Some Stuff About Me ......

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I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan and this remains a serious passion, but in recent years my life has been dedicated to running on the fells and trails of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ...

Friday, 23 September 2016

Brimham Sunset

It was one of those days yesterday, loads of stress and bad feeling at work, so it was a real relief to get out of the damned place, I don't know how I manage to keep a lid on it sometimes.  Helen wasn't on top form either, a bit wishy-washy and feeling sorry for herself, probably a consequence of the migraine attack she had on Monday. We needed to get out and I knew an effort was required. I put new batteries in our headtorches, threw a lightweight jacket in my bumbag and literally dragged her to the door, there are times when I have to make decisions for her and this was one of those times.

We headed up to Nidderdale and parked in Dacre, this village is a good centre for a number of trail runs and the Nidderdale Way runs straight through it. There was a definite nip in the air and it all felt very autumnal, one of those "I'm glad I've got me helly on" evenings .... a bit sad really, I always get a bit fed-up when summer disappears and of course, yesterday really was the first day of Autumn; I think the weather Gods were listening. I've got a nice circular route from here, so we headed up to Brimham Rocks and were treated to the most gorgeous orange sunset, I got to the fell gate first after the long climb up and just stood there watching, all of a sudden the cares of the day melted away and it was just me and the landscape, a tapestry of green fields slowly fading from view as the sun slid behind the horizon.

From here we turned around and headed South, the route takes you through some dark woods and along some truly ancient pathways, eventually finding the River Nidd and the return to Dacre. Our headtorches were reflected from the sleeping river and the calm of the place seemed to give strength to my legs, I felt strong and wanted to run and do justice to the setting. All too sudden we back at Helen's pug (her little Peugeot car) and knocking the mud off our shoes.

I think the effort was well rewarded.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Dirty Weekend

Hello, it's been a while hasn't it? I'm not going to make any excuses for my absence, although I'm tempted, particularly in view of all the nice messages I've received about people missing my blogs. It's a funny thing, the longer you go without blogging the easier it gets to make excuses not to do it and I've been making plenty. Sorry, it's the way things have been y'know: Work, training, internet politics ......I think I've got over it though.

Anyhow, yes, what have I been up to? Well, most recently I've been in the French Alps doing the UTMB TDS (a sort of self-flagellation masquerading as an ultra-marathon) and I've spent a good amount of time training for/messing about with an attempt on the Frog Graham Round, both of those are blogs in planning and I am working on them. How about the Here and Now?

Things have changed a bit hereabouts. Eldest son has got a proper job, moved to Bristol and I doubt I will see him for a millennia. Youngest son has quit his position at Newcastle Uni and is taking a year out before starting his masters, also in Bristol. Last I heard he was in some foul haunt in Bangkok, but I could be wrong. The house is strangely quiet and I'm beginning to repair several years worth of neglect [by me], indeed, only last week I fixed the leaky tap in the downstairs loo - how about that eh? On a less positive note, work is shite and the instigator of much stress. Last week was truly bloody dreadful, so it was with some relief that Helen and I quit town last Friday and buggered off to the Lakes for some much-needed solace (and beer).

We spent the weekend in our van, parked at Mardale Head. This is, as many will know, one of the bigger Lakeland 50/100 CPs and it was strange to be there in much quieter, less frenetic circumstances. We arrived late on Friday in torrential rain, but awoke on Saturday to blue skies and the promise of a great day. And it was.  We went Wainwright bagging, so around Haweswater on the Coast to Coast path, Kidsty Pike, The Knott, Rest Dodd, The Nab and then down to Dalehead (not THAT Dalehead), back up to Angletarn Pikes, Brock Crag and a seriously steep descent down the side of the fell to the Hayeswater filter station, up the side of Gray Crag and back to Thornthwaite Beacon before a stomp back down to Mardale Head via Rough Crag. Beer and chilli in the van afterwards, I nearly felt normal again.

Sunday it was a late start, but we trucked up to Nan Bield, then Harter Fell, Adam Seat (a Birkett I think), then across Gatesgarth to Branstree and then Selside Pike, before finding the Old Corpse Road and back to Mardale Head. We had cuppas and cake in the van before reluctantly returning to the world of mobile phone coverage and everyone howling for my attention.

As cures go, it was pretty good. I think I need more of the same.