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
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.
One of the things I love most about moving to a new area is the promise of miles and miles of new footpaths and bridleways to investigate. Top of my to do list on arrival is always to invest in an OS map. Many people out there, I believe, are missing out on the opportunity to discover so many fantastic trails, views and hidden beauty spots by sticking to following the same old routes they know or have found in their chosen guide book. Today I would like to help open your eyes to how easy it is to have your own micro adventure in the nearest available wild place – by going exploring.
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!
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……..
The morning of race day dawned with perfect clear blue skies and the most stunning drive up through Wales into the Brecon Beacons to find the quaint little village of Talybont-on-usk. The event organisers Trailevents had picked a great location here with all the facilities you could need all within easy walking distance. There was a small shop, cafe, 4 pubs, toilets in the village hall registration area and the campsite where we parked for a small fee of £5 also included a proper toilet block with hot showers – massive bonus!
The only thing marring this perfect morning was the return of the dreaded chronic nerves. I thought I had started to get them under control last weekend but they seemed to be back in full swing that morning. I’m putting it down to the race being over a much longer distance than my previous ones and only having ever run that distance once in training. I’m also beginning to learn, much to my own self denial, that I am quite a competitive soul so to just finish is not good enough for me, I have to do respectably well in my own eyes.
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!
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