Category Archives: The long walk

We are OK.

The heat has been  a problem for Syd, it was 40 today at an apple Orchard we stopped to rest on, the workers said it’s a good 10% over normal. I gather it’s an El  Nino year, now why hadn’t we thought of that! I’d expected heat but a more gradual build up not straight in the oven, so no time for Syd to acclimatise.

Walking at night hasn’t been successful as Syd is too tired, even after resting most of the day. We walk a little, rest a lot, drink gallons, I keep having to knock on doors for water, my French has improved.

We hitched the last 2 km into Juillac this eve as Syd had had enough. Unfortunately it’s mostly road walking, the tarmac is too hot and the verges really prickly, only managed to walk at all today because we walked along the rows of apples. First night in s proper cam site, but it appears closed, all facilities shut and grass not mowed. But we are staying anyway.

Sorry no photos, phone battery too low to upload the few I have taken.


The shops won’t let Syd in here, they did last time, and I absolutely won’t leave him outside alone, so we are both desperate for yoghurt and bananas!  X


We set off this morning, well lunchtime in glorious sunshine. Luckily the first couple of hours were in the forest. With an extra chunk when we had to buy and send ack track. Because a cheman petered out and became impossible to follow

Syd as usual is raring to go and has enjoyed some lovely paddles. A good first day so far, only minor hassles from  a few bolshy farm dogs. Syd was a star and signaled very clearly that he came in peace. So we  made friends and carried on our way.


We have just collapsed for a rest in the shade after a very very long steep and windy climb, we have reached the highest point and I think it’s all down hill to Sarrazac, where we will rest and eat before heading off towards Lamouaille, and then look forward likely spot for rhe tent.

The ferry

I would like to thank Brittany ferries  we travelled from Portsmouth to le Havre on the night crossing. No leaving poor Syd in the van, we  had a ‘dog friendly’ cabin and slept the whole crossing.

I have to congratulate the company, the cabin certainly was dog friendly & Syd sends his heartfelt thanks, (he has emailed the company to thank them).





After a lovely few days with my friends Jane & Andrew in Le Horps. Meeting up with old friends Graham & Anita, who I enjoyed many a walk with on Ashdown Forest, many years ago, and an interesting visit to meet Peter and Anita Edwards who run a lovely little rescue alongside their companion animal centre.

Tomorrow we are off to the Twilight Sanctuary  in La Peyzie, North Dordogne, ready to start walking on Tuesday.

Are we excited – yes and a little nervous, but raring to go.

Route planning

Well almost sorted.  route almost fixed_20150510_184749~2Starting at the wonderful   run by the lovely ex pats,  Leeanne & Michael  Whitley at  La Peyzie, North Dordogne. This lovely couple cater for elderly dogs. I will be taking a van full of stuff out for them, so take a look at their wish list  & shout if you can donate anything.

Our route will be via various ‘randonnes’ to Carcassonne, (with a planned stop ,  a shower/bath, meal & a real bed in Castanet, Midi-Pyrenees),

Tarn et Garonne

Then we join the GR 36



To the GR 83, at Prades, into Spain near Beget.


Then  bits of various GR routes


To join  back  onto  the GR7 , then a long long way and a bit of fiddling to get to El Verger,  then back to the GR7 , choosing either the north or South route and see if we can reach Granada

Hiking-Map-Spain-GR7-North. SPAIN

Hiking-Map-Spain-GR7-South. SPAIN

We don’t know how many walking hours a day we will have,  as its going to be hot, maybe we will be walking mostly at night? So I’m not setting daily distances, just making sure there are as many rivers, lakes as possible on the route. I do have to set a date to arrive at the Animal Centre at  S.C.A.N Costa Blanca  . (They are working really hard within their community, and Spain as a whole to improve the lot of dogs & other animals, and deserve all the support they can get), at El Verger in Valencia. However we will have the tracker on so you can follow our progress.

My next jobs are to select the maps I must have, sign up also for online mapping. Pare down our gear to the absolute minimum,  mountain walking is going to be tough on my knee, and weight really will matter. Last years load, with 3kg of dog food., was just over 17.5kg. It was only the minimum, but included warmer clothing than we will need this time . I want to get that down to less than 15kg. 

Get Syd sorted with a new harness, he is a much bigger chap now he has fully matured and muscled up.

Oh & lastly convince myself its not desperately extravagant, to buy the tent I’ve seen that weighs less than 1kg. The one we have weighs in at 2.3kg, and would be a saving of 1.3kg

The countdown begins. We leave for France on the night Ferry from Portsmouth to Caen on  the 25th May, and after visiting some friends we made last year will start walking a few days later.




At last the walk will continue

Syd & I can now announce that we are planning stage two of our epic walk. We will be travelling back to France towards the end of May & will park up at the in the North of the Dordogne.

From there we will start walking towards Valencia. From there  we are going to continue our walk through Spain to Andalusia, visiting some rescues along the way.

Preparations are in earnest now, kit is being checked, routes planned & we are doing lots & lots of extra walking – much to Syds delight.

I will post an outline of our planned route as it becomes clearer, and our excitement settles, we simply cant wait!!

24th May

Syd now has a new french passport- but no thanks to,
The UK. Vet, who didn’t fax the records as requested. . Luckily the vet accepted the info I could provide.

So on the next hurdle, the English Channel

22nd May

I am absolutely gutted that I’ve had to suspend our walk. I have had some incredible adventures on the road & they have continued in our quest to get back to Wales.
Thanks to some absolutely amazing people, opening their homes to us, & really going the extra mile,  we have seen bits of France we didn’t expect to.
Syd & i have now got back to Le Horps, Normandy. Thankyou Anne, Chris. Tilly, Lottie, Vee & Yoda, Syd is missing racing around with you guys! Thankyou Also John, Sandy, Jilly, Sissy, Fred, Amy, Molly & the other 25 cats, it was lovely to meet you, we really appreciate your support.

Thanks Andrew for coming to meet us & to you & Jane putting up with us staying again!

Thanks to Kathleen who has arranged for us to see her Vet on Saturday – who will sort out Syd’s passport ( hopefully)
That will leave two hurdles between us & the Sanctuary -the English channel & a few hundred miles the otherside!
So we are getting there.

19th May part 2

The good news :-am going to be able to get to my friends house near Mayenne, where I had hoped the replacement passport would be waiting.

The bad news :- Unfortunately the vet is refusing to issue a replacement Passport. Instead he has written a letter with the corrections. I have a horrible feeling this will not be acceptable, the passport is a stand alone document. So tomorrow I have to call DEFRA & pray they accept the letter is sufficient. If not, which quite frankly is the response I expect, having read the  guidelines issued to vets on pets passport completion. I will try & persuade DEFRA to contact him on my behalf – maybe the RCVS as well.
Really peed off about this extra & unnecessary hassle.

19th May

Disaster has struck.
Had a call last night to tell me Mick, who I run the Sanctusry with, has fallen & broken his hip. I’m waiting for more news, but it looks like I will have no.choice but to end the walk.
The lovely Sam, who has been being ‘ me’  is amazing, but it really isn’t fair for one person to be left running everything alone for another 6 weeks till I get back. I would imagine that at best Mick will be out of action for at least that long, and potentially longer.

I am absolutely gutted. Also don’t know how the heck I will get back. It seems that I can’t take Syd on buses or trains, he is too big. Also there is the small problem of Syds passport, I’m still waiting for the vet to issue the corrected replacement.

Oh well watch this space.