We’re back on our plan to walk the Thames Path, now that everything isn’t completely muddy. Our first stint, since the one we did last year, was from Abingdon Lock to Sandford Lock. It was a lovely, easy walk, that had me feeling like we were a million miles from anywhere. We only saw about three or four other people the whole time. The first part of the walk was insanely muddy and it really slowed us down. But once we got away from Abingdon and closer to Radley, it cleared up a lot.
There were some fabulous views along the way, including seeing Iron Man, which was an unexpected surprise! It’s always amazing what you can see when you’re walking along the lesser used parts of the Thames. We kept on passing fields and fields, full of geese who were clearly loving the food they could find there. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to see some rowing action, whichever bit you’re walking along!
The walk is fairly easy to do and we completed it in just over two hours, with a little rest stop for drinks and snacks. There was no where to stop along this stretch, but there are plenty of places the other side of Sandford Lock, where there’s a pub and a few places to park your car. It’s the perfect walk to do in a morning or afternoon, as it won’t take up too much time and isn’t too strenuous.
It’s happened. I’ve finally got myself a Fitbit. I’ve become addicted to counting my steps, seeing how far I’ve walked and how many calories I’ve burnt. Not only that, I also obsess over beating the steps my friends have taken. I’m thinking this is a good obsession, as it helps to keep me fit and active. Walking is the only exercise I currently do and it’s pretty good. It’s free, easy to do and doesn’t impact on my joints too much. Plus, walking Poppy fits in nicely, though her sleepy face after spending a morning walking through the countryside shows that she’s always happy when the walk is over!
[Image via source]
After a lot of consideration, I chose the Fitbit one. I didn’t want to wear something on my wrist all the time and this fits discreetly on my waistband or underwear. This also helps me to forget that it’s there and means I’m happily surprised when I check in. I like that you can update your goals, cheer your friends and link it with other apps, including My Fitness Pal and Lifesum. For me, that’s really useful, as it helps me to see how well I’m doing. It also helps us to plan walks for the weekend and I’d really like to do a walking holiday – as long as we can stay in luxurious hotels with spas along the way!
There is nothing like a break from the norm is there? During my week off, my OH took me to the New Forest for a few days. I’d never been before & couldn’t believe how lovely it all was. I loved seeing the horses & cows roam freely – so much so they wouldn’t move off the pavement & created a standoff with some pedestrians – mega lol’s!
We drove down to Avon beach & spent our first day walking along the coast & eating humongous 99’s. We then headed for our hotel, The Master Builder’s Hotel at Buckler’s Hard. It was lovely. The area was outstanding & beautiful and the hotel had some amazing charm. Our hotel room was fantastic and best of all the bed was massive and comfy. I slept so well! While our breakfast, which was included, was fab & massive, our dinner, (not included) was not good value. I paid £12.50 for a cassoulet & received about a handful of beans. It was the only veggie option. They had créme brulee on the pudding menu, which I obviously had but it was at least double the size of my main! Crazy! So if you do stay there, go elsewhere to eat or pay for very expensive tiny portions.
Having said that, the hotel is lovely & the customer service was outstanding. And it was lovely – I wish I could’ve stayed longer.
On the second day, we walked to Beaulieu, which is a lovely little village. It’s about a 4 mile round trip between there & Buckler’s Hard and it is well worth it. The sun shone & the walk was great & totally justified me stuffing my face at breakfast! When we got back we decided to go on the Oliver B boat ride down the estuary. It was pretty reasonable at £4.50 per adult & a lovely way to finish off our little break. Though, the best bit of the boat ride was another passenger – can you spot him in the picture below? He was quite a character & had the attention of everyone on board!
Then it was time to head home. It was such a lovely break & if you’ve never been, then it’s well worth the trip. I didn’t want to leave! I had a lovely time – if only I could do that every week!
My ‘summer’ holiday was spent in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. I grew up here but there were still plenty of places that I’d yet to explore. Growing up I’d often wondered why anyone would go on holiday to Pembrokeshire but looking at it through the eyes of a holiday-maker I now know why!
The first port of call was Carew Castle. I’d been to the castle for various events growing up but never walked around it. So off we go, all dressed up in our best walking gear in a bid to try & protect ourselves against the elements. I took loads of pictures of the castle (I love a good castle!) & I really like this one. I like to imagine ladies wondering around it wearing beautiful dresses. I also like to imagine it with the sun out, but the sun was obviously on it’s summer holidays too as we didn’t see it the whole week!
Next on our list of adventures was Lawrenny. My sister had told us about Quayside, a lovely little tearoom, which we visited for lunch & for a post-walk cake. Quayside offer little maps for you use for a 3 mile walk. The walk was brilliant, although the path was very narrow & muddy at times so you need to be careful. We saw some lovely things, mainly lots of different trees in the ancient woodland. Once out of the woodland you walk through the village of Lawrenny. It definitely meant that we could reward ourselves with some delicious cakes later on.
Later on in the week we were in North Pembrokeshire. We’d visisted a woolen mill in the morning & then headed for Porthgain. The wind was very strong so we didn’t walk on the headland for very long. But we loved the history here. The old slate quarry was awesome to see & there was loads of slate sticking out from the ground & the sides of the cliff. I had no idea that slate had been quarryed so close to where I grew up. You can’t go into any part of the quarry building but it really stands out & dominates the whole village. Porthgain is really small but has some lovely features. I also loved the fact that there are a number of fisherman here who provide the local area with crab & lobster! How’s that for keeping it local?! x