Our Summer Canal Boat Holiday

This weeks blog is going to be slightly different from my normal posts, it’s going to be a sort of day by day diary of my recent Canal Boat holiday

Day minus 1

Our holiday started on Saturday but we travelled up to Stoke On Trent area the night before. This wasn’t only so we’d be fresh for our holiday but more importantly so we could do a parkrun in the area before the start of the holiday.

So we packed the night before ready to go as soon as we could. But my dad had a problem with his car so he had to get a hire car. Unfortunately this was a BMW which is smaller than his normal car – but don’t tell my parent I actually quite liked it!

Car

When dad got home we loaded the car and headed off. The journey was slow because of traffic so we stopped in the farm shop services on the M5 for food on the way. I had a lovely lasagna (which was way better than the one my dad makes).

We finally got to our hotel, which was a Holiday Inn right by Stoke City FC’s stadium. The stadium is called the Bet 365 stadium and Stoke City are called the Potters because of all the potteries that are there. (But not as many as there used to be).

It was late by then so we checked in and went to bed.

Day 1 – The first day was lovely and sunny

The day had finally arrived – yippeeeeee!!!!!

We all got up early and went for breakfast and then me and my dad went off to do a parkrun while the girls stayed at the hotel. We did Hanley parkrun which was only a 10 minute drive from the hotel, it also meant that I could tick H off my parkrun alphabet challenge list (see blog called Dartmouth and other Adventures). It was a lovely 2.5 lap course around the park, which included several crossings over a canal bridge. We looked after we’d finished the run and it was the Caldon Canal it crossed, so I knew I’d be seeing it again in a few hours but this time from the boat.

Hanley

We then went back to pick up the girls from the hotel

My mum loves things from the Emma Bridgewater pottery so we paid a visit to the Emma Bridgewater factory shop where my mum had a new teapot and mug and my sister had one too. Unfortunately they don’t do factory tours on a Saturday so we may try to do that later in the week as we pass on the boat as the factory is right by the side of the Caldon Canal.

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We then went to the Black Prince Marina in Eturia to collect our boat. It was a 62ft canal boat called Elizabeth. We had instructions on how to use her and then we were on our way.

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We started on the Trent and Mersey and headed south then almost straight away onto Caldon Canal, this canal should have been called the Cauldon Canal but when someone filled the paperwork our in the 1700’s they spelt it wrong and the name was never corrected.

The first locks we came to were a flight, which is when one lock goes straight into another,  which we hadn’t done before. This flight was called the ‘Bedford Street Staircase Locks’ – Mum and I soon worked out how to do them and we actually helped another boat go through first.

A mile or so later we came to our first ever lift bridge (Ivy House Lift Bridge), dad moored up while me and mum went to work out how to lift it. It was an electric bridge so all we had to do was push some buttons. These buttons turned on flashing lights and dropped barriers to stop cars (just like a railway level crossing), when these were down the bridge started lifting.

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At the first few locks there were some drunk, rough-looking people who I was slightly worried about, in fact they seemed quite nice and one of them actually helped me close one of the lock gates.

We had been told that the first few miles of our journey weren’t through the nicest area so we pushed on until we passed Engine Lock 4 and then we moored up between Bridge 22 and our second lift bridge, which had a funny name of Long Butts Lift Bridge. (By the way all canal bridges have a number which we use to know how far we have come and how far we have left to go).

When we finally moored up we had food cooked in the boat and then had an early night as we were all tired after our long day.

Day 2 – today was an absolute scorcher

Mum got up early and saw a king fisher but I was still fast asleep.

We left our overnight mooring and soon came to our third lift bridge, this time it wasn’t electrically operated so I had to use a windlass and my muscle power to wind the bridge up to allow the boat to go through. A windlass is a heavy, long, useful tool that is used on canals to work locks and wind up lift bridges.

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I drove the boat lots, to give my dad a rest (well that’s what he though anyway, I just really wanted to prove that anything he could do, I could do better) and even took the boat in and out of locks myself. When going up a lock you need to be careful that the front of the boat doesn’t get to close to the front gate as could flood when the paddles on the gate are opened. When going down you need to keep the back-end of the boat in front of the cill marker (that are white paint lines on the wall of the lock) so we don’t tip the boat up as the water drops

They told us in the boat yard that we needed to top the boat up with fresh water everyday so we stopped in a place called Endon to do this. While we were moored we had a quick-lunch. In the afternoon we kept on going and went down three locks called the Hazlehurst Locks. These weren’t a flight as there was a pool in between each one. We finally stopped for the day in a place called Cheddleton right next to the Flint Mill by bridge 42.

We walked into the village to stock up on shopping and as it was boiling i was really looking forward to an ice lolly. It was about a mile walk (up hill) to the shop and i was absolutely gutted when they had no lolly’s!!!!!!!!

We decided to moor up for the night in Cheddleton and had food in the red lion. I had a lovely rump steak with came with some lovely side dishes!

We then went back to our boat and read on the tow path alongside the canal for an hour or so. I also started a book called Northern lights written by Philip Pullman who is a very famous athour and he has written many good books!

Day 3 – Hot and sunny again

We left our mooring at Cheddleton nice and early and went straight down 2 locks numbered 13 and 14 – that I drove while dad helped mum with the locks.

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These locks were a little bit after where the Caldon Canal splits into the Froghall and Leek branches. We were heading down the Froghall branch which took us under the Hazlehurst aqueduct carrying the Leek branch. It was cool crossing underneath another canal!

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We then had a lovely section of the journey through lovely countryside with another lock called Woods Lock. Our fourth lock, which was called Oakmedowford lock, took us onto the river Churnet. I think my dad thought it was going to be white water rafting down the river seven! But in fact it had less of a flow than the actual canal! I let my dad drive the boat on the river section while I helped mum operate the lock. Unfortunately there was another boat moored at the exit of the lock so my mum and I couldn’t get back on our boat!!!!! This meant we had to walk almost the full length of the river section until there was a suitable place for us to get back on. While we were walking along the river bank I managed to fall over twisting my ankle and hit myself on the leg with the Windlass and as I fell my mothers windlass also banged into my knee wich didn’t help!

I’ve now got a big bruise on my right leg

Knee

We got back on the canal at a place called Consall Forge, and as we were just getting on the canal a steam train passed us. My mum told me that she had read that it was a very rare thing to happen! Yipppeeeeeee!!!!!

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The next couple of miles of our journey was so beautiful through lovely quiet countryside, but the canal was so narrow and windy with really tight turns so dad drove this bit again. This took us to a place called Froghall which is the end of the Caldon Canal. There is a tunnel that takes the canal the last couple of hundred meters to the basin at the end but we couldn’t go through this tunnel as our boat was slightly to high. Boats can’t be any higher than 5 feet tall to fit through this tunnel!!!!!!

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We moored up just before the tunnel and walked around to the other side and then up to the canal basin at the end, it was a lovely area with a picnic spot and a lovely looking tea room. But, just our luck, the tea room is closed on a Monday so we couldn’t have anything!

So back at the boat we turned the boat around in the winding hole (I still don’t know whether you say this like wine-ding or win-ding!!!) and headed back up the way we’d come. This time mum walked ahead on the narrow bits to tell us whether it was ok for us to come through.

We travelled back to Cheddleton and moored in exactly the same spot as the night before.

The pub we ate in last night didn’t do food on a Monday so we had food in the boat. Dad and I walked to the shop in Cheddleton, which was about 1km away, to buy some bits to stock the boat up with. I had a lovely orange Calippo to eat on the way back to the boat. This was such an event because it was the starting point of me being virtually addicted to them!

Day 4 – Another really hot and sunny day

We had a later start than normal on Tuesday and left our mooring at Cheddleton about 0930. We headed west along the Froghall branch and back under the Hazlehurst aquaduct to the Hazlehurst locks.

These locks were so busy today and we had to wait for others to come down before we went up and then had to wait in the middle holding ponds between each of the locks for others to come down so we could go up. It took us much longer going up these than it did going down them yesterday.

There were some lovely sights on this section of our trip, and also some that were not so nice.

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We then pushed onto bridge 31 (Parklane bridge) where we stopped and filled the boat up with water. We also moored here and walked into the local village (Endon) and had a Carvery for lunch. My dad stuffed himself with a massive extra-large plate of food – the fat pig.

In the afternoon we drove our boat a little bit further and then moored up in a lovely quiet section for the night. In this short section we had 5 locks to go through in a very short stretch so I helped mum do these while dad had the easy job of driving the boat. These were called the Stockton Brook Locks.

Day 5 – A cooler and cloudier day

We set off from our mooring and soon come up to the Long Butts Lift Bridge. While operating this bridge we met an old man who was from The Rhondda (Where I live) and when I asked him what part he said Merthyr Tydfil!!!!!!!

Long Butts was manually operated so I had to wind it up with my Windlass. It wasn’t far then to another lift bridge, this one was called Norton Green, but this time it was an electric bridge so all I had to do was press a button to make the bridge go up and down.

Soon we arrived back at ‘Engine Lock 4’, where we had to wait for a boat called ‘Lady of Trent’ to come up before we could go down.

Not long after that we got back to  Ivy House Lift Bridge which I’d already done a few days ago so I knew how it worked.

We stopped just after this bridge for a drink and some biscuits – YUM YUM

A few bridges and bends later and we passed the Emma Bridgewater factory – we tried to book a factory tour but they were fully booked – you can see from the photo that the outside of the building is nowhere near as nice as the things they make.

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We then pushed on through another locks before we came to the flight we did at the start of our first day on the boat.

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Just below the flight was a statue of James Brindley, the famous Civil Engineer, who built this canal.

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We then joined back onto the Trent & Mersey Canal at Etruria and headed north past the Black Prince base where we collected the boat on day 1.

The canal here was really wide compared to the Caldon Canal but not a very nice area. We went past Middleport Pottery which is where the TV programme ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’ was filmed but we weren’t able to stop as mooring wasn’t allowed.

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We finally stopped next to a big lake called Westport Lake which is a wildlife reserve for birds. We decided to moor up here for the night so we had a walk around the lake and then played on the adventure playground for a while. I sat down for a quick rest in a spinny moon chair and when I closed my eyes and started to drift off my sister came and swung me round and I screamed!

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We then walked into the closest town, Tunstall, which was about a mile away. We were trying to find somewhere nice to have food but couldn’t find anywhere so we went to Asda and bought some nice food to cook back at the boat.

Day 5 – Started lovely and bright

We had a lazy start today, my dad went for a run while I made breakfast. We then went and visited the Visitor Centre at the wildlife reserve

We wanted to hire multiseat bikes to ride around the reserve but they didn’t have any available for the time we wanted. Instead we walked down to Middleport Pottery which was about a mile from where we had moored. It was really busy at the Pottery, probably because of the Weeping Window Poppy Display. This is a memorial for the centenary of the First World War. The poppies were infront of, and climbing up, the bottle kiln. I thought it looked very beautiful.

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Dad had booked some spaces on a factory tour which started at 13:45. We arrived a lot earlier than this so enjoyed our time looking around the place, our tickets for the tour included entry into other areas which were part of the heritage trail. We saw lots of areas including the old bathrooms, offices and the inside of the old bottle kiln.

There used to be 7 bottle kilns but only one remains. These old kilns were replaced by gas fired ovens a long time ago but the reason that the one kiln remains is that it forms part of the walls of the factory and the owners didn’t want to pay to have the walls rebuilt.

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We met our tour guide, Rob, who happened to have originally come from Aberdare which is very close to where I live, but he had lived up here for 40 years.

He took us around loads of areas of the factory and we saw the whole process from making the clay right through to the finished pottery

When we got back to the boat we left our mooring and headed north for about a mile and moored for the night just before the entrance to Harecastle Tunnel

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Day 6 – Started Sunny but very heavy rain all afternoon

So we woke up and had breakfast and had just about finished when the Tunnel keeper arrived and was ready to allow us through the tunnel.

Looking into the entrance i was petrified! Heres a little bit of a diary of my tunnel adventure:

We’ve just had our safety talk and are about to enter the tunnel. My thoughts are I’m worried!

We have been shut in and we won’t see daylight for 45mins! I am petrified!

So we have about 25 mins to go and I think the boat in front has stopped. It probably hasn’t and I’m just panicking but I’m making no assumptions

We are nearly out I think and I can see the northern portal ahead which is daylight! This is such a relief to me as I have been rather scared. Yay!

I’m Out! Thank Goodness

 

Tunnel

There are actually two tunnels going through, the first was built as part of the original canal by James Brindley, the second was built by another famous Civil Engineer called Thomas Telford. This second tunnel was added as the first one was a bottle neck where all the old freight used to get held up as the tunnels aren’t wide enough to pass boats inside. Unfortunately there was a collapse in the original tunnel and it closed in 1914 so the tunnel we went through is the only one you can travel through now.

Here is a photo of the portal of the original tunnel built by Brindley

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We moored back at Westport Lakes around lunchtime which was just as well as the heavens opened just after and continued all afternoon. We just had a relaxing afternoon in the boat with the rain ‘tip tapping’ on the outside.

Day 7 (last day) – Lovely and sunny but cold

Early start today, we were up at 6 ready to leave our mooring by 7. We then motored for 45mins down to the marina

When we got back, we unloaded all our stuff into the car and travelled home.

I had a great holiday and we are already starting to plan our next adventure – WHERE WILL IT BE????????

On another note – I have set myself a little challenge to run 12km in one go sometime in September, I am not only doing this to challenge myself but to help raise some money for this great charity that works for children with cancer.

12km will be a huge challenge for me as it’s further than I’ve ever run before, so if you could possibly sponsor me it would be greatly appreciated.

If you can please click here to visit my page to donate today!

Don’t forget you can sign up to my blog and get updates of when I post a new ones simply signing up on my homepage and clicking the button that looks like this

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That’s it for this week but remember

Keeeepppp Garrrdddeeeenninnngg

Dartmouth and other Adventures

Hello Readers,

Sorry for the last month or so, I’ve been playing MegaCubeX on my Xbox in my bedroom with the curtains closed!!!!!!!

Only Joking! That’s why I am called Outdoorcae!

I have just come in from watering the allotment, I don’t normally do that job but for a change I thought I would catch up how things were going up there.

As some of you may know, I am currently off school for the 6 weeks holiday that all children get!  My mother has recently been making some amazing cakes! Her Lemon drizzle are my favourite.

Earlier I went in my hot tub for an hour this time without my massive enormous swan! (see my blog entitled Swan Invasion!) If you have been reading my blogs for a while you will know what that meant!

In School I worked hard ALL year and achieved the award of Year 5 pupil of the Year 2018! This is the fourth time I have won Pupil of the Year throughout my school life.

If you live in the UK you will know what our weather is usually like (Even in the summer), however this year we have had one big long heat wave with temperatures getting up to at least 45 degrees in my greenhouse – who needs to go abroad!!!

Last week my Mum, Dad and I had a massive sort out in our allotment, we dug a few of our bean plants that had died because of having an infestation of black flies (I think they are called aphids), our early pea plants that had stopped produced peas, another bag full of lovely new potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, Kale, and beetroot. A lot of this we used in our sunday roast chicken dinner that I helped my smelly dad make.

Having cleared all this we were left with space to plant more, so over the last few days i have gradually been planting some more veg, eg radish, carrots, potatoes, beetroot & lettuce. I’ve also left space to plant more next week so we will hopefully get our next harvest spread out rather than all at the same time. It maybe a bit late in the season to plant some of these but you never know with the weather we have been having they may be ok.

I also picked a few cucumbers and a lot of tomatoes from both inside and outside the greenhouse.

We also cut down the brambles that were hanging over our allotment from our next door neighbours garden. All the waste helped to fill our compost bin right to the top.

As i left to go to school on one of the last days of term i noticed that the apples on my apple trees had got much bigger and were starting to ripen, hopefully one or two will be ready for september when i go back to school as I love picking them on my way to school and eating them for my mid morning snack.

I think I may have mentioned my sunflowers a few times before, but the ones that came from seeds that i bought have had to be chopped down as the had past their best, and the heads were so big they were making the plants bend right over which was damaging some of my other plants. I have kept the sunflower heads and they are drying out in my greenhouse, there are thousands of seeds in each head (Which I think is incredible). However, the sunflowers that i have grown from the seeds that i was given by Joe and Angharad are still growing.  The flower heads are starting to form but are not yet in bloom and they are still getting taller.

My chillies and peppers which are growing in my greenhouse seem to be doing really well

I was on holiday last week which is why i didn’t post a blog as I was too busy enjoying being outdoors. Whilst I was away my amazing grandfather volunteered to water our gardens and allotment.

My holiday was in Dartmouth, in South Devon. My father used to go here when he was a child so he has been really eager to show me and my sister what he always described as amazing. I now know why he loves the place so much.

Whilst we were away we did a range of activities, and I’m going to mention a few of the things we did. We went to the holiday home of the inspiring author Agatha Christie which is called Greenway House and is a National Trust propert, which is good for us as we are members. Rather than driving to the property like we usually do we travelled in the unusual fashion of catching boat from Dartmouth directly to the quay at Greenway House, passing Agatha Christies famous boathouse on the way. This boathouse was the scene of one of her most famous books – Dead Man’s Folly.

We also had the pleasure of visiting another National Trust Property called Coleton Fishacre which was the home of the people who used to own the Savoy Hotel in London. The house was really nice but it was the gardens that really impressed me. They were very big and full of amazing flowers. These flowers really attracted the bees and there were thousands all over the garden, which if you have read my other blogs really pleased me as I am a beekeeper and love them. The garden sloped away right to the cliffs overlooking the English Channel and the views were amazing.

On the opposite side of the river Dart is a village called Kingswear, where there is a railway station. This station is part of the Dart Steam Railway and on way day of our holiday we caught a ferry across the river and then had a Steam Train Ride from Kingswear to Paignton. The name of the locomotive that pulled us to Paignton was called Braveheart. We had a quick walk around Paignton but didn’t like it at all so caught another train called Lyndon Manor back. The carriage we travelled back in was called Anna which is funny as that is the name of one of my Aunties.

One evening we drove to a local beach called Blackpool Sands which was lovely but the thing that really caught my attention was the fact that they had the equipment for a 2 minute beach clean

The weather was so nice while we were away that we took a few dips in the creek where we were staying and also in the sea at a cove called Castle Cove. The water was so amazingly clear and beautifully clean.

My sister and I took turns using our bodyboard, even though the water was really calm with no waves we still had fun jumping on the board and falling in the water when we werent expecting it.

My mum is very good at catching crabs and showed me how to do it using crabbing equipment and bait. We tried different types of bait but found that the crabs in Dartmouth must be quite posh as they only seem to like M&S bacon

As most of you will know i love running and in particular i LOVE running parkrun and have done well over 50 adult parkruns now. Well a few weeks ago my dad and I decided we wanted to try and do the parkrun alphabet, which is to try and run a parkrun beginning with each letter of the alphabet. So on the way down to Dartmouth we stayed in Exeter the night before so we could do Killerton parkun. This was a beautiful trail run around the ground of Killerton House, but more importantly ticks ‘K’ of our alphabet list.

We have a list of parkruns beginning with letters that we haven’t yet ticked off and we are hoping to start getting to some of these soon.

While we were away in Dartmouth, my dad and I ran quite a bit (Well he did every morning but i wanted a lie in some days). We ran from our apartment in Warfleet down to Dartmouth castle and took in the beautiful views looking out to see, before we then ran back into Dartmouth town and along the river front and around the town. While we were in the town we usually picked up breakfast for the family to eat when we got back to where we were staying.

I am a member of Rhondda Paddlers Canoe Club and a few weeks ago we had our Annual General Meeting (AGM), and in this meeting I was voted onto the committee as the junior representative. One of the things that I am keen to do in my new role is to help with club fundraising, and the first thing I am trying to do is get people to use the Easy Fundraising Web Site when shopping on line. If people then use this website the club will get donations for all online shopping they do. Click on this link if you are interested in helping me fundraise for our club

Rhondda Paddlers

Unfortuately the club has now finished for the summer but will be starting again soon when we go back to school.

In one of my recent blogs I talked about my birthday trip to Llangorse climbing centre, will here are a few photos of that brilliant day.

Click here

You may have seen that I have a YouTube channel and post Vlogs of the different things I do, you can see these videos here

Outdoorcae YouTube Channel

If you want to get hold of me you can using any of these:

Twitter – @Outdoorcae

Facebook – Outdoorcae Blogs

Facebook Page – Outdoorcae

Instagram – Outdoorcae

YouTube – Outdoorcae

Blog – Outdoorcae.com

But bye for now!

Keeepppp Garrdeeenninggg

Outdoorcae

My YouTube journey and my latest Vlog

Hi all,

I’m so sorry for the time gap between this post and the last. Summer is a very busy time of year for me but over the next few days I will get My General update published,

Anyway, today is a short blog just to share a link and make everyone aware of my YouTube channel. In case you didn’t know YouTube is a very popular free media site. If you have an account like me you can post videos, if you don’t you can simply sit back and relax and enjoy whilst other people do the work for you!

The reason I started my YouTube channel was when I found out that I couldn’t upload videos to my blog. I looked at all the options I could’ve used and I thought the easiest and cheapest way was to make myself a YouTube channel.

I did all the behind the scenes work and now though I was ready to start making vlogs to go with my blogs that would make the action more alive!

It wasn’t as easy as I thought but with a bit of practice I uploaded my first vlog.

So that where it brings me today and if you follow this link below it will take you to my latest vlog.

Click on me

In this vlog I am in Llangorse multi-activity centre crossing a quite tricky high bridge and the video has a very unique start! (I fall!)

I would love it if you could view the video above,

Keep a eye out for an even better blog coming out some time soon!

Until then…

Keeeppp Garrrdddeenninggg

Outdoorcae

Hanging Around!

Hello everybody,

I have got so much to tell you about. In fact, I could right a thousand words just about today. I’ll try not to bore you too much!

We have been picking tomatoes 🍅 recently, which is a very big relief to me as I spent a long time worrying about them ripening. They are lovely and when you cut them up they have very symmetrical insides! This is very important to me as well as I absolutely hate it when objects aren’t the same!

On Friday I left school at noon and went home to go to Portsmouth for my mums graduation 🎓. She has been studying for 3 years and still carried on with working, being a mum, a wife and other general stuff. She is now a graduate of Portsmouth University and has a masters in Forensic Accounting AND has Msc after her name! So this is me saying thank you and well done to her. We all had a great day and got to stay in a hotel which I enjoyed. I am like the hotel inspector when I stay in hotels and like to check the cleanliness and quality of everything. It is one of my favourite TV programmes and I like how blunt she is.

So as well as all that excitement I had the privilege to have a birthday adventure day doing all outdoorsy stuff. Now as my blog is called outdoor cae I can use this day in my blog and show everyone how much I like doing outdoorsy stuff. It was me, my sister, our parents, my friend and my sisters friend.

A friend of my fathers did the coaching and we went to a multi-activity centre in Llangorse which was about an hour away from our house. We had an absolutely brilliant day, my favourite part was the outside high ropes courses. I found the obstacles quite easy…

But inside the difficulty level stepped up and I became more out of my comfort zone. We did caving, bouldering, abseiling, zip wires, bridge crossing and other things that I can’t remember.

For caving we had to go in a very narrow tunnel and in different directions. Whilst in this passage of fake caves you got very hot and start sweating! Bouldering is climbing up climbing walls but without ropes. I have done abseiling before but this time was even more epic, I lowered myself down and slowly walked down the wall.

I did 3 Zip Wires, One was inside and the other two were outside at the end of the high ropes courses. Another thing that was inside were the bridges, we were tied onto a moving wire that kept us safe. The adults and the kids all had a fantastic day. It’s good to challenge myself whenever I can.

In the allotment we have had some lessons learned. The main one is to be more prepared for how big things can grow to! The pumpkins 🎃 took over the garden – literally, and we have had to sacrifice them as they were like triffids!! The leaves also had some sooty mould. We did have two small pumpkins 🎃 but we definitely hadn’t bargained for how invasive they were.

The green beans have grown well but we have an infestation of black fly and it’s really bad. We have boiled up rhubarb leaves to make a spray but not having much luck. We are organic at the moment but may have to use a chemical spray to get rid. We have also learned that we need more space than planned for peas and beans.

I am growing some sweet peas but I wonder if they will ever flower 💐 as they are as tall as me but no flowers yet. It’s a shame as they smell lovely.

My sunflowers 🌻 are huge and I’m sure I will win the competition for the tallest. The heads are massive and I am going to keep lots of the seeds. I may even sell them as they are from huge sunflowers 🌻 . Maybe I will make my fortune!

The cucumbers 🥒 have been very successful this year and we have picked quite a few. We have plenty more to come. My mum had a home grown parsnip for tea this week and we enjoyed carrots 🥕 and an onion that we had also grown.

The potatoes 🥔 have been great and we have just dug up our second batch. We have also replanted more seed potatoes 🥔. We will have to wait a while for those. Not sure how many more strawberries 🍓 we will pick now. They have been a little disappointing in taste but there have been plenty.

I finish for summer break in two days so I am looking forward to getting out and about and having more adventures to tell you all about. I’m planning to climb Pen-y-fan and do some more waterfall walks and don’t forget plenty of gardening and visiting gardens.

Next year I plan to grow pineapples 🍍 and bananas 🍌. Ha ha, just joking as I think I may struggle as they need tropical conditions all year!!

What ever you get up to – Keeep enjoying everything outdoors and indoors.

Outdoorcae

Heatherton trip!

Hi everyone,

Today’s blog is just a quick one to tell you about tomorrow’s trip to Heatherton!

My school are taking us there and I am very excited, I am taking a camera so expect lots of photos and maybe a vlog or two!

Here’s a link so you can have a look yourself to see what it’s going to be like for me!

Heatherton.co.uk

I hoped you liked today’s quick update!

Outdoorcae

Hot Weather!

Hello All,

This time of year is very busy for everyone, I am sorry if my blogs don’t come out some weeks but do the others. The main thing I love is being outdoors!

I have been thinking this week that my blogs would want to include more YOU! If you would like a picture or a story or just a quick explanation of what you like to do then please email me by clicking this link below! This way when I havent got time to do a blog, I can just copy your message and paste it either in its own post or in one of my big posts.

Outdoorcae@outlook.com

Firstly I’m going to talk about Gardening!

This weather has been fantastic for the garden and all my plants are doing so well, however there is a down side – watering!!!! I spend about an hour everyday making sure that all my plants (Veg and flowers) have enough to drink. This is even more work this week as some of my relatives are away and I have volunteered to water their plants as well, this isn’t really a problem as they do so much for me and my family.

With everything growing so quickly I have had to have a big thin out of some of my veg, so I have really cut back on my parsnips, cabbage and sprouts. If i hadn’t thinned these out each of the plants would have been fighting for space and light and none of them would have grown properly.

My Tomatoes are going incredibly well! One had started ripening so now they should all follow its lead! I’m Very excited for my first tom to eat! When my uncle came round he gave me his first tomato! it was heavenly!

My cucumbers are coming all the time now! We have about 15 growing at the minute and 3 are ready to be picked tonight! When you eat one it’s quite hard to stop cutting your self another and another slice!

My peas are doing extremely well, We have picked too many to count now! I have a bag of them in my packed lunch each day!

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The other day I went up to my allotment and dug up a bag of my potatoes, The original potatoes had rotten and were huge!

My Carrots are also getting quite big now! Some are purple and some are orange! I can’t way to try some with my Sunday lunch! But the BIG question is should I have chicken or beef? Why don’t you tell me below! Here’s a photo a weird looking one i pulled up

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My beans are coming on nicely! They have started growing into green bits now! I hope they grow bigger soon as I absolutely love them!

Now that my allotment is in full flow we have turned our garden development plans to our front garden, at the moment we have a lawn with planters all around (and a few trees) but we think its time to do something more exciting with it. So my mum and i have decided to rip up the grass (well I make my dad do this bit) and turn it into a more flowing garden full of different planting areas. My dad and I have started to extend a stone wall at the bottom of our garden and have now put in a pond with some water lilies and some marginals and today we installed a pump into the pond so it has a nice little fountain in it. We are going to keep on working on the area around the pond and hope to eventually have a bit of a rockery with some succulents – when we have finished the wall and topped up the soil.

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We have two small apple trees in the front garden and these are full of apples which are not quite ready to pick, but I can’t wait for them as I love picking a fresh apple and eating it on my way to school.

It was my dad’s birthday recently (But he is grumpy and doesn’t tell anyone as he doesn’t like birthdays) and he had a lovely kitchen compost pot where we collect our peelings etc ready to take to our big compost bin in the garden

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And the final news for my garden section today is – we have taken delivery of our new gardeners beehive which is not like a normal beehive its more like a bee hotel. We don’t have to do anything with it apart from set it up and wait for bees to find it. We haven’t put it together yet but hopefully we will soon. As you can see from the photo below we havent even unpacked it yet.

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Next I’m going to give you a basic round-up of everything else in the last week,

I will be joining a scout group in September! I am so excited. I hope that it will be fun and that I will enjoy. I am quite sad that I couldn’t join my uncle johns group but it was a little bit awkward that his group meets on a Friday night, I can’t make that evening because I’ve got other commitments to go to.

Today I have been making another one of my chocolate cakes, this weeks cake was a practice for a my mums birthday cake next week. I love baking and think that i must get this from my mum as she is the worlds best cake maker. Here are some photos of some of the cakes I have made over the last few weeks.

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As I’m sure you are aware, dad and me LOVE parkrun and have run loads (I’ve run over 50 and am a proud member of the 50 club and wear my 50 T with pride. Anyway, we have set ourselves a challenge of trying to the parkrun alphabet, this is doing a parkrun starting with every letter of the alphabet (this isn’t fully possible as there isn’t one starting with X, but lets hope there is soon).

Of all the runs we’ve done we havent done one beginning with A so yesterday we went to the new Aberdare parkrun, its was only their 4th event but it was an excellent parkrun, in such a lovely park and organised by such enthusiastic volunteers. I’d recommend that everyone gives it a go.

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Last Tuesday I went to canoe club again, were i helped my dad teach a group of kids. I’m loving kayaking again now and can’t wait for club this week as it’s the first of our outdoor sessions. I get to wear my new wetsuit but still hope it’s not to cold.

It’s been so hot this week! I have really wanted to melt at some points! I’d often think that I would die for an ice cream! But we bought a lovely Kilner drinks dispenser that i keep filled with water and ice which make our drink so refreshing in this heat.

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We went for a walk around Brecon yesterday and ended up in our favorite shop Likeys, it’s an amazing shop that sells gear for the outdoors and I’d recommend that everyone goes and has a look around. The staff there really know their stuff and are always so friendly. I was lucky enough that my dad bought me some new flip-flops and they are the best footwear I have ever worn.

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Don’t forget to check out my podcast (on iTunes or soundcloud) and  my YouTube channel for other ways of seeing what I’m up to. You can also follow me on instagram, Facebook and twitter where my username is OutdoorCae, and you can use any of these to get in touch with me (EG Facebook messenger)

I think its time to sign off this week but my final note is Wimbledon starts tomorrow and I’m so excited. I’m a massive Federer fan and really hopes he win again.

So make sure too…

Keeepppp Garrddeeennninnngggg

Outdoorcae

Plant Progress

Hi all,

Did you notice the alliteration. (Plant Progress!) Been busy recently so haven’t been able to right a blog, but here I am back enjoying the powers of the internet.

Todays blog is all a Garden Update on all my plants in my allotment, So here it is.

Tomatoes

My Tomato plants have Toms on them and they are quite big too, my only worry is will they turn red or is the energy going into their size.

Cucumbers

I have picked and eaten a cucumber already, We have been incredibly lucky this year and Planted our Crops early. This could have ended up meaning that we lost everything but the weather has been kind to us.

Marigolds

The only reason we grow Marigolds Is they keep of the insects of our plants, I also think they look quite pretty.

Peas

I am regularly picking pea pods and tonight my family and I had them cooked with our roast dinner,

Beans

We can not pick our beans yet but again I can not tell you about this because I do not know my self.

Carrots

Our Carrots are still small but sweet enough to eat, See the photos below or Open the link at the end of this blog for a picture album.

Radishes

We have picked all of our radishes and there are none left but that is the best bit of gardening you grow then you eat!

Lettuce

Did you know that when you pick your lettuce you can do a little trick that will then make it grow again. See this video to see how to do this

Click Here

Do you have any other plants I haven’t included today that you want me to give you their progress, Fill in this form and I will do another update!

Any Photos from today’s blog will also be visible from this link,  Photo album

If you have any feedback on this change please contact me on this form.

Tonight I made a cake! I loved it! 

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Finally Yesterday I went to BBC Gardeners World show and you’ll never guess who I met, Carol Klein! She is my absolute gardening hero and to have met her and have a picture with her is a dream come true,

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Anyway,

Thanks so much for reading today’s blog

Outdoorcae