Newsletter July 2019

The theme for the first half of this year seems to have been ‘stretching in new directions’ for both Element participants and myself.

I have launched and run three new exciting events: The Italy Walking Trip to the Apuan Alps, ‘Running Re-Boot’ Club Days and the creative Sense of Place weekend.
In a world that seems to be moving more towards social disconnection, I notice more and more how much we gain through connection.

“Sensational – exceeded all my expectations. Open, warm and welcoming … challenging, encouraging and joyous results” Glyn

On the Sense of Place weekend, ten individuals who didn’t know each other beforehand joined us for an exploration of landscape and image in the gorgeous location of the Landmark Trust’s historic house Llewyn Celyn and we also had the most fabulous May weather.

What came out of the weekend was a fascinating fabric of connections, creativity, stories and humour. All the participants commented how much more they’d taken away from the weekend than they had expected … and by the end of it we really felt like a group of old friends!

The Sense of Place Weekend is running again on October 12/13 and there are still a few spaces left – it really is a special weekend with a forum for talking, sharing and connecting which we so often don’t find the time or space for.

I am also offering a follow-up creative weekend focusing on writing and personal projects called Create Space on November 23/24 also based at Llewyn Celyn and there are still places on this – it’s for anyone who is keen to explore in a creative way.

“I loved Ruth’s approach to going for a walk being an adventure and an experience which evolves. Her fluent Italian and local knowledge meant seeing things we’d have missed and really getting an insight into Italy and some unknown and magical locations” Louise

The Apuan Alps Walking Trip in June was brilliantly enjoyable. A 4-day journey with a group of 10  though stunning limestone mountains near Pisa with good Italian food.  The images speak for themselves: ridges, light, colour, smiles and sun.  Passing on something of my passion for Italy, which I’ve gained over the last 20 years, along with the grandness of its nature is what I love. There were some lovely unexpected encounters with people in this lesser-visited part of Tuscany … and we had a singing dog and flying foxes.

The Apuan Alps trip will run again June 14-18 2020. If you’re interested, read the website entry and drop me an email.

22 years ago I bought an abandoned house and some abandoned farmland in Italy. I still have the land and returned after this trip to look at and to tend the trees I planted, which are now becoming a wood. Wolves are returning to the Apennines as it re-wilds. Old farmers are dying and young people now work in the cities and so the land is ‘resting’.  It gave me great delight to find wolf scats on my land which were all fur and bones; I felt like quite a tracker although not yet enough of a tracker to actually see the wolves themselves

“I cannot believe the positivity that I got from this day.” Pauline

The Beginning Fell Running day continues to be very popular and it is a delight to be giving some ‘can-do’ attitude to so many women and nudging people into enjoying the joy of off-road running.

This year I am offering a follow-on weekend to the fell running day called Into The Mountains (Sept 21/22). It’s all about getting out for two longer days into some lovely the hills with a map and we’ll be looking at some fell race routes as part of this. There’s a massage included and twin room overnight accommodation as well as other delights. We will be mainly walking at a good pace with the emphasis being on being in the mountains, putting routes together and enjoying nature. I still have 3 places remaining on this so get in touch if you’d like to come. Also open to partners/ husbands!

There has been a big increase in off-road running in the last 5 years and I notice attempts to commercialise running these days in ways in which it never was a commercialised sport. Fell and mountain running have good ‘grassroots’ and have always somehow defied this creeping commercialisation. I’m also heartened by the free weekly Parkrun which must be one of the best things to have come out of the running world in the last 10 years: turn up, put on your daps and run 5k (or walk); it’s all about simply ‘getting out of the door’ to connect with others.

My own Black Mountains Trail Race (November 10th) represents what I feel is important in a good race. We’re going into year 3 with this and the big question is ‘will the sun shine endlessly on the day again as it has for the previous two years?!’  Entries now open.

Something new for this year has been the ‘Running Reboot’ Days for Clubs. I have created a ‘menu’ of workshop options – some are practical and some are presentations and discussions. Specialists lead them and they range from GP led approaches to pain management to looking at creating and building running resilience. It’s a really useful ‘re-boot’ day and good to do over the winter – taking a step back and looking at and recognising some of the unhelpful ‘patterns’ as runners that we get locked into. It’s also a great day to connect with your fellow club mates too. We normally look at 15 – 20 participants but take a look at the website and do get in touch if you’d like to discuss a club day.

With our Bespoke Weekends earlier in the year and some groups returning for their third year on an Element weekend it’s been a rich and varied first half of 2019.

Element is all about pulling the strands of things together that I’m passionate and informed about. As I said in my presentation on Exploring Adventure for the Brecon Festival in March, adventure is all about ‘curiosity and flexing muscles in new directions’ both creatively and physically.

More soon and as ever full details of events and contact information are on the website.
Thanks for following Element.
Best wishes

Ruth
Ruth@element-active.co.uk

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