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Long distance walks
This page outlines long distance linear trail walks that may take several months to complete. Members can do all or some (or none).

David Holland our late chairman - late as in previous, not passed on - is not often seen on our gentle walks because he prefers to spend weekends dashing round the country enduring 30 mile + walks. Here is a report of one of them in Surrey.

LAST WEEKEND
Oh dear ………….long time since I started a report like that!!! Met at N at 3.00pm. No problem. I had the top box in the car……..too difficult for Bridget and I to get on……..no problem mob handed though (7 of us)……on it went dents and all……..luggage loaded……..roped down ( it will never lock again) and we were off……….3 hr journey and we arrive at Liphook Travelodge.

Where to eat?.......I had printed off all the local eating places……..however Travelodge Receptionist gave us a card for local “Hungry Horse” (not on my list)…..that's where we went……the eating house of the people……..big car park almost full……..just managed to get my little vehicle in a corner slot……somebody getting out set off the car alarm next to us…….in we went………..big pub……..packed out………noise everywhere…….got a table for 7 (luck)……studied the menu……..dozens of dishes………all very good value……..looking around see huge plates loaded with food being served……..what shall I have?........someone mentions cow pie…….well I suppose, so I go with that…….A Ju have curry…….N R fish and chips……..K ham egg and chips….S and myself cow pie.

Eventually it arrives………b****y hell how I am supposed to finish that……looks as though the whole cow is inside it……..massive…….I make gallant effort to finish it but fail miserably……..S downs it in no time just as though it was a starter. A J only just started eating but everyone else (except me ) contemplating next course……..all I know is that S had this enormous glassful of chocolate Sundae or something…….I could not have started it (why am I so overweight??)……..A J still halfway through first course……..everyone else finished………A Ju give up eating………during all this I could hear nothing but had watched giant TV in front of me…….could hear nothing ……..the background noise was just enormous babble…..tried following quiz on TV but not easy when you cannot tell they are asking……all finish…….very reasonable price……in car……..back to Travelodge……hot room……open windows………sleep.

Switch TV on at 4.30 a.m……….now get this…….this is where it all started going WRONG for me………I watch weather forecast at 4.30, 5.00 and 5.30, each time says the same thing………..we are on the very edge of the bad weather…….with any luck IT WILL NOT RAIN MUCH AT ALL…….ok, so be it…….travel with light coat……..and dress for hopefully dry weather and passably dry……YOU MUST BE JOKING……..knock A up at 5.40 (I think she went back to bed after that).

6.30 down in lobby……..it is chucking it down outside and VERY cold…….put my overtrousers on……….all in car………nothing in top box just jammed in around us…….quite difficult navigating but we get to Whitley Village Hall about 7.05………usual gathering………and at 7.30 we are off……..it is raining…….I am rather slow………have had bad nerve pains in leg all week and each step get big electric shock back of knee and thigh……..I just hope it will wear off……all I see is everyone moving off ahead…….so be it……..maybe I can catch up later…….A lags back……….that’s great…….on the 2 of us go…….everyone else now out of sight.

Now we are not going slowly………..and my nerve pains diminishing as I hoped they would………am getting cold and wet………the wind is increasing……..temperature 1 – 2 deg C…….and coming to conclusion that b****y weather man should be shot………we reach CP 1 just as others are coming out……..on we go ……..wetter……colder……..muddier……..raining harder………the mud in places is becoming horrendous…….just slurry.

To be honest I do not have much of a detailed recollection of next few hours……..just colder, wetter, muddier and wind still increasing……I can feel water running down my skin inside……..I dare not stop other than at CP otherwise I will be in real trouble………at one point with about 8 miles to go a short huddled shuffling figure comes up behind us…….I look at him…….it’s an old guy who looks dreadful………I am not having him come past……there are only 3 of us in M70 class in this event (all age classed as it is really a running event nowadays)…….and I am not coming 3rd out of 3. On we go …….join up with small group……..I still keep up with description but nice to see others.

I am frozen and beginning to shake……..I look at A……..she has not even got a hat on!!.........and I know she has no more clothes on than me…….she seems untroubled……..a tough lady lady……..still back to route.

At last checkpoint………tent under some trees……..I say to A that I cannot stop…….just get clipped and go on………it is now pouring……..wind bending branches………so so cold………last 4.5 miles or so goes on forever………some of the worst slurry yet………eventually finish in sight……..5.28 head torches have been needed………a long wet cold 30 miles.

Cannot go into Hall in muddy shoes………stop under balcony next to rear door……..my hands so cold cannot undo the knots…….takes me ages……A has gone in……and negotiated that we both get same time………eventually I get in…….the others are seated at table eating……..they got in 22 minutes before us……not as great a difference as I thought………9hrs 06………..9hrs 28.

I go to car to try to change into dry clothes……very diff…….getting soggy clothes off in a car…….eventually I get back to hall…..time for food……..they have soup left but no beans………that’s what happens when you come in at tail end………I start to shake……..still cannot really move my right hand…..eventually we go to car……..agree that no way are we putting things in top box……..just have to have it all around us…….I am in my seat…….R and A come out first…….A has borrowed a layer from R and a baselayer from me……..she says she is ok……..then N K Ju in mid row and S in front…..ok…….150 miles to go……..still pouring with rain……….temperature shows on gauge as 2 deg.

A long steady drive home………..much spray on M3…………back home……..not sure about 9.30 I think……..I must admit I am very tired……..totally zonked.

Good time?.........yes I suppose………open for discussion though………must say in hindsight quite concerned at how cold I got and how long I took to recover………feel like ringing the b****y weatherman………I did that once long ago………but that’s another story.


Round Dorset?
Rex Bale has sent in details of his five day perambulation around Dorset, which may be of interest to some members. Click here to see (Word .doc)

Exmoor National Park have a website for this www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/Projects/
Coleridge Way/coleridgeway.htm
Two Counties Way
Have you thought about trying the local Long Distance Path - The Two Counties Way - which runs from French Weir in Taunton to Star Cross? Have a look at the web page
Somerset now has a map to show all trails across the County in a brochure and on the web. See here. Also Somerset Information Bureau is very supportive of Taunton Deane Ramblers Group. Visit their Web Site.
Blackdown Hills AONB has a website, with lots of walking booklets you can download.