Week 9 roundup – Compton Chine to East Cowes

Wednesday 28th November to Tuesday 4th December 2018

Compton Bay to Blackgang  11.58 miles
Blackgang to Shanklin  11.09 miles
Shanklin to St Helens 10.5 miles
St Helens to East Cowes 13.86 miles

Total mileage 47.03

 

Bike rack at Whale Chine

 

Ammonite bench at Chale

 

Shanklin to Sandown

 

Many Sandown beach huts have punny hut-based names

 

Sandown pier

 

Sandown

 

The Tamar lifeboat at Bembridge RNLI

 

Bembridge

 

Appley Tower, a coastal folly, Ryde

 

Ryde

 

 

Week 8 round up – Hamble to Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

Wednesday 21st to Tuesday 27th November 2018

Hamble to Town Quay, Southampton 7.59 miles (plus 1.5 miles to my accommodation)
Town Quay, Southampton to Calshot RNLI station (via So’ton to Hythe ferry) 9.36 miles (plus 1.5 miles from my accommodation)
Calshot RNLI to Beaulieu 11.11 miles
Beaulieu to Lymington 11.00 miles
Yarmouth ferry to Compton Chine 12.04 miles

Total miles 54.1

 

Hamble Common

 

Weston shore

 

Calshot spit

 

The Watch House, Lepe. Once used as a look out post to combat smuggling, now a private residence

 

Lepe

 

Solent Way, Beaulieu

 

The boardwalk, running alongside the Beaulieu River

 

Coastal path, Norton, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

 

Coastal erosion between Yarmouth and Compton Chine IOW

 

Yarmouth to Compton Chine

 

Yarmouth to Compton Chine

Week 7 roundup – Prinsted, Chichester to Hamble

Wednesday 14th to Tuesday 20th November 2018

Prinsted to Langstone (around Thorney Island) 11.01 miles
Langstone to Hayling Island RNLI station 10.01 miles
Hayling Island ferry to Portsmouth docks 5.07
Gosport ferry to Hamble 16.00 miles

A short week due to a sight-seeing stop over in Portsmouth

Total miles 42.09

Thorney Island footpath gate

 

Much of Thorney Island is MOD land so off limits to walkers. Straying from the footpath is prohibited.

 

Langstone Mill, built in sections between 1720 and 1832, was a working mill until WWI

 

Hayling Island beach hut

 

Hayling Island beach huts

 

Gosport benches

 

Esplanade de Royan mosaic, Gosport

 

Esplanade de Royan mosaic, Gosport

 

Esplanade de Royan mosaic, Gosport

 

Lee on Solent

 

Looking back where I’ve walked. Lee on Solent

 

Warsash to Hamble ferry

Week 6 roundup – Littlehampton to Prinsted, Chichester

Wednesday 7th to Tuesday 13th November

Littlehampton to Pagham 13.84 miles
Pagham to Bracklesham, East Wittering 15.82 miles
Bracklesham to Chichester canal basin 14.04 miles
Chichester marina to Chidham 10.67 miles
Chidham to Prinsted 6.32 miles

Total miles 60.69

 

Littlehampton’s The Long Bench by Studio Weave

 

RSPB Pagham Harbour

 

West Wittering

 

West Wittering

 

West Wittering to Itchenor

 

West Wittering to Itchenor

 

Chidham to Prinsted

 

Chidham to Prinsted

Week 5 roundup – Pevensey Bay to Worthing

Wednesday 31st October to Tuesday 6th November

Pevensey Bay to Birling Gap 12.59 miles
Birling Gap to Newhaven 13.25 miles
Newhaven to Hove 13.39 miles
Hove to Worthing 10.02 miles
Worthing to Littlehampton 8.71 miles

Total miles 57.96

Highs

  • Watching the waves from the viewing platform splash Birling Gap’s beautiful white cliffs.
  • Beachy head and the Seven Sisters. Although I inwardly groan when I see a steep uphill section, I actually rather enjoy the effort of trying to maintain a steady rhythm and getting to the top. The views are usually worth it too.
  • Having to company of Jon (ex Sussex Search and Rescue, now RNLI) on the Birling Gap to Newhaven leg. Always lovely to have the company of someone who knows the area.
Seven sisters

 

It’s always a good idea to look behind from time to time. This lighthouse was hidden from the other direction.

 

Birling Gap

 

Viewing platform at Birling Gap

 

Newhaven bench

 

Approaching Brighton

 

Approaching Brighton

 

Shoreham local heroes sculpture with the Adur Ferry bridge in the background

 

Winching the Shoreham lifeboat back into its boathouse after a training exercise

 

 

Week 4 roundup – St Mary’s Bay to Pevensey Bay

Wednesday 24th October to Tuesday 30th

St Mary’s Bay to Lydd 11.54 miles
Lydd to Rye 11.75 miles
Rye to Hastings 12.85 miles
Hastings to Pevensey Bay 12.29 miles

Total mileage 48.43

Highs

  • One of the best things about this walk is the people I meet along the way. For example, whilst near the National Trust South Foreland Lighthouse near Dover (on top of the White Cliffs) I asked a couple of women whether I was on the right path. We got chatting and the next minute I’m sharing tea and cake with them in the cafe (thanks to Rose and Anne 😊).
  • The chalk trails and stunning views on the White Cliffs of Dover. After the flat promenades I’d been walking on it made a lovely change to hike on the undulating terrain more suited to my trail running shoes

Lows

  • Leaving Eric and Thelma’s. After the support they gave me, with B&B, route planning, and company whist walking, I felt a little vulnerable on my own in contrast.

 

Rye wall art

 

Hastings cockle club

 

Old building in Hastings

 

The mural at my B&B, Pevensey Bay

 

 

Week 3 roundup – Ramsgate to St Mary’s Bay

Wednesday 17th to Tuesday 23rd October

Ramsgate to Deal 14.13 miles
Deal to Dover 11.87 miles
Dover to Sandgate 9.66 miles
Sandgate to St Mary’s Bay 10.12 miles

Total mileage ~46

Highs

  • Having 2 days in Deal. Visiting the small but beautifully formed local museum and being given a tour of Deal by my very attentive host, yet another kind and generous member of Kent Search and Rescue.
  • The walk through the National Trust’s White Cliffs of Dover. Exactly the sort of trail I love; undulating, slightly challenging underfoot due to uneven nature, and stunning views. My trail running shoes were made for this and it felt great.
  • The exceptional support given to me by local litter picking gurus, Eric and Thelma, who not only invited me to stay for a few nights, allowing me to walk with just a day sack rather than my 10-11kg 50l jobbie, but drove me to the start points and collected me at the end.
  • Being bought a cup of tea and a cake in the National Trust’s lighthouse tea shop near Dover by 2 ladies I bumped into and got talking to.

Lows

  • None 🙂
Old lifeboat at Deal museum

 

Side street in Deal

 

Painted lift door, Ramsgate

 

“Hand and molecule” sculpture, Ramsgate

 

Pegwell Bay beach huts

 

Sandwich, a Medieval Cinque Port

 

White Cliffs Country Trail, Dover

Week 2 roundup – Sittingbourne to Ramsgate

Week 2, Wednesday 10th to Tuesday 16th October

Lower Halstow to Sheerness to Sittingbourne ~12 miles*
Sittingborne to Faversham 12.33 miles
Faversham to Whitstable 10.15 miles
Whitstable to Westgate-on-Sea 15.17 miles
Westgate-on-Sea to Ramsgate 11.48 miles

Total miles ~62

Highs

  • The interesting second hand shops at Faversham Wharf. Just as well I couldn’t buy anything or I’d have been rifling though all the tools and, I dare say, buying some unidentified something or other.
  • Meeting a social media follower along the route from Faversham and walking part of the way with her and her dog. Lovely to meet you and thanks for the energy bars 😊
  • The excellent tour of Whitstable lifeboat station from volunteer crew member, Alex. So informative and fascinating hearing about the Talus MB4H tractor-type vehicle, AKA “the Bendy” and the technicalities of their D Class RIB lifeboat. Being allowed to step aboard was a treat too 😎
  • Followers on Facebook letting me know how I can order items online without an address. It seems that it’s often possible to have items delivered to many local post offices or Amazon lockers, which is very handy.
  • Being able to get the maps and powerbank I needed in Sittingbourne. Seems no big deal but I was a little concerned about how straightforward it was going to be to source things I need.
  • The kindness of strangers. Huge thanks to all those who have given me a bed for the night and ensured I was safe and fed.
Iwade, on the way to Sheerness

 

Painted beach hut, Westgate to Margate

 

Painted beach hut, Westgate to Margate

 

Painted beach hut, Westgate to Margate

 

Painted beach huts, Westgate to Margate

 

Even Tankerton Bay sailing club painted their door

 

Castle Coote bird sanctuary

 

Oare Marshes

 

West Bay, Westgate-on-Sea

 

Getting close to Whitstable

 

The “Bendy” at Whitstable RNLI station

 

Whitstable RNLI station’s D-class lifeboat

 

Whitstable RNLI station’s WW2 German binoculars

 

Lows (or little niggles)

  • The price difference between buying the maps online and buying them from the shop. About £8 difference for 3!
  • Getting a cold. It was bound to happen at some stage, but on a plus at least it was mild, didn’t last long and didn’t impact on my walking (apart from the many nose-blowing stops 😬😄)
  • *Somehow losing my data for the Lower Halstow to Sittingbourne via Sheerness walk. Maybe Garmin thought is was so grim is refused to save it 😉  My mind drifting whilst following the footpath through the wasteland and thinking of all the crime dramas I’ve watched. It’s really not helpful for to be reminded that it’s just the sort of place that bodies are discovered! Used the walking poles to great effect to increase my speed and get out of there 😄
  • The wind! I was buffeted all the way from Sittingbourne to Faversham. I know when the weather annoys me because I start to laugh at it, and I found myself chuckling a fair few times that day.
  • The burned out tractor and the huge amount of graffiti on the promenade in Margate. Then missing the Shell Grotto, the one place I wanted to see there.
Margate

 

Margate

 

 

 

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.

 

FAQs


What are you doing?
How many miles is it?
How long will it take?
Are you going with people?
Why are you doing it?
Are you scared?
How did you choose your charities?
How many miles do you intend to walk each day?
How many days per week will you be walking?
Where will you stay overnight? Are you camping?
Are you being sponsored by anyone?
Can I join you on part of the walk?
What will you do when you’ve finished?

What are you doing?

The plan is to walk the coast of Britain visiting every lifeboat station along the way. I will aim to follow the coast as much as possible but if lack of footpaths, footpath closures, or a more pleasant or safer way exists, then I will head inland a little. For example, trying to follow the coast around Kent is problematic in parts so I’ve decided to follow the Saxon Shore Way instead. With the exception of the Thames, which has 4 RNLI stations, I shall cross rivers at the first available public crossing nearest the mean high water point rather than wander upriver for miles.
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How many miles is it?

This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, but Ordnance Survey calculated that it is 11,072.8 miles (17,820 km) using their Boundary-Line high-water data. But it depends on how you measure it, as Alasdair Rae explains in his blog. The Wales Coast Path is 870 miles (1400 km), and the England Coast Path will be around 2,795 miles (4498 km) long when it’s complete. So already we’re up to 3,665 miles before we even factor in islands or the complex Scottish coast! Just taking into consideration that the Ayrshire and Fife Coastal Paths, the Cape Wrath, John o’ Groats, and Moray Coast Trails, and West Highland Way total 725 miles (1167km) alone, and they don’t make up the whole of the Scottish coast or necessarily go past RNLI stations, it’s going to be a long walk.  Probably between 5,000 and 11,000 miles; one fundraiser, Alex Ellis-Roswell, walked over 9,500 miles visiting every RNLI station on the coast of Britain and Ireland.
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How long will it take?

In all honesty I’m really not sure, although it took Alex Ellis-Roswell 3 years to complete his walk around the coast of Britain and Ireland and he’s younger, and I daresay fitter, than me.
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Are you going with people?

No, I am going alone. Thankfully I don’t tend to get lonely.
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Why are you doing it?

Good question. It was an idea that evolved in my 2nd year of university when I was pretty low mentally (due to bereavements and uni stress) and desperately wanted to jack it all in. It was then that I started considering what I would do once I’d graduated, to give me something to look forward to. My 1st idea was to go travelling around the world before settling into a new career, but then I decided that I’d really like to explore Britain, and if I was going to explore Britain it would most likely involve a lot of walking. I enjoy walking and have been a member of the Ramblers Association for many years so this seemed ideal, and if any trip was going to involve a lot of walking I should do it sooner rather than later; after all, who knows what’s around the corner regarding our health. But this all seemed a bit airy fairy and I needed a plan, so it evolved into walking around the coast, and if I was going to do something so huge why don’t I do it for charity?
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Are you scared?

I’m more excited than scared although I must admit to having some days where I have major concerns. The biggest one by far is how I’ll cope with carrying 10kg in a rucksack. Although I’m used to carrying 5kg whenever I go on day hikes over variable terrain and up to ~17 miles, I’ve found that increasing the weight means I can’t walk as far before getting tired. Theoretically I should be able to carry about 20% of my body weight (so 11kg), but I just don’t know how my body is going to behave in practice. I’ll either get hurt or very fit!
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How did you choose your charities?

Regarding the RNLI, I’m in awe of what they do, and once I’d decided to walk around the coast it seemed a natural progression to support them. My idea to support the Association of lowland search and rescue came after watching a documentary about missing people. I had always thought that it was only the Police that conducted searches so I was surprised to find that they work closely with regional search and rescue teams made up entirely of volunteers. In addition, although I suspect pretty much everyone has heard of the RNLI, I’m finding that far fewer people have heard of lowland rescue. I wanted to change this. I also felt that LSAR and the RNLI made a logical pairing as their operations tend to overlap.
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How many miles do you intend to walk each day?

This is another question that is quite difficult to answer because “it depends”. It depends on terrain, weather, how I’m coping with carrying a load day after day, etc., but I aim for 10 miles.
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How many days per week will you be walking?

I’m not out to break any records or to push myself to exhaustion, so realistically I think 2 days walking followed by a rest day is realistic, so walking 5 days a week. I think that it’s better to feel I could do a little more than to be overly ambitious and need time off to recover, and I want to enjoy this not be battling with low morale and pushing my willpower to its limits as I have been these past couple of years.
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Where will you stay overnight? Are you camping?

Because my main concern regarding this trip is how I’ll cope physically with the weight of my backpack I am loathe to add extra weight by carrying camping equipment. As I only weigh 55kg I have to be mindful of keeping my pack weight down and if I added camping kit it would not only be miserable but would significantly increase my risk of injury. Plus, although I have enjoyed camping trips, these have always been with someone rather than alone and have never been in the colder months. The thought of having to cope with the elements, be tired after a day walking, and on top of that not having somewhere comfortable to sleep does not sound very appealing. Nope, having somewhere comfortable, dry and warm to sleep so that I can rest properly and being in the right frame of mind to start again the next day is what I’m hoping for, be that a B&B or on someone’s sofa.
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Are you being sponsored by anyone?

No. Maybe this will change as I progress with the journey though.
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Can I join you on part of the walk?

If you wish to join me on some of the walks you’re welcome to. I will tweet my location and should be wearing a charity tabard for easy ID.
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What will you do when you’ve finished?

At this stage I’m not sure, although my interests are in type 2 diabetes and obesity prevention and management, and in footpath management. I want to let life evolve for a while and see where I end up though.
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