Practicing my backhand

Not quite Wimbledon standard yet

Craven Fitness Centre

Gym machinesIt’s been a long time since I was last in a gym. My view was why would you pay to exercise inside, staring mindlessly at a blank or mirrored wall when you could be climbing a fell, enjoying the view and getting lungfuls of fresh air in the process rather than the heady smell of sweaty bodies. Recently however, we haven’t been getting out walking as much as we’d like; I want to say everyday life gets in the way but that’s really only an excuse; it can get in the way sometimes but only if you let it!

Anyway, to placate the great deity that readily punishes us for abusing the only body we’ll ever know, I need to spend more calories than I’ve eaten recently. Along with that, there’s a ton of podcasts I should catch up on; both from a work and professional viewpoint, and others from a hobby/entertainment/personal growth stance. So, I am going to kill two birds with 1 stone; I’m going to spend time over the winter staring at that blank wall/mirror, plug in some earphones and catch up with the backlog of material.

All I can say is gyms have come a long way since I was last in one. Everything has gone ultra digital. There’s displays built into all the equipment now, letting you know exactly how well (or poorly) you are doing in your workout. There are preprogrammed profiles inbuilt so the only thing you have to do is select how mean you want the machine to be to you and then hit Start. Everything is timed, measured and recorded for posterity using your own personal smartcard.

There are the usual TVs on the walls but also immediately in front of you. So if what’s on the main screen isn’t to your taste, you can watch The Great British Bake-off instead, reminding you why you need to visit the gym in the first place. And if all that fails to peak your interest, you can plug your i-device & headphones into each machine for a more insular “head down and crack on” session. And that last option suits me just fine!

I don’t yet know what will happen in the Springtime. The aim is always to spend evenings exerting surplus calories somewhere, somehow. Perhaps, given the poor summer we’ve had this year, more and more calories will be spent staring at a sweaty version of me in the mirror.


Mountain Rescue – the real 4th emergency service

RAF Rescue

We were scrambling on the north face of Tryfan when we heard what I thought was a motorbike with a blown exhaust on the road below but then this rescue helicopter from the RAF came around the corner and started circling off to our right and hovering above us out of sight. Thinking it was just an exercise, we carried on upwards. We didn’t realise we were heading for a full on rescue in progress. We found out later that a fellow scrambler had slipped and sustained a nasty head wound. It had been raining that morning and the rock was wet and more than a little greesy.

It seems that while the chopper was hovering, it was also winching the local mountain rescue team down to the scene. Unfortunately, we were following much the same route as the casualty and found ourselves unwilling onlookers. With the chopper returning to the scene, we feared the downdraft would blow us off our feet and so took the opportunity to rest and put away anything that could be blown away. It was at that point that I took the above photo and footage. As you can see, the chopper didn’t come as close as it could have so we were able to continue.

However, the incident did shake our confidence a little and the rest of the day was spent being a lot more careful than we would’ve perhaps been otherwise. It was definitely a good learning experience.

Please support your local mountain rescue team.