Some Stuff About Me ......

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, but my heart truly belongs in the fells of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ....

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Green and Pleasant Land

It's surprising how quickly you adjust. By that, I mean I'm reflecting on the rapid changes in direction that life can deliver. We got back from Chamonix in the early hours of last Monday, having spent the previous week cavorting round the French/Italian/Swiss alps, but a week back at work and all the usual pressures soon erases it from your mind and, to be honest, it already seems like a distant memory. I'd better get my blogging head on if I'm going to record any of it for posterity, otherwise my deteriorating memory might consign it to > null.
I did little exercise last week, a couple of early-morning swim sessions where it felt like I was ploughing through glue and one desultory 5-mile run on Thursday evening. I styled this as a recovery run, though truth be told it was more of a "hang on for grim death" kind of a thing. Literally everything hurt, including (worryingly) some patella tendon pain in my left knee. Perhaps I wasn't quite ready for it ..... and I think it's important to give some context here, the UTMB CCC may be the "little sister" of the UTMB itself, but it's still 63 miles and 22,000ft of climb, all of which was done with a hefty pack and elevated temperatures (around 35c). OK, not quite a BGR but close enough to make you hitch your Big Boy/Girl pants up.
Anyhow, recognising that another long and hard run just wasn't an option, Helen and I headed up to the Dales yesterday for a very easy jaunt round one of our favourite training routes. We parked at Buckden and then (of course), made an easy ascent of Buckden Pike, past the Polish War Memorial and then followed the Fellsman route to Top Mere. An easy descent down to Starbotton followed, and then a short, sharp slog back up the side of the mountain to the Buckden Lead Mines. Of course, these are long-abandoned and nature is slowly reclaiming every trace of man's efforts to scratch a living from this harsh environment. As always, I found myself wondering about the men who worked here all those years ago and how terribly hard it must have been; the walk to work must have been a killer in the first place. Anyhow, it seemed like we had the whole of Wharfedale to ourselves, the sun was shining and the whole place had that impossibly green, lush look about it that you only get in England. The views were absolutely gorgeous and the whole aura was one of total serenity. Not for the first time, I thanked my lucky stars that I get to do this kind of thing, I truly wouldn't have it any other way. Tell you what: The Alps might be staggering, the Lake District impossibly beautiful - but on a good day, the Yorkshire Dales gives them both a run for their money.
Back at the car, we headed over to DT & Stef's place to return the ladies' Yorkshireman trophy (Bobs and Emma won it last year and they're not doing this year's race), a few companianable beers then back home for some late-night chips and curry. A day well spent methinks.