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This is not the first website to describe walks on the UK's long distance footpaths, and it is certainly not the best. However many of the other websites are written by people who are super-fit - and men. I'm neither. I'm a 60 year old woman, somewhat overweight, with a gammy ankle and knees that complain at steep descents or if I walk too far on a tarmacked surface. But yet I have completed quite a few long distance paths in the past eleven years, and I've enjoyed almost every (if not absolutely every!) mile of the way.

I usually walk with my husband Richard. When she was living at home, we were frequently accompanied by our daughter Helen. Helen still walks long distance footpaths, but now it's usually with her husband Tom; they go faster than us and do things that we wouldn't contemplate doing, like walking 20+ miles a day carrying camping gear. However, they do still share our ethos, namely to enjoy the walk rather than rushing to complete it, and to stop at lots of tea shops!

Why we walk long distance footpaths

Richard and I have enjoyed hill-walking for a long time and when our children (Helen and her older brother Michael) were younger we had a pleasant holiday walking from hotel to hotel in the French Alps, with our luggage transported by someone else. We all enjoyed it but didn't realise that this was something we could do back home in the UK.

2006 was a significant year for the family: Richard turned 50, Michael and Helen celebrated their 21st and 18th birthdays respectively and it was our 25th wedding anniversary. We wanted to do do something to celebrate but we aren't really the partying sort. We decided on a 'special' holiday, but knew that however special (and expensive) a foreign destination we selected, it would be remembered as just another country. We wanted to do something different and had the idea of walking Wainwright's Coast to Coast path, after Helen had finished her A-levels in the summer. At Easter 2006 we followed the delightful Herriot Way for practice, and we were hooked! In the end, Richard, Helen and I decided to walk the Offa's Dyke Path rather than the Coast to Coast in the summer.
Our fortnight on the path coincided with a heat wave and on the day that was already going to be the toughest we were confronted by a major forest fire on the path. But we successfully negotiated our way from Sedbury (near Chepstow) to Prestatyn and the holiday was appropriately memorable and enjoyable - we were hooked!
 
In addition to the obvious challenge of covering a respectable distance in a week or two and seeing beautiful countryside and wildlife, the main reason I enjoy this type of holiday is that it enables me to relax from the pressures of my usual working life. I love my job at the Open University, but work occupies far too much of my life, and on more conventional holidays the work usually comes too. When you're walking from place to place each day this simply isn't possible - and in the evening all you want is (in order) a shower, a meal and a good night's sleep.
 
The End
Between 2007 and 2013 we walked the Dales Way, the Cleveland Way, St Cuthbert's Way and (in a total of 10 holidays over six years) the whopping 630 miles of the South West Coast Path - unfortunately it rained on the very last day, which explains our damp state at the end (with my sister's dog; Chris kindly came to meet us at the end and was in charge of the camera). 
 
In addition, we have walked the Fen Rivers Way, the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, the Weavers' Way, the Angles Way,  the Hereward Way and most of the Nar Valley Way, mostly in a series of one-day stages, returning to our home in West Norfolk at the end of each day. Towards the end of the Angles Way we tried a two-day walk, staying in a B&B but carrying our own luggage. This was a great success, and opened up new possibilities. Armed with new rucksacks, during 2011 we completed the Icknield Way Path in a mixture of one-day and multiple-day stages, and in 2012 we completed the Stour Valley Path and re-walked the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path in similar style.
 
One thing led to another, and from the end of 2012, carrying our own stuff became the norm for holidays of up to a week (though still staying in B&Bs - no way could we carry the equipment needed to camp!). We did this for our final three holidays on the South West Coast Path (walking from Teignmouth to South Haven Point) and since then we have carried our own luggage for holidays on The Ridgeway (completed in July 2013 in a heatwave that was reminiscent of Offa's Dyke), the Wessex Ridgeway and the Viking Way (both completed during 2014) and the Yorkshire Wolds Way (completed in May 2015). Later in 2015, we carried our own luggage between B&Bs and hotels on the Teesdale Way as far as Middleton-in-Teesdale; we continued along the Teesdale Way and across to the Pennine Way and South Tyne Trail (in Garrigill south of Alston) whilst staying in a holiday cottage in nearby Upper Weardale.
 
Just before Easter 2014 we had a lovely long weekend on Alderney, walking the first 11.5 miles of the Channel Island Way and we returned to the Channel Islands for a longer holiday in March 2015 and walked around Guernsey, Herm and Sark. For both of these holidays we were based in a single hotel (in St Anne on Alderney and in St Peter Port on Guernsey).

Sally, Seven Sisters
JordanWalks was 10-years old in 2016, and our first exploit of the year was to walk the Cotswold Way; then from the end of the Cotswold Way in Bath we had two relatively easy days of walking along the Kennet and Avon Canal which took us to Devizes, thus linking up with the Wessex Ridgeway. Later in the year, in three walking holidays, we walked the Hadrian's Wall Path, completed the South Tyne Trail, walked St Oswald's Way from Hadrian's Wall across Northumberland to Lindisfarne, then continued up the Northumberland Coast Path to Berwick-upon-Tweed. We walked the South Downs Way in a single holiday in April-May 2017, with fine coastal walking over the Seven Sisters on the final day and we completed the Heart of England Way in August and September 2017.

Since the middle of 2014 I have been doing jobs which require me to spend more time in Milton Keynes, so I am renting Monday-Friday accommodation in the village of Sherington, near Newport Pagnell. It was therefore logical to walk the Ouse Valley Way, which passes through Sherington and close to Denver, our "proper" home in Norfolk, We have also walked the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk, the Two Ridges Link, the Greensand Ridge Walkthe Clopton Way, the Wimpole Waythe North Bucks Way and the John Bunyan Trail. We are currently exploring the Cross Bucks Way and the Grand Union Canal Walk. 

This site describes our progress along each of these long distance footpaths, plus a few shorter walks. As we have walked more long distance footpaths, I have become more and more interested in the way in which the whole thing fits together - it is shocking how little I knew of the geography of my own country. I have become keen (some might say obsessed!) to make connections between the various paths. In addition to walking around our home county of Norfolk, we have (admittedly not all in one direction and certainly not all in one go) walked from Land's End via home in Norfolk to the Scottish Border. Trying to explain the detail of the interconnecting paths became too much for this page, so I've had another go here (the map is still a work in progress).

Using JordanWalks

There is a 'top page' for each long distance walk and beneath that there are separate pages for each day of walking (for the South West Coast Path there is an extra layer - the separate holidays in which we walked the path). In principle you should be able to find the pages you want by following the links in the navigation panel on the left hand side, but this has become a little unwieldy. Another way is to use the links to subpages at the bottom of each page (beneath the map where there is one), but note that these links are given in alphabetical rather than chronological or geographical order. Alternatively, to follow our adventure along each path to the full, start from the top level for that path then follow the links to 'first leg' and then each 'following leg' along the journey.

e-assessment (f)or learning not JordanWalks?

If you want my work blog not JordanWalks please click here (though you are likely to find it nothing like as entertaining!)

 
Sally Jordan (email: JordanWalks@googlemail.com)
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