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

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Day 63, 385.7 miles done!

Good evening all,

As you can see from the title, we now have a lot of miles under our belts (so to speak).
Walked to Polperro today - I was struggling a bit and then I looked at the South West Coastpath Assoc Guide and discovered that whilst todays stretch of coastline is magnificent, it is also the most challenging on the south coast. That would explain all the puffing and blowing then! I decided to count steps again when I saw a tall flight ahead of me; 119 up, then 20 or so down, then 172 up and then 154 down - you try it and see if you get a bit puffed. The 119 was actuallt the middle third of the slope, so just when you think your achilles tendons are about to explode you start on the stairs and then when your knees are screaming you get back to the achilles tendons. All great fun on a sunny tuesday morning.
Polperro is very quaint, very picturesque and very sure of itself and its beauty, but you can't deny that it is a very nice place. Charlie had to wait for me at the top so I treated Milo and me to a ride on the horse-drawn wagon to the car park. He was quite happy to climb the steps at the back and be made a fuss of by the horsewoman but when we set off he was a bit startled to realise that not only were we moving but that there was a huge beastie out front!
Had more fun and games with campsites as the one we were due to go to tomorrow, when checked on today, suggested we go take a look and see if Charlie would be able to negotiate the steps to the disabled suite!! Hmmm..... think we've found one, not as convenient but ok for Charlie.
Colin is meant to be coming down tomorrow but he might not now; he has pleurisy so he'll see how he feels in the morning and then decide. Charlie was looking forward to seeing a different face for her birthday on saturday - think she's sick of the sight of mine!
Time to beat Charlie at cards again. I'm the bees knees at rummy at the moment asltho I'm sure my luck will change soon.
Milo is a bit lame tonight so I'll see how he is tomorrow and might have to take a detour to a vet between campsites in the morning. At least its only a 5 mile walk tomorrow so should fit it all in.
I'll let you know how he gets on. Mac and Treacle are doing fine. Mac has good days and bad but Treacle just goes along as usual, placid and easy-going as ever.
Charlie's shuffling cards and this typing is giving me cramp in my hands.
Take care all,
Susan x

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Par - well below par!

Hi all,

Well, moved again - last campsite was awesome! Tregarton Park, so far the best by far but this one now is coming in a close second. We're at Penmarlam, Bodinnick. Just across the river from Fowey and tomorrow I walk from Par to Fowey. If anyone is tempted to try a holiday in Par - think again, please. With all due respect to those unfortunate enough to live in Par, it's horrid.
Todays walk was very reflective of my destination today. I walked out of Charlestown, along the back of some houses, then along the back of Carlyon Bay Hotel, then spotted Carlyon Bay beach which is totally unusable because its a huge derelict building and a building site for future developement, and then I walked alongside Carlyon Golf course and so to Par where I walked between two high chainlink fences and then along a road - all very scenic!!!

It was a short walk tho, so afterwards we went off to Eden Project, which just gets better and better. There was a quote from Tim Smit, co-founder of Eden, which sums up what I'm doing; I'd rather it said on my tombstone, ' I'm glad I did ', than ' I wish I had '.

Yesterday was Mevagissey to Charlestown, quite a long one, especially on moving day, altho the day before I went a little further to the outskirts of Mevagissey to shorten the moving day load.

Mevagissey is as beautiful as ever but seems to have felt the recession hard - there were quite a few places for sale which of course I made great plans for, just in case my ship comes in, or some handsome and wealthy man should whisk me off my feet! So far, Mevagissey is still my favourite place.

The day before was interesting. Walked thru Gorran Haven and as I passed a house on the way out of the village a lady said good morning and then invited me in for a cuppa - which turned out to be a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a prayer for Charlie and for me! Her name was Doris, she was 87 and still did her own garden, which we sat in overlooking the sea.

Today was Day 61!!!!! That means that the days left are in the thirties which is incredible since we started with 99 to do. Still feeling quite good too. Knees are a bit achy and other bits seize up quicker than they used to, ankles are no longer shapely but rather puffed up and the nose is on about it's seventh peel, so alls well.

Think I'll finish now and beat Charlie at cards. She keeps making 'I'm bored' noises, but its because it takes me so long to type in the half light and she finds my typing speed a bit laughable in normal circumstances anyway.

Colin, big brother, is coming on wednesday to spend a few days with us. It'll be great to see him and to have some company while I'm walking - admittedly Milo always listens and never disagrees but he doesn't really add a great deal to our discussions.

Hope to blog again in a day or so,
Bye for now,
Susan x

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Hello chaps and chapesses,

staying in a great campsite now called Tregarton Park. Its just a couple of miles from The Lost Gardens of Heligan and also very near to Mevagissey. Trouble is the walking is a bit hard at the moment and there's no energy left for exploring. Managed to stay awake long enough to eat sausage and chips on the harbour earlier but been vegetating ever since.
Today was 7.5 miles of strenuous walking - and it really was cos it was also very hot! walked from Portscatho to Portloe and only went wrong once; the book said that the path reaches the hotel but goes round the back not thru the tennis court. I went round the back of the tennis court but the book meant to go round the back of the hotel! Felt a bit odd walking past people sitting outside on their balconies and then arrived at the terrace where well dressed folk were enjoying a glass of Pimms overlooking the bay. I sort of did a bit of a 'jolly hockeysticks' hoho and said that now I knew I was lost and I was directed to the path to the beach, only it ended suddenly with nowhere to go and I couldn't bluff my way past the terrace again so I climbed the fence, throwing my rucksack and Milo over first!!!
Well, my campbed is calling. It's getting quite comfortable now so I think I've changed shape to fit it. I caught sight of myself in a shop window the other day and I definitely seem to have a bit of a 'rucksack stoop'. Hey ho, I'm sure I'll straighten out again when I stop.#
Just one more thing - had an idea for next year. I really want to do something for the young carers on Anglesey but don't think I could do another walk. Then had a great idea; we're an island so how about a whole bunch of us paddle kayaks right around the island? Anyway, think on it and we,ll discuss it when I return.
Byr for now,
Love, Susan x

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Halfway and beyond!!!

Hi everyone,

Sorry I've not been able to blog for a while - no library nearby and no power in the laptop. All working now tho.
Its been an eventful week. Been staying at Mullion Holiday Park - great site with lots of extra amenities and the pitch was free, so thank you to them. The last site was good too, Tower Park in St Buryan, a great centre for exploring Penwith. Both were instead of booked sites which had no disabled facilities that Charlie could use.
Been thru Penzance now and past wonderful places like Prussia Cove, Porthleven, Lizard Point, Porthallow and on to helford where they ferry takes you across the water to helford Passage and then on to falmouth where I finished today.
Porthallow was the halfway point, with 315 miles done and only 315 still to go.
There are lots of lovely places on the Lizard, full of character and a surprising number of thatched cottages, Cadgwith in particular was very picturesque.
been talking to lots of people and getting lots of encouragement which is great. Its especially nice when I get emails from people I've met on the walk (thanks Bernadette) saying well done, keep going etc. Makes me feel that its all worthwhile.
Moving again tomorrow, to a campsite near Mevagissey - seems incredible that in just over a week we'll be out of Cornwall and back into Devon.
This contact keeps breaking down - this is already my second attempt to blog, so I'll finish now and hope theres better signal at the new site.
Glad everyone who was stranded abroad is back safe and sound.
Bye for now,
Susan x
PS If anyone sees Tara (mothers dog) give her a hug from me after her unscheduled meeting with the car the other day, cos she's a bit sore

Sunday, 18 April 2010

broken wheelchair and a broken walking stick!!!

Hi all,

Been an eventful few days but first of all I have to say a huge THANK YOU to The Penzance Cycle Centre who dropped everything they were doing to mend Charlie's wheelchair. We've been tightening the screws on the castor wheels almost daily but we missed a loose one and lost it so Charlie was singing 'three wheels on my wagon' and going nowhere. All fixed now and better than ever.
The other near disaster was me as I walked into Sennen Cove - looked up to scrutinise the people walking towards me (nosey as ever), got my boot caught between two rocks and went down in a very undignified manner at the feet of those very people. Got a bruised knee but otherwise just a dented pride and a very bent walking stick. I had thought I'd push on that day to Land's End but wioth only one stick I cancelled that thought. Spare sticks at the campsite tho so all's well again.
Went past Land's End where I met Charlie and we had the required photo with the signpost - nice man, took some with my camera too! Then it was off round to Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre. The rocks and cliffs after Land's End are much more spectacular than the ones before, really stunning, but my favourite aspect of them is they're fluffy!!! They really do look fluffy, all covered in a pale green lichen with fronds about two inches long - wonderful effect and very beautiful. The rocks are all much more rounded too without the sharp jagged edges we've seen so far.
Yesterday was a horrible day - much longer than anticipated and exhausting. Everything went fine until I got to Penberth, where I discovered that the N.T. have imposed a no dog zone covering the whole of the centre of the village, even the carpark, with specific reference to coast path walkers who are walking with dogs. They had put up maps showing the alternative route but the path left the village , went off the map and came back in at the top of the map - not very helpful. So, I followed the signs, swearing about idiots demonising dogs because of irresponsible owners, and found a rather ambiguous sign about half a mile or so along, took the route I thought it meant and spent the next hour trying to extricate myself from a network of fields whose boundaries did not in any way resemble those on my map, and eventually got back to Penberth where Im met a lady and her son who sent me the right way. Then it was off to Lamorna with a path that never lets you get into a good stride, up and down, twisting, over rocks, thru gaps in rocks - all very hard on the old bones, especially after trapsing through fields for an hour! The one good thing about the detour is that now I know what makes Milo's feet sore, it's nettles. They actually sting his pads, so I'll know now how to keep his little tootsies comfy.
Met some great people the last few days, all listened to what I had to say, all agreed that my mission to improve the lot of poorly youngsters is a good one, all agreed that if a child says they're unwell then they should be believed first off and not after they've proved it, if indeed they can, and all put some money in the collection box strapped to my rucksack. It's great to know that so many people are behind what I'm doing, and understand why I'm doing it this way to start with.
Well, it's time to make tracks - bit of a late start this morning because I wanted to update the blog before we set off. I'm walking through Mousehole and Newlyn to Penzance today, lots of roadwork but after yesterday I don't think I'll mind, especially as I'll get to see so many boats!
Oh, forgot to say - has anyone read Derek Tangye books about his and his wife's life in Cornwall? I went past their place today, its now a sanctuary for solitude for anyone to go into and feel at peace, as well as a wildlife sanctuary too.
Take care everyone and I'll blog again soon.
Love Susan x
PS Do you know how odd it is to write a blog? Not like keeping a diary because other people read it, but more like talking to yourself without being written off as bonkers!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Cape Cornwall

Hello again,
It wasn't Sennen Cove - that's tomorrow. It was Cape Cornwall which missed out by inches on being Land's End! It was an amazing walk. I took loads of photos of the old mine buildings at Geevor Mine, which only stopped operating in 1990, then I arrived at Levant Mine with it's steam engine still in situ and working (except that today it was broken) and then I got to Botallack with its famous Crowns engine houses right down by the water's edge. It was quite an easy path in a way because it's walked so often that most of it is wide and well maintained. Charlie was waiting when I got to Cape Cornwall - she remembers fishing for crabs there with AJ and its one of my favourite pictures I have in my rogues gallery.
Hope nobody got offended by yesterdays blog but if people keep pushing my buttons one of them will make a noise.
On that subject, if anyone knows of a legal eagle who'd take on the might of the NHS for Charlie then start buttering them up now so they're well sweetened by the time we get home. Think I just mixed my metaphores but who cares, I don't, I'm a bit bone weary at the moment.
Going to check my email now before this internet session (at Penzance library) finishes.
Love, Susan x

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Hi again,
I'm in the library in St Ives, had to pay for the internet and could only have half an hour.
Moved campsites today but the new site, although it had a great disabled shower etc, had a nasty slope up to it, a nasty slope towards it and a really nasty slope to get off the pitch onto the path! We're now happily ensconced in a great site at St Buryan where we bought Keitha, one of our Shires from. Todays walk was slightly shortened so still possible - shortened by a dramatic cliff fall which neccesitated closing a long stretch, so it was quite a short if tiring walk to the next stop. Tomorrow its on to Sennen Cove I believe.
On a more serious note, I spent a long time awake last night worrying about all the things I keep being told I should've done or could've done. Well, and I mean no offense, I asked for help a year ago and none was forthcoming. Charlie and I arranged everything, we planned the stops, the meeting places, the campsites, we designed and built the website, we designed our logo, our literature, our promotional stuff, we wrote and distributed our own press release and inbetween I managed a little training for this huge undertaking. There were no more hours in the day for all the things we apparently 'could've' and 'should've'. We are very grateful to the people that have taken on the work still going on back home and I hope they know how appreciated they are, but I really don't need to be told all my shortcomings when I'm slogging at this walk. It's not a picnic, or an extended holiday - after all I could easily enjoy the sea and wonderful scenery right on my doorstep couldn't I?
There are, I know, one or two who have said that if I can do this walk I could go to work and earn a living like everybody else. I walk for a few hours each day, strapped at every joint, hurting on every step to fight for justice for young poorly people and their families. When I cared for Charlotte 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nobody suggested then that I was surely fit enough for work - strange, or am I becoming a cynic?
I should also let you all know that the walk will not be the end of this. I let the medical profession walk all over my daughter and ruin her life for ever - no more. I intend to find a solicitor with some courage, unlike the last lot that wouldn't even attempt to clear the first hurdle, and fight for Charlotte's right to justice. No doctor should be allowed to get away with striding upto a young person who can feel nothing from the neck down, slap their thigh hard several times and then walk away saying 'well, if you wont even try...', and no doctor should get away with going to a patient who has asked not to be treated by them any longer, pull out a set of car keys and scrape the soul of the foot to try to get a reaction, and then walk off leaving a red weal, and nobody should get away with changing a persons medical notes to cover up mistakes and lay all the 'blame' for illness on the child and the family. If I let them get away with it this time it'll happen again and again and again, so look out, I'm not letting it just slip away this time. Nobody deserves to go through what Charlotte did and I'm going to do my bit to stop it happening.
Thats my piece said, time's up on the internet in the library, so I'm off to try to keep the gas alight while I cook supper in the wind. Enjoy your settees, kettles and comfy beds - I'm looking forward to mine in June!
Bye for now,
Love Susan x

Monday, 12 April 2010

Past St Ives and on the way to Land's End!

Hi everyone,
Sorry I haven't blogged for a few days - been a bit hectic what with one thing and another and walking as well.
Where to start? Lets start with today and work back! Today i walked from St Ives to Zennor - the guide book says the footpath is severe but Roz and I did some other bits labelled severe. Hmm... now I know what severe really means. In fact my language at one point was quite colourful about what I would do to the person who called a boulder field a footpath and hadn't anybody heard of the Trades descriptions act? etc etc. So yes, today was a real test and at this moment, stretched out in Gertie I hurt in places I didn't know I had. The new knee, ankle and wrist braces are working well, but now I'm wondering if a too-small wetsuit might be good for holding the whole body together for the rest of the path.
Seriously, I am very tired and I do hurt a lot but I wouldn't be anywhere else at the moment for all the tea in China.
Charlie and I just had sausage and chips parked on the harbour in St Ives and it was great.
So, back to the previous few days. Matt came to join us on thursday and walked a couple of days with Roz and I. Godrevy Point was reached first and what a wonderful surprise to sea a beach full of seals! Roz and Matt pushed Charlie and her chair up to the cliff edge so she could see them for herself and she loved it. To see something of what we had been seeing was brilliant for her because, however many photos we take, its still not the same as seeing first-hand.
We moved campsites on Friday, to Polmanter, just outside St Ives - great site, 5 star and justly so. Charlie's facilities are brilliant and those for us ordinary folk are really good too.
Matt was due to return on Sunday and Roz had to return with him for family reasons. She was sorry to leave us but I'm sure she got her priorities right. It was strange walking without her and the morning routine is different but I'll get used to it. The porridge was a bit thick cos I didn't judge the quantities right for one!
It's Zennor to Portheras Cove tomorrow and I confess I haven't looked at the map cos if it's going to be like today and I know about it, then I'll just bury myself deeper into my sleeping bag in the morning. If anyone feels like a couple of days off and an invigorating walk, I can always use the company (and the gentle shove to keep going), and I also need help with Charlie in the evenings cos she is developing into a dreadful cheat with the playing cards!!!
Think thats about it for now, moving house again tomorrow but not very far as we're walking right around Penwith for the next few days so never far from about here really.
Time for a game of rummy,
Bye for now,
Love, Susan x
PS Went to Fat Willy's Surf Shack and bought a cute little surfer-dude tee shirt for Harley - aaah

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

St Agnes, engine houses and Tin

Hi all, charlie's typing this on her blackberry as I peel spuds.
Wonderful day today, blue sky and sunshine, saw tin being extracted and cast.
Saw engine houses everywhere, talked to Cornwall wildlife trust at St Agnes. This is my favorite bit of the walk so far :).
Got supports for both knees, ankles and wrists so all holdong togewther well! Will blog for longer when laptop is charged or internet cafe pops up. only 3 or 4 days til St Ives and the Tate.
Bye for now love
Susan x

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Made it to Newquay

Hello and Happy Easter to you all,

The last two days have been wonderful walking. Yesterday was Porthcothan to Mawgan Porth which meant going past Bedruthan Steps. Amazing huge seas made it all the more spectacular. Apparently, Bedruthan was a cornish giant who placed these huge rocks as stepping stones across the bay, but when he arrived at the other side, another giant called Diggory (Diggory's Island is on the far side of the bay) told Bedruthan to go away, so he did! Bedruthan Steps also meant National Trust tea room serving coffee and toasted teacakes.

Today we walked from Mawgan Porth into Newquay. A strange sort of walk because after quite a short stretch you find yourself walking thru some houses and then you are walking past shops and cafes with people everywhere. Its a ery young vibrant place full of surfer dudes and I felt very old! Thought Milo might find all the people a bit daunting but he took it all in his stride quite literally)

We move to another campsite tomorrow so we went back to Padstow tonight for some Rick Stein fish and chips - excellent they were too. There are so many different Rick Stein shops it begins to feel as if the place should be called Padstein!

Tomorrow we'll be camping near St Agnes and I shall be in seventh heaven cos there will be tin mine engine houses everywhere and as far as I'm concerned there are no buildings better than those.

Gotta go, been challenged to a game of Uno and the power has nearly gone on this.

Take care all,

Bye for now,

Susan x

PS Just a little rant - tissue dropper is out again! He/she was out and about in North Devon but then disappeared when the weather got nasty. Now its sunny and a holiday so they're out again.
This wind gives everyone a drippy nose and most of us make do with a good sniff now and then but tissue dropper has one blow and drops it, then a hundred yards further on, one blow and drops it again! Dont they know that pockets are designed specifically for storing such things as tissues? Ok, rant over, feel better now. Tata x

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Past Padstow, Nearly Newquay!

Well, here we are again, it's April 1st and today wasn't at at all bad.
After our day off on tuesday due to the inclement weather we awoke yesterday morning after a night of gale force winds, torrential rain, hail and everything else that the forces of nature could throw at us, expecting more of the same. In fact I did battle the wind and hail to take the dogs for their morning constitutional, then sat in the tent to make Roz and I our morning tea and porridge listening to the rain slamming on the top of the tent and the wind whistling thru the guy ropes and decided we'd have to have another day off - but, after a couple of hours browsing the delightful (and expensive) shops of Padstow, the sun came out, the wind dropped and we decided to do a days walk after all. Needed to leave the shops anyway cos I kept finding things for my new grandson Harley and the parcel is getting bigger.
So, yesterday afternoon, we did the Port Isaac to Port Quin Bay bit and so finished the path north of Padstow and the River Camel. Unfortunately as we walked thru Port Isaac I came across a wonderful shop and had to buy some Pirate skittles for Harley and abook about a local gull called Gully. Wanted a lighthouse shaped cushion too but couldn't fit it into my little rucksack so I'll try to remember it and make one when I get home.
The walk to Port Quin was great til the wind got up again and then it was bitterly cold and not such fun.
Today we 'moved house' -from a great campsite called Padstow Touring Park ( excellent facilities for us and for Charlie and very friendly people) to Watergate Bay Touring Park. It's Good Friday tomorrow so everywhere is open now. This site has a shop, bar, cafe et al and there are loads of people here.
Today we set offrom Padstow on a well used path with loads of people in front and behind but as we got further out around Padstow Bay they dropped off quite considerably. Met a few people walking the footpath tho including one man who's given himself five years to complete the whole path - says he'll see us at South Haven point in August 2014!
Had a great evening in a pub in Padstow last night and stayed fora meal. Met a nice couple from Oz and told them they must go to Hartland Quay on their way to Clovelly. Hope they liked it, they seemed the right sort to enjoy a place like that.
Tomorrow we're off to Porthcothan I think, but right now I have to go and get the washing out of the machine and put it in the dryer!
Take care all of you, and thionk of me on my little camp bed as you snuggle down into ypour nice comfy mattress.
Love Susan x

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Wet, windy and cold - having a day off!

Hi all,
We have spent the last week walking in really nasty weather. We're wet, cold and tired but we kept going - but today it's wetter, colder and very windy so discretion takes over and it's time for a day off. Think we'll go to the aquarium in Newquay cos its indoors and warm.
We're almost in Padstow in walking terms so doing really well. The wind has been blowing seawards tho and some parts of the path are right on the edge of very high cliffs - not nice.
Have to say, even Milo has gone on strike today - it's 10 o'clock in the morning and he poked his nose out of the tent, said noway and tucked himself back into my sleeping bag! If he says we'renot walking today, then we're not. This means , of course, that the timetable on the website will be one day out, but I'm sure you can all work it out. We will catch up in a week or two's time so watch this space and see how long it takes us.
Thw walk itself has been spectacular - this is the hardest part of the path but one of the most incredible. I'd like to see it in sunshine one day. So far we'veseen some positive signs of spring - primroses, violets, wild daffodils, and now the honeysuckle leaves are showing. The blackthorn blossom is about ready to burst too so looking forward to that.
On a lighter note, I have discovered what footpaths do in their spare time. And, what is more they enjoy it far more than their regular job as is shown by the gusto with which they perform this alternative......they become rivers!!!
Off to enjoy the unexpected day off now,
Love Susan x

PS Once again, you should all be following Charlie's blog too on
She sees this venture from a completely different viewpoint so it should be interesting.

Toodle-oo again
S x

Friday, 26 March 2010

Tomorrow Tintagel!

Hello again,
Bet you wondered where I'd got to, didn't you?
Well, I got to Boscastle!!! Seriously, we're in yet another mobile deadspot, so tonight we're treating ouirselves to a pint and dinner in The King Arthur's Arm's, Tintagel, because we earned a pint today, because it's too wet and windy to cook at the campsite and because the pub has wifi.
We moved to a new campsite this week, but I have to say, the last one, Budemeadows, Widemouth Bay was really good. Great facilities for Charlie, great facilities for us 'able' folks and if you've got youngsters, this is the site for you. The Playgound was incredible - even had a zip-wire, and there was also giant chess, giant connect 4, outside table tennis and a games room for wet days.
We are now camping near Tintagel on a Caravan Club Site which means less extras but very posh basics - warm ablutions block, lots of hot water and all very clean and tidy. It's also on a cliff top so the views are incredible but the wind is making even morning tea a challenge. Yesterday we gave up and went into Boscastle for breakfast but that proved to be very expensive and not as good for walking as our usual porridge, so, this morning I dragged the cooker into my tent and cooked the porridge in there. Just as well too - what a walk! The last few days have been quite tough but today was really hard and yet so wonderful it was worth every puff, blow and achy bit.
We climbed High Cliff today, imaginatively named since it is the highest cliff in Cornwall. Then came Rusey Cliff, even more hard work across rough ground, we saw the wild goats there too and the delicate aroma of 'Eau de Goat' certainly helped us move along at quite a pace! Then we saw Buckator - now that is a REAL cliff. Big, black, sheer and awe-inspiring. As you may have gathered, I liked Buckator. There was a hairy bit around the next headland but we took a slightly higher route as there was a nasty gusty wind blowing us out to seaward and it didn't feel too nice to be on the very edge in that.

Met an amazing lady yesterday - Amy. We thought our 630 miles was good, but Amy is walking 6,824 miles!!! She's doing the whole coast of Britain and not using ferries, going right round all the estuaries. She's walking for Kidney Research as she lost her brother to kidney disease. She's planning to finish early October at Guys Hospital, back where she started on Feb 1st. Look for her on amygoescoastal, there's a group on Facebook too.

The last bit of todays walk was into Pentargon, an inlet that had it been bigger could have been Boscastle instead of the bit that was, if you see what I mean. Every time we climb a load of steps out of another valley/combe, I wish I'd remembered to count the steps. Well, today I did, and there are 194 steps up from Pentargon where you cross the bridge by the waterfall. And that wasn't the biggest climb we've done either.
As we climbed out of there and looked back, we saw a huge spout of water coming from the cliff opposite! It was incredible so we got the camera out and waited for it to happen again, which it did. Trouble is, when we went to move off again we discovered that Milo had curled up round my feet and gone to sleep! That called for another photo, then we woke him up and set off for the final push into Boscastle where Charlie waited with lunch.
The colouring of the roof lining of Gertie is coming on wonderfully - there's always a little more added when Charlie picks us up after our days walk.
Well, Charlie and Roz have almost finished their game of pool so I guess it's nearly time to get back to the campsite.
Looking forward to the clocks going forward tomorrow night - less trouble cooking when its not in the dark!
take care all,
bye for now,
Susan x

Monday, 22 March 2010

Nearly at Bude!

Hi all,
Today was a horrid day! Very windy, very stingy rain and a very scary bit of path down into Duckpool - even Milo backed himself between my legs and said 'no way'. After the walk, of course, the sun came out! Yesterday was great; walked to Morwenstow from Welcombe. Met a great guy called Mark, a Marine, who is walking from Barnstaple to Plymouth in 12 days. Met up with him in Bude later on and he said he'd try to meet up with us in Plymouth when we get there. He seemed to think that 99 days of nonstop walking was a bit amazing, but you should have seen the size of the pack he was carrying on his back!!! He said if he could get his pack sent on to Newquay then he could run for the first 20 - 30 miles today. We just gasped in awe.
Saw a snail on the path yesterday and thought about waiting for it to cross before continuing on our way but then realised the snail was in fact slithering along the path in the same direction as us and to let him go first may have held us up for months if not years, so made a quick overtaking manoeuvre when he wasn't looking and kept to our schedule. Yesterday, you see, we had a very important place to visit. We saw a brown sign the other day and followed it, only to discover that the place didn't open til yesterday, so yesterday we went - to the Gnome Reserve!
Wonderful wacky place. Visitors are requested to wear a hat from an assortment provided, so we did of course, and then walked around the reserve - gnomes everywhere. Back to the house for sandwiches and coffee and then a walk around the wild flower garden to count fairies amongst other things. A really great place to visit for a total escape and to meet a very lovely lady who also happens to be a very talented artist too.
The last two days walking were the hardest so far and with todays weather thrown into the mix, very hard work. Neither of us enjoyed the walk itself much today, but there's a wonderful sense of achievement in having done it in spite of everything.
Forgot to mention, saw Hawkers Hut yesterday, built by Reverend Hawker and now the smallest property owned by the National Trust. Talked to a nice couple there with their dog Jeeves. Being a sunday and sunny there were loads of people out on the path yesterday.
Came across another hut too, even more special than Hawkers, I think. It belonged to a poet and playwrite, Ronald Duncan. His daughter rebuilt the hut and it stays unlocked for people to visit and read about Mr Duncan. There was a box on the floor containing lots of books with a simple notice on 'Please help yourself to one of Ronald Duncans books'. We brought Charlotte a copy of his collected poems and what a poet he was.
Isn't it about time we had some company for a spell, or are you all waiting for better weather? Can't say I blame anyone for that.
Think this is the dogs favourite campsite - we go to Widemouth Bay to give them a run early evening and they just run and run, even Treacle. Mac remembered how he surfed at Sandy Beach and tried it here - much bigger waves and so much more fun for him but a very wet car later on!
Speaking of the car, Gertie, she is turning into a work of art on the inside. I bought Charlie some fabric pens and the roof lining is slowly being covered with thoughts, images and impressions of places we've seen. Should be quite something by the end.
Well, think thats about all folks.
Time for a game of Uno with Charlie and Roz (evening entertainment is somewhat limited)
Take care all of you,
Susan x

Friday, 19 March 2010


Just to let you know, we're going to put all the photos on a dedicated page on the web site.
When I've finished labelling them all, Charlie will make the page. There are some good ones, amazing scenery and some of us at work and at play!
Hello everyone,
sorry I haven't blogged for a while. We were staying at Hartland Caravan & Camping Park but it was a mobile deadspot. Great campsite - Charlie loved the smells and sounds of the steel fabrication on site cos it reminded her of her childhood in Ewan's workshop!
We have now walked as far as Hartland Quay - 109 miles and stillgoing strong.
Couple of gripes tho - why are the builders of steps on footpaths all 6' 5" with long legs? (yes, I know the steps get deeper with erosion, but allow me my rant) I have to climb steps that come up to my knee and I'm no shorty, so, if the footpath step-builder employers would only employ short gentlemen or ladies, then we would have steps that are quite do-able (even after a little erosion).
Another (sort of) gripe; I'm getting annoyed - I see a hole in the ground but don't know who lives in it, I see footprints of a deer but don't know what sort of deer, there are birds, plants, trees, sounds I can't identify. Does anyone know Simon King's phone number? I need him here, on this walk, now. Any of the others on spring/autumnwatch would do just as well, but someone is needed!
Well, we're almost out of Devon already. Celebrated getting to Hartland Quay with a slap up dinner there which was really good. It was great to come round the corner at Hartland Point and see the big Atlantic Rollers breaking over huge rocks at ridiculous angles. We didn't split the section from Clovelly to Hartland very well - turned out to be 6 1/2 miles and 4 miles, but we managed it. Clovelly is still wonderful, but only if you pay £5.50 to get thru the visitor centre first.
We moved to a new campsite today - Budemeadows, just outside Bude. It's a very nice site with good facilities especially for Charlie. There's even a bath so I've promised myself a soak while we're here (5 nights). Our favourite campsite so far is still Brightlycott Barton near Barnstaple.
It was small, friendly, excellent facilities and so peaceful.
The weather has turned - it's throwing it down at the moment and we're sitting in the car (now called Gertie), Charlie and Roz are playing cards while I blog. I had to buy a new waterproof today - I re-proofed mine before we left and when I wore it yesterday the rain soaked straight thru! Bought a very bright green one so I'm more visible on the path. Tomorrow we start the hardest part of the path - Hartland Quay to Bude. We,ve split it into four days but it'll still be very hard going.
Think I'll join in this very exciting game of 'snap' which sounds as if it's getting quite violent ( don't we usually encourage children to play it?), think they're going to need a referee soon.
If anyone reading this sees Pete the Chiropractor think this site may know him - there's a bar here (not open cos it's low season) called 'Grumpy Pete's Bar'!!!!!
Should be able to blog regularly at this site as they have a re-charging service here as well as there being a signal.
Tata for now,
Love to you all,
Susan x

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Westward Ho!

Hello, me again.
Been offline again for a couple of days, but very busy walking all the same.
Arrived at Westward Ho! this afternoon having started at Appledore, so an easy stroll through Appledore (lovely narrow streets and old houses) and then over Northam Burrows where we heard a skylark singing its heart out in the sunshine. Then a walk along the beach into Westward Ho! ( named incidentally after the novel by Charles Kingsley and the only place name in Britain with an exclamation mark).
Saw loads of people kite boarding on the beach - Charliue wants to have a go!

The last few days have been hard on the ole pins as the path followed the Tarka Trail which is a tarmac cycle/walkway along the old railway line. Bit demoralising too to arrive at a place you passed three days before - but just across the river. We came upon Luke's green boat, where we met Max and his dogs and it was just spitting distance away!

Moving to Hartland campsite tomorrow and starting a strenuous part of the path - two days to get to Clovelly and then another couple of days to round the corner to Hartland Quay where we've promised ourselves a good meal.

Running out of power again so gotta go - be playing Uno by torchlight again.
For an alternative view of this expedition tryu looking at Charlie's blog;

Talk to you all soon,
Susan x
PS More charge tomorrow will result in loads of photo uploads so watch this space!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Me again

Hello again.
Walked past RMB Chivenor today and saw a wonderful little tank that we knew Charlie would like so we took a photo of it for her.
Before that though it was a very long walk! 8.7 miles and boy do I feel it. I t was sand-dunes, hard trcks and long, long raised paths all the way. Saw a little egret and some shelduck and a lone swan which seemed odd til we saw his/her mate who had obviously hit a power line some time before and was no more. Met a guy called Max with his dogs Buddy and Saphron. Max has a ketch which he is rebuilding with a view to sailing over to France and then travelling the inland waterways there. He was a fount of local knowledge and a great guy to meet. He makes bespoke arty farty woodburners - his words not mine.
There was ice on the tent again this morning but wall to wall sunshine again during the day - don't mind how long this weather last now I've worked out how to keep warm at night ( it involves three sleeping bags and a fleece liner with an added blanket)
Walking to Barnstaple tomorrow along the Tarka Trail which follows the same route as the SWCP for this bit.
tata, Susan x

We're back online!

Oops! Nevermind, this is us right at the start, but we were the right way up, I promise.
Sorry not to have blogged for a few days - we were at a campsite with no power facilities, the car ciggy lighter blew a fuse so no charging there and we've been without phones or laptops for a while.
So here we are a t the second campsite, A wonderful site, very friendly, and thats actually a good pun because the gentleman who runs the site and the farm is called Charles Friend! It's a great site, very calm, wonderful views and we all feel much better here.
We decided after our disastrous start that we couldn't catch up as I'm walking to my limits, so we stopped at Lynmouth and started again at Combe Martin and we'll go back in June, on the way home and do those two days then. Should be fitter too which will be good as they're both 'strenuous' days. Yesterday we arrived at Croyde Bay, after walking for ages along the beach at Woolacombe. The days before were wonderful, but rather tiring with so many ups and downs. Lee Bay was wierd -seemed like a whole village of building site. There's a massive hotel, being developed, and about four or five other houses all being rebuilt or developed in some way. Saw my first lighthouse at Bull Point, and Milo broke his lead there too. Milo has been amazing - loves it when wemeet people but has worked out now which ones to ignore and which ones will be susceptible to his charms.
Roz and I are both getting better at the 'ups' with less pauses for breath and to get the life back into jelly legs. I'm coping better than I thought I would - shin splints have been very painful but I know that if I keep walking I can walk through them and then be ok. Charlie loves driving the van. We've called her Gertie and so far she's behaving. There seems to be a constant drip of oil underineath but we're preferring to ignore it cos there's nothing we can do about it!
The discarded clothing tally mounted considerably for the first few days, with more gloves, a woolly hat and a sock, but here in Devon they seem to hang onto their belongings a little better.
One wierd thing we did see was a road cone, miles from anywhere, nestled in the lower branches of a Rhododendron which itself was clinging to the side of a cliff high above the sea.
We passes a place called Sisters Fountain, a little spring in the woods where Jesus reputedly stopped for a drink with Joseph of Aremethea(cant spell that, sorry) on their way to Glastonbury.
Off soon to start the walk from Croyde Bay to Chivenor. It's a long one today but should be quite level. I'll write again later and try to put some more photos in the right way up!
Bye for now,

Saturday, 6 March 2010

County Gate so far

Apologies for not writing the blog yesterday - just got started and my laptop ran out of power!
Day 2 is now completed and we got to County Gate. We've now finished with Somerset and we're into Devon. We're trying to make up a little time each day, although yesterday we only added a tiny bit to Porlock.

Yesterday was an assault on the legs as we started with Culvercliff - very uphill. That took some time but then we came out at the top to glorious sunshine, beautiful Exmoor landscape and even a herd of ponies. Then came a very steep and slippy downhill to Bossington and on to Porlock. A good first walk, legs didn't hurt too much and all in all ok. Beginning to realise that one could kit oneself out quite well with items of clothing left on the path - today a leather glove and a splendid shoe, but only one.

Today, Saturday 6th. Started at Porlock and arrived at Porlock Weir to find the way blocked by the local hunt meet. Waited for them to set off and then we set off too - uphill again and into Culbone Woods. The woods are amazing - thick ancient woodland clinging to the side of the cliff. Saw some red deer hinds and an old dog fox too. Milo loved the woodland and especially liked the people we met if they did the 'aaah' sound because it was his cue to jump up and look cute. He soon sussed the ones who were immune to his cuteness and ignored them as they went by.
The woods went on forever.....and ever..... but when we arrived at Culbone Church it was all worth it. What a wonderful place! Eventually came out from the woods, via a Pinetum with some splendid specimens and uphill again to County Gate where Charlie was waiting with the car. The uphills are proving a bit of a problem but I'm sure they'll get easier as we get into it. Did 7 miles today so feeling good inside, sore leg, back and foot side! Hoping to get past Lynmouth tomorrow to make up some more missed time but we'll see how hard it is.
Nearly eight o'clock now and time to hit the sack.
Susan x

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Well, where do I start?
It's March 4th, second day of the walk and we haven't started walking yet! Fear not tho,we shall, fingers and toes crossed begin our trek this afternoon.
The first thing that happened that morning was the news that Harley James had been born - my first grandchild! What a good omen.
We had a tremendous send off on tuesday with all the children from school asking countless and very relevant questions, all of which had to be answered. Then there were interviews with tv and press and speeches from Will (Bettws) and Albert Owen our MP. We were presented with very warm hats by RAF Valley too which, as you will hear have been and are invaluable.
We didn't leave til nearly 11am so arrived after dark at the campsite. Putting up the tent in the dark proved very funny but eventually successful and so we fed the dogs and climbed into our sleeping bags.
Got up yesterday, I opened some cards and presents, had some breakfast and then noticed a big puddle under the car. Nice Dave on the campsite took a look and advised calling the RAC - the radiator had just decided to rot thru an d we needed a new one. The car went to Ilfracombe to be mended and we sat about wondering what to do. Charlie got too cold, it's blowing a hooley here and the wind is bitter, so , we called on help from all and sundry. Trish said she'd try to get RAF Chivenor to help with transport, Ewan called the garage and arranged to get the new radiator asap and fitted as soon as it arrived and Dave, on the campsite, made us a hot coffee in the as yet un-open cafe. We eventually got Charlie booked into a local hotel since without a car she had no bed and when she left in the taxi with Mac, Roz and I walked into Combe Martin with Treacleand Milo. About five minutes after leaving the campsite along a muddy track, we passed Charlie's hotel! Great village, hot coffee in the shop and some nice kids asking loads of questions about the dogs, Charlie, how far we were going to walk, etc, etc. A bag of chips each overlooking the bay and then we set off back to the campsite. We feasted on apples, cheese and bread for supper and had a very early night wondering if the tent was going to blow away in this howling gale. Milo was convinced we were in mortal danger so climbed inside my sleeping bag to protect me, I think.
So, here we are this morning, still windy and cold and waiting for the garage to fix the car so we can set off at last. We had given ourselves a day off on day 15, so we'll catch up by walking through that day. Charlie just phoned to say she was nice and warm again and enjoyed a splendid 5 course dinner last night - some people really know how to rough it don't they?
Going to have a little kip now in readiness for this afternoons hike,
tata for now,

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Ysgol Cemaes and footsteps!,

Hello, sunday evening and tomorrow will be march 1stand the day before we leave!

What a crazy few days - I think everyone just realised we're really going to do this. Trish and Dave have gone into hyper-drive and a quiet drink with friends to say cheerio has turned into something more with posters telling everyone to be at The Harbour tomorrow evening at 7, and then the original idea to leave early on tuesday has gone to pot completely. We can't leave til after 10am cos we're having a great big send-off, with dignitaries, balloons and the children from Ysgol Cemaes. Speaking of the children, they have been amazing - our car was taken to school and came back covered in footsteps! The children drew feet and coloured them beautifully, then they were laminated and cut out, then stuck all over the car. The inside was filled with balloons too and they'll be tied on on tuesday morning. We're going to order a poster map from The South West Coast Path Association tomorrow so the children can follow our progress as it shows the route with a running total of miles. we'll send them lots of postcards and pictures too.

Getting excited now but very tired - need to go for a walk to get over all these preparations!!!

Charlie's out with Angela tonight, so it's just me, the dogs, the cat and the telly. Oh, and some washing, drying, packing, printing and blogging! Just remembered another job I haven't done so better stop this two finger typing, tyhere's some sewing to do on Mac's jacket for when he's working.

I'll try to write again tomorrow after the pub 'do'.

Tata, Susan x

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Hello again.

Today was a very strange day, but yesterday was stranger still!

Yesterday was a day of very high highs and very low lows - one minute being 'got at' by people who had no business sticking their noses in, then being phoned by the local paper and told what an amazing venture the walk is, then being seemingly criticised for no reason except that I'm me, then being left a gift by an anonymous person wishing me good luck, and all before lunch! Then the photographer from the paper arrived and made Charlie and I pose for some really cheesy pics. I told him that the camera never likes me but he assured me a good photo was possible. I'm a cynic at the best of times but this man had caught me on a day I was gasping for breath with bronchitis, running a temperature, needing a hair wash and slightly rattled by cross people!

Anyway, the pictures were taken amidst fits of giggles, the gift of a beautiful jumper to wear on the walk was much appreciated and all in all we all decided to focus on the positives and allow those more negative than ourselves to be miserable on their own!

And then today the Daily Post came - almost a full page and on Page 3 - never thought I'd be a Page 3 girl and certainly didn't expect my daughter to be one. And what is more, its actually quite a nice pic of me. Charlie has always been photogenic and so she looks great as usual and the article is good. Just a couple of things like saying I walk with crutches when I use sticks but otherwise very accurate. One good thing may come of it - I, as well as Charlie, hurt a good deal, but very few people see past the smiles and grins, probably, if truth be told, because they would rather not see. Well, the journalist did his homework and says in the article just how painful our condition is - not something I find easy to do myself, but perhaps it will clarify things a little for some.

Enough of boring things. We are all soooooo excited as the day draws nearer to set off. The dogs, of course have no idea exactly what is going on but they do know ' somethings up'.
The article had quite an effect - a phone call from a journalist wanting more of the story, Facebook comments for Charlie from people who know about Chiari Malformation and then to cap it all we had an email on the web site from the Royal Naval Police in Plymouth offering us an escort for a part of the walk near them. What fun!

I think it's time for some shut-eye soon - feeling loads better today but still coughing quite impressively.

Just one funny thing that happened - went to Caernarfon to pick up the ferrules for my sticks. Snowdonia Adventure had managed to find me a dozen and at just 50p each I was very pleased. I do wear them out rather quickly as I use my sticks for walking, not just going for a walk. Anyway, picked up the ferrules, looked at them when we got home and two of them are a bit grubby and rather worn!!! I realise the company went to extraordinary lengths to get me them but I think someone at head office will find they're walking with steel tips on their next weekend ramble - oops.

Gotta go, my duvet is calling,

Friday, 12 February 2010

Hi all,

Only two and a half weeks before the off! Milo's paw is better except when he jumps off the windowsill without thinking about the landing area - so much stuff about a smooth landing is not guaranteed and he keeps forgetting. Not the brightest button in the box, our Milo, but great fun and good company!

It's been a busy time both at home and in the Village Venture. Juggling it all and keeping up to date with artwork for college has kept me on my toes. Art has been great - I sculpted a clay head from a life model and it actually looks like her, and then I learned to carve and made a shell from a block of plaster. I'll have to do some more one day but not til we're back from the walk.

The Village Venture shop was re-wired last week so we took the opportunity to have a bit of a turn around - the result has been well recieved by our customers who say it feels bigger and more welcoming. Today we put a map on the wall of the South West of Britain, showing our route around the coast path and showing where the campsites are (so far). We'll be sending postcards to the shop as we go along and hopefully someone will put them up around the map so people can follow our progress.

Mac is still a bit under par but something of a mystery. We're just keeping an eye on him at the moment and monitoring his fluid intake, behaviour pattern etc. Something's not right and hopefully soon we'll know what it is and get him well again.

We needed photos today of Roz and I out walking. Charlie came out with us to take the pics and made some very rude remarks about our ability (or not) to pose for a decent photo - she told us to 'act natural' then asked what on earth we were doing because we kept looking at things and nattering! That's us 'acting natural', very nosy and taking an interest in all around us. Apparently the best pictures were those she took from the rear!!!

Time to do something about supper,
Be back blogging soon,

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Dreaming of the Walk!

Well Hello all,

I cant believe its the 26th already lol, its getting very exciting, the house is full of maps and paper stuck to everything and anything, it might sound and look a little chaotic but i believe everything is under control and in hand.
As we have been planning and organising for a while now, the thought and expectations have reached a point that i feel are unbeatable, although i would imagine the night of the 2nd March will be incredible. We are all dreaming of parts of the walk, no nightmares as yet! :).

Campsites and press releases are the aim of the game right now, lets see how many people we can get supporting us and maybe even walking with us.

The dogs training is on hold right now, as Mac is still unwell and little Milo has a poorly paw...:(. These mutts just cant hack the solid training, being done by Camo Stig and mummy, too much of the good life me thinks!! Will keep you up to date with the progress.

For now its good bye from me and well good bye from the other lot.

Charlie xxxx

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

parcels, maps and laminators!

Hello again,
What a busy week - lots of post bringing all sorts of goodies we'd ordered, and lots of squinting at maps and making a single map for each day of the walk, each one laminated (someone told me it rains in the West Country) and numbered with the right day.
Anyway, the post - a huge parcel came with the tent, of the pop-up variety, silver survival blankets, just-in-case apparently, and loads of Kendal Mintcake, for the driver, I'm told, not the walkers. There was also a large package with several OS maps and so the printer and laminator went into overdrive. Charlie, Roz and I were beginning to see maps in our sleep but now they're all done and ready.
We're sorting out campsites now and have had a few offers of free pitches which is wonderfully generous. If anyone's looking for a good site, take a look at the two million steps web site where we'll be putting links to all of them.
Been a tricky time with Charlie's support dog, Mac, lately. He's been a bit poorly, seen a vet in Swansea and then our vet here on Anglesey and finally sent to the Liverpool University Small Animal Hospital. We took him there yesterday and Charlie's been a bit lost since as he had to stay in. I'll let you know how he gets on as soon as we know more, but I'm sure he'll be sorted and well in time for the walk.
Well, boring stuff to do now like washing and housework,
Tata for now,
Susan x
PS still no reply from Mr Clifford so I guess we're just too small fry for him! Nevermind, we'll manage - as Charlie keeps saying, 'we only need one million people to give us 20p and we'vedone it'. Sounds easy when you put it like that.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Hi all,
It's quite late on sunday evening and thought I should update - been quite an eventful day.
Roz came a-visiting this morning. Roz is a friend I met with her partner Matt when we started up Cemaes Village Venture, which, by the way, is just about the best thing I ever got involved in; a group of like minded people who wanted to do something constructive with an empty shop in the middle of the village. We set up the Village Venture, selling a variety of crafts with some bric-a-brac and secondhand books too. It's been a great success and we're no!!!w almost at the end of our first year and so will very soon be asking the village how they would like the money spent since the whole idea is to plough our success back into the village. I hope that those who have looked less than favourably on our efforts will be able to see then that we are serious about what we are doing and that we are doing it for the good of village ultimately (even if we are enjoying ourselves too!)
Anyway, back to Roz' visit. The long and short of it is - she's walking with us! I suspect she thinks that a pair of hopelessly chaotic and ridiculously optimistic less-than-able idiots like Charlie and I need some sort of sensible guidance and support. She's right of course, but she's as daft as us! She suggested she might rein me back if I'm looking like overdoing things, but actually it'll be when the self doubt kicks in that she will be invaluable - to deliver a swift kick to the derriere! It's going to be great fun with the three of us loons attacking such a big challenge and as a self confessed 'people person' I am very glad to have the company and moral support. I hope lots of people decide to join us at different parts of the walk, whether just for a day or even a week - who knows this could end up being a ninety nine day party with a little walking thrown in!
By the way, haven't heard from Max Clifford, but still hoping - the postman comes again tomorrow.
Bye for now,
Susan x

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

A very happy New Year to anyone reading this!
I'm back on the blog at last - moved house, got swine flu and then had to wait ages for my internet connection, so before I knew it Charlie was home from Uni and Christmas was upon us.
Just been out for a walk with Milo and Mac. Treacle's arthritis is a bit iffy at the moment so she stayed at home. It had been snowing earlier, in mini snowballs, so our walk was a bit crunchy in places, sloshy in others and slippy everywhere. Treacle has started on some new supplements and also some pain-killer/anti-inflammatory too and I think it's beginning to have some effect.

Christmas was great. Bit quiet at times with just Charlie and I for Christmas day but what we lacked in people we made up for in dogs - Milo, Treacle and Mac were joined by my mothers dogs, Tara and Will from 23rd to 30th, and then on Boxing Day my son Alex and his girlfriend came with their 12 month old Bassett Hound, Pumpkin. Six mutts in this little house was a bit over the top but fun all the same.
Starting to work seriously on publicity for the walk now Christmas is over - drafting letters to local papers to start with and also wrote a letter to Max Clifford to ask for some advice. I figured that when it comes to publicity he's about as good as it gets so he'll know how we should go about it all. Just hope he has time to answer and point us in the right direction. The start date is looming very close now - very exciting and a bit scary too!
Time to think about feeding the dogs and then feeding us humans too.
Bye for now,