Tuesday, 14 May 2013

11. Land's End to John O'Groats. 234.7 miles in 12 days.David Sansom and Robbie Brough walk across Exmoor to Minehead in Somerset. Duke of Edinburgh award.

Barnstaple to Minehead across Exmoor National Park
David's bag round his neck contains wallet, phone, iPod, cigarettes 
and a lighter made by his father.

"Robbie at a saw mill in Exmoor we had a tour round for half an hour".

David’s email 12 May:

“Yesterday morning in campsite in Barnstaple Robbie met a Liverpudlian man, whose wife made us tea and offered us sandwiches from their camper-van. We had a nice chat with them on our view on the world, and the daughter (no older than 8) made us a good luck card, which we folded up and put in our wallet.  

Last night, a very kind family allowed us to sleep on the floor of their converted barn and we had facilities like microwave, kettle, toilets and radiators! Charlie, the 13 year old son showed us his WW2 memorabilia, which included a fully resorted, rare prototype Willyx Jeep! We were fed doughnuts and sausage sandwiches. Shaun, the father, went through with us, in close detail on the Ordinance Survey map, the best route through Exmoor. The mother was called Tracey.  

Both these families are the sort of people who make this walk special, enjoyable and are the best of Britain.  

Today we walked all the way across the Exmoors and finally made it to Minehead. We were accompanied by Charlie, the son, who walked with us for the first mile or so, to point us in the right direction. 
Dunkery Beacon seen from the west, 

We worked out we have roughly walked 234.7 miles in 12 days. 

The moors were relentlessly wet, windy and misty.  Robbie and I both put our iPods in and trucked along side by side.  When we made it to the highest point, Dunkery Beacon, we stopped for a packed lunch that was very kindly made for us by the family we stayed with. 

We then were met by 25 14-15 year old walkers on D of E*!  So not only did we have to look after ourselves, but also felt sympathies towards them, as we could see ourselves in them 2 weeks ago.  Cold, wet, tired and lost.  Now we're experienced, hardened walkers.  We haven't eaten in so long, so went to Wetherspoons in Minehead and ate 6602 calories between us for £20!   D+R."

"7000 calories eaten in an hour for 20 quid at Wetherspoons in Minehead."

David next to the border.

Robbie and David crossed from Devon  into Somerset on 12 May, and posted the news on Facebook: “well on our way to being Proclaimers”.  The Proclaimers are known for the song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)”.
Views of the sea from Exmoor

Exmoor pony surrounded by heather in flower
The boys walked across Exmoor National Park which covers an area of 267 square miles, which has a range of dramatic and beautiful scenery including high cliffs, ravines, waterfalls, caves and moorland.  It is famous as well for its ponies and red deer. 

Minehead to Bristol 
In Minehead David and Robbie had their first shower for three days. They have had awful weather and at night keep warm in long Johns and Vango and Starlight sleeping bags.  They wear thick fleeces in the cold with light waterproofs against the rain. The boys listen  to a variety of things from heavy rock to BBC Radio 4 pod casts, depending on time of day/weather/terrain.

Minehead has a Butlins holiday camp: there are only three left in the UK.

Rob and David plan to arrive in Bristol on Thursday 16 May, and asked FaceBook friends to meet them: “the more the merrier.” Email them if you can meet up, and if not they appreciate texts. They are doing the long walk to collect money for Emmaus Oxford. Emmaus is a charity which houses  and gives work to the homeless.

Donations: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/tradingplaces
Twitter: Trading Places @DRtradingplaces

*The D of E/Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme was started by Prince Philip in 1956. It is for 14 to 24 year olds, who can do programmes at three levels, which when completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

The Award is given by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections (five for Gold) - Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and for Gold, a Residential.  

Activities involve helping people or the community, getting fitter, developing skills, going on an expedition and taking part in a residential activity (Gold only).