Thursday, 24 September 2020

The End of the 'End to End'

Setting off from Land's End

2020 has so far been a bit of a let down for many as far as hiking goes and my plans have certainly been disrupted. I started the year with good intentions, climbing some of the high mountains on the island LINK HERE as fitness training for my third, and hopefully final, section of my LEJOG hike that I started in the glorious summer of 2018. All of this was thrown into disarray however with the arrival of the pandemic as I was forced to abandon my plans. 

Cape Cornwall

When I set off from Lands End on that glorious July morning in 2018, my plan was to walk to John O'Groats in a single trip but circumstances dictated otherwise and I broke the walk at Hay-on-Wye in south Wales, returning the following year to complete the hike. 

Sugar Loaf, Black Mountains 

However, I was again the victim of some bad luck when my leg became infected and after two hospital visits, I was forced to stop walking for around nine days while the leg healed as the antibiotics did their work. 

Stoodley Pike on the Pennine Way

This meant that the walk was now split into three and my plans were in place to return to Carlisle, where I had finished section two, in the spring of this year. Then came Covid and all plans went out of the window. 

Offa's Dyke

Having had a number of months to reflect on the situation, I have decided that the integrity of the walk is now compromised along with my enthusiasm for it, so my LEJOG hike will become my 'England End to End' walk. The energy and enthusiasm for the hike that I had when setting off in July 2018 has dissipated and I think that even if I completed the walk, it won't feel, to me at least, that I have walked the UK from End to End. I am however happy that I have walked England End to End in two hikes totalling 788 miles in less than one year. 

Keswick from the Cumbria Way 

Looking back on my hike, despite all of the problems I encountered along the way, I enjoyed some fantastic walking and saw some beautiful scenery. I have included in this post a few of my favourite photos taken along the way. 

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Decathlon Forclaz Trek 700 Air Mattress - 18 Month Update

A brief eighteen month update review of my Decathlon Forclaz 700 Air Mattress with my thoughts having now used it on a number of hiking trips. For a more detailed review, check my original video below.
                                                          https://youtu.be/-nVHp2TwhNQ

Berghaus Fasthike 45 Rucksack - 6 Month Review

A short video giving my opinion of the Berghaus Fast Hike 45 rucksack after using it for around six months. For a more detailed review - https://youtu.be/OtTnMRgkZqQ

Friday, 15 May 2020

LEJOG Memories - Looking back from lockdown

One thing I'm finding difficult about being in 'lockdown' at the moment is the 'memory' posts that automatically flash up on my Facebook profile reminding me what I was doing last year or three years ago etc. This morning, a memory popped up from last year reminding me that a year ago I was hiking around Morecambe Bay to Ulverston on my Land's End to John O'Groats walk. This was part of a slightly convoluted section between the Pennines and the Lake District that took in a large variety of scenery. It was also where I broke one of my hiking 'rules' by taking the train. As I sat in a pub on the seafront in Arnside, looking at the railway viaduct crossing the bay, I studied the map and realised that by taking the train for a short, one station hop over the estuary, I could omit a large loop around to Ulverston saving a least a days walking, possibly two. Ulverston wasn't really on my route as it meant heading south for a while but I had decided I wanted to do the whole of the Cumbria Way, which meant I needed to divert to get to the start. After a six minute train ride, I found myself in Grange over Sands and carried on to Ulverston where I picked up the start of the Cumbria Way, which proved a fitting climax to this section of my hike from Hay on Wye.

Arnside Tower

Leighton Hall

Sawley Abbey

Pendle Hill

View towards Pendle Hill

Gorple Reservoir

Hoad Monument Ulverston

Morecambe Bay

View towards the Lake District

Morecambe Bay 

Cartmel

Hornby Road, Forest of Bowland

Arnside Viaduct