AUTUMN NEWSLETTER 2015
WALKING EUROPE AND FUNDRAISING
The Cornish Pilgrimage – raising awareness for Cornwall Hospice Care
This event was originally founded as a discovery trail of Cornwall to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike though I wanted it to be associated with the local charity which I have supported since the Millennium. This year’s pilgrimage took place over August/September and there is a collection jar at the Coppice Lanner for locals to support my walk. I have been building a support network along the way from Morwenstow to Land’s End so we hope for bigger things to come from this in the future. Meanwhile the Coppice wish to give me support in fundraising and we hope to have a Harvest Auction there as part of my fundraising for the charity. For more about Cornwall Hospice Care visit: http://www.cornishpilgrimage.org.uk
Walking for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall
This year The oundle Pilgrimage took place on 9th/10th August and we will be holding a fundraising presentation evening at The Angel Inn, Oundle at the end of the month and will launch the MOVEMBER campaign at the same time. Please support my walk by donating to the Sue Ryder Jars at all the regions inns and local businesses associated with the Oundle Pilgrimage. For more information about the Oundle Pilgrimage visit: oundlepilgrimage.org.uk
Walking For Prostate Cancer
The Angel Inn collect money from my walks and have a jar in the pub please make a donation when you are next there; The Rose and Crown at Islip support all my walks and have Cancer Research and Prostate Cancer jars also. I have put some serious hard work into the last week which was at times life threatening – so please help all of these worthy causes where possible!
Please read about the expedition below:
Walk 2015 – Arnhem to Luxembourgh starting- Tuesday 22nd September 2015
Day 1 Arnhem Nijmegen – 20km
After a sleepless night at the airport I arrive at Eindovhen, catch a bus to the train station and manage to get the two connections I need for Arnhem. Then walking away from the station I find a cenotaph which commerorates that great battle of September 17th 1944 – ‘The Bridge to Freedom’. After recording my visit I cross a bridge to the Arnhem War Centre where I chat to the tour guide who is a fantastic host, making me a coffee and discussing my present journey through war-torn Europe which had been decimated by two horrific World Wars. On leaving the centre I continue across the bridge and follow a cycle route over an 18-km course to Nijmegen. As the route winds its way in and out of the course of the motorway cyclists becomes the main hazard; they fly past in all forms; motorcyclists without helmets. canoe-shaped and plain old-fashioned with baskets. As I encounter the siege of cyclists bad weather too became an issue, After stopping for fruit at a local grocer, I cape up for a heavy bout of rain and make my way towards the city of Nijmegen. Crossing a 2 km bridge the trail overlooks the city railway network and a couple of extensive barges plying the waterway below. Later stopping at a cafe I meet a guy who runs a cleaning business called DE UITBLINKER which specialises in window cleaning. After enquiring about a campsite he offers to put me up thus sparing me the ordeal of pitching a tent on the outskirts of town and later we go into town to clean some windows!
Day 2 – Nijmegen to Verden – 65km
After a good night’s rest and great hospitality from my kind host who spoke excellent English I am off to a flyer at 7am! The morning is dull and damp but I make the most of a gun barrel straight cycle trail as fas as Gennep. Here I am apprehended by “InterPlod” who are not keen on me walking their highway. It is all very amicable and once they direct me onto a cycle route beyond the nearby embankment we shake hands and I continue to Heijen where I purchase my first coffee of the day. The sun is now shining as I set off on my quest to reach Venlo which lies another 40km from here and yet I have walked already 25km this morning!
Another 10 km encounters the communities of Afferden, Bergen where I purchase a salad and bottle of water for lunch and near Well I have anther coffee around 3pm.
Drifting on through many small communities the day passes by as I cover nearly 60km and as dusk approaches bringing rain I camp in a woodland by the road – 5km short of Venlo.
Day 3 Verden to Heinsberg (Germany) 55km
Amazingly I wake to a dry morning and tent; with all these positive elements to spur me on I make ground to Venlo where I enjoy a good breakfast at Prins Hendrik Cafe; from here I try to locate the Tourist Office for assistance with my route. It is a vibrant town and the main centre is presently undergoing a bit of TLC. Continuing along the cycle route I manage to find my way out of the town and the sign posts now register Roemond which lies 23 km from here. The day passes quickly though for most of it I am under siege from the constant flow of cyclists along this flat open countryside. People are kind and helpful and the sublime architecture of the older places break up the journey and help to relax my mind. My walk to Roemond went quickly having enjoyed Telegen and all the riverside views as and when they appear. Away from the water I reach Pumerholt where I stop for coffee and a rest from the back-breaking pack which has dug its way into my shoulder blades. Leaving after 6pm I encounter a shower and the overcast condition bring about an early dusk. As I march against clock with darkness iminent I find myself approaching Heinsberg and with it comes my first border crossing which sees me on German soil; feeling tired I check into the first hotel I can lay my hands on and call it a day!!
Day 4 Heinsberg (Germany) to Nr Eupen 53km
It’s a brighter day as I prepare to set off along the B221 for Aachen near the border of Belgium; this I find on the outskirts of the city. Soon I am walking the trail and for once I am not nipple-high in Dutch cyclists! The morning unfolds nicely amid windmills and sunshine reaching Geilenkrichen around 11am. After coffee I head off in blissful isolation taking in many villages and towns where I find it difficult to link up with the correct route out of each place. At last Aachen is within my grasp – 10km and on this find I treat myself to a MacDonald’s Happy meal before heading off to visit the last big town in Germany then a crossing into Belgium.
The trek through the city lingers on and I have to get help from a young Asian lad who guides me to the Eupen Road. After some interesting side roads and city bustle I manage to leave Aarcen behind and head out towards the Belgium Border. By dusk I am entering a new Frontier and walk to the next town where I purchase groceries; a few km from here I set up camp in a field by the road.
Day 5 Eupen Region to St Vith – 56km
After a damp mirky start I reach the town of Eupen and locate the route to St Vith. There are no cycle routes today and for most part I walk a steep incline as the road takes in forest landscape associated with the national park Hautes Feignes. The region harbours no communities and I do not get any refreshment until reaching the restaurant at Baroque Michel – a lonesome landmark that stands out on this busy highway. After coffee and water I leave in search of a better route to St Vith via Robertville where along the way I see many other walkers at at the local tourist office it transpires that this is the highest point in Belgium – much loved by walkers, cyclists and all that frequent this beautiful area that retains a distinct German influence. On descent the temperature increases and I remove some layers and it is heart-warming too to see many restaurants and along the way. On reaching the beautiful lakes of Robertville I am still 23km from St Vith plus some extra to reach the Luxembourgh Border. After a coffee at the Aubergue de Lac I continue towards the town of Waimes.
At Waimes I locate the cycle route to St Vith which runs for 17km with no places en route though I saw a group enjoying a party midway through the journey. The scenery is amazing viaducts spanning tiny communities fed by the N676 and green pastures dominated by woodlands. The journey drags on into the darkness and on reaching St Vith I am greeted by noisy engines at a rally drive which the town is hosting. No chance of staying here and after grabbing some provisions I leave on the Luxembourg road and camp up near a wood where I am kept company by a braying deer!
Day 5 St Vith to Hosingen Region – 47km
Setting off in the early morning mist I am fortunate to find a hotel open to obtain a breakfast and coffee. The road is a harsh master and the journey is one of toil against constant traffic including Sunday joyriders. The day lingers and 20 km on I finally cross the border in to Luxembourg where I enter the town of Whimperaarct and promptly go for coffee at a nearby super store. After refreshment, wash and change, I am on my way again using the E421 as my route into the city.
My feet are very stiff now and my incapacity to walk properly has caused my left knee some trouble so I strap it up for the remainder of the day. The scenery is a blend of forest and farmland broken by high power windmills which are a popular source of energy. By teatime I stop for a coffee at a shopping mall and with light still good on this sunny day I head off with my quest to walk until dusk. It remains light until after 8pm by which time I can barely walk any further and after purchasing groceries at a garage I set up camp in a wood nearby.
Hosingen Region to Luxembourg – 70km
Traffic continues through the night making me uneasy about the journey ahead. Rising at 6am I take to the road which at first is pleasant enough. I use the tracks beside the highway as my passage occasionally losing my way but always ending up back at the highway. At Ettelbruck I visit a WW2 Site and take photos before heading off in search of the cycle route. I pass through tunnels, busy sections of main road but on joining the cycle route I find peace and tranquility beside the railway line. Reaching Luxembourg around 6pm I still have 10 plus km to reach the main railway station in the city centre-tough hike! I get there at 8pm and manage to book my journey home via Paris starting at 5.42 am the next day. Looking back on my achievement I have walked over 330 km in just over 6 days starting and finishing at a railway station. Like Michael Portillo I have a passion for railways but am not sure he would stretch his legs quite as far as I have to visit one – or even two!
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