Point of Ayre

Visiting the Point of Ayre was one of those things I wanted to do on the Isle of Man because it’s was one of those things you do to say you’ve done it. But as I was slogging the 8-mile round-trip in, what only could be described as, torrential rain I wasn’t all too sure I wanted to do it anymore.

The forecast hadn’t give the best weather for the day we had planned to head to IOM’s northernmost point, but we thought we had pretty good water proofs and boots, it shouldn’t be too bad – that was the first time I was wrong that day. 

The second was thinking Cumbrian roads were horrific for bad travellers – I realised I was wrong with this as I was emptying my guts into a Bride tea-room toilets after one of the most horrific bus journey’s I’ve ever experienced: a 45 minutes bus ride from Ramsey to Bride, via every, bump, hill, sharp bend and rough road surface available on the north of the island. 

Once we got to Bride the weather had kept up but we were determined to get there. So after a quick warm-up in the tea rooms (after my moment) and a latte, we set off. In short the weather was awful, but I really wanted to say I had been the the island’s northernmost point and we plodded on. As never ending as it felt he sing to the point, the scenery was just beautiful. 

We saw centuries-old cottages and farms with thatched roofs – it was like we had been transported through pike, well, besides the random car every so often that splashed passé (none of which stopped to offer a lift when we look liked drowned rats).

Drowned rats for the win!
Once we get there it may have been miserable, but it was an incredible feeling to know we’d made it to the islands northernmost point. 
On top of the world – well, the Isle of Man at least!
I was less than enthusiastic to make the journey back to Bride, and I genuinely don’t think I would’ve made it back had it not been for the best travel buddy I could ask for – my fiancé. 
Once we made it back to the “village” – because, to be fair, you could hardly called Bride a village, more of a hamlet – we treated our cold selves to a pot of tea and a portion of chips. 

We were absolutely soaked through, in fact I think we found the breaking point to our raincoats, as they certainly were not waterproof when we got back to the tea room. 

It may have been a miserable day, but I’m quite glad we went to the Point of Ayre. Thought I can’t say I’d do it again – well, maybe in my car! 

Laxey, Ramsey and Silly Moos 

Once we were done with Douglas we packed up to head for Laxey – this, of course meant the four mile walk into Douglas so we could get the Manx electric railway up to Laxey.

I was used to small old railways that rattle – I’m from Cumbria after all – but the electric railway was something else. All the wood seemed to move in different directions as if it slide together worse than the ikea wardrobe I put up once. Put it this way, you could tell it was old, but it was an amazing experience you could see Douglas in a whole new way and as we headed into Laxey you could see the beautiful white sand and clear sea.

We decided to sit on the open carriage as the weather was atypical with that of a Spanish holiday, not that you’d expect of an island in the Irish Sea.

Once we got to Laxey, we managed a quick peek of the famous Laxey Wheel then headed to find the next campsite – this was an issue, the walk said half a mile from the station, it was more like three, then when we got there the campsite was full! Brilliant!

But, Luckily we made the plan that we’d just move on to our next campsite, a place Silly Moos – a funny name, but a place that turned out to be one of the best campsites you could ask for. We had a little bit more of a look around Laxey, pried me away from the woollen mill and buying stuff, and really admired the views of what I could only describe as a truly picturesque village.

Eventually, we managed  to hop back on the electric rail and headed up to Ramsay – this journey I can only describe in a Cumbrian way; psychically it was worse than a northern rail journey from Barrow to Carlisle, but it actually had 3G.

Ramsey was somewhere I was rather eager to see, mainly because it has a gluten free bakery and because it was on my list of  places to see in IOM.

Unfortunately, every time I went to the bakery it was closed – I was indescribably gutted.

Eventually we found a shop called Shoprite – arguably better for GF stuff than most places in Cumbria – loaded our bags and four. Silly Moos.

Silly Moos was brilliant – everything was painted in cow patch, it had a microwave and a hairdryer(!!!!!) this was major.

I wasn’t too amused with Birkenhead Scouts – basically they were loud, annoying scouse little buggers that got away with far too much, in comparison to my brownies days –  but Robert and I found a deck of cards and really let our competitive streak loose.

While we stayed at Silly Moos we also visited the Point of Ayre – but that one deserves a post all of its own!

A journey to Ellan Vannin aka The Isle of Man

Living the on the Cumbrian coast the Isle of Man is somewhere I’d always seen when I looked at across the water – on a clear day – but never been too, and always somewhere I wanted to go.

I’d missed the years of taking the bi-yearly ferry from the local town when I was young, so when Rob and I wanted an extended backpacking trip in prep for a planned Machu Piccu trip, away from Cumbria we took this as our perfect opportunity to visit the Ellan Vannin aka Isle of Man.

We decided to fly from Liverpool – as ferries are not the friend if a girl who suffers sea sickness – which was ace, except the three hour flight delay. Luckily it was a smooth half-hour flight that gave us spectacular views of not only IOM, but Cumbria.

When we arrived I initially  thought it would be just like England, but from the road signs, to the flags it was very obvious I was in a different country as every town name is followed by the translation into Manx Gaelic, and they all sounded like something straight out of a Tolkien novel.

We camped up and on day two we took our first trip in to the island’s capital- Douglas.

It was an easy three miles into the town and it was just beautiful. The bay is spectacular with a cute horse drawn carriage to take you round.

We decided on lunch on the harbour and found out that it’s not just the seagulls that you have to worry about – it’s the pigeon as one hopped up on Roberts leg while he had a sausage roll in hand, I jumped a bloody mile in shock!

After my traumatic pigeon experience we headed to the Manx museum. It reminded me a lot of a local museum back home – except, I must admit, they may be more patriotic and heritage proud than us Brits back home.

A cute little addition to the town was a flower display trail – my favourite was the bottle of popped bubbly – we didn’t get all of them but it was a fantastic way to see different part of Douglas.

After walking ten miles round the town we were definitely ready for bed and headed back to a, thankfully, quiet campsite.

It was a fantastic introduction to the Isle of Man and I was eager to see more.

Running with a cause

If you remember on my ‘this running girl can’ post I blogged about my fitness journey and my running journey and how, initially, I struggled with the motivation to actually get up an do it.

I am genuinely one of those people that gets up and thinks ‘urgh I really hate running and don’t want to go’ – but once I completed that 5k, 4 miles or 10k, I sit there and think ‘omg this is amazing – I feel brilliant’.

But I had to give myself a goal to get myself motivated so I picked the Great North Run, which I’m running for the British Heart Foundation, because this charity is close to my heart.

My Mam died of a heart condition in 2013, at age on 47, this was a huge blow to me and as I’ve got older I do worry about my own heart.

So not only my vanity and fitness levels became my motivation, but my health was included too and all for this goal to do the GNR16.

I’ve been training now since May and in that time I’ve run, nearly, 120 miles! Never in my life did I think this was possible – but it is for me and anyone!

Also in that time I’ve completed the West Cumbria Hospice at Home colour run and the Race for Life. I’m not only proud of myself for completing these, but I’m proud of myself for finding them easy to do and also I was able to help two more causes.

I was able to contribute to charity that helps people in my local community with the colour run and recently my colleagues wife, who has run the race for life in the past, got diagnosed with breast cancer and I was so proud I was able to run it, with her daughter, when she wasn’t able to.

I feel like my running has a cause and as I draw closer the the GNR and I accomplish more, such as finding longer distances easy, it just feels more real and doable.

So wish me luck with the rest of my training and my 3rd 10k tomorrow – also wish me luck with my physio, as I warn you now that if you start running something will start hurting and for me it’s my knee, but  with the motivation, my strict routine and my determination to run for a cause, it feels worth it!

Ciao for now,
Rachael
xxx

 

Adventures

Since around March/April time I’ve been left some less-than-wanted comments on my blog – but as my Dad say’s: if you put it online you put it up to be criticised, and I couldn’t agree more. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and since what I’ve experience in the past with having my blog hacked etc. it doesn’t phase me – sticks and stones and all that.

The comments don’t bother me, they’re quite sad, which is why I haven’t mentioned them – until now. I’m mentioning them now because there has been a reoccurring comment popping up on post’s where I’ve been somewhere or done something exciting and that is: ‘go on a real adventure’.

The comment implies that because I haven’t flown half way across the world for a holiday that what I’ve done isn’t an adventure. But why? Why isn’t a trip to London – somewhere mega out of my comfort zone – an adventure? Why isn’t hiking 15 miles for a camping trip an adventure? Why isn’t living in a city clear across the country from my home, an adventure?

Because to me, they all are.

Adventure – noun: an unusual and exciting or daring experience.

Going to London was unusual and exciting – and due to the unfortunate bomb scare at the time it was bloody daring to risk the tube!

Living in Brighton was daring for me, it was so unusual and everything I took  part it was exciting.

Hiking 15 miles and camping in the middle of the fells was daring – one wrong step I could’ve been killed – it was exciting because it was a chance to get away from everything and it was unusual because I woke up to be greeted by dozens of horses, Herdwicks and cows!

So are these not an adventure? Adventures are what you make of them.

An adventure, could be driving down a road you never have before, it could be trying a new food, camping instead of staying in a hotel, running with your dog on the beach, starting a new relationship, getting a new job, having a baby and, yes, it could be travelling across the world to a new country. But just because it isn’t the latter doesn’t make it any less of an adventure.

So enjoy your adventures even if it’s trying a new type of tea, I know I will and I do!

Ciao for now!
Rachael
xx

This running girl can!

Ask me six months ago if I’d ever have signed up for the Great North Run and I probably would’ve said ‘yes’, but with absolutely no intention of going through with it. Ask me today and I can firmly say I’m running the Great North Run 2016 for the British Heart Foundation on September 11.

For those of my friends/family that have known me since I was a kid I can completely understand the sheer gob smacking shock you’d have to here this. This is because I’ve never been an exercise lover. I like swimming and things like moky – activities where it doesn’t really feel like you’re doing exercise but the idea of leaving the house to run somewhere and run home was a horrific idea and I didn’t think I would ever have done it!

This all changed last November. I’d just found out I had coeliac disease and I will be truly honest with you all now – I’d gone up to a size 12 and was 10st 7lbs. This is the heaviest I’d been since I was 16. I know this is pretty average for the UK, but when you’re 5″1 like me, the weight doesn’t sit right and – no I was not fat by any stretch of the word- I was fairly chubby and unconfident with my looks.

My confidence had dipped from when I was cyber-bullied by my chap’s ex and her friends for years and my weight suffered as a consequence. So I thought, with the control I had to have over my food intake I would also take back control of myself and not let those bullies get me down anymore.

So I literally got up one early morning while I was studying my MA in Brighton and went for a run around the village I was living in. I still remember my first run – I did a mile in 22 minutes.

As the days and weeks went on I would do a mile in 18, then 15 minutes and eventually around 10 or 11.

My weight dropped I went from 10 st 7 to 10 st 2 in December, then by New Years Eve 2015 I was 9 st 12 and I could fit in my older/smaller clothes.

But eventually it wasn’t about losing weight, my Mam had died of a heart attack and defect and keeping my heart strong really prompted me to push my running from a mile every other day, to every day.

Then my fiancé said: “Why not try and go further.” So I did.

In the meantime I’d done a few charity runs and a couple of 5k’s and I was ready to try and push myself further.

This is when I started looking at a site called Darebee, which had different running programmes and exercises, and saw a 1/2 marathon training and I though ‘yeah, I could do that’ – though, I had my doubts.

With this in mind, I decided I would likely do better at the programme if there was a goal at the end of it, so I signed up for the Great North Run 2016, in memory of my Mam.

As I wrote this I can, with immense amounts of pride, say I’ve finished week 4 of the programme and racked up 58 miles of running.

Because it became part of my daily routine, I can’t imagine a week where I don’t do four or five runs and two workouts – even on Sunday’s. I also didn’t notice how I was toning up until I went shopping and a size 10 was a loose fit on me (this is not saying I’m a size 8 AT ALL just that one item.) and my weight is down to 9st 2lbs.

comparrison pic
What a difference a year makes!

Now I’m pretty happy with how it’s going and no, I’m no running addict – in fact I hate it, I despise it, but I know if I get up every morning and do it it keeps me healthy, strong and fit-er than I used to be!

So at the end of it, the bullies haven’t won, because I feel better than I did before they started and I’m working towards something I never thought I’d do!

Just keep running – #thisgirlcan and #runninggirl have now become, to much dismay of others I imagine, my go to hashtags on twitter with all my post-run selfies!

Please follow my progress on Instagram and if you can donate to BHF for my GNR16 1/2 marathon!

So ciao for now,

Rachael xx