Thursday, 20 December 2012


Over the weekend was a long awaited trip to see friends over in Sweden. It was fantastic fun to go over and catch up and mostly involved a lot of food, talking and generally not doing much on the Saturday. However, Sunday being cold and just above freezing seemed like a perfect time to go for an ice skate. I would have said run, but i was feeling a bit clogged up and coldy.

So off we trundled en masse to a local lake 30 mins away. There was a bit of checking of ice thickness and snow coverage which was a minor worry. However, it was pretty much perfect conditions! Having only skated on ice rinks in the UK it was pretty weird to step out onto a frozen lake and to hear the reverberations of Stefan whacking the ice with his stick to check the thickness.

I then also had to remember how to skate and also change slightly as it was quite weird having the borrowed skates on my boots. It was AWESOME fun and amazing to be able to skate for several miles in the morning and be able to meet up with our other halves for lunch at a shorline shelter that they'd walked to. Unfortunately we had no matches otherwise we'd have lit a fire to warm ourselves by. But the sweet rosehip soup and rolls did a pretty good job. We then went back out for more and the Girls walked back to the car.

There were a few differences; carrying a bag of spare clothes, saftey ice picks to pull you out of the water, a throw line and also having to look out for hazards. Such as not going too close to shore/reeds, large cracks in the ice (solid but bumpy) and then checking now and again for thickness! There was a few worries, one being a narrowing in the lake which had caused a crack to form across the entire width (at the southern end). Stefan stopped suddenly and whilst standing uncomfortably close plunged the testing stick straight into water about a foot away from him. Also when trying to get over to the shelter for lunch I had a minor, 'i'm skating through quite deep water' moment and was told to back up quite quickly..

All in all i don't think i've had a better day of skating and i'm not entirely sure that i ever will again..

I'm reminded of a lord of the rings quote

Gimli: "Certainty of death, *small* chance of success... What are we waiting for?"

Some track logs:
pre lunch
post lunch

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sorting and chores

A weekend with wifey away in Bath meant that I had a list of things that i needed to get on with. New tyres for her car, food shop, hoovering, cleaning, laundry etc.. I also had some time for a bit of exercise, but with a tight hamstring (i blame the decortaing) i took it easy from running (even tho it was a brilliant day for it) and went for a swim instead ;-). The rest of day was sorting out a few more bits and repairing some brickwork that i'd noticed decorating.

Whist sat down enjoying the fruits of my labours, I thought a spot of Yoga would probably help the hamstring. So devised a session based on some of the things from the wednesday previous. Unfortunately my memory isn't that good, and a phone call meant that i needed to get on with Dinner. This turned out perfect and Soup a l'onion was pretty darned tasty.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Fun decorating

Soo, not much to report on the exercise front. However, i have managed to strip, prepare and wallpaper our dining room over the course of last week. My evening job turned into stipping* and then at the weekend i was wallpapering and putting it all back together again.

Still have some boxes to unpack, but it's pretty much there. Although i do have a few odds and sods that came up from doing it, which i'll be trying to get to this weekend.

Ho hum, the gorgeous wintery forecast and my mate running round the Kentmere Horseshoe will have to wait for some other time. Hopefully i'll get out for something else this weekend.

* clean up that thought.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


last friday that was.. So taking a single day of holiday i had a long list of things that i wanted to get done. Some involved ferrying wifey around to a few appointments. Being at home for delivery of a parcel, getting some tyres fitted and also going to the gym. Followed by a swim which was a very nice way to spend the day. The evening was a bit quieter and involved a nice meal out just the two of us.

Over the weekend was spending some time in Warwick meeting up with an old friend over from NZ and eating some wonderful lasagne prepared by Tara. Then an onward trip to Brum slightly inebriated to meet up and stay with some other friends Jon+BB. During which a plan was hatched to bike from their home, along some canals (of which Brum has many) and then end up at a Cafe to meet up with our lovey ladies.

It was a brilliant days riding, if blooming hard work in some of the sludge, mud and ice that we came across. Jon particularly suffered as he hasn't been doing a lot of late. However, we arrived, slightly late, and consumed much cake and flapjack whilst having a hot choccie. Before putting the bikes back onto his car and heading 'home' for some slow cooked stew that had been on the go!!!

Brilliant,,, another point to point session with some amazing service courtesey of our respective ladies.

Hmmm, re-reading this it seems a lot of food was consumed!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Lakeland snow

Apologies for an interim silence. However, we were up in the lakes for our summer hols. It's a long story as to why it's our summer hols, involving a lack of concurrent free weekends and a non-existent jury service in the middle of August!

So with our normal cottage booked for northern lakes, a lovely retreat hand crafted by the owner who's a carpenter, we spent a little time wandering round Keswick on market day picking up the bits we needed and then a week of relaxing fun ensued.

Highlights were a nice walk to Grange from Seatoller and back (stopping in at the bridge cafe and watching the 10mile road race run by). A day out to Brantwood house, home of John Ruskin. An walk up and around Loweswater Lake, stopping in for lunch at the Kirkstile inn. Several Yoga sessions in front of the woodburner plus a bit of relaxation.

Clough Head first thing - it's a long slog
However, there was a small run that i did.. On a very clear, still, and snowy ridge. I had planned to drive myself and then bus back to the start, but Wifey was very agreeable in dropping me off and collecting me whilst i ran Leg2 of the Bob Graham round. The route is here and some photos of the run below. It was such a good day out, if hard work. Apart from a small delay getting lost in the only bit of cloud on Great Dodd (must remember to believe the compass) the entire run was in glorious skies and i was mostly following some old XC skiers tracks! There was the odd bit of trail bashing which made for a slower time than aniticipated. This did mean that i had to miss out Fairfield at the end otherwise i'd be much later than expected back at Dunmail Raise. This would have freaked Wifey out unduly, so i skipped that and went straight to Grisedale hause then up Seat Sandal.

Following tracks
Food was perfect, i took too much kit (waterproofs, warm layer and emergency shelter/bag) but was worried about being out in the fells alone.. in the end once i got to Raise i was with the 'relative' hoards (for a monday) going to Helvellyn (and on the ski tow!). The added bonus of having wifey pick me up was hot choclate in a flask, and a home cooked stew for when i woke from a crafty nap!

A gorgeous looking Striding Edge up Helvellyn
All in all, a better holiday could not have been had.

Panorama of the day, Fairfield on the right, Grisedale tarn (Grisedale Hause is bottom right) and Dollywaggon Pike on the left.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Intervening weeks

Had a christening last weekend for my Nephew which was pretty cool. But with a long drive over and a busy week the opportunity i had for a long run was squandered by having an afternoon nap instead.. We did had a mooch round Hay on wye at the bookshops and bought a few books*.

During last week there was a spot of lunchtime running again, yoga and a gym session first for a fair few weeks! This was dammed good, but i certainly felt that i'd done the workout afterwards. Wifey was at a henna/Mendi night hence having the evening free. Which then lead into the weekends acitivty of an indian wedding.

We'd never been to one before so it was a bit of an eye opener. However, it was really good to see our friend get married and celebrate with her. We had our friends Stig and Tara stay after this and after they'd had the worst journey down involving a broken spring on the motorway and much transportation issues after this. We had a fairly lazy sunday with lunch out, dropped them off at the station for their train home and then had a Bond-Skyfall cinema excusion on sunday night. Fantastic film, i'll not reveal anything but it was bloody great and certainly the best he's starred in.

This week hopefully more of the same, then a few long runs next if all goes to plan.

*wifey bought some more..

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

3 weeks...

since my last confession, erm post.

Sorry about that all i've been rather busy!

Since the 19th i've had a ton of rehearsals, had the contest in Cheltenham (13/24 which was respectable). We're now technically a 3rd section band!

After this some recovery was had and there was a rare weekend at home. We did try to get away for a B&B, but in the end decided to save the cash (and our fav place was booked up!). I didn't get out for any exercise as i've been suffering from a cold so rested.

Last week was a short one as we had friday off to go to Norfolk and help with a friends wedding set up in a local viallge hall. Also stayed with the In-laws for the weekend so it was nice to finally see them, since i've not been up there for a while. During this i washed my car.. and discovered a crack in the windscreen and slightly out of kilter wheels.

So this week is getting the tracking sorted (relatively cheap) and the windscreen replaced (massively expensive). Plus suit dry cleaned, band rehearsal, yoga and then off at the weekend for Nephew's Christening in Clyro, plus seeing the family.

Exercise has still been lacking as i'm struggling with tiredness and apathy..

I always knew Oct would be a busy one, but this is just mad.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Busy banding

Got national finals coming up, so had a weekend at home rehearsing, doing chores and squeezing a bike ride in whilst wifey was visiting family up in Norfolk. I've found a better finish which avoids nettle alley, but does involve a BIG push uphill and then has an annoying finish. So i'm just hopeful that someone will deal with the nettles instead!

it looked a bit like this*

Much rehearsals and mini-concert this week before off to the finals in Cheltenham with the Amersham Brass Band on Saturday. Would hope for a nice Sunday for a bit of chiltern based fun, or cake, or even both!

*it looked very similar to this, but both camera and phone are currently suffering from drinking too much water.. yikes!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Or should I say beaver... It was one of my best mates stag do's at the weekend and spot of canoeing was had on the river wye. About 13 miles on the Saturday and 12 miles on the Sunday.

I helped friday to collect canoes from one the attendees (who works at an outdoor centre) then arrived to much beer driknking and merriment. Had a wonderful bivy out on the friday night. It's been agees since i've had a bivy, but it was really good - if not quite the dewy/foggy morning that we woke to.

Much faffage with cars, canoes and people transport ensued. We were eventually on the water by 1pm starting at Whitney toll bridge. After a slow start the guys realised some paddling was required, but with some faffage for stories and water based fun we got back to our campsite eventually (bycross farm again). BBQ and fire breathing, plus more beer before passing out under a clear sky. It was my first try at fire breathing and i'm sure it didn't look impressive, but it was good fun to give it a try nonetheless.

Sunday dawned to blue, blue skies, and midly foggy heads. We were a bit more organised today so were on the water by 10:30 and had a lovely day getting wet again going down to Hereford rowing club. They were having some sort of event on, so it was a bit of a hectic arrival. However, it did mean some of lads grabbed tea and cake. I was involved with car shuffling and helped tidy up back at the campsite, before getting back on the road and delivering a canoe back to the outdoor centre before heading home for food, shower and sleep.

All in all a cracking weekend! Cannie wait for the blessing really.*

*he's getting married in Canada first - hence the beaver reference!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Aug Bank hol

Oops, didn’t get round to writing that one up! Had a good, if wet, weekend in the lakes with wifey, Chris and Claire. We had a nav-tastic day on Rosthwaite fell with very low cloud and minimal visibility making route choice somewhat hard. However, it was good fun and even better to walk into the cafĂ© at the end and have a completely random meet with Don & Carol (on his last guiding weekend)! Queue much hugs and chatting before a very quick plan was made to join him and his group for dinner.. Which considering the weather we witnessed outside was pretty good and the drying room that we made full use of!

Sunday dawned a bit better, with an improving weather forecast. So a bigger day was had going up Green Gable and Great Gable then back down to Styhead Tarn. Unfortunately we missed the clear summits promised for the afternoon being a bit too early. But had a lounge round the tarn and then mooched back to the campsite via a quick tea stop at seathwaite. Dinner with dessert followed (treacle syrup cake and custard) then beers in Keswick. Monday was a complete wet washout so a bit of a gear faff in town, new boots for me and approach shoes for Wifey – both much needed! All in all an good weekend, but the 13hrs travel involved there/back seemed excessive…

Yoga and a quick run in the week (avg 7:10mile so 22:15 5k which is a current PB!) and suddenly a new weekend arrives. This had Wifey joining a Hen party in Oxford, I was keeping Mark and baby Henry company round town as proximity was required for the occasional feed! Otherwise coffee, tea, ice cream and cake for us… after a long luckily sunny day I headed back home for a very quick MTB ride. A slight oversight on timings meant I hit dark, dark woods without a light. Hmmm luckily I vaguely knew the route, but still almost impaled myself (and tyre/spokes) on a few fallen logs, nearly got sucked into a bog and would like to forget nettle alley. However, much wildlife was seen, badgers, rabbits, bats and a owl. Sunday was some chores and cooking lemon drizzle cake and Sunday roast for Wifey on her return (muchos tired) from hen-ing.

Phew, more of the same please?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Weekday fun,

I don’t often get chance to write up a week anymore. But needless to say I generally get up to some fun. Most weeks there’s a 1:30 yoga session. Which is good for stretching out the hamstrings and working on the core. It’s also a good way of chilling out as it’s very slow, flowing and breathing focused. I would blame the wife for taking me to this, but after 10 or so months I think I can say I’d go by myself now. Plus it helps for the band practice that I get to most weeks, they’re prepping for the annual trip to Bensheim (twinned with Amersham). Shortly after that there’s the National Brass Band Finals over in Cheltenham which we’re off too (finishing first in our section at the areas). Since we’re being promoted to 3rd section I’d say we’re hoping for great things. Then there’s normally a Thursday run at lunctime and a gym or swim session if we both have the time.. Plus then a weekend of frivolities.

However, this week has seen a minor shift.. Since I had to drop wifey off at the tube I was at work early today. Because I’d had some forethought I’d packed my running kit… there was only one thing for it, a quick blast was required. Well it wasn’t quick-quick, but it was good nonetheless. Plus since I’ve got lunch free I’d say a second one should be required! Ahhh I love it when a plan comes together ;-)

Monday, 20 August 2012


Blimey that was a hot one. Went trog-on reunion camping near the white horse on the ridgeway nr uffington. It was a good catch up with all old uni mates from the outdoor club. If anything it was a bit too hot.. We had a mini trog-olympics with 4 teams in 10 events. With a pause for oranges and lunch! Cracking good fun, just hot work. Further fun was had by a bike ride on the ridgeway with Ant. It was going quite well (apart from the really steep push up onto the actual path) until a flint hacked into his rear tyre*. It put a nice gash on the inner tube and meant change was in order. Unfortunately his spare was too big, so much faff proceeded whilst we tried to repair the original. Patching on a load of ribs, with a large gash just wasn’t happening, so we gave up and put the bigger tube in. Luckily it worked really well and meant we could carry on with the intended route.

Had a bit of a low energy surge about ¾ of the way round, but pressed on as BBQ was in (slow) motion. Both of us completely crashed after this, perhaps the combination of heat and exercise wasn’t a good idea? I just laid low in shade, drank lots and ate a bit too much, since BBQ followed shortly after this (created and cooked by wifey). However, about 2 hrs later picked up again, and became normal.

Sunday consisted of a lazy breakfast (with warmed up sausages – brilliant idea wifey!) and much chatting. However, it soon became too hot again so after de-pitching the tent we vamoosed to air conned car and home for washing, snoozing and an ice cream in the park.

Much fun, thanks to trogs, sprogs and Em for organising!

*please note, there were NO punctures on my bike!

Monday, 13 August 2012

A busy weekend

But a productive one. Had Stefan staying over for the weekend with his mate Erik as they had tickets to the olympic footy final. Unfortunately I also needed to get on with some of the chores I’d been putting off as it was the first vaguely ‘free’ weekend for a while. So Saturday dawned with a further trip to the DIY shop required and then a second breakfast before getting on with patio repair and fence reconstruction. Some assistance from the guys was had before they scarpered for the safety of tube and football match. I continued on and got patio down and fence supports in before having to leave that to set. It didn’t mean the end of the chores (tip run/lawn mow) But thankfully was halted by dinner out with the lads back from footie.

Sunday was an even earlier start for a quick local 10k run, not my best time in 53 mins – I’m really noticing a lack of running in the legs. Followed by breakfast and several showers later for all of us. After this a quick drive to do a slightly less-local walk of 10k again with a pretty good view from Whiteleaf hill, before lunch out and then bidding farewell to the guys who needed to catch a flight. I then cracked on with finishing the fencing and pointing the patio repair. Still more to finish on that – but hopefully a bit of dry weather will ensue.

panorama from whiteleaf hill

Not bad for a ‘quiet’ weekend. Oh and Jury service this week – which so far has resulted in no requirement today so I’m back in work. Somewhat tireder than I’d like tho!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

One year on

Shucks, I meant to post something on the 3rd (being exactly 1 yr on blog birthday n'all), but i'm sure this'll do..

What a year… I can say with 100% certainty, that it’s one of the most active I’ve had. Having done 2 triathlons, 2 x 10k’s a 5mile, 2 mini-MM’s and one full MM and those are just the organized events. If you’d have said about doing these before I probably would have laughed!

One thing that is apparent looking at stats is that I do a fair amount of different things! However, cycling which was big last year (tri training) has dropped off. Swimming, which likewise was a feature last year (tri’s again) has dropped off, but is still done now and again. Weight training can sometimes be that or climbing (and a large chunk this year was in font). Kayaking has featured a bit this year – but quite a lot down to the week trip down the wye. Hiking has already matched what I did last year distance wise, with a lot more planned.

doubled distance in running this yr
 Running, well as you’d expect with MM training and the several races (and support of wifey) that I’ve done, has exploded this year. I’ve still not topped the 135k odd that I covered in March. That may stand as my all time high!

chunk from running and climbing/font
What’s expected in the future? Who knows…

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Weekend at home

Well kinda.

Collapsed into good sleep on Friday night and then Saturday cracked on with chores in the garden, tip run and muchos laundry. Then had a blast over to Reading for BBQ and meeting my old climbing bud who’d flown back in from Sweden for the weekend. A good amount of fun and frolics were had by all. Wifey had taken the option to drive back home as we were making use of our abode. Sunday dawned a bit too early and plans had been made to meet back up for a ridgeway run. A loop I’d done before and considering I’ve not really been on top form, training lots, or doing distance it wasn’t too bad a show. May have to bump up training again tho!

After this it was a swap of the Swede and I brought him back for lunch at mine (and a quick watch of the womens road cycling finish!). Before heading into Wembley for the GB/UAE match. Some good stuff, some nailbiting and then a late return home. Have so far been a bit tired this week.. However, managed a quick swim last night, where I wasn’t coughing my lungs up for once! I’ll be off for a bit of Yoga tonight too… Run tomorrow, then offski for the weekend to meet up with Bro and family for a camping trip - wicked!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Just a quick blast

Considering yesterdays failure to bring running gear to work I had a bit of energy in the evening. Since the recent weather is about to break I thought I’d take advantage of dusty dry trails and go for a cheeky MTB ride. I only had an hour as someone at home was otherwise going to bite their own arm off in hunger. I’d been thinking of a local loop for a while, so went out to trial the trails. Hmm, I think some changes may be required. Possibly due to the recent rain there was a LOT of undergrowth on the paths plus a lot of stiles and gates to contend with. Then when getting under trees it turned muddy and because there’s a lot of stables round us it was a gloop fest. On a few occasions I went in a bit too fast and almost went flying! However, it was a quick loop done in 1:05, 9miles so not too bad. I can probably bring that down with a bit less map consulting.

After a quick shower to wash the mud off we then went for our fav thai and a bit of a natter before falling into bed knackered. Possible run today (have gear and it’s not 30deg+!) then we’ll see about swimming with wifey tonight. A rare weekend at home (ish).. yay!

a not so shiny bike

Thursday, 26 July 2012


to remember where i take my own photos.. that one in the previous post that says it's Snowdon, isn't.. It's Yr Aran which we walked towards on the descent, but didn't actually go up! Ooops

Anyway, had a good yoga session last night. Moved up from begginners which is what we've been doing for the past 9 months or so and was finding a bit too easy. I really am now, yet again, the only male in the class. Which just means that i can do some things easily and some things are a bit of a struggle. Anyhoo all good fun and helping flexibility and core strength. I was intending a lunchtime run but fortuitously have forgotten my kit at home, which considering it's 30deg+ that's probably a wise move. I'll just have to go for one when i get home. I may (may) consider a hill rep session i've been meaning to do, but equally with the heat maybe not and might just do my 10k route instead.

Since the previous had a mucked up photo, here's one i do remember - kirkfell and SLMM sat morning campsite chaos.

definately kirkfell...

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Sunshine and sunburn

After all the recent busy weekends away and time spent apart it was a well needed weekend spent with my wife, but since she’s been hearing of all my exploits and hankering for some of her own we had a blast up to North Wales for a spot of mountains.. Camped at Hafod y Llan at the base of the Watkins path up Snowdon. It can be a bit midgey and some say basic. But it’s got everything you need (apart from drinking water – but we came prepared) plus has fire pits and wood.

yes we are going up that...

Saturday we took full use of the paths proximity and since a) wifey hadn’t done Snowdon for a long time b) found it hard last time, c) had lost weight and d) been running loads we thought it a good choice. Also as it’s not the main path it’s not as busy. She was on fine form and blasted up in near 2:30, we didn’t hang round long on the summit as it was swarming, but pootled off down the Bwlch main path to stop and enjoy the view. Then carried on down towards Yr Aran, before a surprise pass of the MR helicopter had us pausing to see what they were up to. They ended up circling the Watkins valley, but then went to a flare on the summit of Yr Aran –hopefully for training purposes only! We carried on down and were very glad to get back to the campsite and cool down! Unfortunately we’d not taken swim stuff, otherwise would have joined the many others cooling off in the river!

yup that's the watkins path

heli out on training

Sunday was a climb of Cnicht from Croesor. Not one I’ve done before but very appealing mountain and certainly a nice ridge to follow. Plus some options for scrambling if you’re that way interested (wifey isn’t). However, after this from Llyn Yr Adar the path is very faint till you get to Llyn Cwm-y-foel when it’s a bit easier to follow down the side of the valley back to Croesor. We contemplated a tea stop (one next to the car park) but couldn’t justify it, plus needed to be getting on home.

some say it looks like a mini matterhorn

So roughly 14 miles and about 5000ft of ascent over the weekend, not bad at all!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Norfolk weekend

It’s been a long ole while since I’ve been to the flatlands. However, as it was my father-in-laws birthday a quick trip up was planned. A late getaway on Friday to hopefully miss the traffic meant we drove through some very, very heavy downpours, quite biblical. Saturday was a well deserved lie-in and fry up (with lovely fresh eggs) before a trip to castle acre for a tea room scone and trip round the priory ruins. Certainly something different and educational. Back to wash the car and took the old man out for a few pints before collapsing back in bed.

Sunday made a brilliant bananarama milkshake:

10oz milk
1tbsp honey
1tbsp think cream
3oz ice
1 banana

Chuck in blender + mix! Yummmmmy

After this headed out for a 8km run with Wifey. There’s a few options up there, but we’d taken road stuff and it was one she’d done before. It’s not the most interesting (being very, very straight in some places) but was good none the less. I suffered a little with sore and stiff ankles (still from saunders),  but manfully persevered ;-). Then followed a brilliant Sunday roast with Yorkshires before the drive home and a quick lawn mow as it was dry for once and now looks less like a jungle!

I did manage a yoga session Thursday, but it was a sore on the ankles and tree poses were a bit harder than normal! These are beginning to get back on track finally now!

In more random news, we were given 1kg+ of rasberries so had a bit of a jam making session last night.

Monday, 16 July 2012

I’ve been saundered

This is a week later than intended - I was intending to put some photos with it, but just haven't got round, so thought i'd post it up regardless.

Where to begin. Well I suppose the start is always good..

Friday (just finishing the antibiotics for a chest infection) I jumped in my car after work and had the looooong drive to Wasdale head. It really is a long way round from the M6! Amazingly I arrived at 11 and then spent the next 30 mins having a wander round the campsite, pub and toilets to find my mates who had a) already pitched b) I was staying with and c) had gone to sleep…..

Luckily I managed to pick the right tent and found my compatriot Don. Crawling into bed I was soon asleep.

Saturday dawned to blue skies, which considering the forecast was a minor miracle. Dan and Sian were already up and raring to go having an earlier start than us. We chatted for a bit, watched them walk off in the direction of the start and continued to crack on with our preparations as well. After much food intake, packing and some faff we were ready and picked up maps to wander into black sail pass. I was a bit unsure how I’d fare at this point but we were soon through the start and given controls to mark on the map! A bit of cross checking and marking later and we were soon off to the first control. One bagged and it seemed like it was a bigger version of the Peak Mini –MM’s I’d done earlier in the year. However, I soon suffered a dawning realization that I was struggling with lung capacity, energy and a body that didn’t really want to be doing a big day in the mountains.

Thankfully Don was very understanding and since we’d done training together knew it was just a body-say-no weekend rather than anything else. However, we persevered and pushed on. It was quite a busy course and there was lots of passing and re-passing going on. But we made some sensible choices and were going well. Then just approaching one control (Greendale tarn) we were being waved at.. it was Dan and Sian! We had a quick reunion and walked and talked before deciding we needed to push on and so carried on to the next control.  After this it was a LONG slog over rivers, bog, tussocks and hill to get to the next control. Where with a little bit of sensible route choice and some hard work we pushed on to the campsite at Scalderskew woods (farm?). It was a good bit of running at this point and with the added advantage of people to overtake we managed a very respectable 63rd at the halfway. The evening passed to milk/protein, sleep, food, avoiding a quick shower, beer and chatting before a decent sleep.

Sunday, dawned to light grey skies, and several aches that were quite new! Faff in the morning and queues for the toilets meant than Dan/Sian managed to get away before us. However, as it was only a 25 min window for everyone to start we weren’t far behind (or all the other masses). As per the previous day it was a bit of hard work, coupled with some running, river crossing, bogs and hills to contend with. We made a few interesting route choices and I think one thing to learn is not to bother heading for a bridge or stepping stones, but if there’s a path in the general direction – take it!

However, we plodded on and had a bit of leapfrogging of a few teams. The final descent and climb and descent (round scafell, up to a sheepfold and then back down into wasdale) was hard hard work. We got the final control and headed into the finish. I’d love to say I put on a spurt of speed and sprinted for the finish but I couldn’t even muster a gentle jog. My ankles, legs and body were broken.

Food, faff and a long drive home awaited. It was 11 before I got in and I was sooooo glad I’d booked the Monday off to recover.

Looking back I was very glad to have been in the area only a few weeks before, am even more glad that I put in a sterling effort to train hard beforehand and even more so to have had a brilliant partner in Don. He sorted out some brilliant lightweight kit for all our training weekends, got food when needed and also matched my pace on the event and various STEEP descents on training weekend (normally at the end of a day). I’m pretty sure I’ll do another MM, probably the SLMM again next year!

Plus.. yet again wifey was at home whilst I was away for a weekend, sorting out our home and making use of the mortgage we pay on it! Thanks to her for letting me do this. (I just am not sure she’ll like the idea of another MM.. even if it is next year)

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

hmm chesty

keeping the mind out of the gutter.. i've had a horrible chest infection for the past week (plus 5 weeks of actual coughing). Finally got to the docs, got x-rayed to check it wasn't TB (yikes) and then given some antibiotics. Was watching tennis and the tour whilst I was off inbetween sleeping lots and generally feeling low. I'm not quite back to 100% but am back at work and just about raring to go.

Which is a good job as i've a saunders event to get to this weekend. Hopefully the (very) few days between can get me further sorted and Don and I can have a cracking event.. plus the weather needs to play ball..

Anyhoo that's all for now. Will update when i'm alive monday.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Braai time!

Yoga on Thursday was great fun, still really enjoying the sessions (when I get there) and find them really useful to stretch out. Friday I left wifey to the her gym session and instead had a beer festival to play at. It was cracking good fun and there might have been a tipple or two had. Plus a good catch up with band peeps as I’ve been somewhat absent of late.

Saturday dawned to a lazy morning, but quickly developed into zumba for wifey and a gym session for me. It was good to work out, but I kept it upper body and minimal cardio for reasons which will become clear. After this was a much needed food shop and lunch before jumping in the car to get up to brum for a Braai, that’s a BBQ to you and me.

It was Jon’s birthday and his regular braai’s are pretty cool! Much beer consumed we collapsed into bed. Unfortunately Jon caught a stomach bug (no really..) and so didn’t get any sleep. Which meant the MTB plans for Sunday went a little awry. However, they were quite happy to have grace stay for lunch and baby cuddles so I was still able to meet up with Barney for a session at cannock. It was cracking good fun and my legs although used to running and not biking held up pretty ok to my need for simplicity – see photo. Yup one gear and for once I, king of punctures, suffered….. drum roll please. NONE! Whoop! Still I better not be too happy I’m guessing I’ll suffer retribution in the near future.

Then on the way back down stopped in for a bit of tea and further cake with Stig & Tara and chilled out on the boat before getting home and washing the bike.

phone camera can't seem to cope with the BLING of shiny clean bike!

This week is a much needed doc’s app, who had better not tell me to MTFU because this has been 4 weeks of coughing now and I’m a bit fed up of it.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Weekend at home

Am still suffering with a stupid cough. I think a docs trip could be needed at this rate!

Last week was v. quiet did a gym trip on Friday which was ok, if short. Swimming Saturday was a stupid idea and didn’t really work at all. Some general house chores and chilling out reading. Considering the past few weeks a well needed rest! Having said that my legs are still aching from Friday, so either it was a harder session that I thought or my recovery is a bit out!

However, a small project started in the workshop, plus a bit of a mountain bike fettle as it could be needed soon.

Even better yoga this week.. it’s been a while!

Monday, 11 June 2012


So for the last week I’ve been in Fontainebleau, bouldering. For those not in the know, think sand, trees, cheese and BOULDERS! Thousands of them..

It was wickedly brilliant fun. I’ve not been climbing much of late, I’ve felt a little ‘lost’ at the wall and had no enthusiasm to go. What’s more no real time TO go. So it was a mixed bag of emotions heading over, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do anything, but I was happy to be meeting up with friends. I’ve also been suffering with a chesty cough thing which still hasn’t yet gone.. but it was France, bread, cheese and wine would fuel me through.

The gite was awesome, I met some new folk, some old, climbed a lot, played some frizbee, did some slack-lining, a couple of small runs and a fair chunk of reading. Highlight for me was probably going back to the elephant area, it’s a lovely area, but can be a bit scarily high (it somehow didn’t feel too bad). That day I pretty much whupped a black route - 6a/v4 into quick submission (only just falling off the top slopers on the first go).

The second was finding a wonderful slab climb, just gorgeous and getting my non-climbing wife up it on the second go.. She likewise almost had it on the first, but got a bit freaked out. She had rattled on during the week doing whites, yellows and even almost nailing a blue! She’s gonna be cranking harder than me at this rate!

In other news:

Wooooooooaaaah less than a month to the saunders! Some long runs must be had!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The recovery

So I’ve had chance to recover and recuperate. I was a bit of a mess Sunday and Monday night and wifey was fantastic over the weekend doing lots of the house chores. However, I don’t think I was much company for her on my return. I then had a further chance to recover Tuesday as had a day off to see the plumbers round to sort a supply pipe leak we’d been having, whilst she was away on business.

nice pipe, nice hole

The leak is now fixed and electricals back together but I’ve still a bit of a mess to sort out and fencing to re-instate! It wasn’t quite as relaxing a day as expected with some further chores myself to do plus the tidy up of the mess being made.

Wednesday was food shop and trying to chill, but it turned into a finishing off of tasks (and filling the hole the elecy guys had made!). Soon I’m sure we’ll have moles taking up residence as they’ll like the look of the place!

Anyhoo, no exercise for me so far this week. Here’s a link to the day 2 of Lakeland fun, it stops early on which is just battery dying, we carried on south east as described via the three tarns. However, there should be some good write ups post next week, so long as the weather plays ball. Plus some time spent with my wife!!!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Lakeland fun: BG 3 plus a bit

Plus some suffering.

As I wrote Friday, the plan was to head up and meet with Don (saunders partner) for another training jaunt. We’d changed the plan to originally do the welsh 3000’s over a weekend and instead were going to the lakes to do leg 3 of the bob graham round on the Sat, plus a bit of leg 4 on the Sunday.

Driving straight from work I was listening to the bulletins wondering where I’d get stuck. However, luckily I managed a fairly clear drive and was in the lakes by ten and at the pub for a pint and map rekkie. I’ve a fairly good map-memory so will it all in mind and the pub closing we got heads down and tried to get some kip.

Saturday dawned to blue, blue skies and not a cloud in sight so we packed up and loaded our bags slathered some sun cream on and drover over to Dunmail raise.

This being the start of the day and the only way was up! Since this was new to both of us there was a bit of nav to do, but being a clear day seeing a top, cairn or lake wasn’t too much of a problem. Steel fell found no problem, swoop round to calf crag (second cairn/trio of peaks), bit of a think about which gully to head up for high raise (plus head on for second cairn) then a very short blast over to sergeant man for a quick summit. After this again contour round to Thunacar Knott, straight over to Harrison Stickle and head right to Pike of Stickle. By this point we were about 3 hrs in and had gone through 2ltrs of liquid a piece. So stopped for a quick refill at stake gill and reapply the sun cream.

On from here under black crags to Rossett pike, then a royal faff, route finding issues going up the suggested east side of Bow Fell (scrambling involved), back north along the path to Esk Pike and over to Great End. I saw nothing great about this peak, but may have been suffering slightly here. On from here to Ill Crag, Broad Crag and thence to Scafell Pike with some fantastic views. Unfortunately no time to stop so down to broad stand and then a choice of routes, we went via Lord’s Rake a slightly scree-y scramble then traverse back for the summit. Here we had a longer pause for a phone call (don) and then a quad burning, quivering descent to Wasdale and the NT campsite.

A fantastic day and hard work, but well worth the effort. Much food, sleep, showers (bliss) and a small beer followed before a long sleep!

Day 2:

Waking to bright sunshine, instead of lounging like lizards we sought shade! As both of us had discovered the Saturday quite hard we’d decided to amend our plans for the Sunday. Instead of Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Scoat fell, Steeple, Pillar and then Great Gable (followed by a long trod to the car). We changed this to a direct-ish route of Kirk Fell and Great Gable before the long trod to the car… Don was all in favor of taking it easy and going via black sail pass, I on the other hand fancied the direct, high nose head route, which won out in the end for being ‘short and sharp’.

Well sharp it was, short it didn’t feel like! 1hr10 of pure up later and we summited. Don in slightly better form than I (and about 10mins earlier!). We had a small pause to watch some others arrive and then cracked on. Down to the Beck Head tarn beneath Great gable, then up the obvious ridge/path. Meeting some multi-day BG-ers at the summit (4 days for the whole thing sounds much more like it!). Then a nice pathy, technical descent to the Sty Head tarn. Up and over to Sprinkling tarn, slightly longer but likewise to angle tarn, again with a nice bit of speedy descending.

Here was a well-earned pit stop! Topping up on electrolytes, water, food and letting the legs recover. Final push up to the col (hmmm weren’t we here yesterday!) and then ANOTHER technical decent, enjoying it, feeling the burn, spot of walking when the brain needed to catch up but above all keep going down… Finally the foot bridge across Stake Gill and a head cooling splash of water.

Unfortunately at this point I seemed to think we should be doing more so started running. Seeing as it was another 3k this probably wasn’t a great idea. However, I had it in my mind that some walkers ahead were (fictional saunders) competitors and they needed chasing down!!! Upon eventually catching them it seemed a bit rude to stop running, so we carried on. By the time we hit the pub and had all of 200-300m of road left it was a bit more of a two-step shuffle, but getting back into the campsite in Great Langdale felt excellent. If only to be stationary!

There followed a lengthy re-humanizing process, milk, food, showers, new clean clothes and sandals for battered feet! Into the car to collect Don’s left at Dunmail raise, swap gear and a long drive home.

All in all, a fantastic weekend, hard work, but worth it. Newfound respect and understanding of how hard the BG round is and kudos to those that have completed it. Still for me, 17 new mountains (yup – ALL new) and a lot of mileage later I’m happy, tired, but happy.

i'll post up Sundays route when i've heard back from Don ;-)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Being lax

On the write ups, but certainly not on the activity front!

Since last Friday I’ve been for a 45min swim, 1:40 bike, 40min swim, 2hr climb and then a yoga session. Not bad at all. Having said all that I think I could do with being at home to catch up with some chores.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen this weekend as I’m off to the lakes with Don for another training weekend. We’ve set our sights on leg 3 of the Bob Graham round (Dunmail to Wasdale) then overnight camp. Sunday is a bit of a loop (depending on how the legs feel!). Considering the forecast I think the most important thing for the weekend will be suncream!

In other news: had a team building day yesterday.. being a good boy scout my team won! The guys running the day had never seen such a good raft…

Friday, 18 May 2012

Gentle run

After the run with Don at the weekend my left calf has been feeling a bit tight so i rested it till yesterday and did only a gentle run 3.8miles in 30:05. I think a bit of cross training is in order so swimming tonight and then maybe a gym session tomorrow.
In other news:
We've had a water leak in the back garden. Which the water board tried to fix on Tuesday and made a RIGHT hash of it. They dug a shoddy hole in the patio, split through a armored electricity cable to the shed and then naffed off leaving the house without electricity. Queue one very stressed and irate Wifey. She eventually managed to get the electricity board out, who nearly didn't fix the cable (as it's not theirs). The water board said they now won't touch it, so it's on us to get a sparky in to join the cables and some plumbers for the leak! Joy
Oh and I was driving a new mini* this week, as wifey's was in for a mysterious leak that had supposedly been fixed by replacing the windscreen, but was still apparent. However, clearly not enough for the dealership who couldn't reproduce the leak and so didn't do anything.. Great, will just have to wait and see if it gets worse!
*chunky and yet still not spacious!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Plans change

Blimey well what was meant to be a quiet weekend (ish) turned into some late plans being made, all on Friday! Those can be the best sort..
Swim still on Friday which was nice, but harder work than i remember! Then some grub and collapse into bed. Sat was a dentist app for me (hmm lovely). Then helping a bit in the garden before i needed to pop out for the evening to Thame, ox. Wifey continued in the garden for a bit then welcomed Jon/BB/Georgie for some tea and a chat. They were down in Ware for a wedding and stopped in for a visit since they were down this way. Wifey really enjoyed the company for the arvo and the catch up.
Sunday was more late planning, but an early start to get over to marlow/henley way for a canoe! Mark, who'd lent us his back in apr for our exped fancied a short day out. But that didn't mean it was going to be easy. With the river Thames in good flow heading upstream for the first bit was hard work, but good fun. Then we had a wiggle down a tiny tributary. We got back to the main flow and charged downstream for a bit, before again turning off onto a tributary. This was upstream, but not too bad. Until a low bridge... Unfortunately with the higher than expected river it was a bit of a squeeze through this. On knees and pulling on the underside of the bridge to get through.. Well that was interesting! A quick pint and lunch before the final power upstream, across the flow and into Shiplake lock to get to our exit. Fantastic fun, hard work, and an unexpected surprise. It was a bit strange being 3 in a boat, but it made for a bit of easier work for the upstream sections! 8 miles in about 3hrs
Even more so was my Saunders partner Don being in the area guiding a charity walk on the ridgeway. Since he was 30 mins away, popped in for some dinner and a cheeky run! We'd goaded each other into a bit of a quick pace.. Which meant a bit of unexpected walking (uphill) and 37 mins for 6.8k. This is pretty much his 5k pace, just over a longer distance! So can't have been too bad.
A curry, few beers and a chat seem to have meant the welsh 3000's that was planned in a fortnight has changed into leg 3+4 of the Bob Graham round so he can get some nav knowledge for a support he doing in a couple of weeks. Plus i might have been arm twisted into the hathersage hilly tri. Hmmm, yikes?

Friday, 11 May 2012

a short week

Gotta love those bank holidays.. It's somehow strange for it already to be Friday, but equally brilliant to be.
After the race Monday night I got out climbing on Wednesday while wifey was at the gym. It's the first time for quite a while that i've been, which considering there's an indoor wall on my commute home is a silly situation to be in. It was cracking good fun and i bouldered about trying to build up some finger and skin strength! Before i ripped a flapper i headed on home for some cake ;-).. Not bad prep for font in early June!
Thursday was my normal run at work. No company again which should have meant a blistering time. However, i was clearly a bit pooped from the run Monday and climbing the night before so only a managed a 26:13 for 3.4 miles. Felt a bit crampy in my left calf. More's the pity I couldn't make yoga either, so didn't get the stretch out i'd fancied.
Tonight will be swimming, so long as we can find wifeys cozzie. Hopefully so, since mine is packed and ready to go. Maybe a tri could be back on the cards?? Think a bit of cycling could be in order... and that could be one more exercise too many!
I'll pretend i didn't mention that...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Home at last..

ahhhh a weekend at home and not having to drive anywhere, what bliss.

Dinner out Friday, a nice treat for us both. Saturday was a lie in, followed by some chores in town and a quick blat to the gym for a session for me, and zumba for wifey. Then in the afternoon a cakey bakey which helped during the rest of the weekend ;-). Plus getting the lawn mowed, which filled a large hessian bag with the cuttings!

Sunday was a much needed shopping trip as wifey needed some new work clothes for a new job in a few weeks. Plus having lost tons of weight has now cleared out most of what she had!

Monday was tip run, more house cleaning, garden tidying and catching up with all the things that had been put off for over a month.. But the evening gave a chance to compete in a 5mile road race. Very local to me, only a 10 min walk and one that i've ridden, but not run before. It was a really nice event, ~150 peeps and i placed 68 with a time of 39:13.

I tried to set a steady pace at the beggining.. i missed the first marker, but did 15:30 for mile 2 mostly flat, 24:00 for mile 3 which involved a big hill and started feeling a slight stitch at this point so only 32:10 for mile 4 marker. However, this meant a stonking 7 min for the final mile, which i can believe as i really put on a pace for the downhill. I would have preferred an overall 7:30 pace, but am happy with the 7:50 i ran.

All in all a fantastic weekend and just what the Doc ordered..

Friday, 4 May 2012

Bank holiday at home

Blimey, can't remember when we did that last....

Anyway, i'd not been running for 3 weeks (combination of the canoeing exped and then a stonking cold) but got out yesterday and managed 3.4miles in 25:11 so 5k in 22:57 (only 12s off my PB) chuffed with that..

Since i'm feeling that glow and as it's sooooooo local to me i'm probably going to give this a blast.

it's road race which is a shame (not being xc), but i know the route and hopefully it'll give a good time around 38min...

Yoga last night which was nicely relaxing and a good stretch too!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Devonshire knows...

As a birthday treat for my wife i'd booked a spa break in a countryside hotel in N.yorks (28/29 apr). It's a bit of a trek away, especially with a nasty M1 on a friday (even with a day off) but we arrived and slowly began a process of trying to get us somewhere resembling normal. Saturday was a very gentle walk up the strid river (near bolton abbey) and mooch to tea rooms in ilkley. There was also a spot of retail therapy, but nothing much as wifey had a massage and facial booked to help. I was at the gym and using the pool during this. It certainly did the trick and following from that was a lovely meal in their restaurant.
Sunday was more of the same with a pedicure for her and more gym for me. Then a long trundle home in again lovely weather (erm sorry - rain). I had taken outdoor running stuff, but to be honest it was ming out for most of the weekend, so i just didn't fancy it. However, gym-ing was fab, although i'm feeling a little achy now.
It was all vaguely familiar and had a lovely cozy feel to it. Both my parents grew up in Yorkshire and i remember visiting the grandparents several times over my childhood. Especially a week spent with my nan catching the train to Ilkley and bussing up to the cow and calf on t'moor.
Reminising over it's back to the real world with a bump.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Updates & stats Apr

Have been a bit lax of late keeping on top of the weekends activities*, but i'll catch up at some point. I'm feeling slightly storm ravaged in more ways than one, but that could just be a non-chipper Dave moment. Which hopefully will pass.

Anyhoo, i shall post that i managed 110 miles in Apr (ok, ok, so not all of these were running)

Canoeing 77.40
Running 17.43 - this is a woefully low total, but i've had a stonking cold.
Walking 13.98

Kcals is 12912, which is new monthly total by some margin. Plus i've almost matched my 2011 kcal total (41622) and it's only the end of April? Yikes i've upped the training somewhat..

Normal service will resume shortly.

*the canoeing exped write up took longer than expected.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

River wye - useful info

Distances and some useful links
used these guys to look at map/campsite ideas etc
We've also used these guys in the past for day canoe hire. It's handy in that they run you upstream to start off your trip.
Daily distances
Glasbury - Whitney - 10.5 miles
Whitney - Byecross  - 12 miles
BycrossHolme Lacy - 20 miles
Holme Lacy - Hoarwithy - 8.5 miles
Hoarwithy - Ross on Wye - 12 miles
Ross on Wye - Symonds Yat - 14 miles
Hope this helps if you're thinking of a trip! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Wye canoe trip - part 2

the continuation
Day 4 Holme Lacy - Hoarwithy

Because of the food shop that was at the campsite we were able to get some further supplies (i suppose it's not all bad). So it was a hearty breakfast of bacon and then egg sandwiches! Fully fuelled we loaded up and headed on out again. Lunch was therefore some lovely cheese sarnies!

hmm tea and bacon!

It was the shorted day of the trip so far, but again played in our favor as when we got to the campsite we had a brief window of opportunity to set up camp and unload in the dry before a massive thunderstorm came over. The facilities at Tresseck are BASIC, just a series of portaloos and some water taps. But yet again, it was a cheap campsite (just £11 for us both) and allowed fires (wood £5 a bag), parking was available at £2 a day and launch was £1.50. It was nice flat, soft grass,,, all in all pretty good.

Tresseck camp site - thunderstorm passed!
 Unfortunately my stove was playing up at this point, so although we had hot chocolate and some noodles for dinner, it was a bit sparse. As the temparature plummeted we treated ourselves to a dessert and pint in the local some 200+yrds away... It was a great idea, as it was a very plush gastro-pub. The food looked gorgeous and the desserts were great ;-)!

Even more annoying was i started to get a cold at this point, but manfully i persevered..... urggggh!

Day 5 Hoarwithy - Ross on Wye

Waking up, I managed to coax the stove into action and had beans and sausages plus bread for brekky. It was a glorious morning so we again loaded up and got going. By this point it was getting a bit easier to remember what went where and so it was getting a bit quicker!


During this stretch there was a LOOONG bit of no-landing private land/fishing. It was just at the worst time - LUNCH! However, we finally managed to find a landing spot just after a bridge (dis) near Backney. It was a nice spot, and wandering up the bank we could see the spire of Ross in the distance. Jumping back in it soon came into sight and paddling through the town we noticed the new public launch and then just after the bridge (taking the right hand arch) pulled into the pub, err camping ;-).

Ross coming into view

They seemed a bit unfriendly at first, but I understand they have restrictions from the council about the camping they offer. Anyway we kept a tidy camp and pulled the canoe out of the way. We then had a walk into town and bought some bits and stopped in for a bit of tea and cake.. then a pint of beer on the walk back, all enjoyed! Dinner was at the pub and was much appreciated along with the butty bach ale! It was definitely wise to pre-book as it's limited space, but at £12 it was quite cheap, although showers were £1 for 3 mins!

Ross on Wye riverside camping

The White Lion, Ross

Day 6 Ross on wye - Symonds Yat

The Final Day!! To help us along our way and probably to help ensure continued martial harmony (i can be quite grumpy when hungry) my brother joined us for the last day. He's came prepared with his own canoe so after a bit of faff (he went and bought us sarnies/parked his car) we were off!

Bro and Goodrich Castle
Luckily on this day it was again dry, if a little on the cool side. A cuppa tea, and a few breaks later to stretch legs (and feet) and lo we were in Symonds yat! It's a leg we've done before as a day trip so it wasn't anything new. However, it was fab to do it as the finale of such a long trip and even better to have my brother come out and join us. We then sipped a beer by the river and then i took him and his canoe back to his car.

the brotherly duo

We camped overnight at the Symonds yat east campsite here had dinner at the Saracens head (lovely grub) plus a few more butty bach's! Camping's not cheap at £10pppn. Also we'd left the car here to minimize faff - which was £10 per day. I'd almost recommend the Hoarwithy for this in future, as at £2 it's a lot cheaper, but then there's more of an issue collecting it near the end!
fully loaded and ready to trip home
All in all, fab week canoeing!