I’ve never run a fell race before and Paul thought it might be a good experience. We signed up for a well organised race in the Lake District called “The Anniversary Waltz”. There were 2 different distances to choose from but after speaking with the race director we decided to do the standard shorter one. (11.5 miles with 3,600 ft. of ascent) We arrived to a field with cars filling up fast.
We got our race numbers and looked nervously at all the fit competition. The start of the race was a climb in itself and on a sloped field. Love it!
There was a short announcement and then we were off. Paul had gone off to the bathroom and barely made it on time. I was taking photos so I just jumped in to the sea of people. We ran along a rural path to the start of our first climb.
I thought it was pretty funny until I realized how many fells we would be climbing. The worst part for me was the descents. I passed many people on the way up but only to have them fly by me on the downhills.
All and all it was a beautiful day and we didn’t fare too bad. No injuries or falls. Gorgeous weather and we finished in the middle of the field, 229th for Paul and 238th for me.
After the race we enjoyed going back to “The Quiet Site”, our camp ground on the Ullswater. Very cozy with unique places to stay (Hobbit Holes) and pitches on the hillside.
We relaxed the next day and played tourists with a long walk to a water fall across fields, fells and woods.
Steamer boat ride and lunch at a hotel in Glenridding. What a perfectly lovely day.
It is April 5th and we are now leaving France and heading across the English Channel. The van is repaired and tucked away below us as we sit up on the top deck and enjoy the sunshiny day. The white cliffs of Dover wait our arrival on the other side.
My passport was stamped again and I realized I could now stay in England for 6 more months if I wanted. Brilliant but not possible. We stop and have a nice pub lunch and listen to conversations in English. We haven’t had this ability in quite awhile and found it refreshing and somewhat annoying at the same time. Now we know what people are saying.
We settle back in Bath on the top floor at Paul’s parents. It is a cozy space with a private bathroom and a skylight over the bed to view the nighttime stars and moon. We feel comforted, well fed, and sleep peacefully. Paul has work to do but I go and explore Bath again. Springtime suits Bath with all the flowers, canals, and walking paths.
I love browsing the shops and going to small art galleries. I couldn’t resist a show called Trumped- Make art great again at 44AD. Nelly Mason did some really funny collages.
Paul and I continue running and accomplished running a 50K on the coast of Exmoor. One of the most beautiful but challenging races I have done. Paul does really well and comes in 20th place. I have issues at the end and walk about three miles to the finish. No pictures because I was concentrating on not falling off cliffs while running. Here is a sunset at our camp there.
Paul and I make a trip to visit our friends at Radford Mill farm. We cook a tasty dinner for everyone and enjoy conversation and laughter. In the morning at 6 am I help out in the Pollytunnels with Helga and company. I painted some signs for the farm as a gift and left them to be installed. I will miss the Radford Mill family and plan on returning some day.
Helga recently shaved her head so I gave her my purple wig as a parting present.
One last run on the Limestone Link with a new friend and triathlete, Ger Wood.
Paul and I entered France from the south-eastern coast and stopped first in Montpellier at free aire in town. We got in late and walked to old town to visit with Nick and Tais. We had a lovely dinner at a fancy, expensive restaurant and got back to the van around 1 am. Surprisingly a quiet sleep for being in such a busy city. We enjoyed running the next morning along the river Lez to the coast and back. Then explored the city till mid day.
Paul wants to take me to see the Verdon Gorge so we drive in that direction and stop at another aire, which is really a Carrefour market parking lot. It is raining and there are other campers around so we feel safe and sleep well. Next day we drive and stop in Moustiers-Ste. Marie. We park the van and walk around the interesting town set into the hills.
We decide to go for a run even though its a bit rainy. We run to the start of the Gorge and back. Just amazing. While driving through I took a few photos but it was hard to stop on the small windy roads.
Another free aire in Digne-les Bains by a river and cycle path. Quiet again and other campers. Grey clouds make the next day drive less appealing but its kind of misty and moody. We enjoy the mountains and climbing until the van makes a strange sound, It has little power and we are not sure what to do. We decide to try and make it to Grenoble and a Mercedes dealership.
We make it to Grenoble but we were sweating and the van was super loud and struggling to get power. In the end we had major problems…….
We stayed for the first 4 nights in the van at a popular aire in Sassenage, on the edge of Grenoble. I found a public pool to swim at and shower. Paul and I enjoyed runs along the river and a really long 26 mile run up into the mountains. It took us most of a day but we were in no rush.
We took the van into the shop on a Tuesday and got a sweet air bnb in old town. We thought it would be a one day job at this point. We play tourists and do the city walk, ride on the cable cars, check out the eco district and cool murals, and buy cheese from Les Alpages! A nice dinner at Le Gout Des Autres to finish off our day.
In the end we spend 11 days in Grenoble. We find a cheaper airbnb to hang at and wait out van repairs. Our hosts are nice and we explore new parts of the town. A festival called Detours de Babel was on and we spent time listening to music from the world. I loved the markets, parks and cyclable city. Plus you have a mountain view down every street.