Walking the Norfolk Coast Path
Just about every plan that I made in 2020 was foiled due to Covid. So when I had a long weekend just before Christmas, I cast about looking for somewhere I could go that was also a Tier 2 zone at that time, wasn't the other end of the country and was a multi-day walk that I could return to a base everyday to reduce Covid risks as opposed to staying in multiple places. Oh, and it had to be somewhere I wanted to go.
Norfolk was the answer - the Norfolk Coast Path to be precise. At the time, it was tier 2 like York, and ticked every other box. I didn't have the time to do all of it as it's 84 miles running from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea, but I did a good chunk. Using the Coasthopper bus, you can pick a base somewhere along the route and always make your way back again. Two points on the bus:
Day 1: Sheringham to Cromer (4.5 miles)
I arrived after lunch so couldn't go for a long walk before it got dark, so as I was based in Sheringham, I did the short 4.5 mile walk along the coast to Cromer. Sheringham has a lovely promenade decorated with an art trail. Seaside scenes are painted along the length of the promenade, creating an outdoor art gallery on one side and beautiful views along the beach and out to sea on the other. The sandy beaches in Norfolk are broken up with groynes (wooden fences that stop beach sand being washed away by long shore drift - I only know this because I once had to help my 10 year old do a geography project and I've always wanted to share that valuable knowledge again).
Anyway, besides row after row of groynes and idyllic views out to sea, with wind farms far offshore, there isn't much of note on this short walk other than Beeston Bump. And here I will quote directly from wikipedia or similar: 'Beeston Bump is a part of Cromer Ridge, a range of low hills left behind when the glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age between 15,000 and 10,000 years ago. The hill was used as the location for a top secret ‘Y’ listening station during World War II and the concrete remains of this can be seen on top of the hill.'
So there you go. You'll also walk past quite a few not very pretty caravan parks and an area of scientific interest where the fossils of an extinct elephant, twice the size of current African elephants, was found. Who knew?!
Cromer itself is a bustling town with a pier, pretty church and plenty of places to get something to eat or drink. However, I caught the bus and returned back to my base as it was getting dark. I had hoped to retrace my steps but I didn't fancy walking through semi-populated caravan parks alone and as much of the path was along a steep cliff edge, that didn't seem sensible to tackle in the dark either. Oh well, I'd make up for mileage on day 2.
Day 2: Sheringham to Stiffkey (16 miles)
Not wanting to get caught out by the lack of light again, i set off early. 7.30am just as the sun was rising - glorious. The early morning walk gave beautiful views once again along a cliff top. The path then drops down onto a pebbly beach and despite having the beach to myself - bar some anglers early on - it was tough going. Walking on pebbles kills the ankles but the serenity made it worth while. I sat on the beach having a coffee and watched a seal frolic in the sea in front of me - magic! Slightly less magic was the series of military buildings that run above the beach with large guns pointing out to sea and a weird beeping noise coming from somewhere.....
I left that behind and made my way along the beach, with military buildings being replaced by marshland, a bird watcher's paradise. And indeed I saw many of those. I felt rather out of place not wearing green camo and without a long lens camera to hand. But the twitchers were having a fine morning admiring the birds.
I made my way to Cley-next-the-sea that has a rather marvellous windmill and an even more marvellous coffee shop that sold giant scones and very good cappuccinos. Having refuelled, I set off again following the river Glaven out to sea before the path wove itself in and around marshland until Blakeney. From there, more marshland which at times looked like a boat cemetery teaming with birds.
A handy sign saying Coasthopper showed me where to head up towards Stiffkey (pronounced Stookey just to fool people). I had really wanted to continue onto to Wells-next-the-Sea and I had daylight, just. But I no longer had phone battery and didn't want to get lost out on the marshes without it. So I headed into Stiffkey and passed the time waiting for the bus in the Stiffkey stores, which are definitely worth a visit. Lovely gift shop and I could have bought myself many Christmas presents had I had a bigger backpack. They also sell coffee!
The bus stop is right outside the store, making it easy to get home.
Day 3: Wells-next-the-Sea to Burnham Deepdale (12 miles)
This was a very, very wet day. Torrential rain and wind that blew it sideways into my face - but that's the kind of walking that makes you feel alive. While I really wanted to walk that missing gap between Stiffkey and Wells, as the buses require a change at Wells, I decided it would have to be missed. I drove to Wells instead, parked on the quay side, got a coffee to stave off the cold and headed off.
From the quayside, there is a long walk along a causeway down to the sea. When you get there, instead of heading onto the beach, you follow a woodland path that runs behind the sand dunes. It's pretty and peaceful but I wanted to see the sea. At last, you pop out at Holkham Gap (incidentlly there is a visitor centre here and loo.....because you know, the coffee you started out with.) And here you at last walk along the beach with views out to sea. You can also walk along more forest, just as pretty but I wanted to feel the wild sea wind blowing my face off. You track this section for what feels like a long time, with the scenery changing again, this time grass covered dunes. I was entirely alone in amongst them and felt like I was the last person on the planet. No pandemic or risk of infection - just me. Alone.
After stopping for a little rest on the beach, I trekked along a raised dyke across marshland, with plenty of birds to look at as I went. I arrived at Burnham Overy Staithe and was tempted to call it a day due to just how wet it was. My waterproofing had given up and was now causing seepage. But I hadn't travelled to Norfolk to give up because I was damp.
I soldiered on. I almost immediately regretted that decision. The bit from Burnham Overy Staithe to Burnham Deepdale is a long, long, long trek across marshland where there is very little to see in any direction. In fact I'd go so far as to say it felt a bit scary being quite so stuck out in the marshes miles from everyone. I know in reality it wasn't that far away, but it felt it. What made it worse was the mud. Every step taken forward meant a half step slide back or sideways. It was an epic work out, particularly when I realised that I had just 40 minutes to make the next bus or have to wait in the rain a full hour for the next. So I attempted to run. You try running in heavy boots on slippery mud....
Anyway, I made it with five minutes to spare looking like a drowned rat. I caught the bus back to Wells, got my car and got back to my base to heat through.
I had hoped to walk from Burnham Deepdale to Hunstanton, the last bit of 10 miles, but I had to get back and be a mother. I did however drive the route and a lot of it looked similar to the marshlands of the day prior, so I felt I'd seen enough of that for a while.
In short, it was a lovely mini multi-day walk with scenery that really does change every few milies. Who knew there were so many different types of shore lines? I do now.
If you would like to do a walk like this but want company, join the Glamoraks App or Facebook group (it's free) and find like-minded women to walk with.
In late August/early September 2020 I was meant to do the Tour du Mont Blanc. But the global pandemic had other plans. With time off work and in need of an adventure, I decided to walk the Northumberland Coast Path solo, carrying what I needed on my back. I didn't fancy camping and lugging all that kit with me, opting for any available accommodation. This proved tricky as accommodation was in very short supply and so I couldn't follow the itinerary suggested by the official route.
The Northumberland Coastal path runs from Cresswell in the south up to Berwick-on-Tweed in the north, a total of 62 miles or 100km of coastal walking, littered with castles and history. If you've never been to Northumberland. then you need to add it to your list of places to go. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful with plenty of little coastal villages to explore or take refuge in when in need of tea/cake/chips/wine. And given some of the weather I faced, refuge was certainly needed at times.
I decided to tag a bit onto the beginning, by starting at Newbiggin-on-Sea to enjoy the newly created stretch of the England Coast Path route.
The East Coast Main line runs up and down from London to Edinburgh. The closest train stop to Cresswell or Newbiggin is Morpeth. From there I took a taxi to Newbiggin, which meant I started walking at about 11am. You can catch a return train home from Berwick-on-Tweed.
Day 1: Newbiggin-on-Sea to Amble (14 miles)
Frankly I'm not sure why I decided to add the extra miles on as Newbiggin-on-Sea isn't going to win any prizes in a beauty contest. It was a grey day and a bit of a plod to start along an urban seafront and past a not very attractive power plant. But the path was clearly signposted with new England Coast path signs and I was pleased to be walking a stretch of this newly created route. Once I reached Cresswell and officially picked up the Northumberland Coast path, the scenery improve massively. The path stretched for miles along stunning Druridge Bay, with gorgeous sand dunes and a nature reserve just inland. Approaching Amble, you will see Coquet Island out to sea, an RSPB nature reserve, housing a monastic cell and medieval tower. I like little bits of history along the way.
I arrived at Amble with sore feet unused to walking 14 miles, a lot of which was on sand. Amble has a busy quay with little shops and spots to get something to eat. Sadly, the only place available for me to stay - the Amble Inn - was another mile out of town. I was very pleased to have my comfy bed and tasty food when I got there.
Day 2: Amble to Embleton (18.5miles)
I had a lot of miles to cover this day and the forecast was WINDY! But it promised two spectacular castles and stunning scenery so I was up for the challenge. After a hearty breakfast, I headed back into the heart of Amble and out the other side, walking alongside Warkworth harbour before climbing the hill into Warkworth. Atop the hill sits Warkworth castle, one of the few Northumbrian castles I hadn't previously visited. I didn't have time to go in but gave it a wave before walking through the very pretty village of Warkworth with its even prettier bridge, which spans River Coquet. From there it was miles of gorgeous sand dunes (the path itself running behind the dunes so wasn't heavy going underfoot). I had to play dodgems with flying golf balls as links courses dot the path. There are handy bells to ring to let golfers know that you're passing through.
I then reached the River Aln and the lovely village of Almouth. I stopped for a bite of lunch at the Alnmouth Village Golf Club (the oldest links golf club in England) where I was the youngest person by about 50 years. But they did a good sandwich and they had a loo and everyone wanted to know where I was walking to. From there I had to climb a hill above the golf course, and kept following the coastal path until it dropped down to the sea. The walking got tough for a while as it was a pebbly beach, which hurts the ankles but the scenery made up for it.
The wind picked up as I headed along a long cycle path towards Boulmer and then even windier as I walked along the path overlooking wild seas crashing on rocks as I headed for Craster, famous for its smoked kippers. By the time I reached the Jolly Fisherman Pub, I was very ready to rest my feet. By chance I bumped into friends there so had a welcome catch up in the sun before tackling the last 4 miles.
The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is one of my absolute favourites and if you're ever after a short day walk, add this one to your list. I however, had to walk past the castle, making sure I took in the backwards facing views and did my final push to Embleton. I stayed at The Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel, but frankly I could have been staying under a hedge. I simply wanted to put my feet up after a very long, windy but utterly gorgeous 18 odd miles.
Day 3: Embleton to Bamburgh (11.6 miles)
While a significantly shorter day, this day was still quite hard going for two reasons. 1) The weather 2) a long stretch of roadside plodding.
It starts with some of the most stunning scenery of the entire walk along Embleton Bay, with views back over Dunstanburgh Castle. Little seaside cottages dot the dunes and I would very much like to have one of those. The route then followed another links golf course running next to Beadnell Bay. The wind had again picked up at this point and by the time I hit Beadnell, the rain arrived. Sadly, the stretch from Beadnell to Seahouses is a long tarmac plod alongside a busy road. I was sorely tempted to stick out my thumb and ask for a lift. I didn't and instead fought my way against the gale and face-on rain until I arrived in Seahouses, where I collapsed in a seaside pub and watched the rain beat against the windows.
After psyching myself up, I did the last push from Seahouses to Bamburgh, which veers away from the sea and crosses fields, which included a field of bullocks. Sigh. The adrenalin got me across that field and views of Bamburgh Castle gave me my point of reference to work towards. I could have walked along the beach if I'd wanted to - and you could do this although it is not technically the coast path route. I didn't because walking on sand is very tiring and the wind was so fierce, the sand would have taken the top layer of skin off my face, and I was looking haggard enough.
Anyway, after reviving myself at the Victoria Hotel, I headed out in flip flops to air my feet and strolled around the beach near the castle. If you've never visited Bamburgh Castle, add it to your list. It looks exactly like a castle from story books and you couldn't get a better setting.
Once my feet were frozen lumps of ice, i headed back and had a large glass or two of wine.
Day 4: Bamburgh to West Mains (14 miles)
If I'm completely honest, you could probably just do those first three days to get the highlights of the Northumberland Coast Path as day 4 was a bit 'meh'. Technically I should have gone all the way to Holy Island to see Lindisfarne castle but the way the available accommodation worked out, it wasn't an option for me. Plus, if you go to Lindisfarne, you have to time it right to ensure you can walk across the causeway before the tide rolls in, otherwise you will find yourself having a swim instead of a walk.
I didn't have to worry about that, I simply had to walk 14 miles. The wind and rain of the last two days had been replaced with blazing sunshine. Glorious. Except today was a hilly day, inland, not much shade....did I mention the wine from the night before?
It starts off beautifully with views back towards Bamburgh Castle before taking in the stunning Budle Bay. Lovely. And then after climbing a hill, do a bit of road walking, pick up St Oswald;s way, you arrive at an intercity railway line that you have to cross. That's exciting! There's a telephone you have to use to call the signalman. He'll want to know how many are in your party and how long you estimate it will take you to cross the line. He then lets you know how long you've got before the next train comes barrelling along at 100 miles an hour. Despite having five minutes to make a 30 second journey, it still makes your heart thump. Luckily I'd had a little rest in a grassy field just before this, watching the butterflies flutter about while I aired my feet and rehydrated my body.
After the railway line excitement, you walk past weird, slightly spooky silos before reaching the village of Belford. Here I stocked up on a nutritious lunch of a scotch egg and can of soda from the Coop, before continuing on. After the beauty of the coastline, this all felt a big dull until getting to some woods, which were both pretty and cool respite from the sun.
Out the other side of the woods is a tiny village called Fenwick, which had I been going to Lindisfarne, i would have passed through, crossed the A1 and headed off on my pilgrimage like so many other pilgrims before me. But alas, the only accommodation I could find was in West Mains, which meant a trudge along a tarmac road, another interesting crossing (this time the busy A1) and then at last found my accommodation at the Lindisfarne Inn. This was definitely my least favourite day on the walk.
Day 5: West Mains to Berwick-on-Tweed (11.6 miles)
Another gloriously sunny day and I was up and out early. Despite tired legs and feet, I was ready to take on the last day of this walk. From West Mains, I dropped down to the coast line, picking up the coast path again at Beal Point, looking out over the causeway to Holy Island. From there it is a straight forward, relatively flat, easy walking stretch of beautiful coastline. I even managed to get an ice cream from a van along the way. Perfection!
I arrived into Berwick-on-Tweed way too early for my departing train, so I stopped on the promenade for some obligatory chips. Sitting with my boots off, my feet in the sea breeze, eating hot chips and smelling the sea air, I mentally high-fived myself for doing the 70 miles. What a lovely, leisurely (at times tiring) but beautiful walk. There is something about coastal walking that just releases tension, letting all your worries blow out to sea.
I reluctantly put my boots on, headed across the old bridge into the town, taking in the views from the old Elizabethan walls that prevented the Scots from invading the town, a nice extra bit of history before finally catching my train back to York.
In contrast to some of the more remote and hilly long distance paths, the Northumberland Coast Path is relatively easy. That said, 70 miles is still 70 miles and lots of it is on sand, some pebbles and some roadside, so don't underestimate it. But the incredible beaches and fairytale castles will keep you going. I highly recommend it!
And if you're looking for company to do it with, join the Glamoraks app or Glamoraks Facebook group and find like-minded women to go walking with.
The Esk Valley Walk
Sometimes you need to walk in a group. Sometimes you just need to escape and spend time with your thoughts. That's where I was recently. I had four days off and wanted somewhere I could walk safely but entirely alone, that wouldn't be crowded, would have a few hills, somewhere for me to stay and was easy for me to get to from York. I considered to stretches of the Cleveland Way, but it can be tricky finding accommodation on the route and public transport options aren't great depending on where you start and finish.
Then I remembered the Esk Valley Walk, something I'd been wanting to do for a while. As described by the North Yorkshire Moors website: The 37-mile (60km) walk follows the River Esk from its source high on the North York Moors to the coast at Whitby. It’s marked by a special waymark with a leaping salmon – yellow arrows mean a footpath and blue denotes a bridleway.
The best thing about the walk is that it is served by the Esk Valley Railway line, which means you can leave your car at one end and be able to get back to it at the end.
Unlike the suggested itinerary, I did it in reverse and actually decided to abandon the last part of the walk in favour of some self-navigation. Here's what I did:
Day 1: Whitby to Grosmont - 8 miles
This is an easy, short day which is good for day 1 as it gives you time to get to the start. I parked at the Long Stay carpark in Whitby down by the marina. It's not cheap at £9.40 a day, but it meant I could top up my daily parking from the Ringo app every day and it felt safe. What's more, the carpark is literally the start of the walk.
I plotted my route in advance using the OS Map app, which I would highly recommend you get. Worth every penny. While the walk is signposted with little leaping salmon symbols, they are not posted at every point where you might need a sign. I found myself referring to my map quite often.
The walk follows the River Esk reasonably closely and on day 1 you will find yourself zig zagging across the river and the railway line repeatedly. There are plenty of bridges to appreciate pretty river views and a number of places you have to cross the railway tracks directly, keeping an eye and ear out for trains. But they're not all that frequent! If you're lucky, you will get to see and hear the steam trains chugging along the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. There are enough little hills to make you work up a sweat, particularly if you're carrying a backpack. But in general it is an easy, pretty walk to ease you into the rhythm of walking. Expect fields, sheep, rivers, bridges and railway lines.
I got to Grosmont faster than expected and had a room booked at the gorgeous Grosmont House B&B. it was bliss to be able to lie on my comfy bed, with the rain coming down outside, reading a book and just enjoying putting my feet up. Dinner at the Station Tavern next door was good and filling. I had wanted to go to the Steam Cafe for one of their pizzas which are apparently very good, but they only serve those on the weekends.
Day 2: Grosmont to Danby - 13 miles
After a lovely breakfast at the B&B, I headed off into the rain. The first part of the walk is flat and easy, along a broad track which still criss crosses the river and railway, but it's gentle and serene start to the day. Egton Bridge is ridiculously pretty and you can wave hello to the Alpacas (or Llamas - I can never tell the difference) at Egton Manor.
Once you've gone through Egton Manor there is a short sharp climb up to East Arncliffe Wood, but the woods are magical. Take your time here and simply enjoy the mossy rocks, tree canopy and the mulchy smell of old wood giving life to new plants.
You pop out at Glaisdale. Be sure to take a quick peek at Beggar's Bridge near the railway line before continuing on through more woods and fields. You could stop for a snack or lunch at the Arncliffe Arms in Glaisdale, but I opted for a picnic next to the river closer to Leaholm. There are public toilets right on the path at Leaholm (top tips for all of you like me who like to know where to go!)
You then climb steeply up and out of Leaholm, up and across Leaholm Moor to Danby Beacon, where you get fabulous views out towards the sea in one direction and across moorland and valleys in the other. Once you've had your fill, you can wind your way down, eventually passing the Moors National Park centre and into Danby.
I stayed at the Duke of Wellington Pub. It's a great pub but be warned, the rooms are not very sound proof so if you have a room at the front like I did, you will be able to hear everyone enjoying their drinks until closing time. No problem if you're joining them, more of a problem if you want to sleep.
Day 3 - Danby to Blakey - 12 miles
After two days of rivers, railways and valleys, the wildness of the moors was calling. A brief woodland walk through Danby Park, a final railway crossing at Castleton and then the start of the climb up the moors. I somehow managed to lose my way three times early on - possibly because there weren't many leaping salmon fish signs and possibly because I wasn't concentrating. However I soon got on track.
It felt like the moors were teasing me a bit. There'd be a climb, some heather, the sense that the moors were just there, and then the moorland path would turn into a farm track and down we'd go again. At one point I managed to walk right through someone's garden before I realised the error of my ways. Luckily a lovely young chap whose garden it was pointed me in the right direction.
My path was still tracking along the river although it gradually fell away as I gained height. But the path became seriously boggy, overgrown and hard to navigate. So much so that I eventually decided it was time for a rest. Lying down in the sunshine listening to the noise of the birds, water trickling from somewhere and insects buzzing was lovely. Just me and nature and not another soul.
I eventually roused myself and carried on the climb. The path cleared and finally, a track took me to the top of Farndale Moor. The wind was blowing and the expanse of open moorland with no-one else there was jaw-dropping. I let all the emotional stuff I'd been carrying in side me out, free to blow on the wind. It was the best therapy ever.
After taking my time to enjoy the view over Farndale, I followed the broad track to the famous Lion Inn at Blakey. Anyone who has done the Coast to Coast will be familiar with this spot - an oasis after miles of desolation. It's where I spent my night. Food portions are huge and tasty. The rooms are always too hot. But I still slept like a log.
Day 4 - Blakey to Glaisdale
Now if you want to complete the Esk Valley Walk, you follow the route in the image below (click it to get the route).
I, however, decided I wanted more moorland and wanted to test my ability to plot a route and navigate it. I plotted a route the went from Blakey to Glaisdale via Rosedale - the plan was to go down into Rosedale Valley and up the other side. But in the morning I didn't feel like adding in a big fat hill for the sake of it, so I didn't quite follow my own route. Instead I followed the old mining railway line around the top of Rosedale and then at the junction where you could turn downhill and go to Rosedale Head Farm, I followed a path up to the top of Rosedale Moor.
Here I discovered that the path that was shown on the map obviously wasn't very well used and there was no path. I had to make my way across boggy bits and heather for quite a while, constantly checking the OS Map app to ensure I was going in the right direction. At last I came to a road, crossed that and could then follow the George Gap Causeway across the top of Rosedale Moor. It was beautiful, wild and remote and a bit of the moors I'd never been to.
As the path curves, you lose sight of where you've been and the sea opens up ahead in the distance. You follow a broad, rough path with lovely views over Great Fryup Dale for a while. Then a bit of road walking, before I picked up the Glaisdale Rigg path which gradually headed downhill to Glaisdale. I was easily done by early afternoon despite having stopped for another rest to just enjoy the scenery. The Esk Valley Railway train service wasn't due for some time, so I called a taxi from Whitby and got a much faster ride back to my car.
It was a briliiant four days of solo walking, a tiny micro-adventure. You could easily compress it into 3 days if time is short. Definitely one to add to your list.
I'd been meaning to do this walk ever since I saw it written up on the YHA website. So when I had a free Easter weekend - forecast to be brilliantly sunny - it seemed like the perfect opportunity to tick it off my list.
Here's what you'll need to do the walk:
Ordnance Survey maps OL24 and OL1, covering the white and dark peak areas of Derbyshire, UK respectively.
Pre-booked beds at the three hostels (YHA Ravenstor, YHA Eyam, YHA Castleton)
A small pack with enough clothes and kit for three days. Don't worry about snacks - there are plenty of places en route
We arrived on Good Friday in the evening. Ravenstor Youth Hostel is conveniently situated just 10 minutes walk along a beautiful river from The Angler's Rest Pub in Miller Dale. Outside tables mean you can watch the river flow past on a sunny day or head indoors for a hearty dinner when it gets chilly. Huge portions and friendly staff made for a fabulous start to our three day adventure.
After a good night's sleep in a three bed private room, and a hearty hostel breakfast, we headed off leaving our cars parked at the hostel.
A path leading directly from the hostel down to the river makes an easy start. Turn left as you hit the riverside path and simply follow it until you reach Cressbrook. It's a gorgeous stroll between two towering valley walls made of limestone, where crazy climbers attempt to scale the cliffs.
At Cressbrook, turn left up the road, taking the right hand fork and follow it until a track off to the right leads you down to Ravensdale Cottages. The gorgeousness continues as you follow the length Cressbrook Dale, following signs for The Golden Miles fundraising walk. You go through bluebell woods and follow the valley, again hills to either side hemming you in.
You pop out on the busy A623. The shock of having people and traffic is a little jarring after the peace of the valley, but the fact that the Yondermann Cafe is there, provides a good place to stop for a toilet break and a snack. We opted for a second breakfast of hot waffles with vanilla ice cream because why the hell not?
We really didn't have very far to walk on day one, so we took our time before setting off across fields, past Sillydale - where we were silly - and marvelling at the range of stone styles we kept arriving at, including some designed for very skinny people to squeeze through. Bear this in mind when eating your waffles....
We soon found ourselves in the idyllic little village of Foolow with a fine pub - The Bulls Head in - where we really weren't hungry enough for lunch but felt it rude not to have something. And so we did, including a pint of cold lager as it was a very hot day.
Having done almost more eating than walking, we decided we'd find a shady wall in a field to have a post lunch nap in., which we duly did.
Until this point, the walk had been entirely not taxing, a stroll more than a hike. We headed into the historic village of Eyam. We hadn't quite read up on the history before arriving. At the first house we passed we saw a sign outside it saying something like: 16 people lived here, they all died. It was dated from the 1600s and I thought, no kidding they all died. If they hadn't they'd be super old by now.
But then we passed a house called the plague house and it too had a morbid sign outside saying how many people in the household had died. And so it went on. Turns out that the plague was brought to Eyam by a bale of cloth brought from London in 1665. Fleas carrying bubonic plague were in the cloth. People rapidly fell ill and in a remarkable act of bravery, the village decided to quarantine itself so that the plague couldn't spread to surrounding villages. In total 280 people died, but their quarantining efforts worked and the plague didn't spread. One resident - Elizabeth Hancock - had to bury her six children and her husband in the space of a week. Imagine that?!
So that was the cheery story of Eyam. We set off out of the village with the intention of finding the hostel, but somehow missed the path and ended up climbing up a big hill to see the Riley Graves, where the aforementioned Elizabeth Hancock had buried her family. It was sobering to see it, but hadn't actually been on our planned route.
We retraced our steps and with the help of a friendly local, found the correct path up another steep hill to find Eyam hostel. So despite not having to walk more than 14km, it felt a lot longer after our hilly diversion late in the day.
A dinner of pizza at the hostel, some wine and some competitive games of Yahztee and we were soon ready for our beds, this time in a shared dorm.
Day 2 and another full English hostel breakfast and we were ready to tackle the longest of the three days. It immediately started with a hill, a long climb up to the top of Eyam Moor. A memory bench perfectly placed to take in the view was made even more memorable when a group of fell runners came up to us and asked if we'd take their picture with the bench. In the group was the widow of the man the bench was dedicated too. It was very moving seeing them out doing something he obviously loved, in his memory. That led to a long chat about where we might like to have our memory benches situated.
The runners quickly left us in their wake, while we walked down to Highlow Brook, a more idyllic spot you couldn't find. A bubbling stream to cool our hot feet in, bluebells, skylarks, warm sunshine. We probably could have sat there for the rest of the day. But we continued on up another big hill past plenty of sheep and their bouncy lambs to Highlow Hall. Crossing over the road at the hall, we then followed a farm track for a good distance, taking in views of Stanage Edge to our right. At Offerton House, there was a tempting route to follow the ridge line of Offerton Moor, but our path was down the hill to follow the track alongside the River Derwent.
It is safe to say that by this point it was almost lunch time, exceptionally hot and discussion was had about shortening our walk and follow a more direct path to Hope and the promised beer festival. But the gods were smiling on us by ensuring there was no riverside path for us to follow once we reached the A1687, so the decision to bottle it was removed as an option. We briefly chatted about catching the bus to Hope instead, but I'm so pleased we braved the heat and continued on because what was in store was definitely worth it.
If you are doing this walk, there is a garden centre over the road which has toilets and a handy cafe, the perfect place to pick up a sandwich and cold drink as there is nowhere else to get supplies until you reach Hope. I suggest replenishing your water here if it's a hot day because you have a BIG climb ahead of you.
Walking beneath the railway line, we quickly picked up the Thornhill Trail, a long flat walking and cycle trail along a disused railway line. The going was easy and allowed us to eat our sandwiches. If you kept going along the path, you'd reach the Ladybower Reservoir, but we turned left up something called Parkin Clough. If you're using walking poles, now is the time to get them out. You climb approximately 460 metres in height in less than a kilometre. It is steep but beautiful, as you climb a gorge and try to remember to breath. At last the gorge spreads out into the base of a hill and you still have more climbing to go until at last you reach the top of Win Hill. From there the 360 degree views are jaw dropping, taking in Ladybower Reservoir, Hope Valley, Edale Valley, Lose Hill, Mam Tor, Rushup Edge and the Kinder Scout Horseshoe. They say the climb is always worth the views from the top - and that is very much the case here.
But the views from the top made it worth it!
At this point we were a) very hot b) very sweaty c) very tired and d) in need of a cold beer. We walked past the trig point and headed down a much more gentle slope towards Hope. We passed Twitchill Farm before following the road under the railway and into Hope. Hoorah!
We found the advertised beer festival at the Old Hall Hotel and very happily found a shady spot to sit down and enjoy people watching. We weren't too inclined to leave, but after a couple of pints we felt it best to complete the final stretch to Castleton, our third and final hostel destination. A pretty riverside walk followed, with many people obviously doing the same stretch. By the time we reached Castleton we were all very ready to get our boots off, but having navigated expertly this time to the hostel location on the map, we were informed that the hostel had moved and was now situated a mile out of town in the direction we'd just come from..... Ordnance Survey team - could you please update your map!
We decided to have dinner in town before walking to the hostel. We went for the Peak Hotel mainly because we wanted to sit down! Huge portions of burgers and loaded nachos don't give you a healthy option, but we tucked in while sitting in the lovely beer garden in the evening sunshine.
Forcing ourselves to our feet, we walked the last mile out to Losehill and the hostel, set back off the road in stunning grounds but with a driveway we wished was slightly shorter after 19 kilometres of very hot walking. Much needed showers, more yahtzee and an early night followed.
Our final morning and we decided to skip the hostel breakfast and find somewhere in Castleton for something a bit different. As it turns out, we were up earlier than anyone else in Castleton and everything was closed except for the most excellent Peveril Stores and bakery. We'd discovered this little gem on a previous visit. We bought sausage rolls for our lunch as there is nowhere en route to get anything on day 3, plus bacon butties and hot coffees, which we ate while sitting on a bench opposite the shop. It handily had public loos next door, so once fed and abluted, we headed off.
You head into the middle of Castleton and follow the sign for Cave Dale. Immediately you are enclosed in a stunning gorge that is littered with caves beneath it. To your right, you can see the remains of Peveril Castle including the garderobe (the castle loo). I imagine Cave Dale is a lot nicer now without having raw sewage flowing down it unlike in days past.
The climb up through the gorge, was tiring, yet so beautiful we barely noticed the ascent. At the top, we simply followed the signs for the Limestone way across the top, before gradually descending to the first of three back-to-back dales, each distinctly different in look and feel to each other.
Hay Dale was first, with mini cliffs and a gentle hobbit like feel. Next came Peter Dale, a broader, green and lush valley edged with high cliffs. Last came Monks Dale. This was an overgrown, jungly affair, with high temperatures and a sense that it might never end. If I did it again, I'd skip Monks Dale and stick to the Limestone Way, which means another hill climb, but that is no doubt easier than the rocky path we had to follow.
Just as our sense of humour was waning, Millers Dale and the Anglers Rest pub hove into view. One more short push back to the hostel alongside the river and we were done. Having reclaimed our cars, we returned to the Angler's Arms for a final cold drink before bidding each other farewell and making our way home to our various parts of the country.
It was a fantastic walk totalling about 50km (30 miles) which is very doable over three days. Do count on some steep hill climbs but you will be rewarded with gorgeous views. And frankly, if you ate and drank as much as we did, you'll need those hills to burn off the calories.
Three night's accommodation cost £75. Hostel breakfasts are £6.75 and if you go for their supper club option (a main and a pudding) it costs £9.99. Do add in some pennies for all the lovely places to stop and get drinks and snacks.
If you have a subscription to OS maps online, you can download the rough route I plotted here for:
Why walking makes you happy
Today is International Day of Happiness. And as the Glamoraks mission is to make women happier one step at a time, I thought I'd find out whether it was just me that felt happy when they went walking.
Nope. Not just me. Watch the video to see the smiling faces of our members from around the world plus their reasons that walking makes them happy.
But I also did a snap survey to find out a bit more, to dig slightly deeper. And here's what I found:
So there you have it. Walking definitely makes people happier. That happiness can last a few hours or a few days. It helps with a myriad of emotions and mental health issues. As long as there is open space, fresh air and peace, people don't really mind where they walk. Urban environments and park being the one that didn't get any votes. And it seems most people don't mind who they walk with - just as long as they can get out there!
I asked for a statement to describe why walking makes them happy. I couldn't include them all but this is what they said:
If you would like to feel these benefits too, join Glamoraks today. It's free. It will absolutely make you happier. It may just change your life.
You can do it
I've just returned from a lovely 7.5 mile walk starting at Cod Beck Reservoir, tracking through Osmotherley and along a stretch of the Cleveland Way in the North Yorkshire Moors. I haven't been on many walks recently. My personal life has been somewhat fraught/busy/overwhelming for the last few months, so walking had to take a back seat.
But today I had a free day. No kids. No commitments. And yes there were household jobs to do - when aren't there? - but I decided to prioritise time for me.
Luckily, a Glamoraks member had planned a walk for today. That's how Glamoraks works. Someone decides that they want to do a walk and they choose a route. They share it in the group and/or the Facebook page and other people can decide to join them. You can search for members or walks near you too (and we have members all over the world.)
For many people, coming on one of these walks is daunting. They don't know anyone and as with any new situation, meeting new people and trying new things can feel scary. But as the ladies on the walk today can testify, there is absolutely no reason for nerves.
We are women with completely different stories and backgrounds. Yet we all love the same thing - getting outside in the fresh air and having a good long stomp. Now had this walk not been set up today, I would have gone on my own (although it would have been easier to cry off and binge watch Game of Thrones), but for many others, they would prefer not to be alone out on a remote path.
Many don't feel brave enough to be the walk organiser, but once they've been on one, realise that actually it's not that scary either. No-one expects you to be a qualified walker. It's ok if we get lost. Or it's muddy. Or we want to change course. Or stop for tea. We're just grateful that someone has encouraged us to get out there.
Besides the normal chat about parenting, food, jobs, holidays, we had quite a bit of chat today about doing things that push you out of your comfort zone, saying yes more.
My take on this is that the fears you may have because you've never done something will always be there - it's your body's natural instinct to keep you safe. But as soon as you do it, you realise that the worries you had were often far worse than reality.
And it's not just walking that this applies to. Anything that you may be facing - getting a divorce, moving house, starting a new job or leaving a job, tackling an illness, have kids leave home, dealing with a family crisis, or taking on the bucket list thing you've always wanted to do but don't feel brave enough - you can do it.
Please believe me: YOU. CAN. DO. IT.
No matter what it is, how huge or scary, just tackle it one step at time. And you will find yourself doing it. And you're ok. And in many cases, so much better than you were before. So in the words of that famous shoe brand: Just do it.
How do I know that you'll be ok?
Because on every Glamoraks walk, I hear different women's stories and it always amazes me at just how resilient women are. No matter what they've been through, it turns out ok. Hearing these stories from people outside your normal friendship group opens up your mind and deepens your compassion for what others face. It also inspires you to try some of the things they've done or get ideas on what to do next.
Sometimes the world and our own personal lives can feel a bit overwhelming or negative. But just one walk with a group of women, I guarantee, will put a smile of your face, a glow in your cheeks and a sparkle in your eyes - see the evidence below. And hopefully, it will also give you that little confidence boost to know that you can do it, whatever 'it' is.
(Incidentally, we passed the sign in the picture above on our walk today ....)
Setting the weight down
The sun was getting low in the sky, early afternoon on a mild November day. Beams of sunlight turned everything they touched to gold. To my right, the Atlantic ocean lazily lolled, barely breaking against craggy rocks far below. To my left, a green field dotted with sheep was a picture of tranquility. Ahead of me, two woman in my walking group were striding onwards, while behind me the rest of the group chatted quietly.
I walked alone, taking the chance to simply be, breathing in the sea air and enjoying the crunch of my boots on the path.
And that's when it happened. So subtle, so instant it would have been easy to miss. But I felt it.
I had set it down. The weight I hadn't realised I was carrying.
I didn't do it intentionally. It made no noise as it left me. There was no photograph to capture the moment. It simply slipped off me. My backpack was still firmly attached to my body, yet it felt somehow lighter, as though large boulders had been removed from it. More than that, my head felt clearer, the dark cobwebs that had been clogging up the edges of my thoughts suddenly swept out.
A smile began to unconsciously form on my face. The furrows on my brow relaxed. I breathed deeply and sighed out loudly. Light, free, happy. The mental burden of worry, guilt, sadness, anger and stress had gently worked its way loose and fallen off me noiselessly, dissipating into nothingness.
I had set the weight down on a path on Northern Ireland's coast. I have set the same weight down on remote paths and deserted beaches around the world. It's what walking does. Every step works a tightly knotted concern loose. Our deeply buried worries and fears gradually free themselves from their trapped places, losing their poisonous power as they do so.
Every walk has a drop off moment. Sometimes it's mere minutes into a walk. On others, it is many miles before the moment happens. But it will happen. And when it does, you can move forward lighter, freer and happier.
It's time to set your weight down.
Join Glamoraks, a community of women who love to walk. We'll help you do it.
1 August is Yorkshire Day. To celebrate the splendour of God's own county, here is a round up of some of the walks I'd recommend you do in Yorkshire. We are absolutely spoilt for choice with so many exceptional places to walk that this list is by no means conclusive. It doesn't include some of the more famous routes like the Cleveland Way, Dales Way, Wolds Way, the Pennine Way, Lady Anne's Way, the Ribble Way or the Herriot Way. Frankly, there are so many splendid walks to choose from, your biggest challenge is going to be finding the time to do them all.
So whether you're looking for a city walk, an urban stroll, a multi-day hike, a coastal caper or a good long stomp in the wilds of the moors or dales or Northern Peak, you are sorted.
1. Beningbrough to York
Close to York yet completely rural in feel, this is either a short 3-miler along the river, doing a circuit around Beningbrough Hall. Or make it longer and walk 8 miles from Beningbrough all the way along the river Ouse into York City Centre. Details here.
2. York Minster to Sheriff Hutton
This is the first part of the centenary way, a multi-day walk running from York to Filey. But it's a great way to explore the surrounding York countryside starting right in the heart of town. Follow the river Foss out and either stop in Strensall or continue on to Sheriff Hutton. Details here.
3. Stamford Bridge circular
Stamford Bridge is a village in the East Riding of Yorkshire. With a pretty centre and plenty of history, this is a flat, circular walk that takes in the river Derwent. Details here.
4. Kirkham Priory to Howsham Mill
Another walk along the Derwent, this is a pretty circular walk that takes in the ruins of Kirkham Priory and the delightful Howsham Mill. Details here.
1. Whitby heading South
From Saltburn to Bridlington, the Yorkshire coast is a gem for walkers. One of the most popular stretches if you fancy making a weekend of it is to head from Whitby to Robin Hood's Bay and back again. It's roughly 6 or 7 miles each way, depending on where you start. But you can also start further north from Sandsend and end at Boggle Hole, just after Robin Hood's Bay, spend the night and head home the next day. Or try starting at Whitby, walk to Ravenscar, return and stay at Boggle Hole or Robin Hood's Bay and return the next day. Details of these walks can be found here and here.
2. Scarborough to Filey
Walk the final stage of the Cleveland Way as you leave the bustle of Scarborough behind, hugging the coast until you reach Filey Brigg. It's roughly 10 miles of gorgeous walking. Details here.
3. Bridlington to Bempton
If you're a bird watcher, this is the walk for you. It takes in the incredible Flamborough Head, many beaches and RSPB bird watching platforms to get up to close to the myriad of sea birds that nest along this stretch of coast. Details here.
4. A wild camp on a coastal path
This is just a short walk of no more than a couple of miles, depending where you choose to stop, but if you fancy a bit of an adventure, try heading out from Robin Hood's Bay and sleeping under the stars along the coastal path. Just be sure to leave no trace and don't sleep too close to the cliff edge. Details here.
NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS
A gorgeous valley and open moorland that can be done in a circuit of different lengths depending on your stamina. They take in the old mine buildings that dot the path. Details here.
2. The Hole of Horcum
This is a stunning 7 mile walk in one of the North Yorkshire Moors most famous viewing spots. The Hole of Horcum is a giant punchbowl that includes walking along the moorland tops and in the valley, with a lovely pub midway. Details here.
3. Upper Riccal Dale
This a short 5 mile walk just north of Helmsley, that takes in the gentle agricultural side of the moors, but with some great views from the top of the ridge. Details here.
4. Helmsley to Rievaulx
This is a glorious 7-mile walk from Helmsley to Rievaulx and back again. It is actually stage 1 of the Cleveland way and is bookended with Helmsley castle and the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. Plenty of lovely tea shops to choose from too. Details here.
5. Wild camping in the North Yorkshire Moors
While not strictly allowed, if you are sensible, leave no trace and don't start fires, a wild camp on the moors is a lovely way to experience the peace and splendour they afford. Here are two wild camps (locations not revealed) to give a flavour of it. How far you want to walk to reach your camp spot is up to you.
Wild camp 1
Wild camp 2
THE YORKSHIRE BITS OF THE COAST TO COAST
The coast to coast is a 192-mile path running from St Bees in Cumbria through to Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire section starts once you cross the Pennines after leaving Kirkby Stephen and takes in some magnificent stretches of the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorks Moors and the Yorkshire Coast. You don't have to do the whole thing - just pick one or two of these stretches for a day or two of gorgeous walking. Note: the bit from Richmond to Danby Wiske and Danby Wiske to Ingleby Arncliff are probably the least exciting. I've included them in case you'd like to do the full Yorkshire stretch but I wouldn't pick them for a day walk.
Kirkby Stephen to Keld
Keld to Reeth
Reeth to Richmond
Richmond to Danby Wiske
Danby Wiske to Ingley Arncliff
Ingleby Arncliff to Blakey Ridge
Blakey Ridge to Grosmont
Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay
Malham is a jaw-droppingly beautiful bit of the Yorkshire Dales with a number of walks you can do regardless of your fitness. A gentle stroll to see Gordale Scar and Janet's Foss; something a bit more taxing as you climb to the top of Malham Cove to see the stone pavement of clints and grikes; or even further up to Malham Tarn. Details here.
2. The Yorkshire Three Peaks
Many people take on the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Pen y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough as a 12 hour challenge. But you don't have to charge your way around. You can pick them off one at a time or two them over two days. This is the scenery that will take your breath away. Details here.
YORKSHIRE BIT OF THE PEAK DISTRICT
A new boundary walk that takes runs the whole way around the Peak District opened in 2017. The northerly bit of the Peak is in Yorkshire and includes more spectacular moorland walking. This section runs from Greenfield to Marsden. And there's a very welcome pub at the end. Details here.
As I said, there are so many walks to be done in Yorkshire. I know that this is just a tiny sample - but they are ones which I have personally walked and written up. I'd love to hear about yours, so please do share any Yorkshire walks you've written about in the comments below.
If you are a woman who loves to walk, please join Glamoraks, an online community that helps women find other women to go walking and adventuring with together. You can also join the Facebook group here. Both are free.
Start point: YO30 1DB
Distance: 3 miles circular or 8 miles linear (ending in York)
Terrain: Paths, some overgrown in summer, very muddy in winter
Last week I had the privilege of taking a Sunday Telegraph journalist and photographer for a walk around Beningbrough Hall. It always amazes me how many people in York aren't aware of what a gem we have right on our doorstep.
Beningbrough Hall is a National Trust property. Surrounding the hall is a stunning 3-mile loop walk and as it's outside the grounds of the Hall itself, you don't need to pay to walk it. You can park in Newton-on-Ouse and follow the footpath signs as you head toward the river. Or you can park at the opposite entrance at a small carpark that asks for a donation to the Air Ambulance. Option three is to park outside Home Farm, a lovely farm shop and cafe, as long as you return as a customer after your walk (an excellent idea by the way as it have fabulous cakes.)
Simply follow the path along the river, getting glimpses of the Hall as you go. Roughly half-way along the loop you will find a secret beach and wild swimming spot. On hot sunny days, it is an idyllic setting. You can even catch a ferry on the weekends over to Nun Monkton, where after a short stroll, you will find a pub - The Alice Hawthorn.
You continue the loop, depending where you started from and then follow the track around the back of the estate, through woods for a section before ending up back where you started. You can't really get lost and you can vary the loop direction. There is also a pub - The Dawnay Arms - in Newton-on-Ouse if you started out there and want to have a drink in a beer garden that goes down to the river.
But if you're after a slightly longer walk, you can walk directly from the centre of York to Beningbrough or vice versa. A group of Glamoraks recently did exactly this. We started at Beningbrough (you will need to be dropped off as it's a one-way walk unless you fancy doing 16 miles there and back).
Start at the little carpark outside the entrance (not the Newton on Ouse side) as indicated in the image below:
Follow the footpath that runs alongside the woods, heading towards the river. When you reach a gate, go through it and instead of following the path ahead (the loop walk mentioned above), turn to your left. There will be an indistinct footpath that leads to a raised path alongside the river. Now you simply follow that, keeping the river on your right all the way. You will go past a row of houses at the village of Beningbrough and a few more as you near Overton. Poppleton will start to be seen on the opposite bank. As you go underneath the railway bridge, you will have a bit of an overgrown path to navigate before crossing a small footbridge. Just after the bridge, your path will intercept the cycle path (route 65). Turn right onto the cycle path and follow it.
It will curve away from the river along a row of pretty houses. Just after the houses, turn right still sticking to the cycle path. If you go straight you will hit the A19 (you don't want to do that). Keep following the path underneath the A1237 and keep going. You will pass the York Ings (flood plains) and eventually will start to get into the built up city centre. The path ends at Museum Gardens, where you will be spoilt for choice with places to get a cold drink. The Star Inn the City has a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the river, for a cold pint of something reviving after a hot summer's walk. There are no places to stop for a drink or food on the way so do take water and snacks with you. I also recommend long trousers in summer as the path can be overgrown with nettles in places.
Alternatively, walk the other way going York to Beningbrough - just as simple. The only place you could go wrong is to miss the path that goes off to the left of the cycle route. You'll spot it as there is a bench on the side of the path at that point When you get to Beningbrough, enjoy a fine lunch or afternoon tea at Home Farm.
This is one my regular walks and it's a great one. Just be careful of the Giant's Hogweed that grows in some parts along the route. You don't want to touch it. It causes dark painful blisters that form within 48 hours, and result in scars that can last anywhere from a few months to six years. Touching giant hogweed can also cause long-term sunlight sensitivity, and blindness if sap gets into a person's eye. It looks like this:
Here's the piece that the Sunday Telegraph did on the walk:
June - what a fabulous month. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, that means it is summer which is already a great reason to get out walking. But here are seven other slightly quirky reasons to get your boots on this month:
1. It's National Fish & Chips Day on 1 June
There is truly nothing better than going for a long coastal walk and ending it with some delicious fish and chips. If ever you needed an incentive to get outdoors and feel fully justified in having this less than healthy treat, this is it. Walking burns calories. Tuck in with impunity. One of my favourites are the chips from Magpie Cafe in Whitby (as pictured above) after walking a stretch of the North Yorkshire coast. Where is your favourite walk with fish and chip stop?
2. Go on a butterfly safari
The 2nd of June is Butterfly Education and Awareness Day. Which in my book is just a good excuse to head out for a walk and see how many different butterflies you can spot. This Guardian article gives some good ideas of which butterflies you can see where. But frankly, just head out and see what you can see. It's also a great way to get younger kids outdoors - tell them they're going on a butterfly safari and they won't realise they're walking.
3. Help protect the environment
5 June is World Environment Day. As walkers, we thrive on the beauty of the countryside, but all too often people leave their litter lying around. Why not head out on a walk and pick some litter up as you go? Plogging (jogging and picking up litter) is all the rage, so why not extend it to your next walk and do your bit for the environment. You'll get the fresh air and exercise with a side order of feel good for doing something great for the countryside.
Another way you can help ensure we can all enjoy the great outdoors is by cutting back on plastic. Instead of taking a single use plastic water bottle with you on your walk, replace it with a reusable bottle. #BanPlasticPollution.
4. Enjoy a pint at a pub after a good long hike
Ah - an ice cold pint of beer in a sunny beer garden after a long, hot walk is sheer bliss. And 15 June is the perfect day to do it because it's Beer Day Britain. Whoop! And it's a Friday. Here's the idea. Plan a day off walk. Grab a group of friends (or find some Glamoraks in our online community of women who walk) and head out for a walk and a pint. You will feel like you've had a mini holiday just by doing this one simple thing.
5. Have a picnic
If you prefer your lunch with a view, June is the perfect time to do that as it's National Picnic Week from 15 - 24 June. You can make your picnic as fancy as you like, or just grab a couple of sarnies, a cold drink and a favourite chocolate bar - then head off with some friends. Choose your perfect viewing spot just as your feet are starting to ache. Get those boots off and wriggle your toes around while you tuck into your feast. Lie back and enjoy the sun on your face. Life doesn't have to be complicated to be pretty darn perfect. (This picture was taken during a Glamoraks walking weekend - our picnic spot had a view of the Seven Sisters. Stunning.)
6. Remember your dad
It's Father's Day on 17 June, the perfect time for a family walk. But if your dad is no longer around and you don't have family to go walking with, why not head out on a walk on your own - or with a friend if you're not confident (try the Glamoraks community) and enjoy a peaceful walk in a place he would have loved. Take time out to remember him and return home feeling calm, peaceful and ok with things just as they are.
7. Celebrate the Solstice with a wild camp
On 21 June we celebrate the longest day of the year. It's the perfect day to go on an adventure so why not plan a wild camp? After work, head out to a hill or a stretch of coast. Grab a bit of dinner at a pub on the way or take a meal with you. As the sun only sets around 10pm, you have plenty of time to walk and find a spot. As with all wild camping, you should ideally get the land owner's permission but if you can't, be sure to set up camp late and leave early. Not brave enough to go on your own? Head over to Glamoraks and ask in the community. With enough notice, you will hopefully find a fellow adventurer. If the forecast is to be rain free, don't even bother with a tent. Just take a bivvy bag and a sleeping bag and sleep under the stars. You will feel as though you've conquered Everest afterwards and you may just become addicted to the wild camping life.
If you are a woman who loves to walk or go on adventures, join Glamoraks, an online community that helps you find other women near you. For your life to get a whole lot happier, all it takes is one small step into new adventures. Join us!