It’s less than a month now until I’ll be climbing Snowdon and cycling the 500 miles between it and Ben Nevis via Scafell Pike. I’m quietly confident about my cycling being up to the task but thought I needed to get a bit of hill walking in. With this in mind I was encouraged by a friend who was in training to climb Kilimanjaro to go with him to climb Win Hill in the Peak District. This hill is situated at the southern end of Ladybower reservoir and offers a quickly accessible steep thousand foot climb. We did this three times, the equivalent of ascending and descending Snowdon in less than three hours. I was pleased by how well I did although my knees were starting to complain by the end. However over the next 4 days I was surprised at how stiff my legs were and how I walked like someone twice my age. The muscles used for cycling are different from those used for walking. I knew that at the back of my mind but now I knew that with every step I took.

I needed therefore to get some more walking in and something which involved ascents and descents to work on those leg muscles. I have decided that although it may not be particularly exciting I need to get walking on the old pit tip across the fields from my house. It has some good steep slopes on it that will do the job. I was however in for a further surprise because this turned out to be more interesting than I thought. As I was out walking with dog in tow this last Sunday I noticed some rather pretty flowers. On closer inspection they turned out to be orchids, Bee and Marsh.  These are incredible flowers, intricate and distinct and I was glad that nature was gradually reconalising this old coal mine tip with such beauty. Vince at head office tells me these are typical flowers for such a brown field site. While I love cycling for all the reason I’ve mentioned previously, I have to confess that even at the comparatively slow speed of a bike I’d have missed these little beauties, especially the Bee Orchid. I’m looking forward to getting out there again.


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