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Happy New Year!

Hello Everyone,

First I would like to start my wishing every one a very happy and Merry new year, I have a feeling that 2019 going to be a good one.

Now, during 2018 I was very fortunate and was able to do, and have many amazing things. Just one of these things included being able to celebrate Christmas in France on a skiing holiday. Skiing is something that I enjoy immensely, but is something that I am naturally not very skilled at.

As some of you may know, I live in Wales and France is a fair distance away, we had the option to drive or fly. We chose to drive down this year, so this meant a 5 hour drive to the ferry port to catch a ferry between Dover and Calais, then on the other side, drive 12 hours until we arrived at our destination.

This would have been incredibly tough to do without stopping as we did in a hotel by the port in Dover and stopping at services for loo breaks on the long drive down.

When we got in to our resort, Méribel-Mottaret, it was quite late so we unpacked and made our way to bed.

It was amazing waking up in another country, me and my dad got up first and went out to get our breakfast, which we ate, and then went skiing.

The snow at the start of the week was quite good but when we got further into the week it got thin and icy.

I loved the holiday and I received my wish, A White Christmas, 🎄 ❄️.

Now, because I haven’t done a blog for a while, I have some things that happened a few months back.

On Children in Need day, my school were off for a teacher training day, so me and my mum climbed Pen Y Fan.

The weather on that day was fine, but when we got higher up it was so windy. When I was climbing the stones to get to the sign I was almost blown off.

Also a while back I had a bike course session in school. Everyone in Year 6 brought their bikes in and we had someone from the council teaching us how to ride our bikes safely. 🚲

I was also involved with an cross country running event. Myself and some of the others were chosen by our headmaster to compete against other children in a running race. It was great fun and it was nice to practice my speed instead of my distance. 🏃‍♂️

As I’m talking about running, I should mention that on New Year’s Day I did a parkrun double. This means that I ran a parkrun at 9:00 in Newport and then at 10:30 ran another parkrun at Riverfront. I thought that the parkruns where very well organised and it was lovely to sing Auld Langs Syne at the start as well.

If you are a regular reader you may know that every Christmas Day I have a photo of me and my dad wearing our Marathon Talk Kit. Marathon Talk is a great podcast made by 2 people called Martin and Tom who are very inspirational and also very good runners. This year we had our photo whilst on holiday in France!

Today I have been catching up with our allotment. This year I am fully in charge as my dad is a little bit busier than last year. I have been making progress by removing weeds, removing old tomato plants and raking out the soil, to see my vlogs on my progress visit my YouTube channel, Outdoorcae

Another thing I have done recently is go to my first rock concert! Like my parents I like my music and I really like Def Leppard. It was amazing. Noisy and fun, just how I like it. Check out my Facebook page for photos.

For my main Christmas present I had a keyboard, I have wanted to learn to play for ages but simply didn’t have the place or the time. I can now play twinkle twinkle little star on the piano. Here I am.

Today’s blog was only a quick one as I was eager to get the past written and blogged about and then move on to the present.

You can get in touch by Facebook page (Outdoorcae) my Twitter page (@Outdoorcae) and my Instagram (Outdoorcae). And as always please remember to check out my business (Tyla Glas Kitchen Garden) on my blog and on eBay.

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a great new year.

Outdoorcae

It’s been a while

Hi Everyone

Sorry its been so long since my last blog but I’ve been busy. But on the flip side that means I have loads to write about.

RHS Autumn Malvern Show

The first thing I’m going to talk about is my trip to the RHS Autumn Malvern Show. As regular readers of my blog will know, I do like a good RHS show. In the past I’ve blogged about my visits to the Cardiff and Malvern (Spring) shows and also my trip to the Gardeners World Live show in the Birmingham. Well a few weeks ago, my family and I went up to the Malvern Show Ground for the autumn show, I was a little bit concerned what there would be to see at this time of year, but there was loads. It ranged from bulbs and seeds ready for planting for next year to fruit and veg that had been harvested. They also had a whole marquee just for Giant Veg, and some of the veg were HUGE, you may have seen a section on this on last weeks Gardeners World.

I also saw Pineapples growing, which is the first time I had seen this.

It was an absolutely beautiful day and we spent a lot of time walking around the showground enjoying all the different displays & stalls. There was even an area dedicated to bees and honey, and as most of you will know I love bees so I loved spending time in this section. My father and sister tried some of the different honeys that were available and ended up buying a jar of a funny white coloured honey that they said was lovely, I don’t like honey so didn’t try any. My sister then had her photo taken with a big massive bug.

But the highlight of the show was meeting Carol Klein, for those of you who read my blog about the Gardeners World Live show you’ll know that I really admire the work Carol does and I got to meet her for the first time. Well this time we got to watch her do a Q&A session and then I met her again and she remembered me 🙂

My Gardens

Well its been busy few weeks in the gardens, the veg in the allotment is starting to come to an end which means I’ve been busy sorting out bits out. I’ve picked the last of the summer carrots, but now planted my winter carrots out (they’ve been coming along nicely in the greenhouse for a few weeks) – I’m not sure whether they’ll survive the winter but if they do we’ll hopefully have some nice ones for Christmas

I still have loads of cucumbers growing and actually picked a trug load yesterday.

All my cucumbers in the greenhouse have now finished so I’ve cut down the plants and put them, along with the growbags in one of the compost bins. I’ve also trimmed my outside cucumber plants and just left a few to support the last load which I think I’ll probably pick next week.

My runner beans are now passed their best and I’m just letting the remaining veg go to seed so I can harvest these and store ready for next year. I’m also selling seeds i’ve harvested on my website and eBay, check them out if you’re interested. I’ll then cut down the plants and add them to the compost.

My sweetcorn seemed to be doing really well but now I’ve picked some, the kernels are still really small and hard but I don’t think they ripen any more, so I don’t know what I’ve done wrong with those. Anyway, I’ll try them again next year.

My Sprouts are looking really good and I’m going to start harvesting some of the fruit off the lower sections soon, hopefully they’ll keep on coming right through to Christmas.

I’m also trying to grow some potatoes for the winter, I’m growing them in bags and keep topping up the soil when the shoots start to show. They were slow starting so i moved the bags into the greenhouse and they seem to be doing really well now.

The last thing to mention about my allotment is most of my tomatoes in the green house have finished and the plants etc have been composted, I think I have about 4 plants left with a few tomatoes on which I will probably pick this weekend. Then its a matter of cleaning the greenhouse and getting it ready for winter.

We’ve been even busier in our front garden. As most of you will know we have removed our front lawn and replacing it with planted areas. We’re still digging beds and buying more and more plants to put in. My mum is the really good at chosing different plants and also deciding where to put them, and me and my dad then do the planting. We’ve got so many different plants that I can’t name them all, but off the top of my head we have; lavenders, a plum-tree, two apple trees, lots of different roses and camellias. I’ll try to remember to take some photos of the other plants for my next blog. We have also put in a second water feature which make the garden sound lovely. We were busy working in the garden on sunday and there were so many bees, so they obviously love the plants as well.

We’ve been having problems with cats pooing in our garden so we’ve put in two ultrasonic devices that give off a high pitch sounds when they are triggered and so far they seem to be working. Click here which will take you to the amazon page of what we bought.

We’ve also starting covering the areas we’ve finished with a small stone called Solent Gold, i think it really finishes the garden nicely and it will look even better when the plants start to fill out as time moves on.

Running

I’ve got quite a lot to talk about with my running.

The first thing is I successfully completed my challenge!

For those of you who have read my earlier blogs you’ll know I set myself a challenge of running 12km at some point in September. This was far further than I had ever run before so it was a big challenge. I was doing it to raise money for a charity called Children With Cancer who do great work to try to end the horrible disease. I did train for the run so when the day of my challenge came I was prepared, however it was still hard. But I’m so glad I did it.

So far I’ve raised about £450 (Online and cash) but really want to get over so £500, so if you could spare any cash please sponsor me by clicking here.

My school running club has restarted which is great, so I am busy training at club for a Cross Country competition later this week. I think it’s only 1.5km so the distance isn’t a problem, but I’m just doing it for the experience and because I love running.

My parkrunning is also going really well, I ran two weekends ago and decided to do it naked, no this isn’t running without clothes its running without any gadgets. So for the first time in a long time I ran without my sports watch so had no idea how fast i was running. I was shocked at the end to find that I had almost run a PB. My dad ran with his watch so we managed to upload the run to Strava, because those runners of you know that if a run isn’t on Strava then it never happened!!

Well that run was my 59th adult parkrun and my dad 199th. We were both really looking forward to doing our 60th and 200th on Pontypridd parkun’s 5th birthday which was the weekend before last. However, storm ‘blinkin’ Callum got in the way. The weather in South Wales was horrendous which resulted in most of the parkruns down here being cancelled.

So we had to delay our parkruns to last weekend and the weather couldn’t have been anymore different from the weekend before. It was such a beautiful bright autumn day with leaves on the ground, and when we got running it was actually very warm. I didnt run a PB but did run another great time, and also took photos of my dad doing his 200th parkrun. However, what really made my day was the fact that I got to meet Darren Wood who is the person who has done the most parkruns in the world, this run was his 689th parkrun!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow that is over 13 years of running every saturday morning which is just incredible.

Canoe Club

Well canoe club has been great since we got back into the pool after the summer, a few weeks ago I wore a spraydeck for the first time. A spraydeck is like a skirt you wear that fits over the cockpit of the boat to stop water getting in. Now I can wear one of these I can do a load more things. I’ve learnt how to do rescues and now I’m learning how to roll, so if I do capsize I can roll back up without having to get out of the boat. My dad is teaching me, he’s not very good but he is starting to get better.

Other Things

As I’ve already said I live in South Wales and the weekend before last the weather was terrible with the wind and rain nonstop for a few days. This lead to loads of flooding and roads being closed because of trees falling over and landslides. We spent the weekend at our caravan, which may have seemed a strange thing to do in the bad weather but we had a brilliant time. The caravan was lovely and warm and cosy and we just relaxed and watched films.

The weekend before last we went for a family walk/cycle (Me and my sister cycled) along the Neath Canal. It was a lovely day and we just enjoyed the nice long walk/cycle.

After months of talking about it, we’ve finally booked our skiing holiday for this season. We’re off to a new resort for us called Meribel Mottaret and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to getting to the dry slope in Cardiff for a few sessions before we go to brush up on my skills so I can make the most of our time on the snow. I’ll keep you posted on how these sessions go.

If you’ve read my last few posts you’ll know that I’ve started a small family business selling things like seeds I’ve harvested from my plants and home made greetings cards.  This business is called Tyla Glas Kitchen Garden. At the moment I have quite a few different types of seeds for sale which include, lovely marigolds, runner beans, pansies and loads more. If you’re interested in any of these you can buy them by either clicking the link on my blog homepage (Here), or you can go to my newly created ebay page.

If you want to contact then please do on one of the following:

Twitter – @outdoorcae

Facebook – Outdoorcae Blog

 

Until next time – keeeeeeeeeeepppppp Garrrdddeennnniiinnnggg

Time for a Catchup

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all have had a nice few weeks since my last blog, I know I certainly have!

I’ve been saving all my pocket-money for over a year until I had enough saved up to by myself an Apple Watch. Well a few weeks ago I finally had enough and my dad took me to the Apple Store in Cardiff to get one – and I LOVE IT. It does everything that i want it to do and even better the strap doesn’t give me a rash like most watch straps. I even use it to track all my exercise and I have a daily competition with my dad, and everyone else i know who has one to try to do the most exercise, steps, hours standing and everything else the watch measures.

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Last week I went back to school after our long summer holiday and as much as I enjoyed the holidays I was glad to be back in school as I do enjoy it. I am now in Year 6 which is my last year in primary school and I was lucky enough to be chosen by my fellow pupils and staff to be Head Boy for my last year. I am so proud that i have been asked to be Head Boy and can’t wait for my new badge to arrive so I can wear it on my uniform.

With this being my last year I will be having lots of visits to my new Comprehensive School, the first of these is in an Open Evening this Thursday. I’m so excited to be going to comp next year and can’t wait to start all the new lessons and meet new friends.

Gardening

We’ve had a really busy few weeks in the gardens. Most of the plants in the allotment are starting to come to the end of their season but we are still getting quite a lot of beans, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. The rest of the ground is being made ready for either next seasons plants or for some things we are going to grow over the winter. We already have potatoes, carrots and parsnips in which I’m hoping will be ready in time for Christmas Lunch.

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When my little cousin Jess visited a few weeks ago she planted some carrot seeds, they are growing nicely in our greenhouse

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With the work in the allotment slowing down we have been really busy in our front garden. I’m not sure if I have mentioned it before, but as long as we have lived here it has been a lawn that we have planted around the outside, but we never really go in this garden. So we’ve decided to dig up the lawn and fill the area with different plant with paths running through leading around the garden to seating areas and the ponds (We have 2). We are still working hard at it but here’s a few photos of some of the progress we have made.

As you will know if you have read some of my earlier blogs, I LOVE Bees. So to add to our front garden we have put in a hive. This isn’t a normal traditional, hive but is called a Gardeners Hive. We have set it up and now wait and hope that bees decide to move in. I think we are probably too late for this year as bees don’t tend to split their hives (Swarm) at this time of year as they are getting them ready to survive the winter.

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As you probably already know, as I can’t stop going on about it, my family and I have set up a small family business called Tyla Glas Kitchen Garden. We are starting small and at the moment are selling things like plant seeds (harvested from our plants), homemade greetings cards and homemade christmas decorations. If you are interested in seeing some of our stock you can click here.

We have loads more seeds that are nearly ready for selling so keep checking the website as we increase our stock.

Running

I’m still running even though I havent done as many parkruns as I would have liked recently but we have been busy on weekends. However, I hope to change that and get back to doing my weekly parkrun very soon.

As you probably already know I set myself a challenge of doing a 12km run sometime in September. This is far greater than I have run before and I am training hard. So far I have completed a 9km run and have a 10km planned for tomorrow. I have only 2 weeks or so to run the full 12km in one go, which will be a real challenge.

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Apart from this being a challenge for me (and I like setting myself challenges) I am doing it to try to raise some money to help a great charity called Children With Cancer. You can read about the great work they do by clicking on the link.

I have raised over £200 so far, but the more I raise the more it will help the charity so if you can, please sponsor me HERE

Other Things

Another good thing about the school holidays being over is that my Canoe Club has restarted. I love canoeing and kayaking and am so happy that I can do this again every week.

When my cousins were staying at our caravan with us a few weeks ago the weather wasnt great, but this didn’t stop us having fun and on one of the days we climbed the big mountain by the caravan. It was great fun even if we all did get very wet.

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Last week we had a trip to a National Trust Property that we hadn’t been to before called Brockhampton Estate which was near Hereford. It was a lovely place and we did lots of things while there. These included building a model of a timber frame house (As this was the make up of the main house on the estate), relaxed on a swing and even picked a load Damsons that we took home and turned into lots of lovely Jam.

The only downside to our visit was the cafe’s which weren’t up the the usual National Trust standard.

Now I have a bit more time I’ve started to post more VLOGS on my YouTube channel and will hopefully start redoing my Podcast soon. If you want to listen to the Podcast I have done so far they are on soundcloud or iTunes.

If you have any questions, queries or comments or just want to contact me you can on one of the following:

Facebook – Outdoorcae Blogs

Twitter – @outdoorcae

Email – Outdoorcae@outlook.com

Keeeepppppp Garddddeennninngggg

Cae

Tyla Glas Kitchen Garden

Hello everyone,

I know it’s been a while but it’s better now than never! It’s going to be a short one but I really wanted to tell you what I’ve been up to recently.

I have been busy starting up a new business called Tyla Glas Kitchen Garden.

We are a small family business selling little bits and bobs such as home harvested seeds and homemade greetings cards with more to come in time.

If you would like to know more about who we are, what we do or to buy some of our goods. Please visit this link

Tyla Glas Kitchen Garden

Another thing I think you may be interested in is how my training is going for my sponsored run! I am up to 7km and I have raised more than £200 so far, some is in cash and some has been donated straight to the charity.

The charity is Children with Cancer and the money donated by you will help towards their important research.

If you would like to know more about this challenge or if can please donate. You can do so by following the link below

Mr Men and Little Miss Virtual Run

Last weekend my Auntie, Uncle and my 2 cousins came down from Sheffield to us. We were at my caravan and they stayed in a tent on the pitch next to us.

We had a brilliant weekend and did lots of things. I also absolutely loved their dog, Skye! She was beautiful.

Also my other cousin, Jess came down and stayed with my grandparents. We went on lots of trips out and it was very fun! We even had ice cream!

I know this was a short blog but I needed to tell you about my recent going ons!

Keeeppppppp Gardddeenniinnggggg

Outdoorcae

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

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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!

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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.

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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

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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