Birmingham was in the news last week as it entered Tier 4. There were reporters from national BBC standing at the top of New Street, in the shadow of Queen Victoria, telling us about the latest restrictions.
The thing that I noticed was how quiet New Street was with very few people walking around. I mentioned to my other half that I should experience the quiet city centre but had no real reason to visit.
Today, I had to nip into work in Digbeth so I decided to kill two birds with the one stone. I drove to Digbeth on the outskirts of the city centre, just down the road from work, and took my daily exercise with a walk, initially along the canal, into Birmingham city centre.
From the canal, I walked to Digbeth (the street) and onward to the market area and St. Martin’s church. I passed a pair of forlorn looking eScooters – the first I’ve seen. Apparently, they were introduced in Birmingham in September but as this was my first trip in Birmingham proper for many months I have a good excuse.
From St. Martin’s I made my way onto New Street which was very quiet even for a Sunday morning.
I walked from the Bull Ring up to Victoria Square seeing, perhaps, a dozen people. At the top end, I spotted the new (well new to me) tram lines allowing the Metro to run as far as the Library. Looking at the electronic signs at the Town Hall station, I saw that the next arrival would be within one minute so I waited for the tram.
A minute later, I heard the bell on the tram and was rewarded with my first sight of the new tram. The current stock will run on the ‘normal’ overhead power lines or, as on this section, on internal batteries.
A minute or so after hearing the tram bell, I heard the bells on the museum / town hall strike for nine o’clock.
I made my way along Colmore Row to St. Philips Church. St. Philips is the city’s cathedral and home to the bishop of Birmingham (although I don’t think that he actually lives here!).
I walked through the churchyard (or pigeon park as it is known locally), past the back of Rackhams and through The Minories to Corporation Street.
I walk on down, passed the law courts and into the Aston University campus noticing the signs for a walk-in Covid testing centre.
Walking towards the canal, I passed a sculpture of a pile of books with the inscription, “All the books I should have read – but I’ve been doing other things instead.”
From the uni, I descended onto the Digbeth Branch Canal walking through Ashted Tunnel (94 metres long) and Curzon Street tunnel (147 metres long) to arrive back at the banana warehouse junction.
A short walk from the junction brought me back to the car and the end of my overdue walk around Brum.
I had walked the dogs earlier in the day (4 miles) but took myself out for a longer walk to get the mileage up.
The walk started off easily enough with the ‘usual’ walk over the M6 and M42 link before I had to negotiate the muddy top end of attleboro Lane. This path used to be quite solid but after HS2 removed all of the tree cover it is often just a series of muddy puddle – just like this afternoon.
A light drizzle started and I was sure that there were a few wintery bits coming down but this soon stopped as I continued on towards Coleshill.
I did a little loop near to Coleshill Parkway station before continuing along Station Road towards the River Cole at the aptly named Cole End. From here I made my way to the main A446 which was crossed heading towards Gilson.
The shower had returned and the wintery bits were definitely present – big clumps of it at times.
Walking through Gilson I could not fail to notice the snazzy Christmas display on the side of one of the houses. I have seen this on past christmases but he’s had an upgrade this year.
The complete loop lasts for quite a while and there are different loops. The video doesn’t do it justice !
I re-entered Water Orton with the snow still coming down. I made my way to the playing fields then back to Attleboro Lane.
I walked up the hill back to the muddy puddles grabbing a shot of the barns at the top of the lane which looked particularly fetching in the snow.
The final stretch took me back over the motorways and back home.
It was quite refreshing walking int he snow and managing to grab a few wintery photos en route.
All in all, a distance of 7.3 miles was achieved – a bit closer to my #Walk1000 miles and a tad nearer to LA.
Endomondo was created in 2007 as a sports activity tracker. In 2015, Endomondo was acquired by Under Armour (UA) at which time over twenty million subscribers were using the platform.
Probably because UA had a number of it’s own fitness trackers, notably the Mapmy whatever your sport is and Mapmyfitness, there was no need to continue support for Endomondo. The platform became more and more flaky become unusable for days at a time.
Towards the end of last year, Endomondo announced that it was retiring at the end of the year. All data (and I have over ten years worth) will be deleted at the end of March 2021.
Luckily (hopefully) all my data is duplicated on other platforms, primarily Garmin Connect and Strava.
There was an option do get all the data from Endomondo but, even though I fitled out the form, have never received them. The link on the Endomondo website is no longer working!
Going forward, I aim to use Garmin Connect as my main platform as this is where my activities are initially gathered with this account being synchronised with Strava (which supports embedding into WordPress).
After a bit of a tumultuous last twelve months, a new year dawns but will it be any better than the last one ?
I should think that 2020 will be remembered as the year of Covid as the disease spread across the globe. In an effort to slow the spread, various restriction were put into place. The first national lockdown came in March with only essential journeys from home allowed. This included a single daily exercise session although the usual urban myth machinery had most people believing that this could only last for one hour.
Most, if not all, mass participation events were outlawed including all challenge walks / runs. A number of organisers switch to making their events virtual meaning that those taking part did the distance on their own ‘course’ and logged their time. Certificates / medals were given to those who completed the distance.
The restrictions were eased in the summer but gathering of large numbers of walkers was still banned. Towards the end of the year, it looked as though the LDWA group walks could restart only for the lockdown, in all but name, to return.
A favourite walk of mine – A Coventry Way – was postponed and is, at present, pencilled in for April 2021. That’s the only thing on my calendar at the moment so I have scheduled my training to peak for that event. Obviously, if the Covid situation does not improved sufficiently, this may well be postponed again.
On a longer timescale, namely the entire year, I have the usual Country Walking #Walk1000 challenge.
Also, a bit more challenging, is the End to End Route 66 Challenge – a virtual walk along the famous US Route 66. When I signed up, I thought that the 2,278 miles had to be done in twelve months (around six miles a day) but I later discovered that the challenge lasts for a full twenty four months. I have decided that as I signed up with the intention of completing the virtual across America walk within twelve months that’s what I will endeavour to do.
After many weeks of lockdown, I was quite happy a few days back with the news that LDWA group walks could take place under the latest coronavirus restrictions.
I spotted a local walk on my local group’s webpage, around Birmingham’s canals on Jan 2. I emailed the organiser to check that it was actually on and received good news an hour or so later.
Today, I received an email from one of my neighbouring groups …
So there we have it – no group walks in Tier 3.
Currently, England is split into three tiers with all but Cornwall, The Scilly Isles and the Isle of Wight in the two highest tiers (2 and 3) with restrictions on the number of people you can interact with and having to close the pubs in tier 3.
Hopefully the situation will change soon and group walks can restart in the new year. Even better would be the ability to resume challenge walks but that is some way off I think. I am booked on the A Coventry Way walk in April but I can see that getting pushed back to later in the year.
Sorry Be-Bop fans but this entry is not about the jazz legend that is Miles Davis but about the miles that I’ve covered this year.
After a blistering start, Coronavirus struck and all the organised walks disappeared. With no set goal or goals to train for the training mileage went right down.
Luckily, having a couple of active dogs did mean that I was still clocking up some maintenance mileage.
The Virtual 100 challenges gave me a bit of incentive to push up the mileage and the Virtual Y 100 Sir Fynwy got me walking the one hundred miles over a weekend in May.
Compared with previous years, I haven’t fared too badly with only 2013 producing more miles.
A Social Walk
Reading my Strider magazine, I read an interesting article about LDWA group walks. The latest was posted on the LDWA website on the 30th and reads …
Following the easing of lockdown in England from the 02.12.20, which states that “organised adult sports can take place outdoors” in all 3 Tiers, we are pleased to announce that LDWA social walks can now resume in all areas in England. Walks are limited to 30 people. If there are more than 6 on the walk, then a risk assessment is required and up to 6 it is strongly recommended. The LDWA ‘Delivery Plan’ must be carried regardless of how many members are on the social walk in order to show any person in authority that the walk is being organised within the rules of the LDWA. The Delivery Plan can be carried either physically or electronically.
Whilst social walks can be organised in Tier 3 areas, it is recommended that members who live in a Tier 3 area do not leave their area to attend a social walk and conversely it is recommended that members who live in Tiers 1 and 2 do not enter a Tier 3 area to attend a social walk.
The easing of the national lockdown in England now means that Challenge Events might commence and LDWA event organisers are reminded that the LDWA Covid-19 challenge walk delivery plan must be adhered to.
So some kind of organised walking can take place. My local group of the LDWA, Heart of England, is listing a walk around the canals of Birmingham for the 2nd Jan and I have emailed the organiser to see if this will be taking place.
Up around six as I had ten miles on my planner for today. I had to be done by nine-ish as my daughter was popping around to drop off my Birthday cards and pressies at that time.
First off, today, it was a circuit of Water Orton with Gabby in a very light drizzle. It was still dark as we crossed the M6 and M42 and splashed, by the light of my head torch, along the muddy track to Attleboro Lane and then onto Water Orton.
Back home just under an hour later, I quickly dried Gabby before hitching up Misty and proceeding back out the front door.
We repeated the same loop but in the opposite direction as the rain increased in severity. As we got back to the M42 / M6 crossings the view was very grey and dreary.
Misty needed a lot more drying off but once done, I was back out, this time alone for a further three and a half miles.
A walk to Bacon’s End and back brought my Birthday total to ten miles.
# WALK 1000 MILES in 2020
I’ve got six miles to walk tomorrow to give me a weekly total of thirty six miles and the furthest I walked since the beginning of October. Looking back at my walks that week in October was a bit of a fluke as the longest week before that was back in July.
Over the year, I have still managed to rack up over seventeen hundred miles and I should finish the year at around nineteen hundred miles.