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 Post subject: Devon to Dover 2013--A Thanksgiving Walk for Renewed Health
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:02 am
Posts: 41
Location: Langley, BC, Canada
Hi all,

You probably don't remember me as it has been at least a year (!) since I have last posted, and most of my postings were leading up to and following me and my wife's c2c walk in 2008. But I thought I'd let you know what my wife Sara and I will be doing in just a few days.

We really enjoyed our c2c walk in 2008, and took a leisurely time doing it (20 days—17 walking + 3 extra days in the Lake District). We took our time mostly because we are slow walkers but also because I had kidney disease (pre-dialysis) and was just tired every day. Even so the walk was great and we'll never forget it. It was made even better by all the wonderful people we met along the way, some of whom we've kept in contact with since.

Well, as of Wednesday we will be back in your shores to do a long walk, beginning Saturday 18 May, to celebrate my renewed health following a kidney transplant in early 2011. My sister gave me an amazing gift by donating one of her kidneys to me, and I am so thankful--indeed, more and more my wife and I have thought of this walk as a walk of thanksgiving—a pilgrimage, even. I happen to be a Christian so naturally think of it in those terms, but I don’t think one has to be especially religious to feel so thankful for the gift of renewed life and health that one wants to do something “big” to commemorate it. So, after the necessary time taken to make sure my kidney function was stable so the doctors could give me the go ahead, as well as finding a good time coinciding with my wife’s sabbatical from her teaching job and getting a leave from my own job, we are ready to embark on our walk, a 40 day, approximately 375 mile journey from Barnstaple in Devon to Dover, Kent. (I am only sorry that I did not post this much earlier, so I could get the helpful input that is always such a nice feature of this discussion group.)

Much of the walk links together recreational paths and national trails, and our route was also somewhat dictated by the 40 day time window and our interests in history and architecture and medieval cathedrals (particularly me), and literary sights (particularly my wife, who teaches 19th century literature). We are slow walkers, so we’ll probably average around 12 miles per day, with rest days in cathedral cities. We will begin at Barnstaple and walk the Tarka Trail to Lynmouth. From there we will walk the coastal path and parts of the Coleridge Way/Macmillan Way West to Nether Stowey. Our walk will then take us across the Somerset Levels to Wells and thence to Nunney, Stourhead, and along to Salisbury using the East Mendip Way, Macmillan Way, Monarch’s Way and Orange Way. Salisbury is just before the halfway point, and we are very happy that my sister (who donated the kidney) will walk with us from there to Farnham via Winchester, using the Clarendon Way and St. Swithun’s Way. After saying goodbye to my sister at Farnham, we will walk the North Downs Way as far as Oxted, where we will take a diversion along the Greensand Way to visit Chartwell, Knole, and Igtham Mote over a few days (staying with friends in Tonbridge on many of these nights). From there we will rejoin the North Downs Way at Wrotham and basically follow it to Dover via Canterbury. Like the c2c, we’ll play Wainwright’s “cat and mouse” game at the end of the walk and, instead of walking from Canterbury to Dover, we’ll walk to St. Margarets at Cliffe, 4 miles north of Dover, and for our last day have a simple morning walk along the cliffs to Dover. Obviously Dover isn’t quite the destination that Robin Hood’s Bay is, but that probably won’t matter too much—we’ll just be overjoyed, and at the same time maybe a bit sad—to have finished the walk!

As I mentioned above, the walk will be around 375 miles; I can’t be sure because I am doing it “old school” with maps and a map-measurer. If anyone wishes I could give a detailed itinerary, as it was an interesting exercise to try to string all these trails together—for that the Long Distance Walkers Association website and handbook were especially helpful—but I’ll spare you that for now. All the bed & breakfasts, inns, and hotels are booked, which was quite a job in itself, and we are getting very excited for the walk, although I worry how my feet will handle such a long walk (I had gout in the 1990s and so my left foot is a bit problematic). We have trained—probably not enough—for the last month with quite a few 5-7 mile walks after workdays, and in the past week now that we are off work we’ve stretched that out to several consecutive walks of 10-13 miles. My feet are a bit sore but not anything out of the regular “beginning of the walk soreness” that I always feel, so hopefully that not be too much of an issue.

Anyway, thanks for reading this lengthy post and hopefully I’ll have a happy report of a long walk successfully completed when we return to Canada at the very end of June.

LW: I have just read your Southern Upland Way journal and am sorry you had the injury that kept you from completing your walk. I always enjoy reading your walking journals and hope your dream of doing LEJOG comes true. It sounds fascinating and I’ll be checking in on your planning and then walking next year. I read John Hillaby’s book a few years ago and it sounds like a grand adventure that you have before you! (Not for me, though! Barnstaple to Dover is likely to be our limit!)

One last thing: I don't know how organ donation works in the UK, but if you need to "sign up" to be a donor, please think about it. My kidney transplant has meant so much to me (who had a living donor) but it would mean even more to people who are on life-inhibiting dialysis and waiting for a transplant that may never come. Okay. Sermon over. :)

All the best to you all,

Ken


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 Post subject: Re: Devon to Dover 2013--A Thanksgiving Walk for Renewed Hea
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:27 pm
Posts: 242
Location: Derbyshire, England
That's some walk, Ken.

I wish you both a fulfilling trip in which you relish every minute.

Time, unlike money, is something we can't borrow. Nor can we buy it in the way we can buy a plot of land. You've been given a renewal of time, when you must have thought you'd lost it. What a wonderful gift.

Enjoy your emotions as you walk, rest often and look around you, and dismiss the frustration of paths that are not as well walked as the Coast to Coast.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Devon to Dover 2013--A Thanksgiving Walk for Renewed Hea
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 5:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:02 am
Posts: 41
Location: Langley, BC, Canada
Thanks Stottie,

Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I have been given such a gift. Also, because I take the anti-rejection meds every 12 hours, it is actually a great reminder never to take it for granted!

Running for the plane this afternoon... :)

Ken


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 Post subject: Re: Devon to Dover 2013--A Thanksgiving Walk for Renewed Hea
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 9:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:16 pm
Posts: 48
I bet you enjoyed the planning for this walk, I find this is fun during the winter months when you can't (well you can but I don't) get out walking some multi day routes. Please let us know how you get on, it is always good to read other peoples accounts of their walks.


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