Week 8 day 51 – Wednesday 13th May 

  • 65 minutes at 120 watts
  • Max heart rate = 124 bpm
  • Calories = 544 (total so far 17533)
  • Distance covered = 23.41 miles
  • Total distance so far = 636.47

Keeping it steady at 120 watts, I’m pleased to see I’m maintaining my mileage. I can’t believe how quickly the miles are racing by and we are now down into some lovely countryside.

For a change from the music, I caught up with the final of the Great British Menu. Meals have become a highlight of the day for a lot of us and I have certainly been trying out some new dishes. However, fascinating though the GBM is, I think David can rest assured that he won’t be sampling any of the complicated dishes on there!

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Today moves me further on south through the beautiful countryside of Shropshire and into Shrewsbury. Plenty of delights to visit here and both Mary and I have visited on more than one occasion. 

Shrewsbury comes from the wonderful Saxon name ‘Scrobbesbyrig’ and, lying close to the Welsh border, was at one time the capital of Wales.

Probably founded in the 8th century by the Saxon rulers of Mercia, it sits inside a loop of the River Severn, and its Tudor centre is lined with half-timbered houses. In fact, there are more than 600 historic buildings as well as ‘Shuts’ – little tucked away passageways with names like Gullet Passage and Grope Lane.

Shopping is a delight here (as we can both testify!) as apparently it has more independent shops than any other town in the UK. 

It is also famed for its castle, spires, abbey and parklands. And right in the centre by the river is the glorious Quarry Park, an ideal location for festivals and events dotted throughout the summer. You can take your pick from a flower show, a food festival, a regatta, a river festival and a rock festival to name a few.

However, Shrewsbury’s biggest claim to fame is Charles Darwin. He studied at Cambridge after attending Edinburgh University, but he was born in Shrewsbury and attended Shrewsbury School (now the library).

And if you visit the town you will certainly find more than one reference to him. English Heritage now own his home, Darwin House which is open to visitors with guided tours and you can follow the Darwin Trail in the town to learn more about his life and work.

Rosalind and David have a particular link to the area as the British Weightlifting coach (in David’s era) John Lear, was a teacher at Shrewsbury School and still lives in the town. Last year they visited for a reunion dinner and stayed at the gorgeous boutique hotel Darwin Townhouse.

And just to show life is full of coincidences and connections, whilst travelling in South America over Christmas they followed in the footsteps of history by crossing the Beagle Channel. This was named after the ship HMS Beagle during its first hydrographic survey of the coasts of the southern part of South America which lasted from 1826 to 1830. Darwin travelled with them as the naturalist for the expedition and this voyage acted as preparation for his life’s work. One of the overlooking mountains is named after him as well as the Darwin Sound at the western end of the channel. Darwin recorded on first seeing a glacier: 

“It is scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers, and especially as contrasted with the dead white of the upper expanse of snow.”

A few of Rosalind’s many photos are below.