Europe Archives

A Walk Along the Valley of the Creuse

Studying the maps back at the gite, we noticed an interesting looking long distance path that performed several large loops around the valley- the Grand Randonee of the Valley of the Creuse. This path starts at Argenton-sur-Creuse and winds its way around the river down to Crozant, so walking part of it seemed like a plan for today.

We parked at the viewpoint looking over the Boucle de Pin- a large bend in the river- before dropping steeply down to the shore. The first part of the walk followed the river closely along a narrow rocky path that rollercoastered its way along the wooded shore, stepping over tree roots and at one point utilising a wooden staircase.

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Walking in France- La Brenne National Parc

Today we ventured into La Brenne National Parc, heading for the village of Rosnay- we were hoping to see some wildlife and were not disappointed when a pine marten ran out in front of the car before thinking better of it and doubling back.

We had a card detailing a number of walks, but as we are keen walkers and all we felt that they wouldn’t be long enough for us and extended the longest one by using a long-distance (Grand Randonee) trail that twists its way around La Brenne.

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Walking in France; Le Pont-Chretien-Chabanet

Knackered from travelling most of the day before and very little sleep on the overnight ferry due to losing an hour to the time difference and quite possibly drinking beer until 1:30am, we decided to make use of a card detailing a variety of walking routes we found in the gite.

Le Pont Chretien-Chabanet, where we were staying, is a lovely part of rural France, in the Indre Department near La Brenne National Parc- the ‘land of a thousand lakes’. Our gite was rustic but charming, part of a converted mill with its own balcony overlooking a stream.

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Race Report- the X-Runner Wild Warrior

I was out of control, sliding fast towards the murky water with no way of stopping or slowing down. With a huge splash, I was under- opening my eyes a little I could see nothing but dark brown. I could feel the water enter my nose and choking on it I started to feel disorientated. For a brief second I felt panic, but told myself to just relax and let myself float up to the surface. Eventually my head broke free and I started swimming to the muddy water’s edge, fingers trailing slimy weed with each stroke.

I was undertaking the X-runner Wild Warrior obstacle race- doing one of these bad boys has been on my bucket list for some time so when a work colleague started recruiting a team to tackle it I let myself be roped in.

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I’m Off to France!

The time has flown by since completing the Coast to Coast (did I mention that? 🙂 ) and we are just about entering Autumn… so we can look forward to dark nights, cold wet weather and copious amounts of mud…

But all’s not doom and gloom… I am about to embark on one last adventure before Autumn tightens its misty grip.

I am going to France! Helen and I are staying in a gite and plan on doing plenty of local walks. It won’t be mountainous where we’re going but I am sure it will be lovely.

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Walking Home From Work

‘I can see a pair of eyes ahead’ I heard Helen say. Already rather spooked by the perfect darkness of the towpath apart from the little circle of light cast by my head torch, this rather casual statement filled me with cold fear. Who, or what else was walking near the canal at two o’clock in the morning?

Following our aborted attempt to walk home from work to Helen’s home in January we had decided to do it again; only this time we were going to literally walk home after work instead of walking at the weekend. We both showed up in the office as usual on Friday (after dropping my car off at Helen’s), put in a full work day then changed and walked out the door with everyone else at 5pm.

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A rather wet weekend in Wales…

It was the first time I have had to queue for the privilege of standing on top of a mountain. There was no view apart from cloud, mist and more cloud, but a 200 yard long stream of people had formed a line and were patiently waiting for their chance of a ‘summit selfie’. The irony is that most of them had not actually climbed the mountain.

We were on top of Snowdon- Wales’s highest peak. As it was a Bank Holiday weekend we had elected to climb the quieter Rhyd Ddu path and to descend by the Ranger’s Path. When we started our climb the weather was glorious but by the time we reached the South Ridge leading onto the summit the cloud had descended like a blanket, leaving us to traverse the (mercifully straightforward) ridge in near white-out conditions.

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A long walk in the Dark Peak

Eek! I start the Coast to Coast five weeks today!! How the heck did that happen? It felt like ages away and now it’s knocking on my doorstep…

I have been training. Back to back walks at the weekends, walking in the evenings, running up hills and hitting the gym- concentrating on inclines on the treadmill and using the summit trainer. I have had a bit of a niggle in my right Achilles though so have had to ease off a little this week- can’t risk injury now!!

Helen and I completed a long walk in the Dark Peak on Sunday. We haven’t done much walking in the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire- we both confessed it scares us a little- so when Helen found a route in a walking magazine we decided to go for it.

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Back into it!

I went to the nurse to have the dressing changed on my wound for the last time Friday- she pulled it off and announced that my back is now healed so I need no more dressings! This is great news- it is so lovely being able to shower properly- although she did advise me to leave it another week or so until I swim.

Of course, this means that sadly the Half Outlaw is definitely off- I should have been really building up my swimming and cycling over the past few weeks and doing some open water stuff and of course I haven‘t. This is really gutting, but the Coast to Coast in July is still very much on and I am now concentrating all of my efforts on this!

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Bowland 100k- Event Report

I think it was when my foot disappeared up to my knee in peaty water for the third time within five minutes that I first accepted that this challenge wasn’t going to be achievable. I stopped and surveyed the scene- peat bogs and slippery mud as far as I could see. A hundred yards away Sue was having her own struggles, forging a path through tangled heather roots in an attempt to avoid the worst of it. It started raining again- heavy, persistent rain, and I began to wonder if we would ever make it off the fell let alone to the end…

In hindsight, it was always going to be ambitious- 100k (62 miles) over the fells of the Forest of Bowland in March. Persuaded by Sue to enter, I was slightly apprehensive as I have walked on these fells and know how boggy they can be.

I had arranged to stay with my sister and brother-in-law, who live fairly near to the start at Slaidburn, and they kindly drove me there. Prior to the event we had received very little information from the organisers, Pure Challenge, regarding the route, checkpoints etc. In response to several Facebook queries they had supplied a list of checkpoints with some rough distances between and assurances that there would be hot food at the ‘half way’ point at Dunsop Bridge. We were not given a map or route description but were assured that the route would be marked.

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