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East Coast Story – the blog

The novel I’m working on involves the story of St Etheldreda, the daughter of King Anna of Anglia in the seventh century. Determined to be a nun, she managed to keep her virginity intact through two marriages and go on to found Ely Cathedtral. She travelled from Ely to Northumberland to marry a prince, then back again a few years later, pursued by her husband, the king.

The characters in my novel travel south with Etheldreda. I\’m absolutely delighted that last year the Arts Council gave me a grant to travel with her too. It was five hundred miles and took five weeks in five stages. You can read about it here.

Barnetby le Wold to Tealby Thumbnail

Johnny started the day wondering if he could walk to the end of the drive. He has blisters on the balls of his feet which hurt with every step. He bought new shoes for this walk and hadn’t tested them out. It’s always a good idea to give new shoes a trial run before setting off on something [...]

Hessle to Barnetby le Wold Thumbnail

I don’t like bridges. I don’t like small bridges and I don’t like big bridges, but at least you get over small bridges more quickly. If I’m in a car I often close my eyes (luckily I don’t drive). If I walk, I go as fast as possible without looking left or right. So there’s this huge [...]

Market Weighton to Hessle Thumbnail

  We stayed with Mark and Sarah in York and caught the 6.35am bus to Market Weighton. (Thanks Mark for driving us to the station so early and saving us an extra mile of walking). I was daunted by the mileage ahead of us and the possibility of storms, but Poppy’s mind was elsewhere. Just before Pocklington she [...]

Goodmanham to Market Weighton and back home again Thumbnail

When Poppy was in high school she went on a geography field trip, got her socks and shoes wet on the first day, continued to wear said socks and shoes for the rest of the trip and got trench foot. It took a long time and a lot of pain and discomfort before it went, and left Poppy [...]

North Grimston to Goodmanham Thumbnail

I kind of thought we’d get up really early and get on our way with the birds seeing as we were camping, but that didn’t happen. Somehow things take longer in the morning than I expect when I’m with someone else. We ate breakfast biscuits and experimented with eating chia seeds sans yoghurt. I managed mine with a banana. Poppy managed [...]

Filey to North Grimston Thumbnail

At breakfast we mixed chia seeds into our granola. They’re used  as slow release energy by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, the world’s greatest long distance runners, so we thought they might help us walk 28 miles. We said hello to the grandparents with the child from the train yesterday, who happened to be staying at the same B&B [...]

Filey Thumbnail

One of the issues on this walk so far has been, what will Poppy eat? If she eats wheat she has awful stomach ache and feels ill. So that means no sandwiches, no toast, no cakes or biscuits. Most easy travelling food is out. She has to read the ingredients on everything. Most of the [...]

Off on our travels again … Thumbnail

We’re going to walk 79 miles in three days. Everyone tells me I’m mad. Johnny says I’m mad, our neighbours say I’m mad, everyone I’ve told says I’m mad. Poppy definitely thinks I am – but she must be a bit mad too as she’d agreed to come with me. The thing is, I felt great after [...]

Scarborough to Filey Thumbnail

Whilst eating breakfast in the conservatory overlooking the sea, shining in the morning sunshine, we overheard an item on local radio. Yesterday a girl lost her footing and fell from the cliffs near Filey, at the Blue Dolphin Caravan Park. She was winched up and was being treated in hospital.   This incident coloured the whole day. We were [...]

Robin Hood’s Bay to Scarborough Thumbnail

To me it was a no brainer. The landlady at our B&B said, when the tide’s out you can walk the first mile or so on the beach, missing out two steep climbs. A win on every front. Poppy said nothing.On the way down the hill we met two small boys who asked if we were [...]