I did it again!

Sorry I can’t believe I let another week pass before writing more.

I have been so busy……

I mentioned the fact that hi viz was needed for the walk…… with some research I found a company online that could print the front and back of a hi viz vest with my details.

See photos

This made me visible and told anyone I talked to or anyone behind me what I was doing.

I had thought this would help with fund raising but it was not as effective as I hoped…

Why ……. Well they might be hi viz but they have become ‘invisible’ !

What I mean is that everyone wears yellow hi viz whether they are cycling, walking their dog, on the way to school, working on the road, fixing broken down vehicles or working as a PCSO. So we all see them and keep them safe but we don’t give a thought to why they are wearing it …….. other than to keep them safe.

So my yellow did keep me safe but it didn’t help me fund raise ……however I was on numerous occasions asked for directions ha! ha!

So if I did the walk again, for the sake of the charity, I would choose a different colour to attract more attention!!

I never imagined I could wear hi viz and be invisible, but it was proved as I walked through a crowd of thousands on their way to a match of the Warrington Wolves and not a soul acknowledged my journey! It should have been a good chance to fundraise? Maybe I am just not ‘pushy’ enough to be a serious fundraiser?



Car boot!

Sorry for leaving you so long but this is the busiest time of year for me…..

Today the weather was good and I had time to go to a local car boot sale to sell my unwanted goods and try to boost my donations to Alzheimer’s Society.

I took my boards saying what I had achieved and a photo of me at the finish post.

It was a small sale but I did manage to raise another £62 in sales and donations.

I will do another one in September when I have accumulated some more items to sell.

By the way my mind keeps wandering back to what I should do next?

I need another personal challenge. I had wanted to do that walk for 58 years ……why did I wait so long?

Will be with you in a couple of days…..


More changes

As I mentioned in a previous post I decided to use a familiar, comfortable coat…… the problem was it was black, not a safe colour for walking on the road. During the training walk from Bristol to Wellington I was also trialling a back pack that I didn’t usually use. The back pack had a waterproof cover which was orange so that helped with visibility from behind but I realised that as you walk towards the oncoming traffic on their side of the road that wasn’t enough for the JOGLE. I would need be visible from all directions.

The back pack in question had a frame which is good for air circulation on the back plus spreading the weight but it took up a lot of space in the small camper so this gave me more searching and testing to do before the big adventure.

Also I realised that as I had support I didn’t need to carry as much as I did on the first long training walk. I had contact with the support vehicle by mobile phone, (subject to signal) If I needed a change of shoes I could summon my support, so no need to carry extra shoes!

The problem with backpacks, particularly in the rain, is that to get to anything in it you have to take it off, usually put it on the wet ground, remove the waterproof cover unfasten the pack, rummage and then put everything back, fasten, put the cover on, and put it on your back! A bit of a faff in the rain!

At this stage in the training I had 2 old IPhones on different networks and I was using one of them to listen to audio books. The problem was that my phone batteries ran out very quickly so I needed to carry battery packs to charge the phones so that Royston could track me on Find Friends ( subject to signal) The battery pack had to be plugged into my phone by a charging lead. Very awkward especially in the rain. Hence more trips into the backpack!

Something else to improve before the adventure, more research to do.

Obviously we needed to charge lots of devices in the camper, phones, battery packs, etc etc …….more modifications….. The camper has a solar panel so we needed to install multi charging sockets. We also needed to get usb charging leads for other everyday items, electric toothbrush, camera battery charger, razor etc. This would mean that we didn’t have to rely on campsites with electric hook ups. This would mean we could be off grid and not need to drive lots of extra miles to campsites.

You may be starting to see how important the training walks were…….

More soon!

More training – more choices!

As I mentioned in the last post I did another long training walk. In January I walked from Clifton, Bristol down to Wellington. It was a 3 day 20 mile a day walk and at the worst time of year because the daylight hours were so short!

The plan was to walk to Tiverton, where I started the last training walk but it was a Friday afternoon and the final few miles were on the road. The traffic was heavy and the light and visibility were poor so for safety reasons I stopped when I got to Wellington. I had still walked 60 miles in 3 days.

This walk was a real test but was also amazing!

It was really cold in the mornings. I needed hat and gloves (not really me to wear hat and gloves!) and my fingers were still so cold I couldn’t feel them! As I walked through the suburbs of Bristol I had some massive hill climbs and at this time the majority of my training at home had been on the towpaths! My progress was hindered by the multitudes of discarded Christmas trees strewn across the pavements! I guess it was a good year for real trees.

The walk was certainly one of contrasts. Royston had planned this to be part of the main walk so that it was a another chunk of the JOGLE route that was planned and checked.

I guess that many of you have been to Cheddar Gorge? I walked to, and through, the Cheddar Gorge. It is so surreal to walk through places that have in the past been the destination. When you walk you see so much more than you ever see as a driver or even as a passenger in a car.

It is so hard to explain but I will never be able to get this feeling out of my system or be able to adequately explain it to someone who hasn’t done an end to end or similar. Oh dear I am rambling but writing this has just connected me back to the feelings experienced on the JOGLE. Towns are actually so close together and I couldn’t get over the fact that in England I often walked through 2 major towns in one day. We lose touch with the world when we are in those tin boxes on wheels. In history how many times do we hear that armies marched from one place to another often hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. Somehow the experience of walking the length of the UK connects you with the way we were! We were born to walk!

Right…… back to the training walk. We stayed overnight in the van in Cheddar. A very cold night and when I started walking as soon as it got light there was a very heavy frost and icy roads. After the climb out of Cheddar and spectacular views I was headed for the contrast of the Somerset levels. Quiet, open countryside and it was here that two deer ran across a field, jumped a fence and ran along the road in front of me before disappearing into a field on the other side of the road. Stunning…..

I am missing the experiences of the freedom of walking so much!

If you have ever thought about doing something like this, do it! You cannot buy these experiences, you have to make them happen.

I need a break…… to reflect……. and to connect back to things I need to do today…..

See you tomorrow…….

Back to preparations for the walk!l

After the walk from Tiverton to Camborne we made storage modifications in the van.

I packed all the things we might need on the walk into small labelled containers that fitted in the small storage spaces we had. Actually that sort of thing is right up my street! I like to be organised and know I have everything and where to find it! When we are next in the van I’ll take a photo of the cupboards to show you!

I am better at practical things and whilst I was messing around with small containers and labels Royston was up to his neck in maps, plans, gps devices biographies, google map, iPhones etc plotting a safe but as direct as possible route! He wrote meticulous directions for every mile of the route and I copied them onto index cards to carry with me! This took months of work!

I was still trying to find the right shoes/boots, trousers, tops, coat, backpack etc. This was all trial and error and despite masses of trials when I did the JOGLE there were things that could have been improved!

I have talked about shoes before and since being home have sold off all the unused shoes and boots I bought at a profit! (So my footwear cost nothing!)

Whilst on the 112 mile training walk I had to deal with some torrential rain and had bought a nearly new Berghaus waterproof coat. I soon decided I really didn’t like it! It felt too ‘stiff’. It had loads of pockets that had waterproof zips but trying to use them in the rain was really awkward. I didn’t like the double zip, then flap over etc etc….

After this walk I sold that coat and tried several others! I rejected them all for one reason or another. When I did the next long training walk I used a coat I have had for a long time a Regatta which was very light, comfy and warm as it is fleece lined on the top half. It also was good to roll up, when not needed, and stuff into a small space.

After wearing it on the next long walk to check it. I decided it was the best one to take because it offered warmth and wind protection and I wasn’t sure what weather conditions I would come across in Scotland!

I bought Nikwax Tech Wash and Nikwax In Wash Waterproofer and followed the instructions.

Need to pop off now but I will be back tomorrow for the next instalment!

Keep sharing the link to this blog


And to my Just Giving page


I am back on board!

If you are still following this blog, thank you for your dedication and patience!

I have just spent a very busy couple of weeks with my gorgeous grandsons but they have all gone home now so tomorrow I will tell you more about the preparations for my walk!

I am missing the thrill of achieving the necessary mileage each day! I need a new challenge.

I will be with you tomorrow!

More preparations…..

I was fortunate with the weather in 2018 but when I spotted that Celtic Leisure who run several gyms in my area had a joining offer in September I decided that it would be a good idea to join for the winter months so that there was no temptation to let my level of fitness slip!

Royston was very concerned that most of my training walking was being done on the towpaths and that I wasn’t tackling many hills!!

He had a point……. I live surrounded by hills and mountains but my choice was always the flattest route! My walk was going to start in the Scottish Highlands so there would be no getting away from hills there! This is where the gym membership came in handy. I was able to build the hill climbing muscles without actually climbing hills!

I think my aversion to hills is a left over from when my knees were so painful with arthritis (before I started taking Rose Hip tablets).

I didn’t use the gym obsessively and always chose to be outdoors when I could be! The advantage of the gym was the concentrated workout when I didn’t have the time for a long walk.

In October I did a 3 day walk along the Monmouth and Brecon Canal using the camper van as a support vehicle and our bed for the night! I walked 55 miles in the 3 days.

All went well but this was still a flat walk and I didn’t have much navigation to cope with! Just follow the canal!

By this time Royston was busy route planning which took many, many hours partly because he is very meticulous, and partly because he knows I have no sense of direction and am hopeless at map reading!

He planned the section of the route from Tiverton in Devon down to Camborne in Cornwall about 112 miles. This was so that I could practise on part of the actual route and tie in the training with visiting my aunt & uncle in Dorset and my grandsons in Camborne.

He equipped me with maps and very detailed instructions which referred to the maps and even photos of some of the more complicated junctions. This walk was a real test of how the JOGLE would work. We used Find Friends on our phones so that he could keep an eye on where I was!

I needed to prove to myself that I could walk 20 miles a day back to back whilst sleeping in the van!

We needed to establish a routine for ‘walking’ days.

We had to work out how I was going to eat properly when on the 9 week walk using the vans limited cooking equipment and food storage space.

Royston needed to know that I could follow his instructions!

I needed to tackle ‘real’ hills and believe me Devon has plenty of those!

November is a challenging time of year to train like this as the weather was not very good…. there was plenty of mud and puddles to deal with. This helped us plan how to modify the van to deal with wet clothes and muddy footwear.

The other main problem with walking 20 miles a day in November is the lack of daylight hours and the fact that when the weather is bad so is visibility! Once again it gave us information on what equipment I needed to carry and what hi viz clothing I needed.

This walk was very challenging but I did manage 112 miles in 5.5 days.

It gave us answers to many of our questions about the John O Groats to Lands End Walk.

It proved to me I could consistently walk 20 miles a day and gave me the confidence to tell the world my plans for 2019!

My dream was going to become reality!

More about our preparations soon!