Thames Path: Oxford to Wallingford

Since we arrived in Oxford in the first week of August 2021, it has taken us just over a year to return to the Thames Path. On this occasion we based ourselves in Abingdon, travelling out on Wednesday and returning on Saturday. On the Thursday we walked the nine miles or so from Oxford to … Continue reading Thames Path: Oxford to Wallingford

South West Coast Path: Marazion to Helford

By mid-June of 2022 we were already back in Cornwall, having completed St Ives to Marazion only three months beforehand. We devoted our week to the Lizard Peninsula, restarting at Marazion, continuing down the western side and rounding Lizard Point before ascending the eastern side to reach the Helford Estuary. Our base was a small … Continue reading South West Coast Path: Marazion to Helford

North Downs Way: Borough Green and Wrotham to Cuxton

Six weeks after reaching Wrotham, we were back at Borough Green Station, ready to walk the eleven miles or so to Cuxton. We had travelled via Clapham Junction and London Victoria, catching the Ramsgate train, which reached Cuxton shortly after 10AM. It was a Saturday in mid-May and perfect for walking. There were blue skies … Continue reading North Downs Way: Borough Green and Wrotham to Cuxton

North Downs Way: Dunton Green to Borough Green and Wrotham

It wasn’t until early April that we managed to resume the North Downs Way. The Guide had suggested that the previous leg, starting in Oxted, should conclude in Otford. But we had fallen slightly short, finishing instead at Dunton Green. It now proposed that the subsequent stage should stretch all the way from Otford to … Continue reading North Downs Way: Dunton Green to Borough Green and Wrotham

South West Coast Path: St Ives to Marazion

Almost six months after our last visit – when we walked from Holywell Bay to St Ives – we found ourselves back on the train down to Cornwall. It was late March: we had timed this trip to help us get ‘walking fit’ for our impending Channel Islands holiday. This time our destination and base … Continue reading South West Coast Path: St Ives to Marazion

Channel Island Hopping, HF Holidays, April 2022

Towards the end of October 2019 we booked onto HF Holidays’ Channel Islands walking tour, scheduled for April 2020. Then Covid arrived and our holiday was postponed for two years in succession. So, as the date of the 2022 trip approached, we couldn’t quite believe it would go ahead. It was quite a shock to … Continue reading Channel Island Hopping, HF Holidays, April 2022

North Downs Way: Oxted to Dunton Green

We resumed the North Downs Way towards the end of October, travelling to Oxted on the East Grinstead train from Clapham Junction, where we met Jacqui. On our way we breakfasted on coffee and pastries bought from the platform cafe. This leg crosses the Surrey-Kent border. The official guide suggests one finishes at Otford but, … Continue reading North Downs Way: Oxted to Dunton Green

South West Coast Path: Holywell Bay to St. Ives

We returned to Cornwall towards the end of September 2021. The omens weren’t good, as I’d been struggling with a prolonged (but thankfully rare) bout of exercise-induced asthma. Unfortunately this didn’t respond brilliantly to extended mask-wearing or GWR’s aircon. We’d opted to base ourselves in St Ives, at the end of the section we planned … Continue reading South West Coast Path: Holywell Bay to St. Ives

North Downs Way: Merstham to Oxted

We completed this 8-mile leg on August Bank Holiday Monday, meeting Jacqui at Clapham Junction where she was already breakfasting on a bacon roll. We bought pastries which we saved for the Merstham train. Leaving Merstham Station half an hour later, we quickly found our way back to Quality Street, which was named after J … Continue reading North Downs Way: Merstham to Oxted

Thames Path: Newbridge to Oxford

We returned to the Thames Path just two months after completing the Lechlade to Newbridge leg. This time we based ourselves in Oxford, travelling there on Wednesday and back home on Saturday. We devoted Thursday to the Path and Friday to Oxford. This leg, from Newbridge to Oxford, is 14 miles long. That’s close to … Continue reading Thames Path: Newbridge to Oxford

North Downs Way: Westhumble to Merstham

. Only three weeks after completing Shalford to Westhumble, we were back at Box Hill and Westhumble Station to start the next 10-mile leg to Merstham. We arrived by the same route, changing at Wimbledon on to the SWR Dorking service, arriving soon after nine in the morning. . Morning Light rain was falling as … Continue reading North Downs Way: Westhumble to Merstham

Thames Path: Lechlade to Newbridge

. In June 2021, after almost 18 months away, we finally managed to renew our acquaintance with the Thames Path. Back in January 2020 we had completed the second leg, from Cricklade to Lechlade, though with a substantial diversion to avoid flooding. On that occasion we were celebrating Tracy’s 50th. This time round we had … Continue reading Thames Path: Lechlade to Newbridge

North Downs Way: Shalford to Westhumble

. The second stage of the North Downs Way is roughly 13 miles. We began with the intention of completing the stage in one go, but gave ourselves the option of finishing early at Gomshall and completing the walk at a later date. In the event, this is what happened. We walked from Shalford to … Continue reading North Downs Way: Shalford to Westhumble

South West Coast Path: Port Isaac to Holywell Bay

. Covid restrictions meant another eight months had elapsed since we were last able to walk the Coast Path, so this trip was eagerly anticipated. We based ourselves in Padstow this time round, intending to walk at least to Newquay and ideally beyond. We had a full week, from Friday to Friday, though both Fridays … Continue reading South West Coast Path: Port Isaac to Holywell Bay

North Downs Way: Farnham to Shalford

. We decided to adopt the North Downs Way as a walking project in winter 2020. Given lockdown conditions, we knew it might be some time before we could return to the South West Coast Path, or even to the farther reaches of the Thames Path. But the earlier stages of the North Downs Way … Continue reading North Downs Way: Farnham to Shalford

South West Coast Path: Bude to Port Isaac

. We were last on the Coast Path in March 2020, just prior to lockdown, when we walked from Clovelly to Bude. This trip also felt as though it had been completed just in time. We were fortunate to catch Summer’s last hurrah - and more stringent lockdown restrictions seemed imminent. Cornwall was busy with … Continue reading South West Coast Path: Bude to Port Isaac

South West Coast Path: Clovelly to Bude

. Our previous segment of the Coast Path – from Barnstaple to Clovelly – had been completed back in June 2019 so, by March 2020, this next visit was more than overdue. We only just managed to squeeze it in before the Coronavirus clampdown on non-essential travel. That will delay our next trip too. If … Continue reading South West Coast Path: Clovelly to Bude

Thames Path: Cricklade to Lechlade, January 2020

Five months on from our first engagement with the Thames Path – completing the trek from the source to Cricklade – we decided it was high time to undertake the second leg, taking us from Cricklade to Lechlade. We were killing two birds with one stone since it was also my companion Tracy's 50th birthday, … Continue reading Thames Path: Cricklade to Lechlade, January 2020

Southern Yorkshire Dales (HF Holidays, New Year 2020)

Following our second HF guided walking holiday in October 2019, three of our number became members of the HF co-operative. And the two of us booked two further holidays with them, the first being a four-day festive guided walking holiday in the Southern Yorkshire Dales, from 30 December 2019 to 3 January 2020. (An equivalent … Continue reading Southern Yorkshire Dales (HF Holidays, New Year 2020)

Western Yorkshire Dales, HF Holidays, October 2019

.  In October 2019 four of the six bereaved friends who had, six months earlier, ventured on a 4-day HF guided walking holiday in Northern Snowdonia, repeated the experience, this time in the Western Yorkshire Dales. On this occasion the booking went without a hitch. We successfully reserved four separate rooms at Thorns Hall in … Continue reading Western Yorkshire Dales, HF Holidays, October 2019

Thames Path: Source to Cricklade, August 2019

. We have decided to walk the 184 miles of the Thames Path, alongside our parallel and much longer project: the South-West Coast Path. Our journey began on a cloudy August morning, travelling by train and tube into Paddington to catch the 12:45 GWR departure for Swansea - and alighting at Swindon less than an hour … Continue reading Thames Path: Source to Cricklade, August 2019

South-West Coast Path: Barnstaple to Clovelly

We returned to the Coast Path towards the end of June 2019, intending to walk from Barnstaple to Westward Ho! - and potentially beyond. We had also returned to our customary pattern with a four-night Monday to Friday, schedule. On the way down on Monday – departing out of Paddington and arriving via the Tarka … Continue reading South-West Coast Path: Barnstaple to Clovelly

South-West Coast Path: Ilfracombe to Barnstaple

. In March 2019, some six months after the last foreshortened leg, I judged myself healthy enough to resume our journey round the South-West Coast Path. This expedition spanned Friday to Tuesday rather than our more customary Monday to Friday routine. We took the usual route down, though this time arriving at Exeter St Davids … Continue reading South-West Coast Path: Ilfracombe to Barnstaple

South-West Coast Path: Combe Martin to Ilfracombe

  This ill-fated expedition took place in September 2018. Our original plan had been to walk through to Woolacombe, but the programme was curtailed following the sudden death of my father. My own poor physical condition also prevented progress beyond Ilfracombe: I was struggling with depression-induced fatigue. A GP appointment was completed in time for … Continue reading South-West Coast Path: Combe Martin to Ilfracombe

South-West Coast Path: Lynton to Combe Martin

. We undertook the third stage of the South-West Coast Path during the heatwave conditions of late June 2018. On completing this strenuous walk of some 13.3 miles, we were told that the afternoon temperature in Combe Martin had reached 32 degrees in the shade. I find very hot, sunny conditions difficult and had also … Continue reading South-West Coast Path: Lynton to Combe Martin

South West Coast Path: Porlock Weir to Lynmouth

. In Autumn 2017 I began a long-term project to walk the South-West Coast Path end-to-end, starting from Minehead. I plan to take my time, fitting in the different stages as and when other priorities permit. I have already recounted the story of the first stage, from Minehead to Porlock Weir. This short post describes … Continue reading South West Coast Path: Porlock Weir to Lynmouth

Northern Snowdonia, HF Holidays, May 2019

I was one of six friends, all recently bereaved, who in May 2019 shared a four-day walking holiday in Northern Snowdonia. The holiday was organised by HF Holidays. HF (Holiday Fellowship) has an honourable history dating back to 1913, advertising itself as ‘the UK’s only co-operative holiday provider’. Booking the holiday was problematic. An initial … Continue reading Northern Snowdonia, HF Holidays, May 2019

Funchal and East Madeira

.  In November 2017 I travelled for the first time to Madeira for a week’s holiday. This was an experiment on several counts: a first solitary ‘winter getaway’, a first all-inclusive experience and a first encounter with Saga. I wanted to reconnoitre, to see as much as possible of the Island, so getting a sense … Continue reading Funchal and East Madeira

South West Coast Path: Minehead to Porlock Weir

. The first in a series of occasional short extracts describing my experiences walking the 630 mile South West Coast Path, in systematic fashion, hopefully from start to finish. This was originally envisaged as a joint retirement project, linked to our future relocation to the West Country. But now I intend to pursue it from … Continue reading South West Coast Path: Minehead to Porlock Weir

Autumnal Slovenia

. We had booked a fortnight’s holiday in Slovenia for July 2016, but my partner Kate was diagnosed with primary breast cancer only weeks before departure, so we cancelled. She died barely a year later and, shortly after the funeral, I decided to undertake our planned holiday alone. It felt like unfinished business - and … Continue reading Autumnal Slovenia

Arab tourism in Zell am See

  We spent a fortnight in Austria in late July and early August 2015, dividing our stay between the predominantly rural Filzmoos and the more urban Zell am See, both located in the state of Salzburg. They were very different. In Filzmoos tourism was low key and visitors were almost exclusively European.  Only on our … Continue reading Arab tourism in Zell am See

Exmouth and Environs, August 2015

  Exmouth is located in East Devon in the South West of England and easy to reach by rail from London. Change at either Exeter Central or Exeter St David’s for The Avocet Line which operates a service every half an hour or so. Stops include Topsham, Lympstone and the intriguing Lympstone Commando. This request … Continue reading Exmouth and Environs, August 2015