The Norfolk Coastal Path is one of the best walks for its scenery and wildlife and its infrastructure. 'Infrastructure?'
Yes, it's an easy route to walk in sections now and then. Or, you can walk its whole length without having to worry too much about where to park. It's easy to get back to your car (if you drive there) or find somewhere to stay.
There's a regular bus service between King's Lynn and Cromer. It runs hourly (mainly) throughout the day. In other words, you can park your car at a point along the route. Get onto the path and head off to a bus stop in one of the villages along the way. If you get tired, you can always cut inland sooner on one of the many paths off it.
Unless you live in south Lincolnshire, it's unlikely you will have heard of the Grimsthorpe Castle. The Castle is an 18th century house with parts of it dating back to the 13th century.
We live nearby and the Grimsthorpe Estate has public footpaths running through it which make for good, short walks. Penny and I followed a circular route of just over five miles. It takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to complete. A perfect afternoon walk.
Finding an excuse to stay indoors is easy, especially today as I write and outside it is sub-zero. But, the joy of getting out of the house, into the countryside and onto the hills is wonderful. It beats the stifling feeling you get when you stay in and watch something terrible on TV.
That's why when I saw this video 'The Trail Runner' I felt the urge to get planning more adventures this year. In it, the trail runner, Tom Hill, sets off from 'civilisation' in just his trail running shoes and clothes. He heads off to Suilven Mountain in the north west of the Highlands of Scotland.
You can’t go walking in Cornwall without following part of the ‘Coastal Path’. If you don’t, you will miss out on experiencing one of the county’s unforgettable assets. Walking along the coastal path is elemental.
If you are lucky enough with the weather, you will see waves crashing against the rugged coast and you might even feel its romance. Huge rocks, inaccessible beaches, deep caverns, old lighthouses, and craggy coves; the Cornish Coastal Path feels like it has enough vibrance to power a small town.
On a week’s leave in Cornwall, Penny and I, with our family, decided to follow the Coastal Path from the lovely beach at Trevone to Padstow, returning cross country.
If you’re going to go out on the moors on ‘The Glorious Twelfth’, the day the grouse shooting season starts, you’re likely to experience something magnificent, namely the heather in flower. In flower, it transforms the moors into huge swathes of purple among the bracken, grass, rocks and gorse. And, the scent coming off the flowers is strong.
In the second of our ‘Wild Pub Walks’, taken from the book, ‘Wild Pub Walks’, published by CAMRA, Penny and I set out on the Peak District walking route called ‘Bamford Circular’. It’s a 13-mile route which takes in two peaks and a ridge before returning to the starting point through the Hope Valley in Derbyshire.
From time to time a book arrives and it is a perfect combination of things I like to do.
The book this time was ‘Wild Pub Walks’, published by CAMRA. For me, that’s a perfect match.
A damn good walk followed by a pint or two of the local ale. This is the first of the Peak District walking routes we followed.
Having just completed the ‘Dark Peak Challenge’ the weekend before, it was a good time to return with Penny (my wife) to try out one of the walks in the book.
The book contains 22 more challenging or interesting walks than the usual thing you find around your ‘Local’. The routes vary from a handful of miles to more demanding walks into mountains and hills which will build up a thirst for that beer at the end of the hike.
We picked a walk from Hayfield over a high point in the Peak District, Kinder Scout. The route is about 10-miles long and has enough ‘elevation’ in it to make your lungs wonder what the hell you are doing to yourself. The author of ‘Wild Pub Walks’, Daniel Nielson, says the walk should take between 4 and 6 hours.
It’s amazing what you can do if you set your mind to it.
After many years of walking no more than 10 miles in a single walk, it was time for me to get back into more challenging hikes in Britain. Having completed the first challenge (The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge) in May this year with two pals of similar age (we are in our early-50s), we decided to follow it up with a second hiking challenge.
But, finding a circular walk which would be long and challenging enough was a little trickier than I expected. There are plenty of linear, long-distance hikes, but not so many circular routes in Britain which you can complete in a day.
Thank goodness for Google. After an hour or so searching online, I came across The Dark Peak Challenge on ‘The Walking Englishman’ website, run by Mike Brockhurst. It’s 21-miles long with 1,286 metres to climb. It would take 8 or 9 hours to complete. Perfect.
The route is in the Peak District National Park, which is about two hours from where we all live in Lincolnshire. Being just east of Sheffield makes it easy to access.
A friend said he wanted a challenge. The challenge had to be something we could complete in a weekend, and which would stretch our physical capabilities. Completing ‘The Three Peaks’ would fit the brief.
Given the three of us in the pub that night were all in our early-50s, and our physical training regimes between us were mixed, ‘The Three Peaks’ sounded like a tough enough assignment.