Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cheddar Gorge, Sommerset 15-16 June 2007

Despite the dire weather prediction, we decided to head out to see the Mendips. We stayed the first night at a campground off the M5 that was nicely deserted, but as the background noise died down at night, we figured out why... the road noise was unbearable. Sleeping with the ipod on was the only recourse.
The next day we did a 10 mile walk looping around Cheddar Gorge. We managed to miss most of the rain sheltered under trees, but an ice cream/beer stop at the end was perfectly timed to poke around in the touristy shops in town while it rained. Scouting sites to camp wild up the canyon we chanced on a National Trust dead end property- perfect- rolling hills and quiet with only a few dog walkers for company.
I think this is the area where the Mendip Muddle is run in October, but the club website does not give a map. So the second day of the trip we tried to scout where Nick and I will run the World Wide Half - even if we don't know exactly where we will run. I assume it will be somewhere along the Mendip Way walking path? The last night we found a great place to stay - it felt like we had a secluded site on a golf course.

We'll come back here with Nick. Then we walked on the beach south of Weston-Sur- Mare before trying to have lunch with Ali for Father's day. A bit of a fiasco. We got to her place at 10am as planned, but no one answered the door. Finally Billy climbed in the window and spoke with one of her roommates who said she did not come home! Finally we located her and had lunch but she looked worse for wear after the Bristol end of year ball the night before... ah foolish youth - to plan to meet your parents the morning after a planned big night out!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Running with Cherie

Wednesdays at 1:30 Cherie and try to meet and run around Battersea Park, but as often as not I get buried at work and have to call up at the last minute to catch her and send her on her way alone... but today we arranged for a Friday run, which is much better because so many people are out on Fridays that the brushfires are less likely.
She's switching job contracts next month and I do hope her next one will still be in SW London so we can still meet up. She's a much better conversationalist than Nelly!

OK, I should have an action shot... but we would have just been a blur! (Too much stuff strapped to my belt to run too fast)

Here's a snapshot from Buckeyeoutdoor.com with my route highlighted. I've got a mile from my office until I meet her, picking my way through back streets from Whitehall down to Buckingham Palace Road. Then together we run across Chelsea Bridge, which Queen Victoria opened in 1858, and around the park. There's a running track in the park, but we've yet to have the nerve to ask if we can run on it.

As we've been running after lunchtime, we don't see as many runners as I usually see (as they pass me) in Hyde Park, and there are little passageways through the trees to explore around the fringe of the park.

The Albert Bridge on the west side of the park is spectacular baby blue and I think is the most beautiful of London's bridges. Along the river is the Japanese Peace Pagoda, a gift to London in 1985. I mean someday to stop and really look at it, but we just race by, chatting away.
Then back across the bridge and back to her office. I walk the last mile back to mine - to cool down avoiding humiliation for my tomato-red face back at my desk. Here's a snapshot of the RunningBuddy log of the Nike+ info from the run (see http://runningbuddy.info/ but remember to un-hide hidden files to run it). Better than a pizza for lunch!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

June 1st 07 Trip to Norfolk

A three-day weekend challenge - how far can you get away from home without spending too much time travelling? Norfolk was a great solution. Leaving home at 9am on Friday we made it to our campground in Holt by lunchtime. Here's Billy geared up for a walk, with the ipod and headphones, gps and camera. OK, so I'm just as bad with ipod, blackberry and camera, but I lack the nifty pockets and hide my stuff in my backback .

We ate our sandwiches in the campground and started a circular walk but I pulled a muscle in my leg climbing down a sandy slope, and it really bothered me on the second half of the 10 miles we walked. Back in the campervan that night, I crashed by 8pm, but fortunately woke the next day feeling fine.
Saturday we headed up to Holkham Bay and tried to find a place to camp away from the heaving crowds at Wells-next-to-the-sea. Finally, we spotted a little field with a few tents on a back road and Billy managed to convince the grumpy owner to let us stay. We planned a long circular walk around the Holkham Estate, looping out to the sea and back. One of those days where you're always packing and un-packing, pulling the jumper back on away from shelter from the wind. But the sun was glorious and we finally emerged on to the salt marsh, where Nelly and I had a bit of a run.

Then we crossed the dunes onto the beach and encountered thick fog, a bit spooky listening to shrieking children in the distance and occasionally glimpsed horseback riders cantering along near the surf. Billy dropped his GPS and I was sure it was gone for good, but we circled back and he found it! Nelly loves to run on the beach, there is something about the sea breeze and soft sand underfoot that makes her prance about,tossing up bits of seaweed.
A fancy dinner at the Lord Nelson Pub was a treat. Back to work and commuting tomorrow!