Since my last post, my biking activities have been significantly curtailed, by the world's lengthiest puncture repair/ inner tube replacement process – and even after finally getting back on the bike, technical issues continue (evidenced by a slightly terrifying experience involving a seized wheel whilst crossing the road in front of a speeding van). So, with biking adventures temporarily on hold, here's what I've been doing.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I decided to head to 'the most remote village in the East Midlands' for a hike. Burrough on the Hill is tucked into a corner of Leicestershire, and our walk took us from the village, up to an Iron Age hillfort and across possibly the muddiest field in the region. It was 8 miles of walking in mud-platform shoes, and even now, after stomping, scraping and paddling in puddles, my walking shoes make me look like a proper hobo.
Shortly afterwards, I introduced my mum to the delights of England's smallest county with a walk round Rutland Water. It was cold and wet, and spring felt quite a way away.
Normanton Church, Rutland Water. Picture by Dave
Spring has officially sprung, though, so I've been out climbing (again! twice in one year and it's only March!) at Birchen Edge, and hiking in Wales (in rather windy conditions).
Me at the foot of Birchen Edge. Picture by Tom Harrison
Picture by Dave
And yesterday I did my bit for the walking community, going out to survey the paths emanating from grid square SK5234 (actually the middle of the river Trent) on behalf of the Ramblers' Association's 'Mystery Walkers' project. Walking two miles from your allotted square, you report on the state of the paths and help the Rambers' Association to keep up to date with what's happening on the ground. If you can spare an afternoon (and can read a map – I'm so metricated, I had to get a tape measure out to find a 2 *mile* walk), why not sign up?
Spring has sprung at Attenborough Nature reserve
But life hasn't been one long round of outdoors fun. Actually, it has, but I've slotted a bit of writing in too. It's not what I'd call work, but hey, once I win the lottery, I'll have the perfect life!
I previewed the climbing films that were showing at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival for Rock Climbing UK, and then wrote up my experience of Andy Kirkpatrick's new climbing talk.
I followed that up with an interview with Becky Bellworthy – at 19 years old, she hopes to become the youngest British female to summit Everest. Blimey, at 19 it was all I could do to hold down a temping job before sloping off for an entirely traditional gap year.
Coming up, I've got a trip back over to Rutland, to try out the dry tooling options – especially pertinent now that the UK winter climbing season is drawing to a close. I've also got a couple of gear reviews up my sleeve (can you guess what I'll be reviewing?) and hopefully an adventure or two with the ever-inspiring Manifesto K. We might even make a dash for some last minute snow – assuming the Fiesta could make it to the Alps. Happy adventuring – and bring on that hour change!