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Boot Camp – What Was I Thinking?

When we signed up for a boot camp weekend, did we have 'The X Factor' in mind - celebrities, make up, sparkles and champagne?

Maybe, but the setting of Aylestone Park when it was minus 1 degrees and muddy couldn’t have been further from our dream of a good time!

First Things First...

Still, we were there and if not raring to go -or at least prepared to have a go! That is, until two ‘fitties’ appeared in Lycra and sinews!  There were five of us altogether along with Rob our boot camp commander. I was easily the oldest and least fit.

First things first. Rob called it a warm up and warm up we did - surprisingly quickly! Next, we were off on a 15 to 1 circuit. My comfort zone is whiteboards and lists, so I was lulled into a false sense of security when the whiteboard came out with the list of 15 to 1 different types of exercises. All appeared to be reasonably easy like the ‘get ups’. All you have to do, is get up (again and again and again). With the two fitties off like greased lightning and Emma and Sam not far behind them, I embarked on the challenge. Rob was brilliant, when he saw me struggle, he adapted the exercise. When I skipped bits he turned a blind eye and when I came to a shuddering stop he helped me finish with dignity.

Suddenly, it was mid morning break! Sitting in the car, getting our breath back and refuelling, Emma and I could barely speak. We did manage to convince ourselves we were having a good time though despite being covered in mud.

Boot Camp - What Was I Thinking? First Things First...
Boot Camp - What Was I Thinking? Running - No Thanks...

Running - No Thanks!

I won’t go into huge detail about the individual exercises we did but I will say that at the beginning, when we had a quick chat with Rob about what why we’d signed up and what we wanted to get out of the weekend, I had mentioned in passing that I didn’t do running! Incredibly - and down to his coaching and encouragement, I found myself not only running on the Sunday morning but enjoying it. Not only did I run on the flat, but uphill as well! (I don’t think I mentioned that Aylestone Park is on the side of Aylestone Hill.)

By the time we’d finished the two days, Emma and I were not only proud of ourselves but proud of each other too and vaguely talked about doing it again! Oh and I learnt that Tabata is not something to eat but the fastest, most effective exercise routine I’ve ever encountered. I wouldn’t mind giving it another go some time! Yep, definitely a different way to spend a weekend in January!

Outdoor Gym

The last thing I would have guessed would be a magnet for us on holiday was the gym on the beach. But, standing on a piece of equipment under a blue sky, exercising and gazing at the sea seemed briefly like a little bit of paradise!

Even when not on holiday, it is easy to go to a local outdoor gym. There are hundreds of local council-funded outdoor gyms that are free-to-use all year round as councils hope it will encourage a healthier community. Some are in beautiful settings too. Many of our Treasure Trails go past them.

Boot Camp - What Was I Thinking? Outdoor Gym

Have you tried an outdoor gym? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook.

15th March 2019

Posted In: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Manchester, Merseyside, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Scotland, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Things to do, Tyne and Wear, Wales, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire


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Wassailing in Herefordshire

Nearly 200 hardy souls turned up at Queenswood Country Park for our wassailing experience. It was a cold and dark January night with a hint of snow in the air!


We had been invited to the event by friends and on the day we all nearly chickened out. It was cold and dark and had been snowing earlier. But we aspire to being hardy country folk and wrapped up warm. First of all, there was hot mulled cider and a blazing fire. Because people started to gather, the drummers drummed and we huddled round the fire with our flaming torches.

The host explained that we would form a procession through the woods to the orchard and an ancient apple tree. The “Butler”, dressed in a rag cloak would lead the way, drumming all the time. We were given a heath and safety briefing which was like no other! “If you get lost, look for the light of the flames and follow the noise of the drums”.  An air of anticipation and excitement was palpable. 

Wassailing in Herefordshire - Queenswood Country Park
Wassailing in Herefordshire - Pagan Rituals

Pagan Rituals

Whilst it was the first time wassailing had been done in this particular location, it is an ancient pagan and early Christian custom. The dictionary states it means “drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way”. To be fair, that’s pretty much what we did! We followed the Butler through the woods and once we got to the tree we were handed pieces of toast. We had to attach our toast to the tree and chant the chorus to the Butler’s song.

“Bring us hats full, cups full, bushel bags and sacks full. And my pockets full too. Huzzah Huzzah!” I felt slightly self conscious but I soon got into the spirit of it. 

Wildlife Trust

The event had been organised by the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and was a lot of fun. The children shook the rattles and drums they had made at the craft workshop earlier. We grown ups drank from the wassail cup. After we’d all processed around the tree at least once, we headed back to the fire and pizza van. Finally, safe in the knowledge that we’d done our bit and added something new to our memory banks!

Wassailing in Herefordshire - Wildlife Trust

18th February 2019

Posted In: Herefordshire, Things to do


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