Monday 24 July 2023

Hike to Bath

 It stopped raining for a few hours, so we took the opportunity to hike over the hills to Bath. Starting out at the river Avon, we headed almost straight up to the Kelston Roundhill at 218 metres above sea level. 

We can't quite see the sea from the top, but the Severn Bridge is definitely in sight somewhere. 

After that it is all downhill, apart from a few lumps and bumps on the way. 

We mostly followed the Cotswold Way, which seems to make a point of zig zagging around the landscape, and as we got closer to Bath it took us down tiny paths and dark lanes. 

Once in the city it goes past all of the best architecture, starting with the Royal Crescent. Personally I think that this could be improved with a bit of colour on the front doors and windows, and maybe a quick jet wash, but as always, the tourists were out in force. 

Finally we reached our destination, the Little Cinema which had rolled out the red carpet and put up the pink balloons for the film Barbie. 

We weren't really dressed correctly, but I suppose that not many visitors had hiked the hills to get there, but at least I had on a pinkish teeshirt. 

It really was a good film, then afterwards we had a couple of ciders and caught the bus back. 

Monday 17 July 2023

Wye Valley Tunnel Run half marathon

We set off on a treck from Bath over the Severn Bridge into Wales and then back to England again in less than an hour. Our destination was the Wye Valley where we had entered a half marathon.

The weather wasn't good and it poured with rain in England, cheered up with a bit of sun in Wales and then poured with rain again as we waited for the race to start. 

Fortunately, the rain didn't last long and petered out as we headed along a disused railway line to the Tiddenham Tunnel.

It is just over a kilometre underground, and like the tunnel that we ran through a few weeks ago, it was very dark and calm. All went well after that for a few more kilometres until the route suddenly changed. We had to scramble up steep rocky steps and then on a long magical mystery tour through woods, up and down lots of concrete steps, over a bouncy bridge, and then back on to the disused railway.

Eventually I saw the finish and Darren cheered me on to the line. 

Crossing the line I did what I thought was a huge leap and star jump for Susan who took this photo, but it appears that my feet hardly left the ground. 

We collected another nice medal, had a giant piece of chocolate and cornflake cake then headed home. 

Sunday 16 July 2023

70th wedding anniversary

This week my mum and dad celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

This photo was taken on the 11th July 1953.

This one on 11th July 2023!

Look closely at what they are holding - a diamond anniversary card from the Queen from ten years ago, and a platinum card from the King and Camilla.

We had a lovely family get together yesterday, and let's hope for number 71 next year. 

Friday 7 July 2023

Cricklade to Kelston

After a good night's sleep we left our pub/hotel by carrying our bikes and kit down the outside spiral staircase fire escape. No, we had already paid, but I think that the pub doesn't open until noon and they want everyone out by then.

Right on the doorstep was this beautiful church, called the St Sampson's which dates from 983.

We then cycled through the Cotswolds Water Park on a disused railway path, but unfortunately didn't see any water. Off roading we cycled down narrow tracks before following a tiny track through the middle of a cornfield. It was teeth rattling going, but good fun. 

Our next destination was Tetbury for coffee and breakfast, and a quick look at the lovely buildings. 

After that we cycled to one of my highlights of the trip - the Fosse Way. I don't know why I was so excited about it, but I was looking forward to imagining all of the Roman centurions that would have marched where I electric biked. 

The Fosse Way was a Roman road built during the first and second centuries AD and linked Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) and Lincoln (Lindum Colonia). We followed a short section from just south of Tetbury (sorry no ancient name) to Bath (Aquae Sulis). 

It is nothing like the A46 near Leicester, but was single track road and sometimes gravel path with lots of tall trees. 

Also, very straight and undulating. 

Thursday 6 July 2023

Birthday treat

Darren's birthday treat today is a cycling mini-break and we set off on it today.

We started from Bicester on our e bikes, and our first stop was for coffee at Woodstock.

We are sat on the pavement of quite a busy road, but a duck appeared on the opposite pavement, saw us and crossed excitedly over to see if we had any food. Unfortunately we didn't, so she pecked my shoe and then headed off around the corner to hassle someone else.

On through Brize Norton with the big RAF base where military planes passed almost constantly overhead and a stop for part one of lunch.

I couldn't partake in the second lunch break as I had already eaten all of mine at the first stop, but Darren finished his sandwiches at a lovely little village with a beautiful ancient church.

Then on to the main stop of the day at Bibury. It's a real tourist honey pot with numerous coaches parked on the main road.

Basically it is a collection of beautiful cottages built along side a wide and clear stream.

There is also a trout farm so we bought more coffee and watched the trout swimming about and leaping out of the water at feeding time.

By now we had cycled a long way and my battery was getting very low, so I switched it off for a while and had to face the headwind with no assistance.

Feeling very tired I switched it on again with the hope that the battery would then last most of the way to the finish at Cricklade. Very annoyingly we rolled up the attractive Main Street to our hotel and it was still going strong.

View of the town clock from our hotel window.

Sunday 2 July 2023

Wedtonbirt 10k

An early start today as we drove to the Westonbirt Arboretum for a 10k race.

We discussed my tactics a couple of days before, as I am never good at working out how fast to run. Darren suggested that I mentally splitt the race in to two 5 kilometre segments, and running them both in 28 minutes exactly, making a total time of 56 minutes.

We set off together but Darren had gone within seconds, so I got on and tried to do my best with my target time. I ran the first kilometre about on target, the second too slow, the third faster to try to make the time back, the fourth too slow again, and I crossed the 5k mark 20 seconds down, so quite pleased really.

The second set of times was roughly the same as the first, but after 8k I tried to pull the time back, then I ran as fast as I could on the last kilometre. I hadn't looked at my watch for ages, and the finish line was further than I expected, but when I looked down I realised that I had finished in 56 minutes and half a second!!

Brilliant timing, if I say so myself!

We had planned to walk around the Arboretum afterwards, but after we had spent the best part of an hour running through most of it, and basically it was a glorified wood (although with lots of fancy varieties of trees), we just decided to get in the car and head home.

Ps, just seen the results and I was 2nd out of 19 in my age group, and 73rd out of 422 ladies overall. Pleased with that.