Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA) is a registered charity to provide relief from sickness and injury to the people of Dorset and Somerset by provision of an Air Ambulance. There is no direct funding from the Government or the National Lottery and they rely totally on the generosity of the public to run the service.
The service was launched in 2000, and since then over 11,000 missions have been flown. The helicopter can be at any point in Somerset or Dorset from its airbase at Henstridge in less than 20 minutes and then at any one of the major trauma centres in the South West within a further 20 minutes.
Operational costs exceed £2 million a year with each with mission costing £2,500.
Good Friday. Good weather. Bright blue sky sunshine and light winds. Perfect.
The South West Coast path is a long distance footpath of some 630 miles from Minehead to Poole. Over the years we have walked all of the path (and also kayaked all the way round too). On this occasion we were just walking 20 miles from Lynmouth to Minehead. Minehead is where most people start and there is an official starting point with a Sculpture.
The SW Coastal Path sculpture at Minehead
In preparation (training is a difficult concept for Ian) for a much longer walk we have planned later in the year, we walked 100k from Dulverton to Minehead last week over 4 days. We carried everything we needed but stayed in guest accommodation and ate in pubs. Archie our Border Terrier came too, as he also need some multi day walking preparation.
We left our car at Dulverton and set off along the River Barle heading North. There is a good path that keeps close to the river for about 5 km to Castle Bridge. There is then a gentle ascent to Hawkridge where the path meets the Two Moors Way.
Hawkridge is one of the oldest communities on Exmoor. It lies on the track that crosses the River Barle at Tarr Steps and in sight of the barrows on Anstey Common. The church has Saxon origins.
The Two Moors Way is a long distance footpath between Ivybridge on the Southern edge of Dartmoor and Lynmouth on the North coast of Somerset. We have previously walked the Dartmoor section. This walk is within the Exmoor National Park and passes through landscapes of exceptionally high quality. Not only does this include the high moorland but also the deep and wooded valleys of the moor.
The Two Moors Way
This event is long standing in the Audax Calendar and is organised by Ian Hennessey. Ian varies the route from year to year. This year he also varied the date, moving it about 6 weeks later in the year to try to avoid floods on the levels and frost on the roads. Last year’s February date encountered both.
The control at Honiton
This ride is purely for fun. There are no points to be had for distance or elevation and the ride does not count towards qualification for any other event (PBP). The field seemed to be predominately made up of folk on road bikes – sans mudguards and luggage – and almost everyone was wearing a helmet. There were even 5 women riding!
Mainly carbon bikes for this event
April 5th 2015 – Easter Sunday – promised to be dry, frost free with light winds and even some sunshine. It had been a drier than average winter and there had been very little flooding on the levels, so Ian had no restrictions on the route and no last minute modifications to make.
After my various trips away over the summer I have once again turned my attention to riding locally. West Dorset is very rural and it is a great pleasure to ride from my home out into the countryside.
This year as we continue into September, Summer has forgotten to stop. The weather is very benign and perfect for long days out riding a bicycle. Most of the summer visitors have gone now so there is only a little local traffic on the lanes. As I ride along – often alone – I appreciate and enjoy the quiet calm of the countryside in the benign late summer weather. So when I came across the sign to Peaceful Lane near Holwell in Dorset I thought that this was a perfect title for a blog post about a couple of longer rides I’ve been on in the last week or so.
Perfect for a blog post title
The route (CLICK for more detail).
I belong to Audax UK which is the internationally recognised long-distance cycling association in the UK.
AUK oversees the running of long-distance cycling events in the UK, and, using a system of timed checkpoints, validates and records every successful ride. There are many benefits of being involved with AUK. One of the main benefits for me is the inclusion in the AUK Awards structure. I am not interested in collecting the certificates, medals and badges but I do use the Awards as motivation.
The route (CLICK for details)
The Old Roads is a BRM event run under Audax UK regulations by Ian Hennessey It starts and finishes at Honiton. It took place on Saturday 10th May 2014.
I entered this event as my first 300km ride because it is close to home. The route by Audax standards is straightforward and it is relatively flat with only 3677m (by my GPS) a mere 12,000 feet of ascent.