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WEEKLY BLOG EPISODE 102 | ADVENTURE STORIES

I give up. Every time I am motivated to set a blogging schedule, I fail. This time, I posted on here I intended to get back to a Sunday evening weekly blog post. I didn’t even manage two in a row this time. The shame.

Posting a new episode in my weekly blog series each Sunday evening sounds so very doable. Sunday has always been my opportunity to spend two or three hours writing. But every time I make that my intention, I find that other things get in the way. Sometimes it’s legitimate things such as being out all day having fun times – but why I don’t then catch up on Monday or Tuesday I don’t know. Other times it’s just because feel lethargic and end up in a YouTube hole instead of using my time to do something productive. Like most of yesterday. Oops.

Weekly Blog Episode 102

It’s not that I did nothing at all on Sunday this week. It was Church on the Hill in the morning, which I really enjoy going to. Then I popped to Tesco for a quick top up shop before making a fish finger wrap for lunch. Oh, and I did some much-needed online shopping which should result in some not-particularly-exciting packages arriving over the course of the next week.

All that was done by about 2.30pm… and until I had a bath and made dinner in the evening, I’m not sure what happened.

Anyway, here I am. I wrote most of my weekly blog last night after a restorative soak in the bath (anyone else find baths help you get motivated for productivity as well as soothing your body?), and a one-pot hash for dinner. At least I started it on Sunday!

Let me use episode 102 of my weekly blog to tell you what I’ve been up to since episode 101. I’ll ramble on and see where I get to…

Walking for Breakfast

Given that we were promised a blue-sky day here in Gloucestershire two Sundays ago (the day I posted my weekly blog Q&A episode), and I hadn’t been out with my hiking boots on for a little while, it was the perfect opportunity for a hike. I have got a few local-ish routes I want to try in my to-hike list, but we were on our third storm in quick succession, and the strong winds and flood warnings were still hanging around, so I decided I should be sensible and stay close to home.

I packed up my breakfast into my SIGG cannister (some granola with yogurt and blueberries, my current favourite morning medicine), a flask of tea, my PACMAT patch, and a few other essentials into my trusty old day pack (complete with its holes), and headed out of my own front door. My intention was to head towards the hill, to find some woodland, and most importantly, a quiet spot to eat my breakfast.

The atmosphere at village level was calm and peaceful. I headed over fields and through (very muddy) woodland – no bluebells yet but I’ll be back when they’re out, and climbed my way up onto Cleeve Hill. Unfortunately, the specific bench I’d earmarked in my mind as my breakfast spot of choice was just a bit too exposed to the winds, and as I didn’t want to feed my granola to random passers-by, I carried on my walk.

Favourite Woodland

I picked up a route to and through Breakheart Plantation (as featured in this post), which is a really wonderful woodland on a steep hill on the Belas Knap side of Cleeve Hill. It’s honestly one of my favourite little bits of footpath in my local area; there is a real sense of a fairy wonderland as you walk along the contour with trees stretching up on one side and a little stream down the hill on the other.

But there was still nowhere to sit, not without trampling on new growth anyway, so on I went. After the woodland there was farmland, where I helped a couple new to the area with their route, and saw my first lambs of the year. Thankfully for my belly, I did find a quiet spot with a nice view to sit and eat my breakfast after about seven or eight miles of walking. I mean, I could have eaten it ages before, but that’s what happens when you want the perfect view!

In the end I walked 11 miles on my loop from home for breakfast. There was meadow, farmland, woodland, mud, hills – some steeper than others, a ford, mountain bikers, lambs, horses, dogs, and all manner of other things. My walk with a purpose was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning, and I hope there will be more opportunities like this as the year continues.

What motivates you to put your boots on and hike? Do you need a reason? Something to get you out? Packing breakfast and walking with the intention of finding the perfect picnic spot is an excellent way to spend One Hour (or more) Outside – let me know if you try it.

Commuting on Foot

Given the recent change in pandemic-related-rules here in England, my day job is now very much a hybrid in-office and home working affair. I like this; it gives me time in the office with my colleagues to meet and collaborate (and socialise…), but also time at home to concentrate on getting stuff done with the added benefit of being close to the washing machine and my own fridge. I am grateful that my employer has adapted its policies over the pandemic.

Add to that the fact it’s light at the start and end of the working day, I’ve started commuting on foot again. At three miles and taking just under an hour each way, walking to and from work is a big commitment for me and my shoes, but it’s very much worth the effort as it means I’m exercising and soaking up the vitamin D without having to try too hard to get my One Hour Outside.

The bus is certainly quicker, and is there as a backup if I need it, but I like walking when I can. I mean, it’s only a couple of days a week, so I can generally afford the extra time it takes. It’s not the nicest walk, I must admit; much of it is on a narrow pavement alongside a busy road. But it’s fresh (ish!) air, natural light, and more exercise than I get when I’m working from home.

Roadworks

There are significant roadworks around me at the moment which means that I walk passed queues of drivers waiting at temporary traffic lights. I’m not saying that makes me smug, because I do have to sit in those queues myself sometimes, but it does make obvious the benefit of walking when it’s possible. If nothing else, I’m not adding to that queue and someone else gets to work a little quicker because I chose to walk in.

I hope the local council eventually come good and both widen the pavement and build a sensible cycling route to help more people get into the town without having to drive (it’s really an unpleasant road to cycle along – narrow, fast, busy). In the meantime, my bike will stay in the garage and I will walk when I can.

Has your day job opted for hybrid at-home and in-office working? (If that’s possible for your job, of course – I know many people have no choice but to be “in person” due to the nature of their work.) How is that for you? Are you loving the flexibility? I certainly am.

International Women’s Day

The reason there wasn’t a weekly blog episode last weekend is because I was having far too much fun with my local Adventure Queens and Love Her Wild groups, celebrating International Women’s Day.

The two active Gloucestershire teams came together to run a fantastic day of outdoor adventure for local women. There were 16 different activities available, including hikes, swims, paddles, rides and climbs – around 180 women came along to take part in at least one adventure. I joined the hike up and around May Hill on Sunday morning.

May Hill

It was a lovely route (even with the mud…) of around six miles, with the company of nine very interesting ladies. I normally hike alone or with just one other person at a time, my introverted self likes it that way, but it was a fantastic opportunity to meet some likeminded local women.

We walked up May Hill to the trig pillar and little coppice there, where we met up with the group doing a shorter walk and another group on a trail run. After taking some photos we continued our hike down the hill and deep into Newent Woods, where we did a big loop whilst chatting away.

We walked through Into the Woods campsite where another group of ladies were cold water swimming in the lake, stopping here for tea and cake, before making our way back up through the woods to May Hill to complete our loop.

Groups like Adventure Queens and Love Her Wild are doing great things to help open doors to fun and safe outdoor adventure for ladies all over the UK. It’s well worth looking up your local group over on Facebook and seeing what’s going on in your area.

Telling My Story

I headed home for a couple of hours before making my way to the day’s grande finale, a time of adventure storytelling at Far Peak Camping.

It was an honour to be invited to share something about One Hour Outside and my GetOutside Activity Challenge with the 30-or-so ladies who gathered around the wood burner in the cosy yurt. I talked about how while adventure can be big, it can also be small, something we can fit in on a Sunday afternoon or weekday evening.

I sometimes forget how ridiculous my outdoor challenge sounds when I talk about it out loud; 71 different outdoor activities in 48 hours is far from a normal way to spend a weekend. But it’s okay, that was kind of the point of the challenge – to demonstrate in a silly way how the outdoors can be all kinds of things to all kinds of people, there is no one way to enjoy getting outside.

I was encouraged by the response to my story, and enjoyed playing my part in breaking the bias as per the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. It was also a pleasure to hear from two other wonderfully adventurous local ladies, and to speak with others who’d come along as we sipped on hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows over the fire pit.

Telling and hearing adventure stories was the most excellent way to end the day, and the weekend. I hope there will be more opportunities like this in future; I’m not sure I’m quite ready to join the adventure speaker circuit just yet, but if you want to hear about my challenge at your event, let me know!

First Rideout of 2022

After a pretty standard week at work, three days at home and two days in the office, I spent Saturday on my first motorbike ride of the year. It’s no secret that I’m no winter rider. I’ll deal with whatever the weather throws when I’m out touring, but I’m not a fan of day rides in the British winter, so my GS sits gathering dust in the garage for a good few weeks each year.

We arranged to meet a couple of biking friends at the Triumph Factory in Hinckley. It’s just about equidistant for us and our friends, and has a nice café and history-of-Triumph-motorcycles museum, which makes it a good place to meet up. There’s also a super interesting factory tour if you book ahead; we did that a few years ago before the place was done up, I’d quite like to go again sometime.

Sat on the Triumph Tiger 900

Winding Route

Naturally we took a winding route there, no biker wants to be sat on the motorway if they can help it. I got rid of my thermal base layers at the end of my Coast to Coast hike (they had so many holes they weren’t really thermals anymore!), and a very cold and blustery bike ride was not the best time to remember that. Consider me motivated to order a new set! They should arrive this week – I hope they fit!

The ride over to Leicester was a lovely couple of hours, even with it being cold and having to ride through a couple of town centres (still better than the motorway!). We spent quite some time catching up in the café and wandering around the museum. I was a bit disappointed there were no new Tiger 1200s on display, they really are drawing out the launch of that bike and making it difficult to get excited about it. But it was very cool to see the Rocket land speed bike Guy Martin rode on the Bonneville Salt Flats, and be reminded of the million-bike history of this British manufacturer.

I’m looking forward to being back at Triumph later in the year for the “World’s Largest Female Biker Meet” being organised by Moto Advisor. Not only does it sound like a lot of fun to attend a massive biker meet with 2,000 other female motorcyclists, but it could be my ticket to a world record. If you are a lady rider, or know one, get signed up.

Question of the Week…

And that’s you up to date. It’s not been a bad two weeks at all. Before I go, though, I need to add in my question of the week. Given that I started this weekly blog chatting about how I never seem to be able to make time for this writing hobby of mine, let me ask you:

What hobby do you wish you had more time for?

My hobbies are many but time is limited, and so I can barely do any of them regularly. But I guess that’s the benefit of hobbies – you pick them up as and when you can, finding enjoyment even in the smallest chunks of time.

I won’t promise another weekly blog next Sunday, just in case… I’ll just say “see you soon”! Have a good week.

Image taken at the International Women’s Day hike on May Hill last weekend.

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