Wednesday, 29 May 2013

29/05/13 - All alone on Peddars Way

Distance - 6.7 Miles
Geocaches - 2
Walk from - Jarrold, Norfolk

Peddars Way - Sedgeford

Just how posh is Burnham Market? The pub, The Hoste Arms, has Pimms and Lemonade on tap.  The ice cream van has a personalised number plate.  There is a shop that sells nothing but hats.

If we weren't on holiday with teenagers, both Mark and myself would have made purchases.  However, we cold not take the ridicule that we looked like Victorian chimney sweeps.

I even went in two book shops and made no purchases.   One of the books shops looks like what my house would be if I wasn't married.  I am a literary Dennis Bostock.

Then it was a meal out at the Jolly Sailors.  A very busy pub but it did have my new favourite tipple - Wherry.  Back for more games of Go Fish, and thanks to an afternoon nap, I managed to stay up to 11.15pm.

Rock and Roll.

The Walk
We have a big day ahead.... shopping :-(

So I get up early, waking no one.  The dog surprises me, by limbering up and wagging her tail, but she has a busy day hanging around Dorothy Perkins.  So I head off alone.

I always like to do one walk that starts from my holiday home and Jarrold has a walk that starts in Sedgeford.

Its a misty, cold start and I can see my breathe.  The walk is in a figure of eight, with the Peddar's way crossing the road to Fring as the centre point.  Head out down lanes, pick up the Peddar's way and head in a very straight road.

Centre Point of a Figure of 8
Centre Point

Those Roman's were deadly efficient but dull.

First cache of the day is very overgrown but I manage to retrieve by using the back door.  Then its plod on.  There is nothing to see, apart from murdered animals.  One route, I see the dismembered remains of a hare, various rabbits, a rat and bizarrely at White House, a collection of 4 moles.  At least that is what I think they are.

There's not much to say about the walk.  The low mist obscures any views - and there isn't a lot to look at anyway.  We get 3 miles in, turn left at a road and then walk all the way back on a equally straight farm track.

Not the Peddars Way
Straight on up.  Straight on down.
At least Fring has a few houses and a church to look at.  And a cache.  This is the only thing to photograph today.

Fring Church
A dull day at Fring Church
Back at the centre point, I pick up the Peddars way again, taking me to Littleport and Magazine Cottage.  Then the road back into Sedgeford. 

With 1/2 a mile to go, I text base and ask them to put the pan on.  I am rewarded with both a bacon and egg bap and a sausage bap.

That's all the major food groups covered.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

28/05/13 - At Holme, Next The Sea

Distance - 6.2 Miles
Geocaches - 1
Walk from - Walking Britain Web Site


The holiday gang are complete, following Ellie's arrival in King's Lynn.  By the time we had got back and operated jump leads under the watchful eye of a ginger Tesco employee carrying a Morrisons bag, it was time to spark up the BBQ.  Well, we left four teenagers to spark up the BBQ, whilst we had an evening walk on Brancaster Beach - half expecting a big red truck called Dennis to be waiting outside Chez Gould on our return.

Ate our fill of home made burgers and chicken of various spices before playing the holiday game of kings - Go Fish.  Back in time for the fantastically grim "The Falls" and in bed for our regular time of 10pm.  I am so having a blow out on King William night.

The Walk
Knock me down with feather - we've only got a student coming with us today.  We are half way through my scheduled walks and all that are left are the lengthy ones.  Today's starts at Holme-Next-The-Sea and  I need to slightly adapt the walk, as an 8 miler would have had me reported to child line.  We shave off Thornham, having already driven through it.

Park up at the beach before the man in the hut is manning his station.  There is every chance I could be £3.50 up on today's walk.

We head out onto the dunes to head East.  Someone has laid a lovely path for us to follow.

No need for my tripod - we have a student in tow

We follow this for a while, dropping down to the sea at high tide.  Some unusual sea defences mask how deep the sea could be.  Sonia and Ellie use lady logic and refuse to let me throw a stick in for Molly to fetch, as "it might be too deep". 

Unusual Sea Defences - keeping out the deep, deep, briny sea

Another wonderful stretch through a fir tree plantation.  This landscape seems to be unique to Norfolk and it really does feel like a different country.  Head inland at the marshes, seeing the twitchers doing their twitching thing.

My ladies in the Fir Plantation
Before back to walking the plank
The walk has been adapted and we cross the coast road just west of Thornham to head up - and get this - a hill.  I can scarcely believe that there is even a trig point a the top.  For the second time today, Ellie asks in a singy voice "Can I get a Whoop Whoop?" at the excitement this causes me.

Definitely worth one Whoop

At the top of the hill, we pick up a great green lane, called "Green Lane".  Nice views of spokeless Windmills, Churches and of course the sea.  I have been waiting for the first student related moan of the day, but I didn't expect it to be "that her hand's had gone all fat".

My medical training cannot cope with this ailment
This eventually brings us to the edges of Ringstead.  Everywhere we drive here has a sign telling us how far it is to Ringstead.  We have driven through it and the major place of wonderment is a pub called the "Gin Trap".

Instead of hitting Ringstead, we take the Peddlar's way for the first time this holiday.  More nice walking, down and over the coast road and the remaining 3/4 mile to the car.  I do offer to let the ladies stop and I will pick them up on the way back, but they plough on.  There is a cache (the only one) down here and they leave me to it, finding a bench and succumbing to my earlier offer.

That's it - they've now lost interest - and so close as well

I walk the last bit on my own, thinking to myself how much I love the Peddlar's way.

My sort of public information broadcasting

And the lady at the kiosk wouldn't take my parking money.  Can I get a whoop whoop?

Monday, 27 May 2013

27/05/13 - Don't Pay the Ferryman (on a bank holiday)

Distance - 5.5 Miles
Walk from 1001 Walks in Britain - AA
Caches - 4

Kings Lynn

Wells Next To Sea.  You entice us in with your oceanic promises.  The sun is shining, so the rest of Norfolk is also suitably enticed.  You charge us £5 for car parking (as long as you are out by 6pm) and then you make us walk a mile to the beach.  And then a mile to the sea.

But what a town.  We waited for the Goulds to park up by going to the pub and then I taught them how to stealth cache (just tie up shoe laces) before we had an unforgettable day.  A labradoodle taught a cockerpoo how to swim.  Until he lost his confidence, deploying a technique that can only be described as "Mississippi Steamboat".

A meal at the Duck Inn, Stanhoe, that was almost worth the wait and a couple of beers in the garden watching the sun go down.  Once again, in bed comatose at 10pm.

Today's Walk
It's all setup for a classic.  An historical tour of King's Lynn, up the Great Ouse to a bridge and down the other side to pick up the oldest ferry in England to get back into town.

We are on tight timescales as a new holiday maker needs to be picked up from the station.  So the rambling contingent is increased to 7 and 2 dogs.

Good job I checked the Internet before setting off.  The ferry doesn't run on bank holidays.

What a shame... the walk will need to be adapted.

We are the first to park up the Clough Lane multi storey and straight out into the park.  Sonia keeps the spirits up by acting the goat.

Keeping non ramblers entertained
How to embarrass a Doodle

Once again, I have an audience, as I take far too long to find a cache in a tree.  We then head up to Red Mount for a bit of history and some photos.

Red Mount
Ramblers on Red Mount
Up through the park and out into the roads, passing through the South Gate and a DNF on park gates.

South Gate
Ramblers Passing South Gate

Over the ring road and I think I read the map wrong (shh, don't tell the Goulds) as Alex points out that the loop around the Nar was wholly unnecessary.  We cross over and through the pits to pick up the Ouse.

Pit Architetcture
Sitting in the Public Art

Nice walking alongside the river, aiming towards the Paper Factory and picking up a cache at the bridge.  This is where we should cross over and walk down the other side.  The kids ask me many questions as to whether there is somewhere else to cross but its open water all the way to the sea from here.

Great Ouse Up

We walk down streets, aiming for town, when we see the cycle path sign for the Riverside to town.  We take this route and end up back on the Ouse Side.  Oh well, at least the walking is good. And Alex has found someone to carry his jumper

Pack Doodle
Alex Invents the Pack Doodle

We need refreshments and stop off at the Quay Side at a pretty little bistro.  I would say Café, but they only have Toast or Bacon Sarnies on the menu and the latter are £4.50 - so I will stick with Bistro. 

Breakfast at Tiffiny's
Breakfast at the Bistro

Then we head further down the riverside and into Town - looking at the stunning cathedral, guild hall and working our way through the Medieval old town.

I have to have a look down Ferry Lane to see what I could have won.

Ferry Lane
We would have arrived down this alley
Ferry across the Ouse
If only the Ferryman wasn't on Hols
Then all that remains is to kill an hour in town.  Charlotte and Alex head off clothes shopping at trendy outlets and the rest of us make use of M&S vouchers and an extra 20% off everything in Mountain Warehouse.

When everyone else goes into Primark - I head off for a Micro Cache on the top floor of a multi storey car park.  Caching has it all.

At 12:20 - Ellie arrives from Manchester on a train from London (public transport, only the old understand it and that's because they have been alive more than us).

Doodle greats the new holiday maker
The holiday gang are complete.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

26/05/13 - The Queen is Still in Bed

Distance - 3.1 Miles
Geocaches - 1
Walk from - AA History Walks

The weather men were wrong.  Yesterday was stunning blue skies, so after our walk we met the Goulds in Huntstanton.  Smashing pootle about under the multi coloured cliffs and dependant on people's poison - either an ice cream, hot dog or donut.  Or any combination of the above.  A lovely drive to the Gould's abode - spying many a good pub - and back to Hunstanton to collect a Chinese for the Chamption's League Final.

I was the most grateful man in Britain that it didn't go to extra time.  All that sea air and activity knocked me out.  Had a great hours sleep until awoken by fireworks.  Who knows what was going on there.

Today's Walk
By royal appointment, we are off to Sandringham to see the Queen.  We have the Goulds for company and Molly and Ollie get to team up for canine high jinks.  Which mainly involves muddy puddles and potential fox poo. 

Nice 6 mile drive through the back roads and we park up (free - the Queen doesn't charge).  We head out into the woods for the start of the walk, occasionally meeting up with other dog walkers on the paths.

The ladies stop to admire a nice bush.  Mark names it, but even though I can remember it, I cannot spell it.

Nice Bush
Ladies with a nice bush
Molly is not setting the right example to her younger canine friend and although we talk her out of rolling in the fox poo, she cannot be stopped from trying to make her own wellies in a muddy puddle.
Bad Dog
You really are a bad dog
Ollie takes up the mantel of bad dog behaviour and whilst trying to get a couple of springers to engage in a game of chase me, I head off into the woods for today's only cache.

We move back onto the paths and then the map shows something called "Folly Hang".  Turns out to be a platform that makes a great spot for the team photo of the day.

Folly View
Happy Ramblers
A walk around Brickkiln Covert and we are heading back to Sandringham House along Scotch Belt drive.

The plan was to walk around the Gardens and check out the Church and ornamental lakes.  I wasn't sure whether the grounds would be chargeable or not, but in any event, we were thwarted by the fact that the Queen doesn't rise until 11am in the summer.  The gates are all padlocked up.

Like all great English travellers, we meet this adversity head on.  We go and have a nice cup of tea.

Royal Tea
Cinnamon Butter on Tea Cake is rather spendid
We leave the Goulds to admire the nice sausages at the farmer's market and arrange for this afternoons meet up. Lets see what Wells next to the Sea has to offer.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

25/05/13 - Heacham Beacham

Distance - 6 Miles
Geocaches - 2
Walk From - Country Walking Magazine


Well Norfolk better be good.  It took us 5 hours to do the 162 miles, avoiding the police incident that shut the m6 at Corley Services (someone stole some petrol) but getting stuck for best part of 2 hours for a non existent crash on the A14.  For that length of time, I wanted to see an upside down caravan on fire, at the least.

But still, I have the world's best holiday traveller as a companion.  Not for us, the multitude of McDonalds that we passed.  No, we had a pre-cooked Spag Bol and two bottles of wine to refresh ourselves when we got here.  She also passed all other tests as we entertained ourselves on our epic journey.  Yes, I do have my shaving stuff.

Honey cottage is a delight.  Usual tour working out where everything is located, whilst Alex baggsies the double bed before his sister gets here on Monday.

Honey Cottage
Chez Mappiman
No clock in the bedroom, so I am chomping at the bit to do the first walk of the holiday at first light. Sonia says 5.30am is too early to get up. I make breakfast and we head off to Heacham for our closest walk. Heacham is a bit of a weird place. Sonia thinks the rough bits and the posh bits are too close together. Bowling club over the road from a kebab shop. We park up at North Beach and at £3.20 for three hours, I know what the posh people do for a living. Squeeze out through the beach huts to start the walk.
Who lives in a house like these?
Our first experience of Norfolk Coastal Walking.  There are no ups and downs and I explain the great flood of 1953 to Sonia.  She thinks I am making it up. 

Keep the sea to the right
Its like this all the way
We start the walk on the beach.  Its windy.  We then go up on the sea defences.  Its even windier.  We then drop down to some nice shelter between the dunes, the sea defence and a canal.  Grab the first cache of the day by crawling into a bush.  One runner and three dog walking muggles hit us at the exactly the wrong time.  Sonia says it doesn't help that "I look shifty".

Up on Heacham Dam for some concrete walking.

Standing on a Beach
We get to the caravan park at Snettisham Scalp and turn back, walking parallel to our outward walk on the other side of the canal.  The caravan park has all lagers and ciders for £2.  It's that sort of place.

The walking is a little monotonous as we have seen this landscape before.  One cache, our favourite type and a sea defence to walk back on.

Leave the dog to navigate
There is relief as we hit the South Beach at Heacham and spy the café. Time for some much needed refreshment. Sonia observes that I still have a nice red wine moustache... well I am on my holidays.

Nice cup of tea
Don't mug yourself off
Cafe at end
Ahh... Pirate Cafe
A short walk on the dunes to get back to the North Beach.  We pass a memorial to the 1953 floods.  Sonia admires my general knowledge.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

18/05/13 - Boy from the Black Country

Distance - 10
Geocaches - 6 Found, 6 Not Found
Walk Inspiration
Gaggles of Tramps - 2

Sonia is working in Birmingham today.  In preparation for when I am a kept man, I decide to support her and share the commute.  The plan is to go for a walk that take me through the heartland of my birthplace and spiritual home - the Black Country. 

I didn't realise quite how many canals there would be.

Train from Kidderminster and I leave Sonia at the Hawthorns to pick up a tram.  I go to the office and ask for a single to Wednesbury Parkway.  He serves me but gives me the look of "Are you sure?".

A whole 1 minute wait for my virgin tram experience.  They can get quite a wriggle on when they want.  After many stops, we arrive at Wednesbury Parkway and I am the only person to disembark.  I feel like the cowboy at the start of "Once upon a time in the West", about to be met by the local baddies.  Fantasy ruined when I see the sign saying how close Walsall is.

Dropped off
Cue Harmonica Soundtrack in my head
I have a short walk through a housing estate to get to the canal.  Stop to take a couple of photos and a slight detour for the first cache of the day.

Bit of Man Kneery and lets go
Lets follow the canal all the way back to Birmingham
As far as the walking goes - this is it for the journey.  10 miles of canals.  It's not my usual type of walking but there is something strangely beautiful walking through our industrial heritage.  And a lot of tramps drinking Special Brew.

After a couple of caches that are no longer there, the first place we hit is Great Bridge.  I know this, as the black country people spin beautiful poems with their words.

Super Named Bridge
Couldn't stop laughing at the name of this bridge
So, if there was a really nice bridge in Great Bridge - would they call it "Great Great Bridge Bridge" or "Great Bridge Great Bridge".  This thought kept me going for quite a few miles along the more boring stretches.

Pass my first "Gentlemen of the Waterways" and head down to the locks at Rydal Green.  Have you ever wondered what happens when someone lets the plug out of a canal?

Who let the plug out
Mud Pit
At Ryder Green Road - I decide its time to stop and setup a personalised pic.  Trust me to pick the only time I have met someone else along this canal.

Cacher Number 1
Ride on past - he's acting odd.
This break does lead to rather a nice discovery.  Fine looking pub, next to a series of eight locks.
Boing Boing
Boing Boing - More Black Country Poetry with their place names.
The walking is getting a bit monotonous.  To keep me on my toes, every sign for the next four miles has Birmingham being "4 Miles Away".  It just never seems to get closer.

In the distance, I can see what I think is a teenager bombing towards me on a moped with no helmet.  This isn't on and I resolve to distract myself from the canal by giving him a piece of my mind when he pulls level.

He's 70, so I respect my elders and give it a miss.

Spon Lane Locks provides me with another DNF cache and at least a decision to make..... which fork shall I take?

Make a choice
Left or Right>
But first, I am reminded of a story from my youth. My nan lived near here in Quinton. She had a small pond put into her garden and about a year later was mystified when fish appeared in it. After much debate about how they got there, she would not agree to anything else other than "A heron must have dropped them from its claws". How we laughed at the unlikihood of this scenario.

Nan's Heron
Its only Nan's Heron!
Have you ever wondered what its like under Junction 1 of the M5?
Under the M5
Me Neither.
We do arrive at the Canal Heritage of Smethwick. There is a restored pump house and Galton Bridge is quite impressive. I actually noticed it for the first time on the train here and now I will never be able to go past without a look.

Galton Bridge
50 Years to build between 1800 and 1849 and once the worlds highest Iron bridge
During the taking of these photos and others along this stretch, I realise that I am being followed by a sinister looking person in a red coat.  I've seen "Don't Look Now" and the combination of my stalkers attire and the canals make me get a bit of a wriggle on.  Soon leave him behind at my second set of Canal Side drinkers.

Seeing them enjoying their special brew has made me thirsty and at Rofle Street, I do pop my head up into civilisation - hoping for a pub for some refreshment.  I was halfway successful.

Bad Pit Stop
Hopes dashed
We have canals by us - and you cannot move for pubs alongside them.  All I have is some nice gooselets (as the first Mapp in University calls them), as I return to a recent caching location at the Soho Loop.

Goose getting bigger
Very cute.  The big ones hiss if you get close.
At last, the signs indicate that Birmingham is less than four miles away and I hit gentrified civilisation as we come towards town.

I know there is a pub close now
At familiar ground when I meet the Canal Roundabout and see the pub where Bill Clinton famously had a pint.

Canal Island and Pub
Good enough for the president of the USA - good enough for Mappiman after 9 miles.
Sit down with my pint, watching the world go by and pondering why Birmingham has a Sea Life Centre.

Are you the one, that I've been looking for?
Almost too good to touch
Get the call from Sonia and she is about to finish work.  I grab a couple of caches as I leave here and meet her for the train back from Moor Street Station.

A nice way to end an adventure.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

12/05/13 - Hampton Loaded

Distance - 6.5 miles
Geocaches - 12
Walk from - The Severn Valley by Peter Kerr

Saturday is my usual walking day, but things change this weekend.  Our 20th anniversary is upon us and to celebrate, Sonia would like an engagement ring.  For our 30th anniversary, I am planning on asking her out for a first date.

So, we headed off to the Jewelery Quarter in Birmingham, leaving the kids on the train to go shopping in the town.  When you are unsure what you are after, the advice is to know what your budget is.  First look through one of the many windows makes me realise I need to double what I initially planned.  After picking up the real ale pub guide and popping into several hostileries in between looking at many, many rings, we make the decision surprisingly quickly.  That's lunchtime mojitos for you.

Combin lunchtime cocktails with the FA Cup final and its not surprising that I was looking for a local walk today.  Had my eye on Highley since some new caches were published a few weeks ago and a walk from "The Severn Valley" by Peter Kerr hit the mark.  On plotting, I saw a pre-blogging hand written note to say that I had completed this back in 2004. 

No doubt, Molly was a lot more sprightly then.  The usual pantomime of her hiding and me cajouling her into the boot ensued.

Park up at the Country Park and take in the first cache of the day in the parkland before dropping down to Highly Station, just as a loco is pulling in.

Gentleman Cacher
Old Dog and a gentleman cacher
Drop down to the river and see that the Ship Inn has had an extensive looking make over.  It was well shabby back in 2004.  I can feel an evening trip coming on here.

The walking couldn't be easier, as I keep the river to my right and head up to Hampton Loade.  I am 2nd to Find a nicely hidden nano.  Dog has a dunk.

In the Drink
Taking my eyes of the caches.
The impromptu swim means I have not been paying attention to the caches and have a think about whether I should double back to the one I missed.  I need the numbers, so little internal argument, although the dog thought she was going back for another swim.

Grab this, one more in a tree and arrive at Hampton Loade.  Nicely hidden cache at the station and a few people milling around waiting for the train.

Halfway There
Its a long way to Cornwall on a Loco from here
Stiff climb up the road to pick up the Jack Mytton way at Hampton House.  I remember this being an absolute quagmire.  Some work must have been done on the track, as there was barely a puddle today.

Get my only DNF of the day, where I spend a good 15 minutes looking for, and failing to find a "dead stump".  Found nothing matching the description and missed out on the promise of a GeoCoin that had just been placed.

Bit of a detour now, as I go heading for the "Around Highley Caches".  The OS Map doesn't show the GZ as footpaths but they seem well used tracks.  Pick up four but cannot get the one at Highley village as it is being guaded by gardeners.

With my car at the far other end of Highley, you realise quite how big the village is.  Grab two more in the town and stop at the monument celebrating the village's mining history.

Back in Highley
Model Dog
The rains start just as I am getting back to the country park.  Just time for a last nano, making a decent walk a pretty good caching excursion.