Guest Blog: The Viking Way

Written by: Geoff (aka Dad)

A walk I have always wanted to do, but never got round to, is The Viking Way. Having lived in Lincolnshire now for almost 40 years, I thought it was about time to do it. So I asked my good friend Gerry if he would like to walk it with me.  He was delighted to take me on and show me the way, having done it himself on more than one occasion. He has even designed an alternative walk which he has called The Length of Lincolnshire, which takes in many other aspects of Lincolnshire landscape and history. So he was the ideal man to walk with. He has a passion for walking and along with his friend Dennis, has clocked up hundreds of miles of green lanes and farm tracks throughout the county.  We would be joined with two more of Gerry’s walking friends, Roy and Bob.  All 4 of them having had careers in various aspects of agriculture, so there would be no shortage of knowledge and expertise while ambling through the farmscapes of Lincolnshire.

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Here we are at the start point below the Humber Bridge at Barton-on-Humber

The blue plaque on the old coastguard building behind Bob, Gerry and Roy bears the title of  HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who opened it in 1880. Of course, not the present one, even at 95 years of  age, he doesn’t go that far back! It was Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son who took the title Duke of Edinburgh in 1866, before becoming the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This was our starting point for the first stage.

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The Humber Bridge – quite a structure! 

We passed by this impressive structure. The Humber Bridge Act was passed in 1959 and work was started on fundraising and gaining access to the land either side. Building work started in 1972 and was completed in 1981 and when it was finished it was the worlds longest suspension bridge for a short time.

We continued with our walk – a bracing stroll along the shoreline, passing the Far Ings Nature Reserve which is noted for its bitterns and bearded tits.  But not today! We did see tufted duck, shoveller, mallard, pochard, widgeon and Canada and greylag geese. But my claim that I had witnessed a golden eagle swooping down to take an osprey that had grabbed a kingfisher instead of a fish, all within a few seconds, sadly was not believed by my walking companions, when I eventually caught up with them. Methinks my fantastic wildlife scenarios are not going to be sanctioned by these wise county men.

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St Nicholas Church, South Ferriby

Arriving in South Ferriby, we passed St Nicholas Church. It is an old church with Norman and 14th century architecture and still it stands keeping an eye on the 21st century landscape. It overlooks the estuary and the cement works. Our walk took us past old brick pits and chalk quarries and the huge Middlegate Quarry, which opened in 1938. It still operates today,  providing chalk along with other minerals taken from the underlying Kimmeridge clay, which go into the making of cement.

The last stretch of our walk today led us up the gentle gradient towards Elsham Wolds where our first stage ended after approx. 11 miles. This was followed by well deserved, delicious beef sandwiches and chips back in South Ferriby at The Hope and Anchor!  No doubt that these boys know the best pubs and I’m sure we’ll sample a few more along the route as we wend our way through Lincolnshire.

To find out more about the Viking Way, visit Lincolnshire County Council website: https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/

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Emails, enquiries and bookings

So, I’m planning on walking the Pennine Way in Summer with my Dad. We might well be crazy to embark on a 270 mile (nearly) walk but it’s  a challenge that will see us taking in some beautiful sights as well as some cloud smothered views. We decided to do the walk a few months after my Dad got home from walking the Haute Route in the Alps. As the Pennine Way is a popular walking route, especially in July and August, we have had to be super organised and book our accommodation in advance. We have decided to treat ourselves to B&Bs along the route and the occasional hostel rather then camp.

There are lots of helpful guide books and websites to help plan the Pennine Way and where to stay along the route. I have the Official National Trail Guide by Damian Hall which offers lots of advice on how to prepare and then covers the route in detail. Dad and I have decided to walk from Edale to Kirk Yetholm – which is the way the guide books write about it and so made sense for us to do it this way too.

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I also have inherited my Grandad’s Wainwright guide which might come in handy too. There will be some things that have changed but not much.

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There was a frenzy of activity pre-Christmas when we booked accommodation – mostly via email, although some places require you to call up. We still have some items to confirm, like baggage transfers for parts of the trip where we aren’t lucky enough to stay with family. There are a few companies out there and it is a good idea to do some research before you book your accommodation. Some companies only transfer your baggage from certain places. We still need to work out what to do at the end of the walk and how to return home from Kirk Yetholm, but I’m sure we can work something out.

To keep track of everything we have booked and paid deposits for I have made a budget and itinerary in an excel spreadsheet. This shows where we have to pay on the day we arrive and anything we have paid in advance. The costs for a trip like this can add up so we are pleased that we have managed to spread out the costs over a number of months. There are of course options to make it even cheaper, like camping or staying in youth hostels. We found that the youth hostels were booked up well in advance. Planning and preparation is key.

Now we have the bulk of the admin sorted, we can get outdoors and get some training in. First however, I have to  run the London Marathon next Sunday. At least I know none of the walking days in the summer will be 26.2 miles.
Some helpful websites:
National Trails website
Pennine Way Association website

There are lots of blogs out there too, just search for Pennine Way blog and loads come up. Happy planning to anyone else doing the route and maybe see some of you out there this summer!

Whitby wanderings 

A little while ago I was in Whitby for a weekend. I had to complete 2 runs over a long weekend so got the chance to try out some routes that I have done before, but not for a couple of years!

If you haven’t been to Whitby, you should go! It’s a beautiful seaside town with stunning views even on a grey day. It’s famous for its Abbey and the 199 steps you have to walk up to get there as well as inspiring Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Whenever I visit, I usually fit it around food and find time for fish & chips or some sausage rolls from Botham’s.


The first run I did was a misty morning with the tide in. I wanted to run down along the beach and then back through the town. I forgot how steep the cliffs are! The only people out were dog walkers braving the wind. The summer chalets were all closed up waiting for the better weather and the floods of tourists.


Walking up the cliffs allowed for a breather and once away from the sea breeze I got running again. Through town I went exploring the streets and stumbling across new cafes and shops. It wasn’t the fastest run, but it still classes as miles under my belt.

Found my diner

 


On Sunday I planned a 16 mile route – at this stage in my training I only had 3 long runs left before the taper begins. North Yorkshire is considerably more hilly than Cambridgeshire and so I only managed 14 miles of it which wasn’t too bad going! Instead of writing about it, I’ll leave you with the photos below.

To get to the cinder track, I had to climb these steps. Also had to walk down them on the return!
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Sheltered in places. This is the old train line that ran from Whitby to Scarborough. It closed in 1965.

Spectators along the route.

 

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Overcast, the sun did come out in places.

 

Robin Hood’s Bay

 

Still plodding

Holiday homes with a view! 


Stunning sea view 


I’m running the Virgin Money London Marathon on 23 April to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK and if you’ve been inspired by my post or touched by this devastating disease, please sponsor me and help fund vital research. Click here to donate.

 

Thank you!

Find out more about Whitby, here.

The cinder track runs from Whitby to Scarborough. You can see the route here: https://www.scarborough.gov.uk/sites/default/files/files/The-Cinder-Track-Scarborough-Whitby.pdf  

Spring has landed

I’m still in training for the Virgin Money London Marathon in just over 3 weeks but after two early morning starts for the gym, I didn’t feel up to my 50 min scheduled run this evening. 


Instead of lacing up my trainers, I swapped them for my walking boots. Now the evenings are lighter, it feels so much easier to get outdoors in the evening – plus my walking boots haven’t been worn in much yet and really will need to fit like slippers before the summer is out! 


I took a route through the fields where birds were singing in the hedgerows and the blossom was out in force. It was peaceful and allowed me time to reflect.  Walking back through the village I got some lovely shots of the sunset behind buildings or throwing it’s glowing light on the trees. 


I still plan on making up my run tomorrow but my walk tonight really helped me appreciate the beauty Spring brings with it. I’m looking forward to walking the Pennine Way and the amazing views that I should see – weather dependent! 

Milton Keynes Half Marathon

Race day arrived today. I signed up to the Milton Keynes half marathon way back in October when I knew I had the London Marathon to train for. It is an easy place to get to from mine and a course I have run before. A few weeks ago, when I was feeling a little too cocky, I thought I might get a new PB today. However, a cold struck last week and I didn’t run at all. So I was just pleased to feel well enough to get up early, lace up my trainers and get out of the door.

The weather forecast was awful for today as were the driving conditions but as I stood on the start line, the rain vanished. It was still overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining. I really did feel for the 20 milers who must have set off in the rain! The announcer did let us all know that one of the underpasses was flooded and that we would get wet feet – before we’d even covered 2 miles!


I set off and streams of people ran past me, but I didn’t want to go off too quickly as I wouldn’t make it round the course. I had been quite near the front of the race, so the 1.45 hr pacer went past me and I thought I’d best slow down a bit. The route is mostly along dual carriageways but also goes through parkland and some scenic villages. The sun came out about 3 miles in, which was a nice boost.

Pacing wasn’t my strongest suit today. You can see my mile splits below.

Mile 1: 10:35 Mile 8: 10:43
Mile 2: 10:16 Mile 9: 11:46
Mile 3: 11:00 Mile 10: 11:07
Mile 4: 10:59 Mile 11: 11:46
Mile 5: 11:13 Mile 12: 12:22
Mile 6: 10:56 Mile 13: 12:48
Mile 7: 11:36  

Despite people overtaking me along the way, I had some people in my sights who I tried to maintain pace with. I ended up sprinting over the line with 2 guys who’d been leapfrogging me constantly along the route. I think they were faster than me due to the chip time, but happy that I pipped them on the finish line! 


I finished in 2 hrs 35 mins, about 15 mins off my PB. While walking to the car, there was a torrential downpour – I really felt for those still out on the course, but also happy to have finished in the nick of time.

Drove home and stopped at a pub for a cheeky Sunday lunch. I also broke my no drinking rule (it’s not been a good week for not drinking but will be back on track tomorrow) and had a cheeky pint. I’m still enjoying the training and looking forward to my next race…twice the distance on London Marathon day. I’m running to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. It turns out we lost my Grandad 8 years ago today to Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s find a cure; please visit my fundraising page

Thanks for reading.

February round up

So I’ve neglected to write a post for a few weeks. It’s been a tad busy at work and I’ve been doing some stuff other than running, having a life outside of the lycra and trainers! It is no surprise that at the start of March I finally caught the cold that has been threatening for a month or so!

February was another month of training where I stuck to the plan. The plan had me out 4 days a week and here are some stats:

  • 82 miles covered – that’s 7 more than last month!
  • 911 minutes or 15 hours
  • 15 sessions running
  • 1 posh dinner with my buddy
  • 1 secret cinema outing
  • 1 glass of red wine drunk (oops)

I’m looking forward to what the rest of March will bring, especially running in new locations and new routes. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far.

January round up

Things I have learnt since embarking on my running plan on 3rd January 2017:

I love the feeling I get when I run, yes, sometimes it is hard work, but the endorphin rush post-run is great. I have the chance to get faster and stronger and I’m going to work my hardest to be in the best shape possible. Alcohol really does make a difference – and not in a good way (sorry for anyone hoping it was the fuel we need for a run!)

Now for some figures:

  • 75 miles covered
  • 771 minutes on my feet (that’s only running, not including any walking!)
  • 5 runs saw me go over the 5 mile mark
  • 3 weeks of 4 sessions, 1 week with 3 sessions
  • 3 hours of pilates
  • 1 photo per day
  • 1 video clip per run
  • 1 indoor treadmill session (didn’t go so well, so outdoor is best)
  • 1 new head torch purchased
  • 1 pair of winter running tights purchased (Ronhill winter leggings)

To commemorate my January training runs, varying in temperature, pace, time of day and distance, I have made a video. I would add it here, but I can’t, so you’ll have to look at my Facebook page.

I know that marathon training takes time and I am prepared for this to take over my life for the next couple of months. Both distance and time on my feet will increase. I hope to bring you a round up at the end of each month.

Please visit my fundraising page and give me some extra motivation for February running!

A splash of colour in January

My husband has recently bought a fish tank. In it, we have 8 small brightly coloured tetras and a Japanese fighting fish that dart around and then without warning slow down or rest on a log. I sometimes feel like one of them, pedalling to get everything achieved and then sitting on the sofa to relax!

They are a welcome pop of colour in the tank and provide a nice distraction after a day sat in front of a computer. I also find that I need some colour to break up the horizon or the monotony that sometimes sets in from pounding the pavements. 

Inspired to get off my bum and go for a run, today was my long run day and I wanted to test a new route. It was raining and all together miserable for a 1 and a half hour jog. I kept stopping to check my route which meant that I paid more attention that usual to the countryside around me. Running through fields and along muddy footpaths I found my way into a birch forest. Forest sounds a bit grand, let’s call it a wood. In the wood the leaves had made a carpet underfoot hiding the tree roots and providing a soft landing. I was concentrating on foot placement and didn’t realise where I was until I stumbled across a road which Iwasn’t  expecting – I was lost. 

What does this have to do with a splash of colour? Well, it turned out I had ended up at a golf course where, despite the cloudy relentless grey sky above me, I saw manicured lawns vibrant and green and umbrellas of every shade moving around the course. This was a nice break from the mud that caked my trainers and had been underfoot for most of the run. The colour didn’t last long as I had to make my way out of the golf course but it gave me a boost. 

At home I have some colourful touches, a vase of flowers, a yellow sofa, vibrant elephant ornaments. January can often be so grey with dark evenings and it always cheers me up to see a bit of colour. 

I have one more run in January and then onwards to February running and here’s hoping for some bright sunny days.