How do you finish a story that feels so unfinished?

This is the question I just asked myself.

The basis of the story is my parents. I wanted to have a grand trip across a country on foot, they loved Spain so I choose there. During this I hoped to raise some money for Cancer research. All pretty decent reasons.

I was a traveler of sorts for pretty much all of my 20’s so it didn’t seem to much of a stretch to take 8-10 weeks out of my life in the UK. No matter that I was about to turn 40, it’s funny what shapes you and therefore stays with you.

Now I see that I was under-prepared, my ego carried me for the first part and then I just clung on and soaked up all the help I could get, unashamedly.

It’s been a month since I had to abruptly holt the North to South Spain trip with only 3 days till the end.

I was a prize plum (kindest word I could use) and dropped my phone in a pool.

There are loose ends and I need to make amends somehow. The phone was just a tool but a necessary one. Lesson learned.

Maybe then the trip was just a prelude to something else. It could be that was the first chapter even.

Since finishing I’ve been consumed with getting things ready for the sale of a property I inherited with my brother when our parents passed. This was also one of the aims of the venture of mine, to sell this place.

The residing feeling I got from the journey is that people are inherently kind, a smile goes a very long way when language is a barrier.

The beauty of Spain stays with me as do the people I met.

Do not take your phone in a pool…and have insurance.

One of the last photos of me being a ‘prize plum’



Back to it.

In 4 weeks time I will fly out to Barcelona and (re) start the North to South Spain trip.

To say that I am nervous would be an understatement, I am also a bit ill at the moment which is rather reminiscent of how I started it in December 2016.

Though the Tooth saga is still ongoing I am crossing my fingers that nothing major will happen during this trip this time.

Basically I am starting with a ( false) sense of bravado coupled with nervousness and the feeling of why wait any longer life is too short. It’s a heady mix, not helped by the cough medicine I am currently taking.

I have chosen to start on the border of Andorra at a small town of La Seu D’Urgell rather than the GR2/GR5 which I did before. The route follows the GR7 which later joins up with the E4 (European 4) route. Approximately 1,700kms. The last 50km will take a route from Jayena through the Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama over to Competa to end up on the Torrox Costa.

This all sounds rather easy yet I am pretty certain it won’t be. For those who wonder why I say why not. The other reason is for Cancer Research a massive thank-you to those who already donated from my previous attempt, it’s nice not to start from £0.

Here’s a link to the route GR7/E4 if you’re interested via Traildino Spain

This description is the opposite direction to which I am doing it, plus I shall not be going as far as Tarifa…maybe…it could happen but it’s not in the plan. Plans change.

The end point is El Morche where I shall end up in the apartment my parents left to my brother and I. It’s not the nice white apartment block it’s the one to the left of it (right as you look at picture).outsideelmorche



The end for now….. New teeth needed

There are days missing which I will post soon.

But here’s today’s update……

So I caught the train from Montserrat to Barcelona after hiking across Mont Obac from wild camp spot today.


A beautiful warm day blighted only by the continual pain on the left side of my mouth that has continued to get worse these last 5 days.

Arrived at Placa Espanya went to pharmacy on Aragon who recommended a dentist around cornor called Vitaldent.

Off I went to dentist.

Saw nurse first who assessed how quickly I needed to be seen.

Within 15 minutes I was with a very kind and nice dentist who did an Xray and check up.

He said what I kind of thought.


Root is infected, baby tooth needs to come out as it’s dead and will likely have another reinfection.

Better to have it out sooner rather than later.

And kind of looked worried when I said I wasn’t planning on going back till March.

He felt I should probably have both baby teeth out, I have two but only one is bad at moment but makes sense to take both out and pull adult ones down.

Will maybe wear a brace for 2 years while teeth grow into place.

Anyway, he was nice and wish he was my dentist.

He did it for free, gave me prescription for antibiotics to help reduce infected aréa.

That only cost €4…. I kind of want my teeth taking out here 😀

In a nutshell then I coming back to UK tomorrow.

So after 12 days of crossing from Aquallana to Montserrat, I’ve covered 145 miles and about 24,500ft of ascent.
Averaging thus 12 miles ish and 2000ft ish a day.

Slept wild on 6 nights, 3 nights at a ‘real’ camp site, one of which at Les Preses Camping natura the manager Pere let me stay in social room, 1 night in a village hall and yoga with Crystal included and shower the next day at lady called Ainhoas house. 1 night on Christmas Eve, cyclists James’ Mums flat and 1 night in a Hostal.

In that time I’ve met some lovely people Oskar is one of them (he helped me find a place on Christmas day, phoned and checked available room then checked that I was OK once at hostal).

It is these kind acts that have made this trip, without these people, including the dentist who saw me for free the journey wouldn’t have been as special.

Thanks to them I go back to the UK with memories that make me very happy and also have raised a few hundred pounds for Cancer Research.

This will not be the end. I plan to come back and start where I finished….but hopefully with better teeth 😀😀😀.

Ups and downs.

The struggles. Highs and lows. Too many, emotionally and physically.

Some days I’ve felt wrecked before I’ve even started, wanting to stay in one place and let the day pass me by.

Whereas others I’ve felt so alive, I see the days adventure spreading out before me and I want to go at full speed.

There is often no rhyme or reason to these feelings and sometimes there is.

The literal ups and downs provide the physical challenge, some ups my body has relished some most definitely not and the same for the downs.

I get quite confused at how some days all is well and others not.

This morning for example I was a mess. I wanted to stay wrapped up in the duvet after treating myself to a rest day the day before.

I cried as I left the village. And then as the day went on I found solace again.

It could be the struggle between knowing I’m safe and not knowing where or what was going to happen.

That unknown has made me halt so many times. I used to think I craved that, now I question ‘do I really?’

The answer is both. A little bit of each. Enough to feel free and enough to feel safe. I just haven’t figured out how far I can go to get that perfect mix.

This route is challenging, I am going too slow to know whether I’ll be able to finish my original plan.

I’m behind by 150 miles, this is playing on my mind alot.

I need to decide on what’s best for me and for what I intended to do.

Which is a journey in my parents memory and to raise money for Cancer Research.

Does down grading distance covered become a failure or does it show an understanding of what is good for me now?

These are of course but a few thoughts thus far but ones I must address soon.

The highs have been many.

Each place I pass I now have happy memories of.

That’s down to people and the environment.

I have been met with wary eyes that are soon followed by welcoming smiles.

Sometimes the land I walk on feels like it’s doing the same.

Eyeing me up then just when I’m about to turn my back it opens up to stunning vistas and breathtaking beauty.

I am happy when I can stop to appreciate the small things I see. It is tricky when time is not on my side but I am trying.

I guess that’s all one can do really, try.

Almost ready…almost

Tomorrow I fly to Barcelona. As always things seem to be done at the last minute. Thus I feel ‘almost ready’ .

I also am aware of how comfortable I am with my life now. It’s been good to feel like that, my job was with lovely people and my relationship has become stronger.

The question for me is why leave now.

My only answer is that I need to know what adventure feels like again if only to say yes I did that. It’s tough though leaving. Really tough.

I am not physically as ready as I’d like but that will build I’m sure.

It’s probably just a case of getting to the start and moving forward that will put me in the right mindset.

On that note here’s the plan and all the places I aim to pass. gr 7 places

And here’s what I am taking, I need more food…i think 🤔 probably will give a few things away as I go….do I really need a hairbrush.

Yes all of it fits into my 35l pack 😃

When plans change.

Today I was due to fly back to Barcelona to start, again, the North to South run, amble, trip thing.

Plans change, life happens, and I’ve found other things to hold my focus whilst still keeping in sight my original plan.

Since returning after a short stint running along the GR2 (La Jonquera to Aiguafreda) and part of GR5 (Aiguafreda to Montserrat) I’ve had to think long and hard about what to do, what is the right thing.

Given that I gave everything up to do this trip I came back into uncertainty, it has not been pretty, it’s been rough.

I’ve had days where I’ve felt completely lost and have hidden myself away in my own self pity.

Spending time trying to get yourself on your feet is not an easy task when the reason you are in the situation is mostly down to your own choices. Looking at yourself and owning the mistakes you made is like looking in the mirror after a really heavy night of debauchery.


Don’t get me wrong, Spain wasn’t a bad choice, but how I went about it was far from perfect, I hurt someone close to me. I don’t believe in regrets, I chose to go, I picked my path and I live with that.

Obvisouly I couldn’t have forseen the tooth saga, seriously the last thing I thought during a run of 1100miles across mountains and plains of Spain is teeth being the reason I didn’t finish.

Lots of work to be done to pay for new teeth…..whatever work comes my way I am taking it (within reason of course).

Going back to basics again, starting afresh. Moving out, new job, new friends. Building myself back up, figuring things out along the way.

Still the fact there’s an empty seat with my name on a flight today makes me a little bit sad.

Stuff happens. Onwards.

The tooth saga….an update.

Yep the tooth saga seems never-ending.

I want to be able to smile without feeling embarrassed, it’s lovely how I’ve noticed that I smile a lot, instinctively but it’s awful how I hold it back more and more.

After having to come back from Spain to have a baby tooth out in January I have been planning to get back to the trails and start again next month, April.

Over the course of the last few weeks I have been having increased ache/pain in my mouth around the area that the baby tooth was removed.

Previously my dentist had said that I had an adult tooth above which I knew about anyway but it’d never shown signs of wanting to actually be where it should so I’d never worried about it.

Until the baby tooth had to come out.

It’s been 3 months to the day that I had the baby tooth out and today I went back due to the aforementioned ache I am getting.

X-ray done, he confirmed the adult tooth is now on the move, sadly however it is not going in the right direction. It is pushing onto the tooth next to it, the ache  is due to movement but also pressure.

He’s referring me to the Maxiofacial department at the local hospital…..this will take 2 to 3 months.

I will have to have the adult tooth, that is now coming down incorrectly out, it’s unlikely the Orthodontic team would want to use that adult canine tooth.

It may be that I will also have to have the tooth (incisor) that is being pushed onto out also.

This will leave me with two gaps from my front teeth, the left canine and lateral incisor

The possibility is to have two implants fitted, bridges are not a viable option due impart to the nature of the teeth and the load they take and also that I over-bite slightly.

I could go private, have that time reduced, tooth/teeth taken out and a nice pair of implants put in, but this will cost in excess of £4000.

NHS would be about half of that but a far longer wait.

So the reason I say all this, one for your information but also it means that Spain trip is being put on hold until this is sorted out. My money is being spent on my mouth.

Of course I am hoping that I will be able to go sooner as opposed to later, for now though I will aim for September with the vain hope I have brilliant and amazing set of teeth by then and I can smile with utter confidence again.


Plans formulating – again

A little update.

I’ve still not had my tooth replaced…just too darn expensive. My kind friends say I look fine, I still get a shock however whenever I catch see myself in a mirror or a picture smiling.

That all said it may well be that I shall re-start the trip sans new tooth simply because I just can’t see the point right now. It’s priority has lessened.

The flight is booked back to Barcelona for the end of April, the weather will be kinder and the places more hospitable with shops actually being open.

Instead of starting where I finished, in Montserrat, I have decided to actually get to the E4 and use the GR7 route that runs from the border of Andorra/Spain. The route I’ve chosen starts right by the Runer River.

I’d wanted to do this originally but December wasn’t the right time of year hence why I started on the GR2 and did some of GR5 back then.

The plans are coming along despite the funds being, well lacking, I am a bit worried about this and part of me has thought why not just work through spring and summer then head off in September, it’ll still be nice then still.

As I am currently on borrowed hospitality I feel that I shouldn’t be pushing my luck with it….this attitude may change I just find it hard to rely on others for extended periods.

So the plan so far is to start in April, journeying through Spain in May and finishing at the very beginning of June in El Morche.

That’s the plan.

This is the little bit of the start from Andorra/Spain border

bit of the start



The kindness continues.

Day 6, 22nd December.

Leaving the campsite Natura I decided hiking up from Les Preses to take a cycle path for around 5km.



I was full of pastry and general happiness at the last night as had met such lovely people. Sleeping in a ‘social room’ rather than outside in the pouring rain plus have a heater to dry stuff made the world of difference.

The cycle track finished at Sant Estee d’en Bas and the I wandered towards Hostelets D’en Bas before starting to do the climb up towards Falgars den Bas.

1 mile up and 1500ft (500metres) and I was at the top of the limestone cliff at Falgars d’en Bas.

Someone slightly mad had made that route up. Ridiculously steep especially with my pack.

The day was chilly but beautiful, though rain was on the horizon so I hurried (as much as I could with my pack to Pruit.


The area at the top of the cliffs is open pasture, a rolling countryside plateu that just seems like another world.

The signs aren’t so great and I soon end up a bit lost, I spy a road of sorts and head towards it, realising that I’m actually far from where I should be.

My mood darkens as the clouds come over. Timely. Though there’s a rainbow on the horizon, always hopeful.

I find a fountain (font) fill up and trudge on, wondering what to do as my plan had been to get to Rupit that day.

The land around as I said is pasture mostly, cows and sheep take up the vast space.

I start to get forlorn, thinking I need to find somewhere to sleep. The rain has stopped after an hour but darkness is coming.

At 5pm I opt for climbing a fence and descending just off the road to camp around some bushes.

I don’t feel safe but it’s the best I can do.

The night goes fine despite my heavy mood.

I  not bothered by anything or anyone.

Day 7, 23 December somewhere near Rupit to Vilanova del Sau (aka friendliest village ever)

Waking up to a clear yet chilly morning I make sure I’m in my way just after sunrise at 8:30am to Rupit, which I know now is 2miles away.

Getting there a bakery is open, I’m relieved and my mood perks up, amazing what food can do.


Into the village centre I go in search of wifi as I need to know if the next place has shops open for more food.

I find a cafe that’s open, and am welcomed by the Owners Laura and John. They make a space at the table next to the fire then go about asking what I’m doing which is tricky as my Spanish is bad and Catalan is worse.

They have WiFi so I use Google translate…. Technology is wonderful sometimes.

Laura, let’s me charge my phone and we try to communicate as best we can. I am thankful for their openess and I would love to stay longer by the fire but must go.

So I set off, a short uphill back to the cliffs and it’s not long before I am greeted by the best views so far.

It’s amazing. I’m on a plateau, green pastures that rise and fall gently opposed by the abrupt and jagged edges of the cliffs to the other side. Mile after mile of cliffs, some rounded others sharp and jutting.

All steep yet teaming with life, birds swoop around me going about their day as they should.

If I were to stop here I’d be happy.

I continue, smiling, talking to myself, happy with the day and the general feeling I have.

Passing just 2 hikers I make my way to Tavertet.A small hamlet on this amazing plateau. Everything quiet and closed, I stop for a spot of lunch. Find another fountain, a regular thing so far in Catalonia are the fountains and the water is good.

I chat briefly with a man with his dog, or rather he chats to me about the route down as I nod and try to understand.

The way down is superb, fun single track that skirts the cliff edge, zig zagging through the oak woods passing boulders and overhanging rock.

About an hour after I’m at the reservoir Peunta de La Sau. It’s around 3 pm and the sun is low thus giving such an amazing colour to the cliffs that I am sure my grin is bigger than my face. It’s just lovely. There is no-one around.

The silence is so beautiful, it matches the surrounding area perfectly.


I climb up again, after crossing the damn bridge up some steps and then take a route that leads to a road for a bit till I see the Gr2 again and follow a forest track that gently descends to a stream almost stopping at what looks like a kids camp site, make shift shelters next to the route, tempting but I continue which I’m glad I did aa two guys on motor cross bikes pass me not long after.

It’s 5:30pm now and the night is here, I spot somewhere but it’s so close to the next village I have my doubts. So I wander to the village.

Vilanova de La Sau.

A pretty village above the reservoir. A bakery is still open and I ask about places to stay. The lady (Eva) asks her daughter (Paula) to translate and says there’s nothing open but the local town hall may be able to let me stay in there.

So I see Juan the local major I guess and he let’s me use the room for the night. An hour later I’m part of a yoga class led by a French lady called Crystal, much needed after 6 days hiking.


Crystal then gives me her takings from the class for charity.  I’m taken aback and almost so no. The kindness of people is strong here.

I meet a lady called Ainhoa who had Cancer at 37, 2 years ago.

The next day (Friday) she has opened her home to me, to shower and have breakfast. I am continually amazed by how lovely people are. How kind strangers can be.

It is touches my heart. ❤

#kindnessofstrangers #villanovadelsau #northtosouthspain #bestvillageever