Seen on a quiet Norfolk beach.
Seen on a quiet Norfolk beach.
The murky images above and below were taken at around 8 am this morning from the cliffs above Chapman’s Pool, whilst stumbling through a rather long training run. Mist and cloud obscured the hilltops, and (apart from the run along Swanage promenade) this was my only glimpse of the sea.
When I finally made it home, I’d covered about 21 miles and 2600 feet of ascent around the local hills and coast. It wasn’t a particularly speedy run, but I’m pleased to have managed this after only starting running (after a two year gap) back in December. In three weeks, I have the pleasure of attempting to run much further in the South Devon leg of the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series; 35 miles and 4800 feet of ascent. That’s actually quite a scary prospect, now I think about it. Can I complete this? I honestly haven’t the faintest clue.
I’m attempting to raise funds for the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton, a charity of personal significance to me. Please consider supporting their work; more information here…
Someone mailed me yesterday and asked me about the logistics of paddling to Red Sands Fort, out in the Thames Estuary.
To my shame, I can’t find the email and have no idea what I did with it. If you’re reading, any chance you could contact me again, please?
This striped 25m tower was built in 1832 near Fowey in South Cornwall, to distinguish Gribben (aka Gribbin) Head from neighbouring headlands, hence allowing safe approach to Fowey.
Because this is the internet, absolutely anything is possible, including building your own daymark.
The hunk of rock above is Out Stack, which happens to be the northernmost point of Britain. It’s located a short way north of Muckle Flugga Lighthouse, which is a short way north of the Shetland Isles.
I certainly wasn’t on my own, out on the water up there on top of the UK. The skies were full of gannets from the colonies on the rocks of Muckle Flugga, intermittently diving for food. Whenever one surfaced from a dive with a fish in his mouth, he would instantly be mobbed by scores of great skuas (aka ‘Bonxies’) who would harass and even physically assault the gannet until he dropped his food…leading to another ugly scrap, this time amongst the skuas.
Although time and tide dictated that I was supposed to be moving on, I spent a full hour floating in this one spot, watching this extraordinary and unending spectacle unfold around me.
This extraordinary granite arch is found on the islet of Enys Dodnan, located off Land’s End in Cornwall. It is a highlight of one of the best coastal trips in Britain.
The murky final image was taken on a rainy misty day last February, but is included here to show the whole isle. The jagged stack behind is the Armed Knight.
This fellow’s take-off was much more impressive than what followed. He got caught up in the gusty draughts in the cliff gulley and zig-zagged seawards out of control, barely avoiding the walls with manic flapping. In fact, I suspect that was what he meant to do…
There are only two on the Island; the Needles (above) and St Catherine’s Point (below). Both are spectacular to paddle past, in exposed locations and overlooking significant tide races.
Puffins, gotta love them. These guys on Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire practically came and stared down my lens…
Crossing between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly…
The Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) will certainly give you something to look at. The TSS crosses the middle third of your voyage, a massive maritime motorway. The two ‘lanes’ that you cross (north going, then south going) are each 4.5km wide with a 3km ‘central reservation’. Despite the wide lanes, the big ships tend to form up in a single line cutting the corner from the Channel to the North Atlantic by the shortest route. The sight of container vessels stretching back to the horizon is pretty memorable.
Note to self: must cease interrupting training runs by stopping to take grainy mobile phone photos.
This morning I ran the local hills as per usual, but went a bit further; I followed the two Purbeck ridges into and out of the military firing ranges (they’re not firing this weekend, thankfully), via the beach at Worbarrow Bay. The highlight was a run along the top of the awesome Gadcliff, a series of epic overhanging precipices. The sun peeked above the horizon just as I was doing this, mindblowing. The lowlight was the gruelling hill from the beach back up on to the second ridge, effectively a 500 foot staircase…
When I staggered back through my front door, I’d clocked 15 miles and about 2500 feet of ascent in 144 minutes. I’m pleased that I survived this, but I do have to remind myself that the Ultra-marathon is just a month away, and happens to be well over twice what I did this morning. Nothing can go wrong (*sob*).
The final picture below shows the Gadcliff on a summer’s day, a few years back. The guy in front pretending to check the map (i.e. posing for the camera) is my friend Chris, who tragically died in a kayaking accident on the River Dart in November 2009. Part of the reason I have entered this ludicrous race and am habitually running around hills at dawn wearing ludicrous tights, is that I am keen to raise money for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton, who gave great and selfless assistance in recovering my friend. I cannot bring my friend back (and he is dearly, dearly missed by so many of us), but I can at least attempt to achieve something positive to honour his name. Please consider supporting the DSRT’s great work by sponsoring me…