Archive | July, 2012

Lakes Long Weekend

30 Jul

After a very, very busy July with work, I booked in a long weekend in the Lake District to recover. 🙂

So, on Friday Sean and I headed off for the Langdale Valley. We were booked to be staying on the National Trust campsite at the bottom of the Langdale Valley. Daniel and Nicola, also from Darlington Dales and Hills, were joining us and the plan was for a long weekend of big walks.

Sean and I arrived at lunch time, got the tents up in glorious sunshine, and decided to have an afternoon ramble up Lingmoor Fell and down to Chapel Stile before heading back along the valley to the campsite.

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It was hot going in the sunshine, but the views of Crinkle Crags and the Langdale Pikes was absolutely stunning. We really enjoyed the walk, how could you not wish such fabulous weather and scenery. When we got back we sat in the sun for a while before getting a shower and changed and walking down the road to the Sticklebarn pub.

Last year I was really pleased with the Sticklebarn because it did an amazing vegan curry. Unfortunately, it looks like the place has been bought by the National Trust who have completely changed the menu, and now there is nothing vegan on it. 😦 I ended up with a salad, some peanuts and some chips for tea, which was disappointing. However, despite the food disaster we had a nice evening there people watching.

We got back to the campsite at 11, just as Nicola was finishing putting up her tent. Unfortunately Daniel decided not to come because he was suffering from both a bad back and a cold. It was late and had started to drizzle, so there was just enough time to wish Nicola goodnight and head off to bed.

The next morning the weather was damp and drizzly. This was the view from my tent:

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I had breakfast, got myself together, and the three of us set off for St Bees to visit Andy and Amy, former members of Darlington Dales and Hills who moved to Cumbria a few months ago. The plan was to see their fabulous new cottage and have a walk along the coast with them.

Sean decided to drive to St Bees over the most terrifying mountain passes, with steep gradients and tight hairpin bends. It was fabulous scenery but a bit scary in such wet and grey weather. It was still raining when we arrived at St Bees, and was blowing a gale on the coast. However, undeterred we set off with Andy and Amy on our walk. The walk was really nice, and followed the first section of the Coast to Coast path for several miles. As we walked the weather got better and better, and by the time we arrived back in St Bees the weather was glorious!

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After having a reviving cuppa at Andy and Amy’s house we left them in peace and headed back to Great Langdale for a shower and then into Ambleside for dinner. 

We went to Zeferellis for dinner. Zeferellis is a vegetarian restaurant with lots of vegan options. The restaurant was busy when we arrived, but they suggested we went upstairs to eat in the Jazz Cafe. The menu was just about the same, but it was more informal and there was a great jazz band to enjoy whilst we ate. It ended up being a fantastic evening, with excellent food, and great music. We stayed all evening, long after we finished eating. I really enjoyed Zeferellis and plan to eat there again when I go back to the Lakes in August.

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After a night of extensive rain Sunday was big walk day, and I took the three of us up to Stickle Tarn and then up Pavey Arc, Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle before looping around and coming back down the Cumbria Way. The weather when we set off was wet, but just like the day before, improved as the walk continued.

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By the time we were heading down at the end of the day the weather was pretty nice. We got back to the campsite and had a quick shower before heading to Chesters on the River and Skelworth Bridge for coffee and in Nicola and Sean’s case huge slabs of cake!

Sadly Nicola had to go home then, but Sean and I continued into Ambleside, dodged the rain showers for a bit, and then had dinner at a Thai restaurant in town who had an early evening meal deal on. After dinner we had a coffee in Esquires before driving back to the campsite. It was still fairly early so we walked to the Old Dungeon Gyll Hotel for a few drinks before bed. We sat outside under a canopy and watched the rain absolutely hammer down. 

It rained heavily all night, and was still raining as we packed down the tents. After several days of big walks we decided to have a slightly more gentle day today, and with improving weather I took Sean on one of my favourite walks around Loughrigg from Elterwater. 

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We dodged the showers all day, but managed to stay mostly dry. The walk took us right past Chesters so we stopped there for lunch and a coffee, sitting in the warm sunshine, before finishing he walk about 2.30pm. 

It was an absolutely fantastic weekend. I had a fabulous time and despite the weather being really mixed, with rather too much rain, I think it would have been difficult to have have a better time. I’m back in the Lakes for the August Bank Holiday weekend and really cannot wait to get up in the hills there again.

Great North 10k, Gateshead

22 Jul

No hiking this Sunday because I was taking part in the Great North 10k. I really like the 10k distance, it’s not too long, and it’s always a pleasant run (especially since my regular runs are about 5miles, so it’s not that much further to the 6.2 mile mark of a 10k).

My plan for this summer was to do a series of 10k runs, but it hasn’t quite worked out like that because the last one I was meant to do I was injured for. I’m still nursing a problem with my right foot (plantar fasciitis) but ran with it taped up today, and it seems to be ok. The next one I’m booked in for, the Middlesbrough Pride 10k, I’m now going to be in Pembrokeshire for: useless!

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Anyhoo, today’s run was good. I went over to Gateshead to walk down with some friends from work. The race set us off in waves, and they were in a different wave so I didn’t get to run with them but we met up afterwards, and I’m actually much happier running on my own anyway.

The course in Gateshead was really nice. From the International Athletics Stadium we ran down to the quayside and along the Gateshead side of the Tyne passing the Baltic, Sage, under the Tyne Bridge, past the swing bridge and a good way along the quayside. At the 5k mark we turned around and headed back the way we came. The course has some nasty hills in it in the latter half that really sucked the energy out of you. The worst was a nasty climb in the last half mile from the quayside back up to the stadium. A lot of people walked it, but I’m pleased to say I ran the whole thing, hills and all. The final part was a lap of the stadium, and I even had enough beans left to sprint the last 200m or so, which I was so pleased about even if I did feel like I was going to vomit as I crossed the finish line!

The weather was pretty nice for running too – dry, mild and cloudy. Perfect.

Afterwards we headed back to my colleague’s house for lunch of lentil soup and a wheat-free pumpkin muffin, which I had made yesterday. I think we had earned it!

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Final time from my chip was 1 hour 3 minutes, which I’m pretty pleased about for the course and all it’s hills. The next goal is to get my 10k time below the 1 hour mark, so I’m going to have to start working on my speed. 

Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

21 Jul

Let me share with you a little bit of heaven.

These cinnamon rolls take about 3 hours to make, but they are definitely worth it. It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon activity whilst you read a good book. A treat, because there is so much sugar in these babies that you really shouldn’t be eating them too often.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegan spread (I use Pure)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 pack dried yeast
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg replacer
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of white spelt flour
  • 1 cup of kamut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/8 tsp ginger

Filling

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegan spread
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Method

Warm the vegan spread and almond milk until melted together and at body temperature (if too hot leave to cool a while). Add the yeast, give it a mix and set aside for 5 mins for the yeast to activate. (Make sure your liquid isn’t too hot or it will kill off your yeast).

Mix together the egg replacer and pumpkin puree. In another bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt and spices. Add the pumpkin mix and the yeast mix and bring the whole lot together into a dough.

Knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes until soft and springy. Place the kneaded dough into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for about 1 hour. Whilst the dough is rising mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl.

When the dough is risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a worktop. Roll it into a large rectangle, and spread the filling all over the top of it, leaving about an inch around the edges clear. Roll the dough into a sausage with the filling inside, and then cut the sausage of dough into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices into a casserole dish, cover in cling film, and leave to prove for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to GM6. Bake the proved rolls for 25 minutes. Let the rolls cool whilst you make the glaze.

Mix the glaze ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the glaze over the top of the rolls.

Devour with abandon.