Dem Bones

A lovely evening to run after work, managed to fit in around 7 miles all offroad by getting to Witches Point at Southerdown then returning. The tide was way out and the sun was setting making it quite the spectacular run down there.  I can’t believe I ignored this place of tranquility and beauty for so long, well at least I’ve rediscovered it now thanks to running.

I felt a bit off for the first 2 or 3 miles today as if something wasn’t clicking then as usual I felt fine afterwards and by mile 6 I felt like I could run forever. Does this ever happen to anyone else? Of course I always beat myself up for the first few miles that it’s going to be a bad run and it so very rarely is. I need to stop listening to my inner voices. Plus a week sunday i need more than ever to be confident and know that it will all come together by halfway!

Oh the title of the post yes …… Dem bones indeed. I mentioned in a post a while back about the bones of local 12th century monks being found buried in the soft part of the cliffs at Cwm Nash.  Well the latest storms have uncoverd more which I actually discovered yesterday but didn’t want to post about until I’d informed the local archeological authorities.  Well they responded to me today that they would investigate so i’m posting as the tide will remove them anyway very soon. Of course as its not the first set of bones found its not national news anymore but I was kinda excited to find them.

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Looks like a leg to me (I’m no doctor)

So yeah – 800 year old bones (or 4-500 year old depending if they’re monks or shipwrecked sailors)

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The storms completely eroded this soft chalk cliff back about 2 or 3 feet in one night by my reckoning
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Todays obligatory sunset photo
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Not Soaky and I making prints anymore but someone had passed this way and it made me feel happy inside that at some point this afternoon a dog has had the time of it’s life at the beach.  If you have a dog give them a cuddle right now – I command it! Every moment you have them is a gift.
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Todays Route

Midweek Rock Hop

Got home with plenty of time to run. Haven’t been out for a few days and felt fantastic , I think I shall take a few days off prior to the half if this is how I feel. Had so much energy, got to the beach and the tide wasn’t as high as I expected so managed a little sand running but couldn’t resist the lure of a bit of rock hopping. Technically it was a stupid thing to do as at speed it’s risking a broken ankle at worst and a sprain at best but I just couldn’t help myself. It was just one of those days, so a good half an hour spent bouncing around the beach for the joy of it plus some driftwood hunting. All in all a great way to finish off wednesdays daylight =)

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Sunset at Cwm Nash
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My rockhopping playground
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Cwm nash cliffs and pebbled beach
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Me lying in a rockpool
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Just ….. Sunset

Todays route

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Mapping a half marathon trail route

I’ve spent a lot of time running along the beaches and cliffs of the Heritage Coast in South Wales – At least the part I live near which has given me the idea to map a half marathon route from Marcross beach to the river mouth at Ogmore by Sea and back.  Mainly as I wanted to see if I could – I find this a pretty good reason for doing anything.

The map


About the route

This is a half marathon trail course I have run myself in sections plenty of times. As it is a trail the exact distance run may me over or under 13 miles by a significant amount so bear this in mind.

The route takes in both beach and field/grassland running and the beauty of it is that you can run these in different combinations according to taste.

The overall route runs from the carpark at Marcross beach (next to the lighthouse) and along the Heritage Coast to the rivermouth at Ogmore by Sea and back.

If the route on the google map is followed then you will first traverse the rocks and sand of coast as far as Witches Point in Southerndown before climbing up to the top of the point before following the trail to along the cliffs and then the pathway to Ogmore Beach. You will then return along Ogmore Beach and along the same path back to Witches Point where you will, instead of running the beach path run along the top of the cliffs all the way back to Marcross.

Of course if you wish to run the beach on the return journey or indeed the cliffs on the outward journey you can mix and match according to taste.  You can reverse the whole thing starting at Ogmore by Sea, running to Marcross and then returning.

Much of the beach part of this run is dependent on tide times. It cannot be run at high tide and I would recommend running it an hour or so before low tide if you wish to maximise time on the beach. You can run the whole route along the cliffs never touching the beach at high tide.

Warnings – The tides here are the second highest in the world and can catch the unwary out. Always know the tide times before you set off and give yourself plenty of time to get off the beach before the tide comes in.

The route takes you over rocky beaches and care must be taken, slow down on the rocks, although loose rocks and pebbles look solid they often shift underfoot. Some of the smoother paved looking rocks are great to run on when dry but when wet or covered in weed they are treacherous, no matter the grip on your trainers you will slide and fall so slow down. My general rule of thumb is that the darker the colour of the rock the more slippery it is.  Stay clear of the cliffs as rockfalls are common.

Part of the route has you running along cliff tops – show common sense and stay away from the edge. The cliffs are unstable at the best of times and rockfalls happen frequently. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for changes in the path direction as it does come within a few feet of the edge in places.

There is often livestock in the fields, give it a wide berth, especially when new born and young animals are present.

You will be a fair distance from help if you suffer an injury so carry a mobile phone. The weather changes quickly at times and extra clothing is recommended for the cliffs section as the wind is much stronger up top.

 

 

 

Onwards

Another run to and around the beach after work. I feel like i’m posting the same thing every day – and in a way I guess I am but this is also a log for me of what I’ve done and when. Runkeeper keeps the stats but it can’t tell me how I felt, what I saw, what inspired me that day. So i’ll keep on keeping on with the same reports!

A 4.5 run and it felt good – todays route

I’ve noticed how much easier its becoming to do what I now consider “short” distances, when once 4 miles was a killer and something to be proud of it’s now “something I can do” not that i’m not proud everytime I get off my ass and run it’s just nice to feel there’s still progress going on.

I was also happy to remember to take carrots for the horses today! They certainly enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed feeding them!

Also I found the natural freshwater spring on the beach a friend had mentioned. And it is indeed fresh water bubbling up from the sand and tasted wonderful. Must be all that filtration down through these cliffs! I do love my beach, it never fails to surprise.

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Huge horse, tiny carrot
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Freshwater spring bubbling up through the sand
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Bubbling!
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Cliff filtration system

Back to the trails!

After a few days break – work and weather enforced it was great to get back out running. Managed to fit in an hours run on the beach after work. Felt good today and pushed it a bit harder on the way back for an even split which isn’t bad considering its always uphill on the way home!

Todays route

I was glad to feel good today as yesterday I bumped into a teacher in work who I didn’t know runs and after telling her about what I was up to she told me about this trail half marathon virtually on my doorstep!  The hoka half at Margam Park

I’ve already got an event planned for that date in Avon and that was to be my first but thats only (I say only, I wouldn’t have said that few months ago) 12k not a half marathon  and having considered it for a day I’ve signed up for the half and will drop out of the 12k. I wasn’t planning to run a half until later in the year when I felt I would have the confidence to do it but having run the distance twice in the last few weeks over probably harder terrain than the event its something that I really want to do. I’m not worried about times but I am worried about finishing of course. But I believe that with just under a month to go I can do this! Time to put what i’ve been learning into practice. And i’m excited already!

Other things of note today – it appears that horses don’t suffer from vertigo judging by this lot happily grazing a few feet from a cliff edge with a couple of hundred foot drop right next to them! After taking the photo (poor quality im afraid, the camera hates long distance and ducky gloom it seems) I literally couldn’t watch them as I ran past. I’ve seen sheep doing this before and that was bad enough but the thought of a plummeting horse kept my heart in my mouth. I’m a complete animal lover and this scared me half to death. I’m sure it doesn’t concern them though and I’m glad I was on the beach not on the cliffs as it would break my heart if I was to startle one off the edge.

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Death defying stunt horses on Nash cliffs

Also of note were the first molehills. A sure sign of spring approaching as the earth has warmed up enough for our subterranean friends to start stirring. I can’t wait for spring. Winter running has taught me a lot and I’ve enjoyed running through the changing seasons but a little warmth would go down a treat around now

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First molehills of Spring!

 

Running guerilla in the mist

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Misty morning at Traeth Mawr

Quick post for what was suppiosed to be a quick run. Just under 7 miles but the beach was kinda fun this morning so I ran and explored so a slow time but who cares!  Felt good again today so all in all it’s been a good weekend, hasn’t felt like a strain at all and just the boost I needed after what was a quiet week running wise.

Wore a pair of Adidas Vigor trainers for the first time. Felt great and plenty of bounce and traction on rocks. Not so great in the slippery mud but I didn’t expect them to be. I’ve realised that for next winter I’m going to need inov8 mudtalons or something seriously luggy.

Spent a good 10 minutes just watching rocks tumble down a recent slide

Witness an incredibly tedious video of the odd rock falling! Joking aside it was a reminder to me that although I treat the beach as a fantastic training and recreational area it’s also a very dangerous playground.

 

 

 

Fantastic!

The sun was out as was the tide and off to the beach I went. I felt brilliant today, in my head and body. I loved running the fields,  I loved running the woods, the rocks, the sand, the cliffs. I did it all, I did it with a smile and I did it without feeling tired at any point. It was slow but it was to be savoured. Ok i’ll stop gushing!  I ran to Cwm Nash then across to Witches Point, up the cliff path and back along the clifftops all the way to Marcross then back down to the beach and back to Cwm Nash and then the mile back home through the woods and fields.

I must admit I love my pack, I really don’t notice it and it’s great to have water and fuels with me. When I felt too hot I could easily stash my jacket, on top of the cliffs where the wind was cold I simply popped it back on again. I took it quite slowly today, my toe was recovered and wore the Adidas Kanadia which are the easiest on my feet. I also stopped multiple times to take photos for a project i’m working on. So all in all a nice relaxed run of around 10 miles and felt like I could have done more. But why overdo today when there’s always tomorrow!

Todays route

 

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Sun rising over the Plough and Harrow in Monknash
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3 fields in – Best way of crossing the icy stream is plough straight through it at speed!
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Sun over the cliffs at Cwm Nash
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Mist rising from the sands – Those seagulls are soon going to shift!
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Sun on sand
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Beaufitful Welsh beaches – Looking from Witches Point at Southerndown to Cwm Nash
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The old beach “hut” at Cwm Nash. This was built on the cliffs for a lady of The Bruce Estate to watch the sea
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Looking from Cwm Nash to Marcross
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Nash Sands – High today – A sandbar out in the Bristol Channel that is visible at low tides. Has doomed plenty of shipping in its time, hence the lighthouse at Marcross
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Nash Sands – The swell was right today for waves and you could have surfed the sandbar