April Roundup

Last day of the month, cracking weather, so a good excuse to get out and try and up the average for the month.

I set off from Watchet, along the coast at low tide, heading east towards Kilve. The beach here is fascinating, constantly changing but a geologists dream. A big group of what appeared to be geology students lurked at Kilve taking notes from their instructor.

I switched to the cliff path to make the going a little easier, as the holders and shingle take their toll after a while. On reaching Lilstock there is a lookout tower used by the military to watch gunnery practice just out into the channel.

Hinckley Point Nuclear power station looms large, but I divert inland towards Stogursey in the hope of a lunch stop. Fortunately I find The Greyhound is back in business and serving food, so settle down for a rest and fuel stop.

Heading off before I’m tempted to start checking for bus timetables, a short walk across the fields gets me go Nether Stowey. A tea shop beckons so I can get a coffee fix, sadly unavailable at the pub (NescafĂ© doesn’t count).



With a bit more zip in the step I head up through the combes to cross the Quantock ridge. Magical today, the sun streaming through the trees (Shivelight as it’s known, thanks to Dot for reminding me with her aptly named exhibition recently, and Robert Macfarlane for keeping the word alive in his writing).

I got to spend time up close and personal with two herds of deer, both about a dozen in number as I headed down towards Bicknoller. Not quite as flighty as normal, they only kept about 50 metres of distance from me for quite some time.

Crossing the steam railway I passed through Sampford Brett and Williton before arriving back in Watchet for a well deserved pint of Guinness (or three) with the remnants of the Creatives Club in the Esplanade.

That brought the tally for the day to 26.5 miles. A little further than is intended, but it was oh so enjoyable.

I’d set an objective of averaging 10 miles a day during April, and the total turned out to be 325, so just about on track.

Not sure about May, I think it will be an easier month so that I’m ready for June’s expeditions. Don’t want to overdo things! So perhaps no objective other than to try and be active as much as possible and see how things go.



Littlehampton to Bognor Regis

Saturday turned into a failure on the walking front, or at least not as planned. The plan had been to go to Lewes, then walk the Ouse valley and the coast path back to Brighton, returning on the train. I got as far as Worthing before the trains were cancelled as a result of a fatality further up the line. By the time a bus alternative came into view, there wouldn’t be enough time to do the walk. So I gave up at that point, sat and read my book on the seafront whilst enjoying a coffee, which rolled into a light lunch, and then did the walk back along the coast to Rustington. So not entirely a waste.

On Sunday we all went west along the coast, through Littlehampton and into Bognor, stopping on the way for a pint. The trains managed to get us back ok this time.

All in all a great weekend, heaps of sunshine, and great company.

The South Downs Way – Amberley to Lancing

A change of scene from yesterday, away from the coast and into the hills, following the chalky ridge of the South Downs. Mel, Kate and Piers were along for the ride too,and despite it being cooler and windier than yesterday, it was still very agreeable.

A pub stop in Washington helped fill our bellies, although the pint of beer each probably didn’t help the legs, and I could have fall end blissfully asleep on top of a hill shortly after. But we made it back to Lancing after 14 miles and took the train back with time to enjoy some evening sun on the terrace.

Littlehampton to Brighton Coast Walk

After dropping Mel off for the first day of her course, I set off along the coast, east towards Brighton. A warm, sunny day, only marred by a stiff breeze on the face and some light cloud to temper the sun.

The walking was good, hard paths of Tarmac of firm ground most of the way, a few stretches along the shingle beach to squirm about in, but level and easy going for the most part.

I enjoyed the mix of architecture along the way, a good mix of styles both old and new. I don’t get why you by a beach house and then put up a 6 foot fence to obscure the view though. I suppose at least you we still near the beach, even if you can’t see it.

The area around Shoreham was the only dreary bit, passing by less than inspiring industrial areas, the noise and fumes of lorries the only thing to keep me company.

I celebrated the journey with an ice cream on Palace Pier, surrounded by French exchange kids and a bewildering array of accents. Then a stroll across town, taking in The Lanes on the way to the station for the train back to Angmering and the short walk back to rejoin Mel, by which time Kate and Piers had arrived and dinner was well underway.

Another 25 under the belt, and plans for a good walk tomorrow too.

Littlehampton

Down to Sussex for a few days, so Mel can attend a sculpture course. Good excuse to some walking too.

Walked along the coast a little, then followed the river to Arundel, where it proved rude not to find a little restaurant for a meal and gratis glass of wine. Very tasty.

Now suffering a slow train ride back due to a derailment nearer Brighton. Will get there eventually!

The Length of the Quantocks

Here’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and never before felt up to. Walking the length of the Quantocks in a day.

Getting a beach, hills, sunshine, pretty clouds and a castle (hotel) into the same day might seem excessive, but that’s all on offer with this one.

Mind you I wasn’t feeling on top of the game today, but that was in part down to still suffering from a slight cold that I’ve had all week, and maybe something to do with one too many beers last night. The legs were fine but just not as chipper as I had been last week. Things improved after a coffee stop mid way and the downhill stretch into Taunton was much easier, but I felt fairly wiped out as I tried to regroup over a coffee in Cafe Nero. A little rest and recuperation tomorrow perhaps?

Off to Sussex later this week, so plenty of opportunity for a coastal walk, or perhaps the Downs too.

22 miles today, making 82 the total for the week.

52,146

That turned out to be a bit longer than planned. 25 miles, or thereabouts. Some might call it a marathon. Some nice hills, all enjoyed on a lovely sunny day. Felt the chocolate brownie and ice cream where appropriately just desserts.

Felt really good today too, full of beans and a good pace. Took it easy on the way out, and a very quick return from Minehead to finish.

March Half Million

Well that’s March over, and a record for steps taken. Just over 500,000 steps in all. Or around 225 miles. Not bad considering I get very little walking in normal day-to-day activities. That’s the downside of living in a motorhome, and working on a computer all day. One of the reasons to make going for a hike a priority this year.

In the scheme of things, I’m sure others manage much better than this. March has seen a concerted effort to get out on nearly a day basis, and with hopefully more settled weather ahead and long daylight hours, I’ll find plenty of time to rack up the miles.

October and November were not bad months, lots of walking done whilst in Scotland. December was a bit of a write off as I got sedentary as soon as we got back to Somerset. Lesson learnt there.

I’m starting a principle of doing at least one, and preferably two, overnight trips per month from now on. I also want to try extending the distances, and I’m even considering a 24 hour day & night walk as a real challenge.

Somerset Shines

Just to proved that Somerset can be as idyllic as some other places recently visited, here’s a couple of snaps from the last week.

Mind you, it’s blowing a houlli at the moment.

This month turns out to be a record breaker for steps taken. I’ll share the details tomorrow once the month is over. It’s gonna make April tough.