Posts Tagged With: England

South West Coast Path: Hillside Reunion

We had a bit of beach walking this morning.

Another beautiful day greeted us as we set off to our next stop – Crackington Haven. With a short 10 mile walk, we hoped for an early arrival, allowing us to do some much needed laundry. We zipped along at a pretty fair clip for most of the morning until the rolling green fields gave way to the all too familiar ups and downs.

Reg reaches the midway point on his climb up from the steep, rocky descent snaking down the opposite hillside.
There are times when it’s impossible to see where the trail goes.

What we did know about today’s trail was that, at the end of the day, it would lead us to a reunion with our dear friend Ian, whom we met several years ago while walking the Camino de Santiago. He’d booked a room in our Crackington Haven hotel, driven from his Oxford home and met us on the trail, lifting our spirits and escorting us down to where a cold drink and a hot shower awaited.

Our reunion with Ian took place when he intercepted us on a hillside not far from Crackington Haven.
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A Most Unusual End to a Tough Day

2acd3171-3c83-4d13-924e-b1e0ee881068A most unusual day indeed!

After a grueling trekking day of steep, slippery ups and downs punctuated by more than 1,370 stairs, we found our accommodation in Clovelly after a walk down a cobblestone way too steep for vehicles.

How do they get supplies to the pub where we are about to have dinner? They slide them on sledges. And the bottles of Southern Comfort I am sipping? Same way.

Now, the question of the day: How will we make it back up in the morning with our backpacks?

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South West Coast Path: Who Cares About All Those Stairs?

Especially when we can enjoy the cute little village of Clovelly this evening!

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South West Coast Path: Westward Ho!

No, we’re not heading home just yet. Westward Ho!, our stop for the night, was named for Charles Kingsley, the 19th century author of the novel Westward Ho!. The exclamation point is always included, punctuating the seaside resort town with an expectation of excitement.

Golfers at the Royal North Devon Golf Club must share the course with flocks of sheep and a herd of horses.
This is a GPS screenshot of of our route today. We walked from the bed icon on the right, up the River Torridge, then back down the other side, wrapping our way around to Westward Ho!, where we are now relaxing (literally) at the bed on the left.

We’ve passed many harbors and rivers at low tide, so we were excited to finally see the effects of the high tide. As the tide came in, the River Torridge water levels rose, floating all the boats and creating an idyllic scene…at least until the tide raced out again, leaving boats grounded, waiting for the cycle to begin again.

Today was the last of our easy, flat days for near future. Tomorrow we will again follow the contours of the coastal cliffs. The guidebook warns of steep ups and down. Can’t wait!

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South West Coast Path: It’s What’s For Breakfast

Our alternative lodging offered us breakfast boxes for an additional £5.50…each. It’s what’s for breakfast.

A little fuel to start our day.
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South West Coast Path: So Many Stairs

Sue climbs a flight of the 30,000 stairs on England’s South West Coast Path. No, I did not add a zero. But I am adding as we walk. So far, 2,159 stairs in five days, 64 miles, and 13,200 feet of ascent.

But this is not a story best told by the numbers.

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The Southwest Coast Path: Nearly There

An uneventful plane flight delivered us right on schedule to London’s Heathrow Airport this afternoon. We’ll spend one night in the city before making our way to Minehead where the South West Coast Path officially begins. But first, we had just enough energy for a little sightseeing. We discovered Kensington Gardens just one block from our hotel and decided to explore.

Kensington Palace provides a backdrop for the magnificent Sunken Gardens.
An early pub meal of fish and chips (and a side of mushy peas) signaled the end of a long day.

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23 beds in 35 days

After sleeping in 23 beds in 35 days, we are ready to go home.

There is just one problem: We sold our home and the bed with it.

We will have to make do, for now, with a rented condo in Ashland, Oregon. It will be home for the next three months and we are looking forward to staying in one place for awhile.

The trekking part of the journey took us to magical lands in the Highlands of Scotland. By car, we visited great friends in Scotland and England. By plane, we dropped in on our Camino buddies who showed us Denmark from the city to the country to the beachside resort.

We hope we get a chance to return our friends’ hospitality.

For now, we fly “home” with treasured memories.

 

We enjoyed a great breakfast at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and cream tea (note the glob of clotted cream) at Glamis Castle in Scotland. The locals were welcoming and some, like these Danish guys, wanted a spot in the photo album.

Sometimes the trail led to seemingly endless Scottish wilderness. We traveled 1,400 miles in our Vauxhall rental, a GM car.

 

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Outings in Oxfordshire

 

In Great Britain, the only thing easier to find than a walking path is a cafe.

 

Reg conquered the motorways of England, delivering us safely to the home of our friends Ian and Marion, who live just outside Oxford.

The next day, anxious to stretch our legs and explore, we opted for the short four-mile stroll through the countryside into the city.

Once there, we stopped for coffee and a toastie at a little cafe tucked into an upstairs corner of a bicycle shop.

 

 

 

 

 

Oxford is a fascinating blend of past and present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped in at the Rhodes House, home of the prestigious Rhodes scholarships and the Rhodes Trust, to have a look around.

The facility is used for educational lectures, seminars, conferences and more. The gardens are beautifully kept and have been tended to by the same gardener for the last seven years.

We popped in at the historical Turf Tavern for a cold drink. The foundations date back to the 13th century and the front bar to the 17th. The tavern claims many famous patrons, including Rhodes Scholar, President Bill Clinton. It was here, the story goes, that he famously “smoked but did not inhale.” Truth or fiction??? You decide!

We enjoyed a peaceful walk along the River Thames on day two.

 

 

 

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A puzzling surprise

 

Rolling green hills rise up, providing a backdrop for the quintessential English village of Grasmere in the Lake District. A paradise for walkers, it's a magical place where tea shops, cafés and boutiques line the streets.

We stumbled upon Barney's Newsbox while strolling through town. The jigsaw puzzles in the window caught our eye and curiosity got the better of us. Our daughter-in-law, Leah, is an avid puzzler, so we are always on the lookout for something that might stump her…or at least take her several days to complete!

We wandered inside and gazed about in wonder. Floor to ceiling jigsaw puzzles lined the walls and filled a front room. Upstairs we found more of the same…stacks and stacks of puzzles…thousands of boxes…hundreds of designs.

Choosing just one jigsaw puzzle could take hours!

 

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