Tuesday 26 March 2019

Spring? Or jumping to conclusions?

Back in February it was warm enough to run in shorts.  It even brought on a nasty spell of gardening. Ah, I thought, we're being blessed with an early Spring, maybe something to do with global warming.  Wrong.  Come March and back came snow and gale force winds.  But last weekend there were some positive signs Spring really is here;
Lots of catkins  (Click to enlarge pictures)
Blackthorn - as of blackthorn winter

Fields of lambs
Primroses flowering
..and this pair of mallard looking for a quiet pond
 Not to mention bees and butterflies on the wing, frogs piggy-backing in ponds, pewits wheeling joyously over their nesting fields and skylarks singing.  My wonderful partner has said goodbye to winter by taking a shovel and sand from the boot of her car.  
Winter tyres will be coming off next.
Oh, and this beautiful Camelia over the wall thinks it's Spring

Maybe I'm becoming nesh in my dotage but regardless of any original optimism Spring actually seems later.  Since our wonderful week in Madeira I've been reluctant to unlag my legs or 'cast a clout'.  I'm still running in a woolly hat.  And gloves! 
..and here's the proof - shivering over Bolton Haw Side,
running faster to get warm
...and back down into the ghyll under a threatening sky
Risking going a bit further - looking for early wheatears, but found none
..before eventually turning for home
..and speeding across the Miner's Bridge to get home before it rained. 
We did - just

I'm not sure where that speed came from for I'd been reluctant to go out after a strength sapping run the previous day. 
An organisation called Due North are staging a ½ marathon from the village of Burnsall on April 13th and we decided to suss it out.  Well, half of it, and maybe the other half next weekend.
Setting off on the Ist leg of the Due North ½ marathon
 - running due east along the Wharfe!

Leaving Woodhouse Farm for the steep climb up Kail Lane
Putting on the style - or trying to!
...and still it goes uphill
..until a level bit crossing a long pasture..
..over this cattle creep

...and getting a bit lost before reaching the B6265 at Dibbles Bridge, scene of a terrible coach crash in 1975
where I couldn't resist racing a cyclist to the top of the hill - and beating him.
Mind you, it wasn't Bradley Wiggins
Looking for frog spawn at Turfgate
 Mounting a stile and turning downhill for home
Crossing Hole Beck
watching pewits performing at Ranelands - by the mushroom field..
..then running down to Ranelands Farm with less than a mile to go for home
And that was it.
After 7½ miles and 800ft of ascent in that half a half marathon we unanimously decided we weren't fit enough to run the whole of that forthcoming Burnsall race.  We'll maybe just spectate!  Our other 4¾ mile run, looking for wheatears, brought up a nice total for the weekend.
I'd have loved a nice steak or roast partridge at the Clarendon but couldn't summon up the energy to cross the road!  
Maybe next weekend after we've tackled that other half....
....if I can still see after another syringe full of Lucentis has been pumped into my eye.

Thursday 14 March 2019

Mooching round Madeira...

We were lucky jetting away at the time we did though Storm Freya interrupted our departure - a little.  In the week that followed, while Yorkshire was shivering under snow and gale force winds, we were running, walking and swimming in 70ยบ of glorious sunshine 2,000 miles south in beautiful Madeira.
Here are a few pictures.
Our runs were mainly pre-breakfast, this one into Funchal and back
(Click to enlarge pictures)
Along the harbour side, past all the cruise ships at sunrise
..with early morning sail boarders..
.. past the statue of Christiano Ronaldo 
. over the bridge at the forbidden Baranca with its colourful shrubs

 ..back to the towering Allegro Hotel for breakfast

On a walk along the coast on a breezzy day
It was a bad hair day (sorry!)

Gulls squabbling over a piece of bread
Rough sea round this lido

Then some welcome sunshine
A happy 160 year old couple
 Derby and Joan relaxing.  Not us, relaxing is not allowed!
The Santa Maria , from which I once jumped overboard to swim in the Atlantic.
The boat owner dived from the crow's nest.

We swam a little this time too - but in the pool
Had to protect my vulnerable eyes
Then lunch on our balcony
Caught a bus to Monte to suss out start of the Levada dos Tornos intending to run it next day, 
but things didn't quite work out like that...
I wasn't allowed to retreat in one of these...
especially with a perishing phone in my hand

..or one of these...
...but once we'd located the Levada finished up walking the whole 10 miles to Camacha sans food, sans drink!  (and we'd already run 4 miles in the morning)
passing this cat on a hot tin roof
...and a hot dog asleep in the road
before we got a bit lost and had some scrambling to do to bypass a tunnel because we'd no torch
Don't step back, for goodness sake
Mimosa I'm told, though didn't care cos' I was knackered and glad the walk was over!
 Relaxing next day at Botanical Gardens - Orchid grafted onto tree

One of the many lizards enjoying the heat
While frogs cooled off in a pond making a hell of a noise to disturb our coffee break
Views down were spectacular, at roads on stilts and boring through mountains
A closer look at this marvel of engineering
built without Telford or Brunel
Bird of Paradise flowers, as everyone knows
and wonderful bougainvillea

Start of a run from Baia d'Abra to Ponta de sao Lourenco
Let's go...
Along the undulating trail
Ger' after 'em
Coastal scenery - blue sea and blue sky
Tea room at 2 miles
Happy couple at the turning point, Ponta de sao Lourenco
Steps to start the journey back
It was a long way down
..still going down

Solar panels at the tea room - Cais do Sardinha
We've been here before
I fell here and put a hole in my knee - but nowt to worry abaht.
..and got left behind - for a few minutes
But soon got back into gear
Wonderful running country
C'mon, we've a bus to catch
It's a popular path
Back to the start after 5 miles and around 1,500ft of ascent
Daybreak at start of our last morning run
Love running in the sun
Pigeons are used to runners and don't bother to move
86 year old flying machine - Ahumm!
Back up a steep hill to the Allegro - and a well earned breakfast
Me holding up a big tree - with one hand!
A final sunset picture from our room balcony 

 Looking forward to our next trip south, celebrating my 87th birthday in magical Menorca, running on trails lined with flowers, serenaded by nightingales.
It may prove a fitting swan song to my running and blogging career.
My body's idea, not my minds!