Inshriach Shepherd’s Hut

ShepherdsHut*Just a little update to say Walter won the Shed of the Year 2015 for his gin distillery/bar/shop shed at Inshriach – it is incredible and he is a worthy winner

Apologies, I haven’t been a particularly prolific blogger of late but that will all change and we will be back to normal soon – I am trying to decide what type of blog I actual write. At the end of May I had a very welcome week off work. The first few days I chilled out, met friends and went for a sunny beach ride. Then on the Wednesday we loaded up the car with bikes, pjs and gin and headed North for a couple of nights. The weather in Scotland has been strange lately, it is pretty cold and rainy – some sunshine but showers inevitably followed. The rain started when we hit Perth and Mr IHR started to voice concerns about where we were headed.

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Continue reading “Inshriach Shepherd’s Hut”

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Iceland – Winter Wonderland Part 1

At the start of February I travelled to Iceland for a wee two night, three days break. We stayed in Reykjavik and only explored a tiny fraction of what this amazing island has to offer. I also rode there, Icelandic horses are incredible, and I will be doing a full review of that experience as well.

Outside plane landing in Iceland

On day one we arrived in Iceland at quarter past two in the afternoon after a flight where my flying nerves were steeled by the 50% proof vodka the lovely lads I ended up sitting with were kind enough to give me. We had already had done a fair amount of planning for the trip, with such a short space of time we had an itinerary and everything to maximise our time. Continue reading “Iceland – Winter Wonderland Part 1”

A Little Update and A Few Links

During the middle of last week I flew off to Iceland with some friends to see as much as we could of this incredible island in a couple of days. I didn’t get to see any Northern Lights but I did manage to tick a few things off my bucket list 🙂 Namely – seeing geysirs in real life, swimming in the Blue Lagoon and of course riding an Icelandic pony in Iceland. Some pictures from the holiday and a full review of my riding will be coming although I might wait until after we have pooled our pictures so I ensure you get to see the very best of Iceland. I loved it, I would move there if I could. Continue reading “A Little Update and A Few Links”

Holidays!

Last week we took the motorhome away for a few days, Mr Inelegant Horse Rider’s family are so sweet and let us borrow theirs whenever we fancy. It is a brilliant way to holiday, especially in the colder months and although it might not be considered as stylish as some of the vintage models I love the campervan. Of course I don’t have to drive it so maybe I should be quiet, on that front we had a few hairy moments as the wind and rain on the way back down the road was a little intense and scary.

We first went up to Durness, we arrived in the dark after an interesting route on a single track road for around fifty miles where a few huge deer decided to wander into the road, we were happy to wait for them to pass – the stags were truly magnificent. Luckily the pitch was pretty level (last time we used the chalks one of the them splintered and nearly took out my eyebrows) so we set up next to the cliffs and waited for sunrise. Even in the dark we knew we were somewhere special as the waves crashed off the rocks below the moon shone so brightly it showed us the big sky of the North. Durness is the one of the most north-westerly towns on the Scottish mainland, it is small and out-of-season it closes down a fair bit (totally understandably).
The Beach at Sango Sands Continue reading “Holidays!”

A Lake District Cycle Mistake

I have been on holiday to the Lake District over the last wee while and after the fun of Tour o The Borders I decided to cycle part of the route from Edinburgh to Elterwater. I was really looking forward to it actually, much as the roads are narrow in the Lake I have no problem cycling in traffic and I knew the views (and hopefully the cake stop) would make up for it. Well it didn’t go that well.

Using the wonder of technology (and the fact that I am cheap and slightly disorganised) I chose to use Google Maps on my phone to help me navigate from Penrith train station to Elterwater. The distance was around 30 miles and Google suggested it would take me around 3 hours. Now not to blow my own trumpet too much I know I cycle faster than that so I planned to be at the cottage 2 and a half hours after leaving Penrith, with a wee stop in Grasmere.

I woke up on the morning of the cycle with a headache and blocked nose, nothing too bad but why had 3 drinks spaced over 6 hours given me such a headache? I kept drinking water and packed up a few things in a rucksack for the journey. I had already sent the main amount of my stuff with my folks who were driving down.

The cycle from my flat to Edinburgh Waverley wasn’t fun. My head hurt and my temples ached. Hmmm, I tried to keep the positive thinking on the go though. The train journey was a lovely route and getting my bike on and off the Virgin train was a piece of cake. The only slight hiccup was when the ticket inspector told me off for not putting a ticket on my bike to let her know where it was going. The guards at Waverley hadn’t mentioned that to me and had said they would phone Penrith to let them know that’s where I was getting off. But to be fair to her it does seem entirely sensible to inform everyone where Cadfael was going as it is unlikely he would have hoped out at Penrith himself.

Cadfael at Penrith
The start of the journey!

I arrived at Penrith on time and collected Cadfael from his carriage. Next I checked the map and had some more juice, took a wee picture and set off. To begin with the route took me quickly out of Penrith, I promptly forgot to turn right so had to recheck my map, retrace my steps and then turn right 🙂 Then I was on small country roads, heading through wee villages and having some beautiful views. There was a fair amount of climbing involved and I still didn’t feel great but that was made up for by the scenery.

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I followed a couple of the major cycle routes (7 and 71) for a good few miles and was punted out onto the A66, a busy main road – in fact one of the main routes into the Lakes and a national speed limit road. There was a cycle route alongside which I followed for a while and then all of sudden the cycle routes went to the right while I had to continue straight on for a left turn in a few miles. I had to cycle on the main road and I hated every minute, I managed to find another wee road off to the right that took me away from the main road and allowed me a nicer route until I had to turn off the A66.

On the B5322 road again the scenery took over and it was lovely, a really nice part of the route. I was getting into the Lake District as I think of it so the hills were rising at the side and I cycled alongside Thirlmere. However, all too soon I was put back onto the main road again and at one point was on a section of dual carriageway. I had two cars pass me side-by-side and I will be honest it scared me. Very few of the cars slowed down for me and I felt really pretty unwell as I slogged up the hills. The views didn’t even inspire me anymore and it just felt like a trudge. I kept kicking myself as there had been an alternative cycle route to Grasmere signposted but I had gone with my Google Maps route and there was no way to get to the route unless I cycled back.

Lake district view

 

Lake District view

When I reached Grasmere, 4 hours (!!!), after I had left Penrith I gave up and asked for a lift for the last section over the hill. With hindsight that part of the route would have been one of the best sections as I walked it the next day, but realistically I couldn’t have done it any justice.

There are no pictures of the last part of the route as I was feeling truly terrible at this point. After the highs of the Tour o the Borders I probably under estimated how many hills this route would have (I know, I know it is the Lakes, mark me down as daft). I also truly wish I had taken an actual map, sometimes the classic options are the best. I have learnt my lesson on this one, I will always plan my own route and I will avoid the main roads if I can when doing a cycle like this – it was meant to be fun. But on the plus side it was a lovely holiday, more posts to come on that – including a more positive cycle one. Oh and I never got cake on that cycle but I more than made up for that during the rest of the holiday.

Grasmere cycle route
The route I should have taken to Grasmere