A few days in the Cotswolds…

CotswoldsThis isn’t about an endurance adventure as such… more of a nice gentle few days of being a tourist in the Cotswolds, a lovely area of Britain characterised by rolling hills and ancient cream stone villages- I hate the overused phrase ‘quintessentially English’, but it was obviously invented for the Cotswolds.

My Dad and Step mum stay with me every August as they live in Spain, and as it was their 30th wedding anniversary this August we had a few days away.

Unfortunately the weather could have been better- we had rain more or less all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and showers the rest of the time, but we made the best of it and ambled round quite a few places.

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Hadrian's Wall ChallengeA friend suggested that we sign up for this challenge in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society as we see the effects of this horrid disease first hand, and we had been embarking on a few training walks over the past few months in preparation as she hadn‘t done any long distance walking for years. As you know, I am always up for a long walk in a different area and as seeing Hadrian’s Wall was on my bucket list (yes I have a pretty strange bucket list!) I was eagerly submitted my entry.

As this challenge was a ‘mere’ 23 miles, I felt confident in my abilities to complete it, especially as I had completed the Dovedale Dipper the week before… nothing is guaranteed however! A few days before the event, we found out it was actually 26 miles…ok a full marathon then…

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Event Report- The Dovedale Dipper

dovedale dipperIt was a cool, cloudy morning as around three hundred walkers and runners set off from Hartington Village Hall for the 13th annual 26 mile Dovedale Dipper challenge walk. This is a justly popular event right in the heart of the White Peak, and it passes through some spectacular classic Peak scenery.

Of course, being the Peak District there is also plenty of climbing, the first ascent faced as we left Hartington and climbed the slopes of Carder Low, heading for the High Peak cycle trail and the first checkpoint at Sparklow.

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The Leaden Boot Revisited

leaden bootSo it was getting closer to our Hadrian’s Wall Trek and that meant we were due for another little training walk! This time my friend and I decided to go a little further and tougher and so the route description for the Leaden Boot was dug out and we made our way to Alstonefield, which handily has three free car parks and public loos.

I had initially suggested that we cut out the steep climb out of Milldale and the even steeper descent into Narrowdale by simply walking straight down the Dovedale path, but we decided that we needed the practice and so headed up into the cloud to pick up the ridge path.

We managed the steep descent okay, but walking through Narrowdale I suddenly realised why the Leaden Boot takes place in May and not July.

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Forest of Bowland- Grit Fell & Clougha Pike

forest of bowlandI was staying with my sister in Blackpool for a few days, in preparation for the Manchester to Blackpool Cycle Ride, and after spending a day in the Lakes I decided that I’d love to see more of the Forest of Bowland, which is virtually on their door step.

We have walked over Nicky Nook Fell many a time, but I had a hankering to explore a bit further afield, and picked out a walk up Grit Fell and Clougha Pike- a fell overshadowing the City of Lancaster.

Now, don’t expect lots of photos of trees because although the Forest of Bowland is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it isn’t actually a forest, but ‘forest’ in the traditional sense of Royal Hunting Land. It is a wild Pennine landscape of heather, sweeping moorland and rocky outcrops not unlike the Dark Peak. But forest it ain’t.

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The Grindleford Gallop Revisited

grindleford gallopA few weeks ago my friend and I embarked on our second training walk for the Alzheimer’s Society Hadrian’s Wall Trek in August. As I have acquired quite a collection of challenge walk route descriptions, we decided on the 21 mile Grindleford Gallop and so we found ourselves emerging from the car into drizzle on Grindleford’s main street.

Luckily it soon cleared up, and once we had made our way through woods to Froggatt the sun was making a welcome appearance. Rain threatened several times during the day but we seemed to manage to skirt around it.

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lake districtI had driven up to Blackpool for the Manchester to Blackpool Cycle Ride, but as I found myself with a couple of free days with my sister and brother-in-law both working, I took advantage of their fairly close proximity to the Lake District and took myself off for a day’s fell walking.

As I pointed my car towards Coniston, it looked like it was going to be a lovely day, and it felt so good to be in the Lakes again- it’s been far too long! Going back was like meeting up with an old friend you haven’t seen for years, but that old familiarity is still there and once you start talking it’s as though you were only in each other’s company yesterday…
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Manchester to Blackpool Cycle RideI was so nervous about the Manchester to Blackpool Cycle Ride… not being a regular cyclist and a fairly nervous one at that, this was something completely out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t too sure I’d be up to cycling 60 miles in one day. The event is organised to raise funds for The Christie, an NHS cancer treatment trust plus charities of peoples‘ choice. We decided that the rest of our sponsorship will go to St Bernadette’s, the school where my sister works.

My brother-in-law kindly drove us and the bikes to Manchester, through a haze of drizzle and I watched the spray from the vehicles on the wet roads in some alarm. By the time we met up with the others in our team- St Bernadette’s Hot Wheels- near the start at the Old Trafford football ground, the rain had stopped but the skies were still an ominous grey and there were huge puddles on the slick roads.

Trying to find the loos turned out to be a challenge, as we followed a couple of girls on a complete circuit round the football grounds before finding the ladies right where we had started- oh well it was a good warm-up for the legs…

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On Yer Bike!!

Cycles ruleYes- I have done it again… signed up for another mad challenge which I am now panicking about!

This one? It’s the Manchester to Blackpool cycle ride… just 60 miles… and I am not a regular bike rider- until a few weeks ago I didn’t have a bike!!

It just seemed a good idea when my sister said that she was thinking of getting a team together to do it in aid of the school where she works- St Bernadettes in Blackpool. The trouble is- she and my brother-in-law are ultra keen and ultra fit cyclists who think nothing of going out and bashing out 40- 60 miles on the hilly roads of the Forest of Bowland every weekend. It will be just like a little training ride for her!

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A Long-ish Walk in Southern Sherwood Forest

Sherwood ForestIt promised to be a lovely day and I needed a nice long-ish walk to help me prepare for the Baslow Boot Bash the following weekend (it’s quite funny when it gets to the stage where you think of a 19 mile walk as long-ish!)

Funds dictated that travelling too far was not a great idea, so southern Sherwood Forest fit the bill quite nicely and I turned to my trusty copy of ‘Long Circular Walks in Nottinghamshire’ by John Merrill.

I chose a walk I’ve done a few times before- a 17 mile circular route starting from near Blidworth and passing through pockets of forest- it’s a pleasant and quite easy route.

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