Cadair Berwyn

When my alarm started blaring out early on a Sunday morning I wasn’t the most enthused about getting out of bed. But when Ryan said it was blue skies outside, I knew I’d regret turning over and falling back to sleep.

We chucked some sandwiches in a bag with our walking stuff and made our way to Pistyll Rhaedr, which isn’t too far from Llangynog. I was expecting the car park to be full, but we were the first ones there! The cafe wasn’t even open to pay to park.

Cadair Berwyn, Wales

We changed our shoes and started to head out of the car park and up into the hills. We could go left to the top of the waterfall or straight to end up at the top of Cadair Berwyn, which is what we wanted to climb.

Cadair Berwyn, WalesCadair Berwyn, Wales

There was nobody else on the path but us and the skies were clear blue. Not even aeroplane trails in sight.

Cadair Berwyn, Wales

With a lot of climbing, stream hopping and bogginess later, Llyn Lluncaws reveals itself. Looking back on the paths we’ve just walked, there no civilisation in sight. No houses or busy roads, just rolling Welsh hills.

But we weren’t at the top yet. We were about to have our breathe taken away once again.

We had the ridge line to climb to say we were at the top, so it only got steeper.

I’m not going to lie, it was tough going, but at the same time it was so pretty up there we just couldn’t wait to see what the view was like from the top.

We finally made it to the top, and had a 360 degree view from the top. Again still on our own.

The rest of the walk we were following in Trail Magazine meant we went up and down nearby hill tops. The next one we got to had a little fort on the top, which meant we could get out of the wind for lunch.

By this point we were both knackered so we’re glad we’d packed an Easter egg to share at the top. And yes we split it straight down the middle!

The later it got through the day we started to see more people making the most of the weather. We even saw a family on one of the peaks and offered to help them take a family photo. I’ve never seen two young boys so happy to be up such a steep hill! We couldn’t let them get a photo without heir Dad in too!

We may have deviated off the path, but we never got round to figure it out. We got caught out in snow drifts we though were solid, but swallowed Ryan’s legs up to his knees! We got stuck in bog and wandered across a hill trying to get back to the path.

As spontaneous as it was, Cadair Berwyn is yet another hill that captured my heart to stay in my collection of memories forevermore.

Going into the hills is such an escape from everyday life. Polar opposite to what I fill my weekdays with. The weekend is when I can explore.

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

On our trip around North Wales last weekend I finally managed to pick up some new walking boots. I’ve been looking for some for so long now, I’m just glad I’ve found some!

I’ve had some Salomon boots for a few years now, and they’ve been good enough for the walks I was doing. They’re just starting to show their age a bit now. Letting water in and a well used sole having been battered by plenty of dog walking miles with Jenson.

Looking for a new pair of boots, I knew I’d need to spend a little bit more this time. (Well my Dad actually bought my last pair but that’s another story!) If I want the boots to last and look after my feet, cheap boots just wouldn’t make the cut. I also want to be a little more adventurous this year with the routes I’m keen to try, so it’s important I have the right kit.

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

I did actually buy some Mammut boots last year from Go Outdoors, but they only lasted two weeks before one of the eyelets came off.

To avoid disappointment with another pair of boots, I went to where the knowledge of walking kit would be…Betws Y Coed. I spent so much time there as a kid, I always love going back there.

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

Me and my Dad went round a few shops, but it was only in Cunningham’s where the staff filled me with confidence in what they were saying. Grant, one of the staff, was extremely helpful and wasn’t just about selling me the most expensive boots.

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking BootsScarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

I tried on a few pairs just see what different styles felt like, but took a liking to these Scarpa boots fairly quickly. A firm sole and they really hugged my feet. I’ve not been able to wear Scarpa in the past due to having wide feet, but I’m getting on with these really well.

What do you get from the boot?

– When I get a little more adventurous next Winter, I can fit crampons to them to go exploring in the snow!

– Anti-Abrasion rubber in high wear areas of the boot

– Memory foam padding for a better fit

– Gore-Tex for a breathable but waterproof boot

– Stiff sole for stability on more rugged terrain

I’ve done this post as a little first look I guess. I’ve not tried them in the vast Welsh mountains yet, just Bulkeley Hill Woods in Cheshire. But the 6 mile loop we did was enough to break them in!

Looking Down On Llandudno Bay

Llandudno Bay

Looking Down On Llandudno Bay

I recently watched the film Wild, which is based on the book by Cheryl Strayed. I much preferred the book to the film, but in both there’s a quote:

“There’s a sunrise and sunset everyday and you can choose to be there or not. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” – Cheryl Strayed

Granted if it’s pouring down with rain those dramatic sun rays and colours may not make an appearance. And on British soil, those colours are more likely to stay hidden above the clouds than reveal themselves.

But when they do make themselves visible, they can be rather special.

Nestled away in amongst a housing estate was some steps leading to Penrhyn Bay. Following a grassy path, the bay reveals itself with the odd seal resting on the beach. If they weren’t on the beach, their little black heads were popping out from under the waves.

The light was turning golden casting shadows on the waves. Whilst my Dad was taking photos of the seals I kept looking up to the large hill on my left. I look from the bay to the sun and back to the bay.

The curiosity of what the view was like at the top chipping away at me. From that high up it had to be impressive right?

I just had to go up and find out.

Soon enough I was finding my way up the hill whilst battling the wind. I even had to crouch down at one point to wait for the wind to die down so I could cross a particularly open section on the path.

The path began to split and turn in different ways, so I questioned if I’d find my way back to the car again. But I kept following the paths which would lead me to the top.

Making my way over the brow of the hill Llandudno bay came into view. Rays of golden light streaking over the bay and waves.

I’d never seen anything like it. The bay stretched out before me, it had been a long time since I’d seen a view travel so far. I was battling the wind to stay standing upright, but I just didn’t want to leave. I wanted to sit there until the sun disappeared. But with the sunset two hours away…I thought I’d get rather cold!

Women’s Road Races Worth Entering

Cycling

I’ve spent about a year having a go at the odd road race. Well just time trial and crit racing really. I have a British Cycling race license so I can just pop onto the British Cycling website and find a race to enter.

Unlike downhill, you get put into a category depending on your racing experience. I’m an inexperienced 4th cat wanting my 3rd category license. I just need to get the 12 points I need first, which as a female racing isn’t as easy as it looks.

The big hunt for women’s races begins as they are few and far between. Eagerly clicking on links for Crit or road races advertised only to find every race category imaginable but a women’s race.

I suppose the men have it just as difficult as they have to place well in their packed fields to get a point, but at least they can actually race I guess? There’s nothing worse than turning up to a race to find you’re the only female to turn up so you get thrown in with the men getting lapped every few trips round the circuit.

So, I thought I’d list a few races where there is actually a women’s category that needs filling up. Scrolling through the many races on British Cycling’s website, it can become quite a task clicking on each one to see if there’s a women’s category. So hopefully this will make things a little easier!

Lancaster University Spring Crit

Run by the Lancaster University Cycling Club at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, these would be great to kick off your race season for the year, or even if you just want to have a go! But make sure you’re quick, as this series is only during March!

Darley Moor / Ashfield Road Club

At Darley Moor Sports Centre in Derbyshire, Ashfield Road Club are running a crit race for categories 2, 3 and 4. Another series, there will be races on:

17th March

24th March

21st April

23rd June

Muckle Cycling Club Road Race, Northumberland

Taking place on the 31st May, Muckle CC are organising a 35 mile women’s road race in Northumberland. For categories 2, 3 and 4 and the 35 mile distance make it a great event to jump from crit racing to road racing. With a men’s race taking place on the same day, you and your partner/male cycling friends can make the trip together.

Aberystwyth Seafront Criteriums / Welsh Crit Champs

Much earlier than I anticipated this year, Welsh Crit Champs are taking place in Aberystwyth this year. Possibly for those more experienced riders, this race is being organised by Ystwyth Cycling Club. I had great fun racing Welsh Crit Champs last year, but it certainly wasn’t easy! Part of the Aberystwyth Cycling Festival, the little seaside town in Wales is going to be full of anticipation as the races take place.

Richard Kell Memorial Series

One for later in the season, these category 2/3/4 races are taking place through October on Abingdon Airfield in Oxfordshire. However, Abingdon Race Team are also organising a road race in April that might interest you.

Thinking of entering any I’ve listed? Then let me know in the comments as well as any women’s races I haven’t listed!

I can’t remember where this photo from a hill climb in Oswestry last year came from, so if youkre the photographer, let me know and I’ll give you credit!

#InternationalWomensDay

International Womens Day

8th March marks International Women’s Day and rather than a long rambling post about equality amongst other things, I thought I would keep things positive by sharing a few women that inspire me to lead the life I do.

#1 Leena Gade

Since I ventured into the world of engineering, Leena’s achievements have definitely helped encourage me along the way. In the ‘man’s world’ of engineering, a career in the industry can sometimes be a little daunting.

#2 Lucy Charles

Whilst the thought of doing some of her training sessions makes me shudder, I love following Lucy’s training for Triathlon and Ironman competitions. If she’s not swimming she’s cycling, and if neither of those she’s probably running. Then there’s her gym work too. It makes me tired just typing it all!

#3 Jazz Carlin

I met the GB Swimmer when she came to my local gym for an event with Speedo and she is one of the most down to earth people I have met. Keen to help people with their swimming! I am always jealous however when she posts about training camps from somewhere much hotter than the UK.

#4 Joanna Rowsell Shand

I’ve been lucky enough to meet this incredible athlete at a Time Trial her and her husband organised in the West Pennines. I certainly didn’t expect to see her marshalling on the side of the road in the pouring rain warning us about a rather big pothole! With a big involvement in British Cycling’s Breeze programme, she’s doing more work than ever encouraging people to get active by riding bikes.

#5 Claire Rose

I met Claire at the Isle of Man in 2017 in the hours before she won her National TT Championship title. Her relaxed personality was a breath of fresh air from the ‘serious athlete’ personalities that were in abundance on the day of the big race. With a big team change this year, I’m looking forward to seeing how her season turns out!

Happy #InternationalWomensDay !

Who are your inspiring role models when it comes to being a #girlboss ? Leave them in the comments below!