In three days, I’m setting off on one of my biggest journeys and physical challenges, next stop is China!
You’ll know from reading my blog that this is something I’ve been working towards since my recovery from two lots of hip surgery, over a year of exercises, training and working towards going on a charity trek on the Great Wall.
A lot of my ‘journey’ has already happened both mentally and physically I had to convince myself (and maybe a few others along the way!) that I’m strong and fit enough to do this. Looking back on some of our earliest family walks Climbing my personal mountain, and our two Yorkshire Peaks walk and I’m so proud of how far all of us have come.
A few weekends ago I did a few walks with some more hill training, using the moors at Burley-in- Wharfedale and Ilkley and then the fells near Arncliffe, in the Yorkshire Dales as my training ground. The Arncliffe to Kettlewell circular walk with my husband was hard going in places and we even had to do a bit a rock climbing! But we did the walk in good time, had a few rests on the way up some of the steeper hills but all in all didn’t suffer too badly. The hips behaved! The weather was a bit too kind and even though we had slapped on the sun cream we still got a little red. Something I’ll have to be careful with on my China trip as the expected temperature is about 30°.
This weekend I’ve been taking things easy, well apart from a day out with the girls where I wore high heels all day, but luckily my feet recovered quickly from that!
So, next stop is China! I’m so excited and terrified all at the same time. Did I mention I’m frightened of flying? Well two flights will quickly sort that out and I meet the group I’m travelling with for the first time at the airport. I’m sure everyone will be as nervous as me about our big adventure but I’m hoping to make lots of new friends.
There are going to be some tough days but I’m going to keep in mind the people who have been cheering me on from the start, the hugs I’ve been given, messages of support I’ve received and finally the reason I’m doing this to raise money and awareness for The Ectopic Pregnancy trust.
It's going to be incredible, see you when I get back! x
Our half term activities were thwarted somewhat by the weather AGAIN! I can’t wait for spring to arrive and better weather as at the moment we just seem to be going from one storm to another.
We did manage a small walk from Grassington to Burnsall recently, walking along the River Wharfe but the wind was starting to pick up and there was lots of mud around. The muddy walks sap so much more energy but we certainly got to blow some cobwebs away and this would be an easy walk on nicer days. I’d picked the wrong day to start wearing in my boots for my trek!
We followed the footpath from the corner of the carpark at the Grassington visitor centre and made our way downhill to Linton falls, stopping first to spot some aliens in the carpark that were part of the dark skies trail. From here we followed the fingerpost towards Burnsall and the path along the riverbank.
The surrounding trees had suffered from the recent gales and fallen trees were blocking part of the path, but we spotted the promise of spring nestled on the banks of the river with some lovely snowdrops.
The path is wide enough in most places that the kids can go on and run ahead. Our eldest was playing the usual sniper game and hiding behind the rows of trees along the way.
We soon arrived at the suspension bridge at the bottom of the footpath to Hebden. The kids loved that it looked really wobbly and narrow and all was fine crossing it until we met someone coming the other way who was so impatient he tried to barge past us. There was no way I was going in the water but we all made it safely across. There’s always one isn’t there!
Our latest Hip2trek walking adventure was another visit to Malham but this time with a planned stop for hot chocolate and candy apples!
We visited marvellous Malham about seven months ago and loved the walk we went on, but with a bit more walking experience behind us and my hips being better we wanted to go back and try a bigger walk this time going to Malham Tarn.
The weather forecast wasn’t great so armed with hats, gloves and lots of layers we were prepared for a very chilly walk, and crikey it wasn’t wrong we were absolutely freezing.
Last time we had arrived in Malham the day after a popular TV programme had been aired and were met with hordes of people and an overflowing car park. This time we had our pick of parking spaces but Hubby was a bit miffed the contactless payment at the parking machine was a little eager and took his payment twice! We weren’t off to a great start.
We retraced our steps along familiar footpaths and through kissing gates to Janet’s Foss still looking spectacular in the autumn the water was crystal clear. We have this really silly tradition of when coming to a kissing gate as we go through you ‘mwah’ to the person behind you. Anyone else do silly things like this? No....Oh just us then that are a bit bonkers! My eldest was sulking at this point so didn’t really want to take part.
This time we didn’t visit Gordale Scar but took the path up the hill to the side of it and it was here last time that we had to take an easier path to cut the walk shorter due to my IT band problems. I was determined that this massive hill wouldn’t get the better of me and it would be a good test of my newly improved leg strength. The wind was so strong but we were well wrapped up and although we had a few stops on the way up we made it to the top. My eldest is like a mountain goat and was waiting for us at the top.
From there we followed an obvious footpath which would eventually lead us to Malham tarn. We were walking right into the wind and I had tears streaming down my face and my youngest kept asking why were we doing this walk! We had promised that we would have hot chocolates as soon as we got back to the village and that kept us going. The scenery was lovely even though it was bitterly cold, and we could see the tarn in the distance.
From the tarn we followed a footpath which would take us through a very narrow gully and rocky limestone terrain. We knew the cove was about half a mile away but it felt like miles as we picked our way across the rocks. It was quite hard but the reward was a blast of sunshine and gleaming in the distance was the limestone pavements of Malham Cove.
My Daughter last time had been terrified of the limestone pavement but this time she was so much more confident and we stopped and had a quick picnic on a natural bench like rock!
We were so much quicker down the steep steps, me and my Son quite a bit in front and all the way down in the distance we could hear my Daughter chattering away. These steps are as close as I’m going to get to the ones I’ll meet in China so great training for my legs. Happily, my IT band had remained quiet and there was no pain or niggles, phew.
I thought we still deserved hot chocolate so we made our way to The Buck Inn and we had hot chocolate, candy apples (well it was bonfire night!) and a warm by the fire.
A great walk with lots of steep hills, I finally saw Malham tarn and there was a lovely treat at the end.
Do you play any silly games on your walks? Or do you have a walk you think we should try?
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this.
With the children staying at their Grandparent’s this weekend we were able to do a much bigger walk up two of Yorkshire’s famous peaks, Whernside and Ingleborough. After our walk last week to Brimham Rocks my back felt sore and with my hip progress being checked by my physio I mentioned it whilst I was there. I’d lifted my Daughter from a gate which it seemed had been a very bad idea and earned me a week off the gym, but walking is still allowed!
I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to do a charity trek and the first part of making that a reality was registering my place on a trek on the Great Wall of China in May 2017. I’ll be raising money for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, a charity close to my heart because I suffered from one myself, and that’s what spurs me on to do this challenge. If I can raise awareness and vital funds for them I will be so pleased, so what’s a few blisters along the way?!
My fitness has really been improving over the year with our walks and a few gym sessions, but with my charity trek being booked I need to do a few bigger walks and it’s not fair to drag my little people along on these. Although I’m massively proud of how far they have been walking.
An early Sunday morning after a few days of rain we set off into the Yorkshire Dales for Ribblehead viaduct where our walk would start!
Our Hip2trek adventure at the weekend was to Aysgarth falls and Castle Bolton in Wenslydale in the Yorkshire Dales. The falls are a beauty spot made famous by the film starring Kevin Costner in ‘Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves.
An hour and half journey away from where we live I negotiated the winding and sometimes hair raising roads thorough spectacular countryside to our destination at the Aysgarth Visitor centre where our walk started.
We wandered through pretty woodland down to a viewing platform to the Middle Falls and then followed the sign post to the Lower falls. Sadly, no sign of Kevin and his friends but the River Ure did look pretty cascading down the limestone and we all took turns for a look.
You can stop your little walk here and return to the visitor centre where there’s a fab looking tea room (the cake looked awesome!) and a shop but we wanted a longer walk to Castle Bolton.
Making our way following the footpath signs and referring to a book we had brought with us we wandered through fields, meadowland and woodland with a view in the distance of Castle Bolton. This was our planned picnic stop and the kids couldn’t wait to get there! You can view the route we took here on the viewranger map we plotted as we went.
Some of the directions were a little open to interpretation and we did go wrong somewhere, so we had to do a bit of walking on the road which was a little scary. However, we soon made our way up a steep hill and there was the Castle, at last!
Look out for the Dragon on the right hand side of the road, a poor Knight seems to have been eaten with only his leg sticking out of its mouth!
This weekend Hip2Trek visited Bolton Abbey and here are the 7 reasons we love it.
1) Nostalgia! I grew up not far from Bolton Abbey, so family outings and School trips were often here and I know the area quite well. I love being able to now take my own children and see their little faces as we enjoy a similar day out.
2) The Stepping Stones – No visit to Bolton Abbey is complete without at least having a look at the stepping stones across the river. Some days the water is too deep to make the crossing! Last year my husband and then 7 year old had a go and did make it across without getting wet feet. The view from the far bank across to the ruins of the Abbey is stunning and many photographers have captured the glorious setting.
3) Beautiful views – I could, and have taken so many photos around here. As mentioned above there are stunning views of the Abbey. When you take to the footpaths there are also other viewpoints amongst the trees of the River Wharfe, and whether calm and peaceful or raging with water it always makes for an interesting view.
4) Great Walks – A small stroll along the river or more of a hike there are plenty of footpaths and routes you can take whilst at Bolton Abbey. We quite often do a little loop and depending on the kids legs can change the route accordingly. As the kids are getting bigger and we’re getting fitter the route is getting longer. Some of the paths are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. When my son was a baby we once took our sturdy pushchair around some of the paths as he squealed in delight!
Next on my walk list in the Valley of Desolation and Simon’s seat. I can’t believe I’ve never been there!
5) Fab facilities – With a number of carparks, shops, cafes and tea rooms there are plenty of places to keep you fed watered and comfortable. On sunny days there are often mobile ice cream vans on the meadows.
6) Wide open spaces – One of my favourite places for a picnic is on the banks of the river. There’s plenty of room even on the busiest days and you can even take a BBQ if you park in the special areas of the car park. There’s plenty of room for the kids to run safely around without having to hang onto you the whole time.
I'm a 'thirty something' Yorkshire Mum of two, recovering from two hip arthroscopies and hoping to get fit for a new challenge. My aim is to also get my kids out into the countryside and get fitter as a family. Follow my blog about hips, trips, training and getting my kids outside!
I'm taking part in a charity China trek. For my story or to sponsor me please follow the Just Giving link.