T minus 1 – don’t get into trouble

After going to the wrong Decathlon and trudging through daytime hectic Barcelona to purchase a couple of things from big city Decathlon, namely a Opinel knife and Camping gas.
The days biggest event occured – smuggling newly bought gas and knife on ‘fast train’ their security checks and airport style scanner first involved the ticket person saying ‘put knife in your pocket so police don’t see’…. I winged it with the gas and it went through the scanner – all innocent smiles at security and walked as fast as I could away from them without looking suspicious.
I feigned idiot tourist and damsel without a clue marvellously.
Their security is clearly pants……
Ahead of tomorrow’s start getting arrested would have been amusing 😇


Almost there……….

Tomorrow is the start of my adventure across Spain.

Well sort of, I fly to Barcelona and will get supplies then all being well I shall set off on the Friday from the head of the GR2 which is around 100 miles, starts close to Jonquera and finishes at Aiguafreda.

Then I will link up with the GR5, GR172 and finally meeting up with the GR7 all the way to the Sierra Nevadas and then onto the coast and El Morche, my final stop.

The distance is around 1100 miles in total.

I shall be using a Spot Tracker and the adventure has the aptly named Gabrielle – North to South of Spain. Catchy hey!


My kit is packed….just about squeezed it all in.

I am using a Lowe Alpine Eclipse 35 litre.

My pack weighs just shy of 10kgs without food or water, heavier than I wanted but without an unlimited supply of cash I have had to opt for cheaper and therefore bulkier/heavier items.

  • OEX Phoxx 1 man tent – 1.58 kgs (have tested it once)
  • Eurohike 4 season down sleeping bag –  1.12kgs (borrowed from a friend)
  • Quecha hike sleeping matt  – 480 grams
  • Quecha X-Light down jacket at 380 grams (amazingly warm)
  • Patagonia waterproof overtrouser 250 grams ( a present bought for me 8 years ago)
  • Montane minimus waterproof jacket 230 grams
  • Ice breaker leggings – 200 grams (bought 5 years when I worked for Snow and Rock and still ace)
  • Veho Pebble Explorer powerbank – 192 grams
  • Kovea Backpacking stove – 190 grams (bought in New Zealand in 2002 and still works!)
  • Ice breaker long sleeve -1 50 grams (bought 5 years when I worked for Snow and Rock)
  • Spot Tracker – 147 grams
  • Alpkit gamma headtorch – 118 grams (I won’t be doing much at night aside from cooking so this works just fine with it’s 88 lumens

So 5.1 kgs….the rest is  100 gram bag of nuts, 8 x bars, pan, spork, folding cup, spare batteries, spare headtorch, first aid kit, windproof jacket, 2 x long sleeve top, 2 x short sleeve top, 2 x leggings, 4 x socks, 2 sport bras……………

You get the picture I am sure, I am someone who likes to hold onto things for as long as I can or until they break. I for-see me getting rid of a few things will may make a difference, but all part of the fun is finding what works.

Aiming for Christmas in Montserrat Natural Park.




Places I (hope) to pass through in Spain

So next Wednesday I fly to Barcelona.
After stocking up with supplies I’ll hop on a bus to near the Spanish border and start my journey through Spain running (often known as fast walking for me).
I’m taking it easy for the first week (injury and illness set back my training) then crossing my fingers I’ll suddenly become some amazing athlete….failing that I’m just going to have an amazing time passing through amazing places with the aim of raising money (£1 per mile would be a bonus) for Cancer Research.
Here’s a list of where I’ll be passing through if you’re interested.

Places I pass through in Spain
If you know of anyone who lives somewhere near to these places then I’d love to meet them…maybe they can join me for a few miles or provide a place to stay, that’d be even acer.
And yes I am nervous  Doing it for a good cause though (see link to donate)


Also can be found via Spot Tracker either search for Gabrielle – North to South of Spain or click this link for (hopefully) live tracking.

Spot Tracker. Gabrielle – North to South of Spain

Cancer…..it’s a bit shit

My mother was told she had Breast Cancer in July of 2004, her first comment to her Dr was ‘that’s a bit shit’, and then she continued to give it the finger until her death in November 2008.

Her decline was met with resistance, sometimes she was graceful sometimes she was more like a stubborn child, always strong though even having the foresight and courage to ask if it was OK to go, accepting death.

Dads diagnosis came in September of 2008 so whilst Mum was ending her battle Dad was beginning his.  Coupled with losing his love of 40+ years the time between her passing and his in May 2011 was the worst time of all our lives.

In that time though I saw another side to my father, a softer side which I had never seen. Up until my mother’s death I had never seen him cry, rarely heard I love you.

From her death a part of him was lost but equally a part of him was set free and had Mum not passed first perhaps I would never have seen that side to him.

The cancer spread quickly in Dad and within 2 ½ years his battle ended, though he continued to think he would always pull through, even joking on his last day that he’d pay anything for some more oxygen….we couldn’t if we did have….that day we thought he had more time.

Cancer does the most fantastic job of messing up a family, breaking down people yet providing insights into how a family works and where the strengths lie.  It really does allow you to focus your attention where it is rightly needed. You cannot shy away from it. It doesn’t go away. My brother and I are healthy, Cancer has taken loved ones yet we’ve come away stronger.

As well as losing both our parents we have also lost a cousin, Dawn, (my father’s sister Jens daughter) to Skin Cancer, she was only 28, after first being diagnosed at 18.

Uncle Peter (my Mothers sister Judy’s husband)  passed away all too quickly from Asbestos related Lung Cancer. Uncle Michael (my father’s brother) from among other things, Lung Cancer.

Cousin Martins father died of Prostate Cancer.

My Mum got it right in her first diagnosis ‘that’s a bit shit’ and also in how she continued afterwards. 

As with the events I’ve done in the past I am going to be raising money for Cancer Research.

Here’s the link if you would like to donate, £1 would do nicely or more of course.


Why Spain?

The whys.

Spain’s GR7 (part of E4) all 1,100 miles (plus some diversions) thoughts and feelings 1 month after saying this is what I’ll do.

Overwhelmed at the prospect of organising and trying to make sense of why I am doing this.

This word resonates strongly with me.

Numinous –
‘Describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted – the powerful, personal experience of being overwhelmed and inspired’

As someone who likes to go with the flow of life, who has very few long term concrete plans trying to actually sit down and come up with the wherefores is actually a big ask.

Part of me wants to do my usual, get out there and see what feels right, yet this is such a big undertaking (at least for me) that I feel I would simply be an idiot if I did that.

The first ‘why?’ is emotional, and relatively easy.

I have a restless soul, it needs constant attention, my heart needs endless amounts of love and plenty of adventure.

It needs to feel free and able to explore.

I crave solace in wide open spaces, in woods that are rarely ventured to and in lakes that I can bathe naked in.

The only way is to simply go off and immerse myself in what my heart desires the most, to have a truly amazing time without the bane of modern day life bashing down on me.

I want to feel the sun on my cheeks in the morning, hear (whilst I still can) the rustling leaves as I run through them, the smell of the air after it’s rained in the mid afternoon, to wake up not knowing what the day will bring and to be excited at that prospect, to make a better me, to see how far I can go.

The solitude, I am never worried of being alone, it’s rare for me to feel lonely.

How can one feel lonely in nature, we’re part of it afterall.

Even with my parents deaths I don’t recall feeling lonely. Heartbroken, sad, lost without them for a while – yes, but lonely no.

My company is just fine. What I fear the most are the details, the how to’s.

Mum felt that in everything I do, I will do what feels the best for me, that I will always be alright.

My father worried I would never settle in one place, he is right about the latter though he need not have worried.

I continue to think this way, mostly, deep down I know life will always be just fine. Wherever I am going is right.

The other ‘why?’ is based on my parents dream which was to drive the length of Spain in a campervan to their new home in El morche on the Costa del Sol.

You may say I should just drive myself. Well, as I currently have no driving licence…..yes 38 and no licence, I thought I’d run it in their memory instead as well as for my pleasure.


I am also trying to raise money for Cancer Research, every bit counts, trust me.


Simple really.

The finer details, the logistics if you like, do need to be set down still, so with that in mind I must crack on for fear of looking like a prize plum and finding myself back on an earlier than planned flight simply because I didn’t forward plan a bit.

Next up, a few more whys? and the all important how’s?

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The idea forms

The idea quickly progresses to a plan…..

So Decembers plans are coming along….out of the 3 three routes I’d been considering it seems the one I thought wouldn’t be that suitable/nice probably is.

The GR7 which forms part of the E4, (6,490+ mile route which weirdly appeals to me) has come up trumps.

My intended route is from La Jonquera, starting on the GR2, north of Girona.

I decided here as though the GR 7 passes through Andorra, I would prefer to start at a lower level.

Then onto part of GR5 and GR172 and onto GR 7 towards El Morche, east of Malaga, this is where the place that my parents left to my brother Alex and I is.

Once I get to the Sierra Nevadas I head on the south part of the G7 before coming out at Arenas del Ray to cross the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama.

It’s around 1100 miles (I expect to get lost a bit).

Aim is for 30km up to 50km a day, giving myself 8 weeks to do it.

With blind faith and bravado I am sure that I will be fine.

Alot of reasons for wanting to do this, lets just say for now that it’s much needed.

I’ll be having Christmas somewhere in the region of Murcia – ace 🙂

Lots more to plan of course in the meantime.

This is my sponsorship page for Cancer Research, every bit helps, trust me.