Thursday, 20 October 2011


...days to go until TGO 2012.

The suspense is becoming difficult to bear.  It's great to read some of the accounts of 2011 which are popping up on Twitter and throughout the blogosphere, and if you haven't checked out then I suggest you do right away.  What a smashing little TGOC portal it is.  It is currently serving as a great way to fill the time spent waiting for the nod from Mr J Manning at Challenge HQ.

I was trying to get a message to Mick/Gayle of Gayleybird Lejog & K2CW fame as it seems as though they walked almost exactly the same route as I have worked out for TGOC next year and I wondered about some of the do's and don'ts on the way.  If anyone can get a message to them, I would love for one of them to get in touch so I could pick their brains a wee bit.  Perhaps they have a twitter name or something?

Alan Sloman has been helpful on the first night's intended camp for me, citing Meallan Bhuidhe as a spot with good views, and a lot of deer!  He also suggested that the area near Pait Lodge might be a good and common spot to pitch, with the usual courtesy to be afforded to the occupants.

It's stuff like that that I obsess about when planning these sorts of trips.  Yet when I listen to, or read the things that the likes of Chris Townsend write / say about long journeys on foot, and the very flexible plans they make, letting the walk make the decisions etc, I am very envious.  I guess that I should obsess less about the detail, and just make sure that I cover a minimum distance each day to ensure that I don't take too long getting to the East coast.  I've got to get into that really long distance vibe.

I still can't stop thinking about it - it's a big thing for me, the longest walk - although probably not the most demanding - that I will have attempted by a factor of 2, and I am anxious and excited in equal measure.

When do we find out if we are in again???

Be great to hear if any of you have any anxieties about the challenge, its planning, anticipation etc.

Bye for now.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Roman Around - A trip along Worsted Street

This is actually from a yomp I took with a few friends back in Spring 2011, I just discovered it in my drafts and thought you might like to see it.  Not strictly a TGO 2012 post, but probably of interest to some of you.

The skies were overcast as we sat there.  We were waiting at Addenbrooke's Bus Stop for a colleague to join us.  He never showed up.

The four of us stood up, adjusted our laces, straps and clothing before turning to the SouthEast and got going.  Out through the 'causeway of oversized homes and into the countryside.  A discreet gap in the hedgerow drew us through, away from the 'macadam and onto a grassy track flanked with myriad wild flowers and the associated invertebrates to boot.

We briefly entered Wandlebury's Northern tip before the new road embraced us again, if only for a short while.

A feathered friend stayed by us for a time, making occasional requests for just a little bit of bread that's all, no cheese. And the last bitter taste of civilisation came and went in the form of light industry, down a littered, potholed lane.  We reached the end of the lane and, there it was flanked by hedgerow - The Roman Road of Worsted Street.

I imagined myself thrown back centuries to a time when the Romans were laying the foundations of the track that would be under our feet for the rest of the day.  I pondered how many feet had marched where we were about to tread.  I could count myself among them, for I had walked this way many times before.
The 'road' which calls itself "Worsted Street" is thought to be a trackway which has been in existence and in continued use since pre-history.  It runs parallel to a 3 mile Anglo-Saxon earthwork known as Fleam Dyke which stretches from Fulbourn to Balsham (or vice versa).  We were in a place steeped in ancient heritage.

There are no challenges in the navigation of Worsted Street, for it is, by nature, utterly straight.  There are a couple of deviations, one such being the crossing of the A11 Dual Carriageway, and the other is the short section between the metalled Wort's Causeway and the brief encounter at Wandlebury.

I found myself tuning in and out of my surroundings on several occasions as I drifted into a bit of a daze, only to discover that I had gained a few score yards of distance between my pals who were being vastly more sociable than myself.  I wished I was alone for a brief moment.

To find ourselves seated by a man's final resting place having our lunch was more than a tad odd, but in reality there is no sign, or evidence, that I can unearth surrounding the actual origins of the place name of Mark's Grave.  Perhaps someone who read's this blog might offer some assistance on this.

As I sat chewing on my food, I learned that others had chosen to lunch at exactly the same spot as I.  An army of Black Ants were taking nips out of me.  I relocated.  Pals were smiling.
Despite the anchoring effect the lovely warm sunbeams were having on us, it was possible for us to get back to our feet and back on the trail.

I probably didn't mention that one of our gathering was with child, and into her second trimester - it occurred to me, not for the first time, that so many pregnant women take a languid approach to their gestation.  Avoidance of any effort, strenuous or otherwise, seems to befall many an expectant mother.  This often results in the "can you get my files out for me" or "I'm not allowed to lift that" utterings that I realise have begun to irritate me.  Pregnancy - the next reason to be provided with a blue parking badge?  To clarify, I have two young children of my own, so I am not being anti-child or anti-parent, just anti-lazy git.
Thankfully, my mum-to-be friend was of the non-lazy git type and didn't utter any of these complaints.

We were grasped briefly by a pang to bag a geocache, a pang so brief, we merely peered into the undergrowth before giving up.  The street of silver was now under our feet, having left the road of roman antiquity and a floating Buzzard keened above Howe Wood as if to draw us toward the closing of what had been a really terrific leg-stretch in the Cambs/Suffolk borders.

Have a look at if you would like more information about this lovely, simple stroll in my backyard. Oh, and if you find out about Mark's Grave - let me know!


214 is a number with two significances for me:

1) 214 is the number of fells that Wainwright covered in his 7 pictorial guides.  A collection of fells I am doing my worst to ascend.

2) 214 is the number of days until TGO Challenge 2012

So that's it - I just thought I would share that with you.

Oh, and here is a picture of the splendid English Lake District looking, well, splendid.