Diary entries
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March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
November 2007
September 2007
June 2007
April 2007
February 2007
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
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March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
January 2005
April 2000
January 2000
The Narrows
Bryce Canyon
Ancient Art
Biking Moab
Sydney New Year
HMAS Swan Dive
Abel Tasman
Motatapu Chutes
Bob Lee Hut

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Last 10 Entries

30/3/2008 - The Chickens have landed!!!

B: Quite a busy weekend. Friday night was spent over at V&B's for Val's retirement meal where we christened their new dining room/kitchen. Pete then came over to stay with us on Saturday night. The BIG news however is that on Saturday afternoon Anna had the call from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust that on Sunday she could come over to collect our hens!

Sunday morning Pete and I went out for a wander around Burbage South while Anna drove over to Lancashire to pick up the ladies with the Eglu in the back of the car. Loads of people getting between 3 and 20 hens that had been liberated from a battery farm two days earlier.

When Pete and I got back Anna had just returned with the hens still in the boot of the car. We managed to get one out of the Eglu and Pete took it into the garden while Anna and I manouevred the other two, still in the Eglu, through the garage doors. Amazingly enough an egg had already been laid in transit!

The girls soon got used to their new home despite not having been out doors before and as darkness fell they took themselves back inside the Eglu without any prompting.

Val and Henry at Val  The Cioch at Burbage South.  Pete in Burbage Valley.  view all

10/3/2008 - Flaine

B: Our second ski trip of the season, hoorah!! This time we were off to the concrete, 1960’s resort of Flaine just over the hill from Chamonix. We part of a 12 strong party made up of Stephen and Jo and others we hadn’t met before. We were staying at a UPCA (a bit like a French YHA) which was full board and included a half day’s lesson each day. It was actually very good with the lessons being fairly useful (having not really had any before) and the food being copious.

The weather was a mixed bag with a day and night of snow (followed by an awesome powder day) which then turned to rain. The sun came out for the final few days and we made the most of the spring conditions with many an afternoon’s beer drunk while basking in the heat.

The lessons really did work with all of us improving considerably and Anna and I tackled an exciting unpisted black at the end of the week.

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28/2/2008 - Sheila and Donna

A: Text to follow...

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16/2/2008 - Biking in the Dales

B: We certainly got to test out the insulating properties of our van this weekend as we took our bikes up for two days riding in the Yorkshire Dales. The first day’s ride took us over a number of super hills passing just north of Pen Y Ghent to Horton In Ribblesdale and back. After a night in -10 degree C conditions up at Malham Tarn we rode a classic route down to Kilnsey and back. The conditions were great and the hills made sure that we warmed up quick and the frozen ground made for a mud free ride.

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3/2/2008 - Snowy riding

B: We’ve had a couple of snowy days around the Peaks this winter and this time we had to try it out on the bikes. Anna’s bike handling skills are coming on leaps and bounds as I forced her down technical descents in the slippiest of conditions!

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20/1/2008 - Chamonix

B: This was Anna and my official honeymoon and we had treated ourselves to a week staying in our own apartment and skiing at all of the resorts up and down the valley. Our apartment had its bedroom in the wine cellar and was only a short stroll from the centre of town and the skibus stop. Half way through the week Tones and Rach came to town and we had a couple of days skiing with them and they even brought some fresh snow with them! Anna and I headed up to the Aiguille Du Midi which, despite being 12602 feet high, is only a 20 minute cable car ride away from town. The piece de resistance of our apartment though was its hot tub in the garden from which we could watch the final rays of sun hitting the summit of Mont Blanc when sipping snow chilled wine. It’s a tough life!!

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1/1/2008 - New Year in Ringstead

B: A good bunch of us got together down at T&R’s in Ringstead to see in the New Year. The weather was lovely and we enjoyed some sunny strolls along the coastal path.

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18/11/2007 - Mark and Melanie’s wedding

B: We’ve had a great weekend over in Stuttgart at Mark and Melanie’s wedding. Saturday morning we wandered round a local market town close to the village we were staying in. It was all aboard a coach up to a registry office and the wedding ceremony before heading back to our hotel for the reception. Between every course (and there were a lot of courses) there would be a speech or an activity to complete and even an entirely safety unconscious firework display set off from a hotel balcony! Great fun though. On Sunday Mark and Melanie had laid on a packed sightseeing itinerary including a visit to the Mercedes museum, coach tour of the city and afternoon tea at the poshest restaurant in town.

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23/9/2007 - Endurance Life Snowdonia Coast 2 Coast

B: The Endurance Life Snowdonia C2C was a three day race staring in Conway on the north coast and finishing in Aberdovy on the west coast. Each day was split into kayaking, mountain biking and running sections following a set course through some very challenging terrain.

The plan was for Anna and I to compete as a team but at the very early start of day one Anna was sick and not able to race. A quick decision was made for me to do it on my own while Anna took the van around to each of the transitions and the overnight spots.

The first day began with a Kayak up the Conway Estuary starting in the pitch black with the Castle looming out of the darkness. The paddle was cut a little short due to worries about the extremely heavy rainfall upstream so we swapped over to the MTB’s at Tyn Y Groes. Next was a ride around most of the Marin trail (a purpose built MTB track through the forest near Betws Y Coed) and then a ride up the road to Pen Y Pass. The Marin trail was fine but once onto the road the wind and rain was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. The road was a river with each passing car sending a bucket-load of water over you, and the headwind was incredible lifting water off the road on its own. The small streams that cascade down the surrounding hills were huge torrents and waterfalls. Pen Y Pass was a welcome relief along with a dry set of clothes for the next stage: a run over Snowdon! Amazingly enough, just as I reached the summit the wind dropped and the clouds parted. All that was left was to run back down to the overnight spot next to one of the lakes next to the Bedgellert road.

I knew I had done quite well on the bike and got about half an hour out of the next fastest person but I took it super easy on the way down Snowdon in order to protect my knees and had seen a couple of competitors disappearing off into the distance. That evening the current standings were displayed and incredibly I was in first place but only by a couple of minutes over my nearest rival, a South African called Schaulk. The route for the second day was given to us (you only find out where you’re going the evening before each day) which started with a long bike to Coed Y Brenin, a lap of the MBR trail (another purpose built MTB track) and another hour’s biking to the river leading to the Barmouth estuary. And that was just stage one for the day! This was followed by a 3 hour kayak down the estuary and than a final 10k run (with a 1 in 4 hill to finish) to Kings YHA.

We started the biking leg in reverse order at 5 minute intervals and by the half way stage to Coed Y Brenin I had overtaken everyone. Some great biking though with the added excitement of losing one of my rear disc brake pads resulting in some sketchy descending down to the trail centre with only my front brake. The organisers wanted the competitors to bunch back up so they could all start the kayak at the same time so I had time to have some food and mend my brake before setting off on my lap of the MBR and the final hour of riding to the river. The kayaking leg was both fantastic and horrible. The views were breathtaking as the sun set beneath the Barmouth/Faibourne railway bridge as I neared the get out point but the pain and exhaustion was intense. Anna helped me out of the kayak and got me changed into some dry running kit before turning on my head torch and setting me off in the direction of the YHA. Most of the run was along a disused railway line with the river to your left and I had no idea how far I had run or had left to go. Finally the turning up the hill was there and a final slog up the steep road and the welcome lights (and lasagne) of the YHA came into view. I was completely wiped out and really struggled to eat and wash before passing out in the van.

The final day started with the organisers having to change their intended course due to very high winds so it by-passed the summit of Cader Idris. I was now about half an hour ahead of the next competitor so on the run I knew I just had to keep up with him to the bike transition and I had it in the bag. As it turned out we ran most of the stage together and got to the transition in a small group with a few others. A quick change and then off on the final stage, a MTB to Aberdovy crossing a fantastic but gruelling off road pass. One final pull up to a small lane on a ridge and all that was left was a whizz downhill to the finish line. I had managed to win by over an hour in a total time of around 17 hours. And my prize? A head torch! Well worth the effort!!

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15/9/2007 - BenAnna Wedding!!!

A: Text to follow.

Wedding book page 1.  Wedding book page 2.  Wedding book page 3.  view all
All images are © Ben Lowe.