Monday 26 February 2018

A week in Tenerife......

Anyone would think, looking at this week old photograph taken from our hotel room balcony, that we'd been to Scotland or maybe the Alps.  But no, this is actually Mount Teide on Tenerife which, at 12,198ft, is Spain's highest mountain.
Mount Teide    (Click to enlarge pictures)
Such was the amount of snow on its slopes that the main approach road from Puerto de la Cruz had barriers across, blocking access to both public and private transport. 
Descending through the forest near the end of our walk
 Consequently, the highest point we managed to reach was 4,265ft  on a boring circuit through the forest from La Caldera.  It was good exercise, climbing what seemed like a thousand steep, log steps but towering trees ensured there were no views throughout the whole of the walk.  Neither was there any birdsong, or flowers, or any movement  indicating life.  I was glad to say goodbye to it.
I call these tassel trees...
Not being much of a botanist, or interested in trees, a walk round the Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz wasn't all that thrilling either.
Orchid...dunno what sort
  There were some rather nice orchids, the usual bird of paradise flowers and other strange blooms we couldn't begin to christen.
One of the strange blooms
What disappointed me though was the absence of terrapins in the lily pond.  There'd been quite a number of them on our last visit and I was looking forward to saying hello to them again.  But such was the state of the scummy water I guess it was no longer habitable for them.  I was tempted to ask for a refund on our way out!
Frisky terrapins
However, only feet away from the swimming pool at our hotel was a wee pond with running water where a close inspection revealed a pair of rather large healthy looking terrapins that seemed intent on increasing the population.  I hope they succeed.
Be Live, adults only, hotel - Puerto de la Cruz
Our hotel was rather plush and we were lucky enough to be given a quiet room away from traffic and other noises, and with a balcony that looked directly towards Mount Teide.  We had wonderful views in the morning but cloud always descended after lunch.
Meanwhile, across the road - on our running track.
But across the road, only a two minute jog away, was a running track.  Not a posh six lane tartan job but 400m of level gravel that was perfectly adequate for a few early morning repetitions.  Lots of runners took advantage of it, some of them very impressive, and one in particular Mo Farah might have had difficulty matching strides with.
Running the sea wall, dodging the waves
We ran every morning bar one, and always before breakfast. 
Our 3 mile anti-clockwise route round Puerto de la Cruz

It didn't take long to devise a 3 mile route that circuited the town and incorporated an exciting run along the sea wall.
Those great blocks were once the sea wall
Waves were crashing over to flood and cause havoc to the car parking area on the other side.
Wave after wave   (Click to play)

We were shouted at to get down before we were washed down but hey, we were on holiday and feeling good, dodging the waves, marvelling at dawn skies and revelling in the excitement.
Dawn surfer riding the waves
Red flags were flying on the beaches to warn people against entering the water.  It didn't stop one lady from swimming topless, or three surfers having the time of their lives.
What we do when we aren't running
The weather was good insomuch as it didn't rain and was always warm enough for shorts and T-shirts - other than when we climbed to over 4,000ft on the forest walk. 
Cooling off and putting some nice fluid back into the system
 The sea was always rough and never settled down the whole time we were there. 
A wild seascape
There was a constant roar and loud crashing noises as powerful waves smashed against the rocks and rattled down the pebble shore.
On board at breaking dawn
Time passed all too quickly - as it does on holiday.  We boarded our plane for the homeward flight just as dawn was breaking, the very time we'd been setting out each morning to dodge the waves on wonderful morning runs.
I've a feeling we'll be back.

Monday 12 February 2018

Snow fun......

It's possible I'll soon be spending more time in surgeries, hospital waiting rooms, operating theatres  and opticians than I spend running.  Four appointments arrived in the same post last week, three relating to my eyes and the fourth to have my skin cancer hacked out.  "It's going to leave a scar" the doctor said, "it'll look like you've been in the wars".   
"At 85, that'll be the least of my worries, I'll tell people I was shot by a jealous husband" I told him. 
Better get running while I can   (Click to enlarge pictures)
The bumph says swimming will be out of the question for a couple of weeks (which doesn't bother me at all) and full body workouts in the gym shouldn't be attempted for at least 3 weeks.   What I'm anxious to know is whether running, too, constitutes a full body workout?  Answers on a postcard.  I'll adapt the one I like most...
Sunrise  over a frozen landscape   
Sub zero temperatures last week froze the muddy morass through the fields, along Clough Hall Lane and up the slopes onto Castle Hill. 
Moon over Victoria Tower
I got there and back with dry feet and clean shoes which is quite unusual.  I wish it would stay that way for a while for I'm fed up of coming home plastered (with mud, you understand).
Frozen moorland in the distance
I jogged up in the clear air while half of Huddersfield slept, my buff pulled up over my nose to warm the air, and circled a couple of times until the sun peeped over the horizon.
Sunlight spreading over Huddersfield
It's amazing how invigorating those first early morning rays can be.  I launched into a series of 100 metre hill reps before jogging gently back down as the town below warmed into life. 
Emley Moor mast against a dramatic, eastern sky......
Next morning I'd finished my workout long before sunrise but as I jogged home the sky turned a dramatic shade of red that had me dashing into the house for my camera.  Its blazing glory reminded me of a favourite song - Ghost Love Score - though not so much music, more a firework display.  Turn up the volume.  It's a cracker...
......and a strange phenomenon in the opposite direction at sunrise
Watson came running by as I stood outside, leaning against a fence composing shots (pointing my camera towards the mast and hoping for the best).  I felt rather smug having finished my workout as he was beginning his.  After a brief chat, something like Hi Dave, and Hi there, he continued on his way - at great speed!
I strolled leisurely back into the house for some protein laden chocolate milk
 - and breakfast.

Monday 5 February 2018

A senior moment......

I took some great pictures while out running on Sunday, not just of my wonderful partner.   John Gill's beautiful working collie posed perfectly, and what looked like a white, flat-pack settee was stuck in the middle of the river at Loup Scar with icy water swirling round it, possibly abandoned by a frustrated owner.  Nice, new pictures for my blog, I thought.  Except, when I came to upload them onto the computer I discovered there was no memory card in my camera.  Silly me, I'd been shooting blanks.
What Watson does for me....(Click to enlarge pictures)
Due to a sore eye and inclement weather, not a great deal of running was done last week.  A brief foray around the cemetery on Friday, when my 'guardian angel' - Watson - squeezed another 'fastest time' out of me, and a six mile circuit of Appletreewick on Sunday proved the limit of my activities.
This primrose thinks Spring has arrived
Saturday was a non-day for al fresco events but in the evening we'd a delicious meal in the Clarendon.  From a menu that included mallard, partridge, grouse, pheasant, trout and roe deer we chose the grouse. And an excellent choice it turned out to be.  It limited my intake of Timothy Taylor's famous Yorkshire beer in case it washed away the wonderful flavour of wild, moorland game lingering in my mouth!
Running the riverbank near Appletreewick
Sunday dawned dull and cold but by 11am the sun was lighting up the landscape, tempting us to don our running gear and set off down the river bank.  A guy we saw with a drone at Burnsall maybe photographed us on the bridge as there there was a strange humming noise in the air behind us as we ran across.
A seat with a view
Alasdair on Dragon's Crest near Krabi, Thailand
As cold weather continues, with further snow forecast, I'm a little envious of my eldest son, Alasdair, who's currently enjoying balmy days in Thailand.  
I might have to book a flight...
PS.   I got a mention in a Spanish magazine - Here