‘I am already planning the next adventure. The wanderlust that infected me has no cure.’
It all started in Fishguard in the mid-1970s when, aged fifteen, Martyn Howe and a friend set off on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path armed with big rucksacks, borrowed boots, a Primus stove and a pint of paraffin, and a thirst for adventure. After repeating the route almost thirty years later, Martyn was inspired to walk every National Trail in England and Wales, plus the four Long-Distance Routes (now among the Great Trails) in Scotland. His 3,000-mile journey included treks along the South West Coast Path, the Pennine Way, the Cotswold Way and the West Highland Way. He finally achieved his ambition in 2016 when he arrived in Cromer in Norfolk, only to set a new goal of walking the England and Wales Coast Paths and the Scottish National Trail.
In Tales from the Big Trails, Martyn vividly describes the diverse landscapes, wildlife, culture and heritage he encounters around the British Isles, and the physical and mental health benefits he derives from walking. He also celebrates the people who enrich his travels, including fellow long-distance hikers, tourists discovering Britain’s charm, farmers working the land, and the friendly and eccentric owners of hostels, campsites and B&Bs.
And when he is asked ‘Why do you do it?’, the answer is as simple as placing one foot in front of the other: ‘It makes me happy.’
The author writes in such an engaging way about his journeys that its as if you’re walking with him at times. The descriptions of the landscapes and the interactions with the people that he meets really drew me in.
As an avid day hiker looking to become more involved with long distance/multi-day hikes, this book has given me a lot of encouragement to start planning those journeys.
I’m sure this book will be a constant companion to me on my future treks.
My self-published novel, Adventure Dayze, is now out on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Hiking is the gateway to adventure.
Being in the Great Outdoors is great for the mind, body, and soul. And the even better news? It needn’t involve much more than putting on a pair of trainers and heading out your front door.
In Adventure Dayze, author Wayne Mullane recounts his hiking experiences in Britain and Ireland with his friends, including overcoming limitations walking at altitude and having a dodgy sense of direction!
This book aims to help you get started… or, if you’re a seasoned hiker, to encourage you to hike with renewed vigour. This story shares insights and discusses the benefits of hiking, including fitness, friendship, courage, mental health, and…err…the joy of eating.
Adventure Dayze will inspire you to overcome your limitations and get outdoors to enjoy all the unique beauty that is on offer. Even pandemic lockdowns won’t be able to suppress your exploration, as the author found out, there are many ways to bring the outdoors inside when there’s no other choice.
Ten-thirty in the morning, rushing around with last minute packing, My mate Rob is waiting outside, I’d better get cracking. A two hour drive north awaits for adventure to start, The excitement is starting to build in my heart. I jump in the car, the engine is running, Let’s go to a place where the scenery is stunning.
Two hours later, we’re there, the tent is pitched, Bags are dumped and without a hitch We march across farm fields – hope we don’t get a stitch! Our friend Aaron has joined us from Yorkshire, for which We are grateful as he directs our hike without a glitch, Now at the pub, for a pint we itch!
After a pint or three we treapse through country roads in rain, Amid gentle hills that keep rolling again and again. The sky is grey as rocks, as hard as stone, I’m glad I didn’t undertake this alone. Idyllic villages with churches, pubs and friendly locals, This is a trip that for a long time I shall be vocal.
After a seven mile walk and four pubs (where we socially distanced, of course), We head back to the campsite where we hear plenty of snores. Next morning, we’re up and out early as you like As we head to stunning Rutland Water to use our bikes, Through rocky trails by the lake and through woods, A seventeen mile pedal will do our legs and souls good.
On one side is the water, so still and calming, On the other there’s fields so ripe for farming. At Normanton, we whizz by the ‘floating church’ that stands on the water, Should you visit here? Yes, I think you ought to! Then, we cycle over the dam that stands so proud, For our tiniest county, Rutland should sing it loud.
For here, there’s lots and lots for whoever you are with, Cycle, hike, sail, birdwatch, even catch a fish As we finish our biking adventure, feeling stronger, I wish we’d stayed here a heck of a lot longer. We’ve experienced Rutland in such a short time space, I hope these memories never ever erase.
This weekend my friends and I descended upon Rutland, the smallest county in the UK. It may be tiny, but it packs a punch. It was great to hang out with my friends during these Covid-19 times. New rules and restrictions are important, and we managed to adapt our adventures well to that. I feel blessed to share these experiences with my friends.
The photos are a mix of ones we all took.
If you live in the UK or if you visit from abroad at some point, I hope you can visit Rutland.
Back at the beginning of October 2019 I spent a few days in the county of Suffolk in England. Situated in the southern portion of the East Anglia region, I knew beforehand that I’d be treated to views of low lying hills, timeless villages and the awesome North Sea.
I’d found a cracking deal on a hotel for £15 (about $18 US Dollars) per night in the county town of Ipswich. The room was compact, clean and cosy. I knew before I booked that the room didn’t have a window, but as I planned to be up and out early and return late each day I knew this would be just fine.
I dumped my bags off and headed straight out to the quayside. On the way I noticed some curiously shaped buildings (like the one above) that seemed to ooze character and history, making me wonder what secrets they held from years gone by.
I found a modern light and airy pub and ordered a pint. On finding a window seat, I watched bullets of rain harmlessly explode against the surface of the River Orwell.
Despite the inclement weather nothing was going to hold me back from my main mission of this trip: visiting Lowestoft Ness, the most Easterly point in the whole of the UK. Soon, I plodded back through the mazy town centre with its delightful Tudor buildings hoping the next day brought better weather.
Still, if the weather tried to defeat me, I knew I was prepared with my oversized rain poncho!
But there was no need for that because the next day brought with it endless blue skies. An extra layer of freedom enveloped me as I spent this Autumn day in t-shirt and shorts.
Ipswich Train Station was busy with commuters when I arrived about 8am. I bought my ticket, then a coffee, dropped my rucksack on the floor and used it as a seat as I watched everybody rushing by.
Soon, and on the train, I was watching the countryside roll by. Sheep grazed lazily on the sloping fields, then we passed through dreamy villages that wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a jigsaw puzzle box. Eventually, the journey took us along the coast and the North Sea ‘waved’ hello (wave, sea – get it?).
About an hour and a half after leaving Ipswich I alighted at Lowestoft train station. Google Maps told me I had to walk for approximately twenty-five minutes to find the most Easterly point. However, what started as a pleasant foot-plod adjacent to the seafront turned into a temporary nightmare as I turned off at the wrong point and ended up in the middle of an industrial estate. Just when I started to become despondent after wandering aimlessly for several moments, I saw a signpost that brought me back on track.
Sighting the beach again, I hastened my step ever closer to my target. A line of hotels towered above me making me wish I’d researched this place more thoroughly to spend a few days here. Yet, such thoughts were put aside when the ground marker for Lowestoft Ness came into view.
I thought that there would’ve been more of a fuss made of this place – maybe even if it was just a cafe there. But then I thought that this lended the point an unassuming charm: it sat here quietly as the majestic North Sea smashed up against the rocks nearby.
I made my way back after that and enjoyed vistas across the sea as I munched on fish and chips. I did manage to find an establishment that was the most easterly cafe in the UK and had a quick coffee there. I relived my childhood in the penny arcade before jumping back on the train to Ipswich.
The other extreme points of the UK all involve more involved planning. Rockhall is the most westerly point in the Atlantic Ocean: it is a lump of rock situated way out to sea off the North-West Irish coast. The Minkies are the southernmost point; based in the Channel Islands, they boast the southernly most building in the form of a toilet (probably a good thing after a long journey). The northernmost point is Outstack, another bump of rock that is part of the Shetland Islands.
I’d love to tick these three places off my list one day, but for now the adventure of reaching the most Easterly point still burns brightly in my soul.