Sandhurst Hill

Picture the scene.  It's February, everywhere is still in lockdown, and pretty much everything that pops up on the news is still awful so you basically hate everything.

But it's the weekend and the sun is shining.  I felt a huge urge to stand on top of a hill with the wind in my hair.  Unfortunately 'stay local' when you live just near Gloucester doesn't leave much scope for that...

Sandhurst Hill stands a mighty 88m above sea level.  But it is right next to the river and is actually fairly prominent, so you can easily pretend.  A 7km route takes you... continue reading »

Gloucester 10k run

When I last posted about my 'get the Strava 10k badge each month' challenge, I'd just failed at September because my race was too short and then I was too lazy to do another long run.  Happy to report that I'm back on track now!

October's 10k was another local race - but this time with a UKA verified course and entirely closed roads.

Well, mostly closed roads. Some sections were definitely closed off, some were possibly only closed in the direction of running, and other times there were just cars everywhere.  Maybe they were just being twats ignoring the signs, I... continue reading »

#GetOutside day

Ordnance Survey declared Sunday 30th September to be National Get Outside Day, which seems like an excellent idea to me.

I joined Zoe and Sarah for a '#GetOutside activity challenge' weekend - fitting as many outdoor activities in as possible. I was only available for the one day, but still managed to tick off quite a few thing.

Tilly and I met them at Robinswood Hill in Gloucester - very important to get 'dog walking' on the list! Here we are being unphotogenic at the toposcope - which is a bit shorter than the nearby trigpoint, and so easier to lift a... continue reading »

Highnam Court Run

My 2019 goal of "get the Strava 10k badge each month" hit a bit of a stumbling block in June when half way through being one of Those People who run to parkrun, run parkrun, then run home (total of 12km) I fell and sprained my left ankle.  And then stupidly thought I could 'walk it off' and kept going - managing a 31min parkrun, oops.  It didn't hurt that much until I took my shoe off - and then I couldn't walk for a couple of days.

So that ruled July out. I probably could have managed August but instead... continue reading »

Plastic Patrol in Gloucester

Recently I took part in a Plastic Patrol session in Gloucester Docks. The idea is simple - after a bit of stand up paddleboard tuition, you get to float around the waterways armed with a litter grabber and a bucket.

I joined the final session of the day, and was actually quite surprised to see how (relatively) little rubbish had been collected so far - apparently last year it was much worse. I was not surprised to see the obligatory rusty old bike that someone had fished out.

We paddled around the main basin, then down to just past Sainsbury's. I spent... continue reading »

Glevum Way, part 3

On a rather windy afternoon (thanks to storm Brian), we finished walking the Glevum Way.

We picked up where we left it last time, with familiar paths around the golf course then across fields to the A38.  From here on the route was mostly new to me.  More fields with really easy to follow paths took us to Sandhurst, then we walked along the road for about 1km to the river.

The riverside path was... interesting.  Narrow, a bit overgrown, and tucked away between garden fences and the water. Oh, and a stile with the word 'DEATH' spray painted onto it. There... continue reading »

Glevum Way, part 2

Having made a start on it in June, August bank holiday was bookmarked for part two of the Glevum Way.

Once again we started in Cooper's Edge, but this time walked anticlockwise as far as Cheltenham Road.  I think we'd hoped to get a bit further (probably to where it meets the A38 in Longford), but it was such a lovely hot sunny day that any more would have been too much for the dogs!

I don't have a huge amount to say about the walk itself - we walked through Hucclecote then up Churchdown Hill, briefly stopping in the churchyard to... continue reading »

a Gloucestershire staycation

We took a week off at the start of July - with a relatively new dog we decided it would be best to not actually go away.  Staycation time!

Here's a brief write up of some of the stuff we got up to.

Chedworth Roman Villa

Having been to Rome and Pompeii/Herculaneum last summer I've built up a knowledge of Roman buildings.  It's a bit different for a villa in Britain though - more of a stately home than 'normal' life.

We arrived just in time to join a guided tour, with a very chatty and enthusiastic guide.  I got bitten several times by... continue reading »

Glevum Way, part 1

The Glevum Way is a 39km (24 mile) loop around Gloucester.  Many years ago (seriously, it's at least 6!) I picked up an information leaflet about the route from tourist information and have somewhat miraculously managed to keep hold of it over three house moves and a lot of decluttering.  And yet until now I'd never got round to properly walking it (some bits do often feature on our regular dog walks)

Along with a few friends we started in Cooper's Edge where the route crosses the M5, and walked clockwise through Upton St Leonards and around the bottom of Gloucester,... continue reading »

Greyt Walk

Last Saturday we attended the "Greyt Walk and Get Together", organised by the Forever Hounds Trust. I didn't realise it was happening until about Thursday, but we didn't have anything else planned and it was nearby - on Robinswood Hill - so off we went.

It may look nice and sunny (because it was, until about 10 minutes after we got home) but the walk was mostly rather muddy.  Obviously this doesn't bother me, but Bonnie isn't always keen to get her paws dirty or wet.  Not that she really had a choice - and she wasn't the only dog trying... continue reading »

Gloucester's rubbish fireworks

I've been the Gloucester Docks fireworks display many times since moving here.  When I lived in the actual docks it was obviously rather convenient (and I didn't have to pay to get in), but I've been back several times since because it's always been very good.

Sadly this year it was rubbish, and judging by social media reaction the other 9,999 people there agreed with me.

We arrived quite soon after the gates opened, having not been organised enough to book in advance (but that's ok, because apparently including fees it actually cost *more* to prebook....).  Jon wanted a beer, so we... continue reading »

Highnam Court 10k

Last year I ran the inaugural Great Highnam Court 10k, and last Saturday I went back for the second.

I've love to say my time improved, but it actually turned out to be a minute and a bit slower.  However, I'm much happier with how the actual running went - last year I remember needing several walk breaks towards the end, but this year barely any walking was required.

Apart from the first few hundred metres, that is.  148 runners starting off and almost immediately reaching a narrow bit of footpath was only ever going to turn into a bottleneck!  I'm blaming... continue reading »

Gloucester North parkrun

Saturday was the very first Gloucester North parkrun. This is very definitely now my local, as it's within walking distance.

There are quite a few nearby parkruns now, which is quite exciting.  I've done Cheltenham (including the inaugural one) and the Forest of Dean, but not Newent, Kingsway or Tewkesbury.  That may or may not change at some point, but it's certainly nice to have a choice!

Glos North is held at Plock Court, which is a big boring flat field - no prizes for scenery here.  It's also been known to turn into a large lake, but that's another matter...
One of... continue reading »

Highnam Court

After Saturday's run, the grounds of Highnam Court remained open for a few hours for runners/spectators to enjoy at a more leisurely pace.

Aisling had visited the Holy Innocents Church while we were running, and liked it so much she dragged the rest of us in for a look too.  Pretty much every bit of the interior is beautifully decorated, and I failed to take photos of any of it.

Then we walked though the gardens, roughly following the first half of the running route.

There are a lot of carved wooden animal/bird sculptures dotted around the place.  I'd been pointing them out... continue reading »

Great Highnam Court Run

On Saturday I took part in the inaugural Great Highnam Court Run - my first proper 10k!

When I signed up back in June, I questioned how I'd ever be able to run that far.  Or why I'd entered a race at all when I hadn't even been parkrunning regularly.  Main reasons were:

it's local - somewhere I've driven past daily for many years it wasn't too expensive, and all finishers got a medal the venue isn't usually open to the public it'd give me a target to work towards

Also, a little bit of peer pressure.  When I told friends I was considering it, Jem... continue reading »

Scrumpty trail

In celebration of hosting some world cup rugby matches, and because sculpture trails seem to be the in thing at the moment, Gloucester currently has a Scrumpty trail of 20 statues dotted around the city centre - plus mini versions in shop windows.

Some of the Scrumpties (I note with disgust that the official website pluralises with an apostrophe - "Scrumpty's" - yuck!) are rugby themed, some are local themed, some seem to have no obvious link to anything but are very pretty, and one is actually a bit terrifying.

Predictably, I took a lot of photos:

The map suggests the Monkty (on... continue reading »

more floods

Yet more flooding.  I basically live on the flood plain, so there are quite a lot of fields that I haven't seen much of for several months as they've been under water.

Which is fine, because that's what flood plain is there for.

What's less good is when the rivers are flooded, the ground is saturated and it won't stop raining.  I.e. right now.

On Monday the drains gave up being able to drain (and/or backed up), and the main road started to vanish into a series of large puddles.  When I waded back from my tennis lesson it was completely covered at... continue reading »

Chosen Hill

More Sunday cycling, and another local hill.

This time Chosen Hill, though no lovely views from the summit as everywhere was in a cloud.

No ridiculous mud this time - there's a road going up to the top (where there's also a church), but it's really bloody steep so once again I failed to actually ride all the way.

Sandhurst Hill

A small part of my car decided to break on Friday.  The window motor - with the window stuck wide open, of course.  All fixed now, but it meant my weekend plans were restricted to "somewhere local" rather than kayaking in Wales :(

So I cycled up my nearest hill.

Well, mostly.  What actually happened is that I happily cycled the 13km of roads and solid tracks, and carried the bike through the remaining 2km of thick mud.

Apparently I did not learn anything from the last time I thought cycling some hilltop bridleway in November was a good idea.  But nevermind -... continue reading »

Gloucester flooding

When I moved house earlier this year I kind of mostly forgot to consider one of the things Gloucester is most recently famous for - flooding.  (although mostly it doesn't matter as my flat is on the first floor)

And last week it rained an awful lot.  I checked twitter on Sunday morning to see a whole pile of tweets from @Glos_Police about overnight road closures.  Flash flooding and rubbish drainage there, I think, but obviously all that water was also headed for the rivers...

So all the media rush to Tewkesbury, because that's an easy target and you get to use... continue reading »

a little bit of snow

It actually snowed in Gloucestershire yesterday! A bit surprising, given the anti-snow bubble that I'm sure usually exists...

Of course, by the time I'd finished watching rugby/football/eating dinner and decided to venture outside to take some pics, the snow had turned into rain.  So my camera got a bit wet, my fingers froze, and I couldn't be arsed to spend ages taking lots of arty photos.

Today there is very little sign of any snow - but the rest of the country seems to be covered, and everything has ground to a halt.  Normal service is resumed!

I can see for miles

I bought some new walking boots.  No more squished toes and worn down soles!

Good excuse for a quick wander up the local highpoint - Robinswood Hill.  A mighty 198m above sea level, topped with trig point, some sort of jubilee beacon and another pillar that probably should have a toposcope on it, but in fact just had holes and bits of old glue/cement.  Useful.

Anyway, the scenery was fairly obvious - Gloucester (including my house!), the Cotswolds, May Hill, Bredon Hill, some of the Malverns (hiding under a rain cloud), and these:

Both Severn bridges, 25 miles away.  Wasn't expecting to be... continue reading »

Exploring Hartpury

Things to do on a dull Sunday afternoon, having already wimped out of going kayaking on grounds of there being massive amounts of water in the rivers (and wanting a lie in) - take the bike out for a first ride of the year! (yes, I realise it's February, shush)

A small consultation with CycleStreets later, I decided to head for Hartpury.  5 and a half miles of NCN 45, conveniently avoiding any main roads.

Half a mile in I realised a slight flaw in my 'relaxed Sunday afternoon' plan.  Strong, gusty and quite annoying winds.  But turning back and giving up... continue reading »

Bore Surfing!

On Saturday, there was a 3* Severn Bore.  That's an entire star better than the one I saw last month!

And, well, it was.  Standing in a field this time, rather than on Over Bridge, to watch people try and surf it in kayaks (as well as on surfboards)

I could have taken my boat and had a go, but I thought I'd watch other people do it first!  'Inspection', if you will.  Think I'll have a go next time though :D

Anyway, there were loads of people congregated on the riverbanks, and quite a number in the river too!  5 (maybe 6?)... continue reading »

Severn Bore

Today's activities so far: cycling to Over, then standing on the bridge for the best part of an hour waiting to see this:

It's the Severn Bore Hooray for large tidal ranges messing up rivers :)

Only a 2* bore today, but still quite impressive to watch - especially as I've not seen it before. 

There was a 3* late last night, and more 3 and 4* ones due next month, so plenty of opportunity to find a better viewpoint for photographing it...

There were a few people attempting to surf it, although without a huge amount of success.

bank holiday biking

Rather than unnecessarily removing plastic from my boat scraping down empty rivers this weekend, I decided to go out on my bike instead.

Now, one my main justifications for buying a bike was so I can cycle to work, which is about 4.5 miles.  So far, I haven't managed this - a few short rides around in the evenings, but nothing significant.

I conveniently live right next to the canal, which has a towpath forming part of one of the proper national cycle routes (41?), so that seemed like a good idea. It also has mileposts, meaning I can be lazy and... continue reading »