Week 1 round-up – Westminster to Sittingbourne

Total mileage ~ 52

Highs

  • The Premier Inn bed. Shame I couldn’t take it with me.
  • Staying with Kent Search and Rescue member, Chris, and his partner Janet. So kind of them to let me stay for 2 nights. Despite being independent and happy in my own company, I’m starting to really appreciate the support of others on this trip.
  • The Saxon Shore Way from Cliffe to Upper Upnor. Oh how I love well maintained and clearly signposted footpaths. Makes life so much easier.
  • I like travelling by train as it triggers memories of great days out with my Mum as a child, and the high speed train from London to Gravesend was a bit of a treat. So smooth…and fast. And call me mad but I like the London tubes too.
  • The helpful barman in The Three Tuns PH in Lower Halstow who tried getting me a taxi to Sittingbourne with great difficulty. He put my mind at ease by offering to drive me himself at the end of his shift so I wouldn’t get stranded there. Sometimes you just need someone to say don’t worry I’ll make sure you’re OK and this was one of those times.
  • Having a day off in Sittingbourne and managing to get everything I wanted; the next 3 maps and a powerbank to charge my phone. This wouldn’t have been a big deal when I lived at home, but normal things are extra complicated whilst travelling, so when things go well it makes a big positive impact.

 

View from Gravesend RNLI

 

Saxon Shore Way, Gravesend

 

Upper Upnor

 

Upper Upnor

 

Salt marsh at Riverside country park, Gillingham

 

Mud flats at Riverside country park, Gillingham

Lows

  • Still packing and dismantling a wardrobe at 3am on the move day.
  • Being so stressed and sleep deprived after moving out of my home that I ended up crying into my breakfast in Sainsbury’s cafe. Most unlike me.
  • The Saxon Shore Way from Gravesend to Cliffe. Horrible weather plus graffiti, litter, badly signed and closed footpaths, and my inexperience regarding navigation, meant it was a pretty miserable walk, and one that knocked my confidence.
  • Deciding to book accommodation a few miles of my route and get a taxi to my B&B rather than bust a gut to find somewhere within a short walk of it almost backfired when I got temporarily stuck in a pub struggling to get a taxi. A stressful end to an already stressful day.

Reflections (what I’ve learned)

  • I should’ve got a powerbank (to charge my phone in an emergency) earlier. That would’ve made the difference between embracing the environment and enjoying walking through the stunning Riverside Nature Reserve and having a low battery niggling me and spoiling the day.
  • Become more familiar with my phone so it becomes a more useful tool. For example, I’d completely forgotten I’d installed ViewRanger, which would’ve proved useful on my Gravesend to Cliffe walk.

 

8 thoughts on “Week 1 round-up – Westminster to Sittingbourne

  1. Mary says:

    Glad people are helping you and your stress levels are reduced, let’s hope with additional battery power for your phone and view ranger you can now enjoy your walking a lot more! Fingers Xd for good weather to continue for you! 😊 mary

  2. Annie Elliott says:

    Love the highs! , not so keen on the lows but great lessons I find. Don’t let it knock your confidence . 52 miles is epic well done you . I’m going to look at viewranger too, I always use osmaps but often get so consumed I’m going in the right direction that my head is constantly in my phone rather than what’s around me! You’re doing great …here’s to the next set of miles!
    Ps love the pics x

    • Beth says:

      Thanks Annie. I suspect (and hope) there will be fewer lows as I gain experience and confidence. At least I don’t feel like a rabbit in the headlights any more LOL.

  3. Rachel Browning says:

    Glad I stumbled across your tweets at the start of your adventure and not near the end. Wish I could do the same thing – really envious of you as I enjoy walking and would love to see the entire British coast. Will definitely keep up with your adventures and all the best.

  4. Walk Aid says:

    First week or two is the hardest, until you get into a routine. I found if you stop in pubs for a snack, lunch time or evening and advertise what you are doing, monies will start rolling in. Let locals help you and advertise your journey, they will have friends/ family that can walk/talk and sometime get you some accommodation. Ensure you look after your feet, to avoid blisters if possible. I taped my heels up before starting everyday, did help a lot. Looking forward to your Trek.

    • Beth says:

      I’m finding the hi-viz tabard is helping to get the message out there too. I even got stopped in Whitstable earlier by a Facebook follower who saw it and said hello πŸ™‚ Thankfully my feet are fine, but maybe because I wear trail running shoes which are a bit more user friendly than many boots in my experience.

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