Archive for November 2016

Funster Birthday Weekend – Trevose Head   10 comments

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A coastal walk today to contrast with the moorland walk of the previous day. Before that a nice little photo of our B&B

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We’ve walked many stretches of the coast in the neighbourhood having spent many family holidays down in Cornwall. Trevose Head is one neither of us had done so it seemed an obvious route. Winter had arrived and it was windy and bitterly cold but with a sharp clarity to the air and hopefully not too many showers. We parked up by the beach at Treyarnon Bay, one of our favourites but today we were the only car there

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It was a wonderful morning, crashing waves and a mix of blue skies and threatening clouds

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Along Constantine Bay beach and then past the very splendidly named Boobys Bay

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As you approach the headland there is another “Round Hole” where a sea cave roof has collapsed. Very impressive.

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The walks continue around the headland and past the lighthouse

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As you round the headland the next three coves of Mother Iveys, Harlyn and Trevone Bays come into view

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Mother Iveys Bay is steeply shelving so the waves hit the shore close in making for a great scene of Atlantic aggression.

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As we approached Harlyn Bay we caught a glimpse of a seal and he played in the waves while we watched for a few minutes

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Onto our last beach at Harlyn

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I liked the contrast between the clouds the rippled sand and the seaweed covered rocks

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Back along the lanes to the car and with a seven mile walk I was feeling the knee strain when I got back to the car. We decided that we’d earned a lunch at the very nice cafe at the YHA, soup and cider the order of the day

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We actually managed to go in the sea as well for some kayaking and body boarding fun. Unsurprisingly we had the sea to ourselves what with it being bitterly cold. I wish I’d taken my camera as after one bruising hailstorm the views were sublime.

A cracking day finished off with another meal out, this time at The Basement in Padstow and once again, wonderful food as part of an ongoing birthday treat. A sacrifice I was willing to make 🙂

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Funster Birthday Weekend – Dartmoor   6 comments

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Well a very belated birthday weekend anyway. Being the kind of people who like to do nice things rather than have nice things (well I like both but that’s not the point!), I gave TBF the option of a weekend away as her birthday treat. She jumped at the offer and we picked a weekend in November to cheer up that dreariest of months. We headed down on Friday in the hope of a pre-weekend walk. After stopping at the excellent Cafe on the Green in Widecombe on the Moor for a superb lunch and Cream Tea we headed out

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I’ve never walked on Dartmoor before so I needed a plan. Luckily I know a very fine Dartmoor inspired blog over at Treks and Tors and Steve gave me this route amongst many others.  An inspired recommendation.

We parked up in a surprisingly busy car park for a Friday in November that seemed to be threatening rain. There were dark skies everywhere but lots of blue to go with it as we pushed up to Cox Tor

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We used to visit Dartmoor on day trips from our holidays at Westward Ho! on the North Devon Coast. I was always fascinated by Granite Tors so I was well pleased to do a proper walk amongst them

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Despite looking like a wet one the weather was kind to us and we were bathed in plentiful sunshine for the afternoon, although it was perishingly cold

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After Cox Tor we traversed down and around to the back of Roos Tor so as to make a circuit

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Everyone associates the SW with coastline, beaches and resorts but Dartmoor is a truly wild and empty place. It could feel similar to any wild moorland upland area but it has a whole different charm. Apart from its bristling Granite outcrops it has rivers, farmland and green forested valleys as well a rich industrial heritage and ancient remains of civilisations long gone. Like I said when I first visited Bodmin Moor last year, its packed with interesting stuff and I was enjoying this first taster session

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It was already past three when we reached Roos and Staples Tors so the light was fading. The tors themselves made for wonderful outlines against the moody skies

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When the sun did come out it lit up the tors and the bracken in a most fetching manner

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I was fascinated by the shapes amongst the tumbles of rocks and had a few little scrambles about, far too cold for any more detailed exploration. This outcrop looks suspiciously like TBF

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There were views across to the Tamar estuary to Plymouth Sound and you could see the rail and road bridges in the distance

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The views across to Vixen Tor, Kings Tor and North Hessary Tor were very fine

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We decided to use up every last minute of daylight and extended the walk with an extra loop around and over Whitchurch Common following an old watercourse cut around the hillside. We reached a stone cross that seemed to be telling us the sun was setting and it was time to head back to car and go Padstow for some food!

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A splendid late afternoon stroll and a prelude for a cracking weekend outdoors in the South West

Our base in Padstow was the amazing Althea Library B&B. An absolute gem with a  standard of accommodation befitting a 5-star hotel but with all the comforts and welcome of a family home. Huge thanks to Jane and Geoff for looking after us and highly recommended for a stay in the area. Evening meal was in the equally amazing Prawn on the Lawn. A restaurant and a fishmonger all in one with an eclectic feel and enthusiastic friendly staff. All you get is seafood and its superb. Simple stuff, freshly cooked and we dined like kings/queens on tapas plates and Lobster washed down with a bottle of fizz. Well it was a birthday meal after all!

Two Men and a Kayak   2 comments

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As part of my efforts to keep active while not walking, a trip to the coast with GM to play in the surf with the kayaks was in order. Rest Bay near Porthcawl ticks all the boxes being close to home, easy parking, a short walk to the beach and great surf (and a great cafe with cookies to die for)

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A grey day so not much in the way of photos

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The surf forecast wasn’t great but as it turns out the waves were excellent. One of the best days in the surf I’ve had for a while

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A great day out and another where I finished the day tired, exercised and without knee pain although I did collect a few bruises for my trouble

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I didn’t have my Go Pro Camera so no video footage either. As a special treat a video from a couple of years back and a trip to Rest Bay in January – one of my better video edits. Enjoy

Posted November 7, 2016 by surfnslide in Kayaking, Surf Kayaking, Wales

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From Two Bad Legs to Two New Wheels   6 comments

As I reported in my last post I’ve started having serious problems with my left knee. I’ve had two arthroscopy ops on my right knee which seem to have worked but its time to sort the other one out. An MRI scan is booked for January so I’ll have to take it from there

Even before this problem I’d been thinking about a new bike as I don’t get enough exercise especially of the lung busting sort. The fact that I’m now limited as to when I can hike pressed the need a little harder. I’m also hoping that it will build the muscles in my legs which will help support, strengthen and protect my knees for the longer term (as well as hopefully remove some of the upper body weight they have to carry!) 🙂

So this is my new pride and joy, built to my specifications by the excellent Tom at Bike Workshop in Bristol. Obviously its a Mountain Bike. I’m not a big fan of road cycling but around where I live there is a plentiful supply of forests and easy-ish mountain tracks for me to explore (I’m not or ever will be of the hard-core, steep downhill mountain biker breed). I’ve started to use it whenever I have a spare hour working at home to try and build a bit of fitness but I needed to try something off-road to get me into the swing of things

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The best and easiest local area is the Forest of Dean. I’ve cycled with kids here and I thought I’d try a slightly longer circuit without too much in the way of climbing. It will take me a while to get bike-fit. It was nice circuit of 15 or so miles that took me a few hours due the numerous stops to check where I was. The Forest is maze of tracks

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Now anyone that knows me will tell you I’ve never really been a cycling man. I’ve never quite embraced its particular charms but I have to say I really enjoyed the ride. Far from being a dense expanse of woodland, the Forest of Dean has numerous open and sunny glades and its extremely pleasant. The route I used seemed little known, especially to cyclists despite its popularity in the area. I saw more walkers than cyclists. I really wish I’d taken more photos

I stopped at Mallards Pike lake for a rest, a snack and a cuppa. Its a popular spot and heaving in summer but in late October it was quiet and rather splendid

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I spent a happy half enjoying not sitting on a razor blade!

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When I reached the car, satisfied with my new toy and the exercise it allowed it struck what a relief it was not to finish a day outdoors in pain from either my knee or my foot. Itv was actually quite liberating.

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I never thought I hear myself say this (or read my own typed words) that I’m looking forward to some days out on the bike. I’m going to find it tough going for a few months as I’m not used to aerobic exercise (I find even the most gentle of hills hard work) but I’m hoping to enjoy a different slant to my outdoor fun. In good time I hope it will be good for the longevity of my hiking and my general fitness levels. Bring it on!

Posted November 3, 2016 by surfnslide in Cycling, Forest of Dean

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