7 Miles Around The Great Orme

We do this run 3 or 4 times a year. The kids are at school and we book the time off to spend the morning running around this massive Limestone rock on the North Wales coast and then rewarding ourselves with something hugely calorific but delicious. It’s 3 miles up and 3 miles down with the last mile running down the prom. In February the Nick Beer 10km race is held here which we have done a few times over the years.

This Sunday in a howling gale we plodded around but despite a cloudy start were rewarded with some great views of Snowdonia. We couldn’t hang around to long at the top as it was getting a bit nippy. Great run and a lot of fun.

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Bothy Life

Last weekend I went to the Dumfries and Galloway Forest In the south west of Scotland to do some mountain biking, running and to explore and stay a couple of nights in a bothy. We had warnings of a storm called Abigail so it was going to be an interesting couple of days to spend outdoors.

A bothy is a basic building usually quite remote. They are places to escape the elements. You always find pots and pans sometimes food, wood and fuel to get a fire going if it has a fire place etc. The ethos of the whole thing is summed up nicely in this statement “To maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places” These places are maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association follow that link for more information on this great organisation.

Tunskeen Bothy

On the first day we had planned a long mountain bike trail route. After driving many miles and arriving at the start point, getting all the kit ready we set off. About 200 meters into the ride my bloody chain broke. I couldn’t believe it. After all the perpetration it was stopped by a small link. My good friend Gaz laughed and picked my drooping lip up with some dark humor and his usual positive attitude. We went to a mountain bike trail center where we found a great shop called The BrakePad Bike Shop not far from Newton Stewart. This was a 14 mile drive. After the bike got fixed we headed north to Glentrool. We set of in an easterly direction from the visitors center. The weather was great and I was feeling a lot better. It was a stunning place to ride. We stopped at the Bruce’s Stone where the battle of Trool took place. A few miles on we found the first bothy, White Laggan. It was set in a stunning landscape and we found it in good order. We were running out of time so we set off to find the next bothy where we were going to spend that night.

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We parked up in woodland and set off in the dark to find Tunskeen Bothy. The wind had picked up and we were starting to get a bit of the storm Abigail. This bothy was only 3 miles away from our start point but due to the landscape and elevation it seemed more like 5. We had to negotiate some fallen trees and some rough terrain on the final mile or so. In the pitch black with head torches on we found Tunskeen Bothy. When we opened the door the place looked like heaven. It was clean, cosy and very welcoming. The previous occupants had kindly left some kindling in the fire place so it was easy to get the fire started which we did as soon as we had picked our beds in the form of large wooden planks. Fire on the go beer in hand (we brought our own) and a huge pot of food to shove down our necks I couldn’t have been happier. In the morning the wind was howling. After a coffee and some breakfast we packed up and set off back to the van. Got changed and went for a great 6 mile run from one Loch Riecawr to Loch Doon. We spent the rest of the day exploring Ayr and Alloway the birth place of Robert Burns.

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Another pitch black approach to the bothy but this time in a downpour accompanied by a strong gusting wind. About 300 meters from the bothy we had to negotiate a couple of streams. When we crossed them we jokingly said to each other lets hope they don’t flood or words to that effect. We had a fantastic evening back in the bothy out of the elements. It really is a pleasure to be inside on of those places when the weather is as bad as it can be. I had a great nights sleep. We did the usual routine in the morning and set off in storm Abigail. When we got to the stream it was no longer a stream but now a torrent of gushing water. We couldn’t cross here so we had to go up stream and find a point to get over. We chucked our rucksacks over and jumped from a large rock to get across. It seems nothing is easy here in this stunning place. Which makes it great.

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We have only scratched the surface and there is so much more to explore in this fantastic part of Scotland. Will be back very soon. We have another weekend planned in early December of this year, Cant wait!!

 

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Back Running

I’ve had about a month off from running and today was my first proper run in ages. I have a cross country half marathon coming up early in the new year. I’m doing this in an effort to keep off the mince pies and booze and I have some micro adventures in the run up to the festive season.

So far though 3 miles is hard work for me. I know I will be back to pounding out good mileage in a couple of weeks but it never gets easier. I love it.

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The Lost Paddle

Padarn is a lake (Llyn – Welsh) at the base of Mount Snowdon. We take the Kayaks here a few times a year. The best time is during the depths of winter where you get those still, cold days and the reflection the mountains on the lake are stunning. It can get quite busy in the summer months and the area is prone to clouds of Midges in the morning. 

On this day me and my son were out in the middle of the lake on the open canoe and I dropped a really expensive hand crafted paddle in the water while trying to take a photo of my boy. The lake is black and with the slight ripples being created by the wind and the few seconds it took me to put my camera down I completely lost sight of it. This isn’t my paddle it’s my best mates and I was in a panic to say the least. About 10 minutes of frantic searching I was ready to give up and face the embarrassment and shame of such a stupid thing to do when suddenly my son shouts “there it is dad!!” Like a hero he grabbed it and chucked it back in the boat and I sat back in pure relief. When we got to shore we never spoke a word of the incident to anyone until now.

  

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#adidasultraboost

On Sunday I went for a 14 miler with a mate around the Alwen Dam. I haven't run double figures for ages and the day before I did a 10 miler in the hills on my mountain bike. Needless to say I was fucked by the 10 mile point. I couldn't do the last mile so I walked. My mate went on and finished the run in good shape. I wasn't disappointed as I really enjoyed it and know I will do better next time with some proper rest.

I have been trying out these Adidas Ultra Boosts over the last few weeks. First of all I think they look great. The one system cushioning on this shoe is a nice change to some of the overcomplicated gear that has been flooding the market. Adidas have really mastered the Boost system from the stuff they were doing a couple of years ago. When I run I usually land on the heel but found myself striking more from the midsole with these. This had a more comfortable and positive feel. When you pull the trainers on they fit over the foot like a reinforced sock. Naturally squeezing and supporting the foot. I like the way they have put the Adidas stripes in a cage that then fits around this sock …………..thing.

Overall these are high quality running trainers. I would only wear these on the road as I was slipping all over the place when I went off the beaten track but they weren't designed for that sort of use.

 

 

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I received some brand new GripLock™ socks from Sockmine. Who have now become the place to go if you need good socks that are sold at a good price and made for runners. These new Griplocks have a revolutionary new technology. The unique construction follows the contours of your foot, for ultimate comfort and control.  The silicone adhering to your foot, removes the friction and therefore prevents blisters.

I did get sent 2 pairs but the others are in the wash (after a 10km training run) so I could only take a photo of this particular colour. They performed as advertised.

Socks are available in a variety of colours and thickness.

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