WALKING FROM GENEVA TO ARLES

Day 1 Geneva to Le Mont Sion (Neydens Region)

READY FOR ACTION!

READY FOR ACTION!


Mental start!! Several hours of walking round in circles – nobody has a clue where the French border is let alone a pedestrian route there! Thankfully a young lad stops and pulls out his mobile Sat/Nav. and thanks to his intervention all is well as I progress to the border via Carouge. At dusk I camp in a field which lies between the river and road – freezing cold and a few hours after settling I have a police visit. Thumbling in the dark for my passport amuses them and after commenting on my accent they leave me to shiver for another few hours.
Camping on wet mud gave little comfort and at dawn I continue my walk as far as an hotel where the proprieter offers me a free breakfast. We chat for awhile and in between serving her customers she sorts me out with a decent route in the form of ´The Famous Camino de Santiago´ – many of these paths I have walked before during my travels around the continent.
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Day 2 Charly to Frangy
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A 2-mile hike from the hotel leads to Charly where there is in fact a Gite dÉtape for pilgrims – a hostel for pilgrims providing a free bed and stamp for your passport. From here I set off up the steep, muddy lane which I´m glad to say is clearly marked. From a height of 760metres the pilgrim route – GR65 takes in La Motte, Charnouy and Contamine-Sarzin. Despite being very damp and muddy – similar to conditions you´d expect in the UK right now, it became warm once away from the cold wind that is prevalent in this stern mountainous region. By 3pm I come to a standstill at Frangy and book into a hotel for 35eu – at least I can enjoy a ´policeless´peaceful warm night´s sleep.
Day 3. Frangy to Chanaz
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The Swiss alps continue to dominate the landscape bringing the cold winds which dispel any thoughts of camping. The terrain remained muddy and a steep rural blast between Le Grand Pont and Syssel is enough to blow out the cobwebs of a good nights rest.
The afternoon session encounters the small places associated with Le Bourget du Lac, and at Pont de la Loi I am overtaken by an equestrian group. There were many cyclists too – largely following the National Cycle Route which at times interracts with the Camino de Santiago. There is a pleasant river section that leads to the village of Chanaz which seemed like a good point to break off for the day. At the Gite de Chanaz I pay 10eu to camp but in fact spent most of the night in the warm changing rooms where I am able to get a few hours sleep – frost suggests it is still too cold for camping!
Day 3 Chanaz to St Genex Region
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Leaving around 7am, I manage to purchase a coffee at the village and then I make my ascent away towards Yenne – 18km. Pausing momentarilly I capture the mountains poking through the mist evoking yet another scene of unvisited beauty. As the cold air disperses it becomes another glorious day but I have difficulty in obtaining food and water as shops are scarce in this region. As the afternoon drifts on I get tired and thirsty – often knocking on doors to obtain water from locals. The mountain route was desolate and at times unforgiving – winding throughout the forest where snow lay all around. Eventually I descend from Mount Tournier yet there is little that ressembled a community let alone a shop – only the churches remain prominent here. On my next ascent I stop at a solitary cottage which was in fact a guest house still closed for winter season.
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The lady, Annie stopped her painting chore to refill my water bottles and on hearing that I planned to camp suggested I stayed at the cottage – this was a far better option to camping and although not yet open and heated it was a great comfort to me and Annie was very kind ensuring I was well nourished after a gruelling day on the GR65.
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Day 5 Guiers-Cotenvert (Annie Latge) to Voiron
It would be another month before Annie can expect visitors walking the Camino most of whom hail from Austria and Germany, so she was happy to stamp my pilgrim passport and acknowledge me as the first walker of the ´season´- God Bless her.
After a lovely breakfast at Annie´s I made short work getting to Saint-Genex-Sur-Guiers and was soon walking up the river bank to Aoste where fishermen were enjoying a calm sunny morning. The Camino route proved difficult to follow at times and in the afternoon I found myself on the cycle route which led me on a massive excursion to Les Abrets which should have been just 5 km away and yet took nearly 4 hours to walk! Unhappy with this and not certain of the direction to Lake Paldeau I completed the evening section on road as far as Voiron where I camped rough on a farm track just beyond town.
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Day 6 Voiron to St . Hillaire-du-Rosier
Happy to continue by road today, I would endeavour to rejoin the camino either St Antoine-lÁbbaye or Valence where the path follows the Rhone for the remainder of its course.
After walking 13 hours yesterday I feel tired – not helped by another cold, sleepless night. It is quite hot today and I stop frequently for coffee and water, as the sun nears the top of the mountains I enjoy a tiny little knap at a picnic park between Teche and St Sauveux. Passing St Marcellin I take a wrong turn but thankfully realise and retreat and make good in the final hour. At St. Hillaire du Rosier I see a small hotel along the thoroughfare and am lucky to stay there for 30eu.
Day 7 St Hillaire to Valence
Continuing my journey along the remainder of the D1092 I enjoy a warm morning to Romans sur-Isere where I change route and now walk the cycle track beside the N532 dual carriageway. It is slow progress to St Marcel-les-Valence as I set off in search of another great city. As the road winds through the city I take time to explore and photo the prominent landmarks. After obtaining a geographical fix on my exit across the river to the opposite bank where I can join the Camino to Arles, I retire to the Lyon Hotel where I pay 38eu for a room.
Day 8 Valence to Cruas
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A bottle of vin rouge and a good night´s rest was all I needed to recupperate and once across the river I was soon stepping out on the camino route along the Rhone to Beauchastel. It remains warm with an added presence of equestrians and cyclists, who as locals probably frequent the route daily. There was a solitary boat along the river and after the morning stint I stopped for coffee at a club-style cafe where the jukebox played ´We´re all living in America´! After ´´feeling chilled´´ out by that experience I continue my journey to Le Pouzin which is shared by towpath and road.
Everything converges on this place and the session that follows takes me to nightfall and I am lucky to stay at the Cruas Campsite which lies on the Camino Route which is only a few metres from the river bank.
Day 9 Cruas to Bourg St Andeal
It was another night in the changing rooms I´m afraid as the evenings here are still cool, unlike the day which is always full of promise. The first part was a bit misty as I encounter the EDF Power Station. I get lost a few times trying to get beyond this point but once on course I put in a good stint to Le Teil. It was a less enjoyable affair to Viviers where at least I got some provisions for the evening.In the heat I try to focus on the chalk clifs which obscure the Rhone and as the chill of night draws in all was at peace once again. I saw freight trains pass by all day and walked through concrete towns -´literally´ – places that have evolved from the cement industry which now provide a strong economy (at least 3and 1) and good foundations too – I hope! On reaching Bourg I get a room at a local hotel and enjoy a meal of bread and cheese which I managed to buy at the last town.
Day 10 Bourg to Laudin
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Using the cycle route I walk on to St Just where I have coffee and Raisin bread for breakfast. At Pont-st -Esprit I sit on a bench and enjoy a picnic and then take photos of a statue which commemorates the local men who fought in the Great War. The nearby Abbey sees me on the way again with a few signposts for Arles to add momentum. At Bagnols I run into trouble trying to follow the Camino de Santiago to Laudin and I find myself on a circular cycle route which puts pay to the evening session. By dusk I find a lonesome hotel in the region of Laudin and call it a day. I was glad of the room but the wine I ordered cost me 20eu!!
Day 11 Laudin to Graveson
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A tough day now beckons in order to make up for the previous bad evening session and this time I will see it through along the road. I am able to use the hard shoulder and make light work of Avignon but walk round the town a couple of times so as to be sure I was on the correct route to Arles. Looked more like a motorway but was in fact a modern dual carriageway which eventually diminished into the usual bog-standard secondary route which at times can be a bit too narrow. After collecting provisions at Graveson I walk on to a peaceful location beside the canal and set up camp just before dusk – it was lovely – and warm for a change.
Day 12 Graveson to Arles
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Good sleep and a great start – no traffic until reaching the industrial outposts of the ´modern Arles´´. A kind lady treats me to breakfast at her hotel and later I spend time exploring ancient Arles. I was so captivated with its charm I spent the night there and got my coach to Spain on Monday instead where I immediately started a 5-day walk from Valencia to Alacant which would take me to completion of a continuous circle of walks around the country! Read more soon -will also be publishing on EBOOKS later in the year, walks on the continent will be available in this section.

WALKING IN SPAIN
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Day 1 Valencia to Cullera
Commencing a new adventure in Spain around 7am, I first had to find directions how to get out of Valencia. A road sweeper assists and soon I am walking the underpass which runs through the city gardens. When I run out of city and foot path a young maid points me in the right direction and soon I emerge at a narrow lane next to the motorway. I run into some gypsies who were less helpful but a local guy confirmed my route and I was soon on my way. It was basically a cycle trail weaving in and out of the smaller coastal places the first of which was Pelida where I stop for coffee. At the next stop the motorway becomes the CV500 which caters for allcomers making my journey into El Saler a straightforward one. Beyond here I have water to my right which is strange as I am walking the Mediterranean coast and it should be on the left! There are sluice gates ahead forming a dam, and I wonder whether it is a fish farm.
Later in the day I reach Cullera and get a taste of resort life which is the main attraction of this coastline. I sustain myself with oranges picked from the trees and decide to walk through the town.The idea paid off as I found both campsite and supermarket and spent a lovely peaceful evening there for just 7eu with only a family staying here at the top of the pitch.
Day 2 Cullera to Olivia Region.
I sleep well despite heavy festivities from a nearby saloon. The constant sound of explosions signal the advent of a bank holiday which the Spanish will celebrate passionately. The cool air was welcome as I eventually leave the town (there was tons of it!) and soon I joined the N332 coast road, my route for the remainder of the journey. By noon it is hot and there is a motorway section to encounter between Xeresa and Gandia. At Gandia I follow the coast road into Daimus and Olivia where the celebrations are at a peak. I had drunk youths driving motorcycles at me and then taking their hands of the steering bars, explosions going off all around and people barely able to walk because they had ´´over-celebrated.´´ It was great fun for most of us!
Leaving here the evening stretch became intense and inconclusive as I had lost a page in my map and unsure whether to take a detour into the next resort. I made the decision to camp rough behind some pine trees along the road rather than risk an unwanted excursion.
Day 3 Olivia to Culp
A sleepless night with dogs barking and traffic belting past followed by an early morning 12 km hike was not the tonic I needed to start the day. At Ondara I get in a mess with the motorway and have to start again to ensure I get on the right road as both are extremely busy at this point. The 2 roads cross at a toll gate and I am unhindered by the interraction heading off to an English Cafe where I stop for a chat and a coffee. From here the day drags on along winding roads- no Camino de Santiago here, though desolate sections remind me of the Otira Gorge in New Zealand which I walked last year.It is a change from the urban sprawl though still potentially a dangerous experience along the bends and the partially built bridges. By evening I enter the busy resort of Culp and am immediately overwhelmed by the spirit of tourism. Each road is a nightmare to cross and after purchasing groceries I escape to the scrubland beyond the town and pitch my tent beside some bushes. Although concealed a dog barks throughout the night!
Day 4.Culp to Benidorm Region
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I felt warm and slept well despite the barking hound which I saw on leaving the scrub. I wasn´t even on his land which made me cross and I shouted at him before disappearing into the traffic flow.Straight away I find a cafe and enter for breakfast, coffee and a shave. It was a good interval and after paying my bill I left in search of Benidorm – not that I was gripped with enthusiasm or anything mildly excitable about coming here! Soon the towering flats emerge and I pass inumerable hotels with unpronouncable names! The landscape is dominated by rows of flats and on rejoining the road it seems more like a motorway which at least gave me the hard shoulder. And like a true ´man of the road´I stop to eat my lunch on a concrete plimp next to the crash barrier. Eventually I find a roadside cafe where I chat to a couple who had taken notice of my progress reiterrating that they thought it was a remarkable quest. Continuing a little further I find a newbuild village with a supermarket and with night drawing in I head into the scrub for another night of camping rough.
Day 5 Benidorm Region to Alacant
A few spots of rain troubled me little and by 7.30am I was on the road. Stopping at the first cafe I came to the English owner arrives on cue and lets me in while he cleans up after a party. He goes on to explain that he came out here to look after his dad and decided to buy a pub. He now feels that England has been ruined and turned into a ´Nanny State´´ and in any case has no desire to go back.
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Does England have a future I ponder, but thank him for his kindness and from here I kick on to Compello where I have coffee and a muffin. I am now walking the boundaries of Alicante which takes up the rest of the morning. On reaching the city they had moved the Estacion de Autobus and so I had a longer excursion trying to find that, when I eventually found it – it was closed!! I return at night and manage to buy a ticket to Santander for 48eu and once there I can rest in my favourite hotel – Hotel Alisas who have looked after me since my travels began in Europe back in 2004. Anna has booked my ferry to Plymouth and so by Thursday I could be back in England – well Cornwall at least!

Spearheading MOVEMBER at the Coppice Inn.

Spearheading MOVEMBER at the Coppice Inn.


ALISAS HOTEL, SANTANDER, Tel:+34 942 222 750.
DON´T FORGET TO SPONSOR THIS EVENT!!!!
Please go to:
http://www.justgiving.com\Robin-Moore-cancercharities

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
Catalunya – 1000km – Perpingnan to Santander (then Plymouth to Land´s End.
Basque Coast – 500km – Biarritz – Santander.
Camino de Santiago – 800km – St Jean to Santiago
Camino Portuguese – 300km – Porto to Santiago
Portugal (incl. Caminos de Fatima, Santiago and Atlantic coast) – 7000km
Med coast 1. – 1200km – Faro to Alicant
Med coast 2. – 1200km – Nice to Valencia
Med coast 3. – 200km – Valencia to Alicant

FRANCE-BELGIUM-SWITZALAND-HOLLAND
Belgium – 0700km-Ypres to Nantes
Holland – 250km – Eindoven to Ypres
France – 0700km – Nantes – Biarritz
Swiss – 0500km – Geneva – Arles

NEXT WALK
Geneva to Ypres – 1000km

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Fundraising for local charities – including latest walk from Geneva to South Coast of France

photo 1

Total amount raised from 2 Oundle pubs, Rose & Crown seen here  and the Angel Inn where Robin Moore was born.

Total amount raised from 2 Oundle pubs, Rose & Crown seen here and the Angel Inn where Robin Moore was born.

WINTER NEWSLETTER 2014

Welcome to a new year of walks, books and fundraising.
As well as focusing on local events such as the Oundle Pilgrimage and discovery walks in Cornwall this year will delve into the past with an historical walk from Switzerland to Ypres showing insight life on the western front during the First World War.
This year begins at Geneva in Switzerland where I will hope to walk to the Mediterranean coast to link up my tour of Europe in the South of France (last journey completed near the border of Italy).
Having raised a substantial amount for Prostate Cancer UK, we are hoping to support and promote Cancer Research UK and have posted a justgiving page on the website to help gain for financial help for the charity.
The walk supersedes the Australia expedition which has been postponed through lack of financial support in funding the journey. The walk was dedicated to MOVEMBER –Prostate Cancer charity and funds have already been raised for this effort.
The photos show our local pubs in Oundle presenting funds they have raised in support of Robin Moore’s efforts on behalf of the charity.
Wendy at the Angel was very keen to help out and the Rose & Crown have always backed Robin’s efforts and is best-known as HQ to the Oundle Pilgrimage Challenge which will take place this year on August 9th.
NEW WEBSITE
Paul Coles and I are currently working on a new website which will feature EBOOKS as a download facility enabling access to all my walks across the globe (28,000 miles); we will also put on some local guides and our pilgrimage booklets.
Archives blogs, maps of each walk and day-to-day diaries will be posted to give an insight into the life and times of a ‘serious man of the road’.

THE WALK
START: Geneva (Switz)
Via the following:
Charly
Chanaz
St Genex
Romans
Valence
Cruas
Pont-st-Esprit
Arles (South France Med Coast)

How to Sponsor the expedition:
http://www.justgiving.com/Robin-Moore-cancercharities
WALKING IN SPAIN
On completion of this journey it is hoped that I can return to Spain for a pilgrimage walk where I may also make a video of the many wonderful places I have visited here throughout many years of arduous trekking.
http://www.robin-moore.co.uk
‘Robin Moore’s Walking For Charity’ on Facebook.
Cancer Charities
Badger Books.

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OUNDLE PILGRIMAGE FUNDRAISING FOR LOCAL CHARITIES

THE OUNDLE PILGRIMAGE RAISING FUNDS FOR LOCAL CHARITIES

Robin Moore and Neil Barker celebrating a season of fundraising at the Rose & Crown, Oundle

Robin Moore and Neil Barker celebrating a season of fundraising at the Rose & Crown, Oundle


The Oundle Pilgrimage Project founded by Robin Moore has raised thousands of pounds for local charities. Robin seen here at The Rose & Crown, Oundle with Sue Ryder representative Neil Barker from Thorpe Hall, Peterborough; the above cheque represents the amount raised for hospice care and Heartstart in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. The pilgrimage can be walked or cycled and part of it may even be circumnavigated using the waterways of the Nene (future project). It was founded for Sue Ryder Hospice at Thorpe Hall and a weekend pilgrimage is held in honour of the charity every August Farmer’s Market Weekend.

We also encourage people to participate at any time of the year, and if they wish, help other local charities in the area. Sue Ryder supporter, Nigel Laxton from Fotheringhay was one of the founding pilgrim walkers and like Robin walks the whole route each year completing the task in just one day! Having walked with Robin on expeditions around the country he is no stranger to the difficulties of an endurance event. This year he led a group ‘The Fotheringhay Six’ from his local pub, the Falcoln around the pilgrimage route raising over £1800 for ‘HEART START’. The money paid for an important piece of equipment held at the village for the local region in case of emergency life support. ‘This is an invaluable contribution to the community and we are fiercely proud of Nigel and his team’s efforts although he hopes that such a trauma does not arise whereby the device has to be used’.

Rather than sit back and bask in the glory of their efforts, these local heroes now endeavour to improve and modify the concept of the Pilgrimage.
There is a cycle guide, family route and the main guide available at Trek-Kits where you can obtain a sponsor form, purchase a Pilgrim Passport and any equipment you may require to undertake the task. Certificates are presented to all that raise money for our local charities.
Next year we will be launching a new website at http://www.robin-moore.co.uk
This will have new features; plus all information about the pilgrimage including maps, places to stay, campsites and the churches and inns that will help make the experience a pleasurable one. We are at present working on 5 circular walk guides of around 10 miles per one to encourage people join in the fun and contribute to worthy causes in the community. You can still in any case try the walks for pleasure and enjoy our beautiful Nene- dominated landscape interspersed by historic villages defined by bold architecture; where rural life is accentuated by medieval churches with ornated facades and the idyllic charm of olde worlde inns that have been the social fabric of village life since ancient times.

To access information about the Oundle Pilgrimage and all other information about Robin Moore’s community projects and expeditions visit:
http://www.robin-moore.co.uk
Click on PILGRIMAGE for an in-depth overview about this local project.

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ROBIN MOORE’S FUNDRAISING WALK

ROBIN MOORE’S CHARITY WALK AND PRESENTATION

Presentation at the Rose & Crown

Presentation at the Rose & Crown


The cheque displayed at The Rose & Crown, Oundle represents the amount raised from Robin’s recent European Expedition in September. Funds raised from the walk were divided between hospice care and cancer research. The representative for Cancer Research UK, Annette Beeton from Burghley Park and Peterborough Ladies Committee received £550 towards equipment for the Oncology Unit, Peterborough Hospital (part of Cambridge Research Institute which is the largest in Europe).
FUNDRAISING WITH 'THE LITTLE DUCKLINGS'

FUNDRAISING WITH ‘THE LITTLE DUCKLINGS’


Before setting of to Nantes, Robin neighbour Anna Fernyhough who founded the ‘Little Ducklings Pre-School at Barnwell, held a garden party which raised £130 towards the presentation. Robin has always been supported by the Rose & Crown where patrons have been generous; we were also able to add a couple of donations made to Robin by Barmy Army supporters earlier this year when Robin walked the West Coast of New Zealand for the Cancer Society.
Fundraising for Cancer Research

Fundraising for Cancer Research


‘We did in fact raise £835 for Cornwall Hospice Care thanks to kind-hearted locals who walked part of Robin Moore’s Cornwall Pilgrimage over August Bank Holiday.’ And when the final count is added from the donation envelopes Robin delivered for the charity at the time it is hoped the amount will exceed £1000. The support from the Coppice Inn and Lanner Rugby Club in Cornwall made a tremendous difference to our fundraising this year; The Coppice supported Robin’s walk by hosting a harvest auction to help him raise the money for his effort which was donated to St Julia’s Hospice at the end of October.
To read more about these great walks (including the recent Nantes to Biarritz) log on to:
http://www.robin-moore.co.uk

Robin has been supporting Cancer Research since 1992 and has walked over 27,000 miles for local and international charities; he is the founder of both Cornwall and Oundle Pilgrimages, has written 20 books and raised around £100,000 for local causes.
Robin is presently hoping to raise enough money for a month’s walking in Australia (Victoria to Sydney) next month. He hopes to support Cancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer. For all those who want to support MOVEMBER and grow a moustache please go to the Rose & Crown to sign up for the challenge or have a go on the Angel Inn raffle; we will also be selling pens, badges and other articles for £1 per items. Please help by making a contribution.
To find out more go to ‘Robin Moore’s Walking for Charity’ on Facebook or visit:
http://www.robin-moore.co.uk

Next presentation at the Rose & Crown is for the Oundle Pilgrimage Challenge for Sue Ryder and local charities.

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FUNDRAISING FOR CORNWALL HOSPICE CARE

ROBIN MOORE’S ST JULIA’S HOSPICE PRESENTATION AT THE COPPICE INN

Fundraising for Cornwall Hospice Care

Fundraising for Cornwall Hospice Care


A cheque was handed over to St Julia’s executive Iris Broughton on Thursday night at the Coppice in Lanner. The cheque represents funds raised from Robin Moore and locals who have helped support his charity work.
An auction evening on Saturday 26th October was held at the Coppice, partly in support of Robin’s recent walk of Europe see http://www.robin-moore.co.uk
and the local rugby club who have just began their first season.
The total raised was £1100 which was shared between the hospice and Lanner Rugby Club. There were numerous lovely prizes donated for the event and the Rugby Club were fantastic in the support and energy they gave during the evening.

Earlier in the year (the previous bank holiday), Robin walked the Gwennap section of the Cornwall Pilgrimage with companions Alan Smith and Elaine Crayford who between them raised over £300. Robin also delivered a hundred donation leaflets (amounts from this not yet known – though the total for hospice care should now exceed £1000) throughout the entire length of the pilgrimage which took 5 days to complete, finishing at Launceston. Visit the above website for details about the Cornwall Pilgrimage and walking/cycle guides.

We now hope to further develop these projects and continue our fundraising for local charities at the Coppice. We have just launched MOVEMBER and invite the public to join in a bit of fun growing a moustache for the month.
Robin who has walked over 26,000 miles for charity over a 21 year period now hopes to finish a tour of Australasia having walked 6,000km of the continent.
Earlier in the year he walked Arthur’s Pass and the West Coast of New Zealand; As well as his pilgrimages which have become public trails for all to explore, he has also completed two tours of Europe. In addition to his walking guides he has published books about his travels and painted many pictures relating to his adventures.

‘All in all I am just grateful for all the help and hard work from Lisa and co at the Coppice, the Rugby Club and my friends in the Gwennap Region who have backed me throughout my time as a charity activist. Lisa has worked extremely hard on fundraising events; earlier in the Spring she organised a fundraiser for a local lady with cancer which realised over £10,000 for the cause.
Well done everybody and thank you for all your hard work and commitment.’

http://www.robin-moore.co.uk

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WALKING NANTES TO BIARRITZ FOR CHARITY

WALKING FROM NANTES TO BIARRITZ
DAY 1.
Leaving the airport I walked to the boundaries of the city to retrace the route of my previous expedition from Ypres. From here my journey commences along the country roads to La Roche-s-Yon. After receiving some directions from a local family I start the evening session ticking of the list of villages en route until dusk. Luckily I find a snack bar along the D176 route where I ordered a pizza and a can of beer for my supper. Shortly after I set up camp in a nearby wood set by a lake; gunfire keeps me awake initially where it is evident there is a local shoot; by 10pm the guns fall silent and as the voice of the night cautiously approaches I drift into slumber until morning light.
DAY 2.
Rising around 7am I dismantle my tent and enjoy the quietness of the road as a new day unfolds. Passing many small places allows the opportunity to enjoy a coffee and pick up provisions along the way. A few km beyond Lege I camp in the scrub near the roadside not far from a restaurant which is set back in the woods.
DAY 3.
Rain had drifted in over night as I quickly dismantle my tent, rejoining the road in what is now a torrential downpour. I stop for a coffee at Palluau and a wash/shave in the bathroom. Completely soaked through my equipment now weighs significantly more as I struggle to hoist my backpack onto my shoulders. The weather is so bad at La Roche-s-Yon that I can’t read the signposts and sadly I take the longer main road route by mistake. Soldiering on with a very wet and heavy pack I find a tourist office on the edge of a village called Chaille-les-Marais. Here the lady explains that there is a camp site at the village. On arrival the owner is kind enough to give me a free pitch and I make use of an early finish (around 6pm) to wash equipment and enjoy bread and cheese before retiring at 9pm.
DAY 4.
Starting dry, I pick up bread for the day and continue along the Canal d’Eglise to Sainte-Radegonde-des-Noyer where I saw otters playing in the reeds; then later I join the Canal du Clain frequented by a few local fishermen and native waterfowl. Eventually the canal route runs into a cycle track beside the D105 to Charron. Passing through Esnandes and Marsilly I reach the edge of La Rochelle where I stop at a Kentucky Restaurant for a modest (3eu) chicken dinner. Later I pass through the busy town centre lined with monuments and historical tourist attractions. The busy restaurants and cafes capture the atmosphere of an affluent tourist centre in a colourful waterside setting. After more help from the tourist officials I continue along the coast avoiding the now motorised section which runs to Rochefort-sur-Mer. Later I am joined by a local who shows me the pedestrian roads and how to avoid the motorway at the next town. As dusk approaches I camp in a field not far from the road and only 4km from Angoulins-sur-Mer where tomorrow I hope to continue my journey along the coast.
DAY 5.
Rain again hampers my efforts as I hastily decamp; it is still dark when I arrive at Angoulins though I locate the cycle route and continue along the coast. Stopping at a restaurant I enjoy a coffee and a chance to wash some clothes in the bathroom. Continuing on the coast path I cross the beach and pick up the next section of the cycle route at Yves which leads me into Rochefort. Here I rejoin the mayhem of the road as I struggle through the town and out towards a huge arch bridge which reminds me of the Dartford Bridge in London. I follow the river bank in hope of finding a pedestrian exit; eventually a come to a riverside café and a transporter bridge which provides my passage across the River Charente. On arrival my journey restarts at the village of Echillais; on leaving here, there is a quick blast of the main road as far as the next junction where I continue again to Saint-Agnant. Unable to locate a suitable place to camp I continue in the dark to Le Gua where I was forced to pitch in a nearby field in the middle of a downpour – not pleasant!
DAY 6.
Everything is completely sodden when I surface at early dawn with only a couple of hours sleep to counter the 70km – 16 hour effort of yesterday. Royan is now only 14km from here and so I progress to the town stopping for a coffee and a chance to rinse out some kit in the bathroom. Soon I am crossing the water again this time on a ferry bound for Pointe-de-grave. On landing I follow an old railway track through the forest and out along the sea front to Le Verdon-sur-Mer. After relaxing by the sea for an hour I press on along the cycle route but manage to get lost on a junction near Soulac-s-Mer incurring a 10 km penalty which sets me back some time and from here my evening session yields only a few more km. After picking up some groceries at a nearby Spar shop I find a camp site and enjoy a shower and the prospect of drying out some kit. Soaking wet equipment had bumped up the weight of my rucksack to nearly 80lbs and it is almost a week since eating a proper cooked meal. I drift into slumber – now suffering from chronic exhaustion after the physical and mental stress of the last few of days.
DAY 7.
Leaving at 7am I locate the cycle route which forms a gun-barrel straight trail through the forest enabling me to make good ground throughout the day. After stopping at Hourtin for coffee I walk non-stop to Carcans (40km for the day) then on to Lacanau where I stock up with provisions for the night and tomorrow. 18 km from Leige I set up camp in the forest by dusk enjoying my supper far away from humanity amid the anonymous call of the wild.
DAY 8.
Feeling up for another challenge – having completed over 60km yesterday I continue the momentum to Liege which I believe to be the end of phase 2. Then to my dismay I am informed that the ferry is a further 25km at Cap Ferret! This is somewhat alarming and without stopping for a café I stride on to my destination arriving in time for the 4.30pm ferry to Arachon. Once ashore, I took a dip in the sea and then press on down the coast enjoying the many suburbs until finally coming to a standstill at a camp site near Pyle-s-Mer (9.30pm). Here I barter for a pitch which the girl lets me have for 10eu and soon I enjoy a shower and a chance to catch up on some vital rest – still 150km to walk.
DAY 9.
Today shows signs of a heat wave as I toil to reach Biscarrosse along the D652. The Military Zone that occupies the coast means I can only progress inland by road to reach this point. I stop for coffee at a Mcdonalds and the waiter gives me instructions where best to rejoin the cycle route. Continuing to Parentis-en-Born I enjoy the pleasant sunlit evening and later decide to camp in a forest. As darkness falls I sit and watch the moon poking through the treetops as the woodlands transform into mysterious beauty. As a new world awakes and chorus of nature echoes through the night I drift into slumber with only thoughts of what tomorrow will bring.
DAY 10.
Rising to a promise of more hot weather as the mist begins to clear I continue along the cycle route to St Paul-en-Born where I stop for a sardine lunch by the church. The journey moves on to the busy town of Mimizan, where at a tourist office, I obtain a map of the region as far as my destination at Biarritz. Progressing through the evening I got as far as St Julien-en-Born where I pitch my tent near to the local church; it was a lovely spot and I ate my supper sat against the cemetery wall as the murmur of the road is soon replaced by the barking of deer and fox.
DAY11.
Rising to another fine day – if anything too hot for 60km ‘bashes’ I make good ground to St. Girons where I enjoy my morning coffee and a fruit loaf alongside the Sunday locals. After topping up with water I head off to Leon where shortly after I am able to join the cycle route; this should now be my route for the remainder of the journey. The heat drains my energy and I am now aware that I have a virus causing stomach cramp and extreme fatigue. I take an asprin for comfort and console myself with the knowledge that I could be finished within the next 24 hours. It is all good to Messanges but on reaching Seignose in early evening I start to lose my way – trekking along the road with water either side I hope to pick up a course to Bayonne. The cycle route sign indicates Bayonne but then disappears into the dark void I seem to be struggling through. Locals help with directions and after a wrong turn into a Gorilla Sanctuary I am immediately corrected by a couple of guys pulling up in a white van. They tell me it is not safe to camp there and suggest I try at the hotel/lodge 3km up the road. This I do and the landlady lets me camp on her lawn. By now I am totally exhausted and on entering the tent I disappear into unconsciousness almost immediately.
DAY 12.
At 4am I rise and head out in the direction of Bayonne passing through the suburbs of Ondres and Boucou. Taking a wrong turn I am now heading into Anglet and find myself walking along a busy main road. I break off at a village called St Mary and follow the pedestrian thoroughfare on to the coast road. At least now I am walking down the coast towards Biarritz. It is a long drawn out affair though the coastal scenery is rewarding as locals take their coffee on the promenade over-looking the sea front. Biarritz at last!
OVERVIEW

This journey took me to total exhaustion; scuffed shoulders through my heavy rucksack; double tennis elbow through the pressure sustained from the rucksack; swollen ankles and left leg. I have not seen a bed for a fortnight nor a proper cooked meal and as well as chronic fatigue I now have a virus.

I honestly thought that was bad enough – Yet did I know the traumas to come- a day and a half train journey back via Paris – Morlaix; getting off on the wrong stop to Roscoff and having to run 5km to the port to catch my ferry – only just in time! Another rush to jump on the train at Plymouth – then a fight at a bus stop in Redruth where a youth tried to pull out my eyes! Not the best of home-comings! A journey which at times tested my sanity and ended pretty much with insanity too – I hope my next journey is less intense than this and there were many times when I just wished there was a volunteer to endure just one of these days with me so as to understand the trauma I go through on these extreme, arduous events that I set myself to do in the name of humanity and its worthy causes. ‘Maybe’ then with the understanding and right publicity I could get a bit more sponsorship for these organisations and the money I have spent from my own pocket will at least feel worthwhile. I’m still waiting to see when that will happen…..
Any body who feels this effort is worth supporting can make a donation at Robin Moore’s online justgiving pages. Locals at Oundle can make a donation to ‘Anna Fernyhough’ ‘Little Ducklings Nursery’, 2 New Road, Oundle. Donating to Cornwall Hospice Care can be made to Sarah Newton, St Julia’s Fundraising Office, Foundry Hill, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4HW.
On the 26th October we will be holding a fundraising evening for Robin’s Walk at the Coppice Inn. All are welcome and we invite our friends to bring produce for the Harvest Auction. Please contact Lisa on: 01209 216668
MANY THANKS . WALKING FROM NANTES TO BIARRITZ
DAY 1.
Leaving the airport I walked to the boundaries of the city to retrace the route of my previous expedition from Ypres. From here my journey commences along the country roads to La Roche-s-Yon. After receiving some directions from a local family I start the evening session ticking of the list of villages en route until dusk. Luckily I find a snack bar along the D176 route where I ordered a pizza and a can of beer for my supper. Shortly after I set up camp in a nearby wood set by a lake; gunfire keeps me awake initially where it is evident there is a local shoot; by 10pm the guns fall silent and as the voice of the night cautiously approaches I drift into slumber until morning light.
DAY 2.
Rising around 7am I dismantle my tent and enjoy the quietness of the road as a new day unfolds. Passing many small places allows the opportunity to enjoy a coffee and pick up provisions along the way. A few km beyond Lege I camp in the scrub near the roadside not far from a restaurant which is set back in the woods.
DAY 3.
Rain had drifted in over night as I quickly dismantle my tent, rejoining the road in what is now a torrential downpour. I stop for a coffee at Palluau and a wash/shave in the bathroom. Completely soaked through my equipment now weighs significantly more as I struggle to hoist my backpack onto my shoulders. The weather is so bad at La Roche-s-Yon that I can’t read the signposts and sadly I take the longer main road route by mistake. Soldiering on with a very wet and heavy pack I find a tourist office on the edge of a village called Chaille-les-Marais. Here the lady explains that there is a camp site at the village. On arrival the owner is kind enough to give me a free pitch and I make use of an early finish (around 6pm) to wash equipment and enjoy bread and cheese before retiring at 9pm.
DAY 4.
Starting dry, I pick up bread for the day and continue along the Canal d’Eglise to Sainte-Radegonde-des-Noyer where I saw otters playing in the reeds; then later I join the Canal du Clain frequented by a few local fishermen and native waterfowl. Eventually the canal route runs into a cycle track beside the D105 to Charron. Passing through Esnandes and Marsilly I reach the edge of La Rochelle where I stop at a Kentucky Restaurant for a modest (3eu) chicken dinner. Later I pass through the busy town centre lined with monuments and historical tourist attractions. The busy restaurants and cafes capture the atmosphere of an affluent tourist centre in a colourful waterside setting. After more help from the tourist officials I continue along the coast avoiding the now motorised section which runs to Rochefort-sur-Mer. Later I am joined by a local who shows me the pedestrian roads and how to avoid the motorway at the next town. As dusk approaches I camp in a field not far from the road and only 4km from Angoulins-sur-Mer where tomorrow I hope to continue my journey along the coast.
DAY 5.
Rain again hampers my efforts as I hastily decamp; it is still dark when I arrive at Angoulins though I locate the cycle route and continue along the coast. Stopping at a restaurant I enjoy a coffee and a chance to wash some clothes in the bathroom. Continuing on the coast path I cross the beach and pick up the next section of the cycle route at Yves which leads me into Rochefort. Here I rejoin the mayhem of the road as I struggle through the town and out towards a huge arch bridge which reminds me of the Dartford Bridge in London. I follow the river bank in hope of finding a pedestrian exit; eventually a come to a riverside café and a transporter bridge which provides my passage across the River Charente. On arrival my journey restarts at the village of Echillais; on leaving here, there is a quick blast of the main road as far as the next junction where I continue again to Saint-Agnant. Unable to locate a suitable place to camp I continue in the dark to Le Gua where I was forced to pitch in a nearby field in the middle of a downpour – not pleasant!
DAY 6.
Everything is completely sodden when I surface at early dawn with only a couple of hours sleep to counter the 70km – 16 hour effort of yesterday. Royan is now only 14km from here and so I progress to the town stopping for a coffee and a chance to rinse out some kit in the bathroom. Soon I am crossing the water again this time on a ferry bound for Pointe-de-grave. On landing I follow an old railway track through the forest and out along the sea front to Le Verdon-sur-Mer. After relaxing by the sea for an hour I press on along the cycle route but manage to get lost on a junction near Soulac-s-Mer incurring a 10 km penalty which sets me back some time and from here my evening session yields only a few more km. After picking up some groceries at a nearby Spar shop I find a camp site and enjoy a shower and the prospect of drying out some kit. Soaking wet equipment had bumped up the weight of my rucksack to nearly 80lbs and it is almost a week since eating a proper cooked meal. I drift into slumber – now suffering from chronic exhaustion after the physical and mental stress of the last few of days.
DAY 7.
Leaving at 7am I locate the cycle route which forms a gun-barrel straight trail through the forest enabling me to make good ground throughout the day. After stopping at Hourtin for coffee I walk non-stop to Carcans (40km for the day) then on to Lacanau where I stock up with provisions for the night and tomorrow. 18 km from Leige I set up camp in the forest by dusk enjoying my supper far away from humanity amid the anonymous call of the wild.
DAY 8.
Feeling up for another challenge – having completed over 60km yesterday I continue the momentum to Liege which I believe to be the end of phase 2. Then to my dismay I am informed that the ferry is a further 25km at Cap Ferret! This is somewhat alarming and without stopping for a café I stride on to my destination arriving in time for the 4.30pm ferry to Arachon. Once ashore, I took a dip in the sea and then press on down the coast enjoying the many suburbs until finally coming to a standstill at a camp site near Pyle-s-Mer (9.30pm). Here I barter for a pitch which the girl lets me have for 10eu and soon I enjoy a shower and a chance to catch up on some vital rest – still 150km to walk.
DAY 9.
Today shows signs of a heat wave as I toil to reach Biscarrosse along the D652. The Military Zone that occupies the coast means I can only progress inland by road to reach this point. I stop for coffee at a Mcdonalds and the waiter gives me instructions where best to rejoin the cycle route. Continuing to Parentis-en-Born I enjoy the pleasant sunlit evening and later decide to camp in a forest. As darkness falls I sit and watch the moon poking through the treetops as the woodlands transform into mysterious beauty. As a new world awakes and chorus of nature echoes through the night I drift into slumber with only thoughts of what tomorrow will bring.
DAY 10.
Rising to a promise of more hot weather as the mist begins to clear I continue along the cycle route to St Paul-en-Born where I stop for a sardine lunch by the church. The journey moves on to the busy town of Mimizan, where at a tourist office, I obtain a map of the region as far as my destination at Biarritz. Progressing through the evening I got as far as St Julien-en-Born where I pitch my tent near to the local church; it was a lovely spot and I ate my supper sat against the cemetery wall as the murmur of the road is soon replaced by the barking of deer and fox.
DAY11.
Rising to another fine day – if anything too hot for 60km ‘bashes’ I make good ground to St. Girons where I enjoy my morning coffee and a fruit loaf alongside the Sunday locals. After topping up with water I head off to Leon where shortly after I am able to join the cycle route; this should now be my route for the remainder of the journey. The heat drains my energy and I am now aware that I have a virus causing stomach cramp and extreme fatigue. I take an asprin for comfort and console myself with the knowledge that I could be finished within the next 24 hours. It is all good to Messanges but on reaching Seignose in early evening I start to lose my way – trekking along the road with water either side I hope to pick up a course to Bayonne. The cycle route sign indicates Bayonne but then disappears into the dark void I seem to be struggling through. Locals help with directions and after a wrong turn into a Gorilla Sanctuary I am immediately corrected by a couple of guys pulling up in a white van. They tell me it is not safe to camp there and suggest I try at the hotel/lodge 3km up the road. This I do and the landlady lets me camp on her lawn. By now I am totally exhausted and on entering the tent I disappear into unconsciousness almost immediately.
DAY 12.
At 4am I rise and head out in the direction of Bayonne passing through the suburbs of Ondres and Boucou. Taking a wrong turn I am now heading into Anglet and find myself walking along a busy main road. I break off at a village called St Mary and follow the pedestrian thoroughfare on to the coast road. At least now I am walking down the coast towards Biarritz. It is a long drawn out affair though the coastal scenery is rewarding as locals take their coffee on the promenade over-looking the sea front. Biarritz at last!
OVERVIEW

This journey took me to total exhaustion; scuffed shoulders through my heavy rucksack; double tennis elbow through the pressure sustained from the rucksack; swollen ankles and left leg. I have not seen a bed for a fortnight nor a proper cooked meal and as well as chronic fatigue I now have a virus.

I honestly thought that was bad enough – Yet did I know the traumas to come- a day and a half train journey back via Paris – Morlaix; getting off on the wrong stop to Roscoff and having to run 5km to the port to catch my ferry – only just in time! Another rush to jump on the train at Plymouth – then a fight at a bus stop in Redruth where a youth tried to pull out my eyes! Not the best of home-comings! A journey which at times tested my sanity and ended pretty much with insanity too – I hope my next journey is less intense than this and there were many times when I just wished there was a volunteer to endure just one of these days with me so as to understand the trauma I go through on these extreme, arduous events that I set myself to do in the name of humanity and its worthy causes. ‘Maybe’ then with the understanding and right publicity I could get a bit more sponsorship for these organisations and the money I have spent from my own pocket will at least feel worthwhile. I’m still waiting to see when that will happen…..
Any body who feels this effort is worth supporting can make a donation at Robin Moore’s online justgiving pages. Locals at Oundle can make a donation to ‘Anna Fernyhough’ ‘Little Ducklings Nursery’, 2 New Road, Oundle. Donating to Cornwall Hospice Care can be made to Sarah Newton, St Julia’s Fundraising Office, Foundry Hill, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4HW.
On the 26th October we will be holding a fundraising evening for Robin’s Walk at the Coppice Inn. All are welcome and we invite our friends to bring produce for the Harvest Auction. Please contact Lisa on: 01209 216668
MANY THANKS WALKING FROM NANTES TO BIARRITZ
DAY 1.
Leaving the airport I walked to the boundaries of the city to retrace the route of my previous expedition from Ypres. From here my journey commences along the country roads to La Roche-s-Yon. After receiving some directions from a local family I start the evening session ticking of the list of villages en route until dusk. Luckily I find a snack bar along the D176 route where I ordered a pizza and a can of beer for my supper. Shortly after I set up camp in a nearby wood set by a lake; gunfire keeps me awake initially where it is evident there is a local shoot; by 10pm the guns fall silent and as the voice of the night cautiously approaches I drift into slumber until morning light.
DAY 2.
Rising around 7am I dismantle my tent and enjoy the quietness of the road as a new day unfolds. Passing many small places allows the opportunity to enjoy a coffee and pick up provisions along the way. A few km beyond Lege I camp in the scrub near the roadside not far from a restaurant which is set back in the woods.
DAY 3.
Rain had drifted in over night as I quickly dismantle my tent, rejoining the road in what is now a torrential downpour. I stop for a coffee at Palluau and a wash/shave in the bathroom. Completely soaked through my equipment now weighs significantly more as I struggle to hoist my backpack onto my shoulders. The weather is so bad at La Roche-s-Yon that I can’t read the signposts and sadly I take the longer main road route by mistake. Soldiering on with a very wet and heavy pack I find a tourist office on the edge of a village called Chaille-les-Marais. Here the lady explains that there is a camp site at the village. On arrival the owner is kind enough to give me a free pitch and I make use of an early finish (around 6pm) to wash equipment and enjoy bread and cheese before retiring at 9pm.
DAY 4.
Starting dry, I pick up bread for the day and continue along the Canal d’Eglise to Sainte-Radegonde-des-Noyer where I saw otters playing in the reeds; then later I join the Canal du Clain frequented by a few local fishermen and native waterfowl. Eventually the canal route runs into a cycle track beside the D105 to Charron. Passing through Esnandes and Marsilly I reach the edge of La Rochelle where I stop at a Kentucky Restaurant for a modest (3eu) chicken dinner. Later I pass through the busy town centre lined with monuments and historical tourist attractions. The busy restaurants and cafes capture the atmosphere of an affluent tourist centre in a colourful waterside setting. After more help from the tourist officials I continue along the coast avoiding the now motorised section which runs to Rochefort-sur-Mer. Later I am joined by a local who shows me the pedestrian roads and how to avoid the motorway at the next town. As dusk approaches I camp in a field not far from the road and only 4km from Angoulins-sur-Mer where tomorrow I hope to continue my journey along the coast.
DAY 5.
Rain again hampers my efforts as I hastily decamp; it is still dark when I arrive at Angoulins though I locate the cycle route and continue along the coast. Stopping at a restaurant I enjoy a coffee and a chance to wash some clothes in the bathroom. Continuing on the coast path I cross the beach and pick up the next section of the cycle route at Yves which leads me into Rochefort. Here I rejoin the mayhem of the road as I struggle through the town and out towards a huge arch bridge which reminds me of the Dartford Bridge in London. I follow the river bank in hope of finding a pedestrian exit; eventually a come to a riverside café and a transporter bridge which provides my passage across the River Charente. On arrival my journey restarts at the village of Echillais; on leaving here, there is a quick blast of the main road as far as the next junction where I continue again to Saint-Agnant. Unable to locate a suitable place to camp I continue in the dark to Le Gua where I was forced to pitch in a nearby field in the middle of a downpour – not pleasant!
DAY 6.
Everything is completely sodden when I surface at early dawn with only a couple of hours sleep to counter the 70km – 16 hour effort of yesterday. Royan is now only 14km from here and so I progress to the town stopping for a coffee and a chance to rinse out some kit in the bathroom. Soon I am crossing the water again this time on a ferry bound for Pointe-de-grave. On landing I follow an old railway track through the forest and out along the sea front to Le Verdon-sur-Mer. After relaxing by the sea for an hour I press on along the cycle route but manage to get lost on a junction near Soulac-s-Mer incurring a 10 km penalty which sets me back some time and from here my evening session yields only a few more km. After picking up some groceries at a nearby Spar shop I find a camp site and enjoy a shower and the prospect of drying out some kit. Soaking wet equipment had bumped up the weight of my rucksack to nearly 80lbs and it is almost a week since eating a proper cooked meal. I drift into slumber – now suffering from chronic exhaustion after the physical and mental stress of the last few of days.
DAY 7.
Leaving at 7am I locate the cycle route which forms a gun-barrel straight trail through the forest enabling me to make good ground throughout the day. After stopping at Hourtin for coffee I walk non-stop to Carcans (40km for the day) then on to Lacanau where I stock up with provisions for the night and tomorrow. 18 km from Leige I set up camp in the forest by dusk enjoying my supper far away from humanity amid the anonymous call of the wild.
DAY 8.
Feeling up for another challenge – having completed over 60km yesterday I continue the momentum to Liege which I believe to be the end of phase 2. Then to my dismay I am informed that the ferry is a further 25km at Cap Ferret! This is somewhat alarming and without stopping for a café I stride on to my destination arriving in time for the 4.30pm ferry to Arachon. Once ashore, I took a dip in the sea and then press on down the coast enjoying the many suburbs until finally coming to a standstill at a camp site near Pyle-s-Mer (9.30pm). Here I barter for a pitch which the girl lets me have for 10eu and soon I enjoy a shower and a chance to catch up on some vital rest – still 150km to walk.
DAY 9.
Today shows signs of a heat wave as I toil to reach Biscarrosse along the D652. The Military Zone that occupies the coast means I can only progress inland by road to reach this point. I stop for coffee at a Mcdonalds and the waiter gives me instructions where best to rejoin the cycle route. Continuing to Parentis-en-Born I enjoy the pleasant sunlit evening and later decide to camp in a forest. As darkness falls I sit and watch the moon poking through the treetops as the woodlands transform into mysterious beauty. As a new world awakes and chorus of nature echoes through the night I drift into slumber with only thoughts of what tomorrow will bring.
DAY 10.
Rising to a promise of more hot weather as the mist begins to clear I continue along the cycle route to St Paul-en-Born where I stop for a sardine lunch by the church. The journey moves on to the busy town of Mimizan, where at a tourist office, I obtain a map of the region as far as my destination at Biarritz. Progressing through the evening I got as far as St Julien-en-Born where I pitch my tent near to the local church; it was a lovely spot and I ate my supper sat against the cemetery wall as the murmur of the road is soon replaced by the barking of deer and fox.
DAY11.
Rising to another fine day – if anything too hot for 60km ‘bashes’ I make good ground to St. Girons where I enjoy my morning coffee and a fruit loaf alongside the Sunday locals. After topping up with water I head off to Leon where shortly after I am able to join the cycle route; this should now be my route for the remainder of the journey. The heat drains my energy and I am now aware that I have a virus causing stomach cramp and extreme fatigue. I take an asprin for comfort and console myself with the knowledge that I could be finished within the next 24 hours. It is all good to Messanges but on reaching Seignose in early evening I start to lose my way – trekking along the road with water either side I hope to pick up a course to Bayonne. The cycle route sign indicates Bayonne but then disappears into the dark void I seem to be struggling through. Locals help with directions and after a wrong turn into a Gorilla Sanctuary I am immediately corrected by a couple of guys pulling up in a white van. They tell me it is not safe to camp there and suggest I try at the hotel/lodge 3km up the road. This I do and the landlady lets me camp on her lawn. By now I am totally exhausted and on entering the tent I disappear into unconsciousness almost immediately.
DAY 12.
At 4am I rise and head out in the direction of Bayonne passing through the suburbs of Ondres and Boucou. Taking a wrong turn I am now heading into Anglet and find myself walking along a busy main road. I break off at a village called St Mary and follow the pedestrian thoroughfare on to the coast road. At least now I am walking down the coast towards Biarritz. It is a long drawn out affair though the coastal scenery is rewarding as locals take their coffee on the promenade over-looking the sea front. Biarritz at last!
OVERVIEW

This journey took me to total exhaustion; scuffed shoulders through my heavy rucksack; double tennis elbow through the pressure sustained from the rucksack; swollen ankles and left leg. I have not seen a bed for a fortnight nor a proper cooked meal and as well as chronic fatigue I now have a virus.

I honestly thought that was bad enough – Yet did I know the traumas to come- a day and a half train journey back via Paris – Morlaix; getting off on the wrong stop to Roscoff and having to run 5km to the port to catch my ferry – only just in time! Another rush to jump on the train at Plymouth – then a fight at a bus stop in Redruth where a youth tried to pull out my eyes! Not the best of home-comings! A journey which at times tested my sanity and ended pretty much with insanity too – I hope my next journey is less intense than this and there were many times when I just wished there was a volunteer to endure just one of these days with me so as to understand the trauma I go through on these extreme, arduous events that I set myself to do in the name of humanity and its worthy causes. ‘Maybe’ then with the understanding and right publicity I could get a bit more sponsorship for these organisations and the money I have spent from my own pocket will at least feel worthwhile. I’m still waiting to see when that will happen…..
Any body who feels this effort is worth supporting can make a donation at Robin Moore’s online justgiving pages. Locals at Oundle can make a donation to ‘Anna Fernyhough’ ‘Little Ducklings Nursery’, 2 New Road, Oundle. Donating to Cornwall Hospice Care can be made to Sarah Newton, St Julia’s Fundraising Office, Foundry Hill, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4HW.
On the 26th October we will be holding a fundraising evening for Robin’s Walk at the Coppice Inn. All are welcome and we invite our friends to bring produce for the Harvest Auction. Please contact Lisa on: 01209 216668
MANY THANKS .

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PILGRIMAGE TO YPRES – April 2013

WALKING IN HOLLAND AND BELGIUM (Finishing at Ypres)
DAY 1. EINDOVER TO POSTEL – 26km

Heading off along the N123 in Holland

Heading off along the N123 in Holland

Revisiting Europe at War in 1914, I endeavoured to walk from Eindover in Holland to Ypres in Belgium as my next expedition around the continent.
Starting at the Airport on arrival at 9am, I walked along the cycle routes away from the city via Veldhoven. I got confused with the town layout at times and in fact walked in the opposite direction until a lady set me back on course. Fortunately the locals were kind enough to provide good directions to the N123 my chosen route for the first 2 days of my walk. Having walked through a park I was able to join the road at Steensel and after crossing a road bridge I was able to keep to the cycle route as far as Eersel. Later I followed a forest route frequented by joggers and some cyclists and after a few miles I crossed the border into Belgium.
To celebrate I went for a coffee at a restaurant close by; here I spoke to a couple of German travellers who were cycling in the area. There were many routes crossing the forest here and the whole region contained cycle paths on each side of the road.

The Abbey Shop at Postel

The Abbey Shop at Postel

Making good progress I arrived at Postel around 5pm and after enquiring at an inn about camping the landlord suggested I went to the Abbey to see if Father Nicolas could help. This I did and the father was very kind offering a bed and meals for my stay here at Postel. There was a group of Nuns here from Gwent on a Bible Study for 4 days and later we enjoyed supper together. The duty father spoke good English as did one of the visiting men also staying at the Abbey. They were all very kind and keen to hear of my travels in Europe particularly those to Santiago which I completed in 2006/07. It was a lovely peaceful place with the tranquillity broken harmoniouslyy by the melodic chimes of the church bells. There were deer grazing in the grounds and a shop nearby which sold produce made here at the abbey. Before retiring I returned to the inn to thank the landlord for his good advice and help. It was one of the best places I have ever stayed at and I was grateful for a good night’s rest having forfeited sleep yesterday to obtain an early flight this morning.

DAY 2. POSTEL TO NOORDERWIK – 42km

SAM_1414
Having enjoyed a good breakfast to get me on my way I said my farewells to the nuns and thank you to the Father before passing through the grounds one last time as I strode off in search of the N123 and my next day’s walk in Belgium. What an adventure! Soon I was crossing a canal at the next town called Retie and as the morning evolved the sun brought temperatures of 22 degrees. I stopped for coffee at Kastererlee and despite a blister made good progress from here to the larger province of Herentals. This was a complicated section and after receiving instructions from a young group at a nearby garage, I continued along the cycle path which followed the main roads where traffic was bound for Antwerp and Lier. I could have followed the river bank to Lier but in the end opted for a village route via Morkoven. Arriving at the next village around 6pm, I decided to make use of the local campsite as there were not too many facilities along the way. I was told that camping is forbidden here in Belgium which sounds a bit stronger than ‘no tents please!’ Any way after paying the owner 9euros I had secured a night under the stars and once set up I returned to the centre for a meal and a drink at the local pub where the lovely English-speaking maid told of her desire to travel to New Zealand. On this subject I was highly qualified to give her a few tips and after an interesting hour I retired to a much-earned rest.

DAY 3. NOORDERWIK TO MERCHTEM – 58km

SAM_1417
Starting early, I continued my quest which would hopefully cover about 60km as far as the town of Merchtem. The first part of the day took in the smaller villages including Heist-op-den-Berg and later I joined the N15 where I negotiated Putte and later the busy large town of Mechelen. Wandering through the pedestrian centre I was able to admire the beautiful citadel and religious buildings and stopping at a café I was able to enjoy a conversation with a local lady who also advised on the best route out of town. It was actually very straight forward and on continuing along the main street to the railway crossing brought a natural exit from the place. After passing over a bridge I stopped for some bread and cheese by the river at Hornbeek where a few cyclists sped past following the path beside the bank. It was nearing teatime and I noticed a greater surge of traffic as I continued my walk through the villages of Lorderzeel and Steenhuffel; later a young lad explained where I could buy some food. By 9pm I had cleared the town of Merchtem and making my last call at a local shop where I was able to buy my supper. The girl was Asian and spoke excellent English explaining she had a sister from Birmingham who she visits once a year. She also gave me some bread and told where it would be safe to camp without intrusion.
Just beyond the railway I located a paddock and the rough ground where she suggested I camped; it was great and even my neighbours – a couple of horses added their voice of approval!

DAY 4. MERCHTEM TO WATEGEM – 62km

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Rising early it was a touch misty as I left the railway behind and continued my journey along the N211 to Aalst. It was raining at this stage and I was a bit confused as to the junction to take for the N46 which was my route to Oudenaarde. Fortunately I was able to obtain directions at a café and continued my walk as far as Burst where I sat and enjoyed a yogurt and banana. This was destined to be another long enduring affair that would take me beyond dusk once more and so I did not hang around long. Most of the places from here were substantial and so I was able to enjoy a coffee along the way as I passed through Oombergen, Hundelgem; finally arriving at Oudenaarde around 6pm. It was quite a laboured affair passing through the town and once more having to locate the appropriate exit route. It was pleasant enough walking to Wortegem where roadworks at least stemmed the flow of traffic. Dusk was approaching as I trekked through the farmland broken by tiny communities that flickered like candles in the night. On nearing a forest in pitch black I looked for an opening where I could find a place to camp and by 9.30pm I found a suitable spot at the end of a riding. I could see a house in the distance near to what appeared to be an equestrian centre; at this moment in time all I needed was a few hours rest. Boy that was a tough day!

DAY 5. WATEGEM TO YPRES – 44km

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Starting at 5am I rolled up a very wet tent and took to the road immediately. I negotiated a tricky section to the N43 but once on course I continued into Kortrijk where the town was still in the process of waking up on this sunny Saturday morning. At least I managed to get a coffee and from here had another tricky section to the outskirts of town where I followed the river path to Werelgem; from here the N8 saw me to Menen and Ypres Street which brought about the last act of this event.

SAM_1425 As I walked the final outposts (last 20km) of the journey remnants of the Great War began to dominate the countryside and as Ypres came into view so did the grave stones of the men who fell protecting her nearly 100 years ago. There was a museum built  by a trench on my right containing artefacts from the front line (probably worth millions); opposite lie the unknown graves of warriors who fought there. Further on to the left is Hill 62 where the Canadians fought a do or die battle only metres from the town. Finally my pilgrimage reaches its conclusion at the Menin Gate where I attended the Last Post. Later that evening I was joined by an Australian Vietnam War Vet called Andy and a few tourists from his home land also visiting the battlefields. One guy called Mark had been taken to a nearby farm by his tour guide and introduced to the land owner whose grandfather had fought alongside his own in one of those significant battles.

SAM_1427Part of the trench where they died was still intact serving as a poignant reminder of their sacrifice and yet more importantly this final resting place now evokes a sense of pride which two families can at last share. Mark will at least go home with the satisfaction that he had retraced his grandfather’s footsteps to his last moments in battle. It was just one of many fought in this region over a 4-year period and the thousands of names of unfound soldiers at the Menin Gate make it the most sacred place on Earth to a British soldier.

SAM_1430It was a special evening and after saying farewell we promised to return for the anniversary parade of 2014. Shortly after I retired to my tent for one last night under canvas before travelling across France to the ferry port of Roscoff and ultimately, on Monday, the journey home to Cornwall.

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