A catch up…

It’s been a while since I just posted a general “this is life in retired land” post so here it is.

Things are going well I have been out a bit more than usual and drinking a bit more than usual and eating a bit more than usual all linked in with this period of time and celebration we call Christmas and Hogmanay!

Carol is on holiday from her work  and she has been busy preparing for Xmas or rather Xmas eve meal at hers which was lovely.  We spent the evening together with her son and daughter eating and opening presents in the continental way.  While she was off we took the chance to visit the European market in Edinburgh and see the Virgin light display which was pretty good.

We went to a carol service with her mother, you don’t always know how things will go when you take Toni out and Carol was on tenterhooks but apart from a slight decline in table manners everything went ok and the carols, my first, were good as well.


Rupert the cat AKA as the Roopster seems to have settled in well,  since his little bid for freedom he is never far from my side even when he doesn’t want food.  Of course the penalty he has to pay is that he is constantly rubbed and played with especially with his new Xmas toys! I am led to believe from Carol the cat woman that this is the cause of his grumpy attitude and that if he wants to sleep I should let him.

The weather countrywide has been terrible but Fife seems to have escaped the worst of it so although there are bad spots we have had nothing like the North of England.  Training has continued cycling mainly on the turbo although I have been out on the 29er a few times and as far as running has gone its get wet or don’t go basically!

I have begun to set up a web site for the bike tours I intend guiding in 2016 so watch this space for news of that and if you are reading this and would like to know more about them or have friends that would like to try a guided tour in Scotland get in touch.

That’s all for the mo my next post will be just after Hogmanay a round up of 2015 and a look forward to 2016.


Watching my P & Q’s

I have two marathons organised for 2018 so far and in the A-Z spirit they are Paris in April and Quebec in October.

I had planned on doing my R as well but a date change for Quebec meant that it landed on my R!

I am in week three of my training for Paris with two XC races done and some more races lined up.  The rest of my races, and there is a half marathon in the plan will be on the road and I am looking forward to a more classical training year!


O is for Osmotherley 26.2 (ish) trail run.

A road trip or rather a rail and road trip with Carol and the bikes!  My O marathon had morphed into an ultra I don’t how it happened but hey an extra few miles for the same cash!  Organised by the Hardmoors group and on a trail course in the N Yorks moors it was probably going to be hard enough any way without the bonus miles!  Ah but lets start at the beginning.

Carol had decided to come with me so we organised train to Northallerton and a room in The Black Bull.  Come departure day and when disaster struck Carol’s cat got ill.  This resulted in a trip to the vet on the morning of our departure, the successful removal of a foot long bit of grass from it’s throat some drugs and a very quick drop off at the cattery!

We arrived at the station with 4 mins to spare.  We changed trains at Edinburgh and Newcastle, a bit of a problem at Newcastle but with the help of Disco Dave of Transpennine railways it was soon sorted and we arrived in Northallerton.  After settling into our room we headed out for a quick walk in the High Street and food.

Saturday was market day in Northallerton and meant a rude and early awakening for us.  After a light breakfast we walked around the market then headed out on our bikes to Osmotherley so Carol would know the way for tomorrow as I was getting a lift.  We followed a quite route of approx. 8 miles and on the way back a slightly different route of 9 miles.

On our return old friends of mine had arrived and we got tarted up and headed out with Keith and Chris.


Race day dawned at 0630 a breakfast of instant porridge and a banana and I was out then back again for my phone!

Registration was slick even with a kit check! and I had my number for the 26.2 (ish) Osmotherley trail run.Number

The race details had said that the climb on the race was between 4000 and 5500 feet it started almost from the beginning with a testing wee climb on tarmac then a descent to the first gate.  All very civilised no scrambling over fences or pushing in, an orderly Q was formed!

A lot of the route follows the Cleveland Way and like many LD paths this suffers from erosion remedial works had been carried out using stone flags to shore up the path these were fine when dry but a nightmare when wet!  A dry day was forecast but with strong winds on the outward leg this was not too noticeable as we were fairly low till the turn round point at 11 miles then we climbed up and seemed to be on the tops for the nest 15 miles battling against a stiff wind and very strong gusts at times leaning into the wind just to stay upright!nyorks

As well as slippy stone flags and steps there was mud at times loads of mud in fact skis would have been better than shoes to glide across the top.  It clung to everything and sucked you in it seemed to be omnipresent!  I had elected to take walking poles with me and whilst I believe they did help the jury is still out on their usefulness!

As the day wore on and the winds picked up I layered up and got on with the race.  The route was well marshalled and marked and with 9 feeding stations resembled a moving picnic.  The feeding stations were stocked up with a variety of goodies including coke and chia charge bars also available was water, jelly beans, jelly babies and Jaffa cakes.

Motovational signs were spread out along the course such as “Half way-you think” just to cheer you up.

The finish eventually turned up after 29 miles, 5451 ft and 7h 45:30.


Verdict: If you like a well organised but tough off road outing these races from Hardmoors would be right up your street!





Crosstraining for my “O”

The Osmotherly 26.2 trail marathon seems to have grown!  The race is 28-29 miles with at least 4000ft of climb but not more than 5500ft not sure if I should ask for entry fee back as it clearly isn’t as billed of course I am getting an extra two miles for my cash so what’s to moan about!

With the above in mind I travelled north first to Glenfinnan then onward to Ullapool to get some hills in.

I biked into Gulvain a munro between Fort William and Glenfinnan and hiked up and down and biked back out.  It was a terrible day and rained from leaving the car until I got back.  The ground underfoot was also treacherous as it had obviously been acting like a sponge for the last rainfalls.

Totals Bike 9.1 miles 930 feet climb.

Hike 5.2 miles 3,527 feet climb.

After a quick dry and change I set off to Ullapool to meet up with members of the Glenrothes hillwalking club to tackle more munros.

On Saturday 23rd Sept 4 of us set off from Ullapool to climb three of the Fannich group of hills: Meall A Chrasgaidh, Sgurr Nan Clach Geala and Sgurr Nan Each.  Three peaks on a bright clear day with views to die for.  A bit windy on the top but well worth it.

Totals: Hike 12.1 miles with 3,556 ft of climb.


Sunday the 24th dawned dull and grey threatening rain we headed back out to the same start point to do another two Fannichs on the opposite side of the glen:A’Chailleach and Sgurr Breac.  Grey day with low cloud and virtuall no views all day as we descended after bagging the peaks he cloud disappeared and the view opened out.

Totals:10.7 miles with 3,884 climb.



N is for Northumberland Coastal Marathon.

Quite possibly a race I should not have done!  Still suffering with cold symptoms I decided to do the race and just take it as easy as I could and still get around.

The weather was good not too warm with a cooling breeze coming in from the sea.  We set off along the beach from Alnmouth heading for the first food stop at Boulmer about 3.5 miles up the coast.  Each food station had the same supplies-water, coke, haribo, jelly babies and Ribena.

I set off at an easy pace already near the rear of the field I was more concerned with the coughing and spluttering I was doing than position in the field.

Terrain was good and dry paths in the main well defined and visible, however we did use the beach on several occasions.  Second drinks station was at Craster and it was come and gone in the blink of an eye.  Onwards heading north sea to the right the final drinks station at Newton Links then comes the turnaround point and down we go sea to the left and beach stretching out before us.

Covering the same ground I was feeling strong after the turn around but decided to keep to plan A and headed homeward.

Unofficial result dist 26.03, time 5:28:25 climb 1300ft.

My N marathon prep

The best laid plans etc etc.  I woke up on Thursday morning with a wee tickle at the back of my throat as the day wore on it got worse and worse and by 6;30pm and my Jog Scotland group run the last thing I wanted to do was run!  After the run I headed to Leven to spend the evening with Carol and ended up in bed for 10 after a bath and a hot toddy!

After a 10 hour sleep albeit disturbed I was feeling slightly better and headed home to do some tasks there and wait on Carols arrival for our trip to Edinburgh to visit her brother and see the Handlebards at the Botanics.  I may have thought I was feeling better but the urge to climb in bed for an afternoon nap meant otherwise.

A pleasant visit and tour of the new Black des res was followed by food and a cycle to the botanics for the oudoor performance by the “Bards”.

By the time we got back to Octavia St I was fading again and after another bath and hot toddy I was sound asleep for almost another 10 hours.

I woke up showered, packed and headed south.  I met Keith and Chris, old friends of mine from Sunderland, in Alnwick and spent some time with them before I set out in the car to check the route to the start and the parking.  With that done I headed to Alnwick YH where I am penning this.

Hopefully I will be able to report completion of my N marathon in my race review.


N coming up

A week Saturday I shall be lining up for no 3 of 4 marathons planned for this year.  The Northumberland Coastal Marathon.  An out and back course north from Alnmouth.  Multi terrain it even has a stretch or two of beach included.

Plan for this one is to drive down Saturday meet a friend for a bar lunch and spend the night at Alnwick YH.  After the race head straight home and prepare for Carol’s birthday on the Monday.

A-Z M marathon RACE day

I may not have been up with the larks but I was certainly wakened by them the dawn chorus at 0413!

I lazed till ninish and then got showered and dressed had a chat with some fellow racers and headed to the village shop/cafe/emporium to have some food and charge phone and of course do this!

Registration opens at 1400 so plan is to stay hydrated, snooze and stretch for the rest of the day then register and have more food before a final doze then the race.  Registration was a quick and slick operation admittedly I did go early.

After registering I had a short walk around the village and on the canal and headed back to the campsite to await the race brief.

At the HQ I met Phil Adams a fellow 100Km club member whom I had not seen for years Phil is well on his way to 250 marathons!

After the briefing we all miles around and then we were off right on time.  A few yards walking then a few more nearly jogging as we went through the village and up onto the Taff TRail and out around the North of the Talybont reservoir, through the forest and. Reached CP1.  The trail was undulating and on forest paths a. Not unpleasant beginig to the race CP 1 time 1::28:12 7.5 miles 1:23:32.  As we were running along we could see the low cloud enveloping the peaks and feel the water vapour landing on our bodies..  As we left the forest we were following the Beacons Way which although it went to the summit of Pen y Fan we left to climb up Graig Fan Las which took us out along a ridge and back to the way for another short stint.  The field was well spread out as was the trail markers but with only one large obvious path to follow the route finding was easy enough, staying upright though was another thing altogether.  The terrain was a cross between the cobbles of the Royal Mile the boulder fields of the Lairg Ghru and the dirt of the Fife coastal path and as the surface got wetter it also got slipper!

CP 2 is at the summit of Pen y Fan 1:58:34. Tot time of 3:26 Dist app 14 summit height 886m.   So began the descent following the Way once more for a short distance before going down Tor Glas and into Taf Fechan Forest and onto the Taff Trail to CP 3 at 19 miles 1:13:45 tot time 4:40:31.  Food, drink, head torch and glow stick and we were back on our way.  Following the Taff Trail now all the way to the finish.  Strangely this was one of the hardest parts of the race a mix of tiredness and darkness I expect.  Finish time of 6:09..