/06/16 Broadstairs to Ramsgate and back : Walked 8.90 km – 2 hours 16 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 28. 25.06.2016 Ramsgate – I stopped frequently on this walk to take a photos

Day 29 : 27/06/16 Broadstairs to Dumpton Gap and back : Walked 4.36 km – 1 hour 6 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 29. 27.06.2016 Dumpton Gap

By this stage I had spent a considerable amount of time planning my Camino and having decided to walk along the Portuguese Coastal Route, using google maps I calculated the various distances starting from Porto through to Santiago. On the whole the routes were averaging about 14-18 kms, which after all my practice walks I knew I could easily manage, but on some days I would need to walk up to almost 30 kms, so I was keen to see if I could walk that far and thus planned a walk along the Kent coast from Broadstairs to Sandwich….. 🙂 Would I make it?

Day 30 : 28/06/16 Broadstairs to Sandwich (train back home) – you didn’t expect me to walk home?? after I’d already : Walked 28.54 km – 7 hours 2 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 30. 28.06.2016 Sandwich

The walk to Sandwich was amazing. I discovered a path that led right along the top of the cliffs and so, after passing through Ramsgate, I walked via a twisting route to Cliffsend and then onto Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve and finally to Sandwich, by which time I was exhausted and famished. But the views were just stunning and well worth the pain.

my camino; the journey so far

Day 30. 28.06.2016 views across Pegwell Bay

As part of the Camino test, I wanted to be sure that I could indeed walk two long days on the trot (no pun intended!!) ….so next day, with aching feet and legs and a back that wasn’t happy with the backpack, I set off once again to Sandwich….I nearly made it 🙂

my camino; the journey so far

Day 31. 29.06.2016 taking a lunch break in Pegwell Bay Nature Reserve

I did stop at the very edge of the nature reserve and then walked back….so…..

Day 31 : 29/06/16 Broadstairs to Pegwell Country Bay and back                                           Walked 21.84 km – 5 hours 33 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 31. 29.06.2016 Pegwell Bay Nature Reserve

Although I didn’t get as far as the town, I did have to walk back again as there were no trains nearby! hahahaha. But it was a fantastic day, well spent.

Day 32 : 30/06/16 Broadstairs to Botany Bay and back : Walked 7.90 km – 2 hours

my camino; the journey so far

Day 32. 30.06.2016 The Stacks

with a 2nd walk in the evening from Broadstairs to Dumpton Gap and back, I walked another 3.54 km – 56 minutes

And then life got in the way……I had recently been to South Africa to sort out my belongings and ship them over to the UK. All went well and I got everything packed up and shipped over…..and then came the surprise…..UK Customs and Excise….even though the shipment was of no great value, my posessions were in excess of 15 to 45 years and older, and for my own personal use….I still had to pay Customs Duty on the goods. Urgh!! and so endeth my Camino 2016, which will now have to be Camino 2017 LOL or not!!

The shock of this news kind of threw me off stride (no pun intended). The cost of the duty pretty much absorbed my travel money and I didn’t want to dip into my savings. Besides that I had just started my next assignment, and due to the nature of the position I was unable to leave the house for any length of time unless there was another person there.  So except for one day (see below) that took care of that; no more  Camino 2016 practice walks.

Day 33 : 24/07/16 : Oveny Green to Chevening and back : Walked 7.75 km – 2 hours 4 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 33. 24.07.2016 Chevening Church

I so enjoyed being able to stretch my legs again after 3 weeks and thoroughly enjoyed the excursion. I got a little unwell while I was at this assignment and for no discernible reason I still find myself quite without any energy.

Since then I have barely walked any distances at all, except if you count my 3 day visit to London 2-4th September for the Fire! Fire! London’s Burning 350th anniversary events when, as usual, I walked my feet off (but forgot to switch on the app – duh!!).

the great fire of london 1666

the City of London in wood…due to be burned on 4th September for Great Fire 350 event

It’s now mid November and I still find myself very low on energy, so my longs walks have ceased for now.

My plans for Camino 2017 are going ahead. For that walk I have decided to walk the English Way from Ferrol to Santiago. I haven’t yet decided on the precise dates, but suffice to say, I must get myself walking again.

my camino; the journey so far

…follow that shell. I saw these Pilgrim Shells in Brussels recently and loved how they lead you to different pilgrim’s churches in the city

We went to Canterbury in August where we visited the East Bridge hospital dating from 1190. It’s an intriguing place, very old with notable Gothic archways and a 13th-century mural. Once a place for pilgrims to stay; a hospitallier….the word hospital derives from this, no ill people were treated there, it was more a place to stay…like a hostel.

my camino; the journey so far

Eastbridge Hospital on the right; Religious hospital dating from 1190 with notable Gothic archways and a 13th-century mural.

Canterbury is one of the most notable pilgrim destinations and you may recall the Geoffrey Chaucer famously travelled there; his Canterbury Tales.

So not only am I planning on walking the Camino, I am also following in the footsteps of Chaucer…albeit a lot slower than he did!! LOL

This is my Canterbury Tale so far : My Canterbury Tales

The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back at the beginning of the 9th century (year 814).

I recently stumbled upon this site about getting walking fit for the Camino 

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