Saturday, 4 January 2014

Happy New Year - 2014

Happy New Year to you all!

I've had to blow the dust and cobwebs off this blog as it hasn't been used in months. Somehow I got through 2013 without Dez, and had what is commonly called an 'upward learning curve'; so upwards at times it's all I could do to hang on by the fingernails of one hand!

Last year I was visiting the places pictures on my British Rail calendar - the beautiful Art Deco one - and blogged about a very few. In the end I visited about half the places. This year I have a new Railway calendar, Art Deco again, and here are 2014's destinations:
January, Devon; February, Lincolnshire; March, York; April, Seaford; May, Shrewsbury; June, West Country; July, London and NE holiday rivers; August, Buckinghamshire; September, Penzance; October, Lowestoft; November, Wales; December, Ullswater.

That should keep me busy!

The really exciting project I've started planning for this year is a sponsored walk to help raise money for a new church boiler. The old one has given its last gasp this winter and cannot be repaired. The new one needs to be fitted this summer but the cost is around 30,000 ukp. Every little helps, as they say, so I'm doing a 210 mile walk from the cathedral at Canterbury to Winchester cathedral along the Pilgrim's way to Farnham and then St Swithin's way to Winchester. At Winchester I turn right and this is where things get interesting because there is no obvious route from the cathedral to our village church.

At the moment I'm working out a route using Ordnance Survey Explorer maps, trying to piece together as many sections on long distance footpaths as I can. The big advantage of these footpaths is that they're well signposted and usually kept open and are relatively easy to walk. That's not necessarily the case with 'ordinary' footpaths. There might even have to be a few sections walked on minor roads but once I get to the Cotswolds I'll be on familiar territory.

After planning the route, the next job is to deal with the practicalities of the walk: how to get to Canterbury, where to stay, how to get from the footpath to where I'm staying, how far to walk in a day, where to get packed lunches and drinks and how much gear I'll need to carry.

Almost certainly I will do the walk in sections, not all at once - and will start in March and go through to May. 

I feel very excited at the prospect of doing 2 long distance footpaths completely and a further 95 miles or so cross country. Some people have said they'd like to do part of the walk with me, and having some company would be wonderful. If you're around and think that's something you'd like to do, watch this blog for further information about the route.

Whoever you are, and wherever you are, I hope this year brings plenty of fun things for you and yours to do, and much happiness and contentment.

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