Sunday 20 November 2017. After the Group’s AGM, I made a trip to Go Outdoors in Peterborough with the idea of buying a RAB Quest pullover. I didn’t need it, but it was selling for less than half price at £25. Sadly, or luckily, it wasn’t in stock. Whilst browsing similar garments I came across a Regatta Montes pullover for just £15. Being something of a “label snob”, I wouldn’t normally consider Regatta products although I do have two pairs of their trousers.
£15 for a lightweight mid-layer/pullover was too good to resist so I bought one in blue. I would also have bought one in Burnt Tikka (amber) but they didn’t have my size. This may have been a blessing in disguise as, when I got home, I searched the internet and bought one in this alternative colour from Amazon for just £13.99 including delivery. Although I have yet to try out the Montes pullover, at Primark prices, it could be considered as a “throw away” item but, from the feel of it, I don’t think that I’ll be disappointed.
There’s an expression “buy cheap, buy twice” and I think that this holds true in some circumstances and particularly when it comes to waterproof and breathable walking jackets. My preferred brands are RAB and Paramo, neither of which can be said to be cheap. I can’t admit to how much I’ve spent on these brands, but I’ve never been disappointed which is more than can be said about some of the cheaper garments that I’ve bought. That said, I guess that it depends upon how much one can afford and how often and in what conditions they will be used.
Darwin on the Trail recently answered a question about North Face products (see video at 10min 50sec) and I must agree with him that brands like Arcteryx are overpriced. I know as I have three pairs of their very expensive trousers. I wonder if there is something like Alcoholics Anonymous that I can join to cure me of my label snobbery, to save some money and to stop spending so much on walking gear?
Sunday 19 November 2017. 12 of us turned out for today’s 5.25 mile walk followed by the Group’s AGM. It was a perfect day for walking, sunny with just a chill in the air. I did this walk on my own on Thursday and took the time to make a short movie to record some of the scenes. It is “back to front” as I did it in the opposite direction to today’s walk.
We set off by leaving the Ferry Meadows and walking alongside the NVR line stopping after a couple of miles for coffee on Mill Road, at the end of Landy Green Way. A short section of road walking took us to the crossing of a couple of fairways on Peterborough golf course and then into the grounds of Milton Park. I read out some history of Milton Hall which you can see for yourself here.
Leaving Milton Park we walked through the underpass below the A47 and back into Ferry Meadows. It was such a nice day that I detoured to walk along the River Nene for a short while before returning to the Visitor Centre for the AGM which, as usual, was uneventful. The picture of the hot-air balloon was taken as it flew over my house later in the afternoon.
Way back in October 2015 I walked the 52 miles of the Herriot Way taking 4 days to complete. Stuart Greig, the author of the guide-book has recently introduced a “completion” certificate. He has kindly sent me my personalised copy which is shown below. It is a great walk which you should try for yourself.
Sunday 12 November 2017. There were 7 of us on today’s 8.75 mile walk with a total ascent of 800ft. Linda S led the walk with Linda W, Francis, Moira, Betty, me and Tommy from Kettering ramblers trying to hang on to her coat-tails. The walk bore more than a passing resemblance to a “Steeplechase“, starting from the church in Hallaton and visiting 3 more churches along the way.
Cross-fields paths and a short section of road walking took us to Blaston where we stopped for coffee and for the ladies to use a portaloo which was conveniently sited nearby. Soon after, we came to a marker post with a carving of the face of a Viking upon it. Tommy had seen it before and had us guessing as to what was unusual about it. It took some time before we spotted the carved face.
Our next stop was Nevill Holt with a fascinating history which you can read for yourself here. We walked around the perimeter of the grounds so as to get a better view of the buildings. We had been fairly sheltered until now but the walk away from Nevill Holt exposed us to a bitingly cold wind. Our lunch stop was taken at Medbourne church from where we had a further 4 miles to walk back to Hallaton. A welcome post-walk cup of tea was had in the Hare Pie cafe in Hallaton.
Hallaton & Medbourne – walk route
Thursday 9 November 2017. The final walk of this holiday was a 9 mile jaunt up onto the Long Mynd with a total ascent of 1,700ft. Starting from the house we dropped down to the bottom of Townbrook Valley to start the 800ft climb up to the trig point at Pole Bank (1,692ft). We stopped for coffee here with views out towards Wales in the west and the Malvern Hills to the south-east.
We headed south from Pole Bank towards and over Minton Hill. We stopped in the lee of the hill for lunch where we were pestered by wild ponies looking for a free meal. A downhill section took us into Minto village and then on to Little Stretton. One final hill saw us on the path back to the house arriving at 23:0pm.
I did 6 walks on this holiday totalling 43 miles and 7,900ft of ascent.
Long Mynd – walk route
Wednesday 8 November 2017. It rained for most of yesterday so I decided to take a day off from walking and catch-up on TV on my laptop. Jacqui and others on the holiday weren’t deterred by the weather and reported that the rain wasn’t too bad.
The weather today was totally different with an overnight frost and clear blue sky’s – ideal for walking. We were all supposed to take the bus at 9:30 but the coach company sent a smaller bus which couldn’t accommodate all of the walkers. Half an hour later a 53 seater coach pitched up and we were on our way. We were dropped off at Bromfield and walked through Oakley Park. We stopped after about an hour for coffee and then walked a mile or so further before making the one major climb of the day to Mary Knoll cottage where we stopped for lunch.
It was all downhill from here at a breakneck pace through Mary Knoll Valley. We approached Ludlow from the south walking beside the River Teme from where we had a good view of Ludlow Castle. Despite making a delayed start to this walk we arrived in Ludlow just after 3pm with time to kill until we were picked up at 5pm. Jacqui and I went for a cup of tea and I then left her to look around the town on her own. I’d been to Ludlow before and 30 minutes is more than enough to see what it has to offer. The walk was 9.5 miles with a total ascent of 1,400ft.
Ludlow – walk route
Monday 6 November 2017. Today was a “free day” on my HF holiday so I could do as I pleased. Jacqui went off to look around Shrewsbury while I took myself off for a walk up The Wrekin. This is a prominent hill and whilst it is only 1,335ft high it can be seen from miles around and when driving along the M54.
It was uphill straight out of the car on a well made and wide path approaching from the north-east. I started at 9:30 and was surprised to find so many people out and about at this time on a Monday morning. It must be a popular spot for exercise of humans and canines alike. It was only 1.3 miles to the trig point at the summit but it took me about an hour to get there as it involved a climb of 800ft. I had the top to myself for quite a while so I took a few selfies using the remote control on both my camera and smartphone. I used the topograph as a stand for the camera but this meant that it was looking into the sun so the results aren’t that good.
Having got to the top, the only way was down. The path on the south-west side was very steep through woodland with slippery tree roots everywhere to catch out unsuspecting walkers. I managed to stay upright but it was slow progress. A very brief section of road walking brought me to the start of the path which contours around the side of the hill and back to the car. I say “contours” but there was a steady rise of at least 500ft before descending back to my starting point.
Although the walk was only just over 5 miles there was a total ascent of 1,600ft. Thankfully the weather had improved considerably since yesterday with bright sunshine but a temperature of only 8c at the top.
The Wrekin – walk route