Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Long time no post

It's been a long time! There is a draft of last year's Ben Nevis race knocking around but as this year's race is only a couple of weeks away I think it's a bit late to bother posting it now.

Anyway I had a good run there and it was also the first time for one of my clubmates John (who did the Cumbrian Traverse with me last year). I *think* he had a good run but he's not entered this year, Mark missed last year's due to a second-class stamp and has pulled out of this year's due to orienteering - in fact this is the reason John's not doing it as well come to think of it.

I had spent some time on Gran Canaria leading up to the Ben. It's a fantastic island for cycling.
I explored some of Gran Canaria on two wheels, culminating in a ride from the coast to the highest point on the island (strava trace here). This set me up for a good climb up Ben Nevis where I felt much better towards the top than in previous years.

Suffering on the lower slopes last year
I was lucky enough to get an entry into our club's team for the FRA relays at Middleton in October - me and John ran the nav leg but there was very little nav involved with it being clear, a decent route on fells I had not visited previously.

I did the Yorkshire 3 Peaks race for the first time this year but felt woefully unprepared - the last 2 climbs really took it out of me and I finished about 30 mins slower than I hoped. It's not really my sort of race but I'll definitely be back for another go. I also fluked a win at the Darren Holloway Buttermere Horseshoe, chickening out of doing the long route due to struggling with various niggles and just hadn't done the miles so I switched to the 'short' which in the end only had 6 entrants, I was still shocked on reaching the first summit to be told I was leading on the short course. It's a great route, taking in the wonderful grassy descent from Whiteless Pike into Buttermere, hopefully there will be much more support next year when it's back at the end of June.

Just got back from holidaying on Porto Santo - a small Portugese island off Madeira. Here's some photos I took while out training:

View north from the south of the island. The closest peak you can see is Pico Do Ana Ferreira, which was not far from the hotel. I got close to that summit on one run but it was very rocky near the top and I ran out of time.
'Hidden' bay at the southern tip of the island. This was a tiny pebble beach only accessible using the steep path down the mountainside. The island was full of hidden gems like this.
This was generally how I got round the island while training. It was only around a 15 mile round-trip from the hotel and made crossing the flat middle of the island (where the airport is) easier. Pico Facho and Pico Juliana in the distance.
The previous picture shows the start of the path to Pico Branco and Terra Cha, two peaks in the north-west of the island. I locked the bike to the fence then headed up the 2.3km path.

Lower slopes of Pico Branco. You can just about pick out the path through the volcanic rock (apologies for the poor exposure!)
Panorama from a bit higher up, just before the path splits.
Helpful sign at the split point.
South from the summit of Pico Branco
View of some more hidden bays, north-west from the path to Pico Branco. The drops on either side of the path here were very steep.
Looking South from the path to Terra Cha.
Summit of Terra Cha, looking across to Pico Branco. This building was complete with barbecue.
Path back from Terra Cha, looking to Pico Branco. Viewed at the original size you can make out the path from the following picture (centre left).
Path down from the split point. As can be seen from the previous picture the fence is a sensible addition.
Panorama from the path down, showing one of the few reservoirs on the island.

I took this one evening from the southern tip of the island, watching the fisherman at sunset. The uninhabited Ilheu da Cal just across the bay and Madeira (in the clouds!) on the horizon.