I had one of those really great weekends this weekend. I won’t repeat my Saturday adventures, instead I shall regale you with my adventures on Sunday.
May last year I met two people at my new Slimming World group (I didn’t get my first group all that well, so I moved to a different one), and Gareth and Helen joined at roughly the same time. Helen is my friend that I have mentioned before who has lost 5 stone (and I take a great amount of inspiration from). Gareth and Helen are a couple, and we hit it off straight away. We decided to do something out and away from group one day, and decided on this weekend to doing something active. It fell in quite well with a free entry day for National Trust properties. We decided on Castle Drogo in the Teign Valley.
It’s an amazing house (well, castle), built in the early 1900s. It’s got a fairly sad story with it, but the family still live in apartments at the very top of the castle apparently. Anyway, it was built deliberately where it is, because of this:
The views around the castle are amazing. We went on a slightly overcast day, so you can probably imagine how beautiful it would look on a bright sunny day.
Unfortunately the house has a leaking roof, so there is a major conservation project to put the roof to rights and do a lot of works on the window. That means that a lot of the internal rooms have had a lot of plywood to protect the internals whilst the work is carried out. The castle is still open and they’ve thought up some great ways to show a different story, including a tea chest replica of the castle, large replicas of postcards that one of the sons used to collect, which you could interact with. Cue prop-wearing…
It’s full of great gadgets – stuff that you wouldn’t have thought was about in the 1920s – a proper shower (with a rain head and side jets), connection points for lamps (just put the lamp on a connection point and it lights), plus its own generator, using the river for electricity. I was amazed!
After we had wandered around the house and stopped for a cup of tea (Helen and I shared a flapjack, while the boys had scones), we headed back the car to don our walking boots. You can’t go to somewhere like that and not go for a walk. It was a 2 mile steep descent. I was astounded to see hoof prints on the way down – I wouldn’t ride a horse down such narrow steep paths with a nigh on sheer drop. They were ridden horses too, as they were shod prints. Madness!
At the very bottom of the valley was a hidden gem – Fingle Bridge Inn. Set next to the Teign, it used to be a mill that also had tea rooms, and now a delightful pub with excellent food. Helen and I chose ploughmans, M had gammon and Gareth had whitebait. I always think the sign of a good pub is the ability to take dogs in. The food was excellent, and definitely worth the walk.
After finishing lunch, we started the climb back up the valley. Climb being the operative word. It was two miles back up hill, steep hills interspersed with the occasional flat bit. The scenery though was breathtaking (again, quite literally – conversation was difficult on the way back up!).
However, the hill walking seems to have done something good for my bum muscles, as they’re much less tight now. I even managed to get out for a run. I knew that if I sat down for too long and didn’t look to move, I’d have stayed on the sofa all night. I didn’t give myself the option, just put my running stuff on and headed out. I bargained with myself that I would run for 25 minutes this time, as I knew I could do that. I actually managed to run my normal route quicker, covering 3.47km in 25:01, which gives me a 5k time of about 38 minutes I think. I was really pleased. I felt good coming back, though my calves are really stiff and tight. I wore flat shoes to work yesterday to try and help, but it’s not really worked.
I was thinking I was in for a successful weigh in (as in, my evening weight would follow suit of the morning results and be in the 15 stone range), but given the flapjack and then my dad’s birthday meal last night, my hopes are somewhat less now. I’m pretty sure I’m on for a loss, but not sure if I’ll break through the barrier. I doubt I’ll be staying for group though, as our normal consultant is poorly, and I’m not sure I like the stand ins all that much.
I’m really hoping that my laptop gets fixed soon so that I can get back to blogging properly, rather than writing on my old (non-internetable) laptop then having to post at lunchtime at work.