Archive for August, 2013

The Bassetlaw Bash

Bassetlaw BashThe Idle Valley Nature Reserve is a pretty, peaceful spot just to the north of Retford in North Nottinghamshire… or at least it is peaceful apart from one Saturday in April. For on this day scores of ultra runners and walkers descend on the visitors centre ready to start what has become an annual fixture- the Bassetlaw Bash, named for the area in which it takes place.

As it’s fairly local I thought I may as well give it a go. There are a variety of routes to choose from-  5 mile and 10 mile family walks, plus 20 mile and 25 mile challenge walks.  I checked in, told them I was walking the 25 mile route and got the cheery response ‘actually it’s 27 miles!’ Although it was only the second running of the event, it was very well attended, and there were hot drinks at the start which is always a bonus in my opinion.

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Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast PathThe Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail form a 93 mile trail across Norfolk and around the Norfolk coast. The Peddars Way runs for 47 miles from Knettishall Health in Suffolk to Holme-Next-The-Sea on the Norfolk Coast, carving like a knife through the remote agricultural lands of north east Norfolk as it marches inexorably towards the sea.

The Way was one of the earliest known Roman roads to be built in Norfolk. It formed part of an extensive network of routes created following the failed revolt of the Celtic leader Boudicca, allowing the Roman army fast access to the coast as well as all areas of Britain in case of further Celtic uprisings.

Over the centuries the Peddars Way has changed from a symbol of Roman might and oppression to an important trade route for pilgrims and drovers. In fact the name ‘Peddars Way’ did not come into common use until medieval times. Most of the route of the Peddars Way can still be traced today, and in some places the raised ‘agger’ of the original Roman Road can still be seen.

As the Peddars Way joins up with the Norfolk Coast Path at Holme-Next-The-Sea, the two trails have been linked and are usually walked together.

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Chasing the Naranjo de Bulnes, Picos de Europa

Naranjo de BulnesThe Naranjo de Bulnes, literally the ‘Orange of Bulnes’, had acquired a somewhat legendary status amongst our trekking group. It’s Asturian name is Picu Urriello, and it is one of the best known sights of the Picos de Europa mountain range in Northern Spain– a huge monolith of limestone rock, towering over the tiny isolated mountain village of Bulnes.

There are many view points from which to appreciate it, but thanks to several days of rain and low cloud, we hadn’t yet had so much of a glimpse. But that was to change today, or so we hoped…

The day had started off clear and sunny, so we bundled our packs into our tour leader, Juan’s, four wheel drive and started climbing the rough zig zag path to the Pandebano Col, which was to be the starting point for our quest. Abandoning the car, we leapt out and walked uphill through green meadows, noticing with some consternation that the cloud had already started to hide the tops of the mountains surrounding us, begrudgingly allowing the sun to shine through from time to time to spotlight the valley far below.

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