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Weston trip on Saturday 29th June 2024

Over to Craig for a wonderful write up of the clubs annual trip to Weston-super-Mare. Thank you Craig

 

It was a fabulous day.


Last year I was staggered that four cars met up at the garden centre. This year we achieved it with five.

It is a great place for tea, coffee, scones and cakes. I think I had the largest scone I’ve ever seen, requiring me to have two lots of clotted cream. This stop, very importantly, also allows us to use the toilets before what is a long run.

After the break, Rebecca (some might say wisely) left us to travel into Weston. This left us with Andy M to look after.



All four cars made it to the start of the run which is a few miles from the garden centre.


12 started the run and 12 finished. Of the 12, Nattalie, Adam, Andy C, Charles, Mark and Rowan were first timers. The only minor mishap on the run was Nattalie putting her foot down a hole (not long into the run). She managed to run it off, but this gave her a reason (excuse?) to sit out the later games of rounders. Following last year’s dispute on the run length, I’m deciding it is 9 miles.


Each year the run to the footbridge over the M5 seems to get a little more difficult as the council and/or farmers don’t appear to like maintaining some short sections of the path. However, the years have taught us (Simon really) how to navigate the difficult bits. This section along the River Axe does provide sufficient time to get our legs working before the first climb which is long.



We had our usual stop at a small grassy area with some seats. Now, in earlier years I’ve encouraged some strength work, but this year I took a look at the rabble (sorry runners) and thought, not a good idea. A lady was tending her rather pretty garden and offered a hosepipe for replenishing our water containers. Manisha chatted to her. Andy C was, at this stage, telling me that the run had been described as hilly and he wanted to know where the hill was.



I’ve mentioned before that the long uphill drag, which is pretty steep in places, is 1.5 miles. It was no shorter this year. All tackled it well, and it was especially pleasing to see that Adam, once he got into his rhythm, had no difficulty. Manisha and I, as usual, brought up the rear. Simon ran back to give us encouragement on the last section. Andy C was looking at things differently, by now.



It wasn’t too hot (~21°C) but copious amounts of fluid was required. A good number had drinking pouches (strapped to their bodies) with tubes out of which they could drink. I might invest because they’re a really good idea.


Once we’d taken on fluids it was mainly downhill to the crossing of the M5 and then a flat section before the ascent of Crook Peak. This year Simon will have to concede that I found the little bridge to cross. I don’t know what had happened to the electric fence we saw last year. Even though much of this section is flat it is by now quite hard work because all are starting to tire. Just what you want before the ascent.

I didn’t bother telling the first timers that the ascent is easy. I lied last year. Once out of the village of Barton there is a shortish road section that quickly turns into a bridle path. This isn’t easy and it’s not the hardest part. We regrouped just before the hardest part, the run up to Simon’s favourite tree.


Like last year I have no photographic evidence, but Andy L says he ran all the way to the tree. I can’t remember, as I type this, whether Simon made the same claim. The rest of us walked at least some of the way. At Simon’s tree (now known as) a lady walker kindly took some photos of us as a group. Yes, we were still a group. Also, I think it is important to point out that father and son (Mark and Rowan) were still talking. What powers of persuasion to get Rowan on the run, did you use Mark?

After Simon’s tree there is the long ridge run before the final ascent up to Crook Peak. Well done to all for making it. The weather blessed us with it being clear with fabulous views. I think Manisha liked them! It is fair to say we were all pretty knackered. Another lady walker took some photos.

The downhill section to the cars is hard because your legs are tired. Barry took a very gingerly approach. This is well advised. And shock of the day, Andy M didn’t trip over on the very last section to the cars. He did one year. We’d get him safely back to Rebecca. Andy C decided the description of the run as hilly, is correct. I wouldn’t want to mislead people. It took us 2.75 hours which was a little longer than last year. Some might be questioning how it can take 2.75 hours to cover 9 miles. If you’re questioning it, make sure you come next year to find out.


Well done to Manisha, Simon, Andy L, Adam, Nattalie, Andy C, Rowan, Charles, Mark, Andy M, Barry and, of course, me.


Then on to Weston. The tide was out. In all the years we’ve been going the tide has only been in once. Barry has fond memories. Rebecca met up with us and I must say it was probably the best spread we’ve had. Mark and his youngest daughter had baked a fabulous cake. His whole family (including Rowan?) appears to be blest with being able to bake. And let it be said, Andy C is so organized. A cool box (he forgot the ice) and cocktail sticks.


The rounders was a killer.


Nattalie played her trump card and said her ankle was sore, so she’d have to sit it out. Rebecca and Andy C were the captains and selected their teams. It was worse than I remembered it. The stiffening limbs meant a good number of us struggled if we had to run, bend down or catch. Many of us had aching stomachs from laughing after witnessing Barry moving for the ball, his legs not cooperating, with the result being he fell flat on his face. I elevated Simon to superstar status, after performances in earlier years. Well, he was totally eclipsed by Rebecca. What a star. Andy M found out that although right-handed Rebecca preferred to hit the ball left-handed. What were we expecting from Charles as an American? This is perhaps a little unfair because the general consensus is that baseball originated in England in the 18th century. Andy L got accused of spinning the ball when bowling. And Adam was thinking, why didn’t I have a trump card to play like Nattalie? The result was 1-1. I don’t do aggregate scores (number of rounders).


Charles was interested (I think) when I told him Weston is located on the Bristol Channel which has a tidal range of up to about 48 feet and is the second highest in the world. The highest is the Bay of Fundy on the east of Canada. Sorry, Charles, I said it was on the west coast of Canada. I do get some things wrong.

And Mark and Rowan were still talking to each other.


On the way back a few of us stopped at the first service station north of Weston. What a sight, us all struggling to get to and from the cars. Just so Barry could have a coffee.


A big thank you to Andy C for providing lifts.

Thanks all for a great day out and here’s to next year.

Craig



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