I was rather hoping to bring you some good news this week about my return to marathon training. You may recall I’ve had an enforced rest due to a slight pull or strain in my right calf. Well, I have rested it and had 3 good massages on my legs and back in the hope of curing the problem. Things were looking good on Monday when, after a long walk, I managed a 1k jog around a field. Things looked even better on Wednesday when I did a good 4k (2.5 miles) with a 3k (nearly 2 mile) warm down. However, my ‘attempt’ at a 10k (6 miles) this lunchtime failed miserably, with the same problem coming back after only 2.5k (1.5 miles). So I sit here dejected. ☹
The revised plan, below, was a little ambitious, given the events I have on the horizon, so I’ll just have to grin and bear it and make yet another comeback in the summer. In the meantime, I may well have to get out my road bike and take it for a spin. Every cloud and all that… 😊
I mentioned in my previous post that the weather here in the Val d’Hérens has been rather sunny of late. Well, despite the air temperature only hovering between 0 and 11 degrees C (32 and 52 F) and there still being 80-90% snow cover in our valley, we’ve actually seen 3 or 4 butterflies flitting about.
I was interested to find out which type they were, so I went in search of a photograph and sure enough, only a few yards up our road, I spotted a Small Tortoiseshell. It had its wings closed and was well camouflaged so, given the distance I was away and the light shining on the back of my point and shoot camera, I was amazed to capture it in the centre of the picture. The image below is exactly as it was taken (though reduced in pixel size to make it easier for you to load).
This is not the first time I’ve witnessed these brave and hardy little things out in the snow – as this picture from March 2017 shows.
We’re having some pretty incredible weather here in the Val d’Hérens at the moment. Since we returned from the UK last week, it’s been blue skies all the way and at least one forecast suggests it will continue for another 10 days, at least… (see pic 1). 😅 Early morning temperatures are still pretty cold mind you, with the ground frozen and as soon as the sun drops behind the mountains (currently around 3pm in Evolène) the warmth disappears instantly.
So I have little or no excuse for not going out for a walk, except that all the paths in the upper valley are still covered in snow and that’s turning into a squelchy wet mush under the sun, before freezing again overnight. Undeterred I decided to drive down the valley to the village of Euseigne, where most of the snow has now disappeared and walk right down the valley to Sion, before catching the Postbus back to Euseigne.
The total distance of the walk was around 15k or just over 9 miles. I had a few minutes to spare before the bus arrived, so I decided to run, well jog, another 1k around a 400 metre track which was laid out around a football pitch. (See last pic).
Last week Judith and I were back in the UK visiting our respective families. While in the Midlands, we had a few hours to spare, so we decided to take a walk along the canal near Great Haywood Junction. Though I should really say canals, as that’s where the Trent and Mersey canal meets the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. It’s like a T junction – see first pic showing a map of the area.
As you will see, it was a pretty grey day, but there’s always something interesting to photograph – not least, in this instance, Shugborough Hall and the fascinating design of Essex Bridge. Twice I had to step to one side into one of the V shapes ‘laybys’ – once for a jogger and the second time for 3 ladies on horseback. It was clearly a popular route. 🙂
I received such positive feedback on the village photographs in my last post, (thank you Jet and M.Oniker), that I decided to take a few more pictures for you to enjoy. But first, a little background…
Evolène is a village at around 1,380m (4,525ft) in the Val d’Hérens, which itself is in the southern part of the Valais canton of Switzerland. The population of the whole commune (which includes the neighbouring villages of Les Haudères, Villa, La Sage, La Forclaz and Arolla) is only about 1,700. Despite this relatively low number, we have 8 bar/restaurants in our village alone. These survive due to the number of visitors that we get both during the winter, for skiing, and the summer for walking, cycling or mountaineering. I read that 55% of the available light (i.e from when it appears from, or disappears, behind the mountains), is sunshine. And with little wind and a fairly dry atmosphere, not to mention some beautiful scenery, you can see why it’s quite popular.
At the moment we have the annual Carnival, which this year runs from 6th January to 5th March, (this explains why some of the pictures still show what appear to be Christmas decorations) and in the summer from 10th to 15th August there will be the biannual, CIME mountain folklore festival. More posts to come on these no doubt… 😄
I think it’s fair to say that there was a modest turnout for the 13th Edition of the Evolène Nordic Skiing event. However, I’m sure every single one of them had a wonderful time. After around 4″ to 5″ of overnight snow, the conditions were perfect underfoot, if not overhead, due to the grey skies.
There are junior events covering 1 to 2 kilometres, but the main, senior, events, for both the Classic and Skating styles, are 10k (6 miles) in length. The course is 2 loops of 5k/3 miles and the Skating event started 5 minutes after the Classic, so the participants do get mixed up quite a bit. I wasn’t even sure who had won, especially as the (apparent) winner of the Classic event didn’t seem to be out of breath when he crossed the finish line.
And, just in case you are wondering, yes, I have thought about entering, though purely to say that I did it. However, it is a bit disconcerting when the winners have finished before some of the slower competitors (and that would be me) have even started the 2nd loop!