Friday, 29 April 2011

Dog Blog

This is me demonstrating my stile skills. Lots of practice now we are off the Cotswolds and are on the Severn Way. I am also excellent at getting across streams and muddy bits. I do it several times whilst 'they' giggle and wobble about on stones until one of them falls in, then everyone fusses around - why don't they just walk through it like me? After all, the water won't go over their heads - humans! They also don't understand the cooling properties of mud, especially if it's nice and deep with a little cow poo in it.

I am missing my mate Murphy who walked with me for four days on the Cotswolds. 'They' oohed and ahhed a lot on tops of hills. 'They also insisted we walked on leads a lot of the way - boring.

Me, Murphy and a very snooty dog we couldn't get a word or a sniff out of.

Lots of them walked with me today, all spread out of course, which made my job of keeping them together much mote difficult. Some of them were a bit shy, but I am very good with people and soon had them laughing.

Yesterday wasn't good - bad hair day. I had to be 'combed'. I call it 'tortured'. They even took a photo of it, how sick is that.

On up the river tomorrow- I try to resist the ducks, causes a lot of agro and I prefer to keep 'them' happy.

Cara x

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Murphy's Folk Trail Easter Weekend

 Ready to go?
 Who needs GPS when
 they have us!!

Are you sure you can't join us?

Lie down Ruby, we're not doing a Maypole dance unless they get us a proper maypole and ribbons!

 Just checking onward plans ......

I'm knackered!!  Nobody told me Folk Trail was really doggy boot camp!!!

Looking forward to seeing you soon Cara, lots of woofs,
Love Murphy.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Café Dragons

A special thank you to Paul & Catherine of 'Café Dragons', Athelney. Paul is also being our remote battlefield tour guide!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Royal Albert, Rodborough

Just arrived at The Royal Albert, Rodborough to a lovely welcome by landlords Miles & Lotte.

Sustained on the way by delicious chocolate cake and date & walnut cake made by Anne's mum & dad - yum yum! Also stopped for some lovely Winston's Cotswold ice-cream.

Thank You!

This a blog post to say thank you to all the lovely people who have helped us so far. Katrina Taylor for being generally amazing, buying us cake and being the bravest woman we know by doing some of our horrendously stinky laundry! Alan at The Western Hotel in St.Ives. Anne Kennedy Truscott who also bravely tackled our laundry in Bodmin. Clare for cake and wine at Alternun. Sarah Deere-Jones and Phil Williams of the Cornwall Harp Centre who put us up near Launceston. Paul & Hazel from the Pennymoor Singaround who also put us up (the veggie stew is often dreamed of!). Colin & Chris who drove us around Bath between sessions. Old Down campsite for letting us for letting camp for free. Dave & Tina for bringing us a food parcel including some gorgeous bread pudding. John and Anne Roberts in Dursley for not only walking with us for several days but also putting us up, cooking us dinner, giving us packed lunch and organising a session as well! Also to everybody who has come along to our sessions, walked with us or left us messages of support over the past few weeks.

A special thank you to our drivers; Callum 'Ducky' Brown, Richard Spong, John Lowday and James Whittaker. You are all amazing and we couldn't have done it without you.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

wimps join walkers

Arrived Mon 18th......left Thurs 21st April
Ah yes!
We've just spent a couple of days walking with this lot in Somerset and although we had our suspicions we can now confirm they really are stark raving bonkers.
After two days we limped home with blisters the size of 50p's...well nearly....while the others cruised in at low altitude and barely raised a whisper. The words that spring to mind are 'pathetic' and ' wimps', though , I ( Paul ) did achieve a personal best having walked fourteen and half miles in one go....never to be repeated......please!.... but the nonchalant way in which they slap on a compeed plaster and just keep walking is sickening...I won't print the expletive that springs to mind.

Please don't let this put you off if you are thinking of joining, but just make sure you have no varuccas and have walked your feet in for ten miles or more. ( we hadn't! )
In reality we had a great time, sunshine, beautiful countryside, good company, good music and the odd beer or two......what more could one ask for?

Some lighter moments were the group 'Om' when we saw glastonbury Tor and the 'Wups' at the couple making love on the hillside, complete with juvenile onlookers ( and us ) no photo's please.... thank you.....and then there was the tree hugging and even the ' Hokey Cokey' must have been the heat. There was also a big cheer when Jim Causley gave the walkers a mention in his interview with Mike Harding on 'Folk on 2' ...well done Jim!

We also had some great sessions, Wednesday night was memorable ( hosted by Jock and Bryany )with some cracking songs, we even got to sing ' He's my Brother Silvest'....memories of Roger. What made it better still was the the campsite being opposite the pub, a short limp back to much needed sleep...heaven! Even better as the campsite owners didn't charge for pitching having been told about the walk.

We left with big respect for this lot. They've set themselves a punishing schedule with no rest days and it's not easy. Not suprisingly they get very tired yet seem to keep in good spirits with great support from the current driver John Lowday
who constantly goes beyond the call of duty with setting up camp, lunch stops, cooking, tea and yet more tea! They're each using their strengths in navigation, practical skills, technical skills for I.T. and sound recording or just humour and moral support. They're all losing weight and some can now see body parts they haven't seen for some time...80's maybe?? who would that be??
It seems they've adopted our song ' my trousers are to big ' so we've written an extra verse for them...all will be revealed!

We'll be catching up with them again in Scotland, mid June, maybe we'll get some training in before then.....ouch!.... that was a twenty 'p's worth!
From the ' wimps with the limps'
Hazel and Paul

Dog blog

Greetings to all my canine friends and hello Dolly - why does that ring a bell? You were asking me for tips for the long walk, well most of all you have to make 'them' happy - so lots of big brown eyes (you know the sort of thing). Lay your head on their laps occasionally, roll over frequently.

Next you have to make them laugh, a special skill of mine. They seem to find the way I walk very amusing - very childish but it's wise to humour them. My figure has improved, they say I look like the dog equivalent of Marilyn Monroe, whoever that is. I have had to take my collar in another notch.
My very best aptitude is my ability to climb stiles. I have never been beaten by one yet and 'they' fall about laughing - I could find this demeaning, but I am very good natured. There will be a stile demonstration on the next blog (the Cotswolds only do kissing gates).
Thank you so much Jangles for the lovely pork chewy things. I haven't actually tried them yet - 'they' put them somewhere safe and can't remember where. I of course could tell them but my superior sense of smell is overlooked as always.
Made some new acquaintances in the past few days; Millie, Boycie & Chino, all going the other way.

Chino with his human.

Today I was met by Murphy, a very pleasant, well-mannered companion who tells me he will also walk along with me tomorrow - great to have someone to sniff with.

My mate Murphy and me.

Cara x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A day in the life of the Folk Trail

6:30am - awake to harp alarm. Sleeping bags move (last night's curry). Search for clothes. Moira loses instructions for trousers.

First brave soul leaves tent and puts on kettle. Queue for loos. Scramble for muesli, porridge or hot cross bun (Moira). Sniff milk. Clare furtively moves off with Cara. Returns for poo bag. Cara more bouncy.
Pack up worldly possessions and search for missing ones. Scrape compeed off from bottom of sock. Eventually speak.
Unpack van. Repack van. Dismantle tent. Unpack van. Pack tent. Scrape banana out of backpack (Clare). Decide what day it is, look up where we're going. Look at dwindling kitty box in silence. Hang wet laundry on backpack. Wait for new walkers. Set off at 9am. Run after Chris.

Walk. Walk. Walk further. Ow (stinging nettle). Climb stile. Walk. Kissing gate. RING RING! Answer Folk Trail phone. Walk. Cara no! Walk. Kissing gate. Walk. Splash. Retrieve dog. Walk. Splash. Swear (Moira). Walk. Walk. Where are the others? Wait. Cara no! Splash. Urghhhh! Go away. Wash dog (Clare). Cara no! Walk. Walk. RING RING! Answer Folk Trail phone. Ow (bramble). Walk. See cows. Cara no! Wash dog (Phil). Caaaarrr! (busy road). Look pasty shop!


Walk. Walk. Compeed stop. Walk. RING RING! Answer Folk Trail phone. Walk. Cara no! Walk. Walk. Admire view. Camera snap (Moira).

Walk. Walk. Not there Cara! Oh no. I'll catch you up (Clare). Walk. Arrive at campsite.
Wonderful van! Wonderful driver! Wonderful tea! Remove boots. Inelegantly stretch aching limbs. Excavate tent from van. Put up tent. Set out beds.

Argghh, cold! Argghh, hot! Argghh, cold! Argghh, hot! (shower). Aw no, I've just washed my clean knickers! (Moira). Get dry. Accidently hit shower switch with elbow. Argghh, cold! Argghh, hot! Argghh, very, very wet. (Clare) (fully dressed) (towel now wet). Suppress swearing (children within hearing).

Help/hinder/obstruct chef. Eat (bliss). Wash up. Dry up. Pack up cooking gear. Attempt laundry. Feed tumble dryer. Feed tumble dryer again. Curse tumble dryer. Give up on tumble dryer.

Download last night's audio recordings from zoom 2 (Moira). Download last night's audio recordings from zoom 4 (Moira). Download last night's video recordings (Moira). Attempt to remember to type up last night's session book (Naomi). Fail (Naomi). Attempt blog (Clare and Naomi). Hurry up, we're late for the session! Abandon blog. Pack up van. Pack in dog. Search for session venue in van. Park van in tiny street. Block tiny street. Extract instruments from deepest recesses of van. Lose van somewhere legal. Stagger into session (slightly late) "What kept you?!" Smile sweetly. Return to van for collection bucket (Clare). Set up recording gear. Save recording gear from spilt beer/shanty men/mass bodhran band. Sit if possible. Drink. Fantastic session!!!! Lovely hosts. Meet old friends, make new. Last orders. Session continues.

Gather scattered instruments/coats/bags/archiving equipment/people. Pack van. Pile in van (Cara no!) Return to campsite gone midnight. Scrabble for toothbrush. Attempt to find toilets in dark. Fall over wet boots/laundry/dog/people. Sleeping bag found. Search for pyjamas. Give up. Zzzzzzz.......

6:30am - awake to harp alam. Sleeping bags move....

The Folk Trail Team x

Monday, 18 April 2011

Dog Blog

In case you've been wondering where I've been they banished me from the walk for a couple of days. I trod on a piece of broken glass, don't know what all the fuss was about but as always they knew best!

Back on the trail Saturday, just in time to say goodbye to my mate Harry. He has to go back with his owner, typical! I missed him for a bit but it's good to have the back seat of the van to myself, not to mention my dinner! He was always nicking mine and I didn't like to say anything. Got my own back though when I ate his ibuprofen sandwich.

Met a great little dog today called Lulu, haven't had as much fun in years. Tried to get her to come along to John O'Groats - nearly succeeded too, but you've guessed it, owner power again. My lot were no help as usual.

Hope you like our portraits,
Cara x

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Our first night in Somerset was freezing! As Clare said, "We're not in Devon anymore, Toto..." Despite the cold and the misty morning we are all in good spirits and have been making up silly songs inbetween wading across boggy footpaths and climbing overgrown stiles!
We have a night off tonight so hopefully we can find some Internet and upload some pretty pictures and a few proper blog posts. (I'm writing this one on my mobile phone as I walk!)

Naomi x

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Dog Blog

Harry and I greatly appreciated the good wishes of Jangles in Bristol. We were wondering when someone would notice that we were part of this walk.

Cornish cow poo is very good – more effective than badger poo to keep away the humans as you can get it on thicker. However I only succeeded once. It was followed by a very undignified bath in a trough. Next time I found a bath of my own to get into and had to hang around in it whilst everyone took photos. They are so easily pleased.

Having a bath
I am managing reasonably well without my armchair though my mate Harry gets the best bed on the van seat. Just in case you don’t know what we look like we have persuaded Moira to put up a few photos.

The humans just love me...
I would like to send my regards to my Italian cousins (Spinone) unfortunately I don’t know the lingo. However, I met an older relative today – a very handsome dog also born at Kevarda in Cornwall.

Cara x

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Early days

I started writing this entry sitting in a coffee shop in Penzance eking out an Americano until the laptop batteries die.  I’m Callum, the driver for this expedition and I’m going to stay with the walkers until sometime around the 11th.  On Monday life was good; I spoke to the walkers at about 11:30 and they sounded in good spirits with fresh pasties for lunch.  I had been sitting in the youth hostel working before popping into town for some lunch, shopping, more work and a chance to explore Penzance.  So far the group has had a session in Sennen to kick us off, a very hairy walk back from Sennen (accross a rocky beach in the dark without enough torches), two days of solid walking behind them and a wonderful session with the folk club in the Admiral Benbow, Penzance.  I’ve been stuck under the shelf in the back of the van, climbed over all the luggage in the top of the van and decided that dog beds are too good for dogs (I’m now sleeping on Harry's dog bed).
The view of Hayle Towans heading for Godrevy Head

The session on Sunday night in the Benbow was wonderful; mostly people shared songs, with a few tunes and even a story mixed in. Before we left our hosts presented us with a Cornish flag and a teddy decorated with ribbon and named Ben Bow. Ben now sits proudly on the front seat of the support bus keeping me company as I drive around the interesting roads of Cornwall. After a night at the local YHA hostel the walkers set off on their walk for the day.  They managed to beat me to the hotel we were staying at in St Ives – the Great Western Hotel – probably because they didn’t sit around in Penzance drinking coffee!
In the Great Western followed a very different session – predominantly rock and blues singing.  We were treated to an original composition about the slowness of local decorators (like Gideon) who are coming ‘dreckly’.  Other highlights included Moira’s complete failure to eat a profiterole cleanly (video evidence may be uploaded), some really lovely beer and a welcome from Allan (the hotel owner) and a cooked breakfast from his wife in the morning. The chance to sleep in a proper bed did wonders for those of us who didn’t have to sleep on the floor.
Yesterday gave us much merriment, particularly in Gideon’s rendition of ‘the Spaniard who Blighted my Life,’ complete with audience interaction, vocal backing, prop use (washing up bowl and walking pole) and a complete and utter disregard for his own dignity (and the dignity of those around him).  If anyone knows where Gideon left his dignity, or has some way to get it back to him then please get in contact on twitter (@folktrail) or email ( Gideon would probably appreciate more really stupid songs.

The road near Chasewater
Now we are sitting in our tent in the campsite near Truro. We have started using the Soul Pad tent – it sleeps 12 at a push so is very comfortable for the 8 of us.  I set it up this afternoon by myself – took slightly more than half an hour to get it all done. Tonight the plan is to have a (quiet) session and get some photos to upload – watch this space! The only slight disadvantage of one big tent is that if the ground is sloped, we all end up sleeping in a pile (like a basket of puppies).
For now I’ll say goodbye – feel free to phone (07867 995027) us about anything at all, but don’t be surprised if no one knows which lottery numbers to pick tomorrow, or where you left the car keys (mine are still on my belt loop where I left them!). We will continue to blog whenever we can – internet connections etc are hard to come by.  Naomi is keeping twitter up to date via her iPhone, but the blog posts need a laptop screen. Thanks for reading; our route and session plans are elsewhere on the site ( and we’d love to see you!
Goodbye for now
Callum (Ducky)

Lastly – our contacts again:
Tel: 07867 995027
Twitter: @folktrail

Friday, 1 April 2011

And we're off...!

Am currently sat in the back of the van with John, Callum, Moira, Clare, Phil and Cara the dog just south of Okehampton. Phil did a great job of organising the packing of the van, despite Moira and myself appearing all the time with random bags and instruments!

The sun has just come out so hopefully we will be able to get the tents up before it rains, but that may be wishful thinking - it is Cornwall after all! Really looking forward to the session at the Old Success in Sennan Cove this evening, the first of many, many more!

Naomi x