Recently, myself and a group of friends from my company formed a team and have been taking part in the Virgin global challenge.
The idea is to get people to be more active, by measuring the number of paces taken, and putting them onto a map showing how far you’ve walked.
There’s also a leader board, to show which teams are doing best.
Our team, Legit (made up of people from the Legal department and IT) are doing quite well, but we were determined to do even better.
Last Saturday, we decided to head out and do a “trek” around Moel Famau in North Wales.
Our visiting colleague from China, Jerry (pictured in the middle) came along as well.
A fab day out.
Later that day, I attended a barbecue at Nikki’s house.
Whilst everyone discussed the coming general election and ate fine foodstuffs, I decided to grasp the opportunity.
At my house, I have a back patio (which if were being honest, is actually a back yard). Nikki has a “proper” garden.
I was able to use the garden to test some bushcraft equipment I bought recently and built this lean-to.
Its now June and were half way through the year. Time to take stock and really double down on any big targets for the year in my Mindmap.
To help me focus, I’ve been using a technique taught to me while working at IBM.
The idea is you make a hit list of key things you need to do. Next to each one, you list a next action. A task that will progress the goal.
Its a simple thing, but it means I always know the next thing that needs doing.
Sailing lesson -> speak to school and choose course
Garden -> tidy next sunny evening
Xmas trip -> speak to Nikki, plan for India
As well as my will, I have a document describing how I would like my funeral conducted (it can feel like a depressing subject, but by doing it, it will take pressure off loved ones who would otherwise have to organise the event from scratch).
I’ve chosen 2 songs that I would like to be played.
The first is Pure by the Lightning Seeds. Let me say, that I am in no way pure, but the song really connects with me, and reminds me of happy times in my youth.
The other, is Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. Put simply, its a drinking song with a chorus that says “I got knocked down, but I get up again”.
I’m busy working on a new section of the blog devoted to my recent trekking trip to the atlas mountains.
In the meantime I thought I’d pop up a picture from Marrakesh once we’d finished the mountain section.
We found a really nice place called Kosibar.
In the evening, we had a view out across the square with children playing and people just sitting out chatting.
Nikki and I went away for a few days over bank holiday.
We do this quite a lot, as we never like to waste any kind of break from work. On this occasion, I thought it ranked as an almost perfect Bank holiday weekend, so as inspiration to to others, I’ll go over it and what we did.
We decided to head to the peak district which is ideal as its only 90 mins drive.
We arrive at the Jug and Glass coaching Inn for 7:30pm and the weekend has already begun.
T bone steak for me and a bottle of Rioja. A few more drinks, then its off for an early night, ready for the walking the next day.
Hayfield is one of our favourite places in the Peak District and we’d chosen a route that would take us up across the moors to Kinder downfall and back again.
I still get annoyed with myself when I think that for so many years, I worked in Manchester city centre. When I finished work on Friday, I could have jumped on a train and 40 minutes later I would have been in the 2nd most visited national park in the world.
But I didn’t, and just like the saying goes, 20 years from now, you’ll be more concerned by the things you didn’t do, than the things you did.
The weather was fantastic throughout the whole day.
A sign on a bridge reminds us this is the site of the famous mass tresspass which led to the foundation of the national trust.
We break for lunch.
I always drink sparkling mineral water. I call it Champagne for hill walkers.
We continue along past Ladybower reservoir.
Its about the 5th time we’ve been up here this year and one of the best spots in the whole peak district.
With the fantastic days walking over, we head back to the Jug and Glass.
I always like to have a drink in the bar, before heading upstairs to get cleaned up.
We hang around in our room reading, then head back downstairs for more amazing food and wine.
Next day, we head for Buxton.
The Monsal trail, is a route I’ve done several times. Its 8 miles from just outside Buxton and goes all the way to Bakewell.
Its a superb walk, as the tunnels of the old railway line were closed and you had to go over or around each time you came to one, which made for a pretty amazing walking route.
The tunnels have now re-opened and last year I walked it that way. I have to say, it was a bit dull, although the tunnels are really long.
So this time, we rented some bicycles.
Only £13 for the day. It actually took no time at all, to get to our destination for lunch.
Bakewell was rammed as you’d expect on Bank Holiday.
We wandered around and got some coffee.
My friend Jason, who I met in Borneo runs a bushcraft shop in Bakewell, so while I was there, I decided to pay a visit.
He was away at the Bushcraft show, but one of his assistants showed me around, and I bought this pretty smart Knife, where you can fit the handle and carve it, and make the sheath yourself.
After a look around a few other outdoor shops, we set off back.
I cut quite a dash in my Mountain Equipment Frontier jacket that Nikki gave me for my birthday.
On our way back, we take an alternative route and see the view from Monsal head.
The chaps at the bike rental place were really good and advised us of some quieter places on the trail back where we might want to get lunch.
Still sporting my Morocco suntan, I settle down for a pint.
We hand back the bikes, then walk back to the car along this path with stunning views.
Back at our hotel, we have a drink in the garden outside.
I see this Virgin balloon, and it reminds me of my time in Australia.
The last day, the weather takes a turn.
We think on our feet and decide to visit the Boat museum at Ellesmere port (somewhere we’ve both wanted to visit for ages).
A short car journey later and we arrive.
We have lunch in their new restaurant and plan our trip.
The museum covers everything from how boats were repaired to the lives of the people who lived on them.
I think most people in the UK are familiar with the railways and how they kept the country running before road vehicles.
I hadnt realised that the generation before trains, belonged to boats and British life would have been practically impossible without them.
An actual boat journey onto the canal is included and we were shown run down buildings and pictures showing them in their prime.
The saddest part for me, was some of the older boats.
To restore a boat, requires taking it out of the water and installing it on special supports (which are expensive).
Some of the really old boats, are left in the water, as their isn’t presently enough money to repair them.
There was so much to see, we were there for 7 hours, before heading home, getting changed and ending the bank holiday with a meal in Urbano 32.