Cornwall Part 2, Photos…

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I have here a selection of photos taken on my iPhone on our several outings since we have been here in Cornwall.

We have had some really rough weather since we arrived but it seems to have calmed down a lot now.  Despite the weather we have managed some walks most days as it seems clear up in the afternoon but hopefully things are better again now.

Lanhydrock National Trust Near Bodmin, Rhododendron time.Friday

Port Isaac (Port Wen in TV series Doc Martin) Saturday

Crackington Haven, nice walking distance.. Sunday a.m.

Millook afternoon bike ride.. Sunday p.m.

 

Cornwall Part 1

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For the first of our planned trips in the UK to replace our usual five week trip to Spain we chose Cornwall.  The thinking being that at this time of year the furthest south we could get would mean a good chance of better weather, better not necessarily meaning good.

We broke our journey down with an overnight stop just outside Exeter to visit grandchild number nine who was looking after her father in the absence of her mother who was taking a well earned break to visit a friend in Paris for the weekend.  We stayed to help her until Mummy arrived home on Sunday evening then it was back to the caravan for us.

Teign Valley caravan site..

Teign Valley caravan site..our Sunday night stop.

Monday morning we were in no rush to leave as it was only a short hop of about 50 miles to our destination for a few days, a small certificated location, which are privately owned caravan site licensed for a maximum of five caravans at a time.  Our chosen site was about halfway between Bude and Boscastle.  A very nice site it is too, with all the ‘facilities’, water supply, a mains hook up, toilets and shower and a big bonus, free high speed WiFi.  From our pitch we have commanding views over the surrounding area and we can see weather arriving from any direction.

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This is us…

Its not very far from the South West Coast path and that was the destination for our first walk on Monday evening, about a mile away along a pleasant path past two farms,

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Outside one of the farms was a fenced off patch of grass with a cow and calf in it, we could see the cow was lame and assumed thats why they were there.  Yesterday a note appeared attached to the fence to explain the situation, so they must have had several enquiries.

Cow, calf (hiding behind Mum) and the note/

Cow, calf (hiding behind Mum) and the note

Yesterday was a bit inclement weatherise so we went to Bude for a bit of shopping. Then back ‘home’ for lunch and another walk to the coast path and we ventured a little further this time.

Today started off wet so we drove to a local shop to buy a newspaper but later in the morning the weather cleared and the forecast was good so we had an early lunch and headed off for a walk to Crackington Haven.  We did try to get there yesterday but I didn’t have a map with me and we ‘lost’ the path.  Suitably equipped we tried again today.  This time we were successful and I used my Garmin to navigate and record the walk.

Route map

Route map

You can see its quite a hilly profile, it will take a bot of getting used to, walking around here, there doesn’t appear to be any flat paths or roads in Cornwall.

Here are some pictures of Crackington Haven.

The approach

The approach

Beach views

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Panorama

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On the climb up out of Crackington Haven

On the climb up out of Crackington Haven

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Towards Bude..

Quite an energetic afternoon but well worth the effort and taking a chance on the weather.

As you will see from one of the photos I do have a bike with me of the mountain variety.  I think that will be quite appropriate given the terrain.  The low gears will come in very handy if and when I get out on it.  I hope so!

 

Happy House Anniversary..

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Last Wednesday was the twelfth anniversary of moving into our current home, my how time flies!! To celebrate this we decide to leave it on its own and go out for the day.

We chose to go to Southwold, one of our favourite coastal resorts. The weather forecast was good so we left home around 9am after everybody was at school and work leaving us a clear run.

Its a fairly direct easterly route, the first half of which is on dual carriageways until we turn off onto country roads for the last 20 miles or so.

On arrival we found somewhere free to park and set off to walk along by the beach, taking a small detour into town to check out the shops, buy a coffee and then a meal deal at Tescos for the princely sum of three pounds each.  This provides two fresh made sandwiches from a huge selection, a packet of crisps or some other snack and a bottle of drink.

We found a spot sheltered from the wind along the back of the beach to consume our picnic.  Suitably nourished we walked further along the beach to the harbour which is a river estuary and quite remote from the town.  Its a very quaint old ramshackle area with lots of old fishermanshuts and chandleries.  I love it.

General view of harbour

General view of harbour

One of the fisherman’s buildings has been converted into a fresh fish shop and restaurant.  They let us buy some nice fresh skate wings at £12 for 3lbs of wings for which we got 7 wings.  The fishermen sealed the bag and included a bag of ice to keep them fresh for the journey home.

Fish Shop

Fish Shop

A flurry of gulls near the shop, can't imagine why ??

A flurry of gulls over the ‘road’ from the shop, can’t imagine why ??

We couldn’t have done that walk last year because of the problems with Jan’s hip but now thats been thrown away and she has a brand new she has a new lease of life.  We came back on a path around the back of the beach and into town again for a last view of the lighthouse before we got back to the car and out journey home.  Our house was pleased to see us on our return from celebrating its big day.

Southwolds famous inshore lighthouse

Southwold is well known for its inshore lighthouse.

Giving It Another Go…

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Well here I am again writing a blog post.  Not sure how long it will last but its that time of year when there are more things to write about.

To start with we had the first trip of the year with our caravan last week.  We went to Devon visiting family around Exeter.  It wasn’t without its traumas, even before we left.  We had a booked a stay at our newly found favourite site near Chudleigh but a phone call two days before we set off caused a minor panic.  We were told that the field was already wet and waterlogged and that more heavy rain was expected before we arrived so unfortunately we couldn’t stay there.  Fortunately another site we have used in the area had a vacancy and also they had hard standings so no wading around in mud.

The sites we like to stay at are Caravan Club ‘certificated sites’.  These are basically fields, usually attached to farms that are licensed to accommodate no more than five caravans.  Mostly these days they have showers, toilets and electric hook ups, all essentials for us.  There are plenty of them around the country and they tend to be a lot quieter than the big commercial sites and in quiet rural settings.

The weather was to cause us more problems before our departure. On Monday, the morning of our departure we were experiencing very strong winds and heavy rain at home so we delayed setting off until later.  We heard from Devon that the sun was shining there by now and it had improved enough at home for us to set off just before lunch.

We had three days of trips and visits with the family, including trips to two beaches, Exmouth and Teignmouth.  The weather was kind to us after an inauspicious start to the week, plenty of sunshine even if not a lot of heat yet.

Here are a few pictures from the trip..

Fun on the beach at Teignmouth

Fun on the beach at Teignmouth

Sunset over the farm

Sunset over the farm

Across the bay from Exmouth

Across the bay from Exmouth

Exmouth Beach

Exmouth Beach

After our return, on Saturday I went to watch grandson Harry,17 (for a 3 more weeks anyway) playing another game for Olney Rugby Club first XV against Biggleswade.  It resulted in a win after an inauspicious start to the game, Olney going down by 12 points very early in the game but they managed to clay back the deficit and eventually won the game 42-27.

Harry, second in line here for congratulations from the losers.

Harry, second in line for congratulations from the losers

So thats my first post in my return to the blogosphere.. see you again soon in one or another of my blogs hopefully..

 

Wallingford

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We combined a little bit of pleasure with some business yesterday.  Our caravan had to go into our preferred service company, Cross Country Caravans, in Wallingford, on the River Thames  a few miles south of Oxford.  There are caravan service companies nearer to us but this is our preferred one.  Normally they come out to us once year with the mobile service van to carry out an annual service check but this needed a bit of ‘hospitalisation’ to carry out a non urgent job that was detected on the last service visit so we saved it until the end of the caravanning year for us.

After dropping the caravan off we made for the town centre as although we had been through it before we never really stopped for a look around.  Its a typical old country town with a market place in the middle and plenty of old timbered houses.  Just on the outskirts of the town is the River Thames.

Here are a couple of views of and from the bridge.

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We then walked along some back streets to get to the river up stream a bit.. I spotted this very autumnal looking wall..

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This is the view from further upstream back towards the bridge before we disappeared round the bend. (Literally, not mentally !!)

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I failed to take any photos of the town centre for some reason but here are some I borrowed from Wikipedia to give you an idea of what it looks like.  I often forget I have my phone in my pocket and only later realised what I have failed to photograph.

After a brief wander around and a visit to the smart new Waitrose in town for essential supplies we were back on the road again, stopping off at the Wyevale Garden Centre at Bicester for a look around to see what could be bought by ‘the gardener’!  We managed to find some plants we couldn’t live without then had a nice lunch there and within forty five minutes we were back home.

Sunday Morning Pleasures..

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This morning I walked down to the recreation grounds to watch two of my Grandsons, Joe and Will at rugby training, however when I got there it transpired that Joe(13) was playing in a match at 11am.  It was the teams first match of the year and first year they are allowed to play in league due to the rugby authorities restrictions concerning what can be done as they progress through the age groups.

While waiting for the match to start I went down to watch Will(10) and his group who were just undergoing  their regular training. They were among the multitude of other age groups that show up every Sunday of all ages from around the age of six I think up until their mid teens including girls.  This picture shows just one field of activities and it doesn’t look so many here because they are all using the full size pitches.  There are a further two fields of the same size as this that are also full up with much smaller pitches marked with cones.

Wills Training Group

Wills Training Group

Wills Training Group

Wills Training Group

It really is an encouraging site for me to see the amount of sport that goes on in Olney, especially for the youngsters.  Rugby, Football, Tennis and Cricket also take place down there for all age groups.  On a Saturday morning the other two fields are just as full with the young footballers training, also including girls.

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Getting back to Joe’s match, I really enjoyed watching him play, though I say it myself he really is a talented player.  He has been picked out both by the club and his school as such and has special advanced training.  Olney won the match by around 45 – 24 points I think, I was keeping count at the time but I should have written it down.  Joe made three telling passes in the first half into the corners from his position at full back that led to three tries being scored by their speedy wingers.  He managed to convert the first try from right over on the sideline.  He missed a couple of conversions from the other side but the wind wasn’t favourable for goal kicking in that direction, it is quite a long kick for a youngster.  He was rested at the start of the second half to allow other lads to have a try out but returned later to consolidate their position in the game.

Joe heading my way

Joe heading my way

Joe preparing a conversion attempt

Preparing a conversion attempt

Attempt in progress but failed on this occasion

Attempt in progress but failed on this occasion

On my return from the rugby, a little later than I had expected to be I sat in the conservatory having a coffee looking out at the garden.  In the sunshine that had now emerged I noticed how cheerful some of the flowers were looking so I nipped out with my iPhone and took a few pictures.

 

Where To Find Me Now..

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I thought I would show you the blog options on my newly revamped blogging sites..

This my Lifecycle blog.. where you are already, for Non Cycling blog posts with words and pictures and probably where most of my posts will appear.  At the moment it still has some cycling posts in it but there will be no more.

Lifecycle Blog

Lifecycle Blog

This is Bricycling… my cycling specific blog.. cycling only posts here

Bricycling Blog

Bricycling Blog

And this is my Brian Goldsmith Photography blog.. which is self explanatory, the clue is in the title.. a home for larger galleries and the odd one off photograph.

Brian Goldsmith Photography Blog

Brian Goldsmith Photography Blog

Clicking on any image will take you to the corresponding site where you can click to follow the blog automatically if you so choose..

Thanks..

Brian..

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Where Was I ?

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Its catch up time again here so I have combined some of this weeks bloggable activities, such as they are, into one post.  Whenever any of the cycle racing ‘grand tours’ are on TV my external activities are limited to those that can fit into a morning slot.  I therefore had to scratch my head to remember what i did and then combine them all here.

Cycling’s ‘grand tours’ are the Giro d’Italia in the spring, The Tour de France in the summer and the Vuelta d’Espagna in the autumn.  All of these are three weeks long and due to the increased popularity of cycling here in the UK they are now live on TV for many more hours.  This week the Tour of Britain was also thrown into the mix with live transmissions of that and the ‘Vuelta’ on at a similar time on different channels.  Both races were on different Eurosport channels and the Tour of Britain was also on ITV4.  Fortunately I have Sky Plus so I was able to record one whilst watching the other.  There was also the advantage of advertisement break dodging by switching channels to avoid them so I was juggling between three channels at times.  However I think there might have been some collaboration between the TV companies as just recently I have noticed they do seem to go to adverts at more or less the same time.  I think the red hot TV remote control and the sofa might appreciate a well deserved rest next week.

On Monday morning the weather was favourable for a bike ride so I dusted down the Colnago and took it for a short Ouse Valley ride of about twenty miles to re-acquaint my legs with the rotating motion of pedalling.  It wasn’t too bad actually and the weather was great, which helps in motivating me to get out.

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On Thursday we went to the National Trust property, Ascott House near Wing in Bedfordshire.  Its somewhere we have never been before despite it being just a half hour drive from home.  I think the main reason for not visiting before is because of its restricted opening hours.  Its only open from 2pm until 6pm on weekdays, and only in Summer.  This was almost our last opportunity of this year as Friday was the last day of opening before the winter closure.

It is a beautiful Jacobean house with paintings by the likes of Stubbs, Gainsborough and Reynolds and extensive and spectacular gardens. It is another property donated by the Rothschild family to the National Trust and is still lived in by part of the Rothschild family, hence the visiting limitations.    After some research I found there are nine other residences in and around the chilterns and home counties that are or were part of the Rothschild property holding.  They are all very substantial and spectacular properties to say the least and parts of a lot of them will be familiar to filmgoers as filming locations for some very popular films.  (I will put the above and some more photos from the outing in my photo blog later)

On Friday I spontaneously phoned my friend Cyril in Wellingborough to see if he was either home and available for a visit or on a bike ride and we could maybe rendezvous somewhere or at home and fancied a bike ride.  When I spoke to him he said how spooky it was because he was just thinking about calling me for similar reasons.  So the upshot was that we organised a rendezvous at Earls Barton then rode to Emmaus at Carlton for a bottomless cup of coffee and a slice of their splendid carrot cake.  We didn’t take advantage of the free coffee refills though.  This ride totalled about thirty miles for me.

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All the current cycling tours finish this weekend to allow for the travel and preparation of the cyclists for the World Championships in and around Richmond in the USA next weekend.  This will mean that I will be back to having full days available for external activities, this could involve some longer bike rides (Except next weekend!!).  It will in turn hopefully also mean I will have more to write about and more pictures instead of just boring route maps to break up the text.

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Hello Again..

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Hi, did anybody miss me?  Probably not but anyway in case you wondered where I was I just had a glorious week in the north east of Scotland, no wifi which means no posts here or anywhere else, no mail, no ‘interweb’, I missed the instant information availability but I got used to it and survived, now I have to re-learn and catch up.

I just posted a slideshow on my photo blog.. having had the difficult task of  selecting the best  pictures for that from the three hundred or so that I took on the trip.  I managed to reduce that to forty five to go in there and I now have to make further cuts in what I put here.. and also construct some words to go with them..

It was a long drive to Brora, 565 miles from home which entailed nine and half hours actual driving time, we left home at 5a.m. and stopped twice en-route, once at Tebay Services, a favourite of ours when on the way to the Lake District.  Its unlike any other UK motorway service area you will ever have visited, highly recommended.  We also stopped at a cafe/tourist information spot on the A9 just north of Perth, this gave us an overall journey time of just over eleven hours.  The weather was beautiful for the trip so the scenery made it no hardship whatsoever.

Here are some pictures of Brora where we stayed.. note the cows on the seaside golf course ! I think ‘links course’ is the correct terminology.. (The greens are protected by little electric fences I later discovered)

We took a couple of trips further north of where we stayed, one included Dunnet Head, which is actually the furthest north you can get on mainland UK, just over two miles further north geographically than John-O’-Groats.  There is always some discussion among long distance cyclists as to whether you should actually ride to Dunnet Head if you are doing the End To End cycle ride as John-O’-Groats isn’t the furthest north you can get.  I know some do both just to cover themselves.  We visited  both and also the former home of The Queen Mother, the Castle Of Mey in between.

On this trip we went up the road following the salmon river up from Helmsdale, with plenty of fly fishermen to be seen on the way, almost every car we saw had rod racks on.  We went to end of that road and then east across via Thurso.  It was a bit cloudy at the start of that day so I promised myself I would return and take some photos another time.   This we did and drove up the valley from Helmsdale to just beyond Kinbrace this time and returned via the spectacular drive through Glen Loth.  On another occasion we followed the River Brora to Loch Brora, here are some pictures from those drives.

The Sunday before we came home we drove a few miles down the road to the magnificent Dunrobin Castle, it was a good day out,  a spectacular castle right on the coast with wonderful gardens to wander around.  A display of falconry in the morning and again in the afternoon, I managed to find myself with a Harris Hawk perched on my head.  We watched both displays as we were there long enough and I was anxious to see the Peregrine falcon in the afternoon, there were different birds in each display and an entertaining and amusing commentary from the falconer.

As it turns out I didn’t make many cuts in the photos I put here, if any.  We were blessed with glorious weather for our trip and I think we will definitely be going back to the highlands of Scotland again, probably with the caravan for an extended touring trip with more stops on the way once we are in Scotland.  I liked the space, the tranquility and natural beauty of the scenery.  I would love to have ridden some of those roads on my bike, just on day trips though.  I think my days of considering the ‘End to End’ bike ride are past me now but ‘never say never’ is my motto, one of them anyway!  I suppose I should have been out on my bike this morning instead of writing this but ‘there’s always tomorrow..’  there you go, another motto for free..

I have one more post to make about our trip at a later date.. watch this space..

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