Newsletter Spring 2022

“There is more in you than you think”  so said Kurt Hahn.
In fact, it was inscribed on the wall of his family home.
This phrase seems to reverberate with so many of the courses I take and the experiences of participants – many of you have seen it as it’s a slide that I use on my Beginning Fell Running Day courses.

Kurt Hahn was the founder of Atlantic College, the first United World College where I worked for 16 years. He also founded the Outward Bound movement and his is an interesting story. Born in Germany in 1886 to Jewish parents, Hahn was educated at Oxford University before returning to Germany at the time of World War I. The destruction of the war gave him a firm belief in the need to work beyond conflict, and the potential of education as a force for good. He advocated experiential learning – putting people in situations to challenge them mentally and physically.

On our recent Beginning Mountain Biking Weekend For Women, everyone travelled so far – literally and metaphorically. There were points when participants really believed that they couldn’t do things and then actually did them. Everyone came away with a sense of having worked beyond where they thought possible – whether it was simply completing a full day’s ride or going down a mountain descent more competently than they thought they could. I feel I’ve hit the nail on the head of what I believe in when this happens.

There’s another Beginning Mountain Biking Weekend [8 participants max] on September 10th & 11th – more info and online booking here .


It’s nice to feel that we now have a history to Element. We’ve been going for 5 years and despite the Covid hiatus, it’s really good to be building and rolling.
One of our first events this year was a Bespoke Weekend for a wonderful group of women who have been coming every year since we started – a rich time of long walks and talks, looking, laughing and listening. Here they are above the Olchon Valley poignantly toasting the grandness that was Mary Dutton who was one of this group and is sadly no longer with us. The Olchon Valley was the last place Mary took a holiday and so it felt particularly fitting to do this in one of the wild places that she loved.

Spring is unfolding.
The celandines and the daffodils and now being overtaken by the bluebells and stitchwort and the puff of Cow Parsley is thickening the lanes. Last year we had three pairs of nesting swallows: two pairs in the barn and one in the garden shed, which meant we couldn’t close the shed door all summer. They had 18 chicks between them. They had all left by mid-September, the second brood having only just fledged before their long flight to warmer climes.

This year the first swallow was two weeks later arriving than last year – swallows return to the same location each year. But this year so far, only one pair has returned. My heart is sinking as the days go on and questions as to why they’re not all back resound in my head. Climate crisis? Lack of food? Lack of water? Modern farming practises? The list runs on, and no one quite knows the absolute answer. Still looking, still waiting, still hoping …

When I was a serious athlete, I absolutely loved racing – I loved it far more than training. In fact, I raced so often that I didn’t need to train much. This is not a coaching tip that I stress and pass on! It was only when I started running marathons seriously that I became much more targeted in my races and training. It’s now great to be organising races and bringing so much of what I know and have experienced and loved to this. I know what makes a good race. It’s absolutely great to be bringing back my races this year after a gap of two years –  and I’m adding a new one into the mix.

They’re all very different in distance and type. The Llanbedr to Blaenavon is for die-hard fell runners at a gnarly time of year and is long, requires mountain savvy and good fell running endurance and fitness. It’s always on the last Saturday of March – sunshine or snow.

The new Cwmyoy Fell Race is aimed at newbies to the sport with a safe route and a taster of what fell running is; it’s 5-miles in glory scenery. This year it’s a fundraiser and it is all that I believe good fell races should be: cheap to enter, good craic and simply a grand uplifting excursion with the lungs working harder than they normally do.

The Black Mountains Trail race is back this year on Sunday October 16th. It’s a flagged 9-mile Trail Race which is undulating and very scenic as it winds in and out of ancient woodland along the gorgeous fast flowing Grwyne Fawr river, famous for its salmon. Starting and finishing in Crickhowell we have a great race HQ and a lovely small town to bring the non-runners to as well as plenty of places to have a cuppa or a snack after the race. Lots of time to prepare for this so do sign up.

Late availability
At time of ‘going to press’ we still have:
Walking & Yoga  –  May 21st & 22nd – 2 places (due to cancellation)
Beginning Fell Running  –  July 23rd – 4 places  and   October 1st – 9 places
Fell Running & Yoga Weekend  –  September 23rd to 25th – 7 places (includes accommodation)[/vc_column_text][us_separator size=”small” color=”custom” bdcolor=”#f2f2f2″][vc_column_text]Do check or let Ruth know if an event is fully booked and you’d like to come; things do change.
Currently I seem to be the Ultimate Bag Lady and mired in rows of carrier bags for life which seem to have become my ‘filing system’ for various events!

From between the bags …I look forward to seeing many of you soon.

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