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Richard's Ramble

A Circular Walk through Parts of England and Wales

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Richard's Ramble

General Information

About Richard

Born in 1955 I have travelled widely around the world but am always drawn back to the country of my birth and where I settled with my Australian wife in 1988. This circular walk links a number of excellent long distance paths with routes that I have devised and tested myself.

About Richard
General Information
The Entire Route

Richard's Ramble is a 1230 mile walk around parts of England and Wales that I completed between 2005 and 2021. It can be tackled as a complete circular walk (I'll buy a pint for the first person to prove they've done it all), as a sequence of long distance trails, or as 77 individual day walks of between 8 and 25 miles each. For the less ambitious walker, longer daily distances can always be attempted over 2 or more days.

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The Individual Routes

The routes are abbreviated in the menu bar as follows:-

C2C - The Coast to Coast Path

R'way - The Ridgeway

ODP - Offa's Dyke Path

YWW - Yorkshire Wolds Way

A2C - Avebury to Chepstow

VW - The Viking Way

I2O - Ivinghoe to Oakham

P2OP - Prestatyn to Orrell Park

OP2F - Orrell Park to Fleetwood

F2U - Fleetwood to Ulverston

U2SB - Ulverston to St Bees

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Interactive Maps

The detailed route that I followed is inserted as a 'Mapmywalk' map at the start of each day of the walk. Please click 'Agree and proceed' to view these maps. The maps are interactive, allowing the user to drill down to a large scale view of the route and to display the route as a map, with or without topography or as a satellite image. The gradient for each day is also shown.

The Concept

The idea of combining several long distant walking routes, then ‘joining the gaps’ by plotting new routes of my own, came about by accident and only after my recording of early walks on a map of the UK started to suggest that such a ‘circular’ walk might be an interesting concept.


In the early 2000s I became increasingly interested in undertaking Wainwright’s celebrated Coast to Coast Walk. I had been a fan of ‘AW’ for some time and enjoyed following his guides when rambling in the Lake District. The C2C seemed to present a challenge whilst being eminently do’able.


The idea was put on the back burner for some years as I never seemed to have a spare couple of weeks in which to carry out the walk. Then, in spring of 2005, I found myself between projects and decided to go for it. As the receipt below shows, I actually decided to do the walk on 12th April 2005 and set off the very next day!


Grueling though the experience was, it whet my appetite for long distance walking. I loved the countryside, the peace; the solitude and the opportunity to see more of the amazing place island that Kym and I had chosen to call home.


My choice of second walk was influenced by the decision to do it with my good friend Phil. He was living in the Home Counties at the time so we chose a route that he could fit into his (more demanding than me) work schedule. That was the Ridgeway, which we started on 23rd September 2006. I did the whole route but Phil had to return to work before the end.


Notwithstanding his early retirement from the Ridgeway, Phil was keen to try another walk. We talked about this for some time and eventually chose the Offa’s Dyke Path, which we started on 30th May 2015. This was probably the most challenging walk to date: again, Phil was up against it, time wise, so we completed it in ten and two half days.


Returning home from this walk I added the route to my map of the UK and noted that I had now done three sides of a very rough rectangle around England and Wales: North, South and West. This suggested the idea of an Eastern leg, connecting Tring in the South East with Robin Hood’s Bay in the North East.


The Eastern walk seemed naturally to break at the bridge over the Humber Estuary, with the route North from there following the Yorkshire Wolds Way and part of the Cleveland Way from Hessle to Robin Hood’s Bay. By this time my wife, Kym, had become intrigued by my walks and so joined me as we headed North from The Humber on 24th May 2017.


Completion of that walk and its subsequent addition to my map of the UK spurred me on to link up the rectangle. I used the occasion of a reunion of old friends in Stroud to plan a ‘link route’ to join the start of the Ridgeway at Avebury to the start of Offa’s Dyke Path at Chepstow. This walk was started on 31st July 2017.


Next on the agenda was the route South from The Humber. Kym joined me again and we followed the Viking Way from Hessle to Oakham, starting on 12th April 2019.


Having ‘ticked off’ the Viking Way I was left with a tricky gap between its southern end and the eastern end of the Ridgeway. I plotted a route that went north from Ivinghoe Beacon to finish at Oakham and commenced that walk on 2nd June 2019.


My map now revealed a large gap between Prestatyn and St Bees Head. Up until this point I had always planned to sail that part of the route. This was because, being my ‘home patch’ I was (i) very aware of the impact that detours around the Dee, Mersey, Ribble, Douglas, Lune, Kent, Leven, Duddon and Esk estuaries would have on the mileage and (ii) I thought I knew these areas well and would find the route boring.


I reverted to walking the remaining gap when I realised that I didn’t know anyone with a sailing boat moored conveniently close to Prestatyn. Furthermore Kym, who had recently retired, had been bitten by the bug and was quite keen to do some more walking (though her mind was set on routes in the more sunny climes of Spain or Italy). It was time, therefore, to do some more planning. I soon discovered that it was possible to walk from Prestatyn to St Bees Head by joining up several existing routes around the North West coast.


The first section was on part of the Wales Coastal Path from Prestatyn to Chester and then a section from Chester to Liverpool, that I plotted myself, to join up to the recognised paths heading North from the city. We started that walk, rather rashly, on 16th January 2019.


My intention was then to complete the remaining sections of the walk in time for me to arrive in St Bees on the fifteenth anniversary of setting off on 12th April 2005. Unfortunately my plans were scuppered by the Coronavirus pandemic, which meant that my walking was restricted, during the Spring, to daily exercise from my house.


‘Lockdown’ gave me the opportunity to tweak the route north from Liverpool by picking up the Sefton Coastal Footpath and linking it to the Ribble Way and the Lancashire Coastal Path to Fleetwood. Kym and I started this walk on 16th September 2020.

After a further period of lockdown Kym and I started the 98.6 miles from Fleetwood to Ulverston on 13th April 2021: the 16th anniversary of my departure on the C2C. A couple of weeks later, on 5th May 2021, we set off from Ulverston on the final section of the walk. We arrived at St Bees, 85 miles later, on 9th May 2021.


The distances recorded on my early walks were those set out in the respective walking guides. They are very probably understated as they failed to take into account distance travelled to and from accommodation and additional miles walked as a result of poor navigation! I started to use Strava on the Yorkshire Wolds Way, so the mileages on that and subsequent walks have all been recorded more accurately.


Then there is the question of direction of travel. It would have been ‘neater’ to have proceeded in a clockwise direction around the entire walk, but this was not the most logical way to proceed. The received wisdom on the Coast to Coast and Wainwright’s suggestion, is that one walks West to East so as to have the wind on one’s back (I ended up doing the walk in the face of a very unusual, week long, strong Easterly wind). I followed this advice on the Ridgeway also.


For North-South walks the wind is of less importance but it makes sense, wherever possible, to walk South to North so as to have the sun on one’s back. This makes for less squinting and better photographs. I applied this logic to Offas Dyke, the Yorkshire Wolds way and the Lancashire and Cumbrian sections.


The exceptions to these rules were (i) the Avebury to Chepstow link, where I had offers of transportation to the start and from the finish and (ii) The Viking Way, which follows the, supposed, north to south route taken by the Viking hoards as they raped and pillaged their way across Lincolnshire.


The observant reader will notice that fewer photos appear in the Coast to Coast chapter of walk than in subsequent chapters. This is explained by my camera choices. On my first long distance walk I carried the Pentax ME Super SLR that I had taken with me to Solomon Islands in 1982. It was heavy and used traditional film. I was very selective in my choice of shot. In November 2005 I started using a Konica digital camera so snapped anything that moved on subsequent walks. I replaced that camera with a Sony Cybershot in 2015. This was a pocket digital that made taking photos even easier. As a consequence the number of photos per walk has proliferated as time has gone on.

Some statistics
  • Start date: 13 April 2005

  • End date:   4 September 2021

  • Total distance: 1229.65 miles

  • Days walked: 78

  • Average mileage per day: 16

  • Number of separate walks: 11 (+ the 'final leg')

  • Average miles per walk: 112

  • Shortest walk by distance: Avebury to Chepstow link - 75.23 miles*

  • Longest walk by distance: St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay - 189.50 miles

  • Shortest distance covered in a day: 7.50 miles, Filey Brig to Scarborough*

  • Longest distance covered in a day: 24.79 miles, Marshfield to Thornbury

  • Shortest average daily distance: Hessle to Scarborough - 12.14 miles/day

  • Longest average daily distance: Prestatyn to Orrell Park - 19.16 miles/day

  • Northernmost point: Ennerdale Bridge, Cumbria. 54.53N, -3.44W

  • Southernmost point: Overton Hill, Wiltshire. 51.41N, -1.83W

  • Westernmost point: North Head, St Bees, Cumbria. 54.51N, -3.64W

  • Easternmost point: Fulletby, Lincolnshire. 53.24N, -0.05W

  • Approximate number of steps: 2,665,180

  • Approximate calories burned: 527,138

       

      * excluding the 'final leg' which was 0.89 miles 

Some statistics
The Concept
The Routes
The Entire Route
The walk in summary
The walk in summary
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To this needs to be added the 0.89 miles of the 'final leg' walked on 4/9/21

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