On the back of having a work's dinner down in Derby I packed boats & bike for a week long road trip through englandshire. Managed some family visiting along the way, a couple of beers too with old friends from Witts, and put 1500 miles on the campervan clock.
Autumn had definitely arrived on day 1 when I did the black + red loop at Kirroughtree (the 7stanes best site?) as I was above the mist layer lying in the Palnure Burn valley. Proved a good warm up for the legs anyway with Heartbreak Hill the tester.
Had two sessions at the National Whitewater Centre (HPP, Nottingham) trying out a Pyranha Machno against my own Stomper creek boat. Also had a little time in my old Vajda Sting race boat just because the poles were there. HPP seems to be a freestyle venue nowadays with few other race boats about.
Then went all the way down to London (M25) and the Lee Valley Park courses. Managed to pass my Legacy Course assessment and so had a play there with the Machno (now all mine). But because of bureaucracy/process (don't ask) couldn't actually have a second assessment the same day and so will have to do the Olympic course on another visit. The fact that I live 11 hrs driving north of LV & was just retired from Div 1 slalom cut me no slack what so ever! On the up side, I got to meet up and chat with my mate Tony for a good while.
Then heading north again, over-nighted at Cannock Chase and did the two red MTB runs there (Follow the Dog and Monkey Trail). Really pretty forest area with many trees in their splendid colours. Pretty wet terrain though. The cafe at the trailhead is worth stopping at.
Finally back over the border and a visit to Mile & Lynn's new house for the odd glass of vino. Innerleithen (another 7stanes) was just 20 mins away on the final morning so I went and did the red XC loop there. Lovely views from the top of Minch Mor (567m) and the return trail from there is just an endless blast - great stuff to complete the week.