I am planning to run /walk /crawl again, this time from John O'Groats down 'South' to St Albans .......... not sure how far i will get but its one heck of a journey!

Monday, 28 June 2010



Well, today has finally come!! I am reaching a place i can call home!! Back to Bishops Stortford where the children live so that is good enough to be HOME!

Breakfast was a rather casual affair with no cooked brekkie as Mondays is the staffs day off! So cereal, milk from the carton and toast was on the menu which didnt take long to get through..... although it had been a warm night, the room had stayed quite cool but my restlessness to get home had kept me up for an hour and a half in the middle of the night so i was still a bit tired when i set off just after 9am....
I began just off the A10 on a lane towards Hay Street and with the sun beating down already at that hour, it was a hot start and i had stupidly forgotten the sunscreen!  (Ooops!)  Mike dropped off my mum when i had 5 miles left to go, around Braughing (famous for their sausages!) and we dodged the cars in the narrow lane, and even a Gordon Ramsay (look-a-like!) in his big blue Jaguar?!

It was so lovely to have mum join me on my final few miles and although they werent the last miles into St Albans, they were the miles that took me to the magic 500 mark and i felt a little inner glow as i passed that big 5-0-0 number.  (Pat on the back Caro! :0)

It was 11.30 by the time we made the final steps into Duchess Close and it almost felt sad to turn off my Garmin for the last time.....i have decided to do my distance between B/S and St Albans when i get my new bike ... now ordered from Rutland Cycling shop and should be with me either tomorrow or Wednesday (yeehaaaa, cant wait!!)  Maybe i will do it one weekend when the weather is nice ....

Mum and i chilled for a while on the patio and it felt a bit odd to be at a loose end where i didnt have to unpack my bag!!!  Mum then left for her home leaving me to shower and go into town with Mike where i bumped into some old friends i hadnt seen for years!! It did feel really odd just wandering around town, not just having to window shop but funnily enough, now that i could buy things, i didnt actually need anything or see anything i wanted! (how does that work!!)

We collected the children from school and made cakes for tea before Mike did a wonduerful celebration BBQ outside on the patio for us all.  It just feels wonderful to be all together again with the children and i cant tell you how much i have missed them all these 5 & a half weeks .....

And just in case any of you are wondering where & when i am planning my next trip to ......???

Well, that would be telling!  (Heehee!!)

Sunday, 27 June 2010



The ‘Penultimate Day’ and boy was it set to be a scorcher with weathermen predicting today to be the hottest day of the year so far!! Well on that note, I was on fire & raring to go but had presumed that the breakfast would be on Sunday service mode and a little on the slow side – wrong! Supersonic service as i was the first down to be served and as a few things had run out, it didnt take long to be ready.

Louisa and Tony arrived around 10am, all ready for marching me on towards Buntingford and Louisa set off at such a pace, it was hard to believe she only had a baby 8 weeks ago! I was almost breathless at the speed but it was great to melt away the miles and before we knew it we had covered off the first 6 miles!

Tony ‘kerb crawled’ next to us (but not in any sordid way of course Mr Dalwood!) supplying us with much needed water, juice and grapes and i think he also got to enjoy a few quiet moments catching up with the Sunday papers in a layby ahead until we caught him up and ate him out of house and car!

At the 6 mile spot it was handover time and he swapped with Louisa to help me over the next 5 miles whilst Louisa disappeared off in a heat haze to visit her relatives who coincidentally were only in the next village!! There was one more handover after Tony’s stint pounding the pavements & country lanes, where Louisa and i shared some ice-cream but before we knew it, we had reached Steeple Morden and it was time to call Time to allow Tony to get back to a house full of guests for the World Cup game!! (I so appreciated their company however so THANK YOU THANK YOU for coming all this way to help me along today!)

They very kindly dropped me at my very LAST B & B location, a beautiful country pub in the very heart of Hertfordshire – the Sword Inn Hand - and i was shown to my lovely room in the garden area, complete with roll top bath and 4 poster bed! I was well in need of a shower by this stage having walked 11 miles in the very heat of the day and enjoyed relaxing away the afternoon whilst the rest of the Country seemed locked in a time wharp as boos and cheers could be heard from the nearby Bar as the match got under way!!

Instead i chilled with ITV2 and ‘Holiday Showdown’ while England seemed to sadly let things slip away and suffered a rather humiliating 4-1 loss to Germany! Oh dear. (Sorry Olivia that we are no longer in the game!)

It seems almost surreal that tomorrow i will reach Bishops Stortford and nearly the end of my nearly 6 week journey ..... it has been full of good (and some bad/terrible up North!) weather, wonderful people and some absolutely amazing countryside and scenery. I am inspired to explore more at a later date and hope my enthusiasm for all things outdoors spills over into my life once i get home, starting with more cycling and the swimming theme i have begun on.... It has also been a bit of a wake up call reminding me that i can do anything i set out to achieve and whilst i may not have reached Lands End on this stint of the journey, i have achieved a tremendous amount in covering over 500 miles so far...... which was exactly what i set out to achieve...

Saturday, 26 June 2010



So excited about today!! I slept really well inspite of the humid night and was counting the seconds down to 11am!  Finally it arrived along with Mike and the children and unfortunately it wasnt the best start as Olivia had already been sick in the car!! 

Not the best thing when we were planning a day at a theme park but she assured me it was just the heat in the car so we let the kids know we were going to Wicksteed Park for the day and they were very pleased as an alternative to trudging the sweltering country lanes with mum!!

We picked up a great picnic first on the way from Tescos and arrived at the Park for around midday.  After getting all kitted out with our wristbands, the children jumped straight on the first ride and it was non stop until be took a break for lunch!  The children were really so excited and it was just like Christmas without the presents or bad weather!

The sun was incredibly hot today so we tried to shelter under some shade for our picnic but the car wasnt very accommodating in providing this so we got back to more rides and whiles away the afternoon until suddenly it was 5.30pm and it was all closing!  Zak is off night fishing tonight so had to get back so Mike dropped me off at Fairlawn B & B in Sandy to an incredibly humid small single room with absoultely no air moving in any corner!

The room did have Wifi and freeview TV however and having been out in the sun all day, it was as much as i could do to lay still on the bed and keep my eyes open to watch it! What a wonderful day with the children and i think i am nearly prepared to getting back to the normal land of the living - lets hope there is a fan in it as this heat is way too much for me!

Friday, 25 June 2010



We were right next door to the Bird Sanctuary so should have really expected to be woken to joyous birdsong but we have become so used to the noise of passing traffic, that is was quite a novel sound to hear at 4.45am!!

Breakfast was quite nice until the 'Wrath of Sue' was released, relating to my comments on her B & B!! Her clear irritations were most unexpected and it seems she had read my Blog & taken exception to my brief review of Forge Cottage and of my own personal opinions on her 4 o'clock access ruling!!  (Instead of embracing it as constructive feedback, she could only see it as extreme criticism unfortunately)  I wanted to suggest putting her forwards for that 'Three in a Bed' Channel 4 programme (no guesses as to which category they would fit into!!) but she was too annoyed & seemed to be missing the point that she has entered into the hospitality industry which is all about customer service and making your guest feel welcome and not like they are intruding and being a nuisance before they had even checked in!!!

She (correctly!) told me it was 'their home' but really if you let people into your home and make it into a business, then at least do it graciously and not with resentment or there is no point!!  I felt like i was getting a right telling off, all before my breakfast had even been digested!  Not terribly palatable, especially after she pointed out the 2 huge favours they had extended by allowing us to leave our luggage before the designated 4pm and that we had been allowed to stay only 1 night when her normal rules stipulate 2 nights minimum!!!

To conclude this matter the place was reasonable to average,  the rules were way too rigid and the Jekyll & Hyde character which was displayed to us, all a bit unnerving but the location was a plus, the cleanliness good and if you can stick the rules, it should suit you down to the ground! Oh, and after all that she did donate £10 to Grove House so Sue, you are a little star after all! :0\  (And if she hadnt made such a hulabaloo over the feedback i would probably not even have mentioned the place again but i guess any publicity is good publicity?!) Forge Cottage - go go go!!! (PS after 4pm!!)

Now, on to the rest of day! ....... we reached Kettering for 10.30am where Gordon was there to pick me up and take me out for our 2 planned walks in the heat of the midday sun & boy oh boy was it hot!!  I have been so looking forwards to today and the adorable Oscar (his 2 year old Boxer!) accompanied our morning 5 miles and it was so wonderful to have Gordon in complete charge of the route and all directions!!!  He had planned a very comprehensive wander around lakes and bridges that i would never have discovered on my own and Oscar loved the water and especially having a dip and then rushing past my legs at full pelt to dry himself!!

After a quick bite to eat Chez Gordy we headed straight out for phase 2 and a longer 6 mile circular walk along old disused railway tracks and then back past some more lakes and the local Diamond Football ground.  It was fun to catch up on the last 3 years and hear all Gordons news and his gallavanting round the world following his ACDC (last weekend in Paris!) and various other bands (off to Bon Jovi tomorrow!) and to have time with such a genuinely lovely man.  THANK YOU GORDON FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL DAY!

He dropped me off at my smart A45 Eastbound Travelodge (where check in was anytime after 2pm!!) and it was all i could do to stay awake after all the scorching sun i had taken in today!  My arms were very red and with no aftersun the only way to cool them was a cold shower!!  Mmmmmm, nice!

Chauffeur Gordon returned with my carriage for 7pm and took me to a great little venue called the 'Ock 'n' Dough where we had a really nice meal to round off a really wonderful Friday and end to a great week!  I cannot believe this day has finally come - my last Friday - and that this time next week it will all be over!!  And only 1 more sleep until i see my most beautiful prize - my 4 gorgeous children (photo of us here the last time we were together) - 11am in the morning and they will be HERE!!  Bring it on, i bet i cant sleep now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010



After a night at the haunted mansion (a.k.a. The Vale of Belvoir!) we were spirited into the deserted breakfast room for a Full English breakfast to start us on our merry way!! It was the only place in the hotel we could get any internet so we had to finish off our work before leaving for the day to reach our next destination.....

Rutland Water was on the agenda today and we arrived at Forge Cottage for around 10.30am where we were able to leave a couple of bags in our room instead of leaving in the car, before heading out on our bikes.  We had a map to follow for the boundary route and there was an add on bit to Hambleton village should we feel energised enough (we didn't though!) and the whole route we followed was around 16 miles.

With all the starting and stopping (a lot!) we managed to eke it out for 4 hours as it was made clear (as per our hostesses previous emails sent to me she said!) we had no access or entry to our room before 4pm!!!!!   We stopped at Rutland Cycle shop and nearly upgraded our bikes with new ones which was very tempting especially once we had done a test cycle and realised how smoothly proper gears can work!! Ours have been clicking and clonking the whole last 3 days and it was a bit like test driving a top of the range Mercedes when all you've been used to is your clapped out banger for so long!!

I have the make and model of the earmarked new bicycles however and just need to do some research now to see what the best price i can find for it .... we noticed lots of very colourful hippos all around our route which were fun to spot (See above - the hippo is the one with the Union Jack thanks!!) and took a few photos next to them!

After driving into Oakham to watch a bit of footie and suss out the evening meal location, we managed to while away another hour to take us to the Golden 4pm!! I must say that this is the very first place we have had such a rigid time allocation to our room on the whole trip having stayed at over 40 places now! Every single other B & B have all welcomed us from any time giving us keys to come and go and made us feel at home but things are most formal here and very regimented ('because we have our work to do before 4pm to get things ready' we were told!) However, the room is very nice, TV all in working order and the location perfect for the cycle route!!

Anyway, no point stressing over other peoples strict rules so we got ready to go out for 6pm which meant we could benefit from 1/3rd off the menu with Happy Hour!!  A very nice meal in Oakham and then we went back to celebrate the near end to my walk with a lovely bottle of Campagne on the patio, washed down with some emails and work appraisal spreadsheets!!!

My mood has certainly been lifted again with more great company (thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this such a memorable trip by joining me and physically putting in the effort to join me and walk with me) and its reinforced my belief that i am better with companionship than just left to my own devices! I am not such a loner or so self contained after all! 

Wednesday, 23 June 2010



I slept soundly after such an exhausting day yesterday and had a regulationary B & B cooked breakfast so i was firing on all cylinders by 9.30am! We drove to our starting point today which was Colwick Country Park and after a couple of false starts finding the best car park to park in, we eventually decided on one which was quite busy as it felt safer to leave the car.

We had no map or directions today so started off just following Byways and arrow signs but after crossing (?Trent?)Bridge we cycled alongside the river and found ourselves at the National Watersports Centre (above photo) and amongst fellow cyclists and runners and rowers and sailors all making use of the great weather. We continued on our merry signless way  towards a small town hoping we could do a circular route however after stopping for some water at the Co-Op it seems we werent destined for our easy ride back!

On trying to get some directions, I nearly fell out with a local in my poor pronunciation of our destination as i was incorrectly pronouncing it Col – Wick and he said that the place didnt exist anywhere round here!  I indignantly showed him my iPhone map and he then looked at me like i was a bit dumb or blond or something similar and said it was Col(W)ick (pronounced like Colic!) and that the quickest way back to the car was exactly the way we had come! How depressing to retrace our steps!

Enroute back we stopped to watch the local Fire & Rescue services practicing their skills to retrieve colleagues from the rapids and slipstreams of the River which was a bit like an assault course in water!! It was amazing to see how quickly people can become caught up in the current and how simply they can just bob under and not come back up again! Scary!  Fortunately no real casualties here today but it was good to see them practicing this vital service!

We eventually got back to our car, very saddle sore today and in definite need of a doubel super duper gel seat to go ON TOP of my existing gel seat if we are in any hope of getting any cycling done tomorrow!

Just in time for the Big Match (like its really at the top of my agenda!!) we made it to the David Lloyd Nottingham just in time for kick off!  I promptly went swimming and for a steam and finished just in time to see the whistle blow at our 1-0 victory with everyone feeling much more happy than after the last match!

We drove to our next nights stay - the Vale of Belvoir - near Bingham and found what can only be described as close to a ghost hotel!!! It was set just off the main road and looked great from the outside but for a 30 room hotel, there was only 1 car in the carpark and not a single soul in the bar save the gentleman acting as Publican / receptionist & barman!!!

We tentatively checked in and took all our gear up to the room but decided to eat out rather than risk being lone diners in the large empty restaurant!!  So we went to nearby Bingham which was still basking in the England victory with lots of local suitably dressed fans spilled into the little streets and not many places still serving food (were all the chefs the worse for wear?!)

We did find one place which served a very nice meal however with free Wi-Fi which meant we could catch up on all our days emails and work in one place without having to risk a dodgy connection back at the Ghost hotel!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010



Today was back to the bicycle and it was a very gratefully received change to walking of which it has kind of lost its sparkle over the last few days in case you had not noticed?!!!

Breakfast was ok, served by a lovely lady a little hard of hearing but she can cook great bacon and poached eggs so at least i could begin the day high on protein!

I cycled to Clumber Park for starters which took only 1/2 hour to cover the 5 miles instead of the 1 hour 30 mins yesterday!!  The weather was amazing and i could tell it was going to be a scorcher so had already lathered on the Factor 30!

With my 50p map in hand we navigated around the outer Boundary route of Clumber Park and covered another 10 miles on this scenic journey with a mixture of flats and long gradual hills which were a killer for the stamina!  After a brief break at the Natrional Trust loos and shop and a walk around the edge of the lake, it was onwards through Sherwood Forest to follow the Cycle Route 6 another 7-8 miles until exhaustion set in and my legs needed a long rest under the massive oak tree in the photo above!  It was easy to imagine being Maid Marion in days long gone by but with no Robin Hood in sight (or Friar Tuck for that matter!) it was back on my bike rather than a trusty steed with only my own legs to rely on for transport back!

A necessary Magnum icecream stop back in Worksop concluded the 33 miles travelled today so at least it can go a little way towards my reduced mileage this week!  It was so easy to strap the bikes on to my new Thurso Ride on Bike Carrier and as its been nearly 3 weeks since i have been in a car, it felt a bit odd driving to Mansfield instead of being on the pavement!!

Thankfully i adapted and orientated myself swiftly and 25 minutes later and hey presto, my next B & B - Mansfield Lodge Hotel!  Once checked in, a much needed shower later and i was suddenly ravenous to after  completing a few emails, its definitely time for some tea! 

Much better mood today, inspite of the new Budget announcement increasing Capital Gains Tax, but heyho (!) as my good dad would always say, there are only two sure things in life - and hat is death and taxes .... i will stick to the latter today!

Monday, 21 June 2010



Terrrible nights sleep, woke up at 1.30am and couldnt get back off until 4.45am!  Just in case you ever need to know in the future, Doncaster Minster clock rings its bells every 15 minutes!  I benefited from a Minster view in my room which looks wonderful in the day but is not so great at night!  (So much for the Premier Inn guaranteed good nights sleep!)  I didnt have the energy to complain or find out how to get a refund so just checked out and walked to the train station for my hour long journey to Worksop!

Worksop! Never been there before and it sounds all industrial and coal mining area'ish but still have seen a mine!

It was a beautiful sunny day but it was hard to quash my increasingly serious symptoms of Homesickness which i am beginning to think is a real illness!!  I checked into The Station Hotel (although i was more suited to The Priory today!) to be given Room 4 and it was like a hot house even though the window was wide open (enough for me to jump out of should i feel that way inclined later on!)

The internet is not working apparently but it wasnt a priority on check in and i was more concerned with putting my heavy bag down and getting rid of my sweltering Red Riding Coat!  I decided to try and inject a bit more energy into my walk today and at least reach double digits so set off just after 2pm to walk directly to Clumber National Trust Park around 5 miles away. 

The road took me through the pedestrianised town centre at the beginning so i got my fix in Poundland briefly, then into the open countryside along a pretty busy road for a mile or two but with a narrow pavement, at least i wasnt dicing and dodging all the traffic!  (just getting caught in the slip stream of the big lorries was enough to contend with and give me my adrenaline rush in the absence of any Starbucks caffeine here in Worksop!)

I reached Clumber Park (free entry without a car! Hoorah!) and walked through to the Church and Cycle Hire area and bought a 50p map in readiness for cycling tomorrow when i will have my bike! More Hoorahs! It looks like there is a 10 mile route around the Park and it also meets the Cycle Route 6 which takes us down to Nottingham so depending on how energetic i feel tomorrow, i can make up some mileage on two wheels instead of two feet!  Oh Joy of Joys!

It was a hot, hot walking day today but i made it back in time to collect my daily salad fix from M & S and then munched it in my room, trying hard not to doze off too early incase there is a repeat of last night - why is that hours awake in the night seem so much longer than those in daytime hours?!!

I spoke to all the children (except Meg) tonight, Sam with his (great!) exam results, Zak researching Motor cross tracks and iPhones for his birthday and Olivia making Cottage Pie in the microwave! Ahhhh, domestic bliss - i cant wait to get my own fix in another week and counting!! :0\

Sunday, 20 June 2010



A good nights sleep and i enjoyed the self service breakfast facilities as it meant i could have breakfast in bed to celebrate Fathers Day!!  I checked out at 11am with Molly and then sat for 1/2 hour in the sunshine on the bench outside waiting for my bus to Doncaster.  Molly ran down the road after i had left to donate £5 to Grove House so that was such a lovely thing to do, it really lifted my spirits along with the sunshine!

It took an hour round the villages to reach Doncaster and i got off just by the Minster and walked through the town centre where there was a really wonderful market going on with loads and loads of stalls with tempting bits and pieces to eat!! Yummy!! I did resist however and instead got my normal salad from M & S to eat later in my room!! :(

It was very busy at all the stalls and my favourites were the Dutch Pancake stall (Surprise surprise!) and the chocolate drizled marshmallows and strawberries! There were also wonderful savoury dishes of creamy garlic mushrooms with herby potatoes and indian stalls and even Kangeroo & Ostrich burgers being sold!  HOw cultured they are Up North!!!

I checked into my Premier Inn room at 3pm and after unpacking a couple of bits i went out for my planned run along the riverside - however after 4 dead ends and no path whatsoever to follow, all i could do was road run and it was a horrible route and my commitment to the run dwindled as quickly as the paths ran out!

I therefore returned rathr deflated after only a 3 mile run which had hardly even left me warmed up! Just frustrated with the lack of direction and route to follow!  I had thought that running was easy peasy - to just follow a pavement and go but with a traffic light every 50 metres and then a roundabout and so many junctions to negotiate, all the stopping and starting just left me annoyed and hot under the collar!!

It was way easier to get into my book and order a meal at JD Wetherspoons for £3.79 including drinks -  Chilli noodles with Chicken  were enough to warm my cockles and put me in a good mood for the rest of the evening!! One more weekend ticked off and only one left to go now as i begin the count down to my last week.....

Saturday, 19 June 2010



Well, i seem to have reached the bottom of my energy reserves today and whilst my feet are now all hardened up, the obstacle today has been my levels of get up and go which seem to have (temporarily?!) got up and gone for now..... Hmmm.

I didnt sleep all that well for whatever reason but had a nice breakfast before packing my bag and leaving it in the reception area for the day whilst i went out to enjoy York!

Sadly the weather wasnt up to much and as i walked the streets and explored the nooks & crannies of the city, i slowly realised it was my 5th Saturday away from home and i am well and truly homesick!!  Whilst on my downer day, please forgive me to just get it all off my chest in a vain attempt to feel a bit better .....
  • Fed up of packing / unpacking and repacking my bag every single day!
  • Tired of wearing the same extremely limited wardrobe, day in day out!
  • I dont want to walk another step for ages!
  • I cant face another cooked breakfast right now but it seems such a waste not to have it when its been included and paid for and is so readily available - what a dilema! It was a great treat to start with or maybe once a week but now i am on overload!!
  • I am missing my car and just getting in it to go round the corner!
  • Fed up putting in a new wireless code everyday to get the internet! Even my own computer is confused and weary!
  • I am missing the simple things like just going shopping for milk!
  • Hair straighteners! I NEED THEM! they are now categorised as 'essential' for my mental wellbeing!
  • I dont want to watch anymore mindless TV in teh evenings!
  • Fed up wearing trainers or walking boots, walking boots or trainers! Where are my high heels & FitFlops?!!!
  • its Fathers Day tomorrow and its the first one i have missed so the children are having to do everything without me....(thank you Megs for standing in for me!)
  • if i have to see my Big Red coat again this century, it will be 100 years too soon!
  • i just want MY bed, MY pillows, MY bath and MY own home remote control which i know how to use!
Ok, that is it for now! Thank you for listening! I am sure that therapy will help me feel better once i am dosed up with an early night and a bedful of sleep tonight!!

After a few hours at the David Lloyd again, having a workout and swim and steam, i walked back into York and collected my pack and went to the Station where i had seen mum off only 24 hours ago.....I climbed aboard my own train for a 20 minute ride to Selby where i picked up my 20 minute bus to reach Eggborough, giving me my first glimpse of the huge Electrical Power Stations that are plentiful in this area and keep the local economy employed.

Molly was waiting for me at the Old Post Office Guest House on Selby Road with a wonderful set up here of B & B for the power workers who mainly stay Monday to Friday i think....each large room is all beautifully equipped with a small fridge, microwave and basic cereals, milk and juice for a DIY / self service affair in the morning and she has 6 rooms all with wonderful modern bathrooms ensuite and newly furnished.  A great combination and i am sure she is on to a winning formula here for her efforts as it was all lovely!

I collpased onto my bed at 6pm, still exhausted and it was all i could manage to go downstairs again to ask for the WiFi code to connect to her internet!!! (how pathetic!)

So, as you can probably tell, today has been a bit of a downer for me, low in energy and mood but nothing that i am sure a good nights sleep cant sort out.  I really am on the homeward stretch now, i need to keep telling myself, only 7 more sleeps before i see the children again and i can see St Albans on my radar getting closer and closer!! COME ON CAROLINE! GET YOUR FINGER OUT! lets see what Sunday can bring!

Friday, 18 June 2010



Hmmmm, unsurprisingly it was another slow service at breakfast-time with only a teeny overlap of one other couple to contend with for the Waiters attentions!! Although the content of the breakfast was on the whole good to middling, the coffee was spilt over the lovely clean table cloths and i have a pet hate developing of having to wait for my brown toast once my cooked breakfast has been served!!!! By the time it arrived, my eggs were going cold and it is really annoying!! Hmmph!

Anyway, maybe it was the overcast day but things didnt improve much when we got to the bus stop (ultra early by at least 40 minutes!!) for our Number 58 which was supposed to arrive at 10.10am (next bus only due at 1pm!!) and it didnt!!! Still no sign at 10.30am - 'Gracious, this is unheard of '(!!) echoed around the locals at the market square .... and then at 10.40am, it finally rocked up, having broken down in the countryside and having had to wait for a replacement!!! Gracious, its all action here in the middle of nowhere!!!

Anyway, due to its tardiness, the driver made a slight detour and came in to York on the road that my B & B was on, so this was a bonus for me as i was able to be dropped off outside the Apple House to leave my bag while mum carried on to the Railway station to leave her bag in the left luggage until her train this afternoon.....

We met up with Sharon, a pal from my Nepal Annapurna Circuit walk with Zak last year, to walk our miles today around York.  As Sharon had been waiting a little while, she had collected some maps from the TIC and was already versed in the options avalable to us ... we opted for a walk around the Ramparts of York and then detoured off down the river path for a couple of miles before rejoining the remainder of the unwalked Ramparts with Sharon whilst mum made her way back to the station to catch her breath and get ready for her train.

We all rendezvous'ed again just before 3pm, Sharon had a train back at 3.08 to Leeds and mum's train to Kings X was at 3.11pm.  So by 3.15pm i was once again, all alone, with an empty weekend to myself before my next visitor arrives for back up to keep me on track from my very last whole week!!

Feeling a bit sorry for myself, which even a Starbucks couldnt make a difference to - especially as they have increased the price of my Mocha Frapp light by 15p a cup!!! :(  i walked to the David Lloyd which added 2.5 miles each way to my mileage as it was on the outskirts of the town centre!  I managed a quick workout and swim before collecting a Morrisons salad on the way to the cinema - i didnt really want to watch the football so thought the cinema would be empty (it was!) but unfortunately chose a rubbish film which i wont even embarrass myself by revealing as it was truly cringeworthy!  (thank goodness i hadnt dragged along my usual victims!)

Anyway, it served its purpose by keeping me from the footie and the only downside was it had cost £5!  With over 14 miles covered today, and not much sitting around except on the bus to York, it was a good day overall....

(Quick heads up on my plan tomorrow which is to spend the day here in York before going to Eggborough later in the day as i think there is a wee bit more going on here than there?! Maybe i am mistaken but i'll take my chances!)

Thursday, 17 June 2010



I wasnt too sure what to expect from Thirsk today as when i looked it up on the internet, it seemed its only interesting feature was the James Herriot House (that is from All Creatures Great & Small for those of you old enough to recall that far back! Apologies if there is anyone younger reading!?)

However, we have had a delightful day here and our walk has been wonderful!

We left this morning (breakfastless!) in time to catch the 9.44am train (12 minute journey!) to North Allerton (where???!!) and then had a 9 minute train ride to Thirsk where we walked from the train Station to find our overnight B & B - Oswalds Church Farm actually located in Sowerby - it is a beautiful looking place and we are in a twin room in the Stable block complete with study and small sitting area. We were able to check in straight away at 11am so after unpacking a few things we went straight out to walk and decided to manage without any guidance or directions and do a Caroline Special and just follow the footpath!!

Well, needless to say, it all went a bit pear shaped half way into the afternoon as the path ran out and eventually led nowhere! So we made a detour and headed into another woodland (only to come out next to the local rubbish tip!) & eventually found our way into Thirsk Town centre more by luck than any judgement, which was lovely. We stopped in the Weatherspoons (for mum to eat her roll!) & for me to have a soda water and lime and then once refreshed we carried on another mile or two along the canal.
On our way back to the room, i double checked on the buses for tomorrow only to find that instead of going 1/2 hourly as i thought when doing my research, they actually go every 2 hours!! We have earmarked a 10.10am bus but I just hope and pray its not like in Otterburn where not everyone gets on!!! Hmmmm!

It was lovely to relax in the room for a couple of hours as we had covered another 11.5 miles and mum had got blisters coming up on her heel.... not sure why i am the only one to have suffered so badly on my little toes but I've not had a repeat of this problem so i have probably tempted fate with that comment now!!
We were pretty hungry by 5.30am having only had a yoghurt and piece of fruit for breakfast so we went down to Oswalds Restaurant for dinner and benefitted from their lunchtime set menu which was still available til 6pm. Thankfully we were the only diners at this time as it took an hour and a half to progress through our meal as the service was quite slow, but all the food we did have was really nice and the service very friendly so at least there was no indegestion over our meal!

We needed to finish by 8pm as we had a date on the computer to book mum's Pilates class for next Thursday but alas, i after spending over an hour trying to connect without any luck, we missed mum getting her class and i was unable to do anything constructive for work other than bits on my iPhone (HOW ANNOYING IS THAT??!)

I eventually got so exasperated i went down to the bar area only to be told they had given me the WRONG code - it has NO 'S' on it if you ever do come here! Uggghhhh! Hey Presto! All working now but mum has no Pilates class now as its full and i have wasted an evening pratting around being unable to do what i needed to! 

(I think i must have a bit of mild sun stroke as i am way more irritated than the situation warrants so hopefully a good nights sleep will sort out my bother boots! Or maybe its 'swimming pool withdrawl' symptoms - there is one in York that i can use - another David Lloyd epicentre!)

PS Also, thank you to my lovely neighbour at Number 47 for sponsoring me today! Cant wait to be home and thank you for keeping an eye on my house! :)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010



Hooray! Another day of sunshine!  (I hope mum doesnt take it home with her at the end of the week?!)  We followed the same routine this morning with breakfast a la Bannatyne Health club cafe, and although i was very tempted by their amazing fresh fruit salad again, i  stuck with my good old Fruit and Fibre just because i should! (boring i know!) 

We sadly checked out of our lovely (fantastic value!) room and walked to the bus station covering 3 miles in the process as i got us a bit lost (well the GPS wasnt working on my iPhone and my internal GPS was on go slow!) Anyway, with 4 buses an hour to Darlington, there was always 'just another one about to arrive' so we caught the 9.27am Number 7 and took a lovely villages route to our destination. 

We managed to navigate our way to our next Bannatyne Hotel which is a wonderful hotel conversion of a beautiful building and quite different from our last night Banatyne experience although still a fantastic standard with very friendly and helpful staff.  Sadly the only downside is that the Health Club isnt right next door but it will add to our days mileage so a little blessing in disguise really!! We were also able to check straight in as our room was again all ready and we have a beautiful room overlooking the gardens...... Very nice.

Unfortunately i had a pile of washing that needed addressing today (well its better than blister talk again!) so we headed up the road, with our GPS and mileage being measured (!) along a pavement splattered in a BLOOD trail (?were we actually on the Murder Mystery tour of Darlington?!!!) to find Irene at The Launderette who helped me put my very small load of washing on in her massive big industrial washing machines which could have taken 4 times the amount!  A wash at the Launderette up here costs £3 in case you needed to know and only takes 1/2 hour at 40 degrees! (its an extra 80p if you dont bring your own washing powder but i have been carrying around my liquid gel washing capsule so it finally had its opportunity to be used!)

We asked for directions to the Tourist Information office and were directed in 2 different directions being told it was 6 of one and '3 by 2' the other way! (that must be a nothern saying but i like it!)  Anyway we nipped to the centre of town and looked over some maps but nothing really looked inspiring enough to commit ourselves to so we walked back to the Launderette and stopped for mum to initiate herself with her first Mocha Frappuccino Light and her own brainfreeze experience!  All caffeined up, we made it back to collect the clean washing in double quick time and then walled back to the room to hang it all up and drape it over everywhere to dry!

I decided to wander down road the mile or so to the Health Club while mum decided to have a mosey round the shops.  The gym was lovely and not too busy at 4pm so i worked out for an hour then swam and had a steam room before walking back to meet mum for dinner, via the railway station to check timetable for tomorrow (....and trainspot a few engines?!!??!).

We decided on Pizza Express as it was just round the corner and had our latest evening meal so far only finishing at 7.45pm! Another 'first' for mum trying a Leggaria pizza (this is a pizza with a salad in the middle for those of you who arent regulars at P.E!)  Very nice.....

And we were all back in time for 'Three in a Bed' (C4 TV programme - sorry nothing any more risque than that, i am away with my mum!!!!) and an evening watching my washing dry! (more anorak behaviour methinks??!!)  (P.S. I covered 11 miles today in one shape or another not counting my lengths swimming just in case anyone is still counting!?!!)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010



My 2nd rest day today was marked by a 7.20am lie in and it felt funny waking up in my twin room with mum!!  (Funny but nice!)  We checked the weather and were pleased to see a good deal of sunshine and decided to get up and get going for our stroll in Shincliffe and following our 40p route map we bought yesterday.

We frequented the Bannatyne restaurant next door in the sports club and enjoyed a £1.30 great value breakfast to start us on our way and have been very impressed with the whole set up here of the Bannatyne Hotel and Health Club - the use of all the facilities is completely complimentary and we have free WiFi, free parking (not that i needed to park anything more than my behind!) all included in our room rate which has made it great value.  All the staff have also been very, super friendly and helpful and i might even write to Duncan himself to let him know how impressed i am!

We walked the 2 miles to our starting point for our walk in Shincliffe and decided to follow Walk number 5 which was the boundary walk around the Parish.  This treasure map was quite easy to follow and took us through the village, along the river, through woodland and across fields.  After a few hours mum decided to head back to the Seven Stars Public House (our starting point) and i crossed over the A1/M to just stretch out my legs a little further (and also to look longingly at the most major road that could actually take me to within 5 miles of my front door!!) Mum and i then actually met up within 10 minutes of each other as mum went on her own little detour on her 'direct easy route' back to the pub!

I found her with her coffee fix at the pub but we decided against an expensive bowl of soup there in favour of a walk back to our great value Bannatyne restaurant where we got soup and a roll PLUS a big fresh fruit salad all for the same amount as we would have paid at the 7 Stars! Bargain Bannatyne!

We had another swim and steam in our Health Spa to while away the afternoon hours and then i caught up with some emails before we headed to Pizza Hut for our 'all you can eat salad cart' - much better value for me as i can eat way more than most!!  I think mum legitmately had the reason of the sunshine and the exercise today to make her feel sleepier earlier but we had an evening on BBC2 planned so needed to get back for 7pm!!

I'm beginning to feel a complete 'ANORAK' doing this walking holiday and watching BBC2 all evening on a Tuesday, going to bed by 8pm and especially when i see these pictures of what i am looking like these days!!!! (Is there somewhere i can check out my credentials and see if there is anything else i need to do to qualify as a fully fledged Anorak?!)

Oh and a huge thank you to my Big sister Sue who has added another £5 donation to Grove House today to enable me to reach my Full Target....... Please feel free to still keep donating though  if there is anyone still reading this that hasnt yet managed to contribute...!! :)   It is all such a great and worthwhile cause and i certainly have had the blisters to prove my commitment!