Category Archives: Walking and DofE

Jubilee Challenge

I completed the walk yesterday without too much trouble – though I got rained on in the afternoon. It was kind of people to meet me at the churches and I certainly appreciated the refreshments. I have yet to work out a final total but it will be around £400 raised when I’ve collected it all in. Thanks for the support.

DofE Jubilee Challenge Update

I’m still on course for completing my walk on the 9th Nov – just hoping for some good weather now. Follow this link to sponsor me …

I will be setting off from Pawlett Methodist Church car park at 8am (after a prayer).

I will be arriving at Bridgwater MC some time between 10am and 10:30am (stopping for a quick cup of coffee and a prayer).

I will be finishing at Lisieux Way any time from 3pm onwards (the calculated timings would suggest at 3.40pm but I hope to be there earlier).

The route is close to 20 miles in length.

If I can get a signal I will send updates to my Twitter account at: (@hillandmoor)

You can view a map of the route here (pdf)   pawlett_to_bridgwater_to_taunton_1

DofE Jubilee Challenge

w-DofE logo monoYes, that’s right it is the year of Jubilee! Or at least the 60th Anniversary of the start of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award. Leaders and award holders are being challenged to take up a challenge for themselves. I’ve decided to challenge myself to walk to the churches I look after which is a distance of around 30km or 18miles. I’m going to do this in one day of course – Weds Nov 9th. I’m going to start at Pawlett and then walk to Bridgwater and then along the canal to Lisieux Way. I’m hoping to raise some money to help support those work of the DofE organisation who will use what they raise this year to help disadvantaged and vulnerable young people take the award. You may have seen some of the famous people who have taken up the challenge get a mention on TV.

You can find out more about the Jubilee Challenge at

Or you can sponsor me for the walk by donating at my Just Giving Page

Hills can be tough at times

I had another busy few days last week with both Haygrove and Heathfield schools. This time both were DofE training. For the first time since I started doing this I had people crying in both groups. The Haygrove group were very new to walking – the first time out on the hills – and they were carrying full packs – a bit of a shock to anyones system. Climbing hills when you are not used to that kind of walking let alone carrying extra weight was very tough on some of them and they cried. I felt very sorry for them but we had to get around and I’m delighted to say they all finished the route despite the struggle. I admire their grit and determination despite the hardships they had to endure.

exmoor dunkery beacon

The Heathfield group had a tough day when I met them at the campsite in the evening. They seemed OK but their spirits were a little down. The next day walking with them, however, I discovered how tired they were and every hill was painful for them. I wondered at one point if we would ever get to the top of the first one but they battled on, despite the tears, and made it to the top. The second hill was not as steep and they managed it better, although they did complain a great deal.

One of the teachers very wisely observed that they were taking out their frustrations at the route on me because I was always the bearer of bad news as I had to keep telling them that there was more hill to climb and more distance to walk before the end of the day. We parted friends though and I hope I was forgiven for making them walk up the hills.

It made me think, once again, how tough hill walking can be. Going for a walk may sound like an easy enough pursuit but climbing hills and carrying loads is very physically demanding and for those who never do that kind of thing the sheer physical endurance nature of it can come as a shock. I love the hills but you have to learn that the puffing, grunting and sweating is all part of the fun.

Do you remember the days before sleeping mats?

karrimatI don’t know about you but sometimes I get all nostalgic about the way things used to be. Then I remember the benefits of what we have now and it soon passes away. I often remember the hardships of walking and hiking that we used to endure. Do you, for instance, remember the days before sleeping mats were invented? Can you imagine the discomfort of having to sleep on the floor? I suspect somebody will know when sleeping mats were first invented – I’m told it was in the 1970’s but I suspect it may have been earlier . However, I didn’t encounter them until I had been hiking for at least a couple of years. I remember my first yellow Karrimat (picture is not of my mat but one that someone else had for sale on gumtree – hope they don’t mind) – I think I still have it somewhere – it was a very luxurious item. I now sleep on a 5cm thick self-inflating sleeping pad and it is pretty good (I have my eye on a thicker one). Before the days of sleeping pads you had to find as much thick grass as possible to camp on (not easy on Dartmoor where it is either in thick clumps – nasty stuff – or very short) and then maybe dig out a depression for your hip to sit in and try and pitch the tent so the dip was in the right place – not easy. I’ve got soft these days because I have just bought a backup mat just in case mine fails and I can’t stomach the idea of sleeping without one.

Not everything used to be better or are we just getting soft?

Very wet weekend on Exmoor

Sleeping_in_a_tentJust had a very wet weekend with the Duke of Edinburgh bronze teams from Haygrove on their assessments. Congratulations to everyone  – who all achieved their aims. It was a real test on Saturday, having to get up in the rain and getting rained on nearly all day. I’m still drying out.

Ticks and long trousers

I want to talk about a sensitive subject today – trousers (well ticks really but please bear with me). As most of you know I like to wear shorts (if anyone knows of a clerical shirt that works with shorts please let me know). However, when I’m out walking on the hills I always wear long trousers. This is a nuisance to me and I’d much rather be in shorts and have the breeze cool off my hairy wet legs (sorry, probably too much info). The reason I always wear long trousers walking is that I want to avoid ticks. Of course, if I was really careful I’d wear long sleeves as well but this is my compromise.

Why be so worried? Because of Lyme disease. Knowing what the consequences from the disease are and how hard it is even to identify the disease when you have it – until it is too late – I choose to wear long trousers when I walk.

Of course we must all make our own choices and to help you here are some links to articles about ticks and their removal. And as you brought up the subject of removal the recommended method is with a tick remover, tweezers or as a last resort fingernails. It is better to leave bits behind than leave the tick on (any bits left behind might cause a minor infection but will most likely just work their way out like a small splinter with no repercussions).   Anything hot (matches, flames, etc) will distress the tick and might very well cause it to regurgitate into your blood which is the very thing you are trying to avoid (apparently if they get engorged or alarmed they regurgitate and this is what can cause Lyme Disease – which is why you wan’t to get them off but not in a panic). Vaseline (or anything else to smother) can take 24 hours to work, which may be too late and might also cause regurgitation. Yuck! (tick removal at bottom of page) (they suggest keeping arms and legs covered but we all make our own choices – I compromise at just my legs.)

Here are some tools to remove ticks:

Lifesystems tick removal tool

Trix Tick Lasso

O’tom tick twister

If these links don’t work then use the name to search on Google.

If you get a tick don’t panic! The chances of getting Lyme disease is slim (1 to 3%) so you will probably be fine, however the consequences are such that I think it is worth a few precautions. If you develop flu like symptoms after finding a tick bite please go to your doctor without delay and tell them that you have been bitten by a tick.