Guy

Guy Vowles, author of Guy's Rambles and creator of The Palladian Way, The Ross Round & Cape to Cape

I expect that there are some walkers who start from ‘the cradle’ but most like me, probably start later in life, after more arduous sports.

My main sport, Golf, wasn’t very arduous, but very rewarding, until my handicap started going up, and up, and up…until the game became too frustrating and not at all enjoyable and so the clubs went up in the loft and there they have stayed!

My first long distance walk was The Cotswold Way which I did with a good friend in my early 40’s. The hundred miles took us just over 6 days which wasn’t at all bad, considering I reckoned, there was about 10000 feet of ascent. I later heard that this was actually 14000 feet and the route, now a national trail has recently been measured with a GPS and it comes out at just under 16000 feet of ascent, which makes it one of the most exacting in the country.

When I took early retirement from my business in the timber trade, I had more time, and walking became my major interest, just ahead of Tennis, Bridge, collecting Antiquarian maps and books, and last but not least ‘Pub Hunting’.

Indeed friends often ask me: ‘Which is the more important the pub or the walk? I normally reply ‘It’s a very close run thing!’

After The Cotswold Way, I completed a number of other long distance walks including my all time favourite:  The Offa’s Dyke Path and and The Cambrian Way, which crosses nearly every mountain range in Wales with over 50000 feet of ascent, definitely the most demanding walk I shall probably ever do!

It was on The Coast to Coast walk that my friend Vivian Cowle pointed out that Wainwright said, at the end of the book, ‘You don’t always need to follow in my steps- get out a map or two- and sort out your own trail’

So we did! And instead of John of Groats to Lands End we walked from Cape Wrath to Cape Cornwall. This took us nearly five years in weekly stages. The walking down the western side of Scotland was really interesting and since the whole route is logged, it may yet make an interesting book!

It was after this that I joined The Long Distance Walking Association (LDWA) and although I don’t particularly enjoy their challenge walks which I find rather too competitive I have made a number of new friends and greatly enjoy the long social walks. It is almost worthwhile being a member just to receive their magazine ‘Strider’ which is published three times a year and has a wealth of information in it’s 100 plus pages.

They also publish a comprehensive handbook covering details of all the long distance paths in the country. Two of my walks, The Ross Round and The Palladian Way, are in the latest edition as well as on the LDWA website.

 

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  1. I’d love to have details of the two sections of the Wyche walk between Bodenham and Malvern. I live in Stoke Lacy and have walked several times most, or all of the way between Stoke Lacy and Pink Cottage where my daughter lives on the Malverns. Each time I have taken different routes.

  2. Hi David,

    Good to hear from you and delighted to hear of your interest. You may have noticed that the trail is not due to open until the middle of September. I shall be starting the waymarking during July and August. The full colour book will be available at the launch of the walk at The Kington Walking Festival on September 17th and will be selling at between £7 and £8.00. I have the walking script all done and also my cartographer has done the maps although they are not on my system yet.

    Were you wishing to look at these two stages before the official opening? and would you like to reserve a copy of the book in advance. If so, I could send you the script for these two stages but you will have to trace them out on an ordnance survey map Explorer No 202 & 190.

    Hope that this is all helpful and that you may enjoy the trail.

    I’ve sent you an email too in case you don’t get this reply.

    Best wishes,

    Guy

  3. Hello Guy, I too enjoy creating walks between two points-they have been between cathedrals to date but I’m really excited to hear about the Wyche Way and have pencilled in a date in early October to walk it with some friends-would you be able to tell me which Explorer Maps I would need?

    • Hi Margaret,

      Good to hear from you. The trail is opening on September 18th although not all of the waymarking will have been done by then. There will be a fully illustrated book with maps available for the opening at a likely cost of between £7 and £8.00. This can be ordered through the website in September and will be signed and delivered FOC. The stages are shown on the website description but I will be only too pleased to help with any other queries.

      The relevant maps in order of moving from Kington are EXP 201, 202, 190 and OL45. You do know that you can now use latest technology from OS to print out A4 pages. When you get the book you could then sort that out.

      Can I kindly ask where you come from since we have several other enquiries about walking the trail already. Look forward to hearing from you again. Best wishes Guy

  4. Would it be possible to see an early copy of the route you are proposing to take from Mathon Church to Cockshot Hill? Thank you

    • Dear RS,

      Thanks for your interest. Hopefully you have seen my replies by email with more information. Please let me know if you have further questions?

      Regards,

      Guy

  5. For those of you who previously commented on the Wyche Way you might be interested to know the book is now available to buy here:

    https://guysrambles.co.uk/2015/09/16/get-your-signed-copy-of-the-wyche-way-now/

    Guy

  6. Dear Guy,
    I hope this finds you well. My wife and another couple are looking for another LDW to do in stages in 2017. We live in London and they live near Wincanton so the Palladian Way looks ideal, geographically. This year we did The Ridgeway over 3 weekends so we’re hoping to complete your Palladian Way over 4 weekends, one each quarter.I’ve ordered your book. Best wishes,
    Tony H.

  7. Hello Guy,

    This query reminded me of the lovely time we had on the Wyche Way two years ago. I have plenty of photos, if you need any. last year we completed the second half of the North Wales Pilgrim Path and this year I’m planning to do the Cumbrian Way-Happy Walking,

    Margaret Clewett

    • Hi again Margaret,

      Thanks for the note on my website and you certainly keep busy with new LD trails. The North Wales one is particularly interesting to me since I was involved nearly twenty years ago with a very good walking friend who came up with the idea for a LD walk across Wales from the NE coast down to St David’s in the South East. This was to be modelled on Wynford Vaughan Thomas’s horse ride book called ‘Madly in all Directions’ and was to be called The St David’s Way My friend was then a working solicitor and could only spare a few weeks a year for the recce. I wanted to blast across the route on my own to see how it might work out but he said I was trying to take it over. In the end we did several bits from either end but since we didn’t want to do the whole thing on tarmac we had to take to rather obscure footpaths. The Start, from Point of Ayr and down to St Asaph was a foretaste of the later difficulties and ultimately after nearly a year of frustration I gave it up.

      Best wishes for this year and do keep me informed on any other new projects you have.

      Guy

  8. Hello Guy, I am an experienced older long distance walker, hoping to lead 4 twentysomethings along the Wyche way this July as a fundraiser for our disability support charity DASH Hillingdon.
    We are hoping to camp for cheapness and adventure, so wondered if you have any advice about this ?
    Many thanks in advance,
    Peter S
    (One of the team of three to complete Hereford to Rome 2008)

    • Hi Pete,

      Thanks for your note and this is certainly an interesting project to do. I am going to have to have a look at my OS maps for the route and look at the possibilities. I am assuming that you are mostly thinking of ‘Wild Camping’ albeit with permission of the landowner(s) Certainly you will have a problem on any of the land on or around The Malverns which comes under the jurisdiction of The Malvern Hills Conservators and most of The Cotswolds is AONB which may all present problems. However, all is not lost and I am a great believer ‘in anything is possible in this world’

      I will come back to you again within a few days. Best wishes Guy

  9. Hi guy,
    I am thinking to doing the Palladian Way as I am semi retired live in Buckingham and my doctor daughter lives in Bath!
    Does the book have all the amendments? How many days did it take you ? And does it follow the Cotswold Way ?
    Cheers
    Roy

    • Hi Roy,

      Thanks for your interest in the PW and delighted that you are thinking of walking it. I published the book some five years ago when I was a lot fitter and walking longer distance so suggested then that the 120 miles could be done in eight stages. It doesn’t coincide with the Cotswold Way at all and in many areas it does not coincide with any other trails at all. Subsequently I have found that many groups have been taking 10 days or longer still, The route is predominately flat fot the first hundred miles but then passes through lovely hilly country down into Bath where the finish is definitely more scenic than the finish of The CW.

      I walked the whole trail again last year and have put a host of amendments and extra suggestions on the website which can be found on this page. I should be delighted to help with any further queries that you may have. Best wishes Guy


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