A Snowy Run in Sunderland

Today Heidi the Dog and I did 14 beautiful miles through the snow. And we never once left the City of Sunderland.

Enjoy the photos!

More Mile Cheviot shoes

Having trashed my fourth pair of Inov8 Rocklite in as many years I was looking for a tougher alternative when I came across these; the Cheviot trail running shoe from Start Fitness.

I am a fan of this company, they do good kit at the kind of price I want to pay and, as the shoes were going for £29.99 a pair – including a free pair of socks – I couldn’t resist.

So what’s the verdict?

They have what the trade like to call an ‘aggressive outsole’. This is a super-knobbly sole – it has loads of knobbly rubber lugs on the bottom for gripping the turf.

The knobbly bits are just the job and grip most ground nicely. The exception being slimy rock which usually means, whatever you are wearing on your feet, you are going skating.

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The midsole (the padding under your feet) is thin, keeping you in contact with the ground rather than floating an inch or so above it.

They were comfy from the first, no abrasions or blisters.

Sadly, these shoes started to fall apart after about 300 miles of running – so nowhere near as tough as my old Inov8 Rocklites. However, I could buy two pairs of Cheviots for less than one pair of Inov8s so this may be the future.

We’ll see.

Postscript: the Cheviots finally gave up the ghost after 500 miles when the holes got too big and started letting medium-sized rocks in to play havoc with my feet. RIP Cheviots – but I did buy a new pair!

‘Ralph’ – twenty years on

Twenty years ago we decided to build an open canoe so that we could get on the water on the canals near our home in Leicestershire. We wanted a big boat which would carry two adults, two kids and a dog and opted for ‘Ralph’ an 18 foot boat from Paul Fisher’s collection that seemed, in our inexperienced eyes, to have the right characteristics.

Twenty years later, our boat is still going strong. This year she carried two big blokes, and all the gear we needed to complete the Great Glen Canoe Trail – sixty miles of solid paddling on the kind of water the Ralph was designed for.

In a world populated by plastic canoes of various kinds, our 18 foot plywood and ash craft still turns heads. There is nothing quite like a wooden canoe and it’s a wonderful feeling to have built her from scratch and done some wonderful trips in her.

We went on to make another Paul Fisher boat – the Esk 13 sea kayak – this is another beauty and still in use today. Shown below with its older sister (brother?) Ralph.

Paul Fisher’s canoe plans website is worth a look (http://www.selway-fisher.com/Opcan17.htm). his photo of a Ralph shows me and Jonny sitting on the gunwale trying to discover its tipping point. It is a very stable boat!