Friday, August 26, 2011
Steph Crabb, Wayfarers Office Staffer, has been busy preparing for her Coast to Coast Walk next month. The Walk is rated 5 and covers up to 15 miles per day on sometimes hilly terrain on foot. Steph wasn't unfit to begin with, but felt that some additional fitness training ahead of her Walk would help her get the maximum enjoyment out of her Walk experience. We asked Steph to fill us in on how she has been progressing with her custom Fit for Trips program.
The Wayfarers : So, Steph, what have you been doing these past weeks to prepare for your Walk?
Steph Crabb: I started with three walks per week of between three and four miles. I gradually increased this with an additional five to six mile walk at the weekend. Now I am walking eight to 10 miles at the weekend. I've also borrowed a friend's running machine to use in case of really wet weather!
TW: How has your Fit for Trips program factored in to your preparation?
Steph: Marcus of Fit for Trips advised a routine to include carrying a backpack with some weight to increase my stamina over the same mileage. Marcus advised the initial walk schedule and exercises.
TW: Have you noticed a difference in how you are feeling overall?
Steph: Yes, my fitness has definitely improved and my weight has dropped. After a short time of following the program I was already feeling more energized.
TW: Have you been doing any other specific exercises?
Steph: I do some warm-up and cool-down stretches as recommended in the program and I make sure my walks cover a varied terrain. I am fortunate to live in an area that offers a lot of varied walking, but if I hadn't the program gives many suggested exercises to mimic the demands of a varied terrain. The length of time it takes me to walk the same distances is improving all the time.
TW: Are there any other benefits you've noticed?
Steph: In additon to having slimmer waistline?! I've been feeling more energized. I've been getting up early to walk and my sister has been joining me which has been a bonus! We've both enjoyed the early morning walking and talking. It is such a nice time of day! My husband and I have been walking together at weekends, covering longer distances each time. We have been finding new trails in our area that we would have never explored without the incentive of this program.
TW: Would you recommend this type of program for others?
Steph: Yes, definitely! I'm feeling more confident and I am determined to continue my routine when I return from my Walk.
Not only has the fitness training improved my personal confidence, I'm not worrying each day's walking on my upcoming Coast to Coast walk. I'm looking forward to it with a great deal of excitement and anticipation!
TW: Thanks Steph - we look forward to catching up with you on the trail in a few weeks!
Friday, August 19, 2011
By Mike Knutton
There's always been much more than the River Tamar separating Devon and Cornwall, the two English counties jutting out into the Atlantic in the extreme southwest of the country. Traditionally remote from the rest of Britain, they bounced their prejudices off each other and promoted their perceived superiority in areas of human endeavour as diverse as rugby, Celtic credentials, pasties...and now, cream teas.
The scone war has been bubbling beneath the surface, but with a gentlemanly stand-off, for decades. Now, however, the Devonians have fired a provocative broadside by launching a campaign to have the name “Devon cream tea” protected---a bit like wine---within the European Union under what are known as the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) rules.
Never slow to respond to forays from “up country” the Cornish, who already have PDO status for their clotted cream and pilchards (mature sardines) and will brook no challenge to the Cornish pasty, have ridiculed the Devonians for what they claim to be very basic and crucial error in the make-up of the Devon cream tea.
All cream teas worthy of the name are a combination of scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam. According to the Cornish, a cream tea consists of a sliced scone with each half spread with jam and then topped with a “gurt dollop” of clotted cream. Devonians, however, part company after the split scone, and insist that the cream should go on the scone before the jam. On-line voting gave Cornwall 57.4% for jam first and clotted cream on top with Devon trailing with 42.6%. An inquiry at the Ritz Hotel in London supported the Cornish case. Executive general manager (no less) David Collas confirmed that “we at The Ritz, London, would prefer to encourage the 'jam then cream' option as this is the traditional method of preparing scones.”
Now, you may think this is all a storm in a cream tea cup, and indeed after it all passes the gullet it matters little, but so much is at stake that reams and reams of fiery correspondence have been passing through the ether. Ex-pats and tourists wax lyrical as they recall their cream tea experiences in the two counties, but here at The Wayfarers, we decline to take sides. All we would say is join us on our Cornish and Devon walks - or our Pentillie Castle Walk which straddles both counties! - and make up your own mind. Or indeed, join us on any of our walking vacations in the UK as each and every one includes a cream tea.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Pictures by Dave Robertson
Editor's Note: Dave and Marilyn Robertson recently returned from the Coast to Coast Walk in England - a trip they arranged to mark their thirty years' wedding anniversary. Thank you, Dave and Marilyn, for sharing your walk experiences and your photos!
She said.... by Marilyn Robertson
The Wayfarer’s call the Coast to Coast Walk a “trip of a lifetime.” I call it a dream come true. Six days of walking through “dingly dales” and lovely pastures, seven charming, quintessentially English hotels and delicious food four times a day! What could be better?
I love the magical moments the The Wayfarer’s include in each trip. One such moment was standing overlooking Lake Windemere, listening to Alan read poems from Wordsworth, whose house we had just visited. Others included my first bite of Wensleydale cheese; watching Alan stare down a bull so we could all cross the pasture safely; seeing a steam engine puffing through the countryside, as we stood high on the hill we had just climbed; seeing Bill and Geraldine emerge over a stone wall and knowing our bountiful and well-deserved, snack was not far off. But my favorite moment by far, was crossing the moor in silence to better appreciate the utter stillness. It was truly a spiritual moment for me and I will carry the memory with me to remember when life gets crazy.
Alan, Bill and Geraldine, our walk leader and managers were wonderful hosts who provided insight, assistance and fun during our walk. Our group was very special for me as we were joined by a friend from our last Wayfarer’s walk. This trip gave us the opportunity to become even closer. Of course, new friends were also made with other walkers on our second trip, as we shared stories and compared blisters.
I have been waiting to take this walk since my last trip with The Wayfarers to Scotland, four years ago. I don’t plan to wait four more years for my next trip! Let’s see, should it be Slovenia or the Ring of Kerry or….
He Said...by Dave Robertson
When I was in high school and in college, I was very fortunate to be able to travel around the world. From camping out in the country side in Great Britain while in high school, to taking tours with my parents throughout Europe, to living in Italy for a year, I was able to experience numerous different ways to travel abroad.
For our 25th wedding anniversary, my wife Marilyn suggested that we take a Wayfarers Walking tour. Perhaps to appease me and to make the likelihood of taking the trip more possible, Marilyn suggested that we take the Loch Lomand, Scotland Western Isles tour with the Wayfarers since my heritage is Scottish and Welsh. Of course, I agreed. Marilyn took care of all of the details, and ultimately, off we went.
For our 30th wedding anniversary, we have just taken the Wayfarers' England Coast to Coast walking tour.
The reason I mention my traveling experiences above is to state that the Wayfarers tours provide you with an experience that you cannot duplicate by creating your own trip, or by taking standard major city tours. The Wayfarer's tour guides and managers are wonderful people who will bend over backwards to make sure that your experience is perfectly suited for you. They know everything about everything on your tour; from the historical significance of the region, to the types of flowers that you see along your walk. They take you through fields, hills, and dales that you would never see but for their walking tours.
The Wayfarers guides also create special moments that are unique to their walking tours. Whether it be walking quietly through the Yorkshire dales so as not to disturb the grouse that will soon be hunted by English royalty, or ending a tour at a local pub that serves the best beer in the region, the Wayfarers will make sure that you maximize your experience.
As to travel arrangements, The Wayfarers Travel Agency in the US office will make sure that your airfare and/or train travel and/or bus travel is perfectly planned for you. And ultimately, the walks are so spectacular that you will end up with memories that will stay with you forever. I hope that the photographs that I have taken will give you a better understanding of the beauty that you will experience on a Wayfarer's tour.
Marilyn and I are now planning our next Wayfarer's tour. We can't wait.