Sunday, 30 August 2020

Found it! And a bucket thing...

 


Some background - Kettle Cottage, where we are staying, is named for  nearby natural rock arch and cave which forms a “blow hole” in the cliff - called Slochd a’Choire or “the spouting kettle” as with the right weather conditions and high seas it shoots water high into the air! Last year we looked repeatedly for this feature but were entirely unable to track it down. We consulted maps, guides and even the Scottish registry of caves and mines which provided a grid reference - all to no avail and we had to leave, defeated. 

This year we’re back and, undaunted, decided to have another go. We’ve already been out on the headland several times and must have scoured every inch of the coastline in the area of the grid reference numerous times now - but this morning headed back at low tide for another go - with the lower water levels meaning we could examine more of the rocky areas and hopefully see it from a new angle. In spite of this, still nothing. We began wondering whether maybe the maps and grid references we’d seen were wrong - whether perhaps because of the “official” nature of the site providing the reference, others have just copied it without checking, thus underlining the incorrect information simply by further repeating it. So we looked for something different - and sure enough found a reference in a book to a different way of approaching it....and FINALLY, we found it! It turned out to be on an altogether different part of the headland - no wonder we couldn’t track it down before! Once we had found the new information it proved surprisingly easy!

So that was the first thing ticked off the wish-list for the day. The second came this afternoon when the wind dropped and as a result the temperature increased a bit...and we decided that it was time to don swimming gear and have our first ever Hebridean sea-swim! We were undecided as to where until we began to walk towards the beach we thought might work...then looked down into Bàgh Hogha Glan (Hoglan Bay) just below the cottage, and it looked SO enticing...! The water definitely felt cold when we first waded in, and it took me a good 10 minutes of edging a little further...and a little further...and shrieking when waves splashed me much to MrEH’s amusement, but once actually fully submerged it wasn’t too bad at all and I had the most GLORIOUS half an hour swimming up and down and bobbing gently in the waves. It’s SO long since I’ve swum at all thanks to this wretched virus, which made it even better. Swimming with a view of St Kilda way off the the horizon, being able to see straight through the water to the white sand below me, with birds flying overhead and at one stage being mildly startled by a large leaping fish just a few metres away (a salmon, probably?) really was very special. I did manage to get stung by a jellyfish, annoyingly, in spite of keeping a sharp eye out for them - not badly, but it still feels rather stingy and prickly several hours later! In spite of that though undoubtedly one of the very best things I have ever done on trips over here - jellyfish notwithstanding I’ll be hoping to repeat that at some stage! 


Robyn 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Neglected...






 

Oops - sorry! Those of you who follow me on Instagram as well will be aware that we are now, FINALLY in the Hebrides for the first time since Christmas. It’s truly about time, and even at the last minute fate had one last go at “making life difficult” with the cancellation of our planned ferry (high winds) and the need to change to a different route involving a hundred or so miles more driving AND a 2 hour earlier departure time. This is turn also meant an even longer journey as a diversion was needed to avoid a road closure on the A82 in the Highlands - up there diversions tend to be a lot of additional miles. Sigh. In the event the weather stepped in again delaying our sailing from 0940 to 1300 - one of the few times we are grateful for a delayed ferry! We came across just over a week ago, spent 2 nights in a “glamping pod” at the campsite we usually use the bunkhouse at (closed this year due to Covid restrictions)  then moved in to our usual cosy cottage on a wind-blown headland last Saturday. Since then we have walked, eaten, drunk lots of beer and wine, and enjoyed fabulous views like the eagle above. 

Life here is none too different in spite of C-19 - small differences, the face coverings obviously, and social distancing. Greeting good friends earlier today with no hug was strange. Hopefully by the time we are next here that one may have been relaxed a little! Winston the dog had no truck with social distancing though and greeted us as usual including an exploratory jump onto laps - no pesky virus getting in the way of THAT tough terrier! Places we usually find second hand books for sale are bare of them - thankfully I  brought a good supply so we will probably manage without running out of reading material - phew! The jigsaws that we had planned to leave here after doing will find their way to a second hand shop though as currently the cottage is bare of any books and similar. 

Other than that life is much as normal. Seasonally we have noticed differences though - this is our first summer visit and birds that we usually take for granted are nowhere to be seen, and the flowers on the machair are beautiful but quite different to those we see in the Spring. This year harebells, ragged robin and the purple of heather abound, plus blue scabious and the vibrant yellow of ragwort and hawkweed. Generally speaking everywhere is far greener than we are used to, but bizarrely temperatures have been lower - with a chilly wind blowing these last few days. When the wind drops, the midgies appear of course! Conditions underfoot are far drier than we are used to though, meaning that already one walk we have been putting off from necessity for many years has been ticked off the list!

So yes - it’s great to be back. It already feels like we’ve been here forever yet we have another week to go yet - bliss! Will it warm up enough for me to swim, is my current big question. This is probably my best opportunity- it’s unlikely we will get another summer visit very soon, so I’m keen to get in the water if possible! 


Robyn 




Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Updating...


Apologies - I’ve completely overlooked the blog for the past few days. Little excuse really except every time I have thought about writing something else has come along and distracted me almost immediately...not an unusual state of affairs as those who know me will confirm! 

I was intending to travel into London again on Saturday for another flypast - the Reds were doing a U.K. tour - flying over all 4 nations capital cities to mark the anniversary of VJ Day. Sadly the weather intervened and only Belfast got their flypast as planned. I looked at the forecast first thing and pretty much decided immediately to give it a miss - the route was a little unpredictable, low cloud was forecast all day, and I felt from the start that even if London got the jets, it wasn’t going to make for good photos. In fact the decision was made a couple of hours ahead of time that it was to be cancelled - a crying shame for the team with all the work that had gone into the planning.

Since then the weather has mostly been “more of the same” - from last week’s blistering temperatures and scorching sunshine we’ve gone to repeated torrential rain showers causing flooding in places around the country. Still fairly warm, but with very high humidity at times as well making it very sticky and uncomfortable.We’ve also had several days of thunderstorms rumbling around for hours at a time, yet here at least we have never really had the big storm that it felt as though it was building up to. The photo at the top was taken just 45 minutes of so after I had to dash for shelter from what felt like a monsoon - anything BUT summer-like conditions! 

Now our attention turns to the Hebrides and our long planned and much looked forward to trip. Things are taking a rather different shape this year unsurprisingly- but the islands will be as beautiful as ever, the people as lovely, and we’re very much anticipating a couple of weeks of relaxation and switching off from what has been a stressful last few months. 

Robyn
 

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Has the U.K. Weather got Coronavirus?

 

Well, it seems to be running a temperature, and also appears to have developed a persistent cough across most of the country over the last few days! Seriously though, there has been some awful weather in many places over the past 24 hours - with the worst effect being the train derailment up in Aberdeenshire of course in which 3 people have sadly lost their lives. We’re so accustomed to thinking of our weather as being fairly uneventful - much as we like making a fuss about anything  bit extreme for us - that it comes as a bit of a shock to be reminded so brutally that actually it does still come with it’s risks from time to time. 

Here the worst we’ve had so far is roasting hot temperatures, a brief shower of incredibly large raindrops this afternoon and a few rumbles of thunder, although even that has been enough to make this evening feel distinctly cooler. Sleeping has been a challenge these last few days so hopefully it might feel a bit better tonight. 

I did another short run this morning - the photo above may have already given the game away on this one! Slightly further, and a higher running:walking ratio than Monday - hence the slightly faster pace too (Monday was a stately 11.54 min/mile pace) and again, everything felt fine I’m pleased to say. The next one will be Friday and slightly further again - I’m determined to build this back up again slowly and steadily though. I’ll probably do some longer ones in the Hebrides but there will be a lot of walking involved too - there always is up there as a rule - even the 10k race I did there last year saw lots of breaks to take photos etc and I still managed to finish inside my target 60 minutes which I was thrilled with! I’m a long way off being able to achieve that at the moment! I’m starting to feel enthusiasm for running again which is great though! Hopefully the weather will have cooled off a bit by the time Friday comes around too and running might feel rather more pleasant and less sweaty! 

Robyn

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Opportunities missed?


Readers in the UK will be aware that our government has recently- with great fanfares, bells and whistles - announced a "fight against obesity" - and yes - it was inevitable that I was going to talk about it on here at some stage wasn't it! We're told this has been prompted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson becoming convinced that his weight was a factor in him ending up hospitalised when he contracted Covid-19 a few months ago. Plenty of others have already covered the fact that there is NO reason for him to think that - so I'm not going to go into that too much aside to say that the stats do NOT back up his thinking there. 

I'm going to stick a hand up and suggest another possible reason for Boris being so badly affected though - stress. He contracted the virus but continued to work. Even when clearly pretty unwell, he was still  working including appearing on TV briefings etc. One thing we know for certain is that one of the major factors in giving people the best chance of successfully fighting off viruses is rest - stepping off the hamster-wheel of work and indeed just everyday life if they possibly can. Stress impacts on the immune system - and if we contract something like Covid-19, or even standard flu, we need our immune system to be firing as strongly as possible. This would have been a wonderful opportunity for the government to normalise people taking time off work when unwell - which surely should be a given, but let's face it, clearly isn't, in the UK at least. Ask the majority of people how having to call in sick to work makes them feel and the answer will be guilty, awkward, and in some cases downright scared. Of course most people don't want to let their colleagues and employers down, but equally we're not giving ourselves the best chance of a swift recovery if we're spending time stressing, feeling guilty and worrying whether there will be implications to being off, generally followed by feeling pressured to return to our desk before we probably should.  One thing that is going to have to change now is the reaction that some employers give to someone with a heavy cold for example - that high temperature and cough that most people would simply have worked through now is going to be something that employers should be actively insisting that people stay at home with!

Having roundly missed the chance to do something to tackle the huge amounts of stress that so many people in the UK are under a lot of the time, even when ill, instead the government has decided to play the full guilt card on those in bigger bodies.As usual it takes a broad-brush approach - referring to "people who are overweight or obese" based on BMI, rather than instead focusing on health. And using the emotive "protect the NHS" tagline - suggesting that those in bigger bodies are single handedly responsible for threatening it. (This may be a good time to mention that malnutrition costs the NHS more each year in the UK than obesity does). On a personal note the BMI approach means I am classified as overweight - in spite of the fact that I'm fit, healthy, and pretty much nobody looking at me would suggest that I need to lose weight. I'm not going into numbers here because that can be incredibly triggering for those struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating - and goodness knows there is enough in this whole campaign already that seems designed to adversely affect those people! 

Anyone who has done ANY research into diet culture should be aware by now that it is incredibly harmful - the tendency for people to "go on a diet" and lose weight rapidly (something that the Government has gone on record as saying they are looking for) only to then "come off the diet" and put that weight back on again - plus more on top quite often. That yo-yo effect has been shown to be harmful, yet currently we don't seem to be seeing anything to explain how that will be combated. It also totally ignores the other factors involved with why people may put on weight, and why they may struggle to lose weight, too. Poverty is a prime driver that may see someone eat a less nutritionally dense diet - the oft repeated fallacy that it's cheaper to eat heathily is, for many, just that - false. A single example - I buy a couple of packs of apples per week - costing me usually around £3 and providing 12 apples. Those last us - a household of 2 - a little over a week, however if we added even a couple of children into the mix, that spend might only last a few days. In comparison, a bag of 30 packets of crisps costs that same £3 and yet might see that family of four covered for snacks for a full week. Clearly in an ideal world most people consider it better to eat an apple than a bag of crisps, but not everyone has the financial privilege to enable fruit being constantly available. A bag of 5 donuts comes in cheaper than a bag of 5 oranges. A meal of salad with some protein and carbs added is going to prove far more expensive for that family of 4 than fish fingers, chips and beans, and will probably not fill everyone up as much either. It's important to acknowledge that there is absolutely nothing wrong with ANY of the foods I've mentioned here - fish fingers, chips and beans is a firm favourite tea in this house for sure - but we tend to eat that once a month as a treat, not weekly as a staple because it fits in a tight budget.We buy the crisps as well as the apples, and yep, LOVE a donut from time to time as well! All that stuff can fit perfectly well into a balanced diet - but shouldn't in an ideal world be the main components of someone's weekly diet. 

It's all well and good to ban supermarkets from doing "buy one get one free" offers on high fat, sugar or salt foods, but you also need to provide them with an incentive to instead do those offers on more nutritionally dense foods. Otherwise all you are doing is increasing the profits of the supermarkets from the shoppers who can afford to buy those "healthy" foods while isolating those whose budgets simply will not stretch. The irony here is that the government's own policy document acknowledges that those children growing up in deprived areas are twice as likely to be "overweight" as those living in the richest areas - yet they do nothing to explain how their new policies will tackle this disparity. 

You don't have to get very far through the policy document before the good old "eat less, move more" rhetoric raises it's head - again something which anyone who has done that research into diet culture knows is an over simplification. For full disclosure - on a very simple level, yes, if you take in less calories than you use in a day, then yes you will lose weight. It's the method I used when I decided to get healthier a few years ago - note "get healthier" NOT "lose weight" - and yes, it worked for me, BUT I have the privilege to be able to afford to buy nutritionally dense foodstuffs, to be able to cook my meals from scratch, possibly most of all for me to be able to educate myself about portion sizes and for some foods even use scales to educate myself what those portion sizes look like, and to be able to spare the time and afford the kit to get more active. I could chuck on running kit and go for a run after work - because when I finish my working day my time is my own, this is not true for everyone. I have cooking facilities at home - not true for everyone. I live in an area where there is a good choice of supermarkets from the mid range to the budget, and I have a car, meaning I can buy in bulk and prices tend to be fairly low. And this brings us onto food deserts - and yes, even in 2020, these DO exist! Those deprived areas we were talking about earlier tend not to be the sorts of places where too many supermarkets feel a huge urge to put their stores - and many of those living in those areas do not have their own transport to get to the larger stores further afield, so can be reliant on little local convenience stores. In turn, those stores don't have the competition that they would if they were in the town I live in for example (5 branches of major supermarkets plus 2 budget stores all within a 3 mile radius) and so there is no incentive for them to keep prices low. There is also a tendency for those sorts of stores not to stock a great range of fresh fruit and vegetables,what they do stock may not be good quality or at its best due to slow turnover, and that lack of transport may well mean that frozen is not an option either. 

There is a lot to be said on this subject - but for me it just feels incredibly sad that the focus here is all about appearance, and numbers on a scale, and that there is no acknowledgement that you can be fit and healthy while still having a number on the BMI chart that doesn't sit neatly between 18 - 25. I dislike the disingenuous references to excess weight making someone more likely to be more severely affected by Covid-19 - in a healthy individual this is simply not true. "Unhealthy" is about so much more than what someone weighs or what they look like - and this is a point that seems to be roundly missed here. So many opportunities to educate people on what healthy really means, the benefit of movement, making better choices where that is possible and also to reduce weight stigma (which in turn may well mean that moire people actually DO lose weight!) but all of them missed. 

Robyn


Monday, 10 August 2020

A trial run...

 


(Yes - this is a completely unrelated photo - I posted it on Instagram last night though, and it brought back such brilliant memories I decided it could feature on here, too! It is of course our arrival on Lundy by helicopter a couple of years ago - a fantastic experience!)

It’s been quite an active sort of day here today, in spite of the fact that I have only *just* managed to reach my 10,000 daily step target. We went for our usual walk first thing - a habit that we started at the beginning of lockdown when we were first both at home all week, and have carried on with since - it’s not something we even think twice about now - the standard routine on weekdays is up, wash, dress, walk, and it’s definitely something I’ll really miss when things change again. Once we hit the 3 mile point this morning we were nearly back to home so I left MrEH to carry on back to start work and I picked up the pace to add a final mile of gentle run/walking to see how my sore hip and back would hold up. I settled on short bursts of running with similar length or slightly shorter bursts of walking in between - roughly a 55/45 split I reckon. Just that mile was plenty for this morning allowing for how hot it was too - I was positively dripping by the time I finished! So far, so good though, everything feels OK and I’ll be running again on Wednesday morning if that remains the case - slightly further this time. 

I’d originally been planning to come straight home and launch into today’s workout for the 21 day strength challenge I’m doing, but in fact I was SO hot all I wanted to do then was just have a sit, some breakfast, and cool off a bit!  The downside of this was that I had to knuckle down and do the workout in the mid afternoon heat instead - ugh! It got done though - and I followed it up with a lovely long stretching session in the hope that my legs might ache less this week than they did after the same workout last week! I could barely move by the end of last week so anything that might help will be welcome! 40 minutes of stretching and breathing and discovering that my body is FAR more flexible than I expected it to be really hit the spot!

Robyn

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Not Long Walk Sunday!

 It’s been ludicrously hot down here over the weekend - we’ve been over 30°C both days and it’s felt hotter than that when walking on tarmac or concrete so we decided a long walk today was a bad idea and instead chose to have a wander into town to get some odds and ends we needed - still a little over 5.5 miles but not the sort of distances we’ve been doing on Sundays of late. 

I’ve been playing with black & white photos on Instagram for a couple of days - I like messing about converting stuff to monochrome from time to time - the shot above is a good example, an iPhone picture from winter 2016 which I’ve always loved in colour, but wasn’t sure would work in B&W - but with a good boost to the contrast, to my mind at least, it really does. Aviation photos can be a funny one with monochrome - the old warbirds usually work well, as you’d expect, but sometimes even a modern fast jet with a strong colour scheme can convert nicely - I’ll offer this Sukhoi SU-27 as an example:

Aviation fans will be familiar with the bright blue “pixel camo” scheme of that one - it wasn’t until I was looking for shots with the specific idea of mono conversions that the idea of that one jumped out at me but I really like it! 

Time then to start looking at another week - and yes, I’m still furloughed. It’s a tough one - if I relied on public transport to get to my office I would probably be quite glad of still being off - the thought of using the tube in London at the moment REALLY doesn’t appeal. As it is though, I’d love to be back in my routine - albeit London would be even hotter than it is here at the moment I guess! Instead though it will be another week of finding things to fill my time. I’ll be aiming to max out the activity this week I think - Alice Liveing’s 21 Day Challenge continues, we’ll be walking each morning, and I want to start slotting a bit of running back in again as well now I think. I tried some short bursts of running on Friday morning at the end of a walk and that felt good, so time to increase that a bit now I think and see how that feels. There is also preparation to be done for our upcoming Hebrides trip - so that will help to keep me busy. 

Right now though, there is a beer to be drunk, and a jigsaw to be finished - both hinged that have become part of the routine in this odd “new normal” we’re living with! 


Robyn

Friday, 7 August 2020

Missing the “usual”...




A few of you will probably know that in normal circumstances I would have been spending this week of the year working my arse off for no pay in a gigantic greenhouse in West London - otherwise known as volunteering at the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia. It’s something I’ve done annually since 1998 - so this would have been my 23rd year. Last year we added the duties of looking after the British beer order to our previous roles too - MrEH is a Manager of one of the bars and I am a Deputy Manager. It’s a hot, exhausting, sweaty, physically demanding and above all pretty stressful week, but it’s spent with some of my best friends in the world and as a result, yes, I love it! 

The festival was one of the earliest victims of the pandemic - we reach the stage of increasing commitments both in terms of workload and financial outlay from March onwards - and so as soon as it became apparent that the Covid-19 crisis was going to have a huge impact not just on the U.K. but all over the world, decisions had to be made. At the stage we first talked about it it was becoming very obvious that large gatherings - particularly indoor ones - were going to be banned for a significant period of time, potentially with no end date. With so many “unknown factors” the decision was reluctantly taken by our Festival Organiser Catherine to cancel this year’s event - a hugely brave and tough decision so far in advance, but one which was backed unanimously by the entire working party. A fair few folk on the outside said we’d jumped too soon - that it would “all be over by August” - but as we now know this is far from the case and had we tried to press ahead it would have proved a very costly mistake. 

There’s much joking on social media this week amongst the volunteer staff about all the things we are “virtually doing” - imagining that in fact we were at Olympia as normal. Right now for example, at the time I am writing I would be making final checks on any beers we were expecting to need to put on sale later tonight - Friday evening  is one of our business sessions on the bar - so tasking the cellar team with making sure that anything we would be needing shortly had a tap in it, as well as making decisions about anything that would not be ready to sell this evening, but would instead be tapped last thing tonight or first thing tomorrow ready to see out our final day open to the public. With my other pair of hands (!) I’d also be checking that the two teams under our “control” for want of a better word (actually they are staffed by exceptionally competent and experienced individuals) on the beer order side; Wet stock control and wet stock logistics were happy with their tasks and workloads and also dealing with any problems that needed our attention. 

It feels very strange to be sitting here quietly on the balcony, writing this at a time when usually I’d be incredibly busy - and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t to a degree missing the bustle and fun that comes along with it. I’m not missing the sore feet - by this stage of the week no matter how much you obey the first rule of GBBF (never stand when you can sit) the heels are always letting out a low yet relentless throb - although this is much improved from the days at Earls Court with it’s unforgiving concrete floor. I confess I am also not missing the stress - today’s 54BPM is the lowest my resting heart rate has been during August since I got my FitBit in 2017! 

There will be a real “Virtual GBBF” happening next month - although aside from putting together some lists of beers which will be featuring in that we have little to do with that as we’re unavailable during the time it’s happening - and we have a plan to get our bar team together for a meet-up at some stage before the end of the year too. For now though, there will be a glass or two raised this evening to “what might have been” and also to all those pals we are missing this week. For now, that’s the best we can do.

Robyn 

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Progress...

Another few days of sunshine and we just might have our first tomato ready to eat! Tradition of course states that if there is only one ready then it will be cut in half and shared - MrEH would be most upset if I snaffled it for myself! We harvested some of our kale this evening too to have as part of dinner - thankfully the cabbage white caterpillars which had made it home have now moved on without decimating the entire crop! Currently we seem to have just a single runner bean setting - hopefully a few more will appear before too long. 

Progress too on my injury - or rather some diversions from it! I decided that not being able to run at the moment meant a good incentive to focus on strength training instead - and handily one of my favourite instagram influencers, Alice Liveing, has just begun a 21 day challenge focusing on strengthening which I have decided to start working through. I did day 1 yesterday - legs - and it was certainly effective - my lower body is roundly berating me today and I suspect may have entirely gone on strike by tomorrow! Day 2 which I did today was arms and core so I’m expecting similar levels of rebellion from those in the morning! I’m also continuing with daily stretching and plenty of walking - and hoping that the combination of different activities gives me the best chance of being able to get back to running sooner rather than later. Once we’re back from the Hebrides regardless of whether I am back at work or not I may try to find a local gym I can get back to using too - I’ve really been missing my resistance work since lockdown began, and with my usual gym being close to the office even though it is almost certainly open again now it’s been impractical to drive all the way into London just to go and it’s not worth starting up my gym pass again just for a single visit a week. 

Right - time for some stretching! 

Robyn



Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Not running...




It would appear we have an injury. Only myself to blame too - I did a strength workout with weights on Friday, and threw in a new exercise for the first time - which is fine, except I should have done it either unweighted or with very light weights for the first time, not the heavy dumbbell that I was using for other, more familiar, lifts. It wasn’t even a conscious decision - I simply didn’t think. Now the positive from this is clearly that I was able to do the movement with a significant load straight off - the negative however is that a I have pulled either something in my back, or my piriformis muscle again. Cue lots of hip pain and a very sore lumbar region, and, realistically, no running for a few days at least.

It does feel rather as though each time I commit to getting back to regular running something comes along to get in the way again, and it’s really frustrating. I’ve also currently got in mind that our Hebrides trip is not far away so I want to be extra cautious as the last thing I want is to risk making things worse and so get in the way of the walks we have planned. Thankfully at the moment walking seems fine - so for the time being it’s plenty of that, plus lots of stretching, plentiful foam rolling, and a few doses of ibuprofen until I see how things settle down. It’s already feeling a lot better today than yesterday - but I know from experience that patience is going to be key - and that’s something I struggle with! 

Robyn


Sunday, 2 August 2020

Long Walk Sunday

Another Sunday, so another long walk was on the cards. We’d not planned anything in advance for today but the forecast was good so a brief discussion this morning and we decided to take the car to the little town just north of us - Sawbridgeworth - and then rejoin the River Stort and walk up as far as Bishop’s Stortford. 



It was a gorgeous day for a walk by water for sure - not too hot for the most part, and with a light breeze but also plenty of sunshine and beautiful blue skies. 


There is a common misconception locally that the Stort is a canal - but in fact the stretch we were walking is a “navigation” - a river which has been canalised and made navigable by the addition of locks. There are a total of 15 locks on the 22km long Stort Navigation- today’s walk saw 5 of them. Another misconception is that the town of Bishop’s Stortford is named after the river - in fact this is not the case, the river was re-named in the 16th century and was previously called the Stour. 


We parked the car in the centre of Sawbridgeworth a short walk from the river - which was easy to find as you simply head downhill! We realised pretty fast that we had actually joined the walk slightly too far north - but decided not to worry about that now the time being, we’d either walk it at the end or return another week and do it. In the end by the time we got back to where we joined the river we decided we’d been on our feet for long enough so another week it will be! 


One lovely bird spot today - and one that it is surprising we had not seen previously when we’d been walking his particular river - a Kingfisher! We were watching dragonflies dancing across the water, heard a splash and MrEH looked across in time to see the distinctive bright blue flash. A few moments later we both saw it streak away up the river - a stunning sight! 

A long weekend for us this week as MrEH has tomorrow off work. Nothing specific planned, just that he has holiday time to use and he fancied a day off really - we’ll decide what to do with it tomorrow! 

Robyn