Monday, 24 October 2016

Hard cycle ride and the Minehead 'Stumble' run


After my struggle round the HerePath route on Monday a days rest required before joining the Wobblies on Wednesday morning, but! only two of us turned out with other Wobblers visiting vets, in Germany or in Scotland etc. the trouble is the other Wobbler was a fitness Instructor from the local Gym 1610, he takes the Spin classes etc. We decided to head over to Hestercombe House

by a circuitous route, it was a lovely morning, a chill in the air but the occasional view of the sun created warm spots!!! the trees were now turning very Autumnal so the ride over the Blackdowns was particularly colourful, a long down hill to West Buckland before crossing the main road and heading over to Bishops Lydyeard, 30 miles already completed, at a fast pace, [ remember I said he was a fitness Instructor] we finally arrived at Hestercombe where a welcome Latte and large piece of white chocolate covered apricot flapjack was consumed, to give me the calories to get home! and keep up with Paul!! its a lovely setting with the local Sandstone coloured buildings blending nicely with the autumn colours. We were soon off once again heading over Creech St Michael and North Curry, up over Rock Hill and back over the levels, all at a faster than usual pace for me 61 miles covered and over 3000 ft climbed, a good average speed of over 16 mph I was tired when I got home!! but a lovely hard ride with glorious views. A good morning out and good training I am sure.

Friday was fine tuning day before the Stumble on Sunday, so a 6 mile run around town.

Saturday was a glorious and sunny day so a little shopping in Exeter where I managed to get some Inov8 running gaiters to stop stones going down the tops on my shoes when running off road, will try them on Sunday and report back, they look good! we also managed a walk on the front at Exmouth where it was actually hot, and walking in short sleeves was called for.

Sunday dawned, cold, cloudy and misty with a cold east wind. I drove over to Minehead with lights on because of the mist.

Parking up signing on there was lots of hustle and bustle so after picking up my number I went a walk up to the start area 

Where this fabulously coloured leaved tree stood I walked further up the combe to remind me what it was like, it was very cold.
On return to the car park, discussion and banter between runners about how cold it was and what to wear etc. I felt quite chilly in my short sleeved tee, but confident I would soon warm up. I opted today just to take a gel, in case, having had my usual Jam sandwich 45 mins before the start.
The start time soon arrived and as it was so cold I did for a change do a warm up run or two!!!
we soon had the briefing to be told the course had changed because of permission form Crown Forestry wouldn't allow the run on their land!!
we were off and soon heading up hill, up a wide stony track, steep in places to the first ridge, it soon had people walking [ there were 93 in my event and 190 in the Stagger which went up to Dunkery Beacon, I will do that sometime!!] making it difficult to run myself, the singletrack made it worse and we were queing at one time so stopped altogether, a few minutes lost here.
the route up seemed easier that last year, and we were soon running along a 'Roller Coaster' of a ridge, I was still wary of any more big ups as I didnt know the route so cautiously didnt run quite as fast on the downs as I could. the half way water point 3.5 miles in was reached and I knew then there was little more up hill, we climbed back up to the main ridge, the route can be seen here:-

as we went along the main ridge I was feeling good despite the cold head wind and knew the down hill was coming up, not the usual descent, infact it was steeper and stonier, but I let it go and found my self descending fast, overtaking a few others, it was great!! the Speedcross shoes doing their job and the new gaiters excelling at keeping the stones out, I was soon averaging 7 minute miles at times and as I hit the tarmac at the bottom I looked at my watch and noticed and under the hour a possibility, I ran as fast as I could passing a few more runners, looking at my watch, to try the under hour, sadly despite my effort I finished the 6.3 miles in 1 hr 0 minutes and 39 secs a great time and 7 minutes faster than last year.

I came 40th out of 93 finishers, but the icing on the cake was i came 1st in the over 65 catagory  even though there were only 3 of us!!! but! no prize except another Tee

A technical one this year and quite a nice fit. Tea and cake followed before my drive home. a great event well organised and run by Minehead running club, perhaps next year I will manage the 15 mile 'Stagger' !!!!

Just the Herepath Half Marathon next week now, I hope I can get a run of the route tomorrow as its pouring down with rain today, this will prepare me well for next Sunday.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Herepath route run and coffee in Lyme Regis

17th October 2016

Since my last outing to the Quantocks I have been able to get out with the Wobbly wheelers for a lovely ride over to Lyme Regis, 8 of us were out , via a number of back lanes I had never been down before , after  climbing Lamberts castle Hill we then crossed the A35 to go down a long winding hill through Harcombe Bottom and Rhode hill, a lovely road in pleasant sunshine,but! The dappling on the road making it difficult to spot pot holes!! We exited at Uplyme where we continued into Lyme down the main street, surprisingly busy for a Wednesday morning. I was also surprised that I wasn’t feeling the effects of my previous days run on the Quantocks, but I seemed to be going well, climbing as well as the others.
We cycled down the narrow street to the   Town Mill Bakery

a quirky coffee shop where you take what you want ,pastry, toast etc. apply your jam, peanut butter or whatever , order your coffee and pay on exit. Great atmosphere and lovely pastry, my cinnamon whirl and latte certainly helped get me home!!! I can recommend a visit but I think its busy at times ,we were very lucky to find it reasonably quiet.
When we were all fed and watered it was time to move on, as we were at sea level, the only way was up!!! But we managed to find a steady climbing route out, going round the lanes once again through Shapwick and under a superb Via duct that used to carry the old railway line down to Lyme, still in great condition, sadly there is no access to it, make a great cycle route into Lyme. We climbed Combpyne hill before descending past River Cottage HQ to Raymonds Hill crossing the A35 once again and heading for Blackpool corner. Heading back down the lanes through Tudhay , crossing the river Axe at Broom before the long stepp climb upto Tytherleigh , on into Chardstock and picking up the NCN route back to Chard. 36 miles covered on a lovely cycling morning but also 3000 ft of climbing, I felt surprisingly good so pleased with the effort.

Friday I decided it was time to revisit the Here Path route

being as its only 2 weeks to the event. I parked at Staple hill which is the highest point on the route. The weather was decidedly poor, there was thick mist and there was also slight drizzle as I ran across to Neroche, a route I have done many times. Down the fast couple of miles to the B road before ascending on the road towards Bickenhall Farm, my least favourite part of the route.
I was soon into the woods before emerging into a large field with a path around the outside, very hard work this bit!!!
At the road once again and after a few hundred yards turned off for a nice downhill it to what is normally the finish at Thurlbear, but not today as I still had another 6 miles to go back up to Staple Hill carpark. After Netherclay it was all track, climbing steadily until I hit Underhill lane where the organisers send us on a loop through some very muddy areas before the final climb to Staple Hill. It was particulary muddy as cattle had clearly been along to path recently, their hooves turning the path into a very wet quagmire that took some negotiating to keep my shoes on in the glutinous mud. Once through it the hill steepened to the highest point on the route and fortunate for me back to the car. I was tired with 13.6 miles covered and over 1300 ft climbed, but it was a good run and the sun came out just to round off the day.My time wasnt great 2 hrs 33 mins 

Sunday a 32 mile cycle ride to try to loosen my very sore/tight right calf muscle, it seemed to do the trick until later in the evening when it returned!!

Monday, another HPH route day, this time starting at Thurbear, it was a lovely bright sunny morning as I set off, determined to take my time, I did the long climb up to Staple hill and felt fine, but!! As I hit the last 4 miles from near Bickenhall, it all started to seem very hard, I was struggling to keep a pace and found my self walking where I normally run, jelly babies, dextrasol and energy drink didn’t seem to address the issues, so I was pleased to be on the final descent to Thurlbear. I had missed out the very muddy section today but still managed  12.7 miles. I was very tired when I got to the car and recovered slightly after a granola bar and a bit of stretching. I can only assume I hadn’t recovered enough from my efforts last Friday. I will give it some rest for a couple of days before a short run, before the ‘Stumble’ at Minehead on Sunday. My calf muscle is very sore so will have to get the foam roller out and massage it to see if I can improve it before the Sunday run.

Its been a good week all round with a trips to Exmouth and Seaton  in the van, coffee overlooking the sea etc. I even managed to get a bargain at Cotswold Camping at Darts Farm, a Montane featherweight windproof with a full zip. I have an overhead one that is getting a little old now so the zipped one with be more practical, but, it doesn't fold as small as the overhead one, but still fits in my cycling jersey pocket. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Plymouth 10k and a run on the Quantock hills

Today was a contrast to Sunday! I drove over to the Quantocks at 7:00 just as it was getting light, well, it would if it hadn’t been for the thick mist on my drive through Taunton. My aim to run 12 miles across the Quantock’s as preparation for the Here Path Half at the end of the month, 13 miles with lots of climbing!! More later ???
Back to Plymouth 10k  - it was my daughters second 10k and she had put in lots of work for the event after Taunton, despite a heavy workload in her job as a Primary Teacher. I had spent the time since Taunton 10 k getting out a couple of times a week for 6- 10 miles round the lanes, as well as some Bikeability at several village schools. The weather has been really good lately, even with a chilly easterly wind. But I am finally in long trousers; last week’s Bikeability was a little chilly in the morning.

Mrs IanB and I were booked into a Plymouth Hotel for Saturday night as daughter and her bloke were also staying over, but our plans for her to have a night in a 4 star hotel were thwarted when my son and the grand children came down for the weekend for the local Carnival on Saturday night. So after a busy day looking after the twin boys whilst mum, dad and Gdaughter went shopping in Exeter I drove down to Plymouth on my own and checked into the already paid for room. A pleasant evening out in Plymouth with daughter and boyfriend, at the ‘Wildwood restaurant’ Pizza etc.
The dawned beautiful, sun and no wind, a lovely day ahead. The start for the event was close to the hotel so we could stroll down to the start at 8:30 just in time to warm up. There were over 2000 runners involved and street in the town were closed off.
We lined up mid-way down the crowd and we were soon off, trying not to get caught up in the rush, it was good to be in the middle of the runners of all shapes, sizes and ages. The weather was just right for running, no wind and at times it was a little too warm. The run was down one side of the road and back up the other side, but we ran along the picturesque embankment, with good views over the river. As we approached the 5 k mark we could see the leaders going the other way, daughter’s boyfriend included, he was clearly doing a good time! We felt good as we hit the turn and it inspired us when we could see all the runners behind us. There were several long slopes on the return from the 5 k mark and we found ourselves walking just to gather breath and take on board some water. We were soon on the final descent before the final climb to the finish so an extra spurt was needed. 1hr and 5 minutes!!!! That’s a minute faster than the Taunton run, we were pleased with that! We came 1600th out of 2100 so a good finish. Daughter’s boyfriend came 26th so a good run by him at 36 minutes, the winner did 32 minutes.

                                                        Taunton medal left, Plymouth right

A really nice medal [compared to the plastic Taunton one] see photo, a goody bag and tee shirt. A good day out in fantastic weather. I got home in time to spend an hour with the grandchildren before their return up the M5 to Gloucester.
In contrast my run across the Quantocks started in thick mist and a cold easterly wind, in a long sleeve jersey, Gilet and a hat! The run up Wills Neck was chilly the mist finally clearing as I dropped down to Triscombe stone, it was starting to warm up and as I ran my usual Dead woman’s Ditch the sun felt quite warm. It was interesting running along the side of the road, as people were driving to work. The ground was very dry  throughout the run, I had applied DEET around my legs as a precaution against Ticks as I was brushing bracken and heather.

On the return I walked up Hurley Beacon and managed to snack on jelly babies  and for the first time washed down with flat coke [ the first time I had tried this] I still felt ok as I had run over 7 miles and hitting 10 miles before my final climb up to Wills Neck , I walked in places, the wild ponies completely disinterested in this mad person running!! I got back to the car, 11.63 miles covered in just over 2 hours, the weather was a fabulous with great views all around, it had been a few months since I had been on the Qauntocks , I will certainly revisit as soon as possible, perhaps on my MTB!!!!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Taunton 10k +

Taunton 10k +
26th September  2016
Since we got back from the holiday in Pembroke I have managed to get very few miles in on the bike [42!] but have managed to run 3 times a week the furthest being 8.5 miles, which is bringing me a step closer to my half marathon distance at the end of October, although it does seem hard work this time and a small pain just below my knee cap is causing me a little concern, it doesant hurt when I run, but if I touch it, it is tender and I cant kneel on it. No idea what it is but it doesant hurt cycling or running, odd!!! Tried Googling without success, tried Voterol that doesant work, despite the posh TV advert!

We did manage to childmind in Gloucester last week  this was particularly helpful as poor Gdaughter had to have 48 hrs from School due to a sickness bug. But, a great time with her and the twins was had.

Sunday [yesterday ] saw me doing the Taunton 10k road race, my first ever road race, along with my daughter who has only been running a short time and has only run 10k in the last couple of weeks, her first race ever!!!
We were both excited and apprehensive, but it helped as we were able to walk from her flat in Taunton round the corner to the start at Blackbrook sports centre. 600 + had entered so it was me, daughter and her boyfriend lining up with lots of runners, the weather was set to be good and it was hot as we set off at a brisk pace, everyone jostling for position before it thinned out a little, daughters boyfriend was looking for a good time so went on ahead whilst we were aiming for a finish around  the one hour time, and just to get round.

We were going well and when we went into the lanes the weather started to change and we had a slight drizzle as we approached the drink station at 5k. it was a slight incline out of the village of Stoke St Mary, so a good time for dextrasol and a drink. When we got to cross the M5 once more it started to rain heavily, followed on by gusty wind, making running hard work, we fought our way over the bridge to the last half mile, where we picked up speed to the finish, a sprint finish had daughter beating me by two seconds!!!

A great run, daughter did really well, chip timing said 1hr 6 mins, we came 507 th and 508th out of 574 finishers. Pleasing result and a good day out. The sun came out, as we finished and we were presented with a rather disappointing plastic medal, not the best I have ever seen!!!!!
Daughters boyfriend was 26th in 39 minutes the winner doing 35 mins, so a good run by him, even though he was suffering a nasty cold and was on antibiotics.

This is all good preparation for our Plymouth 10 k in two weeks

Monday, 19 September 2016

France or Pembroke??

15th September 2016 
Decisions!! We were undecided where to go for a holiday this year, now the children have gone back to school and the holiday areas are quieter. We thought France then looking at the cost - £350 to get the van over there + road rescue+ personal insurance+ extra van insurance, along with the hassle of early ferries and 4 hours twiddling thumbs across the water, we decided to visit an area of Britain we had not been to before, Pembroke. This would work well coinciding with a visit to share Twin grandson’s birthday at the beginning of September.
So it was 3 nights first of all at ‘Briarsfield’ at Cheltenham, a site we seem to have spent most of the summer on, surprisingly relatively quiet this time. We had the Friday visiting Cheltenham, lunch out etc.( I did manage a 7 mile run whilst here]

Saturday was Twins Birthday, so party lunch and lots of present to unwrap, which the granddaughter enjoyed as much as the twins!!! Our Daughter came up as well so it was a nice family lunch, shame our eldest son couldn’t make it, although he was in the area earlier in the week whilst Bramble the dog took part in dog agility down the road.

Sunday saw us driving over the welsh countryside through Monmouth, Abergavenny, the heads of the valleys road [Much construction work to improve it] to Merthyr Tydfil, Neath on to the M4 to Carmarthen before heading down towards Tenby and our destination Freshwater East and its Caravan Club campsite,
The campsite was in a great position just a couple of hundred yards from a spectacular Beach, with a beautiful curved bay. Our first test on parking up was to put up our new drive away awning; I had put it up once at home to try it out. It was simple to put up with the poles already in place, just needed extending and then fitting the flysheet over the top and connecting to the van. We were soon sat in the sunshine with tea and biscuits in a good position, a grassy pitch.
The awning gave us more space, and somewhere to sit other than in the van, somewhere to store the chairs, rain jackets etc. After an evening meal of sausage casserole we had a stroll down to the beach, the tide was out and there were lots of people around, I assume from a nearby chalet park, but busy to say the children were back at school. It now turned chilly with a mist rolling in from the sea, making it quite damp.

Day 1 [Monday] we headed for Tenby, despite the weather being very foggy and damp, but very warm. Parking was easy, unusual for the van, as we were on the edge of Tenby near the park and ride. Cheap too!!
It was a good 20 minute walk to the front. There was a low cloud over the cliffs, the views over and around Tenby were wonderful. We walked round lifeboat stations [new and old] and then onto the town and managed to find a nice café for our coffee. We sat a while, phoned our Grandaughter after her first day at school, all went well!!!!
Lunch was back at the van, with homemade rolls…… after several hours around the town looking at the sites we headed back to Freshwater and camp. The weather was changeable, wet, windy and sunny!!!  The awning was a little flappy and noisy in the increasing wind, not a good sign, especially as gales were forecast later in the week. We did end up taking it down the next day as high winds were forecast for the next night. I didn’t want to damage the van if it broke loose.

                                            A Misty Tenby

Day 2 we spent walking over to Stackpole Quay, which according to local signposts was 2.9 miles away. Weather was good, hot at times in the sunshine. The views as we walked along the coast were stunning, the path right on the edge. We had taken a packed lunch, which we ate at the quay before testing the tea in the National Trust café!!!
The quay is very strange, a lovely spot once used to export limestone from a local quarry at the ‘big house’ to support the estate. Well worth a visit.
It was hot walking back and the hills we came down seemed steeper on the way back up so were glad when we got back to the camp, kicking off shoes and putting the kettle on. The site was full again, a sign of all the older people on holiday now children are back at school. The toilets were the usual CC standard, spotless!

           Stackpole Quay
Freshwater water bay
 Path to Stackpole
 Tenby in the sun
 Tenby in the sun
 New Awning

Day 3. I was up before it got light with the intention of running along the cliffs in the direction of Stackpole Quay, not sure I would go all the way. It was still getting light as I left Mrs IanB asleep in the van. The campsite was deserted I ran down the lane to the bay before heading up onto the cliffs and around the first Headland Trewent Point. It was wet underfoot as autumn dew was now coating the grass. The views across the deserted bay were stunning, the weather looked promising as I ran along the cliff edge, it’s a rolling route, the downs being a little slippery with the mud, so extra care needed. Occasionally I was covered in spider’s webs! That had carefully been constructed overnight; I expect to catch their breakfast!!! Don’t know what they made of some oaf, crashing through them at 6:30 in the morning, The sun was now starting to show through, but a chilling breeze kept me cool as I reached each little rise on the route I soon got to Greenala Point a lovely hill fort that was quite steep, it was a strange feeling when I stood there for a drink, taking in the atmosphere, all those years ago people lived there! I was the only person around, but was only 6:30 am!  I could see Stackpole Quay but decided it was time to turn round and return the way I had come, down the slippery descent and back along the roller coaster route. When I got to Trewent Point the sun was out and the views were even more beautiful, the curve of the bay and the surf rolling in. Back to the van, still few people are around, dog walkers mainly 5 miles covered so I was pleased with that. A nice shower and a breakfast in the sunshine before sorting the van to move on once more.
 We were to depart to St Davids further down the Pembroke coast, but after packing up the weather was beautiful, we decided to head back to Tenby to see it in a better light, we weren’t disappointed, it was beautiful, beaches, cliffs and the town free of traffic after 11 am. Tenby is a place we will visit again I am sure.
We then pointed the Van towards St Davids the smallest city in the UK, we didn’t realise how small it was. Haverford West came and went, although there were great views over the River Cleddau as we crossed the toll bridge and we soon got to our next site CC site near Whitesands Bay, little winding narrow lanes to get there after St Davids.
We pitched up on a very open site, also a very busy site again, apparently full for the next few days. I was pleased we got there early to give some choice, although there was no shelter, from the wind. Reviews of the site had said it was an exposed site! We put up the awning with some difficulty in the winds. The kettle was soon on and we were able to sit in the sunshine, even in the stiff breeze. We were also some distance from the toilet block.

Day 4, a bright sunny day dawned, even though again there was a stiff breeze. We walked the several miles into St Davids, passing the splendid ruined Bishops Palace on the way in an then the Cathedral, not quite as exotic as Exeter or Durham etc., but lovely in its own right. There were no stained glass windows, and it was very basic in comparison to others. WE peeped round the door to look in, it did say a donation for up keep would be welcome, but inside the door it asked for £2 each and there was a person to greet you, not quite our cup of tea. Never the less a lovely place, lots of other visitors around, well cared for, I thought the Bishops palace ruin more impressive!!
We walked into St Davids, a ‘one street and square city’ but a lovely place, we had taken a flask of coffee so sat on the square in the sunshine  and enjoyed the atmosphere, a small craft market was also there.
After a walk around the ‘city’ which didn’t take too long we were starting to feel a hungry. After looking around we decided to give the ‘Bishops’ pub a go, nice menu and several veggie options, the atmosphere was good a mix of tourists and locals, we ordered Welsh Rarebit with a salad plus of course our side bowl of chips! It was delicious, and plenty of it, washed down with a pint of bitter shandy. A satisfying lunch, it was quite bright when we stepped out into the sunshine as it was a typical low ceiling, beamed village pub, quite dark inside. We were soon re tracing our steps back past the Bishops ruin and the cathedral and into the lanes leading back to the campsite, a good couple of miles each way.
The evening weather forecast was for gales and heavy rain and the wind had already started to pick up as we got back to the van, so I decided to take down the awning as it was already flapping around where it joined the van, I think I have discovered that it’s a very nice awning in good weather, but when the wind rises it’s not the best, even with extra pegging, [I will do a separate review of the awning later]
It was a rough night with heavy rain and winds, I saw several people adjusting awnings to cope with conditions, the wind was even making the van rock at times, I was a little worried about being parked on the field, and getting stuck, however, this was unfounded as the drainage seemed particularly good and a good under soil, perhaps after the dry summer.
 Whitesands Bay near St Davids
 St Davids Cathedral
 Rainbow over the campsite St Davids

Day 5 The weather overnight had eased by morning but it was forecast to be a damp and windy day. We decided it was a driving about day, so we planned to visit Haverford West with its castle etc.  The drive over was easy, parking was a little more difficult, especially with the van, but we managed to park below the castle. We walked up, but it was a disappointing visit, everywhere looked run down and needed some TLC. The town was a nice little town with a splendid new shopping centre next to the river; sadly this was also a little run down. The main street looked as though it had been quite prosperous at one time. We struggled to find anywhere to eat so settled on sandwiches back at the van later. We left Haverford and went on to Little Haven, another sweeping bay, we parked and walked out on the beach, again a few hardy surfers and dog walkers around, but a beautiful spot once again. We finally made our sandwich whilst in the car park overlooking the bay.
The drive back was uneventful, passing Newgale Sands once more, very similar to Little Haven with its broad sweeping bay of sands. The campsite adjacent to the road was now a small lake, so glad I wasn’t camping there. It was also raining again!!

Day 6 The weather eased, the next day and it was another walk day. We planned to take coffee round to St Davids Head which was about 2 miles away round the coast. We walked down the road to Whitesands Bay; surfers were already queuing up for the right wave to come along. We stood for a while and watched. It was then a steady climb up and around the coast with spectacular views of Ramsey Island etc. We even managed to spot a family of seals on a secluded beach, the two babies lounging on the rocks whilst, mum and dad kept a watch from the sea. occasionally coming out of the water to check on their off spring.
St Davids Head is a lovely spot, fantastic views around the bay, even better with the weather being nice after the storm. Coffee and snacks were eaten in the shelter of the rocks as small groups of people came and went from the point, Mrs IanB even got her sketch pad out to record our visit.
We walked slowly back to the camp for a leisurely late lunch and spent the afternoon reading and enjoying the sunshine.

 Sunrise near St Davids Head
 Climb up to Carn Llidi
View of Ramsey Island from Carn Llidi

The campsite from Carn Llidi

Day 7, I was up early again, this time it really was still dark, the temperature was also down on previous days, with the wind eased from the previous night but still breezy. I set off for a run round the coast, needing my head torch at first to avoid tripping over. I headed out past the golf course before descending down a lovely single pathway to Whitesands Bay; I had beaten the surfers today as it was only just light as I set off up the track to St Davids Head once again. There was no one around, the skies were getting lighter and there was promise of a good sunrise. I ran past the secluded beach with the seals, still there! And out to the point. This time I headed up on to the ridge and ran more westward before descending to the coast path again and climbing up to the peak of Carn Llidi  at 181 metres. It was tough climb and route finding through the heather at times difficult. I was also aware this was Adder country! I hope they were still all asleep! The top few metres were a scramble, now fully light with a lovely sunrise and clear blue skies I summited to find a young couple there, who had walked up from the Youth Hostel, it was barely 6:45 but they were keen to see the sunrise as I was. We exchanged chat before Ms ‘young couple’ decided she was getting cold, so they headed of down the rocky ridge, leaving me to enjoy the really stunning 360 degree panorama in brilliant sunshine, the campsite below now looked very small. I enjoyed my few minutes up there and as always reluctant to leave the summit after all the effort. I scrambled down through rocks and heather to pick up the coast path again and ran down and back the way I had come through Whitesands, this time there were several surfers out, even though the surf was quite flat given the stormy day the day before. I ran up the hill from the coast and back to the van, there were still few people about and I looked up at the peak I had just run up and felt very self-satisfied I had made the effort 6.5 miles run and several hundred feet climbed before breakfast. Mrs IanB had overslept, and I opened the van door to find her still asleep. A shower and breakfast followed before it was time to pack up camp and move on once more. We both agreed it was a good move to take down the awning it the nasty weather.
It doesn’t take long to pack up the van, by the time you have put the seat back, stowed the kettle and mugs all we have to do is un plug and coil the lead, then we are away. There was some sadness at going from here as it had real potential to explore, quite a remote place but! I was told by the ‘young couple’ it’s very busy in school holidays with lots n lots of children, so perhaps we had seen it at its best.
Abergavenny was our next site some 112 miles away; I opted for going round the Brecon Beacons this time able to follow the A40 all the way. A lovely drive, with changeable weather conditions, bright and sunny, very dark black clouds[ but no rain] after several hours and a van lunch once more we arrived at the CC site at Pandy, a smallish site, as were  quite early we had a good choice of pitches this time, including hard standing which we opted for. The campsite once again was full for the next couple of days. We had a nice pitch, not too far from the toilet block this time, I put up the awning, which is very easy, but glad I had the hard pegs as pegging into hard standing plays havoc with soft pegs!
We were right next to a railway line and the trains seemed quite regular, but they didn’t bother us, even through the night, there was something comforting knowing that railways are still used and still used for freight which we saw.

Day 8, was a trip around the area in the van, I didn’t have any local 1:50000 maps and there were no maps or walks in the information room, so we decided the best use of time would be to visit Hay on Wye which was only 20 miles away. Driving away from the awning was easy, and I was surprised how easy it was to reattach when I returned as long as I realigned with it.
Hay on Wye parking was easy, Hay is well known for its second hand book shops. We found it a pleasant large village with some wonderful old buildings, quite historical, including the cheese market in the middle, for me the second hand book shops were not inviting, all smelling of second-hand books, there were also a few shops with ‘retro clothing’ it was a very touristy place, well worth a visit, though I expect its very busy in summer time. After several hours and a coffee later, as well as purchasing some nice rolls for lunch in the van later we departed and set off for Abergavenny. We stopped on the way, below the Black Mountains for some lunch. Abergavenny was a surprise; a very clean well looked after town [unlike Haverford] with free parking!!!!! Close to the town centre. We were able to visit the castle and museum free! A lovely little place, the town looked in good shape with lots of top high street shops, few vacant premises.  We enjoyed Abergavenny, and felt welcome as a visitor. Over all the welsh places we had been to car parking charges seemed reasonable compared with those around us in the South West. After several hours and a little prsezzy shopping for grandchildren we set of for the few miles back to Pandy and the campsite.
The evening we walked up the lane from the site and ended up helping a farmer herd sheep along the road and into a field, ably assisted by his two sheep dogs, our job was to stop escapees up another road nearby.

Day 9 was our final day and decided on packing up to call at Monmouth on the way home, the weather forecast was grim for later in the day! Monmouth was disappointing just another small town, we were surprised as there seemed little history and the town really consisted of a main wide street with little or no character. Abergavenny seemed better to us.
We drove back down the Wye valley, winding its way back down to Chepstow and the Severn Bridge. We stopped and had lunch in the van at the Severn Bridge services, just as the thunderstorm hit!! It was a wet drive home down the M5 from there, with occasional claps of thunder and heavy rain. Later it was reported that across the country there had been floods and lightning strikes, we were lucky!

It had been a good holiday, in an area we had not visited before. Nearly 20 miles run and lots of walking.The van was brilliant as ever, couldn’t have wanted better sites and the new Awning was a success despite the issues with its performance in the wind.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Nice weather continues, plenty of running and cycling.

Thursday 1st September 2016
well the summer goes on despite the odd hiccup, like  last Sunday when I got a wetting!!
The week has gone well, with a 5 mile run on Monday and a very good round the town run on Tuesday of 7 miles, using an off road route up Snowden Hill and giving me 551 ft of ascent, timewise just over the hour, so very pleased with that on a summers evening. Wednesday I was out with the 'Wobblies' again, lovely morning, a ride over to Yetminster via Beaminster Down, Toller down and Evershot to 'Hamishs Farm shop

Really nice place ,food was good, large cinnamon swirls, huge bacon sarnies, and a smashing scrambled egg on granary, along with tea and coffee!!! it was lovely to sit outside in the warm sunshine after the hard 30 miles ride over some big hills. But it was 20 miles home from there so it took some time to get into riding again, and we hit a good 15% hill quite soon after, the rest of the ride through Hardington Mandeville, Merriott and Hinton St George was up and down, but not as tough as the ride out, I think all eight of us struggled especially those who were bacon sarnies! 50 miles covered on the ride, 3200 ft ascended and 2800 calories burnt, so a great morning out.

I have also been following 'My fitness Pal' again as two weeks ago I hit the 12 stone mark! but after two weeks a lot of running, cycling and keeping out of the biscuit and cake tin [ cafe stops cycling an exception] I am down to a reasoneable 11st 9 pounds so good news and will make the races coming up in October easier.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

150 miles cycled 13.4 miles run last week

28th August 2016

Including last Sunday's cycle ride I managed to cycle 150 miles last week! My Sunday ride over the levels with Mike. Wednesday was a 'Wobblies' ride on a beautiful morning over to have coffee on the Beach at Beer. It was a tough ride over Stockland before dropping down a lovely long descent down to the coast. Coffee and cake at 'Duckeys' cafe on the beach below the cliffs, a superb position, great cake, sadly we then had the climb up from the coast over Rousden and Chardstock, eight of us had a lovely ride.
Thursday I joined Yeovil CC for a ride over to Milton Abbass and Milton Abbey School where they have a wonderful tearoom only open in holiday time. Thirteen of us left Yeovil for the Dorset country side, working our way through villages with lovely names, Wooten Glanvills, Beer Hacket etc. The weather had been humid and low cloud and as we arrived at Milton Abbey, it started to drizzle. It was a spectacular view down on the school and Abbey.The tea rooms were quiet and we were early for lunch but, the lovely ladies serving said we could order. Mine was Milton Rarebit, thick whole grain toast with tasty cheddar cheese, a pot of pickle and a small salad accompanied by a pot of tea, very nice, we had to sit inside as it was now raining harder.

By the time we left the cafe the rain was very heavy, we climbed up through the village of Milton Abbas ( the village was moved so the Lord of the Manor couldn't see it) a pretty village, one street of thatched cottages, at the top of the Main Street, we turned left to climb Bulbarrow hill, in now heavy rain. Finally at the top, lots of sweat in the heat and wearing a pertex wind proof the descent would be interesting, twisty, steep, several 20% sections on very wet roads, braking was hard in the wet, the overhanging trees not helping as they made it very dark and even more slippery. Descending also with 12 other cyclists, I think we were all glad when we got to the bottom, ironically the rain started to ease, eventually stopping and drying up as we got closer back to Yeovil 60 miles covered, a great day out, especially as the sun came out in the final few miles to dry us off. I can recommend the Tea rooms at Milton Abbey, they do have website, worth a check when they are open.

My running this week was an off road 7 miler round Neroche trails, very hot and very dry and a 6 + mile road run round town, my first since the spring where I finished in the dark!!

A wonderful week of weather last week, but toady it seemed to have changed, my Sunday morning ride was spoiled with heavy rain 12 miles from home. We had gone round through Misterton and Hazelberry Plucknett before riding through heavy rain back through Hinton St George ( one of the posh villages in the area) only 27 miles today.