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Running clears the mind to see new horizons.

I am going to share my world as I see it. Join me on my adventures . Enjoy the views.

Sunday 11th October

Dartmoor Trail Running Adventures Blue and Me 9.5km.

It was one of those Sunday mornings that hold such promise . From the bedroom window, the moor looked clear and I was up early. Blue had just gone up on the bed when I called him down. He didn’t mind. The start was slow because he loves all the smells of the track by the car park. We passed a runner coming down so she was an hour ahead of me! Someone else with the same idea. The track opens into a series of fields beyond the viaduct and we quickened our pace through. It starts to climb after the second field and joins a steep drovers track to the lane. Once on the lane we had a few yards of road to the next track which rises to join the moor. This is very stony: it makes progress slow. At the moorland gate sheep were dotted on the lower slopes between the bracken so Blue had his lead on for a few minutes until we had crossed the stream. The pull up to Glascombe Corner was quite slow on account of soft ground and uneven from where the cows have trodden the ground. A Glascombe the river was fast- flowing and Blue swam across. I picked my way though boggy ground and used some makeshift stepping stones . Even so I splashed my way across: my Salomon Speed Cross didn’t fair too badly- Gortex has its benefits.

The run up to Ball Gate has so many interesting features- a stone row , Bronze Age hut circle and a huge burial Cairn. The run down the track runs alongside Corringdon and clearly an old route for taking the sheep up from the farm at the bottom. From there the low sun was in my eyes. It was quick back down to Lady Wood where we started ; Blue enjoyed another splash in the river. A grand start to the day.

Tuesday 5th October

This week and last it has been just a Tuesday evening run- just time before darkness falls. There has been something special in being able to get out on my own after a hectic day in the classroom. Tuesdays have no meetings and I’m in PE kit all day , so I arrive home itching to do something physically active. Last week it was 6.5km in 50 mins which was a PB. It was a calm still evening with the rising of the spectacular harvest moon and descending to the valley brought a change of temperature. There was a sense of chill beside the river and a mist forming above the water. The run home was the steep ascent of the narrowest lane on account of it being almost dark ( pitch black under the trees). Epic though and good for the soul.

So tonight I needed to clear my head. Completely different day. Rain on and off had rendered the roads greasy and muddy . Trail shoes were needed and luminous wind jacket. I had a headache to clear and only running does that after an afternoon on computer . I ran down the ‘thinking lane’ quite fast and up the other side . There wasn’t time for the whole route out or right around so I settled for 5km and quite slow back – putting the world to rights in my head! But this is what is so good- running is restorative : it makes me whole. It makes me feel alive and there’s something almost primeval about running in rain that just feels good. It’s good to feel this way.

Monday 14th September

Eventful 6km – fast run out to Westleigh. Local farmer warned me of contract tractors using the lane . However time was tight and I couldn’t do a round route . Had to come back the same way. In doing so met the tractor in the half light. Signalled to him to stop and back up to the passing point but he continued straight for me. I had no choice but to try to climb up the bank. Held onto ferns and bracken but the soil is dry and sandy . Had one foot on the ground. The first wheel passed mm from my left foot and I could feel the vegetation giving way . Six wheels of tractor and trailer and I was clinging for dear life – how it missed going over my foot I do not know.

Saturday 12th September

Wild Swimming in the River Dart at Henbury Woods was something I could not refuse- absolutely amazing. Such a long stretch of water to swim.

15th August A week of different activities

To be honest it was too hot to run after Monday. Instead, we did two walks at the coast and swam in the sea at Prawle Point Devon and Palace Cove Lanivett Bay Cornwall. I also enjoyed wild swimming in the River Avon at Aish. Today I swam at Gara Rock

Palace Cove – perfectly clear water over rocks and sand

The Benefits of easy Running

An interesting read- and it resonates with my approach.

Not every run has to be fast for you to become a better runner. In fact, the vast benefits of easy running are one of the core reasons as to how the …

The Benefits of Easy Running

The coastline around South Devon is stunning. Prawle Point is the most southerly tip of the land, hence a coastguard presence is there all year. Just around the headland is this amazing beach accessed down a steep path (some of it seated). Most people arrive by boat. The water was pristine, cold but that is what we have in the UK. Glad of my trail shoes getting down. A wonderful way to spend the afternoon swimming.

August 10th Dartmoor Adventures- Blue and Me

Early run from Lady Wood to Owley Gate towards Glaston Corner. Thunder on the edge of the moor and another cloud rising on the skyline so decided to keep to the edge. Some lovely views and total solitude apart from the start when the fox hounds passed us in the car park . Blue was such a good dog going through the field of them. Once out we were on our own. 6km.

Friday 10th August

I needed to run too: this week has been monumental . Firstly, the stress of clearing my Father’s house has begun. From his care home, he phones often and more often on who is collecting what, when and how. So my brother and I meet to decide. This week I had to collect furniture and artefacts . That meant hiring a van – a task itself. Next we had to reconfigure our house in order to accommodate things. Therefore I am in the swing of clearing out and reducing our home too. The stress is evident ( with so much to do) but cleansing and liberating to declutter. I am determined to continue just like I have tried to declutter my life and slow down.

Suddenly, I have lost that destressed state which I had acquired through lockdown. Tonight I was in need of a run ( with all going on I have missed four days). And so in the lane on a steady 6km it felt redemptive to release the tiredness of endless cleaning and clearing,placating ,justifying, defending which I have had to do this week .

Oh for the love of running (which was ultimately very slow as a teenager sped past me ) whilst I was lost in thought.

That lane earned its name as The Thinking Lane long ago -and for good reason.

Sunday 1st August Sunday Morning Run

Rarely do I run in the early morning, but today seemed to hold much promise.

Always starting on an incline means pace doesn’t settle straight away. I decided to go to the very top of the hill as Sunday’s are generally a bit quieter on the narrow descent; suffice to say, I had to pause four times to allow traffic to pass. Turning left at the bottom, follows the contour of the hill with the gentlest downward tilt. This is enough to get the stride correct and to achieve flow. For a kilometre and a half, the run is the best. There follows a short stretch on the main road to the bridges and then left along the river. It was already warm so it was good to be beneath trees. From the river, the road twists steeply to the village and then a steady upward slope home. 6.5km and the whole day still ahead!

27th July

8km around the local area in new shoes- Lincombe Westleigh, Beenleigh. Kept a constant speed and near- enough flattened out the time on the hills ( of which there are several on this route ). Short and steep inclines were easy. The long slow climb was more steady at 6km point.

24th July Interval Timing

I tried this : 2000m in 14 mins ;1000m in 8mins :800 M in 6mins and 500M in 5mins .In the rest after 2 Km I was level with the field where I saw 6 hares two days ago . I could see heads and ears which looked taller . Carefully, I climbed the gate : two roe deer grazing . Slowly, I walked along the perimeter until I was almost drawn level . Two hares were with the deer. The start of rain must have hidden the scent as I got so close. Typically, I was without my phone . When the deer saw me they moved with such leaps and bounds which was utterly amazing and made nothing of the jump over barbed wire into the woodland of the valley . The hares went several directions before deciding to follow suit. By now it was raining steadily . But what did I care – that was brilliant.

22nd July Running off the Route

Decided to be spontaneous inspired by Emilie Forsberg to be creative.

Took the footpath through three meadows. Did get a bit lost in the third and spent some time in woodland with barbed wire before retracing steps and working my way into another field and following the stream to the bridge. Rejoined the lane several miles on.

9.5km

22nd July

Determined to get a good view of comet Neowise before cloud returns later this week, we headed to the moors shortly after midnight. With biscuits and flasks of coffee , it felt like a min- adventure.

It was a total surprise to see so many Campervans parked up – everyone in staycation I guess. Anyway we duly parked in a small car park above Hexworthy. The same light pollution though that we get at home, though the sky was bigger. The comet last night was more faint than the night before – though the tail is long – and there was a fringe of light cloud near the skyline in the NorthWest.

It was fun all the same: we saw a few meteors, satellites and of course Jupiter and Saturn are bright side by side in the South. The Perseid meteor shower is not yet at its peak, so we shall venture out again another night when the skies are clear.

By Emilie Forsberg

We were all built to run – all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other

Emilie Forsberg

Tuesday 21st July

Short run training tonight 1km x5 working on flow and balance.

Sky Runner by Emilie Forsberg is such an inspiring read. She runs because she loves it and runs to live.

Run often, Run far,Run short,Run fast,Run slow
But never run away from the joy of running.

Saturday 18th July

6.5km out to Westleigh , Beenleigh, Christone Cross, Larcombe Corner.

Friday 10th July

9.5km in 1hr 8 mins . Route change as four twelve month shorthorns we’re blocking the lane and the farmer once called was going to take a while so I turned back and did the route the other way round. Beautiful evening for it.

Tuesday 7th July

4km Another straight forward run down the lane and back which was actually about 3km but I did 1 km at school this afternoon.

Monday 6th July

6.5km Combined two routes and criss crossed the contours tonight then ran along the ridge. Surprisingly warm considering the wind of the day – but there again a westerly wind does go to bed at night.

Sunday 5th July

4km in 38mins . Right on the end of the day with little light so decided to turn for home after 2 km as it was late. Also four cars passed which is unheard of and in a single track road there’s nowhere to go. Great run though short.

Saturday 4th July

‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes’.

A local saying and so true. Just back from a lovely walk across fields along a flat ridge. No view as such but the sun not far from view despite the rain intensifying by the minute.

Shrouded white
Like ships in full sail
Galleons adrift
Trees moving against
A sea of soft green.
A flume of mist
To cloak the world
Swept across
Broad swathes of grass
Close cut
Windswept
Rain drenched
Earth.

Wednesday 1st July

7km average time. Out run by two faster runners – who by the time I was home – passed me on bikes for their second lap. A bit demoralising. Note to self – Not to do competitions!

Saturday 27th June

To run in strong winds I usually choose the SW gale behind on the outward route for speed on the first 3 km; to run straight back means the wind in my face for the uphill parts. If I go that way I have choice after the 3km to make a turn at the cross or run on to the next cross roads and that creates circuits of varying lengths. Tonight the turn at 3km opened up the view of cumulonimbus clouds bubbling up which had been chasing me.

The wind does funny things – sometimes it roars in the trees high above the banks which resemble ships in full sail; other times there is a complete lull as if caught in the trough of a wave deep in the lane. Dried leave tumble along the tarmac. Air rushes past and cars appear unheard.

Always a challenge to maintain speed but exhilarating 6.5km. Big skies on the hill down with the house diminished with such tall clouds.

Thursday June 24th

A walk with a friend along an ancient track, deep cut through rock. A hidden road.

Tuesday June 23rd

7km . Just before dusk when everything was still and quiet. A sense of being totally alone. No birds, no sheep stirring , whispers in the hedgerows. I did look round once or twice just to check!

Monday June 22nd

6.5km It’s midsummer – I wanted to run into the sunset but at this time of year it sets west north west – so far round it’s behind the hills. I settled for the hill down and the hamlet of Elwell . Stopped to watch a roe deer grazing in sunshine for 15 minutes. The river was dark and in total shade. The steep climb up to and through the village was in semi- darkness. Everywhere was quiet ( even the main road). Wonderful to be alone.

Saturday June 20th Solstice run

5km lovely empty lanes at 9pm to enjoy the longest evening . Blue sky towards the coast but cloudy to the west. Back in the garden the light was just enough to catch a few shots

Tuesday June 16th

It was good to be out on the road after work and to do the 7km Langford round. Again no stopping and the two drivers I met allowed me to continue to a gateway which was good. The sky was beautiful fantastic cumulonimbus clouds and the dense grey towards the north west against intense evening sun. One sudden rumble of thunder was heard from the other side of the moor.

Monday June 15th

8km good going and did not stop for anything except a delivery lorry.

Friday June 12th

There’s nothing like a time limit to increase the challenge and make me run faster . Tonight was a PB 5.7km in 50 mins. And back in time for Gardener’s World !

Wednesday 10th June

When I start, I often say that I am going for a short run. I never know how it is going to go until I have run the first Km . There is something to be said for settling into stride as this evening I started expectant of little , but with such an overcast evening , it was slightly cooler and I literally clocked the miles and chose a different lane as I got there. Constantly changing decision, led to 10.5KM 14,217 steps and 1114 calories burnt in 1hr 18 mins.

Monday 8th June

A lovely run of 8km – fast outward stretch and a chance to see the lovely garden of a friend, but a slow return and late for supper!

Saturday June 6th

8.5km Eastleigh and Langford . Saw this poppy on its own and it reminded me of D Day. 76 years .

Wednesday June 3rd

4km To run in rain was a lovely change. Everything seemed so much more alive- fresher smell, plants standing tall again, even the colours look crisper against a leaden sky.

Monday June 1st

To hit the lane down at rush hour is far from practical ,stopping three times for traffic coming up and down . Once at the bottom though it’s great to turn into the quiet lane and run for miles on a downward run with a gentle slope all the way. To then reach the main road for about 50 yards, I’m reminded that I last did this in the first week of lock- down when I could run down the middle of it. Tonight there were commuters. Before that was the whine of the grass cutting and huge tractors rumbled their way past. On reaching the returning lane, the joy of running under trees was welcome and the gentle sound of the river was inviting especially with the thought of the upward gradient to come.

Sunday 31 st May

8.5km my favoured route of late- the Langford round. Lovely to run through a wooded lane on a track only passable now with care. The difficulty is seen in the steepness around here. Literally steep down and along and back up again. There are few stretches where I can actually get proper long strides in- it’s great when I can. Down hill I have to be so careful to be kind to my knees. Uphill is fine but some of these are 1in 4 possibly 1 in 3 in places.

Saturday May 30th

Tonight was definitely slow after a full day in the garden. More photography was called for – 6.5km very hot in the depth of the lane. Stuck to the one lane – totally beautiful- the light, the flowers , the sheep, the birds – played tag with a pair of bullfinches . They went on ahead waited for me to catch up and flew to the next tree. It’s amazing how different male is from female . Probably our most beautiful song birds, yet they elude the bird table. So many secret gems in this lane.

Thursday May 28th

8.5Km Regular route. Don’t often plan my route ahead of time , but tonight I phoned a friend and it was great to catch up at the garden gate. Beautiful evening, lovely light. Divine smell of honeysuckle on the air. Bit of a headwind on the outward stretch.

May 26th History running in the Slow Lane

13.5 Km this evening took me along lanes less familiar, with opportunity to see where village originated. Our house is strategically positioned on an ancient route, believed to have been used by the monks of Buckfast ,travelling to Slapton, which is on the South Devon coast. The monastic order came from France. The road was called The Ridgeway, though in Saxon times the name changed to The Wheelway- a nod to the development of technology. A mile and a half from here is a signpost which used to point to a medieval settlement believed to be where the village originated. Today the finger-post is missing and so the lane I took goes nowhere apparently! We discovered Crabadon a few weeks ago, so tonight I wanted to explore.

Diptford is the village name, though Saxon in origin, it has been spelt in various ways: Dupaforda- Deepeford. It is most likely that the little stream which I crossed on the road near Crabadon is where the name arises from, not down on the Avon ( Avon means river and that is a Celtic word).

There is evidence of quarrying all around this area dating from the 17th Century. The evidence is seen on most old buildings, including our own of large rag slates used on the verges and eaves of houses peculiar to the South Hams, similar to those in North Cornwall ( another mining area).

Mining in the South West of England

The slate produced around Diptford and Harbertonford (Harberton Quarry) were mid -Devonian, producing very dark, grey slate of small random size. The quarry pool at Harbertonford is beside the lane and just before I reached it,the sides of a possibly bridge for a tramway remain. The farm beside the road, is conspicuous in appearance, being Gothic nodding distinctly towards a former life as a mine captain/ engine house.

I ran on to join the other lane at Rolster Bridge where the Harbourne river is measured for depth of a rise of 0.2M to 2.03 M when flooding occurs. I joined the road to Eastleigh and passed another medieval farm, Overleigh before rejoining my usual route at Westleigh.

Saturday May 22nd

8.5Km tonight . When we take the time to listen there are so many sounds : birds, small mammals in the hedgerows, the wind in the trees above.

Thursday May 21st

Quite still in the lanes but a strong SW wind heading home.


A morning like this holds promise- it’s what we choose to do with it that determines the outcome.

‘I know no greater delight than the delight of being alone’

D H Lawrence

8.5Km round the local route tonight. Noticed a well in the hedge, I’d not seen before- very similar to the one about a Km away- very different to the one in our garden.

Wednesday May 20th

8.5Km Lincombe-Langford -Eastleigh

Tuesday May 19th

SAS- style Lamping

We called it lamping- a group of five or six old boys would come stomping up the hill, out of the village, carrying Tilly lamps and bags over their shoulders. Always it was a warm, dark summer’s night after the fields were cut. They would disappear up towards the trig point for an hour or so looking for rabbits.

Last night, whether from just having watched ‘Celebrity Who Dares Wins’or whether it would have alarmed us any way, a flashing red light alerted us to a helicopter. It was hovering, which usually means there’s an accident over on the A38. However,a sudden array of searchlights scanning the sky set our imaginations going.

Searchlights-together with a helicopter- equal search and rescue, army exercise, missing person, murder- the fiction my husband reads.

One of the advantages of living high up on the hill is the view. Even at night the usual lights dotted against the approaches to the moor bring a sense of familiarity. Anything different ignites interest and questions.

We watched events unfold- searchlights swept the skies in anti-aircraft fashion. Huge beams stretched upwards and out like the lighthouse beam, before disappearing beneath the undulations of the hill, only to reappear further along.The helicopter moved closer, then appeared to set off towards Torbay.

Were the two events connected? Probably not, though that is what it seemed at the start.

All went quiet; we could see the depth to the stars. The night was dark.

Ten minutes later ( on the verge of sleep) a beam lit up our room with intensity. The clock said midnight.Four huge lights swept the field to our right, turned in different direction. Hedges were silhouetted in ghostly form; the yellow of the freshly cut fields was illuminated.

‘What the….?’ Then of course it was obvious. Boys out ‘lamping’ … young boys driving rough-shod over the fields at speed, recreating images of the SAS in training. Were they lamping? That may have been the intent- and modern day lamping equipment bears resemblance to SAS attire. Not a chance of many rabbits- any wild life would be long gone shielded by the depth of the double Devon banks.

What of the helicopter? My guess-it was stationary, dazzled by the display on the ground. ‘What the …?’ probably came from the crew. And their routine fly-in to the hospital suddenly became a little more SAS for them too.

Who says life isn’t exciting in the country?

Monday May 18th

Looking for the unusual in the everyday.

7.5Km run up to Westleigh across to Stert.

I once counted 130 + rings on this oak. 130 years of miners passing this spot en route to the quarry and farmers driving sheep up through the lanes to the moors.

Sunday May 17th

Rogation

  • Today is Rogation Sunday – sounds so similar to rotation: almost a picture where the revolving seasons of nature and agriculture meet with the mysteries of the liturgical calendar. Rogation (Latin) means ‘to ask’. In the midst of time, Rogationtide was as important in the calendar as the traditional feasts punctuate our year. Thomas Hardy would have been familiar with feast followed by fast in the set weeks after Easter. Traditionally, this involved asking for agricultural crops to yield and a blessing given on the uncertainty of the weather and the vulnarabilty of crops. Today, with our lives so much more complicated and multifaceted with many occupations within the urban setting, the idea of Rogation can broaden to allow us to ask blessing on every aspect of human employment- how amazing is that? How relevant to the past informing our future? We should keep our sights peeled to recognise answers.

A walk not a run – long though all the same 10Km. Took in several running routes: Langford-Harberton, Eastleigh-Murtwell-Beenleigh.

All along this route there are old buildings, stiles, wells and signposts.

High Cirrus – Love those mare’s tails.

Oh and I do cloud-spotting too! Mackerel sky – Change? Hmm.#cloudspotting

Saturday May 16th

A Buzzard- a lighter variant than most is conspicuous with its white bib and stands out in the neighbouring field ; a rook sits alongside. Nothing happens until she flies and the rook follows in close pursuit. It was seen early- about 7:30am and she was unfazed by the cows.

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