Visit to the Lakes

So it’s been a year and a day since I posted anything on here and I’ve got these photos from a most enjoyable visit to Grasmere in the Lake District this week so where better to stick ’em!

Jane being as vegan as I nowadays we wanted to have a short break somewhere offering a choice of eating options and the Lake District, while still not fully recovered from the winter deluge, sounded well worth a visit.

We stayed for 3 nights at Lancrigg Vegetarian Country Hotel which proved to be a lovely place set in it’s own bit of woodland, mostly planted with interesting specimens about 150 years ago and now comfortably damp and mossy.

In Ambleside there seems to be several related meat-free dining places with connections to the cinema Zefferellis – we had a fine vegan pizza in their busy, modern but friendly Pizzeria. The puddings were good too.

We also visited Greens in Grasmere on a couple of occasions, once for lunch and again for tea and cakes. They offered several decent vegan choices including cupcakes!

Somewhere between the eating we managed to squeeze in a few walks, nothing too challenging as Jane has only just got over a long bout of flu. My favourite was the trek up from Lancrigg to Easdale Tarn.

New Bridge (for sheep)

New Bridge (for sheep)

We stayed at Lancrigg Veggie/Vegan Hotel

We stayed at Lancrigg Veggie/Vegan Hotel

Fine view from our window at Lancrigg

Fine view from our window at Lancrigg

Waterfall

Waterfall on the way up to Easedale Tarn

Halfway up

Halfway up to Easedale Tarn

Sour Milk Gill waterfall

Waterfall on Sour Milk Gill

Jane refueling at Easedale Tarn

Selfie with Jane refuelling at Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn 2

Easedale Tarn

Another waterfall

Another waterfall

Grasmere bums

Grasmere Swan Bums

That sign really shouldn't be needed!

That sign really shouldn’t be needed!

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Spring 2015

Well Spring has well and truely arrived and we’ve been planting things and I’ve had my first sweating in a vest run of the year so it’s probably about time I posted something on this blog.

Orienteering wise the Chiltern Challenge at Penn Common late February was fun with me managing 69:47 for the Short Green course coming 30th of 70 starters (64 finishers). Jane and I did a stint marshalling a road crossing before hand and I was pleased to find the veggie chilli from the burger van was suitable for vegans so all in all a good, if tiring, day. Unfortunately I was pretty crap at both March and April’s Saturday Series events at Cutteslowe Park and Shotover. After I’ve started getting knackered my plan seems to leak out of my brain in between controls, that and some pretty basic mistakes with the map reading suggests I better go back to Light Green for the next event. (Well maybe not the next one as it’s University Parks so surely I can’t mess that up!).

Running is very slowly improving though I didn’t manage my hoped for sub 1:50 at the White Horse Half as the conditions were atrocious with a fierce wind and a soaking. I was pleased to persist and run all the way without getting despondent. We had a great Vegan Runners UK meet-up at Tring parkrun a few weeks back, a hilly course for a parkrun! There were 10 of us and we all went for a vegan breakfast and cakes at the Anusia Cafe afterwards.

White Horse Half

White Horse Half (thanks to Barry Cornelius for the photo)

My frozen shoulder does seem to be thawing – very slowly though. I’m still paying ยฃ45 a session once or twice a month for James, my osteopath, to try and force a bit more range of movement out of it and to reassure me it is actually improving. Progress seems so slow that it’s easy to think it’s just not moving but I can now reach the picture rail in my room and can remember when it was a good 10 inches out of reach. So I plod on with the daily stretches. It doesn’t hurt much any more even when I give it a bad time so at least I don’t have to protect it all the time.

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Hill End Revisited

I think the previous time I’d visited Hill End it was as a school kid on an educational camp type of thing. Not sure how old I was but I suspect less than 10. I remember the impression of a big sort of wilderness with these wooden building spread out here and there, big enough for a little kid to get lost if he’s not careful. I remember the boys dorm (it wasn’t a proper camp with tents, at least not for us) being away from the main building and I remember something about frogs though not quite sure what. Mostly I remember some sort of tuck shop and my parents having given me a bit more spending money than I really needed so lots of sweets. I think I had a good time despite being stuck with all the other kids!

So over 40 years later Jane and I rolled up for the first on the Oxford parks sequence of TVOC Saturday Series orienteering events. We got there good and early as Ben Green is offering training before the Oxford events and I reckoned I might well benefit from this. We met Ben and, along with about 5 others, jogged up towards the top of the hill on a dry but slightly foggy morning. Fortunately Ben noticed Jane had run out of steam so we walked the last bit.

Ben worked on two techniques with us. Map and compass alignment was particularly useful to me as I’d taught myself with a rather old book and the whole process of turning the compass on it’s baseplate etc seemed to be a right faff – it seems orienteers don’t really do this and just hold the map so the route is the way they are facing, lay the compass straight edge along the route then rotate their body (map, compass and all) till the north arrow aligns with the map vertical grid-lines then hold that position and run. We also did some work on pace counting to estimate distance covered, I already attempt this where there are long paths etc but it was useful to practice more.

I paid a bit too much attention to the map alignment and not enough to my feet and the wonky, muddy, terrain and went flying at one point. I crashed down on my right shoulder – held my breath waiting for the pain – and it never came. In fact no after effects at all, my shoulder may well still be stuck but doesn’t seem to be at all delicate now.

The actual event went pretty well though it took me a few controls to get used to the scale of the map, at 1:3500 instead of the more common 1:10000 I overshot a couple of the earlier legs. I managed 54:02 for the Green course with enough energy for a sprint to the finish but was not far from the back in 37th place of 43 starters (41 finishers). Saw Howard Waller while I was waiting for download and he had fallen foul of the brambles which laid thorny trip wires over many of the paths, he was filthy and looked more like he’d been doing one of those ‘tough mudder’ events than orienteering ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s Thames Valley Orienteering Club‘s annual Chiltern Challenge this Sunday so Jane and I have volunteered to do a shift on one of the road crossing before our run. They are expecting 500 participants over 9 different courses so should be fun!

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Headington 5, Oxford Half etc

Oh dear I don’t seem to have posted anything here for ages! I have managed a couple of races over the last few weeks and we’ve done a bit more orienteering.

The Headington 5 on 31st August was a full five miles this year and good fun, met up with Maria, Barbara from VRUK and her husband Marco from VC&AC. I managed 42:26 which counts as a fair effort at the moment. Last Sunday I ran the Oxford Half finishing in 1:55:56 2078th of 4461 which I was happy with. The new route, bands along the way and a send off from Sir Rodger Banister all made for a good day.

We returned to Wendover Woods for Saturday Series orienteering 13th September and I managed 8th of 16 56:56 so a lot better than my last event there. Felt I did ok but obviously out of my league at my first go at street orienteering in Didcot on 25th August, 50th of 55 starters and 51 finishers – good fun though ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile I’ve pulled out all the stops to get this blooming frozen shoulder behind me. I’ve been having private treatment from a NAT specialist for a while now and have seen the first signs of improved range of movement. I’ve also been seeing an NHS physio (after a 7 week wait) who has been setting me some challenging stretch routines which are also helping. I’ve seen an occupational health doctor from work so they know I’m not exaggerating the condition. I have tried to made it clear to the boss that I don’t intend to crawl about on the floor, over-reach or twist myself into contortions as a regular part of my job any more. I’m beginning to hope I’ll be back to normal by early next year though every little twinge in my good shoulder has me worrying that one might be next!

Nik Windle Oxford Half

Oxford Half – photo by Barry Cornelius

Nik at Headington 5

Headington 5 – photo by Barry Cornelius

 

 

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Wycome Abbey and Cortisone Flop

Jane and I were glad to see the return of the TVOC Saturday Series events at Wycombe Abbey last weekend. We had been spending a few days in Pembrookshire again at Susie’s vegan B&B which had been very relaxing and worth the trip despite our hoped for trip to see dolphins with the Sea Trust being cancelled due to poor conditions. I’d not been running while away so orienteering would be an excuse for a leg stretch and a chance to find out if I remembered any of the vague technique I’d been trying to develop.

Jane went for orange and me for light green as usual. This event being in the confines of what was now the grounds of a girl’s school I was proved right in expecting a lot of controls but little chance of getting properly lost. It wasn’t ‘easy’ though like the University Parks one I’d been initiated with – a lot of effort seemed to have been put into hiding the controls just out of sight!

I made sure to orient the map to compass before running off and had the first 4 controls under my belt in under 5 minutes. We had been told the loos were by the tennis courts and I took a diversion from the next leg during which I failed to find them, finding a locked wrong building instead, and eventually opted for a bush. I then headed for control 5 only to find myself on an unexpected (it was mapped differently to the other tarmac paths and roads) road with a locked gate and fence in front of me and had to retrace a bit and relocate. So #5 took me nearly 15 minutes but I didn’t let this throw me.

Jane and I had walked one of the Shotover permanent courses a bit back and used it to try and get some practice with counting paces – I estimated that roughly 100 paces was 100 metres running for me. This proved useful for knowing if I’d overshot. The rest of the course went reasonably smoothly and I was happy to complete all 19 controls in 58:17 which turned out to be 13th of 21 starters/17 finishers (4 runners having missed a control).

Wycombe Abbey dibbing TVOC 2014So what about the cortisone? Well this morning I went to the Nuffield Orthopaedic centre so they could do ultrasound on my blooming shoulder with a view to injecting cortisone. The doctor who scanned it said I had a ‘thickened’ (swollen) bursa but no sign of tendon damage. He was reluctant to inject cortisone – he thought my GP should do it but I pointed out that my GP had asked that it was done with the ultrasound so it could be aimed at the right place. So the doctor said fine he’d do it and started getting the injection ready. I felt a bit queasy and mentioned I wasn’t too good with injections so he suggested I move to the bed where he could do it lying down.

Next thing I knew I woke up and realised that I wasn’t in bed and was in fact lying on the hospital floor with a sore shoulder and 4 medical faces peering down at me one of whom was propping my legs up on the bed – I’d fainted! So no jab and a very embarrassed me left under the supervision of a nurse for 15 minutes till they decided I was ok to cycle home. They were all very kind and reassuring with the doctor telling me it happens 2 or 3 times most days but usually after the injection not before!

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