South West Outdoor Festival – Half Marathon

The South West Outdoor Festival, organised by the National Trust, took place in the Heddon Valley of Exmoor from the 23rd to the 25th September. The aim of the event was to provide an action packed weekend of camping and outdoor activities for people of all ages. Through doing this it would promote the area and the fun to be had being active and enjoying the great outdoors. Continue reading

Hill hiking, river splashing, bog hopping, Volcano climbing …….. standard Sunday!

Sunday 21st August saw me tackle the notoriously hilly original race organised by Pure Trail …… The Dartmoor Volcano. This was a 10.25 mile route starting and finishing in the village of Scorriton that included the highest point of southern Dartmoor, Ryders hill as well as Snowden and Pupers hill before hitting the ‘Volcano’. This is in fact just a spoil heap, the remains of Red Lake china clay works abandoned in 1933. It does however make an impressive target on the horizon to aim for and some great pictures! With almost 500 metres of ascent in not a huge distance you sure do notice that you’ve done some climbing.

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‘The Great Escape’ – I nearly didn’t make!

On Saturday 23rd July I took part in my second Half Marathon ‘The Great Escape’ which was organised by Pure Trail. This was to be a linear route on Dartmoor starting from Princetown heading off across open moorland to South Brent on the edge of the National Park. This was one part of Pure Trails first ‘Big Day Out’ as they were also running an Ultramarathon of 34 miles called ‘The Crossing’ which had runners traversing the entire moor from north to south – Belstone to South Brent. The Half marathon was definitely a big enough challenge for me at this stage!

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Onwards and Upwards

To begin this post I would first like to apologise for my severe lack of content over the past month. I felt it would be best to offer some explanation so I shall briefly fill you in on where my life scheming plans have taken me now. I personally prefer blogs that give an insight to the writers life, it’s part of their appeal in my opinion and it will help to give the posts context if you understand where I’m at in my life now. So here’s a little of my latest story……..

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Exmoor CTS 10km

The dramatic scenery of the Exmoor national park coast certainly lived up to all the hype at the Endurancelife organised Coastal Trail series race on Saturday 9th April. It was the perfect opportunity for me to put my personal resolution NOT to get so stressed about it being a race into practice. Instead I wanted to enjoy this opportunity to run in a new place on a course chosen specifically to showcase the best that area has to offer. This race certainly did that with views so stunning it raised a new problem of trying to take it all in whilst keeping at least some focus on foot placement. The narrow little path hugging the cliff face that we were following didn’t leave much room for error!

 

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Devon by Mountain bike

Now I’ve been back in Devon a few months I’m beginning to accumulate a good list of fun places to ride. Though most trail centres have their own website it can be hard to find somewhere with all the information in one place. I often find myself wasting a lot of time looking for postcodes and comparing trails vs distance vs facilities. So here I have a round up of, in my opinion, the best places to go for a spin. They are all off road routes but I’ve tried to be clear what type of riding and skill level each is best suited for.  Continue reading

Rediscovering Devon

I think I might have finally begun to understand the saying I interpret as –

It is only by leaving your home to experience the world outside of it, that you can come back to appreciate and understand the beauty which surrounded you to begin with.

This is the eye opening process I am going through now as I fall head over heels in love with my home county Devon.

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Mountain biking at Dartmoor

Devon is the third largest county in the UK with a population of around 1.1 million. It is largely a rural county, with the population spread widely around the coastal and market towns. Traditionally inhabitants have always made their money from trades such as farming, fishing and mining which I think has given the towns a large part of their character today.  Farmers markets selling groceries and livestock auctions are both still well attended events in the communities of rural towns. However, as time has passed tourism has really come to the fore as the main source of income for the county.

Who can blame them? North Devon has its long stretches of perfect sandy beaches with the wilderness of Exmoor pressing right up to it. South Devon has its towering cliffs with numerous quirky coves and beaches, part of which is the Jurassic coast one of only 2 natural World Heritage sights in the UK. In-between we have Dartmoor national park, Exeter and the many quirky old faming towns with their rather excellent local pubs!

I could write reams of text here covering the vast array of tourist sites in Devon but there is already many websites that cover this subject very well, here are a couple of my picks

What I would like to share with you is what makes Devon special to the people that live here, what does it mean to them? Continue reading