Saturday, 17 September 2011

Day 82 - St.Breward - Sladesbridge

First off, apologies for lack of blog, but expect regular updates!

Back on the road again! Day 82 marks the reunion of me (Jade) rejoing team (Becks)! Very exciting! Why I wanted to leave my cosy house with as much tea and soft furnishings avaiable to me to camp in the rain for a week is beyond me, but I was back and happy :) We were up by 7.30am this morning and had a buffet breakfast, Becks ad joined us the night before to camp as Mandy was rowing in Newquay so poped over to say hi, he left at 8 and not long after Mick drove me, Beck and Gayle to where they finished yesturday. It was luxuary not having to take the tent down as we were staying at the campsite for 2 nights, and it was really wet so everything would have been a hassle!

We had an easy 8 mile day ahead of us, 8 miles we decided was good to ease my leg back in to walking again as while resting I probbaly managed 2 miles a day at the most! It was mainly road walking along small country roads but Gayle included an off-piste section in which my feet stayed dry for 58 minutes of walking. Our first stile in to a field was a challenge even to those with fully functioning limbs! It was a stinging nettle and bramble fest and they were all out to get you! Everyone was gettting caught and I kept getting them stuck around my ankles! Nightmare! The second stile was more entertaining...... Stepping off the other side was instant slurry pit death! It was perfect welly boot slurry, and I really thought I was going in, but brave Gayle went first to scout out a route, unfortunalty the route around the slurry involved good balance and holding on to a barbed wired fence, both of these are not my strengths and I managed to get caught in the brambles - a lot. Beck was unhooking me with her leki pole from the back and Gayle was trying to get them off my front! But us being us, we made it across!

The wlak itself felt fairly easy and my leg was feeling good, Mick joined us 2 miles from the end where he had parked his car to walk back with us, I have noticed that Beck has been sporting some very odd footwear today....... waterproof socks with asics trainers! She said she likes tham as she looks lie someone form fame - or a horse! They did look handy though as her feet were completly dry, but she did wear them a lot without washing them which was pretty gross Beck!

Back at the car we had a team photo whihc Mick and Gayle updated their blog with, we were now in search of a nice little cafe for a cream tea, but it was Sunday. And we hate Sundays. We had no luck looking in the town of Wadebridge so we settled for the Co Op Cafe where there was only one cream tea left..... Mick had it and me and Beck settled for chocolate cake (the same cake we had in Tain) Although I wasn't sad enough to enjoy it so smotthered it in clotted cream much to Gayles disgust! Back at the campsite it rained and it rained and we realised the campsite had a lounge! It was massive with couches, a pool table and our fav...jigsaws!

Team managed to complete a 500 piece jigsaw of Ross-on-Wye in pretty much record time, Beck did the outside pieces and I was doing the middle, I think we enjoyed it far too much, and wa wndering if we were good enough to enter a jigsaw championship.We really fancied going swimming as the site had a pool but was gutted when we found out it was closed because it was RAINING! It said for health and safety reasons they cannot open it in the rain! What? Incase someone gets wet! Annoying!

Dinner was so so - a pasta and sauce sachet meal but it was wholemeal which slightly ruined it, butwe were hungry, so it was fine, me and Beck went back in to the lounge to write diaries before going to bed, it was pretty chilly! Probably the coldest we have been so far on our walk....was in Cornwall! My feet really stink as my shoes got wet this morning and I own no waterproof socks, boooo :(

Day 81- Past Launceston to St Breward

This morning the lovely campsite lady sent us out a plate of toast for us for breakfast and before we left a couple of ladies from one of the caravans on the field came over to chat and gave us £10 for the Childrens Hospice which was very kind. So, today was the Bodmin moor day and it was decided that Mick would walk with me and that Gayle would be cheif driver and we would meet on brown whillays. 

It was a grey/wet and miserable day however i liked Bodmin and had a really good time! We did well managing to follow a faint path pretty much the whole way to Brown Whillays but we did have to cross some boggy patches and little streams and right near the bottom of the hill we had to climb a barbed wire fence and walk through a load of cows! It was a steep climb to the top of the hill as we yomped straight up the front rather then taking the path up the side. Walking up here Mick got his foot stuck in a hole and half fell over and as i was asking if he was ok and laughing at the same time....i did exactly the same thing! Very funny! We then carried on to the top where we met Gayle and quickly had something to eat before the rain got heavier. 

We walked down from the hill then joined a path which lead us the rest of the waythrough Bodmin moor. Along here the weather was hideous! It was really wet and windy and i was wet through! Before we started the moor walking Mick had lent me a pair of waterproof socks, at first they were brilliant but by this point even these were full of water, although i think this was because i was wearing them with shorts so the water was running down my legs and into them.

When we got off the moor me and Mick carried on walking whilst Gayle went and got the car then she picked us up and we drove on to our caampsite in St Mabyn. We paid and quickly set the tents up then  i went for a shower to warm up. The disabled shower was amazing!! Everything you could possibly need in one cubicle! Warm and dry we then drove to Sainsburys in Bodmin and whilst Gayle shopped me and Mick sat on the comfy sofas drinking tea in the cafe. From here we went to the station to wait for TEAM!!! Team back together!! It was very exciting! Reunited we then all went back to the campsite and we werent there for long before Dad arrived. Dad was in cornwall to watch the gig rowing the next day and ended up camping here with us here for the night. 

It was a lovely evening! I got a load of washing done which is always a treat and then after dinner me Dad and Jade went on a trip to Wadebridge tescos where dad treated us to lots of goodies!! When we arrived back at the campsite we then had a feast in the car whilst we wrote diary and sheltered from the rain.

Day 80- Sourton to a few miles past Launceston

Today i walked into Cornwall!! I am in the final county!! It was very exciting but also really sad that Jade wasn''t there too. Today was also Sams last day of walking. Its been really nice having her along and she has done so well!

As we had the car me and Sam had a light bag between us which was lovely, however, it also meant that Mick and Gayle had some tricky car logistics. 

We started the day by continuing along down the railway line. It was a nice sunny, blue skied morning and walking along here again we had that great view up to Dartmoor. We walked along here together and then Gayle left us to go back and move the car on. Me, Sam and Mick then turned off the track and it wasnt long until we found ourselves lost in some cow fields. Our feet got soaked walking through these wet/ grassy fields but fortunately after climbing a few gates we managed to get onto the road we wanted to be on. 

We soon met Gayle again and the next hurdle of the day was a field of cows and bulls who wanted to follow us! Sam really didnt like this and i wasnt particularly happy either but Mick and Gayle were so brave- they stopped walking and turned and faced them and all the cows/bulls stopped and played statues. Whilst they were being held off me and Sam took our chance and made for the safety of the gate. Later in the day when it was just me Sam and Gayle walking we had another similar incident when we had to go through another cow field. Sam wasnt particularly happy with going through there and it wasnt helped when she spotted a sneaky cow to her left and Gayle informed her that it wasnt actually a cow......
Before we walked into Launceston we crossed the river Tamar which marks the Devon/ Cornwall divide. It was very exciting and i made sure i got a picture with both the 'welcome to' signs. In Launceston we then had a little shop then sat and waited for Geoff and Nik to arrive to pick up Sam. They soon arrived and they'd brought someone else along, they were sitting in the back....who was it?! Dad!! He'd come along as a surprise :) After a little chat and goodbyes they were soon off again and we carried on walking for a few more miles before calling it a day.

The people at the campsite were really nice and when we arrived the lady invited us in for tea and bourbons and let me sit in the comfy chair :) Tonight for the first night i had the vango to myself!! I wasnt sure if i liked it or not, it felt weird. It seemed so big and i didnt know where to put my stuff....too many options! Bodmin moor tomorrow and team will be back in the evening!!!!

Day 79- Crediton to Sourton

Had so much sleep last was amazing!! This morning we were up and ready before 9 and to start the day we had to walk back up the little road that we’d walked down last night to find the campsite. From there it was then road walking again to Yeoford then all the way on to a place called Spreyton. On the way to Spreyton for a section we followed part of the alternative route for the Two Moors Way, and we crossed the actual Two Moors Way route which I thought was very exciting!!
In Spreyton we stopped and had a well deserved rest. Today has been pretty hot and we ended up having a lovely long lunch stop here lay on the grass in the sunshine. From here it was then a footpath section which made a nice change to road walking which we have been doing a lot of lately, but unsurprisingly, we got a bit lost. However, with the help of the map and compass we did eventually manage to find the sneaky, overgrown gate. This led us up to a farm but we couldn’t seem to find our way out. Two young girls were playing out in the garden so we said sorry and asked if they knew how we could get out and on to the road. They pointed us out and let us cut through their garden....I’m pretty sure we weren’t actually meant to be there, especially as at the end of the road we saw a sign that read 'private!' I don’t really understand where we went wrong because I couldn’t see where else the footpath could have been leading.
The next village we walked into was a little place called Sticklepath.Here we found a little village shop which was handy as we needed food for the next day.....The lady in the shop gave us 2 free ice pops and a free tomato!.....We love free food! From here we carried on past a field of cute alpacas and then eventually arrived on the old railway track which we then followed all the way to the campsite. From the track there was a really nice view up onto dartmoor and of meldon resevoir. Walking along here we we got a call from Mick and Gayle saying that they had arrived at the campsite and that they would walk along the track to meet us when they were all sorted. By now me and Sam were both feeling really tired and couldn't wait to sit down!
We met Mick and Gayle and then all walked back to the campsite together. It was really nice to see them and the thought of having a support car for the week was very exciting! On the way down Mick and Gayle had dropped into Torquay to give Jade back her stuff and she had given them a goody bag to give me which was full of my favs- chocolate digestives, baby plum tomatoes, chocolate and more! Such a nice surprise! 79.....was the first day i left something behind!! How annoying! I left my little hairbrush in the shower. Still, i think i did pretty well going this long without a loss. 

Day 78- Tiverton to Crediton

I love the blamonge and did not enjoy leaving it this morning but we wanted to have an earlish start so it had to be done. After we were packed up and ready we piled our stuff into the car and into Asda for supplies before Hayley drove us back to the end of the canal in Tiverton. Her and Scott have been so good to us and it has been really lovely seeing them over the past few weeks.
After Hayley left we had a massive faff trying to get through Tiverton and onto the Exe Valley Way which we followed for the first part of the day. We just couldn’t seem to get the map to fit where we were which was really odd and we were both really confused. We thought surely it shouldn’t be this difficult as the end of the canal is a massive feature?!...It turns out that what we thought was the end of the canal on the map actually wasn’t. It sounds like we were being massive dum dums but actually the map was really misleading! The very end of the canal (unlike the rest of it) was white and not blue and looked like a little white road and not a canal. Anyway, that was pretty annoying and wasted lots of time but eventually we realised what we had done and found the path we wanted.
The EVW took us down through the valley and through lots of fields to Bickleigh Mill. We had to go through one field packed full of cows and one that was hid in the hedge gave Sam a fright! From Bickleigh Mill we stayed on the EVW for a little longer before turning off and from here it was road walking pretty much the whole way. We had some pretty hilly bits along here and we were both looking lovely and sweaty! 
Walking through a little village we spotted a really cute looking bus stop which we stopped in for a rest. It was full of mismatched chairs that all had cushions on top and it just looked really cosy! From here it was a bit more road walking before we found our public footpath which cut us over into Crediton. We did some good navigation through the town and we were soon heading down the little road which led to the campsite that Gayle had written down for us. In the end we weren’t really sure if we were at the campsite that Gayle had meant but as it was nice we stayed there. We were very excited because the one Gayle had written down didn’t have a shower and this one did which was a lovely surprise! The lady who owned the site was very kind and said that as it was a charity walk we could stay for free. After we’d set up the tent she also popped over to check we were OK and that we had enough food and everything.
Today I’ve been sending lots of texts to sort out/discuss logistics- it’s so confusing but I think I now understand what’s going to happen. Gayle and Mick have really kindly said that they will come down and stay with us until the end and also be support car which is amazing!! Also...Jade has decided that she’s ready to come back and will be joining us after we’ve past Bodmin Moor (as advised by Gayle :) ).

Day 77- Gamlins farm to Tiverton

After a lovely lazy morning we left the campsite and walked the first mile which led us to the start of the canal. This beginning bit of the canal was pretty grim looking and was covered in a layer of green slime however I did find it quite exciting as we hadn’t been on there for long before I saw the first sign which read “Grand Western Canal, Devon County Council”….we had crossed the border, we were in Devon!! Me and Jade had been talking about walking into Devon for ages.
We hadn’t been walking for long before Mums leg started hurting again. I think she did think about stopping and walking back today however I think she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find the campsite again and also she knew today’s walk wasn’t too far so again she just carried on. Today we were walking into Tiverton where the canal ended which was about 12 miles away (it was a really weird/short canal). The first half of our walk was pretty quiet but it seemed to get busier and as well as prettier the further down we got. Along the last bit of the canal we also saw a horse pulling a barge up the canal like they used to back in the old days.
This morning whilst me, Mum and Sam were walking, again Dad had the lovely job of packing everything away back at camp. As him and Mum were going home tonight he didn’t need to move on and set it up again so when he was done he drove on to Tiverton, parked up, then walked up the canal to meet us. We found him and then heard how he had just followed the canal around a massive meander and we decided that we’d miss off this pointless extra distance and take the road which cut it off. Another bonus of the road meant that we past a tea shop….of course we went in! After a nice little break we carried on and from here it didn’t take too long to get into Tiverton. By now Mums leg was really bad and from the way she described it it sounded like the pain both me and Jade had when we were up in Scotland.
When we reached the end of the canal it was then back to Hayleys. She had very kindly said that me and Sam could stay there again tonight and that she would drop us back off in Tiverton in the morning. The first job when we got there was to have a big stuff sort out to make sure that everything me and Sam needed was left behind and that the rest was taken back home. Sams bag was then scrutineered by Mum and Hayley who were being Gayle, and Sam was horrified when all that was left in her toiletries was a toothbrush! Stuff sorted we then said goodbye to Mum and Dad- I didn’t want support team to go!
It was then time for some jobs before an amazing dinner of roast beef with a creamy chocolate thing for dessert. So much food!! Another lovely evening :)

Day 76- North Newton to Gamlins Farm

After a nice morning Dad dropped us back off at the canal. Mum was worried that her leg might start hurting again so asked Dad if he could just drive on a little way and then stop and wait for us so that she could stop if it was feeling bad. Dad appeared again just in time to witness us backtracking up the wrong side of the canal.....who gets lost walking on a canal?! It was very embarrassing as we had to walk back past the canal cleaner man who laughed and said that actually people did it all the time and he found it funny not to tell them but just watch them going wrong!
As Mums leg was feeling alright the 3 of us carried on and Dad drove on to find a campsite and set up the tent. It was a nice walk along the canal and the sun was shining. We followed it for 12.5 km right in Taunton where we then did some good navigation through the town to get onto the A38. Town was really busy and we got some strange looks. As I had been in the town only the other with Hayley and Jade when we were wearing “normal” clothes it felt really extreme to be walking through with bags and lekis.
Walking out of Taunton we saw a big tesco so went in to use the toilets and as there was a cafe were also tempted into a cup of tea....lovely! From here it was then a long stretch along the A38 to Wellington. We decided to go this way in the end because although it was really noisy and probably not the most pleasant walking, it was a really direct route but also Hayley knew that there was a pavement we could walk on the whole way to Wellington so we knew it would be safe.
Walking along here we played the alphabet game with places which was good fun and seemed to make the road walking go quicker. Sam was hilarious at this game and kept repeating ones that we had already said. Walking along here we got a phone call from Dad. As it was his birthday today Hayley and Scott and also Karis and Jack had come to see him. They had met him at the campsite and now they were all waiting for us at a cider farm that was on our route along the A38.
We soon met up and had a really lovely picnic all sat out on the grass in the sunshine. Didn’t have a proper chance to look around the place but it seemed really nice and there were lots of animals around. We had great fun watching Dad trying to stroke the donkey that kept trying to bite him! After a nice break me, Mum and Sam said goodbye to the others again and carried on walking. Today we were walking right to the campsite so we were going to meet them all there later.
We soon arrived in Wellington and then from there it was lots of faffy tiny roads all the way to the campsite. We played some more games to pass the time but Mums leg had started to really hurt again which wasn’t good. I told her to ring Dad to come and get her if it was really bad but she wanted to finish the walk so carried on anyway.
We arrived at the campsite just after 6 and we were all feeling tire and happy to stop walking. It was really nice to see everyone and it was a lovely evening. We had a nice dinner and played some games and the campsite was great- we had a whole field to ourselves! There was a really nice games room with comfy sofas which was sad because I thought that if me and Jade had walked here we would have sat in there and wrote diary.