Those that know me are used to the ‘get fit’ / ‘get fat’ cycle of my adult life. I have been overdue a ‘get fit’ phase for some time now! I haven’t quite managed to get the ‘Surf Bug’ that is almost compulsory if you live in North Devon, but have for some time felt that I really must ‘make friends’ with the stunning hills and coastal paths that surround us here at Pickwell and get out there more. The ‘surf bug’ may not have got me but I have definitely got the ‘trail running bug’ the last few months. The stretch of coastline either side of us is the location for the AONB marathon for which our friend Matt is currently the poster boy!
Steve has conquered the challenges of both the half and the full marathons over the last couple of years and you may remember reading Susie’s blog
entry about his marathon triumph (despite serious cramp) on one of the hottest days of last year.
Now when you start getting out on runs from Pickwell the first challenge is to tackle the route from Putsborough to Woolacombe and back. This provides a lovely flat 2 miles either along the beach or the bridle path to Woolacombe and then back again. The kids do this route for a sponsored walk / run with the school each year.
The next challenge is to tackle Baggy Point. Looking out over Baggy Point is one of the many joys of living up at Pickwell. There it is jutting out to the ocean with just Lundy Island beyond it and Croyde Bay the other side..... Just waiting to be embraced!
A few of us have begun getting out regularly for a run at the weekend. Most of us are in what has been dubbed the ‘B team’. B team members are those to whom nature has dealt a set of genes that do not lend them to long distance running. Nature lends them rather to pursuits such as rugby, rowing or any events found in the Highland Games. I am definitely a B team member! ! There are others however like Steve (and Nigel) whose tall, lean and slender figures definitely make them the A team.
This weekend we tackled Baggy Point and even setting off you can see how the pack spreads!
To begin is a slow climb until you reach the point where you can look back towards Putsborough and get the benefits of your ascent.
The next couple of miles take you right out onto the Point where you can look left to Hartland and right out towards Morte Point and beyond.
You are now right up on the cliffs. Fortunately the A team wait for the B team at various points across the route!
Gathering at the turn together..... Paul’s knees are actually held together by those straps!
The route then takes you on a very welcome and pleasant downhill stretch along into Croyde Bay
Once you have made it round to Croyde it seems rude not to have a quick run across the beach.
The path up from the stream provides an opportunity to begin the turn towards home and a lovely muddy stretch through the trees that reminds you of those cross country school runs!
However, If you’ve got the energy to add another loop and tackle a really big old climb then the rewards of carrying on from Croyde up to Saunton Down are worth it for the views let alone the fitness.
And when you get to the top you can enjoy the thought of an enjoyable mile back down towards Croyde .
One of the challenges of running from Pickwell however is that wherever you run to you are always in for a tricky uphill last half mile to really make your legs work!
Which is why many a run will finish with a quick lie down!