London life a bit intense? 13.5 mile Wendover Circular and Rumsey’s Chocolaterie would sort that…

A week in Birmingham, multiple 5k ergos, a late night in London town and a dinner party in the ‘oaks…..time for a tramp in the Chilterns was no longer an option but a necessity, not least to support the communities that are about to be hit by HS2.  The stride was designed by Sharon so no online options but this link will offer a pretty good alternative Wendover Circular.

A view from the Ridgeway - stop HS2

Last time Annie and Rufus hit Tring younger brother Tim was busy browning up, awesome achievement even if it is not a sport that rocks your boat and posted here as a mere homage….

My brother, total committment sport - madness and perhaps not your scene but wow ...

Apparently not a team to worry too much about their bodies being temples, titter, a snack break, followed by a lunch break, followed by the famed Cafe’ in the Woods….hold on Rumsey’s was also on the plan?  Annie stuck to her apples and even Duncan snorted with disdain.

Crisps, sandwiches, cakes, chocolate....good Lord its only a few miles

Yet another walk with no shock-horror, hysteria, LOL, navigational trauma or anything other than glorious countryside.  I say it again and again but use online resources to get a walk if you are not great at plans and maps, but boots on, picnics made and Barbours buttoned is a must this Spring.

Just for the record – Rumsey’s was visited and guess what – it serves mulled wine!!

Mulled wine and chocolate cake, great combo

Lugnaquilla….what on earth

Annie, missing the company of various mutts got a welcome invite to join some mates in a clamber up Ireland’s 13th highest mountain, at 925 metres and with views across the Irish sea to Snowdonia on a sunny day, the march up Lugnaquilla was a trip not to be missed.

Getting up at the crackle of dawn (in Ireland this appears to be just past 09.00 hrs) and jumping in a somewhat iconic car, a great beast of an old Citroen, the adventure was already underway.  Nearing Glenmalure from Dublin, via Glendalough, (a few detours avoided with the GPS of an old iPhone) we arrived at the first car park, then the second and the ….fourth, yes keep going to the end of the valley and you will be in the right place, we know this as a fell runner from New Zealand told us.  Taking a map should have been a prerequisite but hey this team was being led by Irish so sensible did not feature.

Ummm a few signs and a little reading taught us that the road we were on was built by the military, very narrow with the steep walls of the u-shaped valley climbing up-up-up it feels like miles before you hit the final car park.  (It was only when reading up on the walk, after a few days, that we realised we had walked across a firing range in error….)

The route from the car took us across a footbridge and then striding out we passed a quaint little hostel, stopped for a chat with the landlady who bizarrely has never climbed the mountain, did not know where the path was and had no idea how long it might take…why is she running the hostel?

After a while we hung a left up a forest track and dived straight into the glen and it’s beautfiul river and waterfall, we then spent most of our time looking for the obvious path up, it wasn’t obvious, was very boggy and pretty dangerous….thank the Lord for my new shoes, waterproof with extra grip.

At the top of the Wicklow mountains

We met a total of three other people in our five hour trek, this is not like the English hills, much more remote and untrodden and our decision to make out our own route on the way down was not very wise, or was it?  We scrambled down cliffs and peat bogs, almost fell into rivers and got a few scrapes and bruises, but eventually found a dry grassy spot for our lunch stop totally surrounded by steep hills with stunning views right across to Wicklow and the Irish Sea.If you have mates in Dublin make sure they take you up the Lug, but don’t try to pronounce that in front of the local linguist who was in charge of guiding and all things picnic, and proud of it, or you will be shamed….I was.  Another great stride out but I missed having the company of a mutt or two.

Splish – splash – sprinkle and splosh….a weather forecast for April not June…Oxted-to-Oxted 12 miler were we mad?

All weather gear was the theme of the day with a forecast that was more Borneo than Surrey we headed out of Oxted and swiftly onto Limpsfield. (Oxted is, according to the Telegraph, the 20th richest town in Britain….must be because they don’t spend any money as the town is about as dull and uninspiring as any in the region), I do not recommend a visit.

Above is a snap I took following my Chipstead to Brighton bike ride yesterday, why, because it is what June, and a town worth visiting, should look like!

Heading up from Limpsfield we tracked across the top of the ridge of the Greensand Way with pretty fantastic views up to the North Downs and on the other side down to the Weald. Sadly the Bluebells were long gone, the rhododendron were clinging on but not in sufficient number to be of interest, so all-in-all this walk was about talking too much and staying dry in the woods. (Note for Rufus, a smaller version of you was spied on the walk, no barking, no picnic thieving and no hair clips, listen and learn). Decision made, there would be an early diversion to Westerham for a tea and cake stop, all was not lost. No Chartwell for us today, but as Winston said “I am bored with it all…” (well I’m not really but needed a Winston quote and didn’t feel that “fighting them on the beaches” worked).

Yum, the cakes looked fantastic but the theory is that they were bought in so no advert for this venue I am afraid. If you do happen to visit Westerham the Brasserie, Le Rendezvous is to be recommended for all things French.

In the spirit of General Wolfe we marched on-on to….. well to Oxted as it happens, for a quencher in the very fine Weatherspoons, told you Oxted was not to be visited.

A poorly written tale for what was actually a grand stroll…had the sun been high in the sky it is a meander that is well worth doing and well documented elsewhere, just look up Oxted circular.

Annie … Clun Valley is in Shropshire not North Wales….26 miles of hills, 4300 feet of ascent …owch

The Clun Valley Challenge day began at 05.15 with a departure for Clun at 05.45 crikey (as they say in these parts).  A cup of tea for breakfast (sensible Annie as always) and we leapt into action.  Oooops slight wrong turn by me meant a trip through miles of hairpin turns with moaning minnie Sue threatening illness for the remainder of the trip, this did not bode well.  Another muttless walk, dogs not allowed due to risk of picnic sabotage apparently, shame.

Rocks squash rocks

Ali and Fi (sister and cousin of Sue) turned up at the scheduled time, clad in shorts and t-shirts, (some of the runners appeared to be in bikinis so no issue here), we all checked in for our laminated check point clip charts and we were off.  Hurrah.

Hawthorne on the hills

En route a few other “chums” tried to race past, no chance, Nilou, Jenny and Sally,….ummm I had heard about Nilou and her need for speed, oh dear, no matter as this spurred Sue on…the 26 mile route was now a must.

Walking through part of the Shropshire Way, our first checkpoint at 8 miles bought: brownies; Cadburys; Tyrrells; flapjack; cups-of-tea; coffee and frankly every other fattening thing you could imagine all provided by the good folk of Clun. Yummy, shame the dogs were not in tow. (Point to note Sue had started an “in case of emergency” fill of her backpack with bars of chocolate and crisps, would this be her undoing?).

Clun cake makers did themselves proud

On-we-marched undaunted by the hills and the threat of rain, spurred on by the thought of the next tent full of cakes, were we so simple, yes is the answer? 13 miles hove into view (cake tent) and one of our team had a wobbly leg moment but a hot cup-of-tea and a hot dog soon sorted that out, (Sue stashed choc and more crisps). Onward and upward. Graham, (carefully lost by Nilou and crowd early on) had re-joined the party; OMG, 6 foot 3 with legs the length of the M1, his gruelling pace was it going to break us all?

Ali and Fi left us at this point, the Shropshire County Show was calling them, even I was tempted by the “quack pack” (duck herding) and the young farmers “it’s a knockout competition”?

Whilst I would like to say this walk was all about the gruelling hills of Offas Dyke etcetera my memory will be cakes, chocolate, tea again and again and again….

Nilou, Jenny and Sue take another breather...

Most of the gang were not map readers but those that were managed to get us into a few diversions so the 26 miler was probably a 27 miler,  10 hours walking / eating got us back to Clun City Centre, guess what, more food!  The first marathon held where everyone put on weight.  PS (Sue realised she was more tired than most due to the collection of “emergency” chocolate bars and crisps in her backpack!!).

Wandering aimlessly – not always a bad thing

Sunday is here and what a few days I have had, to be frank with you reader, I am absolutely shattered and rumour has it that we are pillaring today, that might look like a verb and it certainly might be one if we do it, aka climbing up a very very very steep tonne of rock, getting to the top and doing more and more and more.   I am liking this holiday a lot as the team have bought heaps of Cumberland sausages for my breakfast, lucky lucky boy.  Camilla is not shy of eating a few as well, watch out Millsy need to walk a lot to keep those pounds off.     

Anyway the day looks pretty grand with heaps of sun, not as grand as yesterday but good enough for me.  Take a sticky at the pics from Wastwater, its not a dog’s life up here I can assure you, if a dog’s life is a bad one…..?!     

Sun in September - good for your soul

We all chunkered up Mosedale, a stair case of a walk kindly provided by mankind, a little river crossing, into which Camilla threw her rucksack last time, dunderhead, nothing untoward occurring this time though.  Ummmm hang on, as we get to the top bit it seems there is a bit of a gale running….oh dear oh dear oh dear, Millsy won’t like this at all.  Wind, an exposed mountain and some v steep and sheer edges.  I see a bit of aimless coming along.     

The weather had changed, still sunny but far tooooo windy miller for a trip up Pillar, it would end up being a trip of a lifetime so we changed tack and headed toward Black Sail pass but then did  a swift detour along the back of Kirk Fell with a stride down the side of Great Gable via the gulley between it and Kirk Fell …..not a soul to be seen, not a stranger’s picnic to be snaffled, blow.  Where is everyone?  Annie struggles a little as we appear to be scrambling down a waterfall, has Camilla got the map right?     

Having a bit of an aimless wander and loving it...

 Camilla resting on her laurels, Annie made a huge picnic with porky pies, delicious sandwiches, satsumas and all sorts of lovely, I got toast and one sausage, hrrrmph not fair girls.  

Chowing down between Kirk Fell and Great Gable

As I am so hungry I wanted to post a photo of me that shows me off in all my glory, to be clear this is on the Scafell Pike day so a not really for here but I look soooo handsome it is almost a sin not to post it.     

I am a very handsome dog, me on my way back from Scafell....lovely

Scafell – 978 steep metres and a beautiful September sky

Camilla, Annie and I set off bright and early as the planned walk takes us by car to Jubilee Bridge and a long valley walk up to a fairly rocky route, Narrow Cove, up to Scafell Pike the daddy of English mountains.  OK come on let’s be having some Cumberlands for my breakfast I am already starving after yesterday’s adventures….bark and yee shall gather, excellent I got my sausages…               

The sun is shining, the weather is warm and even though I am a dog I know how special this is going to be…just take a look at the river Eskdale….the fields are full of Herdies – which I do NOT chase and just well… everything is grand.              

Loving the lowland by the Eskdale, mucky paws

The team did not think much of the sodden fields with every foot step soaking their GoreTex boots more, I with my padded paws had no troubles at all and had a merry old time in and out of the river.  As it happens the girls dipped into the river too as a slight recalculation of the route, Millsy…, took place and a river crossing was decided upon.  We carried onto Great Moss an immense flat area of grass and boggy peat, glorious glorious day.              

Barefoot before crossing the Eskdale....what went wrong?

The day continued with sun shine, meadows and then a pretty steep climb up Little Narrow Cove, a site of various mishaps to walkers in the past.  Annie, not as fit as she thinks in spite of the ergo, struggles with some of the bigger rocks.  Today is supposed to be Scafell and Scafell Pike, as Bodge would say…. Oh dear…have they bitten off more than they can chew?              

Annie thinks she is fit...she is not Narrow Cove wins

We make it to the top, very mean picnic on the way …cheers ladies much appreciated NOT, and discover approximately 1 million people, 40 dogs, several children and best of all the debris of 1000 sloppy picnics….but the views are well, amazing.  yee ha.             

Annie uses her binocks to scope the view from the roof of England

The day continued with a tramp down the side of Scafell Pike with a view to a tramp up to Scafell, not on your nelly I thought as I spied the rock face and scramble we were about to embark upon.  Ha ha, have they got this wrong…or what.            

Camilla, genius navigator, did not quite find the route down Scafell Pike and so it was another hill scramble, no trouble for agile Beardie but Annie found the trip hard going, Camilla took time out to phone her Ma so clearly v relaxed.

Camilla phones home, running out of time on the mountain, ooops

Come on Annie you can do it... or can you?

Hever castle circular walk – 12 miles

Camilla has been seriously busy recently, homes being decorated and gardens being tidied I think she forgets that I am the important thing round here.  Anyway Saturday the 28th loomed large with a great big sunny sky, against all the odds as it was a Bank Holiday (whatever a Bank is and why they need holidays).   

Camilla looking down on handsome Rufus

We set off late, as ever another task got in the way, charging down to Hever, about a fifteen minute drive from Sevenoaks.  The route is described as challenging but is pretty easy really, well for nimble souls like myself.   

We started at Hever and then did a 12 mile circular walk with a big picnic stop in the middle, we saw the Chiding Stone and moved on from there.  All very beautiful and to be recommended.   

A handsome dog climbing a trees, bears aren’t the only ones who can…

Camilla is supposed to be providing the links to maps and all great resources as being a dog I am no good at typing.  However in the absence of such I am going to post another stunning shot of me….why not, I am very handsome….



Kentish Oasts - so what - where is the picnic?

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