Thursday, 10 June 2010

Made it!!!

Well..... I know I said I would but who would have believed it, eh?

I've only gone and walked the whole length of the longest long distance footpath in Britain.

Interesting last day, walked along Swanage seafront and up the hill to Ballard Down and then along the cliff top to Old Harry Rocks. They are dazzlingly white rock stacks, not surprising since they are made of chalk, but very bright in the sunshine, looking as good as a picture postcard.

Met lots of people to talk to, many of whom popped a few coins, and in one case a note, into my collecting box. Then down to Studland and along the beach to the finish. The last mile is a naturist beach and I kept wanting to giggle as so many of the men on the beach, noticing dressed people walking along the shore, suddenly felt the need to stand up and stretch, turning from left to right although searching for something in the distance.

Got to South Haven Point to be met by Charlie and Colin with hooters, streamers and a huge bunch of balloons - great fun. There were lots of people about who all applauded when told what I had just done. I could used to that feeling, but I'm not walking 630 miles again for it, I'd rather go without at the moment.

Just getting back to the car to find a couple by a car very concerned about a little dog inside, obviously distressed in the heat. I said I had seen two people leaving the car earlier and that had been about 45 minutes ago. The dog was looking quite poorly so I called the RSPCA who asked that I stay with the car and dog until they arrived. Then they phoned to say that the police would get there sooner but I must stay, so I did, but it was two hours after leaving the dog that the owners returned and instead of opening the car to check on her they stood and argued with the policeman that their dog always looked that way, with a swollen dry tongue hanging from the side of her mouth, panting heavily. Eventually one of the other bystanders just lost her rag and said, 'just open the b***** car and when told it was her mothers dog and fine, the same person said ' put your mother in there then and leave her for two hours!' Needless to say we all decided that our job was now done and some people just can't be told, so we all drifted away. At least the little dog was ok in the end.

Time to get on, got to get packed up and ready to move on.

It feels great to have got to the end of this marathon and I really am very grateful to all of you for your continued belief that I could actually do it, so THANK YOU!

See you all real soon,

Love Susan xxx

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Nearly there!!!

hello everyone,

Day 98 and today i'm walking from St Aldhelm's head to Swanage, that means even allowing for the little bit i have to do afterwards that i'm well over the 600 mile mark :).

It feels amazing but i cant quite believe that i have walked as far as i have, Milo has been a great companion and its always him that starts conversations with people we meet.

My brother Colin is doing the last three days with me, but yesterdays 169 stone steps down from Hounstout nearly finished him off! He hasn't turned up yet from his B&B, so don't know how much of today's he is going to be able to do!

Yesterday i actually walked through my painting! I have a painting by a local artist, Paddy, and i walked into the edge of my painting, up to the chapel at St Aldhelm's head and today i start by walking out of the other side of the painting.

It rained last night, in fact it rained cats and dogs and i know they were cats and dogs because i could hear huge paws landing on the tent.....all night! Its still trying to rain this morning so there will be a constant rustle of waterproofs along the path, drowning out all sounds one usually hears like larks ascending etc.

Time to pull on the over trousers, tuck the map in the pocket and set off.
So talk to you soon
take care

Susan x

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Broken the 600 mile barrier!

Yup, it's actually 602 as of this afternoon when I arrived at Lulworth Cove!

We moved to our final campsite today - Tom's Field in Langton Matravers, just outside Swanage. It was quite a late start for the walk but what a wonderful walk. A switchback of towering white cliffs, culminating in a long walk down into Lulworth Cove. Durdle Door was as spectacular as it os in the pictures and made more exciting by a real life 'seaside rescue' happening whilst I was walking past.

Charlie and I went into Swanage afterwards for some dinner as I didn't finish the walk til about 6.30pm. Unfortunately Charlotte's long awaited hot BLT on the sea front was no longer available as it's now a very trendy eating place but we treated ourselves to a good dinner anyway. Now we're going to have a game of cards before bed and then tomorrow I get to walk through the Lulworth Firing Range so keep your fingers crossed that no-one mistakes me for an enemy tank that needs blasting of the planet.

Ok, home soon,
Take care all,
Love Susan x

PS Power and signal here - what a bonus!!!

pps Charlies nose is sore......Treacle trampled over her face to get to some food!!!!!!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Nearly there!!!

Forgive me friends for I have sinned - it's been many days since my last blog.

I'm afraid it really couldn't be helped - we've had no power and no signal for days but we moved to a new campsite today where we have power but very little signal, so...I'm writing this on 'word' and then when I have some signal I shall post it on my blog.

Where to start? Well, some days ago we were looking for a campsite near Teignmouth and tried Coastal View Park. They had steep slopes and were impossible for Charlie so we set off, or at least we tried to. Gertie, our wonderful characterful vehicle no longer has reverse gear when her engine is hot. Charlie had parked facing downhill into the parking space and Gertie was full tyo the brim with all our stuff. Three very helpful young men came to our rescue with their tractor/mower and pulled while some of us pushed and eventually we were able to head off. Thank you Tom, Steve and Andy!!! We eventually found a campsite at Dawlish Warren, Peppermint Park. Massive place, all of us crammed in cheek by jowl but at least it was somewhere to pitch our little tent with (almost) level access for Charlie.Did the days walk and were just heading back to the campsite when the phone rang and it was Katie(KT) my cousin who lives nearby and who we'd emailed to see if we could meet up. We spent several hours in the garden drinking tea and catching up with several years worth of news - wonderful!

After Dawlish Warren we moved to a campsite that was prebooked - Kings Down Tail, and it was great. Very level, nice facilities,friendly people who gave us the pitch free and it was close to the Donkey Sanctuary so of course we went there for a visit with the donks.

We stayed at Kings Down Tail campsite for four nights and of course throughout this time I was walking along the south Devon coast - huge towering red cliffs, quite breathtaking, aesthetically and literally. Whilst in Sidmouth we had to take Milo to see a vet, Mr Ikin, because he had a very sore eye. Turned out to be a tiny seed stuck in the cornea. All ok now tho and the ointment worked a treat.

The next move was to be exciting as we were moving into our final county, Dorset. Would have been exciting except that we spent most of the day trawling from one site tlo another, looking at their im possibly steep slopes. The site we were booked into was not at all possible for Charlie but eventually we found a place that was ok and had space on a Bank Holiday weekend. One we tried wanted to charge us £271 for four nights - we said 'no thanks'.

So, now we're in Dorset at Bagwell Farm Campsite, just outside Weymouth. walked through the incredible Undercliff between Axmouth and Lyme regis, through Lyme regis and Charmouth and hunted for fossils, climbed up and over Golden Cap, the highest cliff on the south coast and now we're heading along the Chasil Beach to Portland. Today was day 89, so only TEN more to go!!!!! The total mileage walked so far is 562 miles and I feel really good psychologically if a little bent and buckled physically. Had to buy another kn ee brace today as the left one is complaining about the extra load cos I'm being nice to the right one!

Well, we're going to celebrate having electric hookup by watching a dvd on the laptop. Mac finds the people running about rather un-nerving especially the little ones on bikes and scooters so with the curtains closed on Gertie and a film playing he doesn't notice so much. He's really not a happy bunny now, really scared of all sorts of things and gets himself into quite a tizzy sometimes.

Thank you everyone who went to the bingo supper on wednesday - wish we could have been there, except that then we wouldn't have been here so then you wouldn't all have been there!

Take care all,

See you all really soon,

Love Susan x

PS That was all written on Sunday and now it's wednesday. Had to buy another dongle for the internet and I'm sitting outside Morrisons where I've found a bit of a signal.
Day 92 today, finishing at South Haven Point a week from today!!!!! It's all very exciting and feels great.
Met a man called Timothy yesterday with his sister. He is walking the whole path too only quicker than me and every time he speaks to his wife Jane on the phone she asks if he's caught me up yet. Well yesterday he did - on the causeway across to Portland. He bought me a cuppa and we all had a good natter.
Today we went to check out the next campsite and called in at Durlston Park to walk the dogs and cool down Gertie. They had a Tramper (off-road buggy for wheelchair users) for people to borrow and so Charlie was able to 'walk' part of the coast path with me and with all three dogs. Think I know what'll be at the top of her Christmas list this year.
Still a bit stunned that I've walked so many miles, can't quite believe that I've really done so much. We will be going to North devon to walk from Lynmouth to Combe Martin on the way home because I really don't think I'll be up to walking for some time after I stop and I have to know I've done it all.
That means we'll be home on Monday 14th and I'm really looking forward to getting home too.
My brother Colin is coming down on Sunday so he'll finish the walk to South Haven Point with me which will be great. At least it wont be just Charlie and I celebrating getting to the end on our own which might have felt a bit anticlimactic.

Gotta go now, time to cook supper.
Love Susan x

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Big steps!!!

Hello tout le monde,

How do you like the french? Didn't know I was that clever did you? Ha!

Anyway, sitting here outside McDonalds because its the only place with a signal and only got twenty minutes left of power time on the laptop so better get on.

Got to Brixham today - very hard walk, lots of steep uphills to contend with and some of the silliest steps yet! There were several steps that came halfway up my thigh and so very nearly defeated me. Think I'm exagerating? Ok, get up and go stand in front of your coffee table, add a couple of books to make it higher. Ready? Now, imagine you have to put one foot up onto those books, there's no other way to go, you're standing on a slope and it's wet, muddy and slippery.There's also a rather alarming drop to one side of you with sticky-out rocks and wet stuff at the bottom. How's it going so far? Oh yes, forgot to mention, there's nothing to hold onto for leverage either, so yes, I moan about big steps but with good reason I think.

Charlie's cooking dinner tonight - salmon, new potatoes and salad. That'll give the people at the new campsite something to wonder at. They keep stopping and staring at us and give us some odd looks which are not entirely pleasant. The last site was friendly, personable and had a nice type of people camped there. This one seems to have a different sort altogether who can only think the worst of anything they find a little different from the norm. Maybe it'll improve, who knows, but we move on after anotther two nights anyway.

Well, gotta go again. For the factoid geeks, it's day 78 and I've walked 487.5 miles. Only 21 days to go, three weeks, whooppee - I'm dreaming of that kettle with a switch and sinking into my comfy bed mmmmm............

Bye all, look after yourselves,

Love, Susan xxx

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Dogs, docs and a darned sore throat!

Hi all,

It's sunday morning and I'm just waiting for Charlie to finish getting ready and then we'll be off for today's walk.
Yesterday was glorious sunshine as I walked from Salcombe to Lannacombe Bay. It's a spectacular part of the coast here and the boats and the houses and the people are noticeably different too - bigger in the case of the boats and houses, posher in the case of the people! That being said, they are more generous, giving more time to listen to what I have to say and putting notes rather than coins in my collecting box. Met a nice doc yesterday with his wife and mother or mother-in-law. It's sad that he wasn't surprised by what had happened to Charlie, he was disgusted but not surprised. Anyway, told him it was great to meet a good doc and that made two with my brother Chris!
Today I walk around Start Point and on to Torcross. I always imagined Torcross to be a sizeable place but it's not at all. Tomorrow I'll walk along the road between the sea and Slapton Ley which will be flat but interesting - the Ley is an important wildlife reserve.

For those of you wanting facts and figures, today is day 75, and I have now walked 453 miles! Can't believe it's so close to the end already.

Feeling better today - got a nasty sore throat and my glands are big and painful but definitely feeling better than yesterday so the huge doses of orange juice and fresh air are working.

Well, Charlie should be ready by now. I'm sitting on the steps to the loo block at this campsite - its the only place I could get a signal to connect to the internet! It's a great site called Old Cotmore Farm. Couldn't be more different from the last which we were pleased to leave.

Got to bathe Milo's eye before we go too cos it's been very mucky the last few days. We'll have to find a vet if it doesn't clear up soon. Otherwise the dogs are all fine. Treacle is just Treacle, sleeping and wagging her tail in equal measures, Mac has good days and bad days; sometimes he gets scared by a noise he doesn't understand and he'll shake uncontrollably for hours, or 'see' something that terrifies him but at other times he's just like the old Mac.

Time to go walkies.
Take care all,
Love Susan x

Ps Well done Vicky on your Sunshine Cafe - can't wait to visit for a coffee and a bacon sarnie!

Monday, 10 May 2010

bodies, birthday and bumps!!!

I just wrote this blog and when I posted it, it disappeared!!!
So, bodies first. We were joined by various bodies this week - first was my big bruvver, Colin, who walked some of the way with me but had a bad knee and pleurisy so had very good excuses for not doing much. Then Mo ( from Rhydwyn) and her sister Janet joined me with puppy Sam. They walked with me from Rame Head then turned back at Kingsand to return to their car. It was great to have some company again and to catch up with everybody.
Then the birthday = Charlie turned 25 on saturday. After I arrived at cremyll we went to my uncles in Yelverton for dinner. It was lovely to see David and Jilly again after so long, diiner was delicious, Charlie's chocolate birthday cake scrummy, and what a treat to sit on comfy chairs and eat at a table with real china and glass!
Sunday was not such a good day. Moving day again, so we packed up early, drove to Cremyll where I caught the ferry and then walked thru Plymouth. Wonderful city full of history, the expected and some unexpected - Did you know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a doctor in Plymouth before moving to Southsea and writing Sherlock Holmes books? There are bronze plaques with famous quotes from his books set into the pavement all along the road where he practised medicine.
We had decided to do the walk first because the campsite was booked and to go there first would involve a lot of driving. Arrived at Mount Batten Point and set off to find campsite. Hmmm....written in the folder as Vern Farm, turned out to be Venn Farm and a campsite perched on a very steepslope and totally unsuited to a person on wheels. Couldn't find another nearby so decided to go to the next booked site and ask if we could do two extra nights. Long drive later we found the next site - a rough, rutted field with a portacabin affair in the corner, even less suitable for wheelchairs. we sspent a long time phoning and driving and eventually found a site a long way inland. Unfortunately its £20 a night which has eaten in to the budget dramatically but at least we had the tent pitched just before dark,
Oh yes, the bump bit in the title. Slipped on some loose stuff, leg folded up under me and twisted - result, sprained medial ligaments in the right knee. Doc at the hospital advised rest for a few days but then the campsites would all be in the wrong places, we'd finish even later and we already have two extra days at the end and also I think if I stopped everwhere els would seize up and then I'd never getstarted again. So, I've got a strong knee brace that doesn't fit under my trousers so I'll wear it on the outside and look all dramatic and brave.
By the way, it was day 69 today, so only thirty to go - whoopee!!!
Take care all of you and see you all soon,
Love, Susan x