Bits and Bobs

Over the course of the year of running, there have been a few runs which I have looked into doing but I have ended up going somewhere else. I often used to make preparatory write-ups about the area or theme before going and running the route and use that as a framework to hang what I experienced on, plus it also meant that I knew what to look out for!

As a result there are a few days where plans changed and these ditties were set aside. Most got deleted but a few were saved up for later and now that year year is over are simply curiosities, and basically unfinished works in progress, unless of course, you want to go out and explore 🙂

Images on this page are reused from wikipedia under creative commons as I didn’t get to go those places on that occasion!

Day 131 mile 131: Diamond Day.

On this day in 868 a Chinese version of the Diamond SÅ«tra was printed, which makes it in the words of the British Library, “the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book.”

It is a fascinating text and urges it’s readers to cut through the illusions of reality that surround them. Names and concepts given to both concrete and abstract things are merely mental constructs that mask the true, timeless reality lying behind them.

The printed scroll was one of 40,000 other books and manuscripts hidden in a cave near the city of Dunhuang. The secret library was sealed up around the year 1000, a time when this desert outpost of China was threatened by the Hsi-Hsia kingdom to the north. The cave is part of a holy site known as the ‘Caves of a Thousand Buddhas’ – a cliff wall honeycombed with nearly 500 caves cut from the rock from the 4th century onwards. A monk discovered the sealed entrance to the hidden cave in 1900. Inside, the scrolls of paper and silk had been perfectly preserved by the dry desert air. The text was then ‘discovered’ by a Brito-Hungarian archaeologist in 1907 and it now resides in the British Museum. This pilfering is a shameful footnote to an amazing object but one which should not be overlooked. However if you do want to look at it you can go and see it in the museum or the photo-digitized version here.

As a bit of fun and a really tenuous link I have found a road set out in a diamond shape not far out of my way to celebrate this 🙂

Day 219 Mile 219: Puffing a lot like a steam engine

7 August marks the anniversary of the passing of an Act of Parliament in 1840 that outlawed child chimney sweeps. So I thought it would be a good idea to find an iconic chimney.

In Parc Glynllifon I found the oldest steam engine working in its original setting in Wales. The engine dates from 1854 and is De Winton horizontal stationary steam engine housed in one of the estate buildings and therefore sporting a very important, and functional chimney.

The late and great Fred Dibnah repaired the chimney in 1988 and several weeks later was asked to repair the engine, which he dismantled during the winter and took back to Bolton. With his assistant Neil Carney, he spent six months repairing the engine. The two sourced a replacement boiler from a local pork pie factory and re-installed the engine in Wales. The engine has lignum vitae lagging on its single 14hp cylinder and is in beautiful condition. Dibnah later won a prize for the quality of the restoration work. The boiler is fired on wood from the estate – so almost no smoke from the tall brick chimney – and boils water from the local stream – so no waste.

Day 288 Mile 288: The Gt. Orme, Up From Pier to Summit.

Before I type any more, today’s run means that in the year so far I’ve actually run just over 400 Miles for charity! I’m running at least a mile a day this year for CLAPA (the Cleft Lip and Palate Association) and due to usually running a bit more than the mile those bits have added up and today it clocked past the big four zero zero!

Feeling rather proud of this idea I decided to go for a run up Great Orme’s Head. The Orme is an iconic limestone headland promontory rising nearly 700 ft. at the north end of the Victorian Seaside town of Llandudno. The Great has been etymologically linked to the Old Norse words urm or orm that mean sea serpent (the English word worm is transliterated from the same term); the Great Orme being the head, with its body being the land between that and the Little Orme. There is a pier at the bottom, a cafe at the top and a set of roads and tram tracks in between.

The tram carries tourists up one of the most picturesque and directs routes from the town to the top, lasting about a mile, and in many places sharing the road. There are places where the tram deviates from this line but the road runs parallel to the top, and I have taken this.

Given that my daughter is in a birthday party in the town for two hours and I have 400 miles in my legs to celebrate I thought I would take the challenge on.

It’s beautiful in an odd way, leaving the Victorian architecture and following the metal of the tramlines, reeling it in with the eyes as it snakes away skywards. Further up the buildings become more functional with less bay window pretense and more agricultural solidity against wind and sky. Eventually even they stop as the open grass of the ffridd rolls across the skyine. Pulling the last few hundred meters up the hill at a snail’s pace tiny details become apparent, the ochre of the solid at the edge of the verge where clumps of grass have broken away, the pebbles of limestone across the tarmac and the acridity of the wind.

A cup of tea at the summit cafe well deserved I feel.

Wonderfull earwom for today, a combination of the viking link and the peace you can find up in the highs out of the town 🙂

Day 361 Mile 361: LOL-ing and Running

[On 27th Dec it started snowing and I couldn’t leave village to go and do this.] Today I am cooking lunch for my cousin Mike and his remarkably tolerant fiance Sophie. With a little scratching below the surface a trip to the shops can turn up all sorts of amazing history  which I had no idea of.

Thomas Harding was a sixteenth-century  resident of Chesham and is something of a forgotten icon of English progressive dissent. He had associated with other prominent Lollards, notably William Tylesworth and John Scrivener, attending their secret conventicles where prayers and readings were conducted in English, which was forbidden, rather than in Latin.

In May 1532, Harding and his wife were accused of heresy, and brought before the Bishop of Lincoln, He was arrested while reading William Tyndale, and a search of his house revealed several other works by Tyndale, including The New Testament in English and The Practice of Prelates.

He was condemned as a heretic. As a result of which he was chained to a stake, erected for the purpose, at Chesham in the Dell, near Botely; and when they had set fire to the wood pile, one of the spectators dashed out his brains with a billet. The priests had told the people that whoever brought logs to burn heretics would have an indulgence to commit sins for forty days!

It was a crazy world back then and I had no idea that this even happened barely 3 miles from where I grew up!


One Tuesday Afternoon: The Cob Train Race.

According to the timetable the 16:14 and the 18:19 trains take 9 minutes to arrive in Llandudno Junction, separate carriages, depart and arrive in Conwy. This is because half of the train goes into Llandudno and half of the train carries on to Holyhead. It seems like a great idea to try and beat it by running. Straight-lining it across all the car-parks etc it works out at almost exactly a mile. On the right day it could be done! Suggested by Anwen Williams

Bye 🙂

Ed Wright – Penmaenmawr 1st Jan 2018.