Very windy and rainy on the North Downs Way


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March 8th 2008
Published: March 10th 2008
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Kent oast house. Cobham, KentKent oast house. Cobham, KentKent oast house. Cobham, Kent

Kent is famous for its oast houses. They are everywhere. In the 15th century hops began to be grown in Kent. Kent had the ideal soil for growing hops, and plenty of wood for the charcoal used in the oast houses to dry the hops.
Only two days of Lav's recovery to go! We can hardly believe that six weeks have passed since her operation. In order to mark the end of her recovery period, we decided to venture onto the North Downs Way. The North Downs Way is 125 miles in length (the South Downs Way is 99 miles). The North Downs Way starts in Farnham, Surrey and ends in Dover, Kent. Today's walk took us to the areas around Thurnham and Hollingbourne in Kent. We were excited by the description of the walk - 'this route offers a fine physical challenge as well as the opportunity of enjoying one of the best sections of the North Downs Way, with the path constantly dipping and climbing. The views from the top of the ridge must be amongst the finest to be had from the North Downs Way.' Well that was enough to entice us to take on this 'fine physical challenge'.

The book was certainly right about the ups and downs. Who needs a gym when you have the steep hills on the North Downs Way to tackle! It most certainly was a challenge, particularly in the almost 'gale force winds' and driving rain at times. We definitely must have burnt off zillions of calories (over which Lav has no complaints). It was particularly wet, windy and cold on top of the North Downs Way - however, we agreed that it was very good preparation for the bleak weather that can be encountered on the Pennine Way. The views were somewhat misty, but we could still appreciate the beautiful scenery. It was interesting to come across the ruins of an old Norman castle - Thurnham Castle; we had never even heard of it before. Given that it was so wet and windy, we didn't take many photos, but we can truly say it was a fantastic walk! We ended the walk in a warm and very cosy pub, which served delicious food.

With only 7 weeks to go, we have discussed increasing our fitness regime for the Pennine Way. Now that Lavinia has physically recovered from her operation we will be attempting to do least three sessions in the gym a week, on top of our training hikes at the weekend. Lav is also going to start attending a class called 'Ballet Works' - it combines elements of ballet, pilates and body conditioning.
Goat blocks LavGoat blocks LavGoat blocks Lav

Trying to leave the car park to start our walk, Lavinia was headbutted by this goat!
She always wanted to be a ballerina as a girl, so now is her big chance to twirl and do pirouettes! However, before all of Lav's dainty 'pirouettes', we will have the absolute delight of training in the stunning mountains in the Lake District and on the Isle of Skye. We love the Lake District so much, we cannot wait to go back. An update on our hiking adventures in the Lakes and Skye will follow soon...

Thank you so much again for all of your very kind donations to the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust (www.ectopic.org.uk). Our Pennine Way hike - 'The Long Way Up' starts on Sunday 27 April in Edale, Derbyshire.


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Where has she gone? Cobham, KentWhere has she gone? Cobham, Kent
Where has she gone? Cobham, Kent

Goat checks to see if Lav is hiding under the car. Being a seemingly hungry goat, it started nibbling at the paintwork on the bonnet. Not sure the owner of the car will be too impressed!
The famous Pilgrims' Way. North Downs WayThe famous Pilgrims' Way. North Downs Way
The famous Pilgrims' Way. North Downs Way

Pilgrims would have followed the legendary Pilgrims' Way from Canterbury to Winchester to pray for St Swithun who was buried at the cathedral. The route was then used in reverse as pilgrims journeyed from Winchester to Canterbury Cathedral to pray at the shrine of Thomas Becket.
Wild Boar in Kent? Wild Boar in Kent?
Wild Boar in Kent?

This farmer is obviously trying to keep walkers and dogs from trampling his crops. Walkers are usually warned to 'beware of the bull' - so 'danger wild boar' is very novel. We found the sign quite amusing.
SatLav in the hot seat again! North Downs Way, KentSatLav in the hot seat again! North Downs Way, Kent
SatLav in the hot seat again! North Downs Way, Kent

Lav takes charge of the map reading.


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