Monday 1 July 2013

The Lanhydrock shambles....

   We've been off the radar for a while, camping in a beautiful little corner of Cornwall with no wi-fi or mobile
Polly Joke, a beach we ran past each day....
phone reception. We did buy a newspaper one day - but mainly for the crossword! We call it our warm weather training camp but in all honesty it wasn't very warm at all, though the sun shone on a sufficient number of days to change the colour of our skins from a lardy white to a slightly more healthy looking tan. Or maybe it was wind burn? In total we ran 55 miles, much of it along undulating coast paths fringed with late flowering sea pinks. For music we'd the crying of gulls and the constant sound of the sea. Gray seals lumbered back and forth in the seething surf or hauled themselves out to bask on the rocks. A particularly nosy one at Polly Joke kept surfacing only yards from a group of surf boarders and seemed intent on joining in their fun. We ran across grassy commons and sandy dunes, through crowded caravan parks, up ploughed fields and even ran the gauntlet through a popular golf course. On other occasions we ran 200m repetitions along a grassy path through an overgrown valley rich with purple orchids, yellow rattle and flag irises. Running tracks don't come better than that!

Running above Crantock Bay......
  We'd also entered a race, the Lanhydrock 10 mile Run, which was a complete shambles. We ran the inaugural race three years ago and it was such a well organized event we decided to run it again. Big mistake. It's an off-road race that takes place among hundreds of acres of wooded grounds around the beautiful Lanhydrock House, a late Victorian structure now owned and run by the National Trust. If only the Trust could organize a race to the same high standards used to maintain Lanhydrock estate its popularity would be a byword among runners.  This year things went horribly wrong.
   In 2010 car parking was closer to registration. There were ample Portaloos adjacent to registration. The Start/Finish area was also close to registration. This year car parking was half a mile away. There were no Portaloos. Toilets were some way beyond registration, the same ones used by visitors to Lanhydrock House - and they arrived by the coach load - so there was considerable queueing before an anxious run to the Start which, because of alterations to the course, had been moved a few hundred yards farther away. 
   It got worse. We were assured the course had been well marked and all we had to do was follow the arrows. Unfortunately, at an important junction, one of these arrows pointed right instead of left and, in the absence of a marshall, front runners did as they'd been told and as a result came storming through the Finish after only 7.38 miles. The time-keepers of course were unprepared for these early finishers and were nowhere to be seen. A cry went up and they jogged into position as the tenth finisher came through.
   For some, including my wonderful partner, things got worse still. The entry form asked us to "Please
Finish at Lanhydrock...but no goodie bag and no T-shirt...
circle your T-shirt size for your goodie bag! S. M. L." Many ladies had circled S for Small.  Well, for starters there was no goodie bag, and neither were there any small T-shirts.  No-one was in charge of T-shirt distribution. Boxes had been dumped beyond the Finish and everyone helped themselves. We suspect that children who'd taken part in the Fun Run an hour or so before our race had sneaked off with all the small shirts. Indeed, we heard one parent admitting taking a shirt for his child. Some people took two. It was a free for all. All in all it was a race that's best forgotten - and never to be repeated!  Oh, and there was no MV80 category either!
Lily pond by the gate of our campsite...
Anyhow, we're back home, refreshed and fitter for all we've done. We can forget about Lanhydrock and happily remember all the good things - our morning runs, Cornish cream teas in the afternoon, orchids in the valley, thrift trembling in the breeze, larksong, sunsets and sun rises, seals singing moanie songs on their skerries, fields red with poppies, the morning chorus of birdsong, kestrels hovering in the breeze, a robin that befriended us and perched on our wing mirror as if to say goodbye when we were about to leave, white and red lily pads floating on a pool teeming with fish, moorhens and a shy heron that swooped in silently when the fishermen had gone home. I love herons and was surprised to discover one had flown into one of my pictures. Many regard them as a symbol of good luck, a good omen, and since arriving home I've had reason to believe it's true. But that's another story....


  1. No camping here as we fight our way through winter... OK when the rain stays away it can be really nice, but june was the wettest in a number of years.

    enjoy the summer and camping, sorry the race was a bit of !!!!!!!

    1. We'd a really bad winter too, following a wet, cold summer. Just hoping we get a bit more sunshine in the next three months or so to restore the balance....but don't suppose we will!

  2. Your trip sounds absolutely idyllic - minus the race, of course :) !

    1. Yeah, Cornwall is absolutely beautiful, probably our favourite place for running. We can't wait to get breakfast over and changed into our trail shoes....

  3. What a rip that people took the t-shirts you and running lady were supposed to get. ~Marion

    1. Those kids Marion, you can't trust 'em. They'd all scarpered by the time we finished! Mind you, I'd probably have done the same in my day.....
      Trust you're still bouncing fit?