Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Day 74- Compton Dando to Cheddar

This morning Geoff and Nik dropped Sam off at the campsite, (Sam has taken the week off work to walk with me until Friday which is very nice!) it was nice to see them as i haven't seen them in ages! Me, Sam, Mum and Dad then all piled into the car and Dad dropped us off outside the Compton Inn where we finished yesterday. As there was lots of road walking today i decided to wear my trainers that Mum and Dad had brought up with them. This was the first day i hadn't walked in walking boots since John O Groats and i was worried my feet would feel sore but they were actually really comfy and a lot lighter than my big boots! However, the first little road we walked along was very puddly and muddy after yesterdays rain and mine and also Sams white trainers weren't white for long!It was nice to have Sam with us and we made quick progress along the road. We arranged to meet Dad just past Chew Magna and he was parked up in a car park by the lake which was a nice little spot. When we got there we sat out in the sun and ate lunch and Dad made us a cup of tea! I love having support vehicle and am really going to miss it!

From here Dad walked on with us for about an hour before turning back to get the car....we were multiplying! Walking along the road we past a field full of cows and there was also a massive bull in there. The bull and one of the cows were rubbing their faces together and looked so cute, it was actual cow love!

On the road about 4 miles out of Cheddar Dad met us again and we were treated to another cup of tea! From here it was then a little windy, dodgey section of road until we got on our footpath. At one point we all had to jump right up in the hedge to get out of the way of a car. I turned round and couldn't even see Sam! We found our footpath and it was a slippy, stoney and rooty path up to the top of Cheddar Gorge. Up here there was a brilliant view down over Cheddar and we could see the reservoir and what we think was Glastonbury Tor in the distance. There were goats up here that were pretty cute, Sam wasn't too sure and took a leki for protection in case they turned on us!

From here we went down Jacobs ladder which was basically just lots of steps, and we were in Cheddar! Down here we met Dad again and he was with Hayley and Scott who had come over from Taunton to visit for the evening. Mum treated us all to fish and chips for dinner which was very nice and then we all headed back to the campsite. Mum went off for a shower first and came back saying it was freezing! She wasn't selling it to me and Sam but we thought we'd risk it. Luckily the risk payed off and although there were some dodgey moments when no water came out, they weren't too bad. Me and Sam are sure we could see cameras in the showers- weirdos! When we got back to the tent Hayley and Scott left, we are going to stay at theirs again in Taunton tomorrow as we are hoping to walk past Bridgwater so won't be far away. The campsite was very noisy tonight and there was a loud drunk guy across the field singing!

Was saying today that i feel like i'm doing a relay with all these different people walking with me....i'm the baton! It is very nice to see everyone and i'm having fun but i am missing team!!

Day 73- Old Sodbury to Compton Dando

Got up 7 this morning and packed away and then were treated to a "big boys breakfast." We then had to say goodbye to Dennis and Grace. It was a lovely few days and i was really spoilt.....thanks again Dennis, Grace, Evan and Finley!

Me and Mum set off with our little day bags and dad drove on to find a campsite and set up our house. Today was the last day on the Cotswold Way and we were going to turn off before it went down into bath. It was a dry morning but early on the path led us down a skinny track through a field of dead sunflowers and we were soon soaked!

Today we met the Americans again that me and Hayley chatted to briefly in Painswick. I don't think they recognised me at first but i don't blame them because i no longer had a big bag and was walking with a different person! We stopped and chatted to them for a bit and they gave us £10 for the charity which was very kind. Me and Mum then said bye and walked on but from her eon there were lots of awkward overtaking moments! Made even more awkward when we were dum dums and read a sign wrong and walked round in a little loop and they followed us, i really wanted to just quickly hide behind a bush, it was so embarrassing! It was made even more embarrassing again when the American lady pointed to the city below asking if it was Bath, we both agreed but after we'd walked on ahead of them i said to Mum "I think that actually might have been Bristol!" Opps! We couldn't risk them catching up with us again after this awkward moment so we had to walk really fast until we came off of the Cotwold Way. We were both hungry but couldn't risk stopping! We left the Cotwolds Way just after the view point that looked down over Bath- it was a very impressive view!

From here we took some slippy, muddy footpaths down into Saltford where we got pretty lost- lets just say navigation through towns isn't our strong point! Whilst we were here the rain began and it was heavy! We were soon soaked and sheltered in a bus stop to munch on fruitcake, we got lots of stares from passing cars. It took us ages to find the cycle path we wanted out of this town and the roads were beginning to look more like rivers! How can so much water fall from the sky?! We were soaked through and feeling very cold. We arrived in a place called Compton Dando and by now had reached saturation point so decided to try and ring Dad to pick us up from here. He had been waiting for us in Chew Magna which was a village further on. We didnt have any signal so we went to use the phone box only to find there was no phone in there. In the end we decided to go into the pub to get warm. We dripped in and as we walked in the door everyone turned to stare, it was definately a locals pub. We felt very self conscious so sat down at the nearest table. We both just sat there not really knowing what to do. Mum said "do you want a cup of tea or should we just go?" As we had made lots of puddles on the floor and hadn't really made a subtle entrance we thought we should probably buy a drink! Mum got us both a cup of tea and also asked the girl behind the bar if there was a phone anywhere. She was very kind and let us use the pub phone. We managed to get through to Dad and sat and waited for him to find us sheltering in the Compton Inn. 

It was a faffy drive for Dad as we were in a little village that was tricky to get to but he did well and he found us and then drove us back to the campsite he had found in Cheddar. We were frozen so went straight for the showers but we weren't very impressed. I was wetter out in the rain then i was in the shower! The water sprayed everywhere except where you wanted it. Mum and Dad brought the big tent up with them and its so nice to be able to stand up, there's so much room! I love it! Dad cooked us a lovely dinner of curry and rice tonight and for pudding we had some of the massive lemon yoghurt cake mum made and brought up with them specially. Tonight we've been trying to sort out logistics of who's going to be walking with me when and using what gear....very confusing!

Day 72- Wooten- Under- Edge to Old Sodbury

Didn't have a brilliant nights sleep, i was very comfy but Hayleys snoring was relentless!! We got up early and Dennis made us tea and toast for breakfast then dropped us off in Wooten where he picked us up the day before. It was great having just the one light bag between us and we were looking forward to a short day- it was only about 9 miles to Old Sodbury! This morning whilst we were walking Mum did ring and say if we'd like to walk on her and dad could pick us up later and take us back to Old Sodbury but we were quite happy to have a relaxing afternoon off!

We started walking just before 8 o'clock and it was a lovely morning. After following the road out of Wooten we joined the Cotswold Way and stayed on it all day. It was a nice little walk taking us through some little villages and lots of fields. We had to walk through lots of fields of horses today and i thought imagine if i'd safely got H past all those cows and she ended up getting trampled by horses just before Old Sodbury which was where she was leaving me! Walking along a path today we got chatting to an old local and he pointed out the Severn Bridge in the distance which was pretty cool! We arrived at Dennis and Graces at 11:30am, yes! This meant we had the rest of the day to relax and perhaps wander into Chipping Sodbury to find a tearoom :)

The rest of the day consisted of drinking tea, sitting on the sofa and watching tele- lovely! Didn't end up walking to the tearoom because like yesterday the weather changed suddenly and it was a wet afternoon. When Dennis arrived from work he let me on his laptop again so i got a bit more blog written. At around 6pm Mum and Dad arrived! It was really nice to see them, i hadn't seen Dad since me and Jade left for John O Groats. Mum and Dad were going to stay until Tues and Dad was going to be support vehicle as Mum walked with me. 

Earlier this week i got a text from Karis asking what my meal of choice would be- i chose Lasagne and was cheeky and also suggested that i rather liked Banoffee pie. Dennis made us both!! I felt bad as he was busy in the kitchen- i probably didnt choose the easiest things for him to make, and i hadn't expected Ka to actually mention the Banoffee Pie! We were spoilt, dinner was amazing! After we'd eaten Dad went and dropped Hayley off at the station- it was lovely walking with her and very kind of her to take a week of her holiday to walk with me. Spoke to Jade tonight, she told me she now has to go to "lower limb classes" which she found rather funny! When Grace arrived home from work tonight she got out her pet Tortoise called Evan, he was very cute! We watched him walking around the lounge and then i got to have a hold before he went back to bed.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Day 71- Nympsfield to Wotton- Under- Edge

By 8:15 we were ready and on our way out of the campsite. The walk out of the campsite took us past the pigs paddock and as the Mum was asleep i couldn't resist so snuck in and stroked the little piglets that were asleep!! I love them!! I could have stayed with them all day but we had to carry on so i dragged myself away.

Today was a really nice walk and the sun was shining all morning which was gorgeous. After walking on the road back to Nympsfield we then got back on the Cotswold Way. The path led us up through a forest and then to an opening at the top of the hill where there was a bench. We sat here and had a break, the view was amazing. It was then a steep climb down and then through fields then steep up another hill. At the top of this hill there was a big green ridge and again the views were beautiful! It was definately worth the sweat of climbing up there!

It was then he walk down into Dursley. We were hoping that we would find a shop down here to pick up some food and there happened to be a big sainsburys right next to the Cotwold Way which was very handy! We shopped and then sat on the pavement like tramps and i had a doughnut binge! Sat out here we were burning, the sun was so hot.

We then had another big climb up through a forest and at the top the path popped out onto a golf course. As we popped out the top of the path we saw a guy out running and he was coming towards us. He slowed down and we looked at each....i knew him! It was Patrick! He recognised me to! Patrick is a LeJoger who we met up in Scotland, on the West Higland Way and on our way into Kinlochleven (Day 16!). How random that we'd bump into him again out of all the space in the country and we met him twice! He pulled me and H in for a hug then looked at H as if to say "you look different." We told him about Jades leg and what had happened since we'd seen him. I think he said he reached John O Groats on July 14th. He told us that he lived nearby and had been keeping an eye out for us for the last week guessing we must be passing through at about this time. I still thought it was mad that we had bumped into him again like that! We chatted for a while then me and H carried on and i rang Jade to tell her who we'd just seen.

From here we carried on along the Cotswold Way then joined the road which we walked along to get to our campsite which was marked on the map at Cannons Court Farm where there was also a golf course. My heart sank when we arrived at Cannons Court Golf course to see there was no sign saying they did camping and also it looked rather posh and we couldn't see any tents or caravans. We walked down the road to check the campsite wasn't further on and there was no sign so we walked back to the golf course and went in and asked. The lady there said that it had used to be a campsite but wasn't anymore....great!  So annoying! I felt quite disheartened but H was very good and stayed positive and said sit down and we'll sort something out. As we had left early and it was only another short days walk it was only 1 o clock but its not very nice when you think your about to finish then find out you have to carry on.

So we sat on the grass outside looking at the maps and trying to come up with a plan. As we sat here we could see the blue sky slowly get darker and darker. We decided to ring Ka. Ka had organised for us to stay at Dennis's house tomorrow night in Old Sodbury so we thought maybe we could push on and walk there tonight instead. Ka rang Dennis and spoke to him and he said that he could come and pick us up from where we were and would drop us back in the morning so we could stay at his for two nights. This was brilliant and very kind! We were only about a mile from a town called Wotton Under Edge so we thought we could walk on and meet Dennis there.

As we walked up the road the rain started and it was torrential!! Our raincoats were buried and we didnt want to open up our bags and get everything wet so we carried on and we were soon soaked! There was a stream of water running down the side of the road. I didnt understand how a day could change so much, we were putting suncream on earlier! We saw a bus shelter up ahead so stopped in there to get out of the rain for a minute and decide where to go and wait to be picked up. We a saw a sign to the town centre so we thought that would be an obvious place to wait so went down there to look for an obvious spot to wait where there was shelter. We actually ended up in a carpark behing a co-op where we went and stood in the trolley park. Probably the least obvious place to wait! However the trolley bit made a good changing room and we had chance to put dry fleeces on before getting in dennis's car.

Dennis did manage to find us in the end and we piled into the car and were soon in Old Sodbury. The house is right on the Cotswold Way so should be easy to find tomorrow at the end of our walk :) We had a lovely afternoon/evening! I had a shower, put some washing on, sat on the sofa and watched TV and even managed to write some blog! Dennis slaved away in the kitchen and cooked us chicken chips and salad for dinner which was so good! I have also been enjoying lots of cups of tea! Thankyou!!

Day 70- Painswick to Nympsfield

Woke up this morning at 6:15 to see H was also awake. I curled up in my sleeping bag hoping that she would do the same but she started packing away!! I felt bad but went back to sleep, it was ridiculously early! I woke up a bit later on and thought i best get up so started packing away. As we were sorting our stuff out the man from the caravan who we've named George shouted over if we wanted a cup of tea, yes please! He was so cute!! Before we left he took our picture....i felt famous!

Luckily the rain that we had been warned about never arrived and it was actually a really sunny day. From the campsite we followed the road down into Painsick which was a lovely little place. We decided to stick to the Cotswold Way from here and just hope that there weren't any cows! We did actually end up walking past a few but H did well and stayed calm :)

Today we walked past a alpaca farm and there were so many of them and they were s cute and fluffy!! I just wanted to cuddle them! I got lots of photos. The cutest ones were the tiny babies that had little red jackets on and they were jumping around. I want a pet alpaca.

We passed through a place called Stonehouse which is next to Stroud and then through a village called Kings Nympton. In Kings Nympton we found a coop and H popped in and came out with lots of goodies including a chocolate cake....it looked amazing! From here we climbed up through a dark gloomy woods and arrived up on a road which we followed round to Nympsfield. We stopped here and i went into the pub to ask about a campsite, there wasnt one marked on the map but Gayle had written down that there was one around here so we knew it must be here somewhere.

We were directed down the road and soon arrived at the campsite which was called Thistledown. The campsite was definately not what we had imagined and at first we thought it was weird but in the end i think we both really liked it. It was a massive site that had three fields, the top field had no showers just portaloos and the 2nd and 3rd fields had showers but composting toilets. There are no cars allowed down to the bottom 2 fields but there were massive wheelbarrows that people could use to wheel camping gear or even children down the steep hill to the camping fields! Definately wasnt keen on the composting toilets at first but they actually weren't that bad.

Today was only a short day but because we got up early although we took it slow and had lots of breaks we had finished walking by 2. We had a really relaxing afternoon lying out in the sun and then after dinner we went for a wander around the campsite. Up on the top field were lots of paddocks and there were horses, goats and loads of cute little piglets!!! The piglets were my favourite and we sat there and watched them for ages. There were 9 of them and they were all following there mum around then one by one they trotted off to bed and they all piled on top off each other and looked adorable. I wanted to go in and steal one!! A little boy and his dad also came over to look at the animals and the boy said that we could go in the paddocks if we wanted too, he was in their earlier. I would have but Mum pig was MASSIVE!!! The goats were pretty cute too and were jumping up at the fence for food.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Day 69- Cheltenham to Painswick

As we were at the campsite we had quite a lazy morning and got ready slowly. I discovered as i was packing up that my platapus thing had a whole in and was leaking all over my bag....very annoying!Today we walked along a bit of the Gloucestershire Way but it was mostly a day of roadwalking because we were trying to avoid fields so H didn't have to deal with any cows. We had one big climb up to a place called Cold Slad and on our way up here we saw a fox which was pretty cool. From Cold Slad we walked down along the road and arrived at a very big and busy road, i had seen it on the map and hoped that there would be a crossing of some sort but there wasn't. We decided to walk up the side of the road hoping that there would be a crossing up by the roundabout, we guessed there would be as it looked like both the Cotswold Way and the Gloucestshire Way crossed over here. When we got there it was clear that this was where we were suppose to cross as there was an island in the middle but it was still a bit dodgey as it was very very busy! A nice lorry driver let us across the first bit but we stood on the middle island for a long time before another kind lorry driver coming the other way also let us pass. Right next to the roundabout was a pub called the Hot Air Balloon. We couldn't resist so popped in for a drink....we deserved it! We enjoyed a nice drink then before we left got the girl at the bar to fill up our waterbottles.

From here the Cotswold way lead us to a view point which looked down over Gloucester i think although ic ould be wrong, somewhere down there anyway. It was a really cool view down from the hill, the land below was flat for miles. Up where we were there was a lovely grassy area and there were lots of benches and although we had only just had a break it was to nice to miss so we took a seat on a bench and ate some lunch. From here we took the road down through a forest to Birdlip. It was really sad that Jade wasn't here because she loved the sound of Birdlip!! Biiiiirdlip! Also we were mant to be here the weekend Ka came to see us so it was also sad that she didn't get to see it. However, i made sure i got a picture by the signpost and also some pics of the place itself although there wasn't much there!

From Birdlip it was a long walk on the road down through the forest and then we joined back on the Cotswold Way. We planned to follow the Cotswold Way all the way into Painswick and just hope that we could find somwhere just out of the other side to wild camp as we were feeling tired! I was very impressed with Hayley, she was feeling tired but was doing very well. She had already walked 2 very long days! The Cotswold Way took us across a golf course, the grass looked so green and lovely and i just wanted to pitch the tent up everywhere! Whilst we were walking along here Ka rang to say hello and we asked her on the off chance if she could google and see if there were any campsites around here that just hadn't been marked on the map. Ka was brilliant and found a farm that was just a field and a tap but let people stay. It was perfect timing because as she rang to tell us this we had just reached the road that would take us down to it. Afew minutes later and we would have been on past it.

Holcombe farm which was the place that Ka had found us was just off our route and about 1km away from Painswick and although i wanted to get past Painswick this seemed like the best bet so we went there. We arrived at the farm and the farmer and his wife were lovely and let us camp for free although it was meant to be £5 each. It was just us and a man in a caravan on the field. We were just discussing how we were running low on food and would need to find a shop tomorrow when the man from the caravan came over to say hello. He was really cute and said he was going to Tesco down in Stroud if we wanted a lift. Wow- perfect! We got lots of goodies from tesco including cream cakes!!! 

Tonight we were warned by Ka and Scott (H's fiancee) that there was going to be torrential tomorrow so we made sure everything was sorted so if there was a downpour it would all stay dry.

Day 68- Broadway to Cheltenham

Another early morning! Got up at 7 and were walking again by 8:20. It was a really nice morning and the sun was shining, it looked like it was going to be a hot day! The day started off with a lovely steep hill so we were soon nice and sweaty! The path was really nice and so far i have been very impressed with the Cotswold Way, it has been very well signposted....unlike the Pennine Way! Hayley wasn't feeling too good this morning which was a bit of a worry. She was very tired because she had a rubbish couple of nights sleep and also she felt sick and hadn't been able to eat much the past couple of days....not good! Fortunately she was feeling better later in the day!

Today we were on our way to a place called Winchcome and we were on our way through some fields when we reached a gate that had a sign saying "Beware Bull"....great! I did think maybe i should hide this from H but she spotted it a mile off. As we couldn't see anything in the field we did carry on through although H was on edge and walking right up to the fence. We were right near the end of the field when we saw them, huddled around the gate! They had a whole field yet were sat right where we wanted to go! It wasn't worth even suggesting carrying on so we turned around and hoped to find another way through. We spotted a gate through the neighbouring field and were wondering whether this would take us where we wanted to go when an old couple appeared on the other side. They had obviously just done the same thing as us so we went through that way instead....cows and bull averted!

In Winchcombe we spotted a co-op and popped in then found a carpark with toilets where we sat in the sun and snacked. It was so hot! From Winchcome we decided it would be easier to follow the road down into Prestbury and then on through Cheltenham. The walk through Cheltenham was quite long and we were both tired but we took it slow and had lots of breaks. We weren't sure where we were at one point in Cheltenham but we used the GPS which i now love and found we were exactly where we wanted to be but just needed to get up on the old railway line. We walked along here to the station where there was another coop. I popped in here whilst H waited outisde with the bags and then i went off into the station in search of toilets! I was wandering around the station for ages before i found them, must have clocked up an extra mile!

From the station it wasn't too long a walk to the campsite. The campsite was very nice and we enjoyed having toilets and a shower! There was a really cool laundry room that was full of random chairs so after dinner and showers we went and sat in their for the evening to charge phones, read and catch up on diary writing. I shotgunned the deck chair which was so cosy, i wanted to steal it and carry it with me!

Day 67- Stratford Upon Avon to Broadway

After a rubbish nights sleep we got up at 5am and were at Taunton station for 6:20. We waved goodbye to Sam and went to find our platform. We had a bit of a wait at the station as the train wasn't going til 6:50 and it was also running a bit late. Whilst we were sat waiting on the platform we were joined at the platform by an old lady who wouldn't stop talking! She was very cute though and i think she enjoyed having people to talk too. We had been on the road for not even 10 minutes and had already made a friend!

Train journey went well although the lady siting opposite us had a horrible cough and sounded like she was going to be sick...it was hideous! I said to H its a good job Jade isn't here because she would have hated today already, 1) because it was a really early morning and 2) because of the sick coughing lady. Whilst we were on the train Gayle text me and said that her and Mick were going to come and meet us in Stratford with maps which was very nice!

We got into Stratford at 10:20 and it was really strange that Jade wasn't there and Hayley was. I kept looking at her and laughing thinking what are you doing here?! I do feel sorry for her because she let us stay in her house for a week and somehow ended up getting roped into a week of walking. I really appreciated it though, thanks H when you read this! The first 5 miles went pretty quick along a flat cycle track, this took us to a place called Long Marsden where we met Gayle and Mick! It was lovely to see them and they walked with us for the next few miles. Gayle gave us the maps she had sorted for us and she must have spent alot of time on them, it looked like a lot of work. As well as this they also lent us there GPS for the rest of the week which is very clever and i'm sure will come in handy......thankyou again Gayle and Mick!

We left Gayle and Mick and soon faced our first obstacle of the day....a field of cows. I forgot that H was not a big cow fan and she made it clear she did not want to go through the field so we took a detour through another field and walked along the road to a place called Mickleton. On this detour to avoid the cows H managed to electrocute herself on the fence and touched me at the same time so it was a double electrocution! What is it with my family and electric fences?!

From Mickleton it was on to Chipping Campden where the Cotswold Way started. It was a very pretty little village and all the houses looked very smart made out of the cotswold stone. We hoped we might find somewhere just on from here to stop and wild camp for the night but we couldn't see anywhere suitable so we had to push on to a place called Broadway where Gayle had suggested a wild camping spot or a certified caravan and camping site (aka a field and tap).

On the way to Broadway we had another cow drama. We were sat having a break in a seemingly empty field when suddenly a cow popped out from behing a hedge. I have never seen H move so fast, she jumped up grabbed her bag and started walking quickly away calling me over as she walked. As H did not want to pass by the cow we then tried to sneak around the hedge to get to the underpass that was just ahead that would get us under the road we needed to cross. Unfortunately we snuck around to find a load more cows and also some calves. H then started properly panicing and i thought she was going to hyperventilate, she was stressing me out! I dont particularly like cows either but she was a mess!! She was begging me to walk bacj up the field with her and find another way down, i tried to keep her calm and explain that we needed to go under this underpass else we wouldn't be able to cross the road. We ended up walking up then sneaking down the other edge of the field and luckily the cows moved away so we could get through.

We then walked through Broadway and by now we were both very tired and just wanted to set up the tent. We arrived on a road at a place called West End and wre going to climb up the hill to find a wild camp spot when we met an old guy who was out walking his dog. He asked what we were doing and when we told him we were looking for a place to camp he said there wouldn't be anywhere up the hill but there was a site not far at all down the road, we realised this must be the one Gayle had written down. We decided we would go there and walked down the road and soon saw the sign for it however we couldn't actually see where it was. Gayle saved the day again and had written down a phone number so we gave it a call and a lovely man answered. He said to walk straight up the road and it was the field with the caravans in, there weren't any toilets or showers but there was a tap. This was fine for us we really just wanted a patch of grass so we could go to bed and we had been starting to think we would never find one. We got the tent up quick and too tired and not hungry enough to cook we had ham bagettes for dinner. It had been a long day, up at 5am then walking until 8.

Physio day in Taunton aka saddest day ever!

It was a very emotional day and horrible to say bye to Jade, i didn't want her to go and she didn't want to go but we knew it was the 'sensible' thing to do. After an emotional goodbye it was a very busy and stressful night. Hayley kindly said she would spend the next week of her holidays walking with me and we decided we might aswell get going straight away so it was a rush to sort things out. Sam had popped up to Taunton to visit today and it was lovely to see her when i was feeling sad. It probably wasn't the funnest afternoon for her as there were lots of tears and stress but she was really helpful and was running around making us tea and cooking pizza whilst me and hayley were packing. She even ended up staying over which she hadnt planned so she could drop me and hayley off at the station in the morning and save us the hour long walk! Thankyou :) !!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Sorry for the delay, it has been a sad and hectric few days, on Friday 19th I had my physio appointment and my mum wanted to come with me to make sure everything was okay, and so i didn't lie and say it was good news when really it wasn't going to be, unfortunatly it was bad news and he told me to go home and rest :( Apparently the damage is not yet done and if i carried on walking, apart from excrutiating pain I would also suffer in the long run, which is not really what we wanted, so after A LOT of tears and decision making (even made mum and nan cry) we decided that I should go home and sort my life out, but both of us agreed that this should not stop both of us walking so we wanted Becks to carry on, however, not on her own so poor Hayley (Beck's sister we were staying with in Taunton) has been roped in to walking, Hayley is using my kit so when I came home all I had to show for 9 weeks on the road was a carrier bag full of rubbish and a stupid limp (plus lost a stone!) I have been speaking to Becks and Hayley twice a day to see how their doing, by the sounds of it they are doing really well and have been having 17 and 19 mile days, I think Hayley had a bit of a sketchy moment in a cow field aswell! But they are both doing so well! Hopefully i will be off crutches and fit asap so can join Becks and walk through the finsih line (then get the train back up to Stratford to walk the chunk i missed out!) I've now called myself logistical support and will be doing more fundraising back in Torquay with hopefully cake sales in Tesco to raise some more funds, please keep sponsering! Becks said in return for entertaining blog, you should sponser us! Nothing is free in this world! 

I'll get an update tonight of how they are doing and hopefully update on here :)

Jade X

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Rest Days in Taunton

We did write this post a few days ago.....but accidentally deleted it and we were too annoyed to write another....

We went to the hospital on Monday morning to try and get my leg sorted out, and luckily we were the only people in A&E so were seen very quickly, I saw a doctor who tried to work out what was actually wrong and she thinks that either the ligament, muscle or tendons have been ripped, she said it was difficult to define which one as they were all intertwined together, I then asked how long for recovery..................6 months :( What a bummer! I told her i had 6 days, not 6 months! She then said that as I had already been walking on it for 2 weeks the damage had already been done, so for manning up and dealing with the pain I was being punished! I have been bookd in for physio on friday and mum is coming up with me, I told her if it was bad news I don't want her to bung me in the car and drive me back to Torquay! We have come so far and i'm pretty confident at the end of this week we will be back on the road, it's going to be a very painful finish but I had might aswell be in pain walking than be in pain lefarging on the couch at home doing nothing.

But who knows, as its a waiting game, am very sorry to Becks and cannot begin to understand how frustrated she is, shes been very good! The kinect has been keeping us occupied and we are fully up to date on day time TV withcome dine with me and Bridezilla, we know times are bad when Jermey Kyle is on our screens.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Day 60, 61, 62 - Resting in Ilmington

What a palava the last few days have been! Just thought we would give everyone a quick update, unfortunatly we have taken 3 rest days and I have been religiously taking my painkillers but so far there has been no improvement and to walk i am relying on cructches which is slightly frutrating. Myself and Becks are itching to get back walking, (Becks is getting very bored) and we definalty would if we could however walking at 0.2 mph is getting us no where very quickly! And is very painful!

Karis (Beck's sister) came up to visit us yesturday morning and we went sightseeing in Stratford-upon-Avon, it was a lovely day and very nice to see Karis, we also had a lovely last evening with Jane and her family and had an amazing BBQ, we felt like a part of the family so it was very sad this morning when we had to say our goodbyes! Janes daughter Kate and her friend Steph came up from London for the weekend so it was a full house! Big thankyou to Kate for making really nice sandwiches for the car ride to Taunton! We loved the initials on each roll!

So now, we have travelled 100 odd miles south to Taunton, where Beck's other sister lives, here we will be resting (loosing muscle and getting fat) while my leg heals and tomorrow morning bright and early were hitting A&E, Jane told me to take no rubbish from them, and to get to the bottom of the problem, however, stronger painkillers do sound quite nice. We decided not to go home to rest as the next time we want to be home is when we have finished the whole walk, i don't think either of us could handle people telling us how well we had done, also Taunton is a lot more accessable to Straford than travelling from deep Devon, hopefully within the week we will be back on the road again....... were not finished yet, and the walk will be completed, every step of the way!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Day 59- Hospital day in Stratford

As you may have noticed we are very behind on blog! Sorry if we've confused anyone but we just wrote up the days so at least you can know where we've been. We will go back and fill in these days when we get the chance! So much has happened....there has been drama!

Jade has had a bad leg for 10 days and this morning (after a hideously long day yesterday) she actually could not move! She could hardly make it to the toilet block which was about 40 metres away and had to use the leki's to move anywhere! She has been moving around the campsite at about 0.1 mph and people were asking me and mum (Mum has been walking with us for the past 9 days) if she was alright! Everyone was staring...she was a spectacle! Jade finally managed to make it to the toilet block with a few tears and then had to have a sit down shower! I tried to help her walk back over to the tent area and 3 little children were running around. They were running around us and onme little girl was going 'na na nana na!' and watching jade struggle said 'haha thats funny!' This was not helpful and Jade said through gritted teeth, "Get them away from me!"

As Jades leg was so bad we decided to go to the hospital this morning to get it seen to. We were camped at Stratford racecourse last night. The man there was very nice and let us camp for free! We were going to leave the tents there this morning and then go to the hospital but found out this morning that the campsite had to be vacated by 10am because there was a race on tonight so we got all packed up and then rang for a taxi. We asked the taxi driver to drive right in so jade could just plock herself in the car. We knew that the doctors would say take pain killers and rest so i was imagining us having to get trains home to rest for a week then come back and start again, i think Jade was thinking the same.

We got to the minor injuries unit and jade hobbled in. Jade had a little chat with the nurses and got a bit emotional. Luckily there was a free physio slot today so we sat and waited for him to come and have a look at it. Whilst we were waiting the two nurses which were really lovely brought us out some tea and biscuits! The other patients were getting jealous and one lady said "that's favouritism!" Jade was then force fed lots of drugs by the nurse! She is like a child and says she can't swallow tablets so the nurse (Jane) went on a yoghurt stealing mission so she could crush the painkillers up and mix them into the yoghurt. Just as Jade was saying "oooo i hope she finds a muller," the nurse walked in....Muller in hand!

Jade was then given a wheelchair! You should have seen the smile on her face! We have been joking for weeks about changing our facebook page to "Becks walks and pushes Jade in a wheelchair from John O Groats to Lands End"....its looking likely! First she was seen by a GP who said he couldn't work out what was hurting and that it maybe internal bleeding! I felt bad at this point because Jade had said she thought it was internal bleeding and i had laughed at her! He said that she may have to get an ambulance to Warwick hospital for further tests! She was then wheeled off for a very long time. Whilst she was gone me and Mum enjoyed the rest! Upstairs Jade saw the physio who she described as "rather nice" i think she regretted the choice of shorts.....ie. very short! Short shorts + physio = no no!! She was wheeled back down and we were told that they now thought it was an irrated siatic nerve (however its spelt!). As we knew they suggested rest and lots of painkillers. I think the plan would have been to get the train to my sisters (Hayleys) in Taunton for a few days then see how Jade was feeling, but the nurse then offered for us to stay at her house for the weekend!! How lovely!!

Mum was going to get the train beck to Taunton tomorrow but as we weren't walking today she thought she would go today instead. We've been really glad Mum has been with us this week, its been a difficult week and she has been brilliant :) The nurse was really helpful and looked up train time for Mum. The train they found was leaving in 8 minutes time so after a rushed goodbye Mum jumped in the nurses mini and they drove off for the station! Jane then got back and then dropped me and Jade off at her house. She showed us around said help yourself and then drove back to work! It still amazes us how kind and trusting people are. We have meet so many lovely people on our way and people always seem to be there to help us just when we need it!

Janes house is amazing! Words cannot describe it! We have had a relaxing afternoon watching tele and reading. Jade cannot move so i feel like a slave but its worth it if it'll help it heal! We are really hoping that a few days rest will help and that we'll be able to get moving again on Monday! If Monday comes and the leg is still bad we will have to come up with a plan but we are going to make it Lands End! :)

Day 58- Shustoke to Stratford- Upon- Avon

Jade was obviously in a lot of pain this morning and was in tears just trying to get ready. I really didnt know what to expect today....things weren't looking good. I was also worried because last night we had a look at the maps and discovered that the nearest campsite was in Stratford. I didnt for a second think there was any chance that we would make it there as it was about 30 miles away, but Jade made it clear that she would not wild camp for a 2nd night so Stratford was our aim for today. I didnt mind trying to get there as i would also love a shower but i just didnt see how we could with Jades leg how it was......30 miles is a really long day with 2 working legs!

When we were all packed up we sat down and had another look at the maps and made the descision to follow the road for the first half of the day rather than the heart of england way. Jade was finding stiles and steps a real struggle with her bad leg and we thought that if the heart of england was anything like the staffordshire way there would be lots of them, so it would be best to steer clear.

We left just before 9 to start our long stretch of road walking. We walked through some little villages and then through a place called Meriden that was signposted 'the centre of england' which we thought was really exciting!! Now we had passed both the centre of britain and the centre of england! In Meriden we found a shop and brought some food for lunch including some massive sandwhiches. We also found a cafe and stopped for a nice rest and cup of tea. From here it was on to a place called Berkswell and then from there it was lots more fiddly bits of road until we met the Grand Union canal. By the time we got to the canal it was 3:30pm and we'd probably already walked at least 12 miles. By now my legs and feet were already feeling quite achey, walking on tarmac is not particularly enjoyable! However, i think it was a good decision and that if we took the heart of england way it would have taken a lot longer to walk the same distance. 

So, at 3:30pm we felt like we were starting another days walk. We weren't on the Grand Union canal for long before we switched onto the Startford- Upon- Avon canal. It was very pretty along here and also really busy with lots of barges travelling one way or the other. This canal took us all the way into Stratford and it was a very long afternoon! I think we were all feeling achey and tired,  although at one point Jade suddenly had a massive spurt on and was walking so fast that me and mum couldn't keep up with her! I dont know how she did it with her bad leg but i was very impressed! The last 7 miles were an absolute killer and seemed to be never ending, but we'd got this far so we were going to get to the campsite. To keep herself distracted Jade made lots of phonecalls and it seemed to be a really good idea, it kept her going and kept her happy.

By the time we got off the canal i can't describe how shattered and achey i was but we still had to find a shop and then go and find the campsite which was marked on the map as on the racecourse. Luckily we were passing right past a morrisons anyway so we stopped there and me and Jade went in and left Mum outside with the bags. We tried to be quick but i think it felt like ages to Mum who was sat freezing outside! By now it was pretty late and i just wanted to lie down. Bags heavy with food we put our bags back on and set off for the campsite. We followed a sign for the racecourse only to find that we were at a bit of a dead end. Great! This is when we realised it wasn't going to be simple. It was now also getting dark and starting to rain! We decided to just knock on one of the houses and ask for directions. A lovely man answered and looked surprised to see us, he said he hadn't expected to open the door to 3 beautiful ladies. That was very kind of him but in reality i think we looked tired and smelly! We asked him how to get to the campsite and he ummed and arghed trying to decide the best way to send us then gave us some directions. We followed what he said and ended up on the cycle track that seemed to run alongside the racecourse, so we could see where we wanted to be but just couldn't get in there. We could also see that the campsite was at the other side of the racecourse to us. We just wanted to go to bed!!

There were 3 teenage boys walking up the cycle track towards us, one had a can of beer in his hand but the other had a carton of orange juice....they looked harmless enough so Jade asked if they could help us. They said they knew the way and walked us down to the path we wanted to be on. This path ran right alongside the racecourse and we followed it up and went through a kissing gate and i was thinking yes we are finally there, but then we got to the next gate and it was locked!!! My heart sunk. We were there but just couldn't get in, it was so depressing! I just wanted to sit down but i knew i wouldn't be able to get up again. Feeling sad we all turned around and started walking back the way we had come from. We then did some map reading in the dark and rain and realised we were going to have to walk all the way round to through the town then down to the other end of the racecourse. So, after a MASSIVE detour we finally arrived at the campsite at aboutr 10pm!! We were so tired and i'd never been so happy to see a campsite. After dumping our stuff me and Mum went to see if anyone was about to pay but as suspected it was so late that there wasn't so we just put our tent up anyway. Luckily we didnt need a key or code for the toilets however, Jade went off for a shower and came back in tears, through sobs i could hear her say...."tokens." So in the end none of us got a shower tonight but to be honest by now i didnt even care i just wanted to sleep. In the end we didnt even cook dinner either. It was so nice to get into bed but everything was aching. It had been such a long day and we had walked about 30 miles. I dont know how Jade did that with her leg but she did so well. However, her leg definately wasnt loking good and we decided that we'd have to take her to the hospital in the morning and then just see what happened from there.

Day 57- Lichfield to Shustoke

This morning- as much as we didn't want to- we had to say goodbye to Mick and Gayle. Its amazing how quickly you can get used to living in a house again! After another lovely cooked breakfast we said our goodbyes and Mick dropped us back off on the canal in Lichfield where we had got to yesterday. It was really funny seeing Jade with a human sized bag, its so little in comparison to her other one and now i have bag envy!! The new and improved bag had a weigh in this morning and weighs a very respectable 14kg....thats nearly half of what it was!! Thankyou Mick and Gayle!

Today we followed the canal again all the way to Fazeley. In Fazeley we came off the canal in search of a food shop as we were all feeling pretty hungry and didnt have much food on us. We found a littlle tesco and a chip shop so it was chips for lunch follwed by chocolate cake! We found a bench and sat down to eat. We ate so much food! From here we then followed the Birmingham and Fazeley canal for a short way before turning off on the heart of england way.

Jades leg was pretty bad again today so we've just been taking it slow and shes been stopping to stretch it every so often. We've discovered its best for her not to sit on the floor to rest but on a bench or something taller because else she can't seem to get up off the floor again.....Jade had a bit of a breakdown today on the tow path. She was in a lot of pain but was refusing to take ibuprofen or anything for it because she can't swallow them. Me and Mum were trying to explain to her that she needed to take them because although it wouldn't be nice taking them, it would help the pain. In the end she did manage to crunch them and i think they did help. 

We followed the Heart of England for a little way then found another bench where we sat and had a rest. There were loads of geese around, i couldnt believe how big they were....they were huge! As it was marked on the map that there was a campsite nearby me and Mum went off to fill up waterbottles and left Jade with the big geese. It took us ages to find the campsite and i think Jade was a bit worried that we weren't coming back! Water bottles filled up we carried on along the footpath which took us through a little forest then out into a big touristy park/picnic place. From here we just couldn't see where the path went, it didn't seem to fit with the map and we spent ages faffing so in the end just decided we'd follow the road down to Shustoke. When we got there we then had the decision of whether to wild camp in a farmers field or in the picnic area by the resevoir. We decided on the picnic area so sat and had dinner and then waited until it started to get dark to put the tents up. At 10pm the tents were up and we were all ready for bed but there was still one car left in the car park that i thought was quite scary. Who hangs out at a resevoir in the dark?!?!

Day 56- Rugeley to Lichfield

How cute are those ducklings! Mick and Gayle were very lovely and said that we could all stay another night! So we could be dropped off where we left off yesterday and would be picked up and taken back to the house when we had finished walking :) So the plan was to be sent out in daysacks giving us a rest from our packs, my body liked the idea of that! We were dropped off at the canal in Rugeley and had flat easy navigational day ahead of us (we had to make one turn all day swapping canals). My leg was worse today and it took ages to get it warmed up and it kept feeling like it was going to cramp up any second so I had to keep stopping the team to stretch, but as I had to stop to stretch, my leg seized up, so it was a never ending circle of pain a and cramp. Lovely.

We were told we were going to walk past the Armitage Shanks factory which we were all a bit excited about, Gayle said that she has never walked past it and not heard porcelain smash! Mandy said it would be Beck's dad dream as he is a plumber - a toilet factory! So we all posed outside with the toilets and looked like idiots :) We fancied and deserved a cuppa, so luckily half way through the day at Frugley Junction we stopped off at the cafe and Mandy brought usthe most amazing slice of Victoria sponge EVER. I don't know how they made it taste so good! Error on sitting down, when I got up to got to the toilet, I made a bit of a scene walking though the cafe as I needed to hold on to everything, I think we got the sympathy vote and the lady behind the counter gave us £16 towards the charity which was really lovely, as we haven't collected much en-route for a while!

This was the cross over point from the Trent &Mersey canal on to the coventry canal, we walked another 7 miles or so making the day a 15 miler which was a respectable distance, so we got picked up in a small village on the outskirts of Lichfield. On the way back to the house Mick asked if we wanted to go sightseeing, so we stropped off at the National Memorial Arboretum which is a huge memorial garden with the names of every person in the armed forces who has died in service since the second world war, I think we were all shocked looking at how many names there were, even sadder was the amount of blank space which is expected to be filled.

Gayle was home from work by the time we got back to the house, and we all just chilled out and had the all important internet access where we updated a bit of blog.......but we were about 30 days behind so didn't even make a dent! Mick made an amazing dinner and we spent the evening watching Harry Potter whilst Gayle printed us off a whole new bundle of very readable maps! (I don't think ours were approved, they were a bit rubbish!) My kit was also substituted for smaller and lighter items, now I hardly had any kit it could all fit in to a 50l rucksack! I was having none of it but it fitted perfectly! Me and Beck didn't get to bed until 1 as we were putting all the pictures up on the internet and managed to update yet more blog.....I hope you all appreciate this chore!

Day 55- Uttoxeter to Rugeley

It was a nice morning and we left Uttoxeter racecourse just after 9. We were following the Staffordshire Way again today and had planned to meet Gayle and her husband Mick somewhere between Uttoxeter and Abbots Bromley. After having a bit of difficulty initially getting back on the path we managed to stay on it without getting lost until yet again we got signposted into a field and couldn't get out! Whilst we were in this field Gayle rang and asked where we were, i must have sounded like an idea saying, "ummmm....lost in a field!" I couldn't even properly name a place we were near because our maps are so hard to read but Gayle said the were on the second of 2 roads that crossed the Stafs Way simultaneously and i could see them on the map and knew we were close. After searching for a gate in the direction the signpost had pointed and not finding it we headed back to the stile we had come from and Mum asked at the farm how we could get out. We got pointed to another corner of the field where we found a bolted gate with a dead sheep lying in front of it. This obviously wasnt the way out we wanted but it was a way out so we took it and just had to hold our breath as we climbed the fence. This was not easy an easy task for Jade with her bad leg!

The other side of the fence was the road we needed so we followed it round the corner to find Mick and Gayle. Mick and Gayle both walked with us to Abbots Bromley and it was nice to 

This is Jade continuing this, making myself useful whilst in Torquay

I think Beck slightly under-described the whole sheep incident! It was hideous, one of those smells where you smell it before you see it! And as we had to all take our bags off to get over the massive gate, we were hanging around for quite a while! I made an absolute meal out of getting over - I learnt the hard way it difficult to climb over gates and fences with a leg you can't lift! Urgh, it made me feel really sick, asthetically not as bad as the sheep we saw on day 50 which was COVERED in maggots but it won in the smell department - a win I would not be proud of.

So bags back on we knew we were withing meters of meeting Mick and Gayle after going slightly off-piste I think they thought we were dum dum navigators but they agreed that the Staffordshire Way was lacking signposts! We didn't really know what to expect when meeting Mick and Gayle, they were just 2 strangers coming to our rescue with our much needed gas! But they told us they had parked in Abbots Bromley so we would have guides the way back :) I think this was very fortunate, not sure if anyone said it at the time but I very much doubt we would have found our way as smoothly as we did with them, it was a maze of fields, roads, paths and back gardens!

When we stopped for some food, they wondered what one earth I was carrying in my bag as it was so big and heavy! It was really affecting my leg today and almost made walking unbearable because of the pressure, Gayle offered to carry the burden for me but I couldn't punish someone who was being so nice to us! So I manned up and carried on.

When we arrived in Abbots Bromley (Guinea pig testing place) Mick and Gayle said that we could stay at theirs for the night! It was an offer we could not refuse so Mick took our burden rucksacks and drove home while Gayle carried on walking with us to Rugeley. As soon as Mick left us we carried on and soon arrived in the next village, this next section was made very amusing by our new friend Jackson. Jackson was the cutest and friendliest black labrador I have ever met! Unfortunatly he was also the sluggiest as he had been swimming in the village pond, so I don't think Mandy was too impressed when Jackson wanted cuddles!

Jackson's only fault was that we has too friendly! When we left the village he started to follow us, we thought he would get bored and go home...but he didn't, I think I was the only one who like our new cute team member, after all, finders keepers! When we started to go over the styles he somehow managed to......with a lot of stuggle, after 3 styles and ending up in a horse field we decided we should do something so I rang the owner which didn't really get us very far as he was at work so we decided to take him back to the pond, Mandy and Becks went with him as I was crippled, Jackson could not get back over the styles as they were facing downhill, it was very funny to watch Mandy (not Jackson's biggest fan) posting him limbs through the wooden style, it made brilliant viewing!

Gayle had a shortcut to walk along the dam, but as we were about to walk off the other side  a guy came out and told us we were trespassing (we knew this) but played dumb, Gayle then wittingly replied 'we could either trespass all along the dam again, or tresspass the last bit to get on t the road'. Well, he didn't really know what to say about that! By the time we got to the canal in Rugeley I was on my last legs so Mick came and picked us up, so far meeting Mick and Gayle has proved how lovely strangers can be and there are some genuinly lovely people out there who cannot go out of their way enough to help you!

Mick had made us a lovely Roast Chicken and all the trimmings for dinner and it was perfect! We have missed home cooking and was exactly what the doctor ordered! Me and Becks were in yet another civilzed situation and had to act like human beings rather than animals, I think we managed after a glass of wine :) After Dinner and pudding, Gayle was desperate to find out what was in my bag so I had to prepare to be ripped apart and part with so called 'luxaries' which compromised of an extra pair of pants, an extra tshirt and moisturiser, Gayle might disagree and say there was a lot of other 'extras'.She weighed my bag and it came to 25 odd kg which I have been told is a hideous amaout to carry! I had to fight for some of my kit though, Mick, gayle and Mandy wanted to chuck out my diary and fountain pen! I hope the diary appriciates I put up a fight! Luckily Beck was on my side and agreed it was important :)

Its amazing really the extra size and weight I was carrying, however there wa a positivie; its zapped the back fat! Good result if you ask me, however I am not sure if getting rid of some of my things will lead to a nervous breakdown as I am someone who likes things and stuff around me. Although I was given two options: carry all the stuff and have to go home wth injury or half the weigh and finish the thing. Well look where it got me, I halved the weight and now I am stuck at home :(