Thursday, 17 May 2018

Hadrian's Wall Path (Part 2)

Day 3 of hiking was lovely; the birds were singing, the temperature was warming up, we saw many a lamb and the blossom on the trees was stunning. It was like a fairy tale, and my love for Cumbria was cemented. I have nothing but good things to say about that day and we treated ourselves to a trip off trail to the Lanercost priory cafe, saw the first real parts of the Wall and even came across a young lad's enterprising snack stop. It all ended in a stay at one my favourite Inns, just over the border, in Northumberland.

Hadrian's wall path day 3 - Carrie Gault 2018

Hadrian's wall path day 3(b)  - Carrie Gault 2018

Day 4 was different, very different, though not to begin with. We had a hearty breakfast and though very cold (1 degree), the day was bright and good for walking. It wasn't long until we hit Thirwal castle but then it really wasn't long until the first set of 'crags' ever. Crags are evil steep ups and downs and from a distance they look like waves in the landscape with shear drops down the left hand side.

Day 4 Hadrian's Wall Path - Carrie Gault 2018

After Walltown came Cawfield crags and a break - boots off, tea and lying down. Then it became majorly poop!! Between here and Windshield Crags I began to lose it; I was hating life, disassociated, unable to speak, to focus my eyes. My bad shoulders and neck were not being helped by all the pain medicines in the world and the tears were gathering.

Day 4 (b) Hadrian's Wall Path - Carrie Gault 2018

Who was I trying to impress? I had been pushing myself far too hard over the past days and now it was all catching up and overwhelming me. Goodness sake I spend most of my life in this living room! Well now was the time to gather absolutely everything I had and we walked, up hill, slowly and continued on to the highest part of the whole damn walk. NEVER have I been so glad to see a trig point and in the distance a little hamlet - there be beer!

Twice Brewed Beer - Carrie Gault 2018

Oh boy, I shall never understand how we got through that day but I do remember the taste of victory in a local brewery/pub when it was over. Then we caught a bus to our next hotel and I slept, it was like Odin sleep, haha.

Much love
Carrie x

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Hadrian's Wall Path (Part 1)

little by little snail - C. Gault 2018

I still can't get my head round it; this time last week Andrew and I were walking into Newcastle upon Tyne in the baking hot sunshine, finishing our epic hike along Hadrian's Wall Path. 

But, slowly going through the multitude of photographs I took each day, it is starting to seem like the evidence is there...we did it! 

We did it our way too...neither of us believing in the idea that you must do every little bit (even when it is on dangerous roads or through swamps) as quickly as possible in order to deserve the accolade of being a real hiker and earning our badge. The glorification of hardship and suffering is just not healthy!

Heck it was hard enough as it was..and one's health problems don't stay at home when on holiday; you can't leave them at security either.

Here are the first two hiking days via some of my favourite photographs 😊

Day 1  Bowness on Solway > Carlisle

Bowness on Solway, Hadrian's Wall Path Start/Finish Arch - C. Gault 2018

Our first day's hike from Bowness on Solway to Drumburgh - C. Gault 2018

Carlisle's stunning city gates - C. Gault 2018

Day 2  Carlisle > Newtown

Gorgeous day, Carlisle town hall - C. Gault 2018

Hiking from Carlisle to Newtown - C. Gault 2018

Beautiful covered pathway to Newtown - C. Gault 2018

Hope you like the look of our adventure so far. I'm trying not to overwhelm you with photos or we'd all be here all day, haha. Oh Gosh, I took so many.

Love and hugs, see you soon.
Have a great weekend
C xxx

Friday, 20 April 2018

Buds and Spuds

Hello my lovelies, hope you are all well and have a nice weekend planned --- Hurrah for Fridays!

Beech tree buds unravelling - Carrie Gault -

Today is actually a quite nice and bright day here, so I went outside with Toby and looked about the back garden. I LOVE it when the Beech buds open up, they are so beautiful, definitely one of my most favourite trees. Then I was surprised to find the Acer I had been worried about is looking heavenly = two sights that have put a smile on my face 😀

Acer coming into full leaf - Carrie Gault -

I checked in on the seedlings Andrew planted up a while back and the Sugar Snaps are now too far ahead, oh this weather is so changeable! It's sad to compost new life but we will simply have to plant more seeds direct when we get back from our walking holiday. The leeks and spring onions seem to be in a good position though which is nice. I think most things are simply going to be later this year.

A few seedlings -Carrie Gault -

But let me tell you about last weekend. We finally planted our beautiful Sharps' Express potatoes spuds); after my accident I guess I forgot all about it. This year we are yet again doing them in large tubs as it's just so darned easy to tend to and takes up much less space. Plus the harvesting has proven itself to be so simple and cleaner. Fingers crossed for a good batch again.

growing spuds in tubs - Carrie Gault -

Lastly, after the silliest and most cliched of allotment related injures to myself last Saturday... I stood (twice, for good measure) on a rusty nail that was poking up from a rotten plank. *Blush*  I am glad to report I have healed up pretty well. The hiking holiday is still on 👍

Antrim Area A&E - Carrie Gault -

Hugs and love
Carrie x

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Allotment celebration

 Me : Now we are ten.
You : Who's ten; what do you mean?
 Me : Our allotment is 10 years old today.
You : Oh my goodness, where has the time gone? You don't look old enough to have a 10 year old!
 Me : *blush* Thank you...

Oh my good grief friends, I can't quite believe I am writing this post. Andrew and I were talking about going to the allotment for the afternoon and suddenly I was reminded that it's the plot's anniversary. 

Back them I didn't know what a blog was and so we had a scrapbook - old school style. Here are some never before shared photos from that happy book...
early days- Carrie Gault -

Gosh it really seems like yesterday when I think back to the day we visited our marked out rectangle of land with Maggie. We were the first in the field to dig a square and look at the soil below, I took pictures of a strip of green grass and Maggie had a pee = it was ours, we had claimed it in person and via the paperwork, haha.

Simultaneously it feels like forever ago, haha. We have worked so hard on that little patch of land and had so many triumphs and 'learning experiences'. We made good friends who sadly have left the site by now, mainly through illness or shear disheartenment. But still we battle on...(sometimes we do wonder why though)

Have a look at the plan for 2018 - It's rough and unattractive but still, it is what it is...

The plan 2018 - Carrie Gault -

I LOVE you all, we're off to the plot
Carrie xxx

emergency room - Carrie Gault -

Later.... For the very first time in 10 years I suffered an allotment related incident today - I stood, twice, on a rusty nail that went nice and deep into my foot = a wonderful few hours waiting in A&E for a tetanus injection and wound dressing. We're only home now at 8pm. What a wick birthday celebration. 
Bring on the wine! 🍷

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Actions and Consequences

At what point does challenging yourself turn into a destructive act?

It's been a while since I could even venture near this blog; a good while since I could write or even think a sentence of coherent words that might try to explain what's been happening with me. For some weeks now I have been a wreck, physically and sadly, mentally too. I have done a few good long weekend walks (in the freezing cold) but the effort has l taken it's toll and my week days have been a muddle of sleep and trying to stay sane.

Without giving my private issues air, things are really not good and I have had to visit my GP, my mental health team and get blood tests done. New medications have been added to my regimen and I could basically open a chemists shop!

Don't get me wrong - the walks have been good, I have managed them well and visited some beautiful places off the beaten track that have been glorious. However, with the Hadrian's Wall Challenge coming up we have decided to augment our route and make it a more rounded experience - less of the boring bits of the trail (by the highways etc) and more lingering in beautiful historic villages and the many museums along the way.

To keep you up to date here are the practise walks we have been doing every weekend. They've all been between 10 - 12 miles and in very sort of weather, bar warm and pleasant, haha.

1. The extended version of the Dungonnell Way which we did in -2 degrees with a wind chill of - 8 = is wasn't very pleasant! I took one photo, just one.
Toby in the hailstones - Carrie Gault -

2. Section 2 of the Moyle Way which is in the middle of nowhere; we couldn't even hire a taxi to take us up there. Pure BOG = one very mucky pup!
Moyle Way 1- Carrie Gault -

Moyle Way 2 - Carrie Gault -

3. The much more civilised North Down Coastal Path with toilets and cafes and towns. An easy walk but hard on the feet.

Groomsport - Carrie Gault -

Towards Bangor - Carrie Gault -

Bangor to Holywood - Carrie Gault -

And 4. A section of the Causeway Coastal Path from Ballintoy to the Giant's Causeway which included some bouldering action that was fun.

Arch at Portbradden - Carrie Gault -

In all cases I would recommend my Hubby's Instagram account to be fair, he was much more into the 'memory capturing' than I was -

Lots of Love
Carrie x

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Magic moments

We had a very sneaky little 50 min attack on the plot again recently, whilst the sun was shining and the sky was blue. Naturally it was all about the weeding again but it was great and as it's dark, pouring and cold today, I am super glad we went.

plot 24a - Garrie Gault 2018
Nice day for a potter :)
Andrew raked all the weeds off last seasons sweetcorn and squash bed and I tackled the blueberry bed, which was much harder. His bed was all little surface weeds whereas mine was (and still half is) full of tougher weeds, grrr. It may not look like much but a trug load was removed from here of almost-in-flower dandelions (and their roots) and a lawn worth of grass! I also had to tackle a few massive slugs - it defies reason how some of the blighters get just so huge.
blueberry bed, plot 24a - Garrie Gault 2018
Messy blueberry bed
BUT this morning was even more exciting - it's hard to believe, I know. We got our delivery of seeds - beautiful little bags of hope, wonder and food stuffs to eat. Hurrah! It took the sellers a bit longer to get them to us and they apologised and sent some extra packets as we've been on tender hooks. But now the imagination can run wild and I can get one of my extra special plans drawn up - I know how you love them, haha.
seeds arrived in the post - Carrie Gault 2018
Toby inspects the seed order - all is correct
Quote from this blog 3rd March 2015
"So what can one do when one is so very impatiently waiting for the bloody weather to get it's act together? One plans, schemes and makes colourful drawings of what is going to happen once someone changes the sky and injects me with dangerously nuclear grade caffeine."

Nothing changes eh?

out of focus I know but I was so excited to see the garlic poking through I couldn't steady myself

Love and hugs

Monday, 12 March 2018

The cat is out of the bag

The sun is out, by Zeus, the sun is out! 

I was just outside with Toby and we both just seemed instantly happier; *disclaimer - we were both asleep 30 mins ago and I awoke rather glum and still feeling defeated. BUT the back of the house gets the sun and all the song birds and it's almost like heaven out there. So here I am writing at the dining table (that never happens), surrounded by bits of vacuum cleaner and rubber gloves etc supposed to be doing housework - but stuff that!

I have no news from the weekend - it was a minefield of mental health disasters and I stepped on every one. BUT today I received a 'Buddy Box' in the post - Andrew keeps surprising me with them - and it was full of things so pertinent to what we are up to next month that I have decided to spill the beans.

We are walking The Hadrian's Wall Path, all 84 miles of it!

It's going to be a huge challenge and I am trepidatious at moment alright, but we are doing it, one step at a time. It's all been arranged for months now and as the days draw closer we are building up our walking, mid-week and hopefully every weekend from now on.

Andrew knows the route, every twist and bend, every pub to stop at along the way, the large Roman sites and even the emergency exits if I can't take it any more. He has even sorted out my wardrobe for me and has the days planned so there is plenty of time for resting and letting the old brain take it all in, and the double vision settle a little.

We are doing this for ourselves, it's our Summer holiday but I would also just like to put it out there that I would like very much to raise some money for The Blurt Foundation along the way. In time I will have a 'go fund me' page and if you have a spare quid (dollar, euro etc) it would be phenomenal if you could help me out. 

Blurt is not associated with any religion, government body or charity - it's just an awesome social media movement that aims to help everyone learn and understand about depression and other mental health issues in a friendly and empathetic way. It has helped us so much this past year and especially me. It empowers me to practice self care, to not be so damn ashamed all the time and to speak my truth.

Oh I have so much to share with you about the path, our plans, our kit etc. There will be a lot of beautiful hiking days to blog about before then though and I guess I need to focus on that first!

Love and hugs

P.S. We have our seed compost at the ready and shall be getting started soon - eeek!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The wind blows cold

March then. So it arrived with a bang, a larger than life HELLO and not a terribly friendly one. Sadly, as with many people, hopes and plans have recently been dashed by the freezing weather and snow/rain.  (Honestly, though it hasn't been bad in Carrickfergus and I am very aware of just how lucky we've been.)

The famous Dickens quote has sadly yet to ring true. But it will....

As we didn't get hiking or over to the plot this past weekend we made plans about them instead (and watched films under a cosy blanket). The best thing to come out of it all was our seed order was made online and now we both feel a little giddy, waiting for them to arrive.

I've done my usual 'Things we plan to grow' page now so you can see the varieties here :)

I'm dreaming about 100% germination, no nasty bugs or diseases, of skipping home with oodles of lovely organic food to eat and oddly, of a new shed - oh how I would love a spanking new minimalist shed.

Love and hugs
Carrie xx

P.S. I am still feeling rather vulnerable and exposed after my last post. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read it and thank you so much to those of you who left comments here and on my Facebook page xxx

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

So it's like this

tete-a-tete daffs  - Carrie Gault 2018
Always look for the happy
I can barely talk never mind read or write when I'm going through a really bad patch in my mental health. The confusion and forgetfulness about even the smallest things such as how to have a shower, eat or follow a story line on TV is so upsetting. The self hatred and anger towards myself is overwhelming and very destructive. This has been the story for the whole of last weekend, well, the very tip of the story.

Mental illness is like a cancer, utterly destructive, exhausting and invisible to others bar the side effects.

Luckily, with a lot of support, sleep and zero activity I have slowly crawled out of the monstrous depths.

If I may, let me explain a little further. I have chronic depression, acute generalised anxiety disorder and BPD. Which means I get anxious and depressed over nothing and frequently hear screaming in my head and sometimes mumbling voices. I'm paranoid often and completely doubt myself in everything I do.

And top of that there is the issue of my permanent double vision. The confusion, head and back aches and oh yes, every step could cause a fall or injury. I can't even safely go out alone.

That's the tip of my ugly truth iceberg. Boy do I feel exposed and vulnerable right now.

But give out, give up, give in? No WAY, this is, for better or worse one stubborn girl right here and I WILL keep showing up for myself.


Friday, 23 February 2018

Quick mid-week allotment attack

Andrew usually gets home from work after dark and at the weekends, as you know, we are hiking and then recovering and doing house stuff. Naively we always hope we'll get good weather for more than one weekend afternoon but this has yet to happen. So all this has lead to a slightly neglected plot. But *insert triumphant laugh here* no more my friends...

plot 24a - Carrie Gault 2018

This week we were very lucky that Andrew could make it home a little bit earlier on Wednesday and we used the time to attack the plot. 40 mins of furious weeding and covering a bed in black weed suppressing membrane, tackling some of the paths, lifting produce and buying our new rhubarb crowns = an overwhelming feeling of success. So much so that as the sun disappeared we could be found in a local cafe with a coffee and a bun to celebrate getting stuff done.

new rhubarb for plot 24a - Carrie Gault 2018

There wasn't time to move any of our rhubarb from the other plot (14b) that we gave up last year, sad times as whatever variety is was, it was thriving. This time round we have 2 varieties and we know their names, so we can be geeks and test out which one gives a better yield, ha ha; science.

 * Glaskins Perpetual  -  Sadly I can't find any information about Glaskins on the RHS website, anyone out there got it? Is it fabulous? I forgot to bring the plant tag home with me so I can't even read what the supplier says about it.

 * Victoria - Is mentioned on the RHS rhubarb page, phew. The information reads - 'Late, cardinal red stalks with flecking at top. Red flesh tinged green. Very thick stalks. Popular old variety.' 

Let's just hope that in time they give us lots of lovely rhubarb for crumbles and compotes and to share with loved ones - that's what it's really all about, right?

I also lifted all the remaining beetroots (boltardy) and brought them home, yummy! Obviously this photo is not 'in the field' as it were but today, when I thoroughly washed them. In the process of which I found two, yes 2 New Zealand Flatworms getting intimate, argh. Andrew 'dealt' with them quickly and let's just say, they are no more.

We also still have a huge supply of leeks in the ground.

Beetroot from plot 24a - Carrie Gault 2018

So here's the 'after' photo and I look forward to clearing all the other beds. It's beginning to feel a bit Spring-y here (dare I say it) and we're starting to think about what seeds we need and where everything will grow this year. Walking around the field just a little we saw that many of the abandoned plots have been taken over and people have started to lay down plastic (including the one next door). Though it's sad to see some people we really liked give up, we welcome the newcomers and hope they know what they're in for!

plot 24a - Carrie Gault 2018

sunset at plot 24a - Carrie Gault 2018

Carrie xx

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Queen of the Glens (Hiking the Ulster Way)

The weather gods offered us a nice hiatus from the recent dreariness on Saturday and we grabbed it with both hands (and paws, Toby was there too). It was too good a day not to hike and boy we crushed those miles like crackers under our feet. The sky was blue, there were but wisps of cloud, and it was the perfect temperature to walk hard but not get sweaty.

It's about time we started to get serious about longer stretches again; something big is coming up at the end of April and we need to be ready.

Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018

Time to cross off some more of the Ulster Way and see an area we thought we knew but didn't. Driving through somewhere is nowhere near the same as walking it and seeing its beauty up close, it's hidden friendly inhabitants and beautiful sense of place. For a start off we were walking from the sea (away from the crazy ducks and geese of the beach car park) and up into the sky in what has been declared as 'The Queen of the Glens' -  Glenariff.

Glenariff hike Viewranger map - Carrie Gault 2018

Waterfoot to Glenarrif Forest Park and back again by way of the lovely Laragh Lodge for a wee pint = 9.5 miles. The terrain being river bank mucky grass path, lots of quiet road and then pine needles under foot (and the reverse). I got to try out my new backpack which is fabulous and fits me perfectly and we both had managed to get great wee breathable windproof jackets in the sales - awesome!

Really this post is just a great way to show how gorgeous our wee country is...

Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018
The start of the walk, behind a housing development
Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018
sheep and the right hand side of the Glen

Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018
How's this for a living room window view :)

Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018
Entering the Forest Park area and the view back (left side of Glen)

Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018
lunch break and the view down to the sea

Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018
returning from whence we came

Glenariff hike - Carrie Gault 2018
idyllic Irish scene and back to the river walk
So there we are - a walk in photos and I know there are a lot here but I have parred back as much as I can. It was a great hike 😊 and I was still able to breathe at the end though I could barely see (shakes fist at double vision!)

Here are the stats but please note they are skewed as we didn't turn the app off over lunch or our cheeky pint.
Glenariff hike Viewranger stats - Carrie Gault 2018
Love and hugs
Carrie x

To discover more about this stunning area click here - - The 9 Glens of Antrim