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I’ve fallen in love with Cumbria

27 Sep

I’ve been up to Cumbria a few times over the past couple of months – and I’m hooked!
I can very comfortably say that it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to – and I’ve travelled a lot!
Taking the A591 off the M6, you’re suddenly hit by the most incredible and breath-taking views – out of what seems like nowhere, the fells rise up above you with colours that show mother nature at her very best. You then hit the lakes – more beautiful than you can possibly imagine. As a keen, but very amateur photographer, it’s the type of drive where you want to stop every few minutes to snap the incredible scenery.
The main photo, above, is of Catbells, a 1,480 ft fell I climbed with my brother. It’s got a pretty sharp incline which can take you by surprise for the first ten minutes or so. But, it’s well worth the initial struggle. It’s located just to the west of Derwent Water and is a few miles from Keswick. It’s a great climb with spectacular views that really take your breath away. Wainwright loved Catbells and said “It is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknot attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble.”. Ok, I take the point that I need to get fitter to catch up with all those grandmothers!
I also went for a picnic to another gorgeous place – Crummock Water. It’s a lake just down the road from the beautifully named, Buttermere. It was a gorgeous day, a little cold, but that water was irresistible. So, like a mad woman, I stripped down to my undies and waded in. Bonkers but totally invigorating.
I’m desperate to move out of London to the countryside and Cumbria is sorely tempting. Although the weather is very temperamental, the beauty, peacefulness and tranquility is proving difficult to resist.
I’d love to hear from anyone based in Cumbria or if you’ve got any thoughts about me moving there.

My body is [now] a temple

17 Apr

For how long, I’m not sure, but I’m hoping my new regime will last until at least after my ‘big birthday’ in May next year! So why the change? Well, as Buddha rightly said, “to keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Hmm, yes, well, there’s that and also the fact that I’ve been completely rubbish at looking after myself physically lately. Annnnyyywwwaaayyyy…

I’ve just got back from an amazing trip to the Atlas Mountains near Marrakech (such a stunning place – click here to see my pics) – it was basically a week long retreat with in:spa holidays focusing on getting fit, healthy eating, and cutting out all those nasty things we pump in to our bodies like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine (well, I do anyway!). Each day consisted of either a hard-core hike or full-on circuit training, two yoga sessions, nutrition talks, personal training, sports massage etc etc.

Ok if you’re already fit, but a complete killer if you’re someone like me! Yep, had major problems walking for the 1st four days and even had to tackle going down all stairs backwards until about day 5!!

I’m over the moon as during the week, with the help of some wonderful trainers etc, I managed to completely remotivate myself to get fit again, change my eating habits and, the best of all, stop smoking!! I never thought I would manage that – fingers crossed I’ve quit for life and without piling on a load of weight at the same time!

It’s also really motivated me to properly train for the hike I’m doing along Hadrian’s Wall in June for Great Ormond Street Hospital. It’s a 25 mile trek along the central section of the wall and all proceeds raised will go towards the Challenge Event team’s commitment to fund a state-of-the-art cardiac theatre in the new heart and lung centre for children. And, of course, I’d love you to sponsor me – all pretty easy through

So, it’s a big focus on health for me from now on – just hope I make sure I sustain that when I return to the big busy world of internal comms on Monday. I haven’t taken 2 weeks annual leave for a very long time – but, with a slightly smug feeling, new posture and my packed lunch, I’m hoping to take it all in my (slightly stronger and wider) stride!