Only another 500 miles to complete the challenge!

I had seen that the forecast for Monday was for rain, I was hoping it was wrong but unfortunately it was correct and it sure did rain! I wanted to go for a short afternoon walk and although it was raining hard, I still went. I put my waterproof trousers on and along with my jacket, I was snug and dry!

I personally don’t mind walking in the countryside when it’s raining! It’s only a bit of water at the end of the day, oh and quite a lot of mud because of the rain! For some strange reason though, I’m not so keen on beach walks in heavy rain! I don’t mind getting wet but I just enjoy countryside rain walks more!

I went for a short countryside walk, walking through a few fields. One field had lots of sheep in with lambs. Most of the sheep moved away when I got into the field but there was a little group that kept approaching me. At first I thought maybe they were trying to scare me away but actually it seemed more likely that they wanted me to feed them. I walked as far away from the sheep and lambs as possible so I wouldn’t scare them, but this was difficult when some of them decided to follow me!

At the end of this walk I was soaked but luckily my waterproofs did their job. The rain had fallen heavy and fast but as I have previously said, “I quite enjoy countryside walks in heavy rain!”

My two weekday runs were completely different this week. The first was as normal, but the second one, it was raining again! I decided not to go out running and instead went on the treadmill! Not quite as enjoyable as being out and about running but at least I got some exercise!

Wednesday this week, I managed two walks. One in Hamstreet with the walking group and one on my own to Burmarsh.

The Hamstreet walk started with us walking through a very muddy but beautiful woodland. After coming out of the woods we walked through a number of fields to Ruckinge and then through more fields and along the Hythe Military Canal! Another great walk with the group and with great company as always!

After the first walk I drove straight to the starting point of my second walk. About two miles into my walk there were two different ways I could go. I hadn’t decided which direction I was going to take, I would decide that when I got there.

As I was walking along side a dyke, a heron flew out! This was the second heron to do this to me within a week! I again tried to get a picture of it but by the time I had my camera out, it wasn’t close enough for a good picture.

I reached the point where I had to decide which way to go. My options were either towards Burmarsh or towards St Mary In The Marsh. I stood thinking about it for a minute and then decided. It was Burmarsh today!

Obviously being on The Romney Marsh it was a very flat walk and although I love hills, I still really enjoy walking around this area and this walk was no different until I came to one field. I came to a stile from one field to another. The stile looked very old so I was a bit cautious about crossing it. I put my foot on the lower step, it wobbled, I put my foot on the higher one, it was sturdy. I knew I would have to only use the higher step. What I didn’t know though was that the main part at the top of the stile, was broken! As I leant on it to get over it moved and I slipped. What I also didn’t know was that there was barbed wire running along the top, just under the main part as well! Because of the slip, I cut my hand and leg on the barbed wire. Luckily I wear shorts so I didn’t damage any clothing but I wasn’t happy!

I walked across the field to the next bridge, where I found my next problem. There had been placed a metal fence panel along the top of the bridge so that the only way across was to crawl under it. Not sure this was right! This made me even more annoyed than I already was.

I soon got over it and was happily walking again. After seeing a Chinook flying quite low, I was nearly at the end of what was a 7 mile walk!

At the beginning of the week I had worked out that I could and should reach the halfway point of my 1000 mile challenge at the weekend, probably on Sunday when I am taking part in a 10k run in Whitstable. However, Friday came and before I went for my walk in the afternoon I had only 1.55 miles to go before reaching 500 miles! The halfway point is in sight!

My walk ended up being over 6 miles taking me across fields in the spring sunshine (yes, sunshine for the second time this week). It was quite warm and I walked wearing tshirt and shorts, no coat or fleece!

I had set a notification on my gps watch to notify me when I had walked the 1.55 miles. My walk had a little bit of road walking but I really wanted to reach my 500th mile off road, which I did with about another half mile to go before reaching the road.

I felt really pleased, at the beginning of the challenge I had never thought I would reach 500 miles in two and a half months, but somehow I have managed to! Only another 500 miles to go to complete the challenge!

The weekend was a generally busy one for me this week and with the snowy, cold weather arriving, the run I had signed up for on Sunday in Whitstable was cancelled. I felt disappointed as I had been looking forward to it but I did understand the reasons for it being cancelled.

With no walks or runs on Saturday or Sunday this week, my total mileage of walks or runs for the year so far stands at 505 miles!


If I miss judge the jump it could be embarrassing!

This week it’s all back to normal after the chaos of the snow last week. My first walk of the week was along the beach at Dymchurch, heading towards Littlestone. There were pebbles all up on the sea wall and Dymchurch high street hand sand covering it in places too. In Littlestone I even came across what I believe might be a meteorological buoy that had been washed up. I heard there was one somewhere but was unsure of its location and once I had collected the boys I made it my mission to locate it, which I did. We took a little walk to it and couldn’t believe quite how big it actually was.

I took a few photos and then we walked back. I did a bit of investigating on the internet to try to find out exactly what type of buoy it was. I wasn’t very successful in finding much out about it.

The following I was planning on going for a run. The alarm woke me up, I layed in bed and thought to myself! I felt like just staying in bed for longer instead of going for a run. I had been awake in the night and I had a cold which although I have had it a few days now, today it was making me feel quite rough.

I did eventually persuade myself to get up and go for a run. This morning there were clear skies, I could see stars and the moon shining brightly, although not quite a full moon! It was reasonably warm, I didn’t need to wear gloves and actually I rolled up the sleeves on my hoodie!

I ran through the woods and I had a good feeling that today I would see a badger. I came out of the woods disappointed, there was no badger! I knew that soon, as it gets lighter earlier there would be less and less chance of seeing a badger. I only have a few weeks left really. I loved seeing the badgers in the mornings doing their little shuffly run, I am always amazed to see them as I am any wildlife! I always feel it’s a privilege to see any kind of wildlife like that!

I reached the beach and as I did so I could see the slight orange glow on the horizon of the sun! The sun was getting ready to rise although wouldn’t actually rise for about another hour. This was the first time since about September or October that I had seen the sun’s glow at this early time in the morning! Spring is definitely here now and I am looking forward to it!

The rest of my run went to plan and although I had been feeling rough with a cold, this run seemed to help and for now, I didn’t feel too bad!

My midweek walk with the walking group started in the village of Wye. On the way to the starting point, it had been raining, quite hard at times but luckily by the time we started the walk, the rain had stopped and although we encountered a little bit of rain whilst walking, there wasn’t too much.

The walk took us up on The Wye Downs with a reasonably steep and longish climb. Everyone in the group did really well with the climb and everyone made it to the top without any issues. I enjoy a good hill, so this was right up my street!

After having a quick rest at the top, we continued the walk, heading towards the Wye Crown. I think I mentioned this on a previous walk I did. This is a crown marked out in the chalk on the hillside, visible from miles around!

Before we reached the crown though, we walked along the top of The Devils Kneading Trough! I have started many a walk from this location. It’s one of my favourite areas to walk in Kent! It’s great for walking, there’s some really good hills and the views are amazing. Today we couldn’t see as far as normal but still there were great views!

There was lots of mud on this walk as there seemed to be everywhere this winter. There was a lot of slipping and sliding, especially on the walk down hill from the wooded area. Nobody fell over though, we all remained standing but I found the “skiing” down hill on the mud quite good fun and I was probably very lucky to have not fallen over purposely sliding on the mud!

I completed two walks today. The second walk started in Dymchurch and took me along the beach to St Mary’s Bay, through a small housing estate and then through some fields back to Dymchurch.

I began by walking along the beach, the tide was in and the weather was good, you wouldn’t have known we had snow the previous week. The sea was very calm and you could see miles across it!

As I got closer to St Mary’s Bay, the recent winter weather had thrown pebbles up on to the sea wall path. It slowed me down slightly but didn’t cause too much of an issue. I had walked this part of today’s route earlier in the week, so I knew what to expect.

I came off the beach and headed into St Mary’s Bay. I noticed a road sign stating that the level crossing would be closed between 5th and 8th of March, I looked at my watch to check today’s date. Today was within that date period! This could cause me some issues with the route I was intending to walk. I didn’t have time to take a diversion. I looked at the map to see if there was a suitable alternative route but there wasn’t!

The level crossing came into view, I was hoping that maybe pedestrians would be allowed across, then I saw the barriers were down and the lights flashing! I was feeling disapointed, I was looking forward to walking this part of the route as I hadn’t done it for a while! Then I thought about it… There were no signs of any works going on, maybe the barriers were down because there was a train coming, so I carried on walking towards the barrier. Then I heard the “toot toot” of a train and it passed across the crossing, fingers crossed the barriers would rise and I would be able to cross! The barriers did indeed lift and as the crossing was fully open, I was able to cross and I was able to continue with my planned route.

A little further along the road I came to the footpath that would take me to the fields that lead back to Dymchurch.

I climbed the first stile and was greeted by a number of sheep! I was hoping there would be some lambs but there were none in this particular field. I said “hello” to the sheep, not sure if anyone else does this or if it’s just me, but for some reason, I like to say hello to the sheep and of course other animals I come across. You might think it’s a bit weird but it’s just something I like to do, showing my respect to nature and wildlife!

I followed the footpath through the sheep field and as well as seeing the sheep, I also saw a buzzard fly across the sky from one side of the field to the other. I tried to get my phone out to take a picture but by the time I had got the camera function on, the buzzard was too far away to get a picture of it! Shortly after seeing the buzzard, I also saw a woodpecker briefly!

When I reached the other side of the field I crossed a bridge or two, one bridge only had one side to it. I carefully crossed and then walked through a couple of other fields before reaching the road that goes into Dymchurch.

My original plan was to walk along the road all the way back to where I started. Then I remembered another route I could take that would minimise walking on road and would take me through a few more fields instead.

Thursday morning I was intending to go for my second early morning run of the week, but when I looked out of the window, it was pouring down with rain so decided that I would give it a miss this morning and maybe instead would go Friday morning, weather permitting of course.

The weather on Friday was much better. I went for my run but having eaten too many sausages the previous evening, I knew it wouldn’t be my best run. I did however complete the run and didn’t find it too difficult. Nearing the end of this run I thought I was seeing a ghost! I don’t know if ghosts are real or not, I like to believe they are but really, who knows for sure?

I have on one occasion, had a strange experience that may or may not have been ghosts. I was walking along a road with a friend, it was a long road, we had just left another friend who had turned off down another road. Then behind us there were a few people walking towards us. They shouted to us (in a friendly manner), “come here!” We shouted back, “no, you come here!” They were a fair way behind, but they began running towards us. Every few steps we took, we looked behind us, they were getting closer and then suddenly about two or three steps after seeing them they had disappeared and were no where to be seen. We walked back to where we had seen them and there was no sign of them. There was no way (that we could see), that they could have gone anywhere. The nearest junction was quite a way further back. We called our other friend as the road he went down was the only road they could have originally come from. Our friend hadn’t seen anyone though! Were these people we saw ghosts or were we just not seeing a logical explanation! We will never know! Anyway, the ghost on my morning run was just a lady in a white dressing gown taking her rubbish out!

The weekend arrived and I decided to go for a longer run on Saturday morning. I checked the sunrise time, as soon the sunrises will be so early that I won’t be getting up for them. I need to make the most of it. Sunrise was at about 6:23. I might be up in time!

Saturday came and I was up just in time to be able to start my run and get to the beach for the sunrise, but I had to be quick! Just before sunrise the sky was glowing orange, it looked amazing. I arrived at the beach and the sun began to rise. The orange glow disappeared from parts of the sky leaving it only around the area where the sun actually was. I stopped to take a few photos then continued on my way. Today I was heading towards Dymchurch!

My plan was to run along the beach to Dymchurch then head back via the fields. Hoping that the fields wouldn’t be too muddy!

As I ran along the beach, I came to a water outlet. Here I could go up off the beach to go round it or I could jump the stream of water. I looked at the water to help me decide what I should do. Stood on the water outlet was a man with a camera on a tripod, taking photos of the sunrise. If I miss judge the jump it could be embarrassing and the photographer might even get it on camera! Anyway, I decided to give the jump a go. What’s the worse that could happen? I get wet feet?

I walked back a little way to give myself a run up. I ran and when I got to the edge of the water I jumped the best I could. I made it, only getting one foot slightly wet. I didn’t make too much of an idiot of myself! I continued running and I saw a number of other runners, cyclists, dog walkers and most were polite and said “morning”. I even saw one lady walking her dog holding a broom? Not sure why she had a broom unless she was a witch and it was her transport, but witches normally had cats, not dogs! 😃

As planned I ran back through fields. When I say ran, actually by this point, I just couldn’t be bothered to run anymore today. I had had a bit of man flu through the week and had felt quite rough at times, I think because I was still feeling a bit rough, this was causing this “can’t be bothered” to run feeling. I did attempt to run a number of times but I didn’t run far. I didn’t feel too bad about it though. I had run the first 8 miles.

Sunday I was hoping to go for a walk somewhere. Charlie, my youngest son wanted to go for a walk (and wear his Batman jumper, not sure why but he did). I wanted to go to some nearby fields to see some lambs, Charlie wanted to go to the beach. I tried to persuade him to go and see the lambs but he was having none of it so I gave in and went for a walk down the beach.

We ended up walking just under 6 miles. We saw the little Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch train twice. Charlie also enjoyed running through puddles the sea had left and running along the sand dunes. We saw jelly fish, a sting ray, a swan and many other birds!

This week ends with my mileage of walks or runs so far this year at 464 miles! Not too far off of the half way point now!

If They Turn Round We Can Pretend To Be Castles!

This week began with it being extremely cold, with weather coming from the east and possibly leaving some snow behind at some point, even down here in Kent! I didn’t manage to get a walk in on Monday, but although this snow was due on Tuesday morning, I was planning an early morning run.

It had indeed been snowing over night, but had stopped as I left for my run. I was the first to make footprints in the snow in my neighbourhood, this is always an achievement and today I had achieved it 😃.

It wasn’t too icy or slippery and I was able to run safely. Cathy had asked me before I left if I should go out running in it, was it safe to? Not only did I manage to run on the snow without injuring myself by falling over but I also managed to keep warm and didn’t feel cold at all, it actually felt warmer than the previous day.

I entered the wooded area wondering if the badgers would be out in the snowy conditions. I initially thought that they wouldn’t but then thought that they still need to eat, so I might see one. I didn’t though, but I did see a fox and I managed to get a fairly good picture of it too, before it ran off.

Eventually arriving at the beach, the sand dunes looked more like snow drifts. It was starting to snow again now, like a child I was getting very excited about the snow!

More and more snow was falling and I continued running in it, now thinking about which route was going to be best to get to work. I normally go through the country lanes but should I go the main road way. I hadn’t really decided until I was actually on the road, but I did decide that I would give the country lanes a go. They may not be gritted, but at least you get a lot less traffic, so a lot less idiots! As long as I drive carefully with caution, the country lanes should be fine and so they were!

My son’s school was closed on Tuesday due to teachers not being able to get in, it remained closed on Wednesday, so as I was home, I decided we would go out for a short walk in the snow.

I had managed to get Charlie to wear trousers and not shorts as well as other warm clothing but Daniel was refusin\n\ng to wear trousers. I told him how cold it was outside but he continued to insist on wearing shorts! Ok, fair enough, I was wearing shorts and this was part of his argument “your wearing shorts so why can’t I?” My reply was, “because I’m an adult and you have to do as I say and not necessarily as I do!” He was having none of it though!

We started the walk and on one very icy road I started running and skidding along the ice! The boys thought this looked fun and so joined in. Several falls later, we stopped and just threw snowballs at each other. Daniel slipped and banged his elbow, I initially thought he might have broken it but after a couple of minutes it was all forgotten about and he was fine!

Daniel had previously broken his arm in two places by falling off a trampoline! We had netting all round but somehow, Daniel managed to still fall off! This led me to dig the trampoline into the ground. It was hard work which took several days, but eventually, the trampoline was in position and he (or anyone else) could no longer fall off and injure themselves.

Charlie had a number of slips, he just got up and tried again! One icy part, Charlie fell over 3 times before he decided to give up and move on!

After the boys ganged up on me, throwing snowballs at my face, we walked through a couple of fields, we didn’t go too far though. It was bitterly cold with the wind blowing across!

We turned back and instead just carried on snowballing and skidding until back home. We hadn’t gone far or been out for long but we had had fun in the snow!

Thursday soon arrived and although we hadn’t had any fresh snow fall, it remained bitterly cold and windy. Storm “Emma” had arrived. I still went for an early morning run. I wrapped up warm and off I went!

The smaller roads and paths were sheets of ice and so cautious running was needed. I ran through the woods and not even foxes or badgers were out, I was the only one!

As I reached the sand dunes, the sand was being blown straight into my face. I placed my hand in front of my face but this didn’t make much difference. The only way to stop the sand going in my eyes was to close them, so I just put up with it for a minute. I thought about running along the road instead of the beach because of this, but when I got to the main part of the beach, as the sand was more compact it wasn’t an issue.

I was running against the wind a lot and on pebbles but I made it safely back and had enjoyed today’s running experience!

There was a lot of panic this week regarding the snowy conditions around the country. Down here in Kent we were quite lucky and we didn’t have as much snow as a lot of other areas. However my son’s were off school for three days and after quite a big snowfall on Friday afternoon, I didn’t think we would be able to get out on Saturday.

I was surprised when I woke up on Saturday morning though. I looked out the window to see how much snow we had as we were hoping to go out for breakfast. The snow was now minimal, it seemed it had been melting through the night.

We all went out for breakfast, having freshly cooked fry up and continental! I really enjoyed this breakfast as I always did when I visited this particular establishment!

After the breakfast, we went for a walk along the beach to blow away the cob webs. The boys definitely needed it after not being able to get out that much over the previous four days.

We reached the beach and Daniel and Charlie enjoyed throwing stones into the sea. The sea was quite rough and the wind was a little cold but at last, today the sun was back in the sky and out of the wind, it was quite warm! Well compared to recent temperatures it was warm, it was about 2°C.

After persuading the boys to leave the stone throwing, we walked towards the sand dunes. Daniel and Cathy walked in front whilst Charlie and myself walked a bit slower, mainly because Charlie loves to look at things and stops lots to do this. Daniel and Cathy had got so far in front, we ended up not being able to see them. I came up with an idea to try to encourage Charlie to walk a bit faster. “Let’s sneak up on Mummy and Daniel!” Charlie was up for this and said, “if they turn round, we can pretend to be castles!” This idea of his came from when we visited Leeds castle recently and did a similar thing.

Charlie soon got bored of the sneaking up thing, probably because Daniel and Cathy weren’t visible at all and now we were at the sand dunes and Charlie was enjoying running up and down them.

Charlie was having great fun, I was quite enjoying it too. This was part of my normal running route, but today was the first time I have ever seen the tide fully in at this part of the beach. It looked completely different to how I normally saw it.

We arrived at the part of the beach where we had to leave it. We still hadn’t caught up with Daniel and Cathy but soon we did. We came off the beach, after Charlie had his last little play on the Dunes.

Daniel and Cathy were waiting outside a shop for us having bought us all a drink! After drinking their drinks the boys turned the bottles into weapons and pretended to be soldiers on some kind of mission as we walked past fields (with my first lambs of the year) and through a woodland!

We had a chilled out and relaxing afternoon until at around 5pm, Charlie decided he wanted to go for a walk. Great idea, I thought so Charlie and myself quickly got ready and then off we went, it was just Charlie and me this time.

We drove up the road and as we did so, it started raining. I hoped the rain might just pass over but when we arrived at the starting point of our walk, it was still raining. The rain wasn’t a major issue as we did have our waterproofs with us.

We started the walk and as well as it raining it was dark now. Charlie was using a head torch as was I. The rain eased off a little so we continued on our walk through a few fields, then the rain began falling harder and harder. I made the decision to turn round and return to the car and go home before we got too wet. I don’t normally mind a bit of rain, but it was dark and Charlie was getting cold.

The next morning I was up early, early enough to get out for a run and see the sun rise! I ran to the beach, getting there just in time for the sunrise. Another reason I wanted to be out early was so that I missed the rain that was due from 11am.

I watched the sun rising, I am always amazed at how quickly the sun rises, you can actually see it moving higher and higher.

Eventually after a number of photos, I continued on my run, heading towards Dungeness again. There was lots of rubbish and dead sea creatures washed up on the beach. I always feel sad seeing this, the rubbish must contribute to some of the sea creatures deaths, why can’t humans be more considerate, it surely can’t be that difficult!

Eventually I arrived at Dungeness and I decided to follow a public footpath that I hadn’t used before. This path took me across the shingled “dessert” to the information centre entrance for the nature reserve. The shingles were hard work to run on and navigating my way was difficult at times but luckily there were small wooden posts that showed the way.

I then ran along a road to Lydd and followed a footpath through some fields back to where I started. Another 13 miles to add, taking my total at the end of the week to 412 miles, not far off the half way point now!

Without Any Major Mud Issues!

The weather forecast for the beginning of this wasn’t looking too great! Monday; rain , Tuesday; rain! The forecast wasn’t wrong either. Monday I went for a short walk along one of my regular routes, Dymchurch beach! It was raining and was quite dull. Although this wasn’t my most enjoyable walk, due to the weather, I still walked about four miles.

Tuesday morning I was planning on going for a run, but thought if it’s raining I would just go on the treadmill. As soon as I got up, the first thing I did was to look out of the window to check the weather. I could see it was wet, proving it had been raining, but it didn’t appear to be raining now.

I put my trainers on and stepped outside. I was wrong about the weather, it was raining. It was that very fine rain. I stopped and almost went back inside the house to run on the treadmill instead, but I chose to carry on my run outdoors, so off I went!

With the head torch on, the rain looked as though it was coming straight at my face. As I ran through the woods, there was a massive amount of very wet mud. It was difficult to avoid today and there were a number of muddy puddles that I just had to run through, I didn’t have a choice.

I ran along the beach and then back along a few roads. At one point there was a stationary car facing me with it’s headlights on. The drivers door was open. I assumed there was someone sat in it. I got nearer to it and there was no one with it. Not only that but the engine was running. I looked up the driveway that it was parked near to, there was no sign of anyone. This was a little strange. My first thoughts were that the car had been stolen and dumped there. Then, a few houses away up the road a man came walking out from a garden path. He was delivering news papers. He walked to the car and got in it! I was quite surprised that anyone would leave a car unattended with it’s engine running. 1, it’s illegal and 2, it’s asking for trouble. I was close to calling the police as I thought it was stolen.

My walk with the walking group this week was starting from Charing. It was a bit of a mission getting there due to a motorway closure and the build up of traffic due to this closure. I chose to go through the countryside to get there, but still I came across three separate diversions due to roadworks and so I was travelling further and further in the countryside, recognising much of it from walks I have done.

I eventually arrived at Charing and I met up with the group. We started the walk which began with a hill to climb. It wasn’t a massive hill but the views from the top were beautiful even though a little misty.

This walk was a very muddy walk as seemed to be the theme of many other people’s walks at the moment. I don’t remember having so much mud around previous years. There were footpaths covered in wet, muddy puddles that we had to negotiate our way round or even through. A bit of mud isn’t a problem though, it makes it more challenging and is always good fun, although with the slipping and sliding I felt maybe I shouldn’t walk with my hands in my pockets! I could see what would happen… face first into the mud! I didn’t want that to happen however much I don’t mind the mud!

Near to the end of the walk, we walked under a train bridge. The whole of the area under it was a massive mud bath. We all carefully walked to the edge where the mud wasn’t as deep as it was in other places. Everyone got through without any major mud issues!

This was as normal, a great walk, with some nice views and enjoyable company! The weather had been good to us considering it had been raining quite a lot for the previous two days, it was a little cold today but it wasn’t raining anymore!

My second run of the week was much more enjoyable than the first. The weather was much better which is always good when it’s that early in the morning!

I was quite pleased this morning! I didn’t just see one badger but I saw two! The first was in the wooded area, my head torch light was reflecting off some eyes that were watching me from within the trees. As I got closer I could just about make out that it was a badger! The badger turned round and ran to hide. I could hear it rustling it’s way through the vegetation! The second badger was along the main road I run along. I wasn’t expecting to see one here, I never have before. I noticed something running towards me at the side of the road and I just assumed it was a cat. Then I realised it was a badger. This was the perfect opportunity to get a photo of it, but by the time I would have got my phone out and ready to take a picture, the badger would have gone. It came within a couple of metres of me and then turned round and ran into a garden.

Later that morning as I made my way to work, the sun was starting to rise, it was a fantastic sight. I am looking forward to seeing the sunrises in the months to come whilst I am out running! Hopefully it won’t be too long now!

Friday arrived quickly again this week and after work I went for a walk in the local area. It was getting extremely cold, there was snow forecast for the following week and temperatures were due to drop dramatically. Although I was still in my shorts, I was wearing a fleece, a warm jacket, a hat and a pair of gloves so that I would keep warm. I started my walk and soon I warmed up and I didn’t need the gloves, it wasn’t long before I didn’t need the hat either. I actually became so warm, I was regretting wearing a fleece and a warm jacket, but with no bag, I kept them on as I couldn’t be bothered to carry either of them.

This walk ended up being about five miles in length and now that I had done this particular route several times, it wasn’t taking me too long to do.

It was a nice peaceful walk, I didn’t see one single person apart from a farmer on his tractor that passed me at one point. I didn’t even see a fox or a buzzard like I had the previous time I did this walk.

After this walk, I collected Charlie from school and we then went to watch Daniel play football for the school. His team won their game, which made the waiting around in the freezing temperatures a bit more worth it. Charlie was so cold he had his hat, gloves, thick coat, jumper and even a blanket I had in the car on. He then ended up falling asleep watching the game!

Over the weekend the weather was getting colder and colder. It was mainly the wind chill that was making it feel so cold, it was bitter. The weather forecast was that, here in Kent we would be getting snow from Monday night. It certainly felt like it was on it’s way!

I went for an evening run this weekend, doing about 10 miles, a bit less than what I have recently been doing. The previous night I had noticed an amazing big and very red sunset. I was hoping I would see it again this evening.

I reached the beach and the tide was on it’s way in. The wind was strong, blowing sand into my face. I was trying to take some photos whilst stopping the sand from going into my eyes.

After taking a few photos, I ran along the beach heading towards Dungeness. The wind was against me which was making my run quite a slow one to start with.

I had not long started running along the beach when a dog came running up to me. I could tell it was friendly but I have heard stories of dogs biting people or attacking other dogs. The owner hadn’t initially noticed and luckily for me, this dog was friendly. When the owner did notice, she apologised. I gave a little wave to acknowledge the apology and I carried on.

Further along the beach, the sand turns to pebbles, making it even more difficult to run. Normally, if the tide was out, I would run on the wet sandy part, but I couldn’t do that today. Today was going to be quite a slow run or even maybe more walking involved than normal with the wind and pebbles.

I noticed a high number of birds sitting on the beach. They obviously noticed me coming and they all flew away. I tried to run, what I had hoped would be far enough away from them so as to not scare them, but still they flew away.

A little further still, I saw what I think was some kind of wooden log that had been washed up on the beach, attached to it was some sea creatures in shells, I’m not sure what kind of sea creature they were though. I’m not very good with identifying sea creatures or birds it would seem either!

I made it to Dungeness before the sun set. I was hoping that I would be able to get some good photos of the sun, but it was going down behind the power station, so not the best of photos.

I did however get a couple of photos, not quite what I was hoping for, but they will do. What I was really hoping for was to get the sun setting behind one of the lighthouses, but this wasn’t to be!

I then turned round and began running back. Today I was running back along the road that runs parallel with the beach I had just run along. Not my normal route but with it now getting dark and it being so cold, I thought this would be the best option.

Before I had left for my run, I had had a large glass of water, thinking that this was a good idea to keep me hydrated whilst out running. This was a bit of a mistake though, it seemed. Probably not helped by the cold, I was now in need of a toilet. I hadn’t noticed any in Dungeness, but knew there were some in Greatstone, if I made it that far.

Needing the toilet also added to slowing me down. I was getting more and more in need of a toilet. Then as I reached Lydd-on-sea, in the distance I could see a building that looked like it could be a toilet. Eventually when I reached it, it was indeed a toilet. “Great” I thought. I went over and pushed the door, but it didn’t open, it was locked, I couldn’t believe it. If this one was locked, I’d imagine the one in Greatstone would be too. I carried on running. With the current wind, it probably wasn’t a good idea to not use an actual toilet! 😆

I arrived at the wooded area, I didn’t have my head torch with me, so had to go through the woods in the dark. I couldn’t run it as I am sure I would have tripped or run into a tree or worse still fallen into a muddy, smelly dike!

As I left the wooded area, I saw some kind of animal that had appeared to be eating something, it saw me and ran off. I think it was a fox, but couldn’t see it clearly enough to say for sure due to the darkness!

I arrived home just in time for a really nice, home made lasagne my wife had made… yum yum!

On Sunday, the weather was still freezing! We went to a local children’s farm which has lots of animals to look at and some nice little walks. Charlie also enjoyed the various play areas, especially one we called wobbly wood! There was a course that goes through a woodland with balancing beams, swing ropes and lots of other things. Charlie was having a great time, unlike another child that was there.

This other child must have been about two or three, he got to the monkey bars and wanted some help from his mum. She refused and basically told him, he either needed to get down or do it himself. He then got to another obstacle where he wanted his mum’s hand so that he could help him step across. Again, she refused to help him, telling him he had to do it himself. Charlie was behind him waiting his turn, I was with him. We waited and waited while this child kicked off because all he wanted was his mum’s hand to assist him. Eventually, I said to Charlie, “right come on, let’s go round them, I’m getting bored now”. I think the mum heard this as she took her son off. I thought she was going to help him now, but she didn’t. She put him back on it and continued to insist he did it himself without her assistance! I know we all bring up our children our own way, but all this lad wanted was to hold her hand on one bit to help him balance.

Once we had completed the obstacle course (after helping Charlie when he needed it), we followed a little walking route through some woods and by a lake. It was a lovely little walk.

After following the walking route we visited some of the animals and birds, one of my favourites being an Owl called Rolo. Who I managed to get what I thought was quite a good picture of.

Adding the 2.5 miles of walking at the farm, my total miles for the year so far now stands at 372!

I Don’t Even Think It Was A Full Moon!

This week the schools are on holiday meaning my boys are at home causing all sorts of chaos. When I got home from work on Monday afternoon, I thought it would be nice to take them for a walk down the beach, so off we went. It was quite a nice walk, seeing helicopters and aeroplanes flying over, on their way to the near by airport but for some strange reason, both the boys were in one of those annoying moods! I don’t even think it was a full moon!

Once on the beach, Daniel decided that he needed to take his shoe off, but then struggled to get it back on. Charlie wanted to stop every ten steps or so to draw in the sand and then Daniel wanted to take his shoe off again! We were getting no where fast.

The sun was starting to set and it was getting colder and colder. I was constantly repeating myself to the boys,”come on, let’s walk a bit now”. They then went to the dunes to play, not sure what game they were playing but they were actually playing quite nicely together for a change.

We then started to head back, taking the roads. I checked the map on my phone to work out the best route. We walked along some of the residential streets as they were quieter. We crossed the light railway a couple of times and then came across a little trail that wasn’t shown on the map. It was called The Greatstone Shingle Trail. I wasn’t sure that it went the way we wanted to go so didn’t follow it.

Daniel then wanted to play a game as we walked. We had to work our way through the alphabet naming animals whilst Charlie just wanted to throw his hat around and catch it! We eventually arrived back home, just in time for dinner!

The following morning I got up early to go for a run. I checked the weather by looking out the window, like I always do. There were clear skies and no frost or rain. Once I was ready, I went out for my run. I was going to try a slightly different route this morning.

I hadn’t really noticed when I looked out the window to check the weather, but it was actually quite windy out, it was a cold wind too, but luckily it wasn’t long before I warmed up.

I ran through the woods, about three quarters of the way along the path, I could see the glow of eyes looking at me as they reflected the light from my head torch. I initially thought it was a fox, it couldn’t be a badger, they don’t normally sit around watching me, they just run away! I was wrong though, it was a badger. As I got a bit closer to it, it turned round and ran into the bushes! I could then hear it running around for a little while.

I exited the woods and there laying on the path was a glove. We had walked here yesterday and Daniel had gloves like this one. Had Daniel dropped his glove, he hadn’t mentioned it to me. I picked it up and thought I would take it home in case it was Daniel’s. I could always return it if it isn’t.

I ran along the beach, against the wind which I was finding quite difficult, the sand was being blown towards me too. It was like a little sand storm!

Once I returned after my run, I asked Daniel where his gloves were. Cathy mentioned that he had only come home with one after our walk. So the glove I found was Daniel’s. Daniel was pleased I had found it, I was pleased I decided to pick it up, I nearly didn’t!

I normally go for a walk with a walking group mid-week but this week I wasn’t able to. To make up for the miles I would be missing, I went for a 5 mile run instead. I was planning this run around the sunrise. If you’ve read previous blog posts of mine, you will know that I love a good sunrise, who doesn’t to be honest?

My little weather check showed it was foggy outside. Hopefully the fog would lift enough so that I would see the sunrise. Daniel was also up so I asked him if he wanted to run with me. Sometimes he does. One minute he was, the next minute he wasn’t and then eventually he decided he would!

We ran to the beach at Greatstone and then ran along until we had run two and a half miles. We then turned round and headed back.

We stopped to watch the sun rise. Although there were clouds in the sky, we could see an orange glow all round the sky. Eventually the sun appeared and we witnessed another amazing sunrise along with a ship passing in front of it. I am always impressed and today, so was Daniel!

On my other week day run, it was still dark and I was using my head torch. The run went well and I enjoyed it, but as I approached the wooded area I run through there was a figure also walking towards it in front of me. At this time in the morning, I had never seen anyone at these woods. I was a little nervous as they seemed to be acting a bit suspicious. They were dressed scruffily and was wearing a hooded top with the hood up. I wasn’t aware at this point if they were male or female.

As I got closer they turned round. They stopped to one side to allow me past. I thought about going a different way but decided I was being silly and so I ran past them. At this point it was obvious they were male.

To be polite I thanked him and said “morning!” He just glared at me, saying nothing. I ran faster than I normally would and I ran straight through all the muddy puddles that I normally try to avoid! I was safely out of the woods and he was no where to be seen. He was probably perfectly innocent and not about to try to rob me, but I just had a feeling that there was something not quite right about his behaviour!

After a couple of days of not doing much walking or running, I went for a 15 mile run just in time to reach the beach to see the sunrise.

I took a number of photos of the sunrise, watching it getting higher and higher in the sky. I then continued on my run heading towards Dungeness.

As I reached Dungeness, I took my phone out to decide which direction I would go from there. Not sure how I had done it but, for the second Sunday in a row I had managed to lock myself out of my phone for 20 minutes! So, I ran around the Dungeness area taking more photos for that time.

Once I was able to access my phone, I checked the map and attempted to find a footpath. I got to a point and the path wasn’t very well signposted. I changed my mind and went to go a different way. I ended up running along the road towards Lydd. It was a long road weirdly with many single shoes scattered all the way along.

I went through Lydd and turned eventually down a footpath that would take me through some fields and back to where I started. The path again wasn’t that well signposted initially but I found my way using my phone’s gps and arrived back to where I wanted to be.

I end this week on 328 miles in total for 2018 so far!

Snow, Highland Cows and Plenty of Mud!

My first walk this week was along the beach at Dymchurch. The tide was fully in and it was extremely cold. There was snow forecast for this week but so far, down in Kent, we didn’t have any laying snow.

I did two early morning runs before work this week. The first was a little cold but once I got going, I soon warmed up, even though I was wearing my shorts still, I did think that maybe I should get some tracksuit bottoms for running when it’s so cold.

As I run through the woods, I am always hoping to see the badger again. I think I have found a way to know if I am going to see a badger. I’m not sure if it’s just a coincidence, or even why it would be a thing if it is? When there are lots of birds in the woods, I seem to see a badger, if there’s not many birds, I dont see a badger! My theory was proven this week. On my first run there were loads of birds and I saw a badger run across the path in front of me. My second run, I didn’t see a badger and there weren’t many birds about!

I was very pleased to see the badger on my first run this week and although I didn’t see one on my other run, I did experience some kind of a small white bird almost fly into my face as I ran on the beach. I’m not much of a bird spotter, so unless it’s a robin, sea gull, pigeon or a buzzard, I’m unlikely to know what it is. I do however, enjoy seeing different breeds of birds whether I know what they are or not!

I might not know much about birds but I do love all types of nature. I like all animals but some of my favourites are tigers, cats and highland cows! This week when I went for a walk with the walking group. This week’s walk was from Hothfield, not far from Ashford. One reason I love this walk is that quite often we see highland cows. Today was no exception…

The walk started with it snowing. There had been no sign of snow until I arrived at the starting point of the walk. The snow was falling quite hard and was laying although by the end of the walk, the snow had melted.

This walk was a great walk and always is. We walked through fields, some extremely muddy. Our boots at some points were deep in the mud, as I wear shorts, there was also plenty of mud splatted up my legs. I don’t mind the mud though, it washes or brushes off and doesn’t do any harm and actually, like a child, I love walking in it and getting in a bit of a mess.

The walk in Hothfield was another enjoyable one with the group. They always are, they are so enjoyable with great company too. This weeks walk brought us snow, highland cows and plenty of mud!

On Friday I had decided that I would go for a walk not too far away from home, straight after work. I remembered to put my walking boots in my car and I remembered to put some walking socks in too. I drove to the start location, but just before arriving I didn’t feel too great. I started the walk in the hope that it was one of those things that soon wear off, but as I was walking through a muddy field, I was feeling worse. I thought I was going to be sick. I decided to turn round and return home. I didn’t feel quite right for a few hours, but luckily wasn’t sick. After a few hours just resting, I felt fine again and back to normal. I was now looking forward to going for a run on Saturday morning.

My Saturday morning run, I had decided was going to be heading towards Dungeness again, as I did last week. I wasn’t sure that I would reach Dungeness, but I was going to go as far as I could. Daniel had an away football match and so I had a time restraint this morning.

I had purposely left for my run to coincide with the sunrise. I love a good sunrise or sunset! I ran along the beach and although it was a very cold morning, there were clear skies, the sea was quite calm, the tide was on it’s way out, the top part of where the sea reaches the beach was frozen it was so cold, it was a beautiful morning!

The sun became visible, just peeking over the horizon. It quickly became completely visible and began rising in the sky. I couldn’t resist stopping to take some photos.

After having run just over three miles, I checked the time and it was time to turn round and head back. At least I knew I would have run six miles today. Although not the 10+ I normally would do, I was pleased with six.

I visited Hever Castle with my family this week, enjoying looking round the castle itself, completing the maze twice and having a walk round the lake.

Walking round a castle with a four year old is quite a quick experience! We did manage to look at some of the historical items and information, but we soon got moved on by Charlie.

We then headed for the maze, we went round this quickly too, but we were supposed to. We only made two wrong turns and made it to the middle. Charlie wanted to do the maze a second time so we did. Charlie took lead and although we took a different route, Charlie somehow managed to get us to the middle without taking any wrong turns! Charlie then wanted to do it a third time. Twice was enough though, so next we went to get something to eat before walking round the lake.

As we started our walk round the lake, the sun was shining, we watched the ducks and swans swimming around. After walking for about ten minutes, it became colder and a big dark cloud appeared over our heads. We were about half way round when snow started falling! It was falling quite hard and I hadn’t really expected it.

The snow stopped but it remained cold. We continued our walk, we walked over a bridge where there was a little waterfall. It reminded me of when Charlie was little and we walked the Ingleton Falls trail in The Yorkshire Dales, the sound of the waterfalls made Charlie fall asleep. He told us at Hever though, he wasn’t going to fall asleep this time.

Then nearing the end of our walk, just before we arrived back at the castle, it began snowing again. It was very cold now, luckily we returned to our car and warmed up before he drive home. It had been a great day. We hope to go back sometime very soon.

At the end of the week, my mileage of walks or runs for the year so far is 280 miles!

Pig On The Run!

Having ended last week on 194 miles, I was keen to get my walking or running miles to 200 miles before the end of January. There was only a few days left of January but I only needed another six miles, which I should be able to do.

My first walk of this year was a beach walk. I walked my usual route and luckily the tide was out, so I was able to walk along by the rocks. The weather today wasn’t great, it was quite cold and dull. Not like it had been last Friday when I took the boys for a walk along there.

On Tuesday, I woke early so I could go for a run. Initially, I felt like just going back to sleep again but I made myself get up and I went for my run. The sky was clear and the moon was shining brightly, it felt quite cold! I ran along the beach and somehow I missed the part of the beach where I normally leave it and head back. It wasn’t a major problem, it just meant that I ended up running a little further today.

On my way to work today, as I drove down a country lane, I could see something in the road. My initial thought was that someone had dumped some rubbish. Then as I got closer and was passing it, I realised it wasn’t some dumped rubbish and was infact a pig. I stopped and got out of my car and approached the pig. I was worried it had been hit by a vehicle but luckily, it was just asleep.

The pig woke up and from this point onwards started running around as I was trying to get it back to its field safely. The pig was on the run! There was a gate to his field but I couldn’t open it due to there being a number of other pigs in the field crowding round the gate. I didn’t want them getting out too. I tried to scare the other pigs away from the gate, I opened the gate, the pig was near but decided to run up the road away from the gate. I closed the gate quickly and tried rounding it up again.

By this point I had called the police, they were on their way to help. I eventually managed to get the pig off the road and into the woods opposite the field. I then left it to the police when they arrived. That was something I really wasn’t expecting to be doing today. On the plus side, because of my run and running around after this pig, I reached 10,000 steps before even starting work.

My walk with the walking group was in Boughton Lees this week. I have previously walked this route on two occasions. The first time I missed the walk with the group and so took Daniel and Charlie on it over a weekend. This time the weather forecast hadn’t been great but luckily just in time for the walk, the rain stopped and didn’t start again until we had almost finished.

The walk, as usual was very pleasant and enjoyable. Walking along paths through fields, surrounded by hills. The route took us to Challock before we returned back to the starting point. We stopped at a church where there were snowdrops growing and passed a house with topiary cut bushes in its garden, I was quite impressed with the topiary!

On Thursday morning I woke remembering that there had been a super blue blood moon over night. I looked out the window to see if it was visible. It was, not in its blue blood state so much but it was quite super still, it was big and very bright, so bright infact that I didn’t need my head torch on whilst I ran along the beach. It was the first time for a while I hadn’t needed my head torch on at this point when on an early morning run.

After work on Friday, I had decided I was going to go for a walk before picking the boys up after school. I took my walking boots with me as I had found a circular walking route through fields, that would be quite muddy. As I was about to change into my walking boots, I realised my mistake… I had forgotten to take some walking socks with me!

Forgetting walking socks wouldn’t have been such a problem if I hadn’t have been wearing shorts and trainer socks. I always wear shorts, rarely do I wear trousers. I looked a bit ridiculous but still, I wore my walking boots and went walking.

The walk went well and was another enjoyable one. One that I think I will do more regularly. Only at one point was I unsure which way the footpath went. There was a sign but it was fallen and laying on the ground. It was close to two fields, either of which could have been the path. Luckily someone was just walking past and so I asked them, hoping they would know. Sure enough, they did know. I followed the path and worked out that actually if I had gone either way, I would have ended up at the same place.

Towards the end of the route, as I crossed a stile into a field, a fox jumped out of no where and ran away. I tried to get a picture of it, but by the time I had my phone out, it was in the distance. Then, just a minute or so after, a buzzard was circling around! I love being out in the countryside, you just never know what you might see!

This weekend the weather hadn’t been great but that wasn’t going to stop me getting out for walks or runs. I went for a walk with my wife and Charlie. There are some nearby wind turbines, we always drive past and Charlie loves to look at them in the distance, so I thought we could walk to them and see them a bit closer up. There was a footpath that goes straight through the middle of them so off we went!

The wind turbines, I think are just outside of Kent in East Sussex, although our walk began in Kent. The nearly four miles route took us through several muddy fields and one field with very well cut grass, almost like a cricket pitch with it’s soft bouncyness!

Upon reaching the wind turbines, we realised quite how big they actually are! We wondered if they normally made any noise as today, the propellers weren’t turning, I assumed because there didn’t seem to be any wind!

As much as possible, I try to plan a walk so that the route is a circular one. That wasn’t possible today without the walk being about ten miles long and I don’t think Charlie is able to do a distance like that just yet, so on this walk, we turned round and walked back the way we had just come. Charlie was getting quite tired, and so I carried him on my shoulders for a short distance until my my back started to hurt.

I took Charlie off my shoulders and tried to encourage him to walk. To do this we played a game where we were trying to sneak up on Cathy. Every time Cathy turned round, we stood still and waved our arms pretending to be wind turbines! Cathy had fallen for our disguise, (well she was obviously pretending to), Charlie was finding this very funny and luckily for my back, this did encourage him to walk the remainder of the walk!

Sunday morning, I had seen that there was a weather warning of snow and ice. It did feel very cold when I went out for a run. Although the sun was shining when I left, it wasn’t long before it clouded over and started to rain… and then snow! There wasn’t much snow but it was definitely snow.

I normally ran down to Dymchurch, running 10 to 13 miles but as I approached the beach I had the idea that I should run the opposite way along the beach and head towards Dungeness instead! I was pleased that I had decided to do this. The tide was out and although it was icy cold with very moody clouds and every now and then it snowed, I was enjoying the run.

I watched three large boats move across the horizon until they went out of sight. I was getting closer and closer to Dungeness, it is said that Dungeness is Britain’s only desert, I’m not sure if that’s official or if it’s just said because of it’s bleakness! There isn’t much in Dungeness, just two power stations, two light houses (only one that works), a light railway station and a number of little houses!

I ran my way round Dungeness and then headed back, but there are only a couple of routes in and out. I took the route that headed towards Lydd along a main road. There was a very large grass verge most of the way so I was able to stay away from the road.

I had planned to head into Lydd and go back that way but then half way along the road I came to the RSPB nature reserve car parks, where there were footpaths going through, one that went to Greatstone. I followed this path and I came out on a path that was a mass of pebbles, like on a beach. It was difficult to run on them, to be honest it was difficult to walk on them, but I was actually enjoying it. It was a good workout.

As I reached 11 miles, my knee was starting to get painful and from this point onwards, I walked the rest of the route.

I ended this run (and walk) after just over 15 miles. This took my total miles of walks and runs in 2018 to 245 miles…