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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 8: Country parks with names I can’t pronounce

May 26, 2012
Ahhh Wales, I've always had a soft spot for you and now here we are running through your valleys and mountains enjoying your gorgeous rusty scenery... oh happiness. I really really love Wales guys, can you tell? So the map on the London 2012 website shows us that the torch is being relayed from Cardiff to Swansea today, up to the edge of Brecon Beacons National park down then south east and finally along the coast to Swansea. An area of green on the map above Bridgend caught my eye...

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Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 7: Love many, trust few, always paddle you’re own canoe

May 25, 2012
It's day 7 of my alternative torch relay of Britain and we're metaphorically jogging with our flaming torches (which we might sell on ebay later if we're a bit strapped for cash) from Worcester and over the Welsh border to Cardiff, passing through more of Herefordshire, famous for it's cider and Hay-on-Wye literary festival. The Wye river cuts through our route today and so far we've had our feet very much planted on terra firma so I think it's important we spend some time on the water, it's an absolutely glorious day...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 6: Turn on the Waterworks

May 24, 2012
Yesterday on the way home I went to the very big effort of buying an official London 2012 map which has the whole Olympic torch relay route marked in it (picture attached). I say effort because it was 11.30pm and I was buying it from a petrol station that wasn't open, so I had to loudly direct the not very good English speaking cashier to the correct one, lots of exasperation and me going red ensued. Finally though I got it and now I can add pictures of the route...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 5: A kaleidoscope of butterflies

May 23, 2012
My Alternative Torch Relay via the brown tourist signs of Great Britain continues and we find ourselves hurtling excitedly into day 5. The torch's destination today is Cheltenham travelling from Bristol (where a company who once made the error of employing me as their travelling saleswoman were based. Needless to say much of the time they thought I was on the road doing my job I was actually randomly following brown tourist signs and thus making myself very late for meetings and generally being terribly unprofessional - even then I...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 4: And by Hecks it’s a good ‘un

May 22, 2012
Today the Olympic torch travels from Taunton to Bristol, not via the coast or motorway but on the picturesque country roads through the little towns and villages of Somerset (as ever you can see why I sit and watch the Olympic torch bearers for hours on end live here). The torch had just gone through a town called Street in Somerset when I looked, so I had a gander at what Street had to offer the tourist via The Brown Sign Way on the Visit Shepton Mallet tourist information website (which...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 3: Castles & feisty 17th Century chicks

May 21, 2012
Today the Olympic torch will travel from Exeter in Devon to Taunton in Somerset (the live location and everything torch related is here and I'm just as obsessed as ever with this site FYI). I had a look at the map but at the time the live location was "temporarily unavailable" so instead of my usual research into the area I decided to get a little help from my tweep friends on Twitter. I asked for nominations of brown signed destinations along the route today which deserved to be featured and the...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 2: Hangovers & shingle bars

May 20, 2012
So this is me this morning after running to work (still managing to be late) with quite a significant hangover. Not drinking on a regular basis makes you look like this when you start again, to avoid this look I recommend drinking on a regular basis. Despite said hangover though I'm crashing on with my very exciting alternative Brown Sign Olympic Torch Relay (in between serving customers and pretending to be a good manager you understand). When I had a look at the Olympic Torch Relay map through bleary eyes earlier I...

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Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 1: Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum

May 19, 2012
On day 1 of the Brown Sign Torch Relay I'm not embarrassed to admit I'm pretty bloody excited, and I know you are secretly too. So, I had a quick squiz at the map of where the Olympic torch is today and saw that it was near Bugle (great name) at around 3pm in Cornwall. I did a bit of research to see what was around the area and happened upon The Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum, interesting name and not the Eden Project (which is where everyone in the...

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Not Britain’s biggest fan does her own torch relay

Recently I entered Visit Britain's "Fan in a Van" competition, where entrants were asked to tell the judges why they should be the person to follow the Olympic flame around Britain in a campervan on a 70 day adventure, blogging and tweeting about all the cool places they pass on the way. In a bid to win I cajoled my boyfriend into embarking on a 24 hour 600 mile round trip to go on a steam train up Snowdon, Wales (lots of sheep; picture of said sheep and boyfriend attached)...

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Moat Vale – Camping the way it should be

Today I'm sharing a rather gorgeous shiny new pin on the Follow The Brown Signs map, it's a little (or "wee" as they appropriately describe themselves) campsite near Carlisle, Moat Vale Caravan and Camping Site (look at that home page, I mean how can you not be immediately won over by those happy jumping sheep on there for heaven's sake?!).  It takes a maximum 5 units and sits on a smallholding tucked away in the wooded landscape of the Netherby Estate. These guys have a relaxed and cuddly attitude to their...

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Living on the (fen) edge

May 16, 2012
Today's brown sign of the day comes in the form of the imaginatively and very specifically named Burwell Museum of Fen Edge Village Life, who submitted themselves to the website yesterday. As well as having a windmill dating back to 1820 (don't get me started on how much I love windmills) this museum also has a collection of buildings and barns (some saved from demolition by being totally dismantled and rebuilt on site) which house collections on wide ranging subjects relating to village life on the edge of the Cambridgeshire fens. The...

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Today’s newly pinned brown sign

May 14, 2012
The Rockingham Arms filled out my little form today on the "get me involved" page of the website, which means they'll now appear on the Follow The Brown Signs map and show up when people need inspiration for things to do in North Yorkshire. It's a big project to get all the brown signed attractions of the UK mapped, but more and more we're getting there (you can add one too you know, every little helps...) On my form I have deliberately not asked nominators to write the usual piece of marketing...

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As seen from above… The Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent

April 18, 2012
I was just adding The Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne, Kent under the "Air Museum" page on the website and wanted to check the Google maps marker was in the right place. I changed the view to satellite and saw this! Clearly had the right location then! How cool is that?!   View Larger Map...

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Watermill symbols on brown signs always point somewhere brilliant. Fact.

April 17, 2012
On Thursday last week I had the pleasure of driving my parents down to the docks at Southampton to embark on their yearly cruise. It was a great excuse to go brown signing with The Mose on the way home, so we did what we do best on these trips and kept our eyes peeled for brown signs, giving big whoops of joy when we saw one. We were deciding on a choice when we spotted the brown sign for Eling Tide Mill in Totton. It has a watermill symbol on...

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100 lonely men looking out to sea

April 11, 2012
I've always been interested in the intriguing figures that stand on Crosby beach just north of Liverpool, so when my boyfriend's mum told me she'd been to see them recently I thought I'd share them on the blog. They make up the art project by Anthony Gormley (the artist behind The Angel of the North) called Another Place. There are 100 iron statues cast from the artist's own body dotted over 2 miles of the beach standing at varying distances out to sea and depending on the tide they stand...

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Random Brown Sign of the Day

April 4, 2012
This photo might look like you've been shot straight onto a highway in a land down under but actually this unique brown sign with a kangaroo on it is near Thirsk, North Yorkshire and points to Monk Park Farm. This little farm park is built on land that monks used to farm and live on, hence it's name. The attraction evolved when the current owners of the farm used to let children from the local caravan parks come to help feed the animals and generally help out and get their...

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Britain’s oldest brewer and appreciating the beginnings of things

March 30, 2012
I'm researching Kent's agricultural history at the moment and you won't be surprised to hear that hop growing has featured strongly in my reading. Kent used to be literally covered in hop gardens and orchards, which is where the nickname "The garden of England" derives. In their heyday hops were a profitable crop for farmers because the beer they were used to make proved a cleaner and less harmful substitute for water when large scale water filtration systems didn't exist, thus weak beer was the staple drink for most people...

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Sun storms and our tenuous grasp on a (boring) technological society

March 26, 2012
After a weekend of brown-signing at Britain's oldest brewery (more on that in the next blog) and working all hours at the restaurant I flopped into bed after work last night exhausted with my glass of wine, boyfriend and BBC Horizon on iPlayer (now that's what I call living the dream). I love programmes about all things space, hardcore physics and other mind boggling concepts, I'll never truly understand them but I still find them absolutely fascinating. The episode I was eager to watch was about sun storms. A sun...

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How did I not know about this Magic Roundabout?!

March 14, 2012
Look at this! Drawn to my attention by a chap called Rob who thought I would appreciate this roundabout (which clearly I do!) it is a true celebration of the humble brown sign if ever I saw one. The roundabout is in Cardiff and was designed by a Frenchman called Pierre Vivant who won a competition in 1992 to exhibit his work in this rather different but at least highly visible urban space. View Larger Map Apparently the sculptures were originally hollow but were later sealed up because a local tramp took to living in one of them....

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Brown signing in the Philippines

March 12, 2012
So this is me a few weeks ago standing under a brown sign in Vigan, Philippines, after worrying (actually worrying) that my travels this year wouldn't take me by any brown signed attractions. One of my big things about brown signs is that they don't just exist in Britain and Europe but are also scattered around the world sitting quietly, bearing their directions to so many different and cool places, just waiting for everyone to notice and follow them. I always talk about how I love the huge diversity of places with brown...

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