Circular Walk from Crayke, N. Yorkshire, England

After our successful walk from Byland Abbey the day before, Ian and I were keen to get out again, despite the inclement weather.  A local landowner has created a Permissive path around the village of Crayke, which we extended a little further north (after a short stop for a coffee and a piece of cake at the excellent Dutch House – Café/Garden/Gallery) before returning to complete the route.

Sarah and Karl’s Wedding

I promised you a few weeks ago that I would post some pictures of my daughter’s wedding.  Well, the official photos are now available (courtesy of Fox Moon Photography) and so it gives me great pleasure to replicate some of them here.

To say that it was a very special day would be the biggest understatement of understatements.  The sun shone brightly and everyone had a fabulous time – especially the bride and groom, who were smiling throughout day.

Circular Walk from Castleton, Derbyshire

By the time most of you read this I will probably be at my daughter’s wedding.  Eventually I will post pictures of said event, if I’m allowed, but for the time being, I’m trying to keep up to date with recent events, otherwise you will all be bombarded with an even longer series of posts when I get back home…

So, on Thursday, while my wife was enjoying herself baking cakes and finishing off her dress for the wedding, I set out to do a loop from Castleton.  It started by walking south west up Cave Dale, before striking north west and over Mam Tor (at the dizzy height of 517m / 1,696 ft), to follow the ridge or crest north east over Hollins Hill and Back Tor to Lose Hill, (which is also called Ward’s Piece for some reason) and then returning to Castleton for a well earned refreshment. 🍺

The forecast was for ‘good’ weather, but the sun seemed to take an age to burn off the early morning mist, so the pictures below are a little murky.  Being pretty much in the middle of England, the Peak District is easily accessible to many and, as such, the paths can get very eroded.  So the powers that be have placed massive paving stones to help alleviate the problem.

P.S. Re pic 10: Don’t worry, I do plan to have a shave and smarten myself up for the wedding.  You may not even recognise me! 😊

Pic Chaussy and Lac Lioson

Yesterday morning I had to deliver some of Judith’s delicious cakes to the newly opened Venus and Rose tea room within the Garden Centre at St Triphon, near Aigle.  The forecast was for light grey clouds and so I decided to go for a walk a short drive up the road from there, from the Col des Mosses.  My thinking was that the clouds would be high in the sky, but as I drove up, it was clear that the clouds were clinging to the tops of the mountains.

Undeterred, I decided to go for it, hoping the clouds would lift by the time I got to the top.  Unfortunately, they stubbornly hung on – at least until I was 20 minutes back down the mountain, when they started to clear…  (I think this is an example of Sod’s Law).

I did however learn from the information board on the summit, that Pic Chaussy (@2,351m or 7,713 ft) along with several other peaks, such as the Oldenhorn, form a natural watershed, where the waters to the north flow into the Rhine and then on to the North Sea, whereas the water falling to the south and west flows into the Rhone, which runs via Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) down through France and into the Mediterranean.  Not a lot of people know that!  🙂

A happy 4th of July to all my American readers… 🎆

 

Mayen de Cotter (Walk 14)

One of my main challenges, when going out for a walk, is to try and take some different photos, so that the posts stay interesting (I hope).  So, although I did this walk up to Mayen de Cotter on January 1st, I decided to take an alternative route down, partly because there was a lot of snow higher up.  The weather wasn’t as bright as last time, but it was much warmer today.

On returning to the chalet, I managed to zoom in on a few of the birds waiting to feed at our bird table and, I admit it, I succumbed to one, OK two, of Judith’s best bakes… Cranberry and white chocolate biscuits – they’re possibly the finest in the whole world! 🙂

Tales of the Scales (Week 8)

When I was in the Corporate world, which was almost 2 years ago now, we used to hold Daily and Weekly Operational Review meetings (or DORs and WORs for short).   The idea was to spend no more than 15 minutes each day or 1 hour each week to review how things were progressing versus our team objectives – via Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs for short).  I guess many of you will already be familiar with this process and I’d like to follow this concept through in my Weekly Review of my weight loss programme, posted last week.  To save you looking it up, the aim was/is to lose 1kg, or just over 2lbs, per week leading up to my Zurich marathon on April 9th (i.e. Week 14) and reduce my 77.7 kg (171 lb) slightly paunchy frame of last week to a more lightweight 70.7 kg (156 lb).

Now, what most of you will not be so familiar with is the style of reporting – whereby each KPI is reported in some form of visual or graphical form and the latest position is either green or red.  (This makes it very easy to see the latest position at a glance).  There are no ‘almost made the target’ or amber traffic lights in this system.  You either made the target or you didn’t.  And, if you didn’t, someone in the team (in this case me) has to take an action to do something about it.  In extremis, if the latest position stays red for any length of time, then someone would volunteer, or be volunteered, to carry out a Go, See, Think, Do (GSTD) exercise to get to the root cause of the issue.  More on that topic maybe if anyone is really interested.

Getting back to the plan… I vowed to cut out that extra piece of toast in the morning, cakes and biscuits with coffee and tea throughout the day and one less beer every night.  This is Plan A and I have a Plan B, or even C, if I don’t quite get there.  Hopefully we’ll not need to use Plan D, which involves the dreaded ‘S’ word – Salads!

So how did it go ?  Well, I did only have one slice of toast all week and I resisted those delicious cupcakes upon return from my run last Tuesday.  BUT, the freshly baked scones were too good to  miss, so one of them went down very nicely as part of my ‘recovery’.  And over the next 2 days, those 2 cupcakes were far too good to throw away and so they disappeared too.  Then on Friday we were invited to our neighbours for coffee and it would have been rude to refuse a slice of the most delicious apple tart.  On Saturday we were invited out for dinner, so you can imagine… though I did skip on the dessert.  My beer consumption has gone down, though wine consumption has increased.

So how did I do ?  Drum roll please….

The scales  do not lie…

weight-week-8

This represents a loss of 1.2 kg.  So, my graph is green and no further action required on my part (other than not to be so weak when it comes to those cakes!)

weight-graph-week-8

Since were also talking marathon training here, I thought I’d add another important measure, which is the amount of exercise I’ve been doing.  After all weight loss is not only about the input, but also the output as well.  So below is the number of kilometres that I’ve run each week this year.  Since that’s not very much, and I have been walking quite a bit, I’ve decided to show both together, versus my ideal running plan (i.e. what I would like to do if my ageing legs were up to the task).   Note that the weeks in this chart run from Monday to Sunday.

run-and-walk-graph-end-week-7

Vevey to Montreux Lakeside training run

So, today I took some of Judith’s deliciously scrummy cupcakes to a friend, who works in my old office block in Vevey.   With a snowless, flat (more or less) running route all the way along the lake to Montreux (apart from a short road section), I decided it was too good a training opportunity to miss.  

I’d read the other day that the statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux had been ‘improved’, shall we say, by the addition of some green paint to his jacket, so I decided that he, or it, would be my turning point.  With classic Swiss efficiency though, the offending paint had already been removed, as you will see from the picture below.  There were also the usual temporary sculptures to admire in Montreux – this time with a gymnastics theme. 

It’s only 1h 10mins drive away, but the contrast between the “Swiss Rivieira”, as it’s known, and our rural home here in Evolène, couldn’t be more marked.  The multi-million dollar apartments and 5 star hotels were gleaming in the, albeit slightly hazy, sunshine.  Also, when I left home the temperature was minus 1 degree C (30F) and in Vevey it was 9 degrees (48F).  Though on the way home, the thermometer in my car rose to 14 degrees (57F) as I approached Sion. (It always is a few degrees warmer there).

In terms of the ‘run’, I stopped when my old GPS watch said exactly 15k (or 9.3 miles) and, because I took my camera and had to stop quite a few times, (see dips in the pace chart), it took me 1h 33mins 27 secs.  Having told a few people recently that I was one-paced, I did my best to ignore the camera and up my speed at 12.5k for 500 metres and 14k to the finish but, with tiring legs, it only made a small difference. (See blue blocks on the Pace chart). 

 

Riverside Walk to Les Haudères and back in the snow…

We always enjoy welcoming friends and family to our chalet, but it does mean that we tend to repeat certain walks – especially in the winter, when many of the higher paths are covered in deep snow.  So today, Judith’s sisters, Charlotte and Kate, her husband Niall and I set off along the riverside path to Les Haudères.  After a nice lunch in the Hotel Veisivi, the falling snow didn’t stop us walking back home and looking forward to a slice of one of Judith’s delicious cakes!

Family Walk to Lac Bleu

For the last day of their holiday, the Preece family decided to do the short, but sharp, walk from La Gouille up to Lac Bleu. (Unfortunately mum, Jo, had some prep work to do for school next week, and Jude had some cakes to bake, so they left the rest of us to it…  )

Needing a little more exercise, Alex and I took the path down to Les Haudères and along the river back to the chalet, while father, David, drove the younger children home.

Although I’ve posted pictures of this walk before, it never ceases to amaze me how you can always see something different.  For example, I have to give credit to Alex for spotting the rainbow waterfall (pic 20).  There are also some Halloween images for you all to enjoy – see if you can spot the black cat !

Long distance running…

As many of you may know, the London Marathon takes place today.  Indeed it is on as I type.  Inevitably this takes me back to the day I ran this famous race back in 1982.  At the time, the 18,000 competitors was a world record for the number of runners.  Today there are 38,000 enjoying the streets and sites of London.  So ‘good luck’ to all of them.

But first, some background…  I started running when I was about 22 years old.  I played rugby for a team called Askeans in Kent and some of the guys (in an attempt to prove they were much fitter than the rest) used to go for a 2 mile run before the training started.   As most of them were quite big hulking forwards, and I was a lightweight back, I found I could beat them quite easily.

A few years later, in 1977, I moved to live in York, (England).  There I worked with a bunch of guys who ran for the ‘Rowntrees’ running club.  We were fortunate that there were changing rooms and showers on site, so we used to gather at lunchtime and go out for a run.   We had 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, and even 11 mile routes.  (The introduction of flextime allowed us to get out of the office at 12 noon and to ‘clock back in’ before 2pm, so 11 miles was just about do-able).  A typical week would see us run the “Boring 5” on a Monday, an 8 or 9 miler on a Wednesday and the Clifton Ings 6 on a Friday.

To say these lunchtime runs were competitive would be an understatement.  My mate Pete was always there at the front, elbowing you out of the way and cutting across your path, if you tried to take the lead.  The phrases “eyeballs out” and “a stonking run” were regularly used to describe these sessions afterwards.  Training at ‘marathon pace’ didn’t exist in my day !  We entered races of course.  Usually 10ks, but the Snake Lane 10 (miler) and the York half marathon were legendary events.

So it was that some of the guys entered the first London marathon in 1981.  Enthused by their tales afterwards, we all entered again in 1982.  In those days, you got in on a ‘first come, first served’, basis.  So the timing of your (n.b. postal) entry was critical.  Luckily we knew someone, who knew someone (of course ;-)), who worked in the Post Office and our entries were stamped with a time of 00:01 on the day entries opened.  Of course, we all got in. (I understand 90,000 people applied that year, so in theory we had a 1 in 5 chance !)

I don’t recall much of the race itself, other than I started on the red start (as a first timer) while my mates Pete, Liam and Tony started on the blue.  The two routes joined around the 3 mile mark and, incredibly, I spotted Tony and we ran the rest of the race side by side.  About half a mile from the finish, Tony pulled up with cramp.  I didn’t want to wait a) because I wanted to run the full 26.2 miles without stopping and b) in case I never got going again.  Seeing me carry on, Tony gave his leg a rub, picked himself up and ran after me !  So we finished together in a time of around 3 hours 16 minutes.  It would be another 12 years before I ran my next marathon.

If there is a moral (or even a reason) for this story (other than background for what might follow in a future post), is that running can not only keep you fit, but it can also give you lifelong friendships.  This time next week, I’ll be setting off with the very same Pete and Liam (and Colin) to do a 4 day walk around the English Lake District.  This is a regular ‘event’ that we’ve organised over the years, but more of that later…

I didn’t want to publish this post without a photo, (and I don’t have one of the London marathon I’m afraid), so here’s one of some cupcakes that Jude made earlier for a child’s birthday party.  Lucky children !  🙂