Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Planning and doing

Southwest Coast Path

Yay! Two more getups and it's half-term. For what will be the third spring half-term in a row, I'm heading down to the Southwest Coast Path to get another chunk of it under my belt.

I've found a campsite near Hartland which I can use as a base. I walked as far as Westward Ho! last time, so this year I'll be starting from there. I'm aiming to get to Bude as a minimum. I'd like to walk further, but I know from experience it's not that easy when I have to rely on an infrequent bus service to get me from one end of the walk back to the other end where I'll have parked my van. If the last bus leaves at 5pm, it doesn't matter how light the nights are, I still have to make sure I'm finished walking before that bus leaves.

I'm planning to drive down to Devon on Friday night, leaving at around midnight to avoid the traffic. This worked really well in February when I had to drive down to Portsmouth to catch the ferry to France. I'll try to get a bit of sleep on Friday evening and I'll have my bed set up in the back of the van, so if I get tired I can easily pull off the road for an hour or two.

Lundy Island

I'll be heading for Ilfracombe on Saturday as I'm going to try again to get to Lundy. It was cancelled due to storms this time last year, but I've checked the weather forecast and it does look as though it'll be a bit better this time round. I tried to book last Saturday morning, but when I phoned the office they couldn't take my booking then and asked me to phone back later, but so far I haven't been able to. They did say that it's unlikely they'll be fully booked, so I'll just take my chance and turn up.

Orkney and Shetland

I've decided to return to Shetland in the summer and also visit Orkney. I was last in Orkney about ten years ago and only really saw the Mainland. I've seen plenty of Shetland during my recent couple of summers there, so this time I'll just revisit a few favourite places and then spend more time in Orkney visiting islands I haven't been to before. I've been researching ferries and ordering maps. I've got a full set of OS maps for Shetland, but didn't have any for Orkney. My Orkney maps have now arrived, all except one, which had gone out of stock. I've re-ordered it, so should get it soon.


Apart from maps, I've bought a rather reasonably priced 3 in 1 jacket. This is a lightweight waterproof with a fleece that attaches to the inside to make it a winter jacket. The fleece can also be worn by itself. I haven't used a jacket like this before, so I've just bought a cheap one to see if I get on with it. I'll probably get a lot of use out of it over the half-term, summer and my Duke of Edinburgh weekends. Other women buy bikinis for their hols; I buy waterproofs and fleeces. I'm sure I have the better holidays though!

I've also bought a collapsible canvas bucket. It folds completely flat so will be great for storing in the van. I left it full of water overnight to make sure it didn't leak and it was absolutely fine. My other recent purchase has been a small, fold-up, short-legged table to use in the van. I'm looking forward to playing with testing my new toys bits of kit next week.

Stove Ignition

I contacted Primus in Sweden about my melted stove ignition and they got back to me really quickly and said they'd send me a new part. So far, so good. Just hope I know how to attach the new part when it arrives!

What else?

I've had several theatre trips over the last few weeks; some with school and some with a friend. Also a couple of dinners, a guided walk around the Little Ireland and Little Italy areas of Manchester, a 3-day Duke of Edinburgh weekend, and a day in Chester with students. Add to that a few union meetings and rallies and a parents' evening at school and it's all been a bit hectic. I'm really hoping to actually get some relaxing done as well as walking next week.

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