What do midges eat when they can’t get hobbit? Posted by Sylvia 2406 days ago

Day 110: 0
Day 111: 2.5 miles
Day 112-114: 0
Day 115: 4 miles
Day 116: 1 mile
Day 117: 0
Day 118: 3.2 miles
Day 119-121: 0
Day 122: 1.4 miles

Total Distance: 113.5 miles
Total Distance Remaining: 283.5 miles

My walking has been interesting over the past fortnight, if sporadic. I’ve shown my mother around Mijas Costa and walked all over Gibraltar, so instead of my normal 1-2 miles a day, I’ve tended towards longer treks. Unfortunately, I then decide that as I walked so far, it is OK to rest for a day or two or three, so that overall, my mileage is no better than it has been on previous weeks. A short walk every day seems to be my best route towards ever completing my 400 mile trek.

It’s slow going now as Bilbo and co make their way along the deserted countryside beyond the Forsaken Inn. My chart from the Eowyn Challenge (Hobbit Bag End to Rivendell) says that they pass the east edge of the Chetwood with scattered farms to the south and the Midgewater Marshes begin to appear to the northeast. The Midgewater Marshes are the lowlands between Bree and the Weather Hills and their next interesting scenic stop will be Weathertop.

This image is of the later adventure party, Frogo, Samwise, Pippin and Merry, as they try to cross the Midgewater Marshes en route to Weathertop in order to avoid the Nazgul. Bilbo had no such concerns and so his group stuck to the Great East Road. Possibly once the Hobbit comes out as a film, I will have more images for these long quiet treks – although I have suspect that the script will shorten this first stage of the journey into a few minutes.

I wish I could!

The Last Inn Along the Great East Road Posted by Sylvia 2417 days ago

Day 101: 2.2 miles
Day 102: 2 miles
Day 103: 0
Day 104: 0.6 miles
Day 105: 1 mile
Day 106: 0
Day 107: 1 mile
Day 108: 2.2 miles
Day 109: 1 mile

Total Time: 109 days
Total Distance: 101.4 miles
Distance remaining to reach Rivendell: 295.6 miles

Bilbo and friends continued downhill along the road going through the Chetwood and stopped to sleep at the Forsaken Inn, the last inn on the Great East Road. We are leaving civilised lands behind us now.

I found this beautiful charcoal image on deviantART. It is by neral85 who includes this description from the book:

“An inn that stood to the east of Bree, on the East-West Road that ran on through the wilds of Eriador and into the distant Misty Mountains. It must surely have had very few customers indeed on the bleak and dangerous road where it stood. Bilbo and his companions probably stayed at the Forsaken Inn on their journey to Rivendell.”

You can view more of neral85’s art inspired by Middle Earth in his Tolkien Gallery.

Camp Next to a Trail Leading North Posted by Sylvia 2427 days ago


Day 92: 0
Day 93: 2.1 miles
Day 94: 2.3 miles
Day 95: 0
Day 96: 1.5 miles
Day 97-99: 0
Day 100: 0.6
Total Distance: 91.4

This was a quick trip, I only needed six miles to get to my next waypoint but it took me realising that I’d done 100 days to push me into doing that last little bit.

At Mile 91, Bilbo and co. camped on Bree-hill, next to a trail leading into the Chetwood. They would have been near Archet although I have no recollection of this area from the book. I’m looking forward to rereading the Hobbit soon. It will be interesting to see how my view of his journey has changed based on my own walking.

I do know Chetwood and Archet in a slightly different context, both locations were important in the computer game by Turbine, The Lord of the Rings Online.

That made picking today’s image easy. The above is actually a screenshot from the PC game, showing the in-game path into Chetwood.

A Late Night at the Prancing Pony Posted by Sylvia 2436 days ago

Day 81: 0

Day 82: 1.9 miles

Day 83: 1 miles

Day 84: 0.6 miles

Day 85: 0

Day 86: 3.38 miles

Day 87: 0

Day 88: 0.5 miles

Day 89: 0

Day 90: 0

Day 91: 1.25 miles

Total Time: 91 days
Total Distance: 84.9 miles

I’m calling that 85 miles. So sue me.

85 miles is the total distance that Bilbo and the dwarves covered from Bag End to the Prancing Pony in Bree. I failed to find an image of the Prancing Pony that isn’t focused around Frodo dancing on the tables. I did discover that “Bree” is the name of a porn star who has lots of explicit photographs online. They were interesting but not particularly appropriate for this blog.

Instead I decided to these stamps as shown on Once Upon A Hobbit. They were released by the Royal Mail using images by Tolkein (and the map, which is by his son).

The Barrow-downs Posted by Sylvia 2447 days ago

I’m trying to pick up the pace again but it is very hot in Spain in July. I really should make a point of going out in the evening. It’s been 80 days since I’ve started this project and I’ve walked 76 miles.

Day 71-72: 0
Day 73 1.7 miles
Day 74: 0
Day 75: 0.6
Day 76: 2.3 miles
Day 77: 1.6 miles
Day 78-79: 0
Day 80: 4.5 miles

Total mileage: 76.3 miles

Distance remaining to reach Rivendell: 320 miles

Bilbo and friends have camped at the end of the Old Forest and are continuing east at what the Eowyn Challenge calls a leisurely pace. The most western slopes of the Barrow-downs appear far to the south.

This pencil sketch of the Barrow-downs is by Radu Gaciu. I found this image on the Rolozo Tolkien collection.

The Old Forest is Now Quite Close Posted by Sylvia 2456 days ago

Day 54-56: 0
Day 57: 0.6 miles
Day 58: 1.6 miles
Day 59-60: 0
Day 61: 1.7 miles
Day 62: 1.2 miles
Day 63: 1.2 miles
Day 64: 2.5
Day 65-69: 0
Day 70: 1.6

Total Distance: 65.6 miles

Yes, it’s true, I am still in the Shire. The Hobbit Bag End to Rivendell mileage chart shows us at a camp next to the road with the Old Forest in view. Bilbo and company camped next to the Road here. According to The Hobbit this was Day 6 of their journey, less than a week from that fatal day when Bilbo ran out of the house without having finished his Second Breakfast.

The photograph today is of the set of the Hobbit. This is to be the set for the marketplace of Bywater, where the Green Dragon is located. This is the location that I passed on my Day 6 of the journey, some 60 miles ago.

I’m currently on Day 70. Gollum will have died of old age before I ever make the Misty Mountains.

The High Hay Posted by Sylvia 2473 days ago

I’ve been somewhat lax lately and deserve glaring at.

Day 38: .5 miles
Day 39: 1.5 miles
Day 40: 2 miles
Day 41: 0.65 miles
Day 42: 0.9 miles
Day 43-46: none
Day 47: 2 miles
Day 48-52: none
Day 53: 1.5 miles
Total: 55.2

Bilbo and the dwarves passed the High Hay at mile 55.

Shire (Middle-earth) – Wikipedia

The hobbits living in Buckland grew the “High Hay”, a tall hedge to protect Buckland from the nearby Old Forest to the east. The Hay forms the eastern border of Buckland, running from the Brandywine Bridge in the north to the confluence of the Withywindle with the Baranduin near the village of Haysend in the south. The main entrance to Buckland from the north is provided by a gate in the Hay, called variously the Buckland Gate, the North Gate, or the Hay Gate, located “where the Hedge runs down to the river-bank, just this side of the Bridge,” opening onto the East Road from the Shire to Bree.

Today’s image is a gorgeous detailed map of the Shire is by Daniel Reeve: artist, calligrapher, cartographer

Brandywine Bridge Posted by Sylvia 2487 days ago

Day 29: 1 mile

Day 30: 2.3 miles

Day 31: .27 mile
(I was going to take the day off but I had to rescue the cat)

Day 32: 1.3 miles

Day 33: 2 miles
(actually 1.5 mile walk and a swim in the sea)

Day 34: 0.6

Day 35: 1.5 miles

Day 36: half a mile

Day 37: 1.6 miles

Total distance: 46 miles
Total remaining: 351 miles

This means that I have reached the Brandywine Bridge where Bilbo and the dwarves stayed at the Bridge Inn. The Bridge Inn was later demolished by Sarumen’s soldiers and replaced with a guard house.

There’s a strong argument that the Ribble Valley is the setting for the Shire and a journalist did his own walk through Middle Earth to find the landmarks.

Ribble Valley Borough Council – The Tolkien Trail – a Journalist’s Perspective.

Across the bank is the imposing Elizabethan pile of Hacking Hall, which is Brandy Hall in the book, and Mitton Wood, the dark, conifer groves behind it, which became the start of the Old Forest. Head north following the River Hodder (the Brandywine River in the book) and pass an earthen mound which, in the book, becomes the long barrow which swallows up Frodo. At Winkley Hall Farm the path turns inland, winds through the farmyard and crests a rise. Before you is Stonyhurst College in all its stately splendour. Before heading to it, take a quick detour to Tolkien’s Brandywine Bridge, which takes his Great East Road (the B6243) across the river. It’s really Lower Hodder Bridge and, beside it, is the ominously named Devil’s Bridge, the three arches still standing. Its sides removed, it said by Cromwell so that he could get his carts over as he went about subjugating a local Catholic stronghold. (At Stonyhurst, Cromwell rested – sleeping, the story has it, in full armour on a table. The table is now on display).

Today’s image is a beautiful photograph of Lower Hodder Bridge in the Ribble Valley by Joe Dunckley.

Woody End Posted by Sylvia 2497 days ago

Elves in the Woody End, by Ted NasmithDay 21: 0.6 miles
Total distance: 23.75

Day 22: 2.97 miles
Total distance: 26.72

Day 23: 2.01 miles
Total distance: 28.72

Day 24: None

Day 26: 1.6 miles
Total distance: 31.72

Day 27: 1.7 miles
Total distance: 33.42
Treasure found: a seashell

Day 28: 1.45 miles
Total distance: 34.87

Total distance: 34.87 miles
Total remaining: 363 miles

My mileage chart at Hobbit BE to Rivendell has the following for Mile 34 (on Bilbo’s Day 3 at a leisurely pace but I prefer not to think about that):
See the trees of Woody End across the fields to the south. Camp.

Forests of Middle-earth

Woods in the Eastfarthing of the Shire. The Woody End was located at the eastern end of the Green Hill Country. The Stockbrook flowed northeast through the Woody End to the Brandywine River. The Stock Road from Tuckborough to Stock passed through the northern edge of the Woody End, and a lane branched off the road to Woodhall, a village in the northeast corner of the Woody End. Pincup was a village at the far western end of the Woody End.

Today’s image is a bit of a cheat as the location is right but the scene is actually from the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo, Sam and Pippin met the Elves in the Woody End by Ted Nasmith: Elves in the Woody End, by Ted Nasmith (from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien)

I’m just starting to grasp how far Bilbo actually walked. At the moment I feel like I might be stuck in the Shire forever!

Frogmorton Posted by Sylvia 2503 days ago

Day 19
Distance: 3.35 miles
Calories burnt: 450
Terrain: coastal
Total distance: 22.15

Day 20
Distance: 1 mile
Terrain: urban
Treasures found: Exciting nutty muesli at the shop
Calories burnt: 150
Total distance: 23.15

…which is the mileage at which Bilbo and co. reached Frogmorton.

That means for my virtual journey, I’m still in Eastfarthing which means I’m still in the Shire. Surprisingly, this has been quite motivating for me to do longer walks because I really would like to leave the safety of the Hobbitlands and get the chance to re-experience some of the adventures with Bilbo and the Dwarves.

I have only just realised quite how far I have to go – the Old Forest is still 50 miles away! I don’t remember the first stages of the journey taking this long; I’ve decided I need to reread the Hobbit to refresh my memory.

The image is a gorgeous watercolour from Rabbit Ridge Art in Colorado and is a rendition of the Rolling Log Inn at Frogmorton.

The Great East Road Posted by Sylvia 2509 days ago

Day 11
Distance: 4.1 miles
Location: Gunpowder Park, Waltham Abbey
Total distance: 14 miles
Day 12
Distance: 1.6 miles
Location: Gunpowder Park, Waltham Abbey
Total distance: 15.6
Day 13 & Day 14: None
Day 15
Distance: 1 mile
Location: Mijas Costa
Total distance: 16.6
Day 16
Distance: 1 mile
Location: Mijas Costa
Total distance: 17.6
Day 17: None
Day 18
Distance: 1.2 miles
Location: Mijas Costa
Total distance: 18.8

Only 5 miles to The Floating Log in Frogmorton.

Following along the journey of the Hobbit, Bilbo is already somewhat tired of his journey as they make their way along the Great East Road. This ancient road leads through the Shire and Eriador and probably all the way to the Grey Havens. We’re still in Hobbit lands here and our next stop will be Frogmorton.

At first they had passed through hobbit-lands, a wild respectable country inhabited by decent folk, with good roads, an inn or two, and now and then a dwarf or a farmer ambling by on business. Then they came to lands where people spoke strangely, and sang songs Bilbo had never heard before.

I couldn’t find a good image of the East Road in these relatively safe lands, the artists were all much more interested once it had become a much more wild and dangerous place.

Instead, today’s image is of Bag End which Bilbo is already greatly regretting having left behind.

The drawing is by Alan Lee and if you are considering purchasing me a Christmas present, then this would be a good bet: The Hobbit – illustrated hardback: Amazon.co.uk: J. R. R. Tolkien, Alan Lee

You can read more about the road following this virtual tour of The Great East Road.

Three-Farthings Stone Posted by Sylvia 2519 days ago

Day 8
Distance: 2.3 miles
Terrain: urban
Total distance: 7.5

Day 9
Distance: 0.9 miles
Terrain: urban
Total distance: 8.4

Day 10
Distance: 1.5 miles
Terrain: Countryside
Total distance: 9.9

I have reached the Three-Farthings stone, a marker on the East Road where Eastfarthing, Westfarthing and Southfarthing meet.

The photograph is of the Four Shires Stone in England, which was where Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, and Worcestershire met. The parish of Evenlode transferred to Gloucestershire in 1931 so Worcestershire no longer has a boundary at the marker. This stone is commonly believed to have been Tolkien’s inspiration for the Three-Farthing stone.

The photograph is from FSS1 on Flickr

Bywater Posted by Sylvia 2523 days ago

Day 2
Distance: 1.0 miles
Treasure found: A cat. After failing to find an owner, we’ve decided to keep him.
Total distance: 2.2 miles

Day 3
Distance: 1.2 miles
Total distance: 3.4 miles

Day 4 & Day 5: none

This morning I realised it was Day 6 and I was still almost two miles from Bywater, whereas Bilbo ran all the way and didn’t even take a handkerchief! So I walked down to the beach with my phone and vowed to keep walking until I had reached my destination (and then phone Cliff to come pick me up. I’m not a total martyr, you know!).

Day 6

Distance: 1.8 miles
Treasure found: A pretty purple rock
Total distance: 5.2

The image is a rendition of the Battle of Bywater by the Brothers Hildebrandt as found on Thain’s Book – Guide to Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Bywater is well-known for the comforts of the Green Dragon Inn. To celebrate my first important landmark, I am drinking a pint of bitter.

Hobbiton Posted by Sylvia 2527 days ago

Today’s walk: 1.2 miles

This is the actual route I took recreated using Gmaps Pedometer.

My Middle Earth adventure is only just beginning. I have left Bag End and have run south down the lane towards Hobbiton. I will have crossed the bridge and turned east on the road to Bywater. I’m still a few miles away from my first stop, the Green Dragon in Bywater.

Image from www.the-shire.eu.

Bag End Posted by Sylvia 2529 days ago

I am starting at Bag End.

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

The beautiful image is from My Hand Made Hobbit Hole – Bag End from Lord of the Rings « Madshobbithole’s Blog

Eowyn Challenge Posted by Sylvia 2529 days ago

I have a new exercise plan: I am walking from Bag End to Rivendell!

The Éowyn Challenge has everything you need to follow along the famous journeys of Hobbits in Middle Earth for long-term distance goals for walkers and runners.

It is 397 miles from Bag End to Rivendell following the route that Bilbo Baggins took. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be tracking my mileage with a goal of the Last Homely House before the end of the year.

The Unexpected Party has arrived and I’m ready to go…