Too hot to walk too far

It’s been a bit warm just recently.

I love to promote being a pedestrian but this afternoon, after about 2.5 miles, we took to just laying on the river bank.  Here we watched boats of all shapes and sizes and passengers enjoying the summer sunshine on the Norfolk Broads.

Time to be a bit more leisurely.

Its nice to get a wave!

Weekend Challenge – Pedestrian

 

Growing vegetables in the garden

26th March to present day

We love our garden.  Being almost entirely herbaceous, with a mix of ever green shrubs and an old Apple tree, the plants and shrubs don’t need an awful lot of attention during the summer months. This has meant our holidays (away from home) could be taken whenever we wanted.

Covid-19 – From 23rd March 2020 we went into lockdown

As we could not go about our normal lives I wondered whether it would be the ideal time to dig up some of the garden and grow vegetables. A patch of ground which used to be an old pond had been covered in but had been left for a year or two.  It’s almost like it was meant to be!  On 26th March I grabbed a spade and made a start.

Preparing the ground

It was at this time that we had just eaten a butternut squash and, having saved the seeds, we planted them into a tray.  

We found some old packets of cornflower seeds in a drawer and Tim scattered them in the middle of our new plot.  Trying to buy other seeds online was impossible – it seemed the whole country had the same idea as us and everyone was out of stock.  Fingers crossed we hoped the cornflowers would give us a show.

Then the butternut squash seeds emerged – infact all of them did!  It was  amazing.



Mid-May and thankfully Garden Centres opened in England just when we needed plants to join our butternut squash for our new project.  We tentatively entered a local centre (with gloves and masks) and bought 3 tomato plants, 3 yellow courgette plants, 10 lettuce seedlings, 1 small Pepper plant, 10 runner bean plants, 10 dwarf beans plants and 20 beetroot seedlings. 

Tim sectioned out the plot and we had a planting plan.

Deciding where to put everything

Friends recommended companion plants and these were bought and planted out too.

The tomatoes went into large terracotta pots.

Just after potting up the tomatoes

We watered and watered and watched and they grew. 

A couple of months growth

And grew.  

The photo below was taken two weeks ago.

Picking courgettes first then lettuce then beetroots then beans.  They have all felt like finding treasure to me.  They tasted good too.  We have more to come.

What a pleasure it has been.  We have learnt new skills and loved eating our own produce.  It has shown us that during these strange times it’s possible to drift away to a more comfortable place amongst plants.

My tip would be to try growing something you can eat.  It’s so much fun.

Wednesday Challenge – Tips and Tricks

Dolphins delighted us in Dorset

We stood and watched and waited.

We were walking around Portland in Dorset and had reached its southern tip – Portland Bill.  It was as we approached the lighthouse and car park that we overheard someone say that he had just spotted a pod of dolphins and within a minute a small crowd had formed.  

Here we were on rocky headland all looking out to sea. Then suddenly we spotted them – the dolphins were playing with the fishing boat it seemed.  It was their leaping out of the sea every now & then helped us spot them.  Goodness knows how far away they were but for about ten minutes we stood still and we appreciated the sight. 

From close to the Lighthouse at Portland Bill, Dorset – 25th March 2018

This might have been the best photo I got – though it’s a little fuzzy with the amount of zoom I had to do.  The Dolphins had drifted away from the fishing boat or maybe the fishing boat had drifted away from them but I was pleased to capture this moment in time.

 

This weekend challenge is United Nations Blue.  I am not sure but with the amount of blue in my photo I hope I have managed it! 

Weekend Challege – United Nations Blue

St Michaels Way : Pilgrimage in Cornwall

May 2019 – just over a year ago…

After completing the South West Coast Path in 2018 we decided to return to Cornwall for a ‘holiday’ and revisit a few places we didn’t have time to really enjoy when we were on our 630 mile coast path challenge.

We began to prepare a to do list and, while we were doing this, I remembered a footpath sign we had seen a couple of years earlier near St Ives. At the time we wondered what it meant, recognising the scallop shell used as the route marker for the Camino de Santiago, but didn’t know what the link was between Cornwall and the popular pilgrim route in Spain.

It’s a sign

 

As it turns out St Michaels Way is an old trading route and pilgrim path used first by merchants and then pilgrims, often from Wales or Ireland, on their way to Spain.  They would have landed their boats on the north coast of Cornwall and trekked overland to avoid the treacherous seas around Lands End.  Pilgrims would have headed to St Micahels Mount before sailing away to Spain.  Their destination was the tomb of St James at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compestela.

This route is the English route, the Camino Ingles, and is the UKs only European Cultural Route.

We decided to split the 13.5 mile route into three circular sections to enjoy the surroundings and area of central Cornwall.  Having walked all the way around the edge of this amazing county we felt we really should see a bit of the middle!  I will describe the three days we spent walking as if we were walking it in one day.

 

Officially the route starts at St Uny Church, Leylant and then follows he coastline.  It is here, inside the church, that we found guide books and passports which had spaces for inked stamps to be made at six locations along the way.

Stamping my passport at St Uny Church

Tim also stamping passport at St Uny Church

The guide, at £4 would prove to be really helpful as it described the route and included lots of interesting historical facts.

St Uny Church

Stain glass window inside St Uny

Clutching our new documents we had a quick look around the church and set off out of the church grounds.  Whether you are religious or not it’s worth having a look around and inside churches – the stain glass windows are often incredible.

After taking a quick look at the estuary we joined the south west coast path with the railway on one side and the sea on the other.  We made our way to Carbis Bay – having occasional glimpses of St Ives in the distance.

At this point we turned inland, uphill and away from the south west coast path.  Crossing a main road, onto a minor road then footpaths to Knills Monument which is within Steeple woods nature reserve.  The monument is a huge pyramid, we stopped here to admire the view.

 

Knills Monument

View back to our starting point

Following the way markers to another minor road and back onto paths and crossing fields there are several stiles to cross that are very typically made of large granite stones, usually with a gap or two between them to stop livestock from getting through.

The lush hedgerows were full of spring flowers.

We came to a very hidden tree lined track, then the end of a gravel driveway with two or three houses and found the second inked stamp in a box just outside a cottage near Bowl Rock.

Checking the guide for further instructions

Bowl Rock itself was less than a minute away.  It is a huge granite rock which was a Giants bowling ball – according to legend!

From Bowl Rock we made our way up to Tremcrom Hill, bravely walking through a herd of mixed cattle.  Why are they always standing right next to the entrance or exit of fields!?

At Tremcrom Hill we met a friendly Dutch couple walking in the opposite direction. They had walked from Newlyn (near Penzance), which was quite a walk in itself, and wanted to end up at St Ives and return by bus.  ‘Did we know about buses from there?’  We were sorry but we didn’t.  ‘Oh well not to worry’.  They seemed very relaxed about their journey, we said our goodbyes, and off they went.  We worried about a possible lack of bus and the time it would take them to get to St Ives. Oh well, not to worry!

Our route continued to Ninnes Bridge, then crossed several large fields, passing a large farm and downhill to the Red River. We crossed at a beautiful spot where there was a ford and a small bridge.  It was quite serene.

Following a very quiet small lane then more fields we had our first sighting of St Michaels Mount.  We continued to Ludgvan Church where we put the third stamp into our passport.

Ludgvan Church

Adding another stamp at Ludgvan Church

At Ludgvan Church there are two routes shown on the map to St Michaels Mount. We followed the route to the village of Gulval and returned to the village via the Marsh Route – as a circular walk.

At Gulval village we stopped and admired the 12th century church but the ink stamp for our passport was just up the road inside the village pub (Coldstream Inn) which was closed!  Not wanting to wait until 11:00am we carried on.  Apparently in old pilgrim times this would have been a great meeting place before the last leg to St Michaels Mount.  The village I mean not the pub – but hey who knows, perhaps there was a local watering hole back then.

These days the final leg to St Michaels Mount means crossing a busy main road and the mainline railway line which runs to and from Penzance. This can spoil the whole pilgrimage feel but we didn’t worry too much.  Joining the south west coast path on the promenade we turned left and headed to Marazion and the busy crossing points to St Michaels Mount.

It was high tide and we couldn’t cross via the causeway we needed a boat to get across.  But before that we went into the church at Marazion to stamp our passport.

If you’ve never been to St Michaels Mount you need to go.  This was our second visit.  Travelling by boat one way and walking back across the causeway is best I feel.

Boats at St Michaels Mount harbour

Boats race back & forth to the Mount and we laughed and smiled as we bounced our way over slightly choppy waters into the calm harbour.  Once over we headed straight to a small building called the Change House to get our passport stamped.

Passport just stamped at St Michaels Mount

Outside the Change House on St Michaels Mount – just where the causeway comes across.

Ancient pilgrims certainly wouldn’t have been thinking about having an ice cream at this point of their journey but that was our plan once back on the mainland.  We returned to Marazion.

Off to get ice cream at Marazion

After that we took the ‘alternative’ Marsh path back to Ludgvan which is where it split.  Pilgrims may have avoided this route because it crosses marsh – today we can enjoy boardwalks through a tiny nature reserve.

Almost there. Crossing the boardwalk over the marsh

After this we crossed the Penzance railway line again and skirted around a few fields.  Crossing level crossings or similar crossings always brings out the joker in both of us.  Do not try this at home!  We are not always good role models….

oh no my foot is struck!

Before long we were at Ludgvan.  By car we travelled to Gulval, to the Coldstream Arms (now open) and placed our final stamps into our passports. Now they were complete.

Completed St Michaels Way

This was our first pilgrimage.  It was great fun, the sunshine made it perfect and we felt blessed!

 

I include a link below to a weekend challenge set by GC and Sue – I hope this post meets the challenge of coming or going though perhaps, for me, it’s more ‘keep going’.

Weekend Challenge – Coming or Going

 

 

A local walk from the doorstep

It’s great to see so many ‘new’ local faces but they do get in the way!  Trying to keep that social distancing close to home is so tricky at times, especially when others aren’t quite so respectful.  

For anyone that knows me and Tim or who has read my blog will know that we take getting out and exploring fairly seriously  – it’s our hobby and our life.  How far could we get with a drink and snack in our pack from the doorstep? We picked a nice day to try.

I will try and keep my comments brief and let the photos do the talking.

Heading west out of the village

Saturday 9th May 2020

I love this time of the year.  The leaves have just about appeared on the trees and the hedgerows and verges are full of new growth.  Mind you I seem to be affected by pollen this year (for the first time ever) no streaming eyes, just a dry cough.  A small price to pay for being outside.

Following the lane shown in the photo above a view of Ormesby Broad (or the waterway leading to the broad) can be see from the side of a cottage.  Note the treehouse being built on the left.

What a view

At the farm we turned onto meadows. Oh and just incase you missed the sign – keep dog on lead!

As we approached our neighbouring village we met some cattle.

Tim filming cows with calves and bull

I swiftly headed for the gate when I spotted the bull while Tim took his time!  The kissing gate is small and awkward and I wasn’t going to hang about – its survival of the fittest in some circumstances!  One of theses signs, on the other side of the bigger (locked) gate, mentions the ‘big bull’ but there wasn’t anything at the other end of this footpath.  Hmmm

The view from the otherside of the gate….

Onward we bypassed Hemsby village via a field.  After crossing the main road we continued north but taking smaller roads now as there are no footpaths at this point.

Thanks for (not) visiting Hemsby

We had a crazy idea to carry a bit of weight in our packs to feel like we usually do when we are away in the hills and mountains.  Here we are passing the sign of East Somerton and approaching the high point of the day – Blood Hills (about 70 feet above sea level).  So called because it was supposed to have been the place where Vikings and Saxons fought and the land turned blood red.

More recently it’s been used to place wind turbines.

The only car to pass us on the road over Blood Hills.

Over the top we followed farm tracks around Burnley Hall and out to the Staithe at West Somerton.  

The road here leads out to Horsey Mill but we followed a footpath just inland alongside the waterway at first then skirting the marsh.  The sound of birds in the reeds was constant.

Almost at the mill – this is a view I couldn’t resist taking a photo of.

Horsey Mill looking majestic

We did pause here for a drink and quick bite to eat.  We are not allowed to stop for long at this time – but we can have a little something just to keep us going.

At this point we turned east towards the dunes and sea.  It’s about a mile from here to the sea and inbetween there are meadows with lots of small waterways breaking up the land.  It’s really fragile as its so close to the sea and only really protected by sandy dunes.

Here is the coast path.  We headed straight through the gap in the sea wall to the sea.

Crossing the coast path

Thinking about my mum & dad and family – wish you were here

On the beach we had the biggest surprise.  Hundreds and hundreds of seals – all basking on the shore.  We’ve seen this before but there were many more this time – many more.  Tim did his best wildlife filming – I just stared in awe.

Oh and I took a few photos.

Seals heading for the water

So far, during the whole walk, we had only passed two people.

As we marched on the low tide sand we passed another couple.  Wow – it’s so quiet.

Marching along – heading south

We approached and passed the beach at Winterton.  The cafe is still hanging in there….only just.

The beach at Winterton

Further along we come to Hemsby beach.  We headed through a gap in the dunes to take the firmer walking in the area called ‘The Valley’.  

Through the gap into The Valley

Here we tipped the sand from our shoes.  This walking route is a sheltered alternative  to the sea/beach side and it felt very warm.

Hemsby is a village and holiday resort near the beach. Today the chalets and caravans are standing empty and amusements and cafes quiet.  Will it survive this I wondered.

Further along we reached Scratby.  Here we took our last look at the sea before turning inland to home.

 It’s a mile from the sea to our home.  We are so lucky – we can get to it on foot.  By pushing ourselves a bit we could get to our neighbouring villages too.

Weekend Challenge – Walkabout

 

New boots going nowhere for now…

In 2015 I wrote my 5th blog post about my walking boots.

These boots are made for…

I have loved these boots. Really lightweight, tough and with all the right qualities I needed.

To be honest I wasn’t sure about the colour at first – raspberry, pinky red?  Previous boots were traditional brown or grey blue.   But, they were comfy from the start and that’s what matters right?

Well time has passed and, as with all things (me included), these boots are showing their age. A bit worn, faded, creased and occasionally loosing their grip!

Old boots

Going every step of the way along my walking travels over all sorts of terrain and covering at least 3,000 miles – they have been wonderful.  The 3,000 miles is my rough guess – I have just questioned this with Tim and he thinks it’s more but hey, it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things….it’s a lot of miles.

This is what it’s all about (see photo below).  In this photo I have microspikes over my boots – pulled over the boot small metal spikes are connected to small chains for grip in snow or ice.

Well, about two years ago I thought I had better have a standby pair at the ready as I had a tiny leak in one boot after walking though snow while on holiday in The Lake District.   However, I was shocked to find that this particular style had been discontinued.  I continued to search online for months with the hope that somewhere a pair would pop up as old stock.  

Then, just when I was going to give up and try for something new, the makers reinstated the same style and I was able to get my upgrades.  Fantastic.

New and as yet (May 2020) unused

So here they are.  Don’t they look lovely?

And, as yet, I haven’t used them.  I’ve had them for six months as I have been saving them for this years adventures.  In fact, we should be walking in Scotland now, as I type.  But, of course, that is now on hold as is everything else in our lives.  

Waiting.  Just waiting and hoping and dreaming about walking a little bit further than our village and surrounding countryside in the Norfolk Broads.  Just hanging in there and waiting.  All good things come to those who wait so they say…..

I am linking this post into a Weekend Challenge where the word (colour) Razzmatazz has been given.  

Weekend Challenge – Razzmatazz

It could be that this colour matches my boots?  If not I think it definitely matches a rain jacket worn in the photo below – taken in Boscastle, Cornwall.  Eating the best strawberry ice cream ever!  

Boscastle, Cornwall

 

 

Cycling during challenging times

Cycling.  Once upon a time Tim and I used to do a lot of cycling – covering many miles for fun and the odd cycle event.  We thought now would be a good time to get back on the road and get our cycling legs back.  Certainly, with our quieter roads, cyclists are a lot less vulnerable.

Saturday 10th April 2020

Its been at least two or maybe three years since we have been out on our bikes.  Our walking/hiking adventures kind of took over.  Having had some time to reflect on happy carefree times we thought we should dust the bikes down and pump up the tyres.

A test ride out – close to home during the late afternoon

We had two mid-week test rides, just to get back into the swing of things, then off we went to go a bit further on Saturday.

Springtime in the sunshine. This field is full of oil seed rape.

Leaving the village we passed several families all on their bikes – some with small children.  They can experience cycling on the road for the first time in relative safety.  Go for it I say.  It may never be this peaceful again.

Close to the coast we can follow a ‘coast road’ all the way around our lovely county of Norfolk – where it meets the sea.  Usually at Easter everyone starts to get out and about and cycling can be hazardous.  Not so today.  It was so quiet.  All the small car parks which have access to the sea are closed.  All the waterways and scenic spots deserted.  We reached Horsey Mill and sat for a moment.  

Pausing at Horsey Mill (National Trust)

Onwards we cycled along the middle of the road (just because we could) to the seaside village of Sea Palling.  Normally a magnet for those wanting a bit of beach time…all year round.  Generally it’s heaving on sunny days.  We cycled through and spotted ‘Go Home’ signs on car windscreens.  The message was working – the place was deserted.

Inland we passed a field of highland cattle and other mixed breeds.  We couldn’t help but stop here to admire these animals – unfortunately for them they had no real shelter from the warm sun and looked a bit hot in their fur coats.

Cycling through the other villages on the way home we passed people sitting in their front gardens.  We waved, they waved back.  Happy to see other people.

The main road that we followed near the end of our journey is one we haven’t cycled on for years.  It’s just so busy and can be dangerous.  Less so at the moment.

So we managed to get a good bit of exercise.  

Everyday we thank our good fortune – for where we live and our good health.  We hope to do some more cycling over the next days, weeks, months…. 

Stay safe..

 

Wednesday Challenge – Vulnerability

 

 

 

 

Xanadu : Weekly Prompt Weekend Challenge

As close as I could get, not close enough for real.  Our favourite place, The Lake District.  

Oh my goodness it must be utterly peaceful now.  How we miss the chance to visit.  Here’s hoping for an opportunity by Autumn, when, hopefully this is all over.

I hope the colour on the wall meets the challenge to match the colour of Xanadu. 

 

Stone wall with sign pointing to Ambleside

Weekend Challenge – Xanadu

Our health is everything

Thursday 26th March 2020

A simple clapping of hands has brought me to tears.

Tonight at 8pm everyone in our street stood at their doorways and windows and clapped. A car horn somewhere beeped constantly. There were cheers. When we paused slightly, in the gloomy dark evening, you could hear distant clapping continuing. Our whole village seemed to be doing the same thing. All for the NHS workers and carers of this country.

This is my first blog post without photos. It doesn’t need any.

I feel happy and sad at the same time.

Wednesday Challenge – Daily Diary

Fireworks celebrate end of South West Coast Path

Dartmouth celebrates the end of a three day annual regatta every summer with a spectacular fireworks display.  The events take place on the River Dart (including the fireworks display) – all of which attracts thousands of visitors.

Fireworks on the river Dart

We just happened to be on holiday and staying just outside the town of Dartmouth in Devon early in September 2018, our final trip down to the West Country, which saw the end of our South West Coast Path challenge.

The fireworks on that warm evening of 1st September was a happy coincidence and one we will never forget.  Sea shanties and great food being sold from market stalls made the whole experience and visit something I can recommend.

More fireworks on the river Dart

Just in case anyone wonders whether the 630 mile trail finishes at Dartmouth – it doesn’t.  It’s just the way things worked for us as we did our walking in section hikes on different trips.  I really must make a start on documenting the whole thing – from start to finish!  The actual start is Minehead in Somerset, the finish is Poole in Dorset.

Oh and just in case anyone wants to see what the above night scene looks like in the day here are a couple of photos.

View of Kingswear from Dartmouth

Another view of Kingswear from Dartmouth

 

Weekend Challenge Celebration