The sun doesn’t always shine….

We have had a few days of less than perfect weather….cloudy skies and even some rain – I had to google what this wet stuff was that was falling from the skies it had been that long since we last had inclement weather ;)

Not to be beaten though we still ventured out for a walk yesterday but stayed close to home less a quick retreat was needed. It wasn’t and we had a lovely, little walk up into the hills just off our main road.

What is amazing once you get up into the hills is the multitude of little tracks that snake their way around linking each hill together and the amount of houses and small communities there are that you never even see from the main roads.

We walked past quite a few houses as we puffed our way up the steep climbs (these will come in useful further down the line for my marathon training :) )

Almost all the houses had dogs either chained up or running along the perimeter fences barking for all their worth. I have not come across one yet that actually looks like it means any harm. Tails wagging they are more desperate for some attention and often come and stick ears and heads through the railings for a scrunge and tickle. I have even persuaded hubby (who has a childhood fear of dogs) that they are just bored and not a threat and he now tries talking to them instead of being scared.

Once at the top of the hills we got the blanket out and sat for a cuppa and some raw chocolate brownies that I had made earlier and took in the view whilst keeping an eye on the black clouds that were rolling in from the sea…..

It all worked out fine though and we made it down before it got too cold and rained again…..

Cloudy skies

Our campsite from a different angle (middle of picture)

This will make a good training run….

Grey skies but lovely spring flowers add a splash of colour still….

Flamingos and donkeys….

Another sunny Sunday saw us loading a picnic lunch into the car and heading out for the day. This time we traveled up to Antequera – a 120 mile round trip in search of flamingo’s.

‘Laguna Fuenta La Piedra’ is the largest natural lake in the Iberian Peninsula at 2.5km wide and 6.5km long and is well known for its flamingo population, the second largest colony of these birds in Europe after the French Camargue region and the only inland site on the continent where they breed. In spring flamingos flock here in their thousands to reproduce, attracted by the water’s high salt content and the fact that it is shallow.

There weren’t thousands of flamingo’s when we got here so we were not sure whether we had missed them or that we were too early and by the time we headed back to the information centre to ask they were closed for lunch – of course!!

Anyway, we did see some and managed to get some photo’s although the digital ones aren’t so great as the zoom lens couldn’t really cope. We took our old Canon camera with us too and so should have some great piccies on there but will have to wait to get the film developed to see them – how old fashioned!!

Once done at the Lake we headed back into town in search of ‘El Refugio del Burrito’ – the Donkey Sanctuary. We had picked the leaflet up in the visitors centre and the promise of 70 rescued donkeys to coo over was too much to resist. I have a real love for donkeys and these guys get a seriously rough deal here in Spain with many neglected and abused and then abandoned when they serve no more purpose.

El Refugio del Burrito is part of The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, UK and is a lovely place for these donkeys to live out their lives in peace and calm away from any danger or misuse.

We spent ages wandering around scrunging ears that were poked through the railings for attention. Some of the donkeys were more than happy to be fussed whilst others hung back at first weighing us up before giving in and coming to say hello. Even hubby who normally only likes to pet our two cats couldn’t resist a silky ear or two and a look into a doleful eye.

I had to tear myself away in the end or I would probably still be there, sleeping in a stable with a few of my new friends :) Have a look at our photo’s.

Laguna Fuenta La Piedra

Open plains with mountains in the background provide perfect photo opportunities.

A few of the flamingo’s

More flamingo’s – digital camera couldn’t really cope with the zoom lens

Ahhh…..Donkeys :)

Me and my new friend….

This little guy was so cute….

Just hanging around…

Vying for attention…..:)

El Refugio del Burrito is run soley through donations and so we left some money in one of the many donation boxes dotted around the site. We then headed back to the car for a reviving cuppa before setting off back home for tea with a warm and fuzzy feeling that there are places like this out there that help animals who through no fault of their own fall foul of man’s often cruel and abusive hand.

Time for a catch up…

The winter chills have now faded from our memories as Spring is firmly with us and Summer doesn’t seem too far behind. I was out for a run before 9am this morning in just shorts and sleeveless t-shirt and it was so lovely to be running among the hills as the day was just getting started.

Which lends me very nicely to ceasing the telling of sunny tales for one second and slip in an update on my marathon challenge. For those of you with long enough memories you may remember me warbling on a while ago about a 7 marathons on 7 continents challenge that I wanted to set myself for 2013 raising money for The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennesse. Well, I have spent some time pondering the logistics of arranging all of this and to be honest the organising part of it was beginning to look like it would be a greater feat than actually running the marathons which kinda missed the point somewhat.

So, the challenge has changed. The cause is still the same and the timing –  2013 – remains unchanged but the events themselves are different.

There will now be 3 events spanning 2013 each in a place that is special to my heart. The events double in distance each time and look like this:-

April 2013 Bungay Black Dog Marathon, Suffolk, UK – 26.2 miles

July 2013 Lakeland 50, Lake District, Cumbria, UK – 50 miles

October 2013 Royan 24/48 hour, Royan, Charente-Maritime, France – 100 miles

I know I am still keeping the essence of the challenge alive with these three events as when I told hubby his basic reaction was WTF do you want to do a 50 and 100 miler for???? I am confident that he will come around to the idea by next year and be in full on supportive role, he just needs to get over the shock of it  :)

Full details are on the website as always and I will be launching a donation page soon where you can go and donate in aid of the elephants.

So, training has started in earnest now that I have finally decided on the events of the challenge which means lots of hill walking as part of the build up for the Lakeland 50 (its billed as one of the greatest ultra running and walking races in Europe, if not the world) which only added a teensy weensy bit more to the challenge for me lol….So hubby should be pleased with that as he does like to climb up high. I feel a Sound of Music song coming on here altogether now….two, three, four…..Climb every mountain…….

Obviously the excitement has gotten too much for me so I will stop there and let you see some photo’s of our last two sorjourns out into the hills. Enjoy