England Archives

Follow the Tram!!

Saturday 18th April was absolutely gorgeous… clear blue skies and sunny- it seemed almost criminal not to go on a little adventure.

I had had an idea floating around for an unusual little challenge for some time, and as I have a dodgy knee at the moment I decided that walking would be much better for me than trying to run. So I fired up Google maps and scribbled out a route…

My little adventure was quite simple and possibly quite nuts. You may have heard of people challenging themselves by following the route of the London Tube lines through the capital’s streets… well I found this quite inspiring, but given that it is quite time consuming, not to mention costly, to get to London I decided to see if there was a similar challenge I could do right here in Nottingham instead. Sadly Nottingham lacks an Underground, but it does have one other interesting transport system.

Trams!

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NottinghamWell, the Easter weekend was mostly typical Bank Holiday weather- thick cloud and rain- until Easter Monday. Waking up to bright sunshine and a clear blue sky I wanted to do something active, a little different… and cheap.

I have been wanting to explore more of my local area, and putting ‘Nottingham’ into Google Maps I noticed that there are quite a few parks and green areas within walking distance of the city centre. I decided to make it my mission to find and explore the ‘green lungs’ of the city and scribbled out a route that would take me to nine parks.

I walked into the city centre, planning on buying a sandwich to eat later in lovely surroundings and sunshine, but this little plan was soon scuppered when I realised I had left my purse at home, so I had to make do with a bottle of water and a granola bar.

Leaving the city by way of Goldsmiths Street, I reached my first green area, which actually turned out to be a cemetery. Ah well, the Arboretum was just over the road. This is a large park that was opened in 1852 following the Nottingham Inclosure Act of 1845. This Act was a visionary project to provide green spaces in the rapidly expanding city for recreation, exercise and clean air.

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On My Bike…

Cycling

Yes- that is me!

I am fed up with having silly little niggly injuries. You know, the kind that kick in just as you think you are progressing with your training… and then send you straight back to square zero.

Mine has been a niggly knee thing so I have slowed up on the running in favour of walking. And sadly I haven’t been doing too much of that…

I went up to stay with my sister in Blackpool a couple of weekends ago; she and my brother-in-law love to be active so it’s all good. However they are really, REALLY into cycling in a big way… and I’m not. Well, mainly as I don’t own a bike…

I did agree to go out on a bike ride with my sister, despite being on a bike once in the last few years, and borrowed a bike and helmet from her. We set out on a route she takes with her cycling group every week into the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. We varied this a little to ride through Garstang, so I could try my legs up some lovely hills… the cycling groups always have a lunch break stop at the Apple Store café in the beautiful Wyresdale Park and we had arranged to meet my brother-in-law and his Mum there.

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Run For Richard 10k

Run for RichardWith the re-interment of King Richard 111, whose remains were found under Leicester Social Services car park in 2012, due to take place in Leicester Cathedral next week, the whole of the Midlands has been gearing up for this once in a lifetime event. Very interesting, I hear you say, but what’s that got to do with running and stuff?

Because I was perusing my emails a few weeks ago when I saw a link to a 10k Race on Sunday 15th March, called ’Run for Richard’, which would pass by Bosworth Visitor’s Centre and through the historic Leicestershire village of Market Bosworth. Proceeds would benefit both the Cathedral appeal and the charity Combat Stress. Keen to be a part of something that will only happen once, I signed up and then regretted it as I have not done a 10k with the intention of running it all for ages.

On looking at the web site the night before the race I noticed that only around 70 people were taking part, most of whom were club runners. Convinced I’d be last, I was very tempted not to turn up, but then I gave myself a stern talking to- I can’t keep entering events, failing to train sufficiently and then backing out of them!

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GunthorpeI must admit, I have been in a slump lately. First Christmas came with all the hustle and busyness that comes with it, and after that I came down with a really nasty cold and chest infection.

All of this affected my ability and motivation to train, and so there has been far less running, walking and thrashing it out at the gym, hence the lack of writing as there has been nothing to write about! I had entered the Millennium Ultra but have withdrawn as I am just not ready.

My training seems to have followed this pattern of peaks and troughs; I build up to quite a good level of fitness, and am pleased with my progress and then bam! Some excuse comes up, such as ‘I feel to busy to train this week‘, or ‘I don’t feel too well so better take it easy for a few days‘, or even ‘I did a long event at the weekend so can’t do too much for a bit‘, and before I know it, a couple of weeks have gone by with virtually no training and I am back to square one again…

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A Mid Week Skive to Bakewell

BakewellWorking the 9-5 (I feel a Dolly Parton song coming on…) I usually have to wait until the weekend for any long walks or epic adventures, but just for a change I decided to skive off work today and have a little adventure instead…

Well okay technically I wasn’t skiving as it was annual leave. But it did feel odd to be going off on a walk instead of heading off to work like everyone else.

I picked a 15 mile route from John Merrill’s book ‘Long Walks in The Peak District’ which started and finished at Bakewell. I timed it right as the weather was gorgeous- a perfect sunny Autumn day. I climbed out of Bakewell into the rising sun and soon discovered that it had rained more than I realised as paths were decidedly muddy and slippery underfoot. Ah well, the views more than made up for it.

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Bradgate ParkBradgate Park in Leicestershire is a lovely little oasis. A former deer park, it has retained the deer and has been opened up for the public to enjoy; a unique area of woodland, heather moorland and rocky outcrops that almost seem out of place this close to the city.

It boasts the ruins of Bradgate House, the 16th century childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, who tragically lost her head after just 9 days on the throne of England.

The ruins are still fairly extensive and are only open at certain times during the week. We were lucky- yesterday afternoon was one of those times.

It is rutting season and we were treated to the sounds of bellowing and the sight of emboldened stags. As we were walking back to the car, the late evening sun suddenly peeped out from below the clouds and lit up the park with a magical golden light.

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The Spires and Steeples; Event Report

Spires and SteeplesAs I am writing this, the day after the 2014 Spires and Steeples, it has been throwing it down all day. It is really wild, wet and windy out- a proper autumn day- and I have had the luxury of observing it from a nice, warm (maybe too warm) office.

It’s not too often us endurance nutters can feel smug about the weather, but as yesterday was one of the most glorious days we have had for a while, and certainly the best day of the week, I can admit to feeling rather smug!

Although foggy, I could see the stars as I drove to Sleaford to catch the coach, which boded well for a clear day and certainly a contrast to last year’s event! Parking up, I walked to the National Centre for Craft and Design to locate a toilet, meeting up with Sue, who I finished the White Peak Walk with in 2013. Sue was walking the Spires and Steeples with her mum, a fit 72 year old, who was a little apprehensive as she had not completed a walk of this length for some time. I was really pleased to later learn that she completed it, which was a fantastic achievement.

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Norfolk Coast PathI feel I must apologise for my lengthy hiatus from this blog! I haven’t given up on it or any of my endurance ambitions, I have just had an enforced break due to my mysterious foot swelling and the arrival of my Dad and Step mum for their usual August stay… they live in Spain but it gets intolerably hot in August and so they use my house as a base to visit friends and relatives, and it seemed such a nicer idea to kick back and spend time with them rather than slogging it out on the streets and trails…

… but it’s not been all sitting around eating chocolate (ok then it has mostly). I spent a few days at Wells-Next-The-Sea this week and did manage to waddle my way along 13 miles of shingle and cliff to complete the Norfolk Coast Path (NCP). Yes- I finally completed it and it only took me two years!

I was just getting over a cold and could have happily postponed, bearing in mind that I have not even walked 6 miles for some time, let alone 13, but decided I would regret not doing it, so gave myself a stern talking to and headed to Cley-Next-The-Sea on the Coasthopper- my ending point for part two of the Norfolk Coast Path.

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Event Report- The White Peak Walk

White Peak WalkI like the White Peak Walk for a number of reasons- great scenery, lovely food at the end and nice friendly people- but one of its main attractions is the civilised starting time of 10am. This means I don’t have to prise myself out of bed when it’s still dark after a few snatched hours sleep, but can actually enjoy a leisurely breakfast and set off in daylight. Heck, I even had time to stop for petrol.

The WPW is unique in that there is no set route description, just a number of checkpoints which must be visited in order. Although routes are suggested these can be open to interpretation.

After grabbing a coffee and lathering myself in sunscreen I saw Ross, and we walked together for the day. The suggested route to the first checkpoint goes through fields, and as things can become pretty congested at the stiles we decided to take the road round by Taddington to the first checkpoint at the Waterloo Hotel. Judging by the amount of people coming in to the checkpoint from the ‘suggested’ route, ours may have been a little shorter… still, we made up for that later on…

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