Friday night came and it was a jolly to the Spotted Dog and The Crown, both over Darlo way. A total of 7 out this time, must be something of a modern day record, and hoping it was better than the last night out, the fateful Saturday in Stockton.
This time was to be different, it was a brilliant night out. It had everything a night out should have - cigars, alcohol, soft drinks (well, for me), quiz machines, pool, juke boxes, followed by some of the more unusual stuff like smuggling people into car boots and an unhealthy amount of head stroking. Reports of zombie style hangovers the next day were aplenty as well as news of unusual activity upon return to home base (Foster...). All in all, a jolly good night!
This all brings me back round to hangovers. I woke up this morning and the plan was to go to Osmotherley at 9 with Ged and walk back the 15/16 miles from there, only that didn't happen. For some strange reason I couldn't sleep on Friday night and manged to get about 2 hours, before waking up at 8 with a massive non alcohol related hangover. I could hardly lift my phone to check Facebook, let alone drag myself out of bed and prepare for an epic walk. My apologies to Ged for the late let down, my body was just physically incapable of such outrageous activity! Time was a healer, however, and I managed to get over to the casino tonight. What I lost, Nat seemed to win, simply by pressing the same button a number of times, amazing! We left there after breaking even, that appeased me after my football let me down - I took 3 outsiders to win, Chelsea and Tottenham succeeded but Norwich just couldn't do it for me.
On a coast to coast note, thanks to Chris for a signed Burnley ball, to John for a good DVD player prize, and to our Amy and Specsavers who have donated a £150 glasses voucher to the cause and some special lens for when I actually do the walk. Thanks to you all!
Spent this week looking at more blogs and reviews of the coast to coast to try and get well genned up before I do it. I think after the initial shock of deciding to do this myself, I am coming round to the idea and actually looking forward to it. Scouring through various blogs one thing is certain - it is a challenging but satisfying adventure! Another common theme is the idea of meeting and walking with different groups of people throughout the duration. This combined with my own circle of friends who are doing all/days/sections of the walk will make it a very different fortnight to any I have had before, again, one I am looking forward to. I must admit, it is not always easy to get up and about on a Saturday morning but it is satisfying on a Saturday night after walking 6/8/10/12/14/16 etc miles.
I had a day off on Sunday after a good matchday walk on Saturday, enjoyed dinner with the gang at the Lingfield and pretty much a lazy day after that. Monday night was again spent at the The Falcon in Hilton, our new quiz haunt - we are still finding our feet there, finishing joint last out of about 12 teams. Tuesday and Wednesday were relatively quiet and I have been ill all day today, resulting in a day pretty much in bed, missing both work, and Thursday night squash. So no real exercise since Saturday. Tomorrow there's a gang of us having a run out to a pub in Manfield, so it is going to be Saturday before I get out again. I am contemplating a walk to Osmotherley this weekend. It's about 16 miles and should take me through nice country villages like Hutton Rudby and Swainby (good country pubs to stop at!). As long as I get back for the night, it's poker night and, as always, hope to cash in at the expense of my pals.
Anyway, 271 days off the booze, walking 20+ miles a week, and, all being well, diet starts on Sunday! Ironman Triathlon in 2017 anyone........
Saturday came, and it meant only one thing - the long threatened walk to a home game. Yes, having made the decision earlier in the week I had to stick by it. Fortunately I had an ally for the walk, once again Paul joined me. After I tried to delay the inevitable we finally set sail at 8:30. Unfortunately I had left my money at home and had to turn back, adding an extra half a mile to the journey. After discussing which route to take we set off properly - and yet again I found myself walking down by the Tees.
After quickly passing through Stockton we arrived in Norton (home of the legendary Norton Duck Pond), and as it's a place I very rarely go, sat and had a short break, just long enough, in fact, to enjoy another Norton icon - the Blackwell's Pork Pie!
I'm sure in the course of training over the next 8 months I will see some sites, but a unicyclist casually peddling down the street on a Saturday morning must top the list so far. On the other hand, it could well have been Big Jeff just getting out of the Tapas Bar that time on a Saturday morning, and that would have been one hell of a site!
I say casually peddling, he must have been as I had chance to whip my phone out and catch a picture of him. Brilliant!
And so the walk continued. We walked down roads which seemed to take forever - it is almost as if every walk I take, I seem to uncover the worlds longest roads. I blame the Romans!
Sometimes we had pavements, sometimes we had little footpaths, sometimes we had to do with grass verges. It's all good training though.
One of the most worrying things I've encountered out and about was a full set of clothes in amongst the bushes on a quiet footpath. Worrying for a few reasons;
We hit the wall after about 10 miles, which wan't bad going considering we had only stopped briefly in Norton. Dad had already passed us on the way to the match and the last 3 miles felt like another 10. We both felt blisters forming and various aches and pains coming out, yet we knew the finish line was in sight.
We did, after nearly 5 hours, make it to the rendezvous point - the pub! We managed to have an hours sit down before going to actually watch the match, and I must admit, for just about the whole 2 hours we were there I didn't 100% enjoy it, and that was purely down to the total body shutdown I was suffering (though not sure that is the medical term...).
We had done it though, walking about 2.8 mph we completed our 13.13 mile exercise. Not bad for a Saturday morning out!
Oh and by the way, Pools drew 2-2. They just cannot hang on to a lead! But that's footy for you!
'Stockton's Premier Night Out' new promo photo
Now then, Saturday night was something else! Although nothing particularly to do with walking or the Coast to Coast, it is worthy of mentioning. It was horrendous. Yeah ok, maybe not horrendous, that's not fair on the lads, it was just one of them nights...so bad it was perversly quite good!
The giveaway should have been that we were in Stockton, on a night! Never a good combination.
We started off in the Arc, and were told, despite it being a Saturday night, that the bar shut at 9:30. OK then, with everyone hungry to make more of the night, except Paul, whose mind was still 13.13 miles away in Hartlepool, we headed into the wild that is Stockton High Street. Next up was the Thomas Sheraton, where we were acknowledged by the bar staff on entry and then promptly ignored for the next five minutes, so after almost dying of thirst we had a swift pint there and moved on.
Goldies was abandoned by pretty much everyone except the bar staff, and the next pub had a woman(?) outside trying to lure us in, which we managed to evade. Down a back street there was people running in between pubs to make them look busy. Have nights out really changed this much?
We finally settled on this mysterious place called the Vault. We had noticed it from the Arc windows - the amazing thing about this place which attracted us was that we never actually seen anyone going in the place, yet witnessed several people coming out. And come out they did, particularly the guy who started chatting me up. We swiftly made our excuses and left. It's nice to know I've still got it though!
Anyway, that capped off an eventful day, I can't picture that much excitement on a Saturday for a long time!
So I woke up this morning and it hit me, yes, I actually am 32, and it's only 2,922 days until my 40th...
Despite this, I got up and dressed and after a few jobs, met up with Smith for yet another walk. Again, the lure of the River Tees proved to be too much and we found ourselves walking by the river and into Portrack.
My legs were working overtime trying to keep up with Smith and we made it into Portrack in good time, racking up a walk of 3.61 miles in the process. It is amazing how you notice things when you're out and about, and see things you never knew existed in Thornaby. It's like another world over the Teesdale area, and if you haven't been it's well worth a look. I mean we have the world famous University of Thornaby (which strangely enough is called Durham, Stockton campus or something like that - check with the Geography department), and there seems to be a million benches, yet nobody sat on them, I'm sure they were a good idea at the time. We speculate who would want to populate the houses which seem to be in the middle of nowhere, and how many bodies are dragged out of the Tees. Considering it's a long period of time, conversation never seems to dry up.
It could be mistaken for Whitby!
We reached our destination, the holy grail of walking - Go Outdoors! It's like a handymans B & Q. You could spend hours in that shop...and we did!
Although it started with a sit down in the cafe with a bit of refreshment - cue shaken coke can spraying all over table, floor, clothes etc. We continued with deep and meaningful conversation which took us miles away from where we actually were, and after about an hour or so actually got up to have a look around the shop.
So we eagerley set off just like kids in a sweet shop. What I did realise is that there are a few things I ABSOLUTELY NEED before I set off on my C2C walk:
Anyway, we managed to hang about there until we met Nat who was finishing work, and we copped out and got a lift home!
Just a couple of other things - it was great to see Neil Jollie and his comedy gang last night at Darlo, where Andrew Ryan offered to compere an up coming charity night I am going to arrange, that will definitely be one not to miss! And as part of my birthday present off mam and dad, I went to see Big Girls Don't Cry, a tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, and what a cracking night that was too. So all in all, a great birthday. Maybe being 32 is not quite as bad as it's cracked up to be! Here's to the next 2,922 days.....
Oh and the Just Giving fund, which is really what all of this is about, stands at £320 + Gift Aid, so thanks again to all contributors.
Next up, the 13 mile walk to Hartlepool tomorrow for the match. Come on you Pools!
St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
Rosthwaite to Patterdale
Patterdale to Shep
Shep to Kirkby Stephen
Kirkby Stephen to Keld
Keld to Reeth
Reeth to Richmond
Richmond to Ingleby Cross
Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top
Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale
Glaisdale to Robin Hood's Bay
Click here to see an elevation and mileage chart for each day.
Ok so this is my first attempt at blogging from the weebly app on my iPhone - god knows how it will turn out!
It's now 4 days after my 16 mile walk, and all parts are working as they should - my blisters are healed and my glutes are no longer aching! The strangest feeling of all was the urge in Sunday morning, when awoken at 7, to get up and go for a 2.5 mile along tees barrage. It started off a bit John Wayne style but I soon eased back into it, and with Nat for company what more could I want?! Was back in good time for church and feeling pretty good. It's the 'get up and walk the next day' factor which will be the hardest to address I think.
A quick thanks to ripon racecourse for their 2 premier stand tickets which arrived safely too.
Next up is a potential walk to the Hartlepool match on Saturday - 12.1 miles.
OK, the weekend was upon me. After last week's success at Roseberry Topping, I had been telling myself that I would do a bit extra this weekend. Hartlepool were away and I had no plans at all - I know, I will walk from Captain Cook's Monument to Roseberry Topping, and then home from there...simples!
After struggling for a bit to actually get out of bed this morning, we set off. Nat was dropping me off at the foot of the monument, but not without calling off at Petch's the Butchers in Great Ayton - legendary pies!
At about 9:30 I was at base camp and ready to go! I got to the monument in no time, in my head it was quite far away, but I got up in about 15 minutes. When I reached the top, I was alone, not a person in sight. After getting over the eerieness of it, I loved it! It was very surreal. I spent a few minutes up there then made my way back down, of course, joining in the social etiquette of rambling, with a 'morning' here and a 'hello there' there. A guy was even jogging up there, and for that split second that I passed him, he was my hero!
After returning to base camp I turned round and headed towards Roseberry Topping. It was an initial ascent, which made me realise how unfit I actually was, followed by a long trek over across the hills on level ground. Again, I joined in the 'hi there's' and the 'lovely day isn't it?' banter while also trying to stare out the dogs which were at this point, totally off their leads and sniffing round my feet. It was at this point when I realised it is quite different walking by yourself than it is walking with another person. I think each has their own merits. I think I must have been subconsciously thinking of Nat because at one point I had an 'emergency plan' of how to fend off wild beasts. The plan, by the way, was hiding in one of the many bushes then waiting until it was about to eat me and whack it on the head with a loose rock I had found. Thankfully, the beast of Roseberry Topping never actually materialised.
After a while I found myself on the top of Roseberry Topping again, with a mixed bag of people. There was an elderly lady who was rightly pleased of her conquest, a couple of amateur photographers, a family who had set their stall out for the day - they had paid their £4 car parking and were determined to get their moneysworth, and, of course, the dyslexic dog walkers with their beasts roaming free.
Now coming down was even more of an adventure. Considering I had only been there last week, I managed to get lost. It wasn't quite a fear for my life, starting to cry kind of lost, more of a waiting to be caught in a bear trap or by a poison dart type of lost. I did stumble across a dead mole though, I don't even think I have ever seen a mole, dead or alive, but this was sad because it was actually laid on it's back in a kind of startled pose with its legs in the air. My mind did start to drift at this point and I could have sworn that the crickets were belting out some kind of Beatles song, maybe I just imagined it....
I think the thing I was looking forward to most was the ice cream at the bottom of Roseberry, and I don't even eat ice cream much! Anyway, my joy was short lived as reaching the car park I noticed a distinct lack of ice cream vans. It turns out after a good 30 minute conversation with the car park warden, that he tips off the ice cream man when it is busy, and today obviously wasn't. Gutted.
I then set off on the next big stage, walking home! The roads don't seem to long when driving down them but when walking, they are never ending! I thought I had found a short cut through a public right of way, though the angry cows (see photo above) put me off and I had to turn back onto the road. This was followed by a chance meeting with Nat and after some great encouragement I continued. I saw a sign for Middlesbrough, it said 8 mile, my heart sank.
Hours went by and I eventually met up with Dad in the Rudds (he had walked the 5 miles there to meet me). It was at this point my phone battery died (something I will have to address for C2C), but I had a bit of scran in there and we both continued on. After about 12 miles my feet were heavy and I could feel blisters coming on, but I kept telling myself that it's only walking and I have to get my practise in.
I arrived back at Mam's house at about 5:30 after walking about 16 miles (including the uphill and downhills). All in all a great day's exercise! Feet are blistered, head is burnt and I am almost certainly going to be unable to actually get out of bed in the morning, but it's done now!
Pools are at home next week so cannot do the same next Saturday, but I am sure to think of something.
Just got to give a great word of thanks to Liverpool FC for their donation of a tour of Anfield and Liverpool FC Musuem for 2 people. Thanks.
I'm off to stick my feet in dish of water. Ciao.
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So tonight was the return of squash - a game I haven't played since the great concussion incident. Turned up with two rackets, that's just how I roll, and my own balls (who else's?), only what I didn't realise were that the balls I brought were not fast bouncing which would have been better for my standard (beginner). They weren't even medium bouncing. Having checked later it turns out they weren't even slow or super slow, but a surely fictitious catergory...extra super slow! Come on, extra super slow bouncing squash balls, what chance have we got! Anyway we played, and had a great workout. OK I concede I got beat, well smashed, 4-1 by Paul, but it's a start and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the scores switch over (give it 3 months Paul). Court is booked for only 45 minutes but it a great workout, apart from the constant running into the walls, though I am sure that is optional.
Some success from my letters - Dean Court Hotel in York have kindly donated afternoon tea for two, and Thirsk Racecourse have offered 2 premier admission badges for any race in the 2013 season, so as Tommy Cooper would say - I thank you (with the hand actions). Hopefully they will keep coming and we can get a great raffle/auction up and running for the pot.
Anyway, I have some good activities planned for the weekend...see you Saturday night probably!
After the 3 mile walk to work on Monday morning (I don't actually mind this walk, it is just getting up in time which is the problem!) and the Roseberry Topping trip on Sunday, I felt enthused to carry on the regime. So a snap decision of a walk out before the quiz ended up being a great idea. In from work, neck some scran and slip into something a little more comfortable and then at 6 I was raring to go. Paul picked up and after we had dumped the car at the club went for a jolly down by the riverside.
We set off over the railway bridge, down past the college and uni and walked by the river. Bloody good it was too! We seen the rowing club where Kat Copeland trained (I think) and things I didn't even know existed in Thornaby, including the strange Blair Witch type wind chime (see picture above). There's a path all of the way down to the Newport Bridge, and beyond, though we cut off at the bridge and turned back on ourselves and came back up the Wilderness Road, which, is quite possibly THE longest road in the world! The usual sites on that road included cars speeding past in their souped up motors to get to 5 aside and suspicious looking ladies getting into cars of even more suspicious looking men! Finished in good time though and ended up in the club not long after kick off. All in all we clocked 5.1 miles tonight, and had a good time in the process - result. Next up - squash on Thursday.