Dusting off the cobwebs

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Walking in the Langdales this time last year.

Ever since David and I have known each other, we have tried to visit the Lake District and get up into the high fells at least once a year. It’s a place that never fails to lift our spirits and re-energise us. Once the children came along, we adjusted our walks (no scrambling up Jake’s Rake on Pavey Ark with a baby in a backpack!) but we still went as often as possible. In more recent years, since the children have been able to do long, high walking, we’ve been going every October during half term. This year, however, we didn’t – financial constraints, work commitments and revision for exams (our eldest has mock GCSEs starting tomorrow) meant that we had to stay at home. We have all missed it and have agreed that we really must try to make it happen next year if possible.

After a week of mostly sitting down, we decided that, Lake District or not, we had to get out and have a Good Walk yesterday. We do a lot of walking here on the coast, exploring the wonderful paths close to home but have yet to explore much of inland Kent. David planned a circular route through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty around Wye and we set off. The promise of a late pub lunch was enough to persuade our more reluctant walker to leave his revision behind for a few hours.

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There is always a ‘discussion’ about the route, no matter how carefully planned. Our eldest child often walks on ahead, confident that he knows best…
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We walked from Wye and followed part of the North Downs Way past the Wye Crown.
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This is as high as it gets in this part of Kent. It was hazy sunshine but we nevertheless had gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.

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This deep valley (formed by glaciation) is known as ‘The Devil’s Kneading Trough’ and is part of the Wye National Nature Reserve. On a clear day, you are supposed to be able to see Romney Marsh and the English Channel beyond. Not yesterday, though.

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David’s Short Walks are misnomers. We should know by now to add at least an hour on to his estimate of how much time a walk will take. The light was fading fast as we got back to the car and we were all rather hungry, so it was off to a lovely pub in Chilham for steak and ale pie, really excellent beer and the Rugby World Cup final. Perfect.

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33 thoughts on “Dusting off the cobwebs

  1. Sam, amazing photos. I so love reading your blog. Can you perhaps make everything into a book? It’s a photographic, editorial, all encompassing delight. Isn’t England amazing? I’m envious of your cooking, jam making, flower knowledge – the views, the walks, your (more or less) willing children (eh?). When can I move in?

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  2. We have the same thing here with ‘dad’s walks’ :o) Love the low autumn light in your photos and all the shots of the landscape- so beautiful. Have a good week, Sam.

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  3. Your photos are beautiful, I especially love the one of the old sunken lane. Whenever I walk paths like that I always wonder who has trodden that way before me and how long it has been a route between two places.

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  4. How lovely to see the Kentish North Downs. We were up on our Downs on Saturday with our daughter and boyfriend (always good to get the youngsters out for an airing) and it was just beautiful, but today we have been down in Sussex and it was so foggy with no visibility – not nice, we should have stayed home. Also great to see the map being consulted. I expect your eldest is wired to a GPS signal ….

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    1. We have a good supply of maps. It’s not a Proper Walk unless we have a map, to be consulted and the route ‘discussed’… Part of our walk was in my son’s DofE expedition earlier in the year and he knew which way to go – not something my husband would willingly admit!

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  5. What a brilliant walk, and I especially like the sound of the pub at the end! Lots of people have strong opinions about the right route on a walk here as well. I usually bring up the rear and hope for the best. CJ xx

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  6. I love the sound of your walk and pub meal. We ended our walk yesterday in the pub with half pints and shared packets of crisps – it’s a fun way to prolong the pleasure of the outing for as long as possible. It was interesting to read about your trips to the Lakes. I find the Lake District a gloomy, oppressive place, with the grey mountains closing in all around the lakes. It occurs to me that I should leave ground level and climb up high where it looks a whole lot more beautiful. x

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    1. I’ve never thought of the Lakes as oppressive. To me, it’s a place of magnificence and beauty, and there are loads of great pubs! There are some very touristy parts but you can easily get away from it all. If you do ever go, my advice is to consult a Wainwright book (they are fabulous) and plan a walk to get you up high.

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  7. We couldn’t see you from Romney Marsh either! What a glorious walk. It really pays to get children into the walking habit early. I do find it rather alarming if the light fades before we have reached the end of an unfamiliar walk and of course that happens so quickly these shortening days.

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    1. We set off a little later than planned (the story of our lives…). The children sometimes complain about walking but they always enjoy it once they get going, especially if there’s food involved.

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  8. Beautiful photographs of your walk. What a wonderful part of the country you live in. This weekend was perfect walking weather, what a bonus to have this late season sun.

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  9. We have never visited the Lake district but is somewhere we would love to visit, especially at this time of year. Your walk along the North Downs Way looks wonderful, and had to smile about your son. If food is involved my son is always at the front of the queue ready to do anything! Sarah x

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  10. What a great day you had. I love those photographs of the rolling hills of thick, emerald-green grass. We also have a tradition of family hikes, which we can still enjoy when we all travel together at Christmas.

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  11. What a beautiful walk that is. I’m so glad you can all enjoy it together. We are raising our children in a place different from where we each come from, so we don’t get to share many nostalgic sites or activities with our kids. But I suppose that means we’re free to make new traditions where we are, which is fun too. 🙂

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    1. David hails from the north-west and has very happy childhood memories of the Lake District, which is why it’s so lovely to visit. I’m a forces child so never lived anywhere for more than a couple of years until I left home. It’s good to be making new family traditions.

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  12. Beautiful scenery, made all the more evocative with the mist settling over the valley. It brought back wonderful memories of our trip to Britain last autumn. However, it would have been a very quiet pub lunch had we been there…very hard to beat the New Zealanders in rugby game!

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  13. Wow, what a beautiful walk you chose and you’ve taken some lovely photos, Sam. I half expected to see Hobbits in the 3 photos before the last one! I can totally relate to needing to get out of the house, and you’re lucky that your family are all (sort of) up for it; my son doesn’t mind a long walk on the beach but isn’t so fussed about countryside ramblings!

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