More Lands End to John O’Groats Challenge Postcards and Run Down Under progress
March 1, 2021
LAND’S END to JOHN O’GROATS VIRTUAL CONQUEROR CHALLENGE
I have never visited the British Isles, so when I started this challenge I didn’t really have much of an idea what Land’s End actually looked like. But recently I found a video series about walks in Cornwall and Devon on YouTube, hosted by Julia Bradbury, and one of the videos featured the Land’s End area. So I have included that video below for visual information on the area around Lands End.
Since the previous post about the Lands End to John O’Groats Virtual Conqueror Challenge I have been doing on my Kickbike, I have past the following waypoints and received postcards.
7th February 2021: Bournemouth
“Bournemouth James, home of golden beaches and quiet refinement. Or is it? You might think that Bournemouth has its roots in late Georgian gentility, but before Lewis Tregonwell founded it as a health resort in 1810, it was a hive of activity for smugglers.
The Victorian architecture is notable, including three Grade I listed churches, with theatres and two art deco cinemas joining the holiday accommodation in the early twentieth century. Bournemouth’s architecture is not without controversy – the locally-loathed Waterfront Complex gained the sobriquet ‘Most Hated Building in England’, and was demolished in 2013 as part of a television programme.
Thriving nightlife and frequent festivals covering art and music help to give Bournemouth a year-round holiday feel.” (From postcard email).
11th February 2021: Salisbury
“Salisbury is one of the most history-rich towns in England. Long before the Romans arrived and settled in Sorviodunum, the various old-English names combined with archaeological finds implied settlement as early as Neolithic times, over 3000 years ago.
Invasions and loyalties read like a roll-call of conquering armies – after the Romans, the Saxons took over, falling to the King of Wessex in the 6th century. The Vikings had a try at occupation, but King Alfred (he of the burnt cakes) restored fortifications, and Salisbury – or Sarum as it was then – was safe until the spectacularly-named Sweyn Forkbeard sacked and burned the town in 1003.
The town shifted location a little in the early 13th century, moving to its present site – construction on the cathedral began, and the market (still held every Tuesday and Saturday) was given its charter. Salisbury was – and remains – an important centre for the arts, with Handel’s great friend, James Harris, directing concerts in the Assembly Rooms in the 18th century.” (from postcard email)
11th February 2021: Stonehenge
“Stonehenge is one of the most instantly recognisable sites on your journey. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Stonehenge was actually constructed in several stages, the first around 5000 years ago. The earliest part of the monument itself was connected with burial of the dead, as evidence of cremation has been found around the Sarsen stones. However, although not part of the monument itself, there is evidence of an even older site of ritual significance nearby – four or five pine posts had been erected in an East-West alignment and left to rot; these are a staggering 10,000 or so years old.
There’s also evidence of wooden structures being part of Stonehenge throughout the 2000 or so years that construction and possibly even change of use continued – what is perhaps most remarkable is the great distances the stones were brought to the site from; the Marlborough Downs forty or so kilometres to the north is far enough away, but the famous bluestones could only have come from the Preseli Hills in Wales; six times the distance from Stonehenge.
No one knows what Stonehenge was for; it was probably equal parts ritual site, shrine, and burial ground. Since a significant number of burials either suffered deformity or injury, it probably also served as a place of healing. They also travelled a long way to get here – scientific analysis of remains indicates origins in France, Germany, and even the Southern Mediterranean. It would appear that Stonehenge’s worldwide fame is nothing new.” (from postcard email).
14th February 2021
On this date, I rode the Tumburumba to Rosewood Rail Trail as part of this challenge. The Tumburumba to Rosewood Rail Trail is one of the newest rail trails in Australia, only completed in 2020. And the Kickbike ride on that day was my longest Kickbike ride so far. For information on that ride, go to my Jim’s Model Trains blog.
21st February 2021: Oxford University
“You may be feeling more scholarly now you’ve arrived at Oxford University – did you know it’s the second-oldest surviving university in the world?
Although we don’t know the exact date of foundation, records exist as far back as 1096, meaning that Bologna University in Italy officially beats Oxford to title of ‘oldest’ by a mere eight years. Not to be outdone, Oxford scholars insist that there are documents proving that teaching began in Oxford as early as 825, but these have never seen the light of day.
If further proof were needed that academics like a squabble – either amongst themselves, or in famous town and gown disputes – Cambridge was founded after a bust up between some scholars and the locals in 1209, forcing them to move north-east. Oxford still don’t let Cambridge forget that they were there first.
Unlike modern university campuses, Oxford is a series of 38 independent colleges, each self-governing and with their own rules and activities. Although seen as prime examples of male privilege, the late Victorian period saw the foundation of two all-female colleges, and by the middle of the First World War, women were completing medical training at Oxford on an equal footing with their male counterparts. Famous – and infamous – alumni include Sir Walter Raleigh (who left without completing his degree), and most British Prime Ministers of the last hundred years or so.” (From Postcard Email).
25th February 2021: Stratford-Upon-Avon
“You’re walking the same streets as William Shakespeare. There’s much more to Stratford upon Avon than Shakespeare, however – with Anglo-Saxon origins, the town was already a thriving population centre by the time the market charters were granted in 1196.
Shakespeare’s house itself is still there in Henley Street. Bought by his father in 1556, the bard was born there eight years later, and Shakespeare descendants continued to live there for over a hundred years until his granddaughter, Elizabeth Barnard died in 1670. She left the cottage to Shakespeare’s great-nephew, Thomas Hart, and the property remained in the wider family.
Unusually for Victorian renovations of historical monuments, Edward Gibbs’ restoration took the house closer to its original Tudor structure than it had been for some time. Today, it’s next door to the Shakespeare Centre, which opened in 1964.
Theatres and Stratford go back a long way too – celebrated 18th century actor David Garrick built a wooden structure for a Shakespeare Jubilee in 1769, not far from where the modern-day RSC Theatre stands now. Together with The Swan, built on an Elizabethan theatre model, and The Other Place, Stratford has some of the finest acting spaces in the UK.” (From Postcard Email).
RUN DOWN UNDER VIRTUAL WALK / RUN CHALLENGE
Taking part in this walking challenge reminds me of a saying I read on Pinterest:
“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time”.
It seems I have the time! Since the start of this challenge I have walked from Canberra through Sydney and am well on my way to Brisbane with Newcastle well and truly behind me as I slowly make my way ‘virtually’ up the NSW north coast. I have travelled in this region between Newcastle and Brisbane a number of times on the train before, and we once had a family holiday around Barrington Tops National Park which is in the mountain ranges to the west of where the challenge has taken me, but that is about the limit of my exploring the north coast region. Some achievements and places of interest I reached in this exercise challenge since leaving Newcastle are:
8th February 2021: Forster
“Forster is a coastal town on the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia, located about 300 km north-north-east of Sydney. It is known for its stunning waters & the beauty of the Manning Valley. The town is named after William Forster, who was the 2nd Premier of New South Wales who later served as Agent-General in London. The first post office in Forster opened on 1st day of October 1872, John Wyllie Breckenridge being the postmaster earning a salary of £10 a year. Attractions in or near Forster include Bennetts Head Lookout, Cape Hawke Lookout, Booti Booti National Park, and the John Ward Rainforest Walk.” (Source: Wikipedia, Tripadvisor)
On 12th February2021 I reached 300km walked for 2021, and a total of 626km since starting the challenge.
25th February 2021: Port Macquarie, NSW
“The site was first visited by Europeans in 1818 when John Oxley reached the Pacific Ocean from the interior, after his journey to explore inland New South Wales. He named the location after the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie. Oxley noted that ‘the port abounds with fish, the sharks were larger and more numerous than I have ever before observed. The forest hills and rising grounds abounded with large kangaroos and the marshes afford shelter and support to innumerable wild fowl. Independent of the Hastings River, the area is generally well watered, there is a fine spring at the very entrance to the Port’.
In 1821, Port Macquarie was founded as a penal settlement, replacing Newcastle as the destination for convicts who had committed secondary crimes in New South Wales. Port Macquarie, with its thick bush, tough terrain and local aborigines that were keen to return escaping prisoners in return for tobacco and blankets; provided large amounts of both isolation and hard labour to keep the criminals in control. Under its first commandant, Francis Allman (who was fond of flogging) the settlement became a hell, where the convicts had limited liberties, especially in regard to being in possession of letters and writing papers, which could get a convict up to 100 lashes.
Now days – Port Macquarie is a retirement destination, known for its extensive beaches and waterways. The town is also known for its koala population, being the home to the Billabong Koala Park, and the Koala Preservation Society’s Koala Hospital, caring for koalas injured through bushfire, dog attacks and collisions with vehicles.” (From email received on completion of segment).
At this point in the challenge I had walked more than 700km as part of the challenge, and had about 530km until the next capital city, Brisbane, is reached.