Saturday, 18 July 2009

Day 63 - Crediton - Rugby.jpg

Today has been one of traffic dodging but in truth that is what my last week is going to entail as I head down the A30. I've had a few roadside donations even a donation of some obscure Christian booklets.

As I arrived in Crediton I passed this rugby pitch and was wondering if they had problems fielding a full team. Needless to say I'm still slightly ahead of schedule and will push on to Copplestone after I rested here a while. Tomorrow sees the start of 5 days doing 20 miles a day.
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Day 63 - Chris Petticrew - Tiverton Castle.jpg

Day 63 (18 July) (7 days to go)
Yesterday Chris Petticrew (Sealed Knot - James Carr's Rgt of Foote) was kind enough to be my host. I was entertained with chinese food, wine and 2 sci-fi films...Paula take note.

Today Chris walked me through Tiverton via the castle as I set off for Crediton. I'm slowly coming round to the idea that I might actually do this and finish in time for Kelmarsh. Let's hope so.
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Friday, 17 July 2009

Day 62 - East Mere.jpg

I spoke with BFBS again today and recorded an off air interview. Hopefully the troops will get the message that everyone I have met so far have been fully supportive. Keep up the good work.

Given the nature of the weather I decided to just walk for as long as I could. Progress has therefore been great. I managed to reach Uplowman by 1245 leaving just 4 miles to go for the day.

I was also fortunate to be met by Chris Petticrew just before Uplowman who offered to take my snapsack and lighten my load. Rude not to accept really. Mind you it may have effected my map reading skills as I came across this sign.

That said, today's walk was complete by 1510 and all I have to do now is mend my kit. The soldiers coat is starting to shred.
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Day 62 - Jane King @ Wellington.jpg

Day 62 (17 July) (8 days to go)
Time to say goodbye to Geoff and Jane after a most enjoyable stay. I do owe a debt of gratitude to Jane who ferried me around.

It was 0900 by the time I started walking and it had taken 45 minutes to get there down the M5. By the way it was raining. As I made to leave I decided to part company with the straw hat that John Litchfield had given me. Guess what... The heavy rain gave way to light drizzle and then cleared completely. Let's see what tomorrow brings.
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Day 61 - Taunton Canal (swans).jpg

Look everyone, not a pub, not a b&b but wildlife. As I said leaving the road for the canal would be more peaceful. I came across these two swans with six signets. They would have made the navy proud. Just after this photo they manouvered into a perfect line astern.

As I came into Taunton I stopped for lunch. By the time I came to leave the heavens opened again. Rain, rain and more rain to the extent that by the time I reached Wellington I was soaked and my phone has gone on the blink. Hopefully it will right itself as it dries out. It took me 10 minutes just to call Jane and organize a lift.
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Day 61 - Burrow Mump.jpg

Day 61 (16 July)(9 days to go)
Jane dropped me off this morning at 0840 in Other. Having only been able to eat a banana for breakfast I took the opportunity for bacon and sausage sandwich at a roadside cafe... Yum yum.

After which I came across this rather unusual feature. The land surrounding is flat and the church is on a raised mound. The road that this on leads me to the Taunton Canal where I intend to have a more peaceful walk away from traffic.
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Thursday, 16 July 2009

Day 60 - North Drain.jpg

Today I am walking along the old salt marshes that have been drained, and just to show you how take a look at this picture of the North Drain. This side of the Mendips is covered in a lattice of drains and ditches just like this one.

As I was walking down towards this picture a car pulled up alongside me and a gentleman said "you're from Horsham aren't you?" Intrigued I said "Yes" and a conversation ensued. It turns out his name is Darren Worsfold and he works with PC Gary Tanner. Small world eh!
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Day 60 - James (Jim) Low.jpg

Day 60 (15 July) (10 days to go)
Yesterday afternoon I arrived at The Bath Arms Hotel in Cheddar. I met Jim, the landlord, and some of the locals. Naturally when asked what I'd like to drink I had to opt for a local cider brew...yummy.

Later in the evening I met up with Geoff and Jane King, who I am stopping with for the next two nights. I didn't need to leave the pub because the food and drink was great.

My thanks to Jim who gave me free board in recognition of the charity I am doing my walk for.

Bath Arms Hotel
Bath Street, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3AA
Tel. 01934 742425.
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Day 59 - Helen Burgess & Ciaran Bailey.jpg

Look, see I told you so. Here's me outside Goughs Cave just after I'd been in and had a good look around. Many thanks go out to the staff who gave me free entry.

I really am quite buzzing at the moment. After having company the past two days and getting to do the tourist thing today I don't really see what can go wrong. Feeling really positive.
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Day 59 - Cheddar Gorge 1.jpg

Just look at this view. I started walking along the top of the Gorge but quickly realized I was going to miss this fantastic viewing opportunity. I spent a fair bit of time talking with tourists to Cheddar that I decided to do a bit of the tourist thing myself.
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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Day 59 - Simon Frame - Setting out from Chew Stoke.jpg

Day 59 (14 July) (11 days to go)
A big thanks to Sue and Simon for putting up with me these last two days. I've really enjoyed having the company, its given me just the boost I needed at this stage.

Today I head for Cheddar Gorge and the Bath Arms Hotel. Its only 12 miles away so I should be there nice and early.
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Day 58 - Right to Left - Simon Frame, Sue Chard, Vicky Venn & Me.jpg

We managed to reach Keynsham by 1100 and just as the heavens opened, so we found shelter in a smart coffee shop and waited for the rain to abate.

By Pensford we were ready for lunch and as fate would have it, this pub was open. Being ahead of schedule we had a rather leisurely lunch including a couple of Pear Ciders...yum. As we left we managed to pose for a photo.

By 1430 we were off again. This time the destination was Chew Stoke where Simon's mum and dad would end up meeting us at The Yew Tree Inn and where a very kind landlord gave us a free round of drinks.
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Tuesday, 14 July 2009

End Date


Well, I'm now letting myself get excited at the prospect of Malcolm finishing the walk, and on time to boot. (The stinking cold he picked up last week really left me doubting whether he'd be capable of going out walking each day.)

The plan for Lands End is as follows: He's aiming to arrive at around midday on Friday 24th July. Sometime that week (possibly at Lands End) he'll be meeting up with his Cornish (Newquay) relatives. {Something to look forward to.} Thomas and I will be joining him also.
If anyone would like to meet him there, or walk the final stretch, please comment on this blog entry, or just turn up.

After a little immediate celebration Malcolm'll be heading up to Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire, for English Heritage's 'Festival of History' - AND MORE CELEBRATING! Then rest, aaahhh gentle reesssttt. Oooohhh.

Again, for those who live more 'up country' Malcolm will be round and about at Kelmarsh. {He's the REALLY shabby looking one!} If you'd like to run into him there, come and attend the event.

P.S. If anyone wants to invite Malcolm out for a walk in the near future - I think the answer might be, "NO!"

Monday, 13 July 2009

Day 58 - Setting off from Pucklechurch.jpg

Day 58 (13 July)(12 days to go)

Simon is walking with me again today as we set off from Pucklechurch and aim to pass through my original stop point of the day: Keynsham. I would like to eat into tomorrow's distance because it was going to be 21 miles and over the Mendips.

Having Rob and Simon walk with me yesterday was a great moral boost and gave me just the right start to my last 13 days. Especially as we met a gentleman (Mr Hall) who I might have stopped with had I not already arranged to stay with Simon; he commented on Rob being my dad which gave us great amusement for a while at Rob's expense.

On another side note: please keep adding your comments to the blog as I can read them, unfortunately I can't reply though. They do offer me encouragement especially as I a about to have to dig deep to cover the final stage.

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Day 57 - M4.jpg

Just to bring it into perspective for you, I crossed over the M4 today as I extended my walk past Chipping Sodbury and onto Pucklechurch. Hopefully this will allow me to extend my walk tomorrow so that on Tuesday I will have an easier day in reaching Cheddar. Currently my mileage for Tuesday stands at 21.

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Day 57 - Dave Leahy (Bret Leahy 1st Bttn Rifles).jpg

This photo just goes to show how easy it is to find people who have experienced the tragedy that surrounds conflicts. When Rob, Simon and I arrived at Wickwar we decided to pop into 'The Buthay' for lunch. Whilst there we met Dave Leahy who's son Bret lost his right leg to a roadside IED in Afghanistan when serving with the 1st Battalion Rifles. They plan to walk in a group of 30 strong up Snowdonia in aid of Help for Heroes. It was great to meet you Dave, Good luck.
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Day 57 - Rob Schofield & Simon Frame.jpg

Day 57 (12 July)
Today I am setting out from Dursley with two companions, Rob & Simon, as I progress to Chipping Sodbury.

My stay with Esmé and Colin was extremely relaxing and I feel more at ease with the idea of tackling the final 13 days. Thank you.

Before I forget the total in week 8 money pot was £262.22 raising the total so far to £10,525.03. Well done everyone, but the walk is not over yet so please keep on at work colleagues and family and let's raise that total even higher... Thank you.
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Day 56 - Esmé & Colin Jefferies.jpg

Day 56 (11 July) Rest Day
Meet Lucy's mum and dad Esmé and Colin. They are looking after me on my final rest day.

Colin drove me into Stonehouse where I visited the post office to send my completed maps back to Paula. He then took me to view his campervan which we will be using on the last 5 days of my walk. Not long now. My mood is starting to improve as I am getting to sense closure approaching. Mind you, I'm still suffering from a chest cough which is a little depressing.

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Sunday, 12 July 2009

Day 55 - The Whitminster - Claire McGoldrick.jpg

I left Gloucester this morning and I am now well on my way to Dursley. Look another pub, well at least I'm not running out of water and I'm eating enough to keep my strength up. In fact staff at The Whitminster have been very supportive. I was given a free lunch and a bottle of John McGoldrick's Dry Cider which was extremely refreshing.
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