Just for the record this is my second attempt at a blog entry for today. I was just in the process of entering my last photo when the screen went blank. With words like "Oh, Fiddle and Crumbs that wasn't sporting" here goes another try.
Well what has happened up here at Spirit over the last couple of weeks? I can now put your minds at rest. The temperature up here at Powdermills has not crept above freezing for nearly two weeks and when for a day it get milder it just poured with rain. The wind has certainly played its part in keeping the the arctic chill with us. As my Grandfather use to say "Thats a lazy wind, it can't be bothered to go around so it just goes straight through you!!". He wasn't wrong, as no matter how many layers we put on it never seems enough. Last Tuesday I saw a Wheatear up here at Powdermills, the first this year. I haven't seen it since so it may be the last as it probably packed its bags and has gone back south to warmer climes.
The week before last I was running a Princes Trust team and despite the cold all was going well. On the Friday when the team were due to attempt their Final Challenge the heavens opened. When I drove through Dousland that morning the road was flowing like a river. The water rushing off the hills was pretty impressive and as you can imagine the rivers were running well!!! With persistent heavy rain and gale force winds we decided to tweak the challenge slightly. It wasn't even nice weather for ducks!!! With the new challenge in place the team had a successful morning albeit a very wet one. The following Sunday we were running a Marie Curie abseil off Meldon Viaduct. It was a though we never had any wet weather. There was an Arctic chill in the air and again the wind had returned. With the prospect of standing under a bridge a 100ft above the ground in those conditions I put on as many layers as I could. I could barely move but I was pleased to be wearing all those layers. Well, I say that but to get to the abseil site you had to cross many metal bars that made up the structure of the bridge. This made an obstacle course that would have even been a test for even Colin Jackson to hurdle successfully. I made this trip about ten times throughout the day shuttling cows tails and taking my turn to abseil the participants. Despite a few participants feeling the cold it was a great day. I think the final number of participants was over 60.
Last week we had the Clayesmore Gold DoE practice expedition. With the forecast of more cold and icy weather on the way the decision was made to camp them close to our bunkhouse instead of remote sites around the south moor. The first night was a very cold affair and the bunkhouse was duly used the following night. With the three groups walking deep into the south moor we decided to follow them more closely than usual. Some days saw Myself, Mike and Alan walking around 20km. I even visited Ducks Pool for the first time in a long time, it wasn't very busy there but it was very bleak and cold!! At times standing on the hills sides it was painful to look into the brisk cold wind. Our faces were certainly weathered at the end of each day and were glowing accordingly. The groups made it to the end of the week and had their final days walking last Friday.
Even though the clocks changed over the weekend the shorts have stayed in the wardrobe. Not even Martin has dared to brave this cold weather as is the usual tradition here a Spirit. I have a WGL training course over the next three days and it looks to remain cold, but at leats it will be dry.
With thoughts of a long hot and balmy summer ahead of us (we are all entitled to dream!!!) we will be runing a week long summer camp down at Dartmouth at the end of July. For more details follow the link http://www.youngspiritsummercamp.co.uk/. In about three weeks time I will be heading off to John O Groats on my bike with a group of like minded individuals who are not relishing the prospect of cycling and camping in the cold. We will be starting from Lands End so I am hoping the wind will change direction. I don't wish to be cycling into a cold easterly, it will be a holiday after all.
I am going to quit now before I have to remember all this for third time.