Pumpkins, Posties and a Pennine Way (or two)

Route update
It took longer than expected but I finally settled on a route from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The South West Coast Path and Exmoor were in my plans from day 1 but I’ve been waffling on the section between Cheddar and Hebden Bridge for months. Fortunately deciding on a start date (April 4) and end date (July 1) prompted me to make some decisions. I’ll continue to work on a few alternatives should I decide to change my mind on the fly. I will update my Route page shortly but in brief my route will include a short section of the Cotswold Way, follow the Severn from Gloucester to Bridgnorth, head east to Penkridge and then follow the Pennine Bridleway for a handful of days before joining the Pennine Way.

Post Restante
I encountered a logistical setback this week when I discovered the information the Royal Mail emailed to me on their Poste Restante service was incomplete and somewhat misleading. I had interpreted the last sentence in this paragraph to mean that they would hold the mail for up to three months:

If you’re travelling in the UK, you can collect mail addressed to you at
any Post Office free of charge. The person sending you mail simply needs to
address it as POSTE RESTANTE mail. You can only use the Poste Restante
service for up to three months in any one UK town.

I decided to have another look on their website and found a page which I didn’t find last time that indicated they only hold mail for two weeks before returning it to the sender. It turns out the 3 months refers to the maximum time you can have mail forwarded to you in any one location. This means my plan of posting four parcels (containing maps) from London to Post Offices along my route is in tatters. At this point I can see three options:

    1. Find someone to mail the parcels for me once I’m within 2 weeks of a destination
    2. Find businesses or individuals along my route that will hold a parcel for me until I get there
    3. Carry 5kg. worth of paper on my back (not really an option IMHO)

Fortunately I have 5 months left to sort this out and I’ve already had one generous blog reader offer up option #2.

The Pumpkin Way
I completed an 18+ mile walk two weeks ago and plan a similar outing next weekend. My first pair of Ecco’s now have 100+ miles on them so they will go back in their box until I leave next March. I picked up a new pair and will begin breaking them in today with a short walk along the waterfront.

My 18-mile walk took place on a spectacular autumn day, I really have been ridiculously lucky when it comes to weather. That said the rains have now returned and I fully expect to test out the gaiters and Mountain Hardwear jacket next Saturday. But for the moment I can only remember the bright sunshine and crisp air encountered on October 10.

The last piece of the urban maze fell into place and I now have a great 4-mile route from my home to the edge of the city. It’s almost entirely along quiet, leafy, residential streets and was very enjoyable indeed. It included a visit to Playfair Park, a very nice green space that I had never set foot in before.

My route through the countryside was similar to previous outings although I continued on for a couple of miles before looping back along a quiet road affording spectacular views over farmland and the straits. I shot some video but it didn’t do the scenery justice so instead I’ve included a clip on one of the many pumpkin patches I encountered along the way.

This year’s long dry summer produced a bumper pumpkin crop and so we are inundated with pumpkin muffins, scones, tarts, pies, cheesecake and bread. This time next week tens of thousands of pumpkins will be transformed into Jack O’ Lanterns, grinning from every porch, window and doorway in anticipation of the hordes of candy-seeking ghouls and goblins. Best ensure I’ve completed my walk before the sun sets!

The Pumpkin Patch:


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