Posts Tagged With: family

On Your Bike!

With that post-Christmas, heavy-body feeling, we decided to make the most of one of the few dry days and go for a bike ride along the paths of the Afan forest. Tentatively testing out my Dad’s new bike rack; (we managed to get him a useful, proper present this year), we loaded up our 3 bikes and set off for a fun-filled day of mountain biking.

 Afan Forest Park has a number of different bike trails, ranging from a good family ‘Rookie’ route, up to more difficult levels such as W2 and The Wall.

I made the mistake of trying The Wall once, with my team in work. I couldn’t walk for 2 days afterwards.

However, have used the ‘Rookie’ route for groups in work and felt that it would be an excellent track for my daughter to start her first proper mountain bike adventure. We have been on many flat tracks throughout Cardiff, but I wanted her to improve and build her skills, her confidence and her ability to negotiate a variety of paths.

The green Rookie route is mainly tarmac’d, fairly flat and with only short up-hill gradients, which gives good endurance practice. A positive aspect for children is it’s wide trails with no scary drops alongside. This allows children to progress slightly ahead, without your heart jumping a little. The route also includes a “skills area” which can be avoided if needed.
It allows young riders to develop technical skills by curving around bends and dropping down small steps and stones. My daughter loved this challenge and her confidence developed within minutes as she whizzed around the corners, rode up and down the man-made hills and practiced applying her brakes to safely decrease her speed.
‘Safety sign for technical skills park’
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What’s lovely about the rookie route is that there are picnic tables and rest stops along the way, which mean that (with a well packed rucksack) you can enjoy the day out, take your time and stop when you get hungry and, yes, we had turkey sandwiches for lunch!!
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We also visited the cafe located in the visitors centre, where we enjoyed a steaming cup of tea and a delicious slice of homemade cake. We noticed some of the lunch orders coming out of the kitchen, and I think I saw the biggest plate of jacket potato with cheese and beans EVER!! The cafe was busy when we were there and so people were told that there would be a slight wait for food but, since the food was being freshly-prepared, it seemed excellent value for money and people didn’t mind taking a few moments to sit down and de-brief their experiences on the various routes.
Feeling re-energised after a brief rest stop, we headed back out and did half of the rookie route again, practicing different skills and trying harder parts. It’s another reason why this is a good family bike route, because you can just do a short journey, or increase your distance, depending upon abilities and ages.
Also, while out ‘en route’ we saw a lot of families walking, so this a great location for enjoying both activities.
We had a really lovely day. It was great to see my daughter’s confidence grow throughout the day and she really got into the mountain bike  adventure, demanding to go back the following weekend!!
Also, it was good to be able to take my Dad out and show him the some of the environment that I work in. Three generations of family spending quality (and a very muddy) time together in the outdoors.
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I would highly recommend visiting the site on-line before going, just to check the park and cafe opening times. It also gives up-to-date changes of the bike routes due to weather conditions or maintenance work.
For trail information, you can telephone
Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre on: 01639 850564
Afan Forest Park Website: http://www.afanforestpark.co.uk/
The Afan visitor centre opening hours are:
April to September: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5.00pm(6.00pm on weekends and Bank Holidays)
October to March: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.00pm(5.00pm on weekends and Bank Holidays)

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Remembering 2013

Today marks the start of a New Year, a time for people to make plans, fresh resolutions for change and, hopefully, are able to look forward to the coming year with a fresh, positive outlook. It also makes me think about the outgoing year and what, (both as a person and a family), we’ve all been through.

For me, 2013 has been a bit up and down…… mainly up’s, which I’m very grateful for. It’s the year that I’ve seen my blog really take off in a great way. Through some hard work and a lot of help and guidance from my family; (you know who you are), I’ve been able to overcome my fear of computers and technology to be able to incorporate my blog as an addition to my outdoor life. In turn, I’ve been able to pass on my experiences to a wider audience, out there in the “www.e-wilderness”. I’m truly amazed at how welcoming people in the blogging world are, and I really appreciate the comments, feedback and stories that I get to share each week.

However, this was also the year that our family suffered a great loss. My grandmother (Nan) sadly passed away in July. She was a truly amazing woman and I treasure my last week with her. We were able to come together as a very close family. We talked, cried, shared stories of family holidays, and laughed together. We passed around lots of happy memories of a remarkable woman who will not be forgotten.

With my daughter getting older, we really got into our outdoor pursuits during the past year. We camped at St Davids in Pembroke, which is a stunning area of natural beauty. We swam in crisp, clear blue seas, went on long coastal walks and had ice-cream everyday. It was the year that my husband proudly caught a huge spider-crab, which we cooked on a camp-fire for our dinner, and we ate with a simple tossed salad, crusty bread and a homemade seafood-style dressing!!

We went for our first family gorge walk at Dinas Rock. The whole family took part in jumping into very cold pools, scrambling across the rocks and crawling through the waterfalls. It was a great day with lots of smiles and giggles, mainly at the expense of my husband and my dad not realising how cold the water would be, and watching them jump straight in….. and right back out again!

It was the year of the mountain bike, too. My daughter mastered her biking balance, and we were off. We rode in the sunshine and the rain. We rode all along the Taff Trail and had some brilliant adventures on some great Welsh tracks.

Another adventure saw us become a family of food foragers. We’ve spent many Sundays at Oxwich Bay, in the Gower, in all types of weather. We hunted for cockles and mussels, then hurried back home for my husband to prepare a delicious meal, which was very fresh, tasty and, (let’s be honest), FREE!

We’ve gone on lots of long walks, enjoyed cooking on open fires, gone through 3 pairs of wellies EACH and discovered a passion for rock-pooling and driftwood collecting. Great family times that I really treasure.

So, I would like to say a GREAT BIG THANK YOU from myself and my family, to new blogging friends, for all the lovely comments and the feedback. Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories, and thank you for the continual help and support that I’ve received from different people, not just from my family.

Here’s wishing you all a New Year filled with fun and exciting outdoor adventures.

Happy New Year!!

PicMonkey Collage

mummy mishaps
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