Monday, 17 September 2018. Dream Hike 2018. And a dream it was. A day we wished would never end. My eyes cracked open at 6.30 this morning the sun coming in through the curtains of our charming room at the Clifton Hotel, Folkestone, a hotel I’ve stayed in since 2003 and a room I’ve reserved since 2010.
Each September my darling wife and I visit England for our Autumn Holidays. Whilst we love running amok in London we end up spending most of our days in the Garden of England—Kent. And a visit to Kent isn’t complete without a proper hike.
I have previously described the perfect hike—a four hour hike from Dover’s Western Heights back to Folkestone—we’ve done it again. This time using iPhone Xs, and a new cool app called Relive. Below is a short video of the hike.
Relive allows you to relive your entire hike using google maps and share it with your friends online. I love it to bits. Whilst MapMyWalk does map out your walk it doesn’t allow viewers to see your hike in motion. It’s a wicked feature setting Relive apart from others.
Still, Relive is not without limitations. It doesn’t offer audio alerts during your hike as MapMyWalk and Strava does. Fortunately Relive provides a solution and it’s one I use. You prefer Strava or MapMyWalk—as I do—at the conclusion of the hike Relive will notice you’ve completed your hike and ask if you would like Relive to map it.
You can find the Relive app in the App Store or click the Relive page below.
Monday was as perfect a day as you could ask for. We had a fantastic breakfast in the new Marco Pierre White dinning room of the hotel and a traditional coffee on the terrace whilst we awaited our taxi to take us to Dover. It was so mild in the sunshine I stripped off my jumper, sitting in in the brilliant English sun in just a polo shirt whilst I enjoyed a freshly ground and brewed Costa coffee.
The taxi arrived and we were off to the Western Heights. As we jumped onto the A20 halfway to Dover we noticed beyond the famous White House of Abbots Cliff, the tall radio antenna beyond obscured by low sea mist. Uh-oh.
We need not have worried. By the time we turned onto the Military Road and climbd up into the Western Heights the sun was shinning upon us again. The taxi left us on the Drop Redoubt Road and it was just a short walk to the engineers tunnel that permits access to the redoubt’s moats. If the engineers tunnel looks familiar you might have seen it on the tele. It was featured in Season 3 of ‘The Tunnel’ in a scene with Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane investigating a murder.
We had a nice walk round the moats before exiting the tunnel to make our way to St. Martin’s Battery.
The carpark for the battery offers a fantastic view of Dover Harbour below, another filming location during ‘The Tunnel’.
Carrying on, we crossed over to the Citadel, passing the Knights Templar chapel before making our way across meadows offering us the most lovely views of the English Channel.
Crossing under the A20 we began to climb. Once up top the views are always spectacular, especially today with the sunny warm weather. There is another climb to do after the cliff and one even more steep and high. But once its done the way ahead is more easy and filled with World War II era bunkers to explore.
Nearly noon now and it really heated up. Must be 75f (23c). We stop at one bunker in particular above Samphire Hoe. Each year since 2015 Daiana and I have stopped in a certain observation bunker to scratch another year into the brick.
Exiting the bunker we heard a familiar roar. Spitfire. As it turned out we were hiking along Hellfire Corner the day after “Battle of Britain Day.” The fighter’s Rolls Royce Merlin engine is something you don’t soon forget once you’ve heard it. Buzzing us twice it gave us a nice show and was gone.
Pausing at the sound mirror for the yearly snap we carried on to, passing the noble white house of Abbot’s Cliff. It can be seen for miles around and was used as a location marker by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.
Soon after Abbot’s Cliff we came to the Cliff Top Cafe. Now, I have not stopped in for tea here since 2010. And with good reason. On a nice day it’s always packed out. Today was no exception. Lovely views afforded as we watched the paragliders. After a truly awful tea we took a new route bak to Folkestone. Just in front of the cafe are stairs that descend into the most marvelous forest hidden beneath the cliffs. If one did not know better they might say they were in a tropical rain forest. It was so much and green. I did not take any photos and I regret this, but the uncountable stairs leading down were doing my left knee in.
The new experience was well worth it though. We found ourselves in a world of trees
and thick growth that encapsulated the trail down until we reached the broad long beaches of the Warren. We then strolled back towards Folkestone on nearly deserted beaches.
Returning to the Hotel Clifton we sat down in the lovely Ocean Bleu Bar for ice cold coca-cola and a plate of sandwiches and crisps.
Brilliant walk. Sad to have it end. But we’ll be back. We’re planning our next holiday in England in the spring. We’ll have doing our Dream Hike sooner than expected.
As always, may the road rise with you.