POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #10

Day 10 – July 31, 2022

Hi guys…here is today’s update on our Day#10 of POF22.

And what a day it was!

But first…the story of yesterday evening and the good food available at the Dundas Arms in Kintbury.

So excited were we at the arrival of my elder boy Craig and his family to join us for dinner, that we completely forgot to take photos of the food.
So we thought we’d do the next best thing…so here’s the menu!! 😊

The journey was originally planned to be around 22 miles, so the shortest day so far, but one that would allow other people to join us along the way. But we decided to start at Kintbury instead of Hungerford and that shortened the journey by a couple of miles.

Sun 31st Hungerford Stn to Hatchgate Burghfield
Start High St Junc Canal, Hungerford RG17 0DN ///paler.logs.inner
Milkhouse rd. 5.6miles
1st Break The Triangle, Hambridge Ln, Newbury RG14 5TU dewatering services ///paper.remain.fast 10.5 miles
Thatcham Railway Station 12.5 miles
Midgham Railway Station
Basingstoke Road 17.6miles
Leave Canal at Ufton Lock on Ufton lane ///laptops.stood.alas 19.2 miles
Follow Ufton lane onto Church lane 19.7 miles
Left and the Right onto Island Farm Road 20.5miles
Left onto Shortheath Lane 20.7 miles
Right onto Sulhamstead Rd 21.4 miles
Follow until Hatchgate Pub
Drink cold beer

So the day began with Sarah (none other than Ollie’s mum!) and Shona joining us from OYF along with a good friend of ours Lee. They had all travelled out to us from Wokingham and Reading.

Above is a nice photo taken later in the day at The Row Barge on the way back to Burghfield.

The walk was really nice today. It did get warmer as the day went on but honestly, we had nothing to complain about. The paths were all nice and steady, and most of all not overgrown.

It seemed that we got to Newbury in excellent time, even to the point where we thought we were going slightly too fast!

But Newbury it was and we passed through after a little less than 2 hours

And here we go again for another Dale & Big Al story.

We had agreed with Alan that we should have just one checkpoint at Thatcham railway station. We had set off from Kintbury accordingly and expected to meet Big Al somewhere around 11 miles later.
Imagine our surprise to see the van parked up in Tesco Car Park in Newbury, some 6 miles too soon, where Alan was filling his face and, to be fair, buying goodies for our CP break. 😊

We all moved on and enjoyed a lovely catch up with good friend Tim and his son Finlay just before we got to Thatcham. They had ridden out on their bikes from Burghfield to meet us.

And when we did stop at Thatcham, the OYF girls showed us very quickly how prepared they were! Out came the salmon salad and the copious amounts of pasta! No wonder their rucksacks were so big! 😊

And then as we set off and passed through Aldermaston Wharf, they were not slow in holding their hands up when an Orange Calippo was on offer! 😊

When we reached Ufton Lane it was great to meet up with our good friend Nigel who brought us some well needed water and with my sister and cousin, Toni and Sylvia, who were joining us for the last 4 mile walk in.

It was fabulous.

It seemed that the day was almost over for the type of spontaneous donation that we had received along the way when we were fortunate enough to meet the lovely Sarah & John and Eddie & Mary who very kindly donated to the cause.

And the best moment of the afternoon was the arrival of Big Al to join us on the walk in. He had dropped the campervan back to its base in Maidenhead and raced back to be able to be with us at the close of the adventure.

So, it was just a case of closing down the last few miles and entering the village. Our great friend Brian joined us at the top of Hose Hill and we enjoyed the last stretch in warm sunshine.

And finally we were there. Big Al and I had covered a total of 198.7 miles over 5 canals…Llangollen, Shropshire, Stafford & Worcester, Oxford and Kennet & Avon.

When we got to The Hatch in Burghfield village it was amazing that friends and family had assembled to welcome us home. It was a fantastic moment!

We were able to host a great race night at The Hatch Gate Inn where we must thank Buddy and his team for supporting such a successful night.
And on finally getting home and relaxing, it was so nice to realise that Mika, Debs and my dog, had decided that looking after my feet was her top priority! 😊

Our total as at the evening of August 1st, is just over £4,200 without Gift Aid. With Gift Aid this amount is over £4,600.
Alan and I can’t thank you enough for the way that you have supported our adventure these last 10 days. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet so many kind, generous and overall just really good people.

We hope that the blogs have been entertaining. We have certainly had so many laughs and a few challenges along the way that it was so important for us to share them with you. We are already planning what’s next.

2023…bring it on!!!

If you haven’t yet done so, please consider to donate whatever amount you can. We know that times are hard just now, but any amount counts.
To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

With that last note, this is Pensioner on Foot (POF22)…signing off!

www.pof22.co.uk

Dale & Alan.

POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #9

Day 9 – July 30, 2022

Hi guys…here is today’s update on our Day#9 of POF22.

The journey was planned to be 29 miles today but we took a decision overnight to cut it short by just over 2 miles by not going back to where we had left the canal the evening before. We were very close to a new joining point closer to Banbury and we decided to take that option.

So here we go again with our traditional reporting on our evening dining. We were at the Dirt House where we were warmly received by the team there. Wings were the order of the day to kick off. Big Al chose BBQ sauce, I had fiery sauce. Happy to report no adverse effects the following day!

A burger and scampi followed. All good fare and much enjoyed…with the odd lager of course!

Our day’s journey was very straightforward. No difficult points as you can see from below and the distance only amended by the note above.

Sat 30th Cropredy to Oxford
Start Cropredy 8 Red Lion St, Cropredy, Banbury OX17 1PB ///daylight.inflame.corrects
Twyford Rd Banbury 7.4 miles
1st Stop Aynho Rd just after Nell Bridge Lock OX173NY ///straddled.repeated.winner 10 miles
Station Road 17.5 miles
2nd Stop Station road Enslow, Kidlington OX5 3AY ///prancing.undertook.eyelashes 22.7 miles
Banbury Rd 25.7 miles The Highwayman Hotel
Woodstock Road 28.1 miles
Finish Junc Godstow Road Wolvercote, Oxford OX28FD ///issues.rides.bumps 29.3 miles
Stay The Dundas Arms, Kintbury, Hungerford United Kingdom

The day began steadily and it was nice to walk through the town of Banbury so early in the morning. Very quiet and just the odd dog-walker out and about.

Things were great for the first 3 miles through the built-up area of houses and industrial units and then…yep, here we go again.

This was the towpath in front of me. No way back as Big Al was already in front of me and I’d already walked so far already.
So I pushed on and thankfully it only lasted a few hundred metres and all was good again.

Then the walk was really enjoyable and there were some really fine properties set by the side of the canal along the way.

All was proceeding nicely….and then the trouble started…

Alan had sent me a W3W location that meant a first checkpoint at 11 miles. Tea and toast were awaiting me after a good, long first leg.
All was good until I receive a Whatsapp from Big Al saying…

‘Bridge 198 Turn right past parked cars and over the river bridge. Kettle will be on’

Happy days. So I forgot to concentrate on the W3W and started counting bridges. All was going well until I reached Bridge 198, that I thought was unusually further away than I expected.

No sign of Big Al. Actually no sign of any cars either as Bridge 198 was just being used to adjoin two fields. I sent the above snap to Big Al and called him. The conversation was along the lines of ‘where the f*** are you?’ ‘On Bridge 198.’ ‘No you’re not.’ ’Yes I am..’
At which point Big Al looks again at his bridge.
Oh dear…It was only really Bridge 196! He said the sign ‘was a bit dirty’. 😊
I was now more than a mile ahead of him…and the tea and toast.

So we recalibrated and it added another 3 miles before we were able to rendezvous again.

But then turn of good fortune. I bumped into the lovely Thomlinson family and their dog Heidi who very kindly donated to the cause. Thanks so much guys!

And then a further piece of good luck on the longer than usual morning.

This is Bill and Sue who also agreed to donate to the OYF cause. Thank you so much both.

Now if it wasn’t enough that I was now over 14 miles for a first checkpoint of the day, before I could enjoy my sought-after tea and toast, Big Al had happily confirmed that he was at Heyford rail station and all was good.

Well not quite. He hadn’t explained all the detail…

Just what you need on Day#9 and a 14 mile hike. 😊

And Alan had learned from his earlier transgression.
Look at the next snap that he sent me for the next checkpoint at 22 miles. He even marked out the way to get to him…just for the avoidance of doubt! 😊

The next section allowed me to find new donations from new friends. These are the lovely people celebrating Elke’s Birthday. Thanks so much for your support.

The rest of the day finished without issue and it was so good to see the van waiting for me with Big Al ready to drive us over to the Kennet & Avon for the final leg of our adventure.

There was a lovely surprise for me personally at The Dundas Arms in Kintbury, where we took up residence in the car park overnight.
My son Craig, his wife Emma and her sister Grace were waiting to join us for dinner with my two grandsons Austen and Beau.
A lovely surprise.

And just as we were finishing our evening, these two lovely ladies, Gail and Jill made the final ‘in person’ donation of the day. Ladies, thank you both very much!

So the day finished. A total distance of 26.5 miles and not without a lot of laughs and kind donations from some very good people.

Our total this morning stands at £1,904 without Gift Aid and £2,286 with it included. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider to donate whatever amount you can. We know that times are hard just now, but any amount counts.

To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

www.pof22.co.uk
Dale & Alan.

POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #8

Hi guys…here is today’s update on our Day#8 of POF22.
The journey was planned to be a 30 mile+ walk straight down the Oxford Canal. It was to be simple. Setting out from Newbold and finishing in the Fairport Convention village of Cropredy. Ah well, all the best laid plans sometimes hit issues. More to explain later.

Let’s start with our traditional reporting on our evening dining.
Well we both went for the house chilli. Me a veggie and Big Al…well he only had a beef chilli topped with cheese and chorizo, that I’m pleased to say did not affect the trombone playing this morning.

Our days journey was very straightforward. No difficult points as you can see from below.

Fri 29th Newbold to Cropredy
Start Newbold Junc Brownsover road CV211HL ///rush.games.soap 10.5 Miles
Rugby road 2 miles
Crick Road 4.6 miles
1st Stop Flecknoe Station Road CV238AZ ///questions.woof.snored 12.8 miles
Daventry road 16.3 miles
2nd Stop Welsh road CV477SS ///founding.dozens.stocks 19.4 miles
3rd stop? Wharf Rd 27 miles Wharf Rd, Fenny Compton, Southam CV47 2FE ///tall.lollipop.mute
Finish Cropredy 8 Red Lion St, Cropredy, Banbury OX17 1PB ///daylight.inflame.corrects 33miles

The Dirt House Pub Southam Rd, Little Bourton, OX171RH Confirmed Dickie 07921512404

Alan was busy early on, ensuring that the necessary ablutions were disposed of and that the fresh water was topped up.

And soon we were on our way. I took to the canal and Alan set off for some supplies and to work out a CP#1 at roughly 8 miles.
The sites to see were, as it seems as always on this trip, of great canal pubs and neat engineering. It’s been a pleasure in that respect.

To be honest the first CP came quite quickly. I can say that it was really only the last 2-3 miles before reaching it, that I felt some more difficult terrain was to come. I wasn’t wrong.
Alan was waiting for me and told me that he had already lent our convenience (the loo in the campervan) to a passing runner who was being dropped off there by her partner. Nick kindly agreed to a donation. Cheers Nick! Ever thought about donating the car??!! 😊

Big Al fed me some hot cross buns and a cup of tea and I was off again.

And in fairness, the next mile or so was perfect. Good towpath, not too hot and the chance to meet these lovely people, Shaun and Elaine who immediately texted their donation to Ollie. Thanks guys! And thanks for putting the tee shirt back on Shaun! 😊

Then the trouble started. The canal bank and towpath became more and more overgrown. Nettles, bushes and brambles were everywhere. It became a challenge to navigate each step. I had to hold my arms in the air to avoid being stung and at the same time try to deal with a canal bank that constantly changed its width and camber. It was not the best of conditions. Take a look at the snaps below.

When you are trying to sustain a specific pace, this kind of terrain just grinds you down. My pace dropped from c. 3.3 mph to around 2.5mph.
It’s difficult to retain any momentum and frankly it wasn’t much fun!
On our look back after reaching CP#2, we calculated that I was in this kind of overgrowth for 6-7 miles.

And if it wasn’t miserable enough, it always drains the spirits to see a dead sheep!

So we sat down at the CP#2 and thought about what to do next. As far as we could see, nothing was going to change soon in the terrain.
So we took some ice cream….as you do…

…and decided to jump ahead a number of canal bridges and try to get to what we estimated would be better kept towpaths because they were nearer the towns on the way.

Thankfully it paid off. Unfortunately, we skipped around 7-8 miles in doing so but it meant that I did not have to negotiate several frustrating hours getting through overgrowth.

Thinking about it over a beer this evening, Big Al and I agreed, that this was our dark day moment of POF22. Just as it was last year on our last day in Cornwall on POW21 when we got stuck on A roads and Alan had a second puncture in pouring rain etc.. We figured it out then and we did so again today.

The rest of the day passed without drama and I can tell you it’s a great sight to see your buddy walking out to meet you at the end of the day.

The terrain today has taken it’s toll on my feet. The undulations as I have noted before really hurt you ankles, heels and calves.

It doesn’t look nice, but wasn’t serious to fix.

So that was our day. Around 25.3 miles walked and the day saved by taking a decision to write off what just seemed not worth attempting.
Hope that makes sense!

To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

www.pof22.co.uk
Dale & Alan.

POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #7

Day 7 – July 28, 2022

Hi guys…here is todays update on our Day#7 of POF22.
Todays journey was a slightly shorter adventure that eventually was 24.4 miles walked, travelling from the south of Wombourne to the first stop on the Oxford Canal, new for us, our fourth, at Newbold, near Lutterworth.

Let’s start with our traditional reporting on our evening dining.
Well, sad to say, for the first time on the trip, we forgot to take the photo before the meal. So you couldn’t see my Hunters Chicken or Big Al’s Lasagne. But we did capture my dinner partner with a forlorn face because he couldn’t manage the last chips!

It was nice to receive our first visitor from the POF22 additional support team when Gerry Melody, my elder son’s father-in-law, joined us for drinks.

And for the older football fans among you, that is not Jimmy Greaves in the front!! 😊

Our route today meant jumping into the van after two sections on the Stafford&Worcester canal and moving over to the Oxford canal at Exhall.

Thurs 28th Wombourne to Newbold
Start. Round Oak Inn, 100 Ounsdale Rd, Wombourne, Wolverhampton WV58BU ///adults.erase.inner
Swindon
Greensforge
Bridgenorth road Stourton 7 miles
1st Break Windsor Holloway, Whittington, Kinver, Stourbridge DY7 6NS ///sunblock.permanent.backswing 9.6miles
Wolverley rd 13miles
Castle road Kidderminster 15.3 miles
2nd Break Junc Manor rd Stourport on Severn DY139DW ///firmly.care.lame 17.7 miles
Drive to Exhall Get on Canal at 360 Aldermans green Road CV21NN ///pitch.bulb.dads
Ansty Golf Centre
Colehurst Lane 5 miles 23 total
Brinklow road 6.7 miles 24.7 total
Finish Newbold Junc Brownsover road CV211HL ///rush.games.soap 10.2 Miles 28.2 total
Stay Caravan and Camping Manor Farm, Main St, Catthorpe, Lutterworth LE17 6DB Booking ref MFC/519/557 10 min drive

Things started out well on the first 9 mile stretch to the first check point with lots to see in a nice cool breeze.

The above snaps are of a strangely named lock called Stewpony, with a very interesting, tunneled way to get through it on foot…or with horse I guess.

And it’s not just the older architecture or engineering that tells a story along the canal. I stopped and wondered for a few moments about the time and effort and love that went into something much more modern caught in the photo below.

We are all making memories and leaving legacy all the time, every day. And it struck me that this gentleman had done just that.

The rest of the trip on the way to Kidderminster passed quite quickly as I was very lucky to have towpaths that were well kept and even gravelled for most of the time.
You can see from the above two snaps that there were also some interesting houses along the way as well.

The second row of houses above, sits permanently over a long stretch of canal, quite unusual I thought.

I don’t know what the background of this gentleman might be, and when I asked he didn’t answer!

Closing in on Stourport-on-Severn, I met Guy, who couldn’t believe that we had walked from Llangollen in just 3 days. 😊 Guy very kindly phoned in a donation for the cause.

And then a little further on, after following a diversion for a closed canal path, I met Louise, Rocco and Marley.
Rocco, the bulldog, made his introduction by smelling my shin and then proceeding to rub his slobbery nose and mouth up the back of my calf. Hey Rocco…I am no cheap date!!

Louise is an athlete herself who has run 100 miles from Birmingham to London for charity so we had a natter about nutrition and hydration before I was on my way.
Louise and the doggies had made a donation even before I reached Stourport. Thanks guys! 😊

The rest of the first part of the day finished without issue and we set out for Exhall. I have to be honest, with the superb, smooth, no last-minute lane-changes of Big Al, I did doze off for 20 minutes of the 90 minute journey. And if you believe all of what I just wrote, more fool you! 😊

And this is where we got our first surprise of the day. Another visitor, who walked a couple of miles with me.

This is Karen Hawcutt, my uncle’s partner and a keen walker herself, who had business in the area and wanted to join us for a short while.

As we set off, and after not more than a quarter of a mile, Karen and I met Barry Swain.

Barry is a true character who told us that he had worked for more than 40 years on supporting and maintaining the local towpaths.
He reached in his pocket and gave me a handful of coins apologising that he didn’t have anything more to donate.
It was a touching moment already that only became more amazing when he said, ‘Guess what I’m known for?’
Karen and I looked at each other knowing that this was going to be one of those special moments….and it was!

Barry did a headstand! And then proudly announced, ‘Not bad for a 79 year old!’ Then he asked how old I was, and after hearing my response of a mere 63 years next week, he scoffed, and called me a young ‘un.

Brilliant memory of the day!

The remainder of the trip started to get difficult with a towpath getting quite difficult in places as you can see below.

Big Al came out to meet me about two miles from the van and the rest of the day finished well. Time for local food and a few beers and day #7 was done!

To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

www.pof22.co.uk
Dale & Alan.

http://pow21.org/?p=869

Day 6 – July 27, 2022

Hi guys…here is todays update on our Day#6 of POF22.
Todays journey was an adventure that eventually was 29.6 miles walked, travelling from the south of Market Drayton to Wonbourne to the south of Wolverhampton.

But first…our tour of fine dining continues.

Big Al had the bacon cheeseburger and crispy beef to start. I had halloumi fries with chilli sauce followed by a classic gammon, egg and chips. All of this courtesy of the Four Alls pub in Woodseaves, Market Drayton.

This was our planned route for the day.

Wed 27th Market Drayton to Womborne
Start Tyrley Road Market Drayton TF92AH ///country.riverbank.acoustics
Main Road 6.2 miles
Grub Street 7.9 miles
1st Stop The Navigation Inn Newport Rd, Gnosall, Stafford ST20 0BN ///ribcage.edicts.hobbit 12.2 miles
Broad Lane 13.8miles
Slab Lane 16.1 miles
Lapley road 17.5 miles
Port lane 21.2 miles
2nd Break Pendeford Hall Lane. Coven, Wolverhampton WV95BD ///became.save.rivers 23.6 miles
Hordern road 26.7 miles
Windmill Lane 28.8 miles
Langley Lane 30.5 miles
Finish Round Oak Inn, 100 Ounsdale Rd, Wombourne, Wolverhampton WV58BU ///adults.erase.inner 32.7
Stay Round Oak Inn Confirmed Sean (Let him know when you arrive)

The day started brightly. Nice and cool and crisp and I took off south towards our ultimate destination to the south of Wolverhampton, when this happened.

You can see this is marked at Bridge 58-57, and I had only just started at Bridge 59. There had been no advance notice so this was unexpected.
I had to go today all the way to Bridge 1 on The Shropshire Canal so this was not the best start.

I spoke to some people passing by on a barge who had already passed the area and they said, ‘Go ahead, you can push through it and climb over the obstruction.’ So I did, for almost a mile, and it’s true, with a pair of waders and a machete it might have worked!
At one point I thought I was an extra in Lord of The Rings! Especially with this large bridge structure towering over me.

But alas, I had to turn back. This is what stopped me.

But when you have Big Al standing by…no issue.

I made my way back to the van and we jumped in and navigated around the problem and rejoined the canal at Bridge 55, allowing me to push on again.
And then things became far more straightforward as I trecked through some fabulous countryside and saw some really nice things.

And as you might expect there were a number of nice pubs along the route that unfortunately I was unable to stop at and enjoy.

I was also fortunate to meet a lovely couple on the way with their lovely dog. Jenny and Iain Little, and Roma, thank you so much for your kind donation. It is very much appreciated by all at OYF.

Unfortunately not all the wildlife during the day was doing so well. This was just one of the dead fish that I saw today along the canal.

But it was nice to capture a heron just before it took off. Quietly looking for any water movement that would betray a small fish.

Finally, I reached the junction of the Shropshire Union Canal and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. At this point I turned south, following signs to Stourport and my ultimate meet up with Big Al.

Then the fun started.

I sent Alan a message telling him where I was, after I received a note from him saying he was walking out to meet me. I proceeded to move down the canal, but there was no sign of my partner in crime.
I decided to stop and send him the number of the bridge that I had just reached.
Then the message arrived…’I fudged up. I’m right behind you. Keep going.’
Now folks I have to tell you, the junction of two canals is not insignificant and is well signposted, as you can see in the photo below.
But hey, somehow Big Al had proceeded north of this major piece of engineering a few minutes before I got there and turned south! 😊

Anyway, I waited and 15 minutes later I was joined by a sweaty and soaked (it was raining by now) Big Al and together we finished our journey.

So, overall a difficult start to the day but thereafter it was pretty straightforward. The paths were a little better so no feet or leg issues today for me. We did cover 29.6 miles and no injury mishaps. The day finished much later at almost 7:00pm.
We are at a local pub this evening and will have a good filling of local hearty food.

To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

www.pof22.co.uk
Dale & Alan.

POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #5

Day 5 – July 26, 2022

Hi guys…here is todays update on our Day#5 of POF22.
Todays journey was an adventure that eventually was 29.2 miles walked, travelling from west of Whitchurch to south of Market Drayton, a distance of 33 miles. The discrepancy will be explained in the following pages.

Food? Here we go…but with an amazing twist!

Two massive Steak & Ale pies at the Bull & Dog in Coton in Shropshire. It has to said that they each would have fed a family of four with ease. We knew we had met a challenge when we each stopped talking as the last bites were taken! 😊

But the real twist was when the landlord came to our table and asked, ‘Is one of you Dale Thomas?’ Of course we answered in the affirmative, when he then told us that someone on the telephone wanted to buy our food and beers and make a contribution to the cause.
We asked the landlord how he knew it was us and he said, ‘Because the caller had said that one is a bald Welshman and the other is an HGV driver who cannot wrap parcels very well!’

We twigged that it was none other than Lee Atkins, our good friend, making a fabulous contribution to OYF in a very different way! We duly paid for our meals and put all his cash into OYF! Thanks Lee!

Our planned route is detailed below.

Tues 26th Whitchurch to Market Drayton

Start Junc Platt lane SY132PA Whitchurch ///magazine.spits.cookbooks
Wrexham Road 3.6 miles
Grindley Brook
Canalside Caravan Park
1st Stop Cholmondeley Road Junc, Wrenbury, Nantwich CW5 8HG ///steepest.sometimes.caramel 11.1 miles Dusty Miller Pub
Swanley Lane 15.1 miles
17.2 miles Join Shrophsire Union Canal, Right Turn, South
Millstone Lane 18.2 miles
2nd Break Marsh Ln, Nantwich CW5 5TH ///winds.prepared.survey 20 miles
Bridge Inn Audlem, Crewe CW3 0DX 25.4 miles
Rectory Lane 27.7miles
Maer Lane 31 miles
Finish Tyrley Road Market Drayton TF92AH ///country.riverbank.acoustics 33.5 miles

So the day started well. We parted ways at about 7:30 am and set off on our different paths. I was delighted to see a first for me. A ferret on a morning walk! This is Terri and Binkie the ferret. Terri promised to make a donation after she took our OYF details as she shared with me that her first boyfriend had lost his own life to an incurable brain tumour just after he turned 18 years old.

Shortly after that the first challenge of the day happened to me.
I got lost in Whitchurch.

I was following the canal when suddenly it stopped and there was no more canal! I jumped to my W3W (What 3 Words) app and then to google maps but all they did was lead me into a housing estate where I’m sure residents were looking through their windows and asking themselves why the guy dressed in blue is door-to-door selling a rucksack, water bottles and a fanny pack!
So I played my trump card. I got myself to Sainsburys car park and sent Alan a W3W location so he could meet me.
I soon realized that ///I’m.over.here doesn’t really work! ☹
So I generated a true location key and Alan turned up to the rescue within 15 minutes. Happy days!

Simply put, I screwed up by turning right towards the town centre instead of taking a left and taking a ‘ring canal’ around the town.
So we decided that in the interest of time we would head straight to our next checkpoint in the campervan, have food and drink and then proceed with the days plan. This is the 4 mile discrepancy in the distance of the day.

Even then, look at the next snap…even when you’re ready to go, there’s always someone or something in your way!

This adventure is of course about raising funds for the OYF. But you can’t help but enjoy seeing so many interesting things.

I don’t know why, but of course it must be someone’s job to paint the barges!

And what a great feat of engineering to see the end of the Llangollen Canal step down over many metres and locks to be able to align with the Shropshire Union Canal running southwards. It was amazing to see the barges lining up and taking their turns to either ascend or descend the steps.

I didn’t have time to make any further reading about this horse, situated at the Nantwich marina or the history of the aqueduct (my third of the trip) that crosses a main Nantwich road. Fascinating histories to both I’m sure.

Moving south towards Audlem and Market Drayton the scenery was stunning. Too many opportunities to take great photos. And great pub names too!

But I have to be honest that the ground today has been an unpleasant surprise. In yesterdays blog, I wrote that very often the canal path was difficult with subsidence and debris.

Well today wasn’t easier. If you are slowly walking on an uneven surface for 30 minutes walking a dog…that’s one thing. But when you are trying to keep an even quicker pace over 7-8 hours and the surface is constantly changing between grass, ruts and different cambers…well that is something else.

So we are going to likely add an extra CP from now onwards on each day to allow an extra period of recovery for my legs. It’s just a precaution. 😊

Today was also fun to meet and talk briefly to many of the local coarse fishermen on the canal bank. They were all in good spirits.
When you run the London Marathon, children are by the side of the road holding out jelly babies to keep you going.

Look what I got offered on the Shropshire canal today!!! 😊

And just because we are not in the Everglades or Latin America or Africa or Australia, don’t believe that there are no dangerous predators out there…just watching two innocent charity supporters!! Yes or no?? 😊

So overall a more challenging day than yesterday. Getting lost, the uneven canal paths. But we did cover 29.2 miles and no injury mishaps. The day finished much later at almost 6:30pm. We are at a local pub this evening and will have a good filling of local hearty food.

To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

www.pof22.co.uk. or Text OYF £5 to 70085 The amount is up to you

Thanks
Dale & Alan.

POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #4

Day 4 – July 25, 2022

Hi guys…well as per tradition here we go with the daily update from the POF22 adventure. This is the day after the 3 Peaks and is the beginning of the long walk home from North Wales to Berkshire.

And as per POW21, we know that you are concerned that we are eating well. So here we go…. Fish and Chips for Alan and Steak and Ale Pie and chips for me at The Sun Trevor Inn. It was delicious.

Here is our route for the day, one that we actually followed to the letter. Good planning Big Al!

Mon 25th July Llangollen to Whitchurch

Overnight stop Sun Trevor Pub Sun Bank, Llangollen LL20 8EG Confirmed by messenger. Let them know when we arrive

 Drive to Llangollen Towpath  Llangollen LL20 8BN  7mins ///items.respects.repayment

Trevor

Pontcysyllte Viaduct

1st Break Chirk Bank LL14 5BY ///barmaid.ticked.pheasants  10.3 miles

Rhosweil

Hindford

Lower Frankton

2nd Break Junc Ellesmere Road Onston Farm SY129HJ ///fuels.thank.allowable 19.3 miles

Blackwater Meadow Marina

Blakemere

Bettisfield Rd Betttisfield 25.6 miles

End Junc  Platt lane SY132PA Whitchurch ///magazine.spits.cookbooks  29 miles

Stay  Abbey Green Farm B&B, Camping and Touring Park
Whixall, Whitchurch, SY13 2PT  Booked + Paid
Telephone: 07972093741   7 mins away

.

Alan was ready….

I was ready…..

The canal was ready….

Well what could go wrong? Well pretty much actually nothing! Just a minor hiccup with a collection bucket that will become clearer later!

Until today, I had only ever seen an aqueduct on TV. And now I have happily walked across two of them. And what a nice experience it was. I had no appreciation of just how high they were…amazing.

The first one pictured below in the next four pictures was at Pontcysyllte, and the hand below I believe sets out all the local companies that helped to build it. The views were amazing.

It was just after crossing the aqueduct and at our first check point that we had our first walk up donation and first chat with locals who asked what we were doing and why. I had a lady and gentlemen ask me about the challenge and the charity and then give me a donation.

Alan had a lady who rocked up and asked him, ‘What’s it like to drive a campervan?’!! After the initial surprise, Alan regained his composure and gave a detailed explanation about narrow lanes and turning circles and the challenges of navigation without a fully-working Tom-Tom.

The lady responded, ‘My sister is living with me now and has no sense of adventure.’ And with that she set off with no mention of the charity or any donation. Even though he is such a babe magnet, this was looking like a bad omen for Big Al.

And sure enough….it was. We had forgotten the OYF donation bucket.

So the challenge was set…how do you turn this….

…into something that looks more appropriate to collect donations without raising any undue suspicion?

Alan, after seeking advice from our trusted POF22 whatsapp group, decided to go it alone.

The result was inspiring!

A perfectly camouflaged beer box with beautiful clean gift paper and a little slot in the top for donations. And we shouldn’t be churlish at all by mentioning that the paper and the writing thereon, is actually upside down! Who cares? Top man, Big Al! 😊

It wasn’t only the aqueducts that provided points of interest. As I set off from the check point I came across the tunnel below that was as long as any canal tunnel I’ve ever been in.

The second aqueduct was at Chirk and once again it was an absolute pleasure to cross it with the fabulous views from the top.

One of the challenges of the day has been the towpaths.

This is a quite common warning from my experience today. It was great to have Alan come out and walk the last mile on a couple of occasions before the check points and for him to see that the towpaths are not perfect at all, even if they are flat and nobody ever got run down by a barge!

It was nice to see as well that a good sense of humour belongs to some of the locals living by the canal side!

And who even knew there was a Mammoth Tower in Shropshire? I wish we had time to visit properly.

Anyway, Alan and I met at the prearranged location. Actually Alan came out and met me on the canal which was great. He was easy to spot in the distance with his OYF shirt and cap. Who else but me and him are dressed like that! 😊

We had enjoyed a good day. A distance of 28.2 miles covered and no mishaps. And all over before 5pm this evening. We are on a campsite tonight and both of us enjoyed a nice hot shower before beers and dinner. A job well done for the day.

To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated. Please remember the text number too Just text OYF £5 to 70085 The amount is up to you Many Thanks

www.pof22.co.uk

Dale & Alan.

POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #1-3

Day 1 – July 22, 2022

Hi guys…well as per tradition here we go with the first daily update from the POF22 adventure on it’s first day. The day started very early with the need to be at Reading station by 5:50am latest to catch a train to Chester passing through Wolverhampton and Crewe. I needed to be at Chester no later than10:30am.

As you can see it was really important to miss the crowds….and I did! The journey to Chester was actually truly uneventful and I arrived in good time just before 10am. First job done!

We met just outside the station entrance and before long a few new friends started to announce themselves as joining the same trip as myself. Names to follow as the weekend unfolds. We jumped into a minibus at around 11:30am for the journey to our first destination…Ben Nevis. We were driven by our dedicated driver Lewis and led by our fabulous guide Paul. Excluding those two, there were 14 other team members.

I don’t know why…but we all knew we were going to Scotland! The journey to Fort William took approximately 9 hours after stops were factored in for convenience and dinner at TJ’s restaurant just one hour or so before we got to our overnight accommodation.

Our digs were a really clean and well looked after hostel at the foot of Ben Nevis and we soon settled in to unpack, re-pack and get ready for an early wake up on Saturday at 5am.

You may notice from the next snap that all of my roommates are much younger than me…actually everyone on the trip was much younger than me! And so immediately I assumed my new name in the team of ‘Pops’! 😊

And so the next day, after to be honest, not the best night’s sleep, we were up and ready for the mountain.

I noticed very early on that I could climb along at my own pace and feel confident that I could get to the summit. However, this is when the reality hits you that actually you are in a team event. In order to keep the schedule to get to the other two mountains, namely Scafell Pike and Snowdon, you have to ascend Ben Nevis in about 3 hours. Alas, it was faster than I could maintain. I was a good 90 minutes behind the leading group. So I agreed with Paul, our head guide that I should make a reasonable attempt as best I could in the time, and then return down the mountain. I didn’t want to be an issue timewise for the team.

I got to 900 metres altitude and then turned to descend. Below are a couple of snaps at halfway and then at my turning point at 900 metres.

We all packed our gear once again into the van and trailer and took off for Scafell Pike arriving at around 7pm on Saturday evening. As much sleep as possible was taken in the van and we were also able to enjoy an excellent Harry Ramsden fish and chips in Gretna Green! The weather on our arrival was just awful. Overcast, driving rain and gusts of wind. I am in awe of the team members who took this in their stride and just strapped on their gear, grabbed their head torches and headed up the mountain with our local guide. Super impressive! I chose to climb around 280 metres to be able to say that I had been on the mountain, even if not to the summit. The next couple of snaps are on Scafell.

We departed Scafell at around 11pm on Saturday night for the 5-6 hour drive to Llanberis and the foot of Mount Snowdon. I am very happy to report that I did make it to the summit of Snowdon at 1,085 metres and was delighted to do so given it’s my ‘home’ mountain! Finally, I should say some words about my teammates of the weekend. They are an amazing bunch of people and not only because they put up with an array of Dad Jokes! They were fun to be with, great mountain athletes and carried a spirit with them that reflected the fact that all of them, without exception, were doing this challenge and other activities to contribute to a cause that they truly believe in and support. Hats off to you all. Helena, Rav, Hinesh, Ajay, Michael, Andrew, Matt, Emma, Elsa, Mel, Shane, Gavin, Jason…you are all amazing people! Thank you so much for being my companions this weekend. Paul, you have been an excellent guide and companion, clear in your guidance and great at listening and watching when someone may need help. Thank you. The team photo in Llanberis is below.

To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

www.pof22.co.uk

Dale & Alan.

POF22-Pensioner-on-Foot BLOG Day #-2

Day -2 – July 20, 2022

Hi guys…well as per tradition here we go with the first daily update from the POF22 adventure.

It’s been all about the preparation.

Setting aside the numerous long walks and HIIT sessions with Rich Jones my personal trainer and great mate, one of the last things to do was to arrange a little mitigation for the stress of the event.
I have been feeling a left hip issue for a couple of months that turns out to be a torn cartilage. The doc says it will need surgery but for now a steroid jab into the offending hip will help me for the next couple of months.

So accordingly, I was the guest of the wonderful team at the Circle Hospital in Reading who duly administered the dose of 40mg of prednisolone.
Here are Ran and Joy who helped me out today. And Joy….thanks so much for the donation!

Today was also a big kit day.

The whole challenge requires two quite different sets of gear.
The climbs on the 3 peaks are really about hydration, layers, good climbing boots, wet weather clothes, cold weather protection, head torches, medical kits etc.. So it is an overall heavier kit pack than the canal walks that are really about staying light and cool and well-hydrated.

Here’s the kit list and guidance for the climbs….with a few of my scribbles and notes.

The kit for the walk….well I just made it up based on my own experience over the years.
Here’s a few photos of the end results of the kit prep.
First for the climbs….

And then for the walk home…

The campervan has been arranged months ago and we are in the final details for Alan to pick up the truck on Sunday at midday for the long drive to Llanberis to meet me after the descent from Snowdon.
Many thanks to Peter and Yvonne at Crawford Cab Rentals. They helped us on the JOGLE in 2021 and are doing the same this year.

On late Sunday afternoon we then drive to Llangollen to begin preparation for the start of the walk on Monday July 25th.
Our plan is to be ‘on the road again’ at 7am each morning. This gives me a chance of being done by 5pm each day and Alan more time to navigate what is going to likely be an ever-evolving pattern of checkpoints and overnight stops.

The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that we are prepared for the evening entertainment as well. Alan loves my joke catalogue and who am I to disappoint him?! 😊

Finally, just some points about the navigation.
We have a Whatsapp group called POF22 that we will use to track my walking progress through the day. Let us know if any of you would like to join it…in case there is slow news in the rest of the world!

And Alan and I will be using What3Words to ensure that we always end up in the correct place. Alan has done some great planning work to set out the route and you can see this below. You can imagine that as we are using canals, it’s not as easy as meeting, for example,at the corner of two road junctions.

This example is the third walk day on July 27th and as you can see it uses the What3Words method to guide us both to a 3sqm meeting place.
This is crucial as not all postcodes are anywhere near as accurate

So that’s it for now. The next blog will appear with hopefully lots of great photos on Sunday evening, after the climbs are completed. It’s not possible to write the blog over the weekend as it’s really all about the climbs and the travel in between them.

Keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.

www.pof22.co.uk

Dale & Alan.

New Cycle Jerseys Have Arrived!

Two things happened this week. The JOGLE jerseys finally arrived and Alan and Dale finally got out and cycled together. With Covid and the distance between Newport and Wokingham preventing a get together we at last had a photo opportunity and managed to get over 40 miles in through the leafy Berkshire suburbs Beautiful conditions to cycle in, perhaps not replicating the Cairngorms with a Force 10 Hoolie blowing you backwards!