Day 234 Mile 234: Jackdaws & Gulls on the Offside Castle 

Day 234 Mile 234: Jackdaws & Gulls on the Offside Castle. Conwy Castle is an amazing structure, completed in 1289 it dominates the head of the Conwy valley, overlooking the river and encircling the town with imposing walls of protective stone. It is hugely popular and with good reason, and is a world heritage site as well as being very cool!

Most of the time people tend to stay within the walls or approach the town from the north, ambling along the coast or in the beautiful Bodlondeb woods. Today I took the chance to explore the south eastern corner of the world outside the walls. Very few people come here unless you happen to have something specific to do. There is the bowling green and the corner shop which supplies the houses but apart from that little else to attract the coach loads who flock about the town buying crab lines, postcards and historic weaponry.

This is as shame as this is actually a really beautiful spot. Due to the change in elevation the castle looks even more impressive and if you can airbrush out the railway line in your minds’ eye it is easy to see how intimidating the fortress would appear for anyone coming downriver from the mountains with anything other than innocent intentions.

The air feels quite misty and the smell of the sea is strong today. Running along, the jackdaws and the seagulls are still playing their polarized game of cat and mouse as to who can find the best perch or food scraps, the bulkier more aggressive seagulls winning and loosing in equal measure to the smaller, agile and distinctly more intelligent jackdaws. The ongoing saga of the birds aside I didn’t see another soul out today, which even though it was early, it wasn’t that early!

All in all a great little run 🙂

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1704.4 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Day 233 Mile 233: Looking Forward and Reflecting

20170821_070506Day 233 Mile 233:  Looking Forward and Reflecting. Over the last few days the gradual turning of the seasons has been noticeable as summer gives way to autumn but today this does not necessarily feel like something to bemoan. Early this morning I went for a run along the prom. The tide was a long way out leaving puddles of mirror glass to reflect the cotton-wool sky. The air is completely still, which is a rarity for this part of the world, particularly right by the sea and lends an atmosphere of expectation to proceedings.

The low sun still has a lot of power in it as it almost blinding when you are heading towards it but lacks the summer heat of a week or so ago. On glass and metal surfaces the light has still not yet evaporated the condensation from last night’s dew fall, the first time I have noticed it since the spring.

In short it is a beautiful morning, the sort which can leave you looking forward to the crackle of frosts, gloves, fireworks and the sparkle of winter. I’m not wanting to wish the time away but it is so easy to dread the end of the summer that every so often it is nice to revel in the endless dance 🙂

The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.

(A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1.112-119)

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1651.9 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Many many thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Day 232 Mile 232: Voyaging Around the Pale Blue Dot

voyagerreverseDay 232 Mile 232: Voyaging Around the Pale Blue Dot. On Sat, 20 Aug 1977 Voyager 2 launched start of the Voyager mission. The Voyager probes are still running, out there in space, and hold the record for the fastest and furthest away objects ever made.

The program employs two robotic probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, to study the outer Solar System. They were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and are now exploring the outer boundary of the heliosphere in interstellar space. Although their original mission was to study only the planetary systems of Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 continued on to Uranus and Neptune, and both Voyagers are now tasked with exploring interstellar space. Their mission has been extended three times, and both probes continue to collect and relay useful scientific data. Neither Uranus nor Neptune has been visited by any probe (hehe) other than Voyager 2.

20170819_182221-02

On August 25, 2012, data from Voyager 1 indicated that it had become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, traveling further than anyone, or anything, in history. As of 2013, Voyager 1 was moving with a velocity of 17 kilometers per second (11 mi/s) relative to the Sun.

Data and photographs collected by the Voyagers’ cameras, magnetometers, and other instruments revealed previously unknown details about each of the giant planets and their moons. Close-up images from the spacecraft charted Jupiter’s complex cloud forms, winds, and storm systems and discovered volcanic activity on its moon Io. Saturn’s rings were found to have enigmatic braids, kinks, and spokes and to be accompanied by myriad ringlets. At Uranus Voyager 2 discovered a substantial magnetic field around the planet and 10 additional moons. Its flyby of Neptune uncovered three complete rings and six hitherto unknown moons as well as a planetary magnetic field and complex, widely distributed auroras. Voyager 2 is still the only spacecraft to have visited the ice giants.

Both craft carry with them a 12-inch golden phonograph record that contains pictures and sounds of Earth along with symbolic directions on the cover for playing the record and data detailing the location of our planet. The record is intended as a combination of a time capsule and an interstellar message to any civilization, alien or far-future human, that may recover either of the Voyagers. The contents of this record were selected by a committee that included Timothy Ferris and was chaired by Carl Sagan.

The Voyager program’s discoveries during the primary phase of its mission, including never-before-seen close-up color photos of the major planets, were regularly documented by both print and electronic media outlets. Among the best-known of these is an image of the Earth as a Pale Blue Dot, taken in 1990 by Voyager 1, and popularized by Carl Sagan with the quote:

“Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam”.

pbd.jpg

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/  

As Voyager 2 is below the horizon for most of the year from where we are and Voyager 1 is roughly to the west, lining up approximately with the constellation Ophiuchus I decided to take myself for a late night run in that direction. 🙂

There is something magical about going for a run in the middle of the night. The air seems clarified somehow. The shadows thrown by the few streetlights stand out in the cool air and in my time out I heard only one car travel past. It’s a bit like floating in a dream where space and world drift past the somnambulist in a blur of silent-film tape.

Once again, good night 🙂

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1726.5 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Day 231 Mile 231: Is This the Start of Autumn?

Day 231 Mile 231: Is This the Start of Autumn? I went to Conwy to do the 5km Parkrun today and the wind comming off the sea is truly awesome, presumably the start of the wonderfully  named ‘Storm Gurt’. You do not need your eyes open to know if you are running in the right direction; one way feels like fighting through treacle, the opposite direction feels like you are about to take off! 

I happened to get there a bit earlt today so got a chance to take in the views. The Conwy RSPB reserve is situated on the east side of the estuary comprising 114 acres and protects a variety of habitats including grassland, scrubland, reedbeds, salt marsh and mudflats. It turns out it was created as compensation for the destruction of areas of wildlife habitat during the construction of the road tunnel under the estuary between 1986 and 1991. Dredged silt was dumped onto the site which was later landscaped to create two large pools and several smaller ones. Since then over 220 species of bird have been recorded on the reserve, including lapwing, little ringed plover, skylark and reed warbler. Other wildlife includes otter, stoat and weasels along with 11 species of dragonfly and damselfly and 22 different butterflies.

In the grand scheme of it, it seems like a good compromise!

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 5048.9 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Day 230 Mile 230: Conwy Rivers Project 6/10 Staying Downstream of the Goblins

river moss rocks waterfall walesDay 230 Mile 230: Conwy Rivers Project 6/10 Staying Downstream of the Goblins. The Afon Dulyn (the Black River) is a small river cutting its way down off the mountains from Llyn Dulyn, yes you’ve guessed it, the Black Lake. It makes its way down the west side of the Conwy Valley gouging a deep cleft through the Cambrian strata that marks out the far boundary of the Carneddau range and thus tells of a very old history.

Today’s run starts in the village of Tal-Y-Bont just above where the Dulyn meets the Conwy river and follws the Dulyn gorge up from its starting point behind the Bedol Pub and up into the hills. Y Bedol is Welsh for “The Horseshoe”. The next building to the north was a smithy and farriers and presumably somewhere back in the mists of time hence how the inn earned its name.

river moss rocks waterfall walesThe run up the gorge feels close, and the river feels dark under the trees and particularly ancient rocks and woodland. The path is narrow and at times precarious and it is easy to see how people became so suspicious of the lake that feeds this water-course.

Llyn Dulyn (the Black Lake), which is overlooked by tall cliffs, is said to have a dark reputation. In the past it was said to be visited regularly by the ‘Tylwyth Teg, goblins and rain-makers’. Other stories involve disfigured fish living in this lake, which apparently have bulbous eyes and deformed bodies. The lake covers an area of only 33 acres yet is extremely deep reaching to a depth of 189 feet, so the oddly shaped fish may well have some basis in crepuscular evolution more than superstition. In 1942 a plane crashed into the foreboding rocks to the west of the water, and pieces of it eventually wound up in the lake, where they are to this day. This cemented it as a place of ill fortune in many people’s minds. So I’ll stay down by the river rather than going up to the lake today… just in case!

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1965.2 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

For today’s earworm my mind was too full of endorphins from running up hill and talk of the weird so this wonderful chestnut sneaked its way in 🙂  

Day 229 Mile 229: ‘Rainy Day Running #12 & 35’

stepping stones AngleseyDay 229 Mile 229: ‘Rainy Day Running #12 & 35’. Today’s run picks up on a route suggestion made by a friend of mine ages ago, which I have now finally had the chance to take up. It’s a great one, once again on the billiard table that is the middle of the Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Môn but with the added excitement of potentially getting a good soaking if you put a foot down wrong!

Ed Wright stepping stones AngleseyThe Afon Briant meanders languidly across the green flood plain, down to the south end of the Menai Straits where it meets the sea. About a mile upstream there is a large line of stepping stones, set high enough to remain navigable on all but the most extreme of tides.

It certainly adds a sense of fun to the route! Amazingly (and presumably because of the salty air) the stones themselves are not nearly as slippery as I have come to expect from crossing similar ones in freshwater streams and in woodland. The result of which is something you can actually have a committed (if somewhat cautious) run across as opposed to the usual careful, balance-y, stepping!

The wildlife was also out in force this morning, with the change of the seasons bringing migrating birds into the wetlands. It was great to see a heron fishing in a bight of the river surrounded by a flock of egrets and to be constantly scattering a flurry of rabbits as I ran through the grass covered parts of the route.

It would have been really amazing had the sun been out!

Thanks to Anwen Williams for today’s suggestion and thanks to Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (motorcycle road racer, the only person in history to win the British Superbike Championship 5 times) for tweeting about this yearlong challenge yesterday. You are both absolute stars 🙂

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1611.0 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Sorry here is the earworm for today… too good to miss!

Day 228 Mile 228: Running Along Behind my Great-great Grandfather

Charles Walter Smith Beard Penmaenmawr HistoryDay 228 Mile 228: Running Along Behind my Great-great Grandfather. In one of those weird loops of fate it turns out that during my time at university (roughly 250 miles from home) I moved into a village on the coast, where, unknown to me my great great grandfather and several other members of his (and by extension my) family had lived well over a century ago!

Charles Walter Smith (shown in the photo) is my maternal great great grandfather, and was born in 1838. It turns out he used to live in, and run a farm, barely 10 minutes’ walk away from where I now live. Although it is hard to pinpoint precisely which building it would have been, as residences shift, change and are rebuilt and extended, the road he lived on and the fields are still there and I can give it a pretty good guess.

His brother William Smith also used to live in the village, having bought the Penmaenmawr Hotel (later the Grand Hotel) from a Dr. Norton, and it is said that Charles’ and side of the family used to manage the establishment when the two brothers traveled on business to the Liverpool Corn Exchange. The hotel is no longer there, having been developed into housing 20 years or so ago, but the road layout of Llanerch-Y-Mor and the rise up from the station still demarcates where it would have stood.

So today I ran from the farm along Graiglwyd Road and down to the site of the hotel. It’s an odd feeling, looking at places which feel very familiar in a slightly different way, re-imagining spaces and rolling back years in the minds’ eye; but also experiencing a sense of belonging in a broader time and place, while simultaneously being cognisant of that paper-thin slice of time which we currently occupy.

It’s a run I have meant to do for a long time, and a bit of research which has been on the boil for a while. I’m glad I got the chance today 🙂

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1644.8 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Seems an appropriate earworm for today….