Sunday, 18 October 2020

Nordic Ravens at the Gates of Hell

Now that we have a suitably dramatic title, we shall engage.

I'm not a runner, I 'm a cyclist. We'll be returning to this.

Now having been cycling for 16 years, and even done the odd 100 miler, I must testify to loving the training and having several bikes, and even training inside via turbo trainer & Zwift (TM). Recent 'science' (you can always trust science?!?!) however, outlines that cyclists who do more than a modicum of training, over an extended period, and who are in their...shall we say...49+ age bracket in terms of years, should really be looking at the possibility of osteoporosis as a future problem, unless they wise up.

Bearing this in mind, and upon the advice of La Duchesse - who used to run for her country...I have been running. (Allegedly it keeps the fitness up, if careful, whilst rebuilding bone and joint health.)

(I'm not a runner, I 'm a cyclist - there; told ya we'd be back here!)

A mile here, two miles there...though this morning I beat my two mile duck.

Now I have not been running seriously, since I was forced to, more than 20 years ago...and it is not easy to make that transition. (MOVE IT, MOVE IT, MOVE IT!)

This morning however, I undertook to run along a barely discernible path toward a large cliff near my home...and back.


In fact, legend states that this is where the Vikings (one of them is buried in a runic marked grave nearby) landed in the local area somewhere around 800AD.

So, I expected to see Ravens guiding me on my quest to make it more than 2 miles, with omens, portents and various ungodly pagan associations on the path to demi-sainthood.

 Nope - I caught a picture of two black birds...turns out they were crows, not ravens...and the gate of hell? ...a badly treated farm-gate, though I guess it did block my path...a sign perhaps, that running is really hard?

 Ravens? A sign from the Netherworld that your chosen path is correct, but beset with evil that would test you?   Nope, a couple of crows .


Have I mentioned I'm not a runner, I'm a cyclist.

But the running will continue until the body gives up...sah!

Just look at those bloody contours! If this was a wargame, you'd be attacking that at -3 at least!


Uhhh...not seeing the path to be fair.

The weather was beginning to notice me and threatening to become p1ssed off with my attempts at running the trails...

The Peninsula..normally a peaceful place for romantic walks...rarely suitable for 'attack runs on fire'.

The Black Gate! Well...silvery I guess...


(Raiders...not runners)

In other news, I picked these rules up. The aforementioned Aquilonian Special Forces in Hyboria, will see the light of day yet!

You've heard of Navy SeALs..well the Aquilonian SWORDs (Special Weapons Orientation Recon & Development group) will be operating a Hyborian location which can not yet be revealed due to government restrictions.


  1. Beautiful and tranquil photos of your environs, Darren. I am no runner either but your concern regarding low impact cycling and osteoporosis is an interesting one.

    1. Thanks Jonathan.
      The theory seems to be gaining traction amongst sports scientists. It appears to be worse if the focus of training is on the turbo trainer, where you sweat more, and this creates a calcium imbalance. To be honest, I was was looking to do something different anyway, and running (with care) combined with weights (light) appears to be much better as we age.
      I think it's a problem for pros and 'keen' amateur cyclists, and to be honest, I haven't been doing much impact stuff for years.

  2. Good luck Darren with your new training regime. Love the views. Cheers Greg

    1. Cheers Greg.
      I hope the knees don't give out, but yeah, starting off slow.

  3. You are lucky to be surrounded by so much pristine nature.

    1. Thanks Mike.
      There are places I see running in the area, that I have never noticed before. Good to be surprised.

  4. If I had scenery like that around me I would be more tempted to pull on the trainer's!. Good luck with your new endeavour.

    1. Cheers mate.
      To be fair, if i keep it up, it's easily 1/3 of the time cycling takes up for more gain...that's the theory.

  5. That had me chuckling. I'm looking forward to more episodes of your Norse saga.

    As others have said, beautiful scenery.

    1. Thanks mate.
      Yes - I find it's necessary to invoke Monty Python meets Norse Legend at almost every opportunity.
      Now had they gone down the route of a treatment for a Viking Saga along the same lines as 'Holy Grail', that would have been epic.

  6. I used to be a great runner before I found the joys of being plumb and lazy. I call it the ‘maturing process.’
    Though you have some nice scenery out there with a bonus Viking grave! That’s cool. 😀

    1. Thanks Stew
      I have always wondered if the Viking casualty died in an epic battle with the locals, ...or just tripped getting out of the boat...

  7. Cycling is FAR easier on the body than running though does require more stuff! Looking forward to the Modern Hyboria

    1. Thanks Jack.
      Yeah - I've been telling myself the same thing for many years now....HA...but the running is calling (until I bust a knee that is).

      The Aquilonian SWORDs ...bringing peace and justice, whether you like it or not...Gladius Vero Honore.

    2. Swimming is even better. Less wear and tear on the body and less kit needed than running, OR cycling, unless you're Jacques Cousteau ;-)

    3. This is true.
      It's bloody freezin' here though...

      Even the triathletes have their scuba suits on. I reckon it would take me longer to get into one of those than anything else ;)

    4. The 'secret' to getting wetsuits on is .........plastic bags (the sort they charge 5p for now). Slip one on your hand or foot and it slide into the leg/arm of said garment effortlessly.
      I'm lucky as not 10km from here is a heated open air pool, open 365 days a year (in normal years).

    5. Right. I have noted this advice.
      I feel I may need it some stage.
      Many Thanks

  8. The name of your post had me thinking this was a looking-back post about 2020!

    All kidding aside, nice work! I love running, Darren. I'll run as long as my body lets me!

    Still trying to figure out if im a runner with a hiking problem or a hiker with a running problem!

    Again, well done sir!

    1. Cheers Steve,
      I am really getting into it now. Good to hear your hike/run options.

      After tonight's run, my problem appears to be that I can't keep up with the Missus LOL

  9. A fun write-up with some lovely photos; as has been noted by others.
    Are you sure that what is called crows are not actually ravens? Down here, people mistakenly refer to the Australian raven as a 'crow'. Our local version has a distinctive pharrrrk pharrrk call!! :)
    Regards, James

    1. I have investigated this.
      Had they been ravens - two of em - in that locale, it was most definitely a sign!
      However, close ups of the pics reveal that they lack the distinctive head/gullet shape of the ravens (which are quite rare here) least I think they lack the shape.
      I have heard the odd 'croak' style caw around these parts, but I have rarely seen a Raven.
      Plus, I think from the scale, they were crows, as Ravens are a lot bigger?
      If you can scale up anything from the pic, or I can send you a larger version, I could be convinced otherwise...I am no expert in these birds, but do remain fascinated by their connection to Norse cults/religion/symbology.

    2. Sounds to me like you have them right. I wasn't trying to be a smart @@@#, so I hope that it did not come across that way—not least as I am no expert either!! If anything, I was trying to be mildly funny with the description of the call... mildly!! :)

    3. No mate - you're definitely coming across fine.
      I want to be proved wrong lol ...but everything i compare the pics to online seemed to suggest crow.

      I'd love it is someone proved they were ravens :)