Paleolithic rock shelter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Formation Grass eating team

A nice pre-autumn day with plenty of sunshine and little wind.The walk started at the church with the spire on the side of the escarpment.We walked through orchards bursting with apples ,plums and pears ,I have retained a few for culinary study later.We turned right after a couple of miles "by the Oak trees"which were no longer standing.Down the hill to the stream where there were a few new-born calves in a field.Crossing the main Chatham to Hastings road we were soon in the orchards again and turned to flog up the side of a steep hill without stopping.
An elaborate steel footbridge crosses a lane and is purely for ramblers. With the spire now visible we made it back to the car park and had a cup of coffee from the flask before setting off home.7 miles in 3 hours ,(1 hour too fast)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Up the Thames to the centre of the Earth

A Fokker coming into London City airport on a 6 degree glideslope
Thames Barrier
MV Pocahuntas at Gravesend
Greenwich Park with a doom laden sky in the distance

River Thames ,Gravesend to Greenwich on the Motorvessel Pocahontas ,7 of us.
A grey day with rain forecast the tide running out and a brisk breeze about 18 degrees C.
Departed from the Ferry Pier and set off up the river ,with a very interesting and informative commentary by the skipper.
Lots of industrial buildings along with historical buildings and places of interest.
Under the QE2 Bridge and up to the Thames Barrier.As a couple of us had worked near or on the river at times ,it was interesting to see the developments.
Lots of new riverside dwellings are springing up on the sites of former manufacturing bases.
So much to report ,that the best thing is go and see for yourself.It cost £12-£17 depending on age,and there were facilities and refreshments and a bar on the vessel.
2 of our party stayed on to Tower Bridge,and managed to make it up as far as Westminster bridge.The rest of us walked up the hill at Greenwich to the observatory and arrived at precisely 12.00 to witness the ball dropping on the tower.
Free entry into all areas ,very busy and very informative,the exhibits breathtaking.
On to the Museum section,again free,and just too much to take in at one go.
We were allowed 3 hours before the vessel arrived back ,and we had a quick look down the Greenwich foot tunnel before getting back onboard.
Highly recommended ,and inexpensive,the rain held off,which was a bonus.
Ferry tel no; 01732-353448

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Trip to France. Arras and Vimy ridge.

A tree for every fallen Canadian soldier
As you can see the ground is very uneven ,owing to the legacy of the shell craters in the area.
63 million pieces of ordnance were left in this area either used or unexploded,including mustard gas, shells, grenades, mines etc. Sheep are used to graze the grass,as anything heavier would invite an explosion. Electric fences keep the people out,and the sheep in.
The trenches are very sanitised and give absolutely no indication of the horrific conditions suffered by the troops.The Canadian trenches are within shouting distance of the German front line .The Imperial War museum reconstruction is light years ahead in its interpretation of the Great War. A moving area but a bland visitor centre .

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

9 August Yalding to Maidstone along towpath

There is still a lot of greenery despite the drought,but then the river provides quite a bit of moisture.The paths are a little dry ,but the trees with their feet in the water are doing OK.
We caught the train to Yalding and disembarked(or debarked)and after a little confusion restarted our second section of the walk,the 7 miles (11KM) from Yalding into Maidstone.
It was a little misty,cloudy and damp and soon it started to rain in a half-hearted manner.
We passed several locks ,but there was little traffic on the river,which was quite quiescent.
At Teston,we stopped to eat from our packed lunches and assisted a boat through the lock,as it started to rain again.After putting on the waterproof clothing,the sun came out and it became really hot!So we had to stop and disrobe.
There were some nice properties sloping down to the banks of the river Medway with manicured lawns.Towards the town of Maidstone,blocks of flats are being erected,this is now the norm on disused industrial land.
We soon entered the town's environs near the courthouse and crossed the millenium bridge and decided to have a cup of coffee at the Star Arcade ,we spent a pleasant half-hour watching the office girls go by and then boarded the bus back home.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

River Medway August 2nd

2 August River Medway towpath Tonbridge-Yalding

A "Park and Ride "bus to Maidstone and then a train to Tonbridge on the pretty Medway valley line.Sunny at first but clouding over later with a threat of rain,about 18 C.
A walk up Tonbridge high street to join the Medway valley walk along the towpath.
A mix of industrial,residential and can't make its mind up land,and then out into the coutryside proper.A nice flat walk with the occasional lock gate and a man with a fishing rod every mile or so.Not many people about ,but the views were pleasant ,a couple of dinghy loads of Sea Scouts from Deal negotiating the locks in an efficient manner.After about 6 miles we diverted slightly to the Rose and Crown pub for a Roast Lunch or Curry,and of course ,Beer.
After a leisurely lunch we completed the walk of 8 miles (14KM), and made our way along the path to the Rail station,and just missed a train,so waited half an hour for the next one.then the bus home in the rush hour .We will do the next link another time (Yalding -Maidstone)8 Miles