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Some notes on navigating through the journals
This should be self-explanatory. When you go to one of my journals, there is a 'Table of contents' column down the left-hand side. Click on each link here in turn to see the relevant text displayed in the main part of the window. When you first go to the journal, the first entry ('About the ...') is always displayed.
Almost all the journal entries have a link to a map, covering either the entire route of a long-distance path or else that particular day's walk. The maps come up in a new window - this is so that you can easily refer to the map at any time while you are reading the journal entry. Please read my disclaimer and notes regarding maps before looking at any of the maps.
The journal entries sometimes contain links to pages containing my photos of wildflowers and butterflies. These come up in the same window as the journal, so just use your browser's 'Back' button to return to the journal.
Most of the smaller photos in the journals (all those with a narrow blue border) can be enlarged, simply by clicking on them. Again, these come up in the same window as the journal, so just use your browser's 'Back' button to return to the journal.
Redbourn church, on the Hertfordshire Way
Some notes about the photographs:
I make no claims whatsoever to be a photographer! I just point the camera, snap and walk on.
I didn't have a camera with me on several of the earlier walks, as I didn't decide to create a web site until much later. So I drove round several months afterwards to take some photo's to add to the journals on the site. Consequently you may see trees in autumn foliage for a walk I did in early summer! In all such cases where the photo's were taken at a later date I have added the date to the caption below the photo.
When adding photo's to the journal, I have tried to bear in mind how long it will take to load the page on a slow dial-up connection. So if there are more than two pictures on a page, I have reduced them to a smaller size - however if you click on any of the smaller photos that have a blue border, an enlarged version of the photo will be displayed (these come up in the same window as the journal, so just use your browser's 'Back' button to return to the journal).
I have noticed that a disproportionately large number of my photographs seem to be of churches. This isn't a deliberate preference on my part (although I am interested in the history and architecture of churches). I think that it is partly that the footpath network in a village is very often centred on the church for historic reasons and so the walks go past the church in most villages on the route. It is also partly due to the fact that the church is very often the most interesting building in a village.
Colourful path near Bottom Farm, Ipsden, on Day 20 of my second Chiltern Way walk
Why did I start writing journals?
I started to write a journal when I was partway through walking the Chiltern Way in 2005. I enjoyed writing it, and so wrote a journal for the Cumbria Way which I had also recently walked, and have since continued to write journals for the other long-distance paths that I have walked. The journals serve as a personal reminder of my walks, to jog my memory as I get older. They may also be of interest to other people considering walking these paths.
In general, my journals simply record details of the route, what I see (particularly wildlife and especially birds), how I feel and what I think of the walk. I should stress that much of the factual or historical information that I provide in my journals is taken from the guide book or leaflet that I used on the walk. I always give the details of such sources of information at the start of a journal. As I normally walk by myself, this somewhat reduces the scope of topics my journals can cover - I can't record the comments and witticisms of fellow travellers, or tell amusing anecdotes about events that happen to them.
For many years I have enjoyed reading the hiker journals of people hiking those enormous trails in the USA - the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. Not that I would for one minute compare my little walks to those hikes! I am a walker, not a hiker in the American sense - I don't carry a tent, etc., I go home to a comfortable bed at night, and I don't face the assorted dangers of bears, snakes, raging torrents, waterless deserts, etc., etc., that those brave folk do. Nor do I walk day in, day out, for months on end! But it is those journals that inspired me to write my own, so I have included a few links to hiker journal sites on my links page (Links). My all-time favourite hiker journalist is the redoubtable and inimitable Yogi (Jackie McDonnell), and other favourites are the married couple Spur and Ready.