Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas day :-)

Thursday December 25th ( even though it says 24th above)
Happy Christmas to anyone reading my blog today!

Done my exercise for today 2.66 miles, didn't see anyone out, and only one car.
Can now enjoy a relaxing day with the odd mince pie, chocolate, cake.............!

Oh! And the water heater is mended, so we can have hot water over Christmas :-)

Monday, 22 December 2014

running and spinning week

Tuesday 23rd December

After last Tuesdays splendid run the rest of the week was good for exercise, I turned up for my spinning session on Thursday morning to be told it was cancelled!!! I was not a happy bunny as I had arranged my day around it, so after lunch decided to get out and run as the roads were really wet after heavy rain making them very messy. I managed a good 7 miles over the Neroche route, chilly in the wind, but a good afternoon out just before dusk.
I booked spinning for the Friday teatime and went along to a large group for the time of day, another hard session, this time I put on a little more resistance as I found fast spinning had irritated my calf muscle.
Sunday saw Mike out for the morning, a grey morning but not too cold, we headed over to Athelney to check on the flood prevention, much digging out and construction work around, still cant see it having a great effect. The Drayton to Muchelney road was still shut  as they are ‘raising the level’ so it doesn’t flood. A good 39 miles covered today.
Monday I was at a loose end and managed to persuade my daughters boyfriend to come running on the Quantocks, he is a runner and has done several half marathons. As we arrived in the car park there was a strong wind blowing, and the temperature wasn’t too bad, we headed off towards and up Wills Neck the highest point on the Quantocks before going along the ridge to Dead Womans Ditch and Halsway Post, there were quite a few MTBs out, must be the xmas holidays. It was fairly wet and muddy under foot in places. I was pleased after 10 k or 6 miles to see we had taken 1hr 3 mins which is a good time for me for offroad 10k, must be the pacing of my partner!!!
I did tire as we went back up Wills Neck and the car was a welcome site, 10 miles covered, very pleased with that as I haven’t run that far for a couple of months. My calf seemed ok, but legs did ache.
Another spinning session this evening then its rest over xmas Tim is hoping to have us run from Sidmouth to Seaton which is about 10 miles on Saturday!!!
Now today also involves mending our hot water heater, and installing a new anti scale cartridge, I just hope the plumbers have one or we could have no hot water over Xmas!!!!

Watch this space.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Beer Head run

A Great day for a run

The forecast was for a good weather day, and as I was driving down the Axe valley to Axminster this morning there was a  really good cloud inversion, made more spectacular with the sun just rising over Lamberts Castle, one of the Dorset hill forts. It was ‘rush hour’ in Axminster so took some time to get through. There was signs of frost on the fields but the roads were just wet.
I drove along the Axe estuary, the tide was out, so it was covered in seabirds, taking their fill of food. As I drove into the Beer Head carpark, there were no other cars in the park, and annoyingly the carpark fees hadn’t been suspended for the winter!!!

The weather was clear blue skies and sunshine, I set off to run up to the coastguard station, a little slippery under foot with mud, but not wet. I set a slow pace feeling the need to just enjoy the run and also there are some steep hills around here. I descended to Branscombe Mouth, having seen no one since setting off, I took my time on the steep coast path, to avoid slipping even though I had my Fell Raiser shoes on, which have a great grip. I was soon climbing up the other side of the valley walking at the steepest point before reaching the steps. The National Trust had repaired the steps making me pick up my feet!!! I was soon on the ridge, enjoying the low sunshine, shining through the trees. I continued on before dropping down through the woods on a lovely path to the Fountains Inn.
The road said closed but I managed to creep past, as the workers were in their cabin enjoying breakfast, I was offered a mug of tea ;-) but declined. The road was really quiet as no traffic was coming through, I met a bloke on a bike and waved him down to let him know about the road ahead. He was cycling from Southampton to Penzance, and had spent the night at beer, he was heading for Totnes for the night so still had 50 or 60 miles to go. I turned off past the mill, along the valley and back to the coast, the only people I had seen were the workers!! And the cyclist.

The climb up to the caravan park was hard, I took a breather at the top, this is the entry to the low level coast path, a nice single track the meanders along the cliff face, slippery in places, but lovely running. It wasn’t long before I came to the ‘stair way to heaven’ a walk at this stage, 6 miles run so far. At the top I still felt good, and the run back to the car park was fantastic in the sunshine, views across Lyme Bay. This is the quietest I have ever seen it, I didn’t see any dog walkers at all!!.

7.24 miles covered, back to the van, change and then a mug of coffee and a left over custard donut!!!
It had been a great morning out, I took my time and felt good when I got back to the van. I called at the sports centre on the way home and booked my spinning lesson for this Thursday morning and next Tuesday before Christmas.

My calf muscle felt ok,I did strap it up in case and I will put some muscle rub on it tonight.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Closer to shortest day, 2 cycle rides and an off road run

An uneventful week but at least I managed to get a 6.5 mile off road run round Neroche forest, it was just before dusk so there were a few more dog walkers around than normal, all friendly and all well behaved [dogs and owners] It was damp underfoot but not too muddy, although I did get wet feet! It  was a cold start as well with a brisk cold wind blowing across the car park, it took me a good 2 miles before warming up, helped by the forest.

Two days Bikeability and poor weather was forecast, BUT! We were very lucky and escaped any showers, and it wasn't too cold.

Two cycle rides one a 28 miler on a very frosty Saturday morning making some of the roads rather a challenge till later in the morning, when the sun had gained some strength. It was however a glorious day, clear skies with wall to wall sunshine.

Monday saw  Dave P a mate cycle over from Yeovil to try out my ‘Qoroz’ Titanium bike, after the trial I cycled part the way back with him along the cycle track and then onto the old ’Fosse Way’ which turned out to be extremely muddy in places and made worse with hedge cutting! Fortunately we escaped punctures. I left Dave at Lopen Head and headed towards Barrington, the National Trust village before heading over my usual three hills back through Crock Street – only 22 miles, but enjoyable, much warmer today.

My calf muscle has started pulling again – this was after my spinning class last Thursday, my first one for a month, will now try to make it a weekly event. I hope the calf starts to calm down again, as it’s a very niggling pain.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

few days in the Lakes and flu has flown!!!!

Sunday 30th November

Sunday saw us heading north on the M5 calling at Gloucester on the way for coffee with GD. For once it was a painless journey despite the numerous roadworks. we arrived in Morcambe late afternoon, checking into the Travel Lodge before having a walk along the front. Morcambe has to have one of the most stunning sea front views in Britain with views over the sands to the Lake District. We were fortunate to capture the setting sun.

 Sunset over Morcambe

Sunset over Morcambe

The fantastic sculptures of the sea birds silouetted against the setting sun

 View across the bay to the Lake district

Late afternoon sun reflecting in the Midland Hotel windows

It was then off to Wetherspoons for some tea! burger and chips !!! lovely in the aptley named 'Eric Morcambe ' pub

Monday it was time to move on up to the Lakes but we had a mooch round Lancaster first, a very well off city in contrast to the run down state of Morcambe. Some nice parts, with development blending old and new. A little christmas shopping was also done!!

We then drove up through Carnforth etc. to our pre-booked  centrally heated caravan at 'FallBarrow Park' at Bowness, the drive up was really pleasant, very little traffic compared to the M5 or even driving round there in the summer, managed to spot a speed camera in time as well, phew!!!
After a nice mug of tea with cake we went for a walk down by the lake, beautiful as always, very few people around, just before it got dark, the swans, geese and ducks still pestering visitors for food, the usual squarking and fighting amongst themselves. The weather forecast for the week was good, and Tuesday promised sunshine, with a chilly breeze.

I was up before dawn, deciding to resume my running. Several layers, hat and gloves, ipod plugged in I stepped out of the caravan to a dark cold morning. I switched on my head torch as the park was still dark and I didnt want to become a casualty within yards of the van!!! I ran down through the park to the Nab ferry before returning in a round about route, the ducks and swans were still asleep, headds resting on their backs, the beam of my headtorch picking out boats moored on the lake, a very dark liquid looking very cold. But it was lovely the sky was starting to ighten and showed a blue tinge on the horizon - I covered 2.5 miles and felt good, back for a shower and some breakfast.
They were right, it was a beautiful morning, so quickly packed a rucsack, wrapped up and drove to park at Rydal Mount for a walk around Rydal water. Despite being early there were already cars parked and we headed up to the caves above Rydal water, before heading in the Grasmere/Loughrigg terrace direction finally dropping back down to the main road and climbing back up to 'White Moss Common' before following the 'coffin route' bridleway back to Rydal, views across Rydal water were stunning, the stone walls casting shadows from the sunshine which was very low in the sky and black sticks of the leafless trees standing out against the very green grass, bespeckled with sheep grazing.It was a  welcome lunch at the splendid tea rooms at Rydal Hall, a 'retreat centre' it was lovely soup with chunky wholemeal bread, no cake this time though!!!
 Caves at Rydal

 Rydal water peeks through

 Towards Grasmere
 down from Loughrigg towards A591 road

 Road up towards White moss
 Coffin route back to Rydal

 Rydal Hall grotto and the tea rooms

We then descended back down to the car, only about 4.5 miles, but a lovely walk. 
It was a call in Ambleside on the drive back to look around the many 'gear shops' nothing to tempt me or Mrs IanB this time, we were rather annoyed by the excessive car park charges though for December, 'rip off' spings to mind.
Wednesday dawned, another sunny, but cold day so we took advantage and packed a flask of coffee and mince pies and walked down to the Ferry at Nab, the mist was just lifting off the water whilst we waited for the ferry, it was good to be walking rather than driving. There were several cars but reasonably quiet for early morning. The water was like a mill pond, with reflections of the trees very mirror like. We disembarked and walked through the woods to the track that goes to Wray. A strange occurrence was happening on the lake, the mist was drifting up the lake from the Newby Bridge direction , enveloping all, including the sun, we were a little worried that it would spoil our morning coffee sat in the sun by the lake, but! It seemed to melt away as quickly as it had formed. A small motor launch was chugging away up the lake, creating a small bow wave as it went; whoever it was has got one of the best jobs in the world on a morning like this. The air was still chilly and I was glad I put on my thicker coat.
 The view down the lake from the landing stage at Fallbarrow Park
 Waiting for the ferry
 Cars on the ferry, not ours though!
Coffee spot!
 Coffee Spot
View down towards Newby bridge from the ferry on the way back
We walked along the edge of the lake for about a mile, not seeing another person or vehicle, each rise we went over introducing a new view of the various islands on the lake. We finally found a spot opposite Belle Isle, a convenient rock to sit on and another to act as a coffee table. It was very peaceful sat there as though the world had stopped, the only noise were the swans, upending in the water fishing for their food. The sun continued to shine and the temperature did rise a little as we walked back towards the ferry. A little busier now with more people and cars disembarking from the Nab side, walking poles, rucsacs, boots were in abundance, However, our return journey was just as quiet, we were the only pedestrians and there was only one car and a scooter.
The walk back to the caravan alongside the lake was beautiful, very peaceful. We got back just in time to drive to ‘Wilfs’ at Staveley for lunch, the best café in the whole lake district, he does a superb veggie chilli served in the old mill.
Another run was planned for this morning, so up early and similar routine as before, there was a cold wind blowing off the lake as I ran past and on through the park again, I managed 3.5 miles this morning extending my Tuesday run, I was pleased I was back with the land of the living and running again.Thursday was a day out in Keswick, trying to link a little Christmas shopping, with site seeing and of course a nice lunch out! [there is a theme here on cafes!!]
We were able to roadside park saving us a few pounds which we were then able to buy coffee in Booths supermarket [no relation] we did pick up a couple of pressies, and again we had lunch in the ‘old justice house’ which is now Wetherspoons and it was curry day!! There was a very nice craft market on in the town.

A walk down by the piers, with views over the mountains and the lake was truly outstanding, quiet, no wind, mirror lake and black mountains silhouetted against the sky, all summits were clear and there was a slight dusting of snow on Skiddaw. Catbells stood out and you could see the route to its summit, but I couldn’t see anyone on it today, surprising as its usually a busy peak as its not too difficult.
All too soon it was time to head south and return home, but not before we had a super veggie breakfast and cafe tier of coffee.
 We hit the M6 around 10 am and did quite well until junction 19 – then STOPPED!! After 45 mins queuing we discovered a very large lorry had broken down in the middle lane!!! So traffic was down to one lane. After this hold up we were lucky to have a clear run the rest of the way home, a call in Gloucester for a mug of tea and a cuddle with GD, who had great pleasure showing us her Christmas tree complete with flashing lights. Overall it took us 51/2 hours to get home plus a stop, so not too bad for a Friday. When we got home the house was freezing and took some time to warm up with heating on full for several hours.

We had, had a great trip, thoroughly enjoyed and would like to have stayed longer, we will be back to the lakes in spring [I hope] and we will return in December again, the Lakes are a different place in midweek winter, well worth the trip.
Saturday was a beautiful day and instead of doing what we should ie housework shopping etc we skived off to Sidmouth and the White horse for our customary egg, chips and peas. it was very busy with christmas shoppers, the sea was very calm, it was strange to think 24 hrs earlier we were in the lake district. 
Late afternoon saw me out on the streets in my running kit, 5 miles covered around one of my town routes - really pleased this week as I have run 11 miles!! the first running miles in 3 weeks!
Sunday was grey and damp but I was determined to get out on my bike, a text from Mike said he was ill and wouldnt be out. I finally emerged around 10 am and headed out over North Curry, nothing significant in the ride except the roads were really muddy and it was a cold damp ride, I was pleased to get home and lunch of homemade tomato soup with homemade bread - 32 miles covered.