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… 🎆

 

Hannah and Mike’s wedding

The main reason for travelling over to Scotland again this year was to attend Hannah’s wedding.  Hannah is the younger daughter of Judith’s great friend Kate.  She and her husband, Geoff, are the owners of the award winning Waterside Café in Lochcarron. (More about there in a later post).

The whole of the wedding day went beautifully, with traditional Scottish dress in evidence.  During the ceremony, the rings were delivered to the front by a Great Grey Owl – a magnificent creature, especially when viewed close up.  (Sorry about the poor photo, but it kept moving its head!)  Mike is an aspiring film actor, so there was a Hollywood theme to the reception.

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). 

 

Less weight = run faster…

It’s a simple formula, right?  The less weight you carry the faster you should run (or the easier it should be to run further).  Well, at least that’s my logic.

For some time now I’ve realised my weight has been steadily increasing.  We all know the signs – abs (if I ever had any) disappearing and turning into a paunch, trousers too tight, etc. etc.  I know why of course.   For the past few months I’ve been over-indulging and not getting enough exercise.  Two runs this year (of about 9k / 5 miles each) do not constitute a fitness regime – especially with a marathon to run on April 9th…

One of the problems was that I had no idea how much weight I’d put on, as we have no bathroom scales.  That is, until last weekend when I bought some.  So this morning was the day of reckoning – and I weighed 77.7 kg or 171 lbs or 12st 3lbs.  This may not seem much to some, but my standard weight (when I was younger and more active and had scales available to measure) was 70 kg or 154 lbs or 11 stones.  So that’s an increase of about 10%, which is quite a lot to cart around a marathon.

So, in the hope that my logic is right, here’s the plan:  (I’m sharing this with you all to make sure I stick to it… )

I’m aiming to lose at least 0.1 kg per day between now and the 4th April*.  That’s about 5kg or 11 lbs in total.  However, ideally (and we all like stretch targets don’t we?) I’d like to lose 1kg or a little over 2 lbs per week, making 7kgs or 15.5 lbs in total.

How am I going to achieve this target?  Firstly, by cutting out that slice of toast for breakfast and biscuit(s) with my coffee in the morning, then no cake with afternoon tea and finally by reducing my evening beer/wine intake.  Plus, of course, I plan to get out there and do some more running!   Tomorrow, I’ll be in my old stomping ground of Vevey (where there’s no snow on the ground) and I’ll be doing a long(ish) run along the beautiful shores of Lac Léman (aka Lake Geneva to some).

*I will be updating this blog every Tuesday, from now until the 4th April, to let you know how it’s going.  Wish me luck!

As you may know, I don’t like to post anything without a picture, so here is a view of (the eastern end of) Lac Léman, taken from our old apartment in Mont Pèlerin.  Vevey and the Nestlé HQ are in the middle at the bottom, with Montreux towards the end of the lake on the left.

lac-leman

 

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 !