New trails and new places

Weekends are made to have fun right? I always try to plan something fun for me and dogs. This weekend it was all about discovering new trails.

Carberry Country Estate

One of the great Castle Mansion Houses of Scotland, Carberry Tower is a multi-award winning, luxury 4 star Castle hotel with an award-winning Bistro, situated just outside Edinburgh in beautiful East Lothian countryside. Standing regally in 35 acres of stunning, private Estate parkland and widely recognised as Edinburgh’s ‘Castle in the country,’ Carberry Tower is a place of intimate grandeur and to arrive here, is to weave your own story into a history that goes back to 1480 when our first foundation stone was laid.

The estate itself is surprisingly hilly, so my long run turned into a tough work. It is mainly arranged for mountain bikers but we had a lot of fun running around.

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History lessons!

There is a lot of history on this estate: “In the 13th century, the lands were owned by John de Crebarrie from whose name the estate probably derives its title. The lands were at one time Crown property and later passed to Dunfermline Abbey. In 1541 the Abbey authorities leased them to Hugh Rigg who built or enlarged the Tower.

By 1587 the church lands were annexed to the Crown and the superiors became the Maitlands of Lauderdale. The Rigg families continued to lease Carberry until 1659 when it was passed to Sir Adam Blair. In 1689 it passed to Sir Robert Dickson of Inveresk who sold it to John Fullerton whose niece Elizabeth married in 1774 the Hon Wm Elphinstone, third son of the 10th Baron, whose son succeeded to the title.

Image may contain: tree, sky, grass, plant, cloud, outdoor and natureThe Elphinstones held Carberry from 1801-1961. Alterations and additions were made to the old Tower from c.1830. The 15th Baron succeeded in 1861 and was involved in political and court life. The park layout was entirely redesigned during his time and the arboretum started. His son, Sydney Herbert, the 16th Baron Elphinstone, married Lady Mary Bowes Lyon in 1910 and they carried out further improvements to the Tower and particularly to the grounds. The formal gardens to the south of the tower were laid out in 1911 and they added to the specimen trees and shrubs in the parks.

The 16th Lord Elphinstone died in 1955 and Lady Elphinstone died in 1961 when the Tower and part of the estate were gifted by the family to the Church of Scotland.” The information was taken from the Historic Scotland page.

Redwood Meadows Dog Activity Park

I was looking for a fenced place where I can let Laferra off lead during her “heat”. A friend recommended me this place. Lovely and very friendly owner welcomed us and showed us around.

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Unfortunately it was raining when we were there, but dogs still had so much fun. The park has a lot of different things that the dogs can sniff, walk on and discover. Laferra as usual was doing her own thing, but Mr Rogerowski was loving everything about it and of course that I had treats to make him do things.

Such a great place and so muh fun for dogs and me😊😂🙊

Posted by Dogxplorescotland on Sunday, August 19, 2018

 

 

My 12 weeks adventure with running programme

Hopefully you had a look at my previous post including some insights into the programme I am doing with Ben Robinson. Why Ben’s programme? Well he is the best in the World, Europe and UK. I think that’s good enough answer. If it isnt enough well here you go more information about Ben:

– BTEC in Sport & Exercise Science.

– Degree in Sports Strength & Conditioning.

– Over 6 years working within the fitness Industry.

– Running at a high level for over 15 years (As well as Canicross since 2014).

– Multiple county titles on the Track, Road & Cross-Country during Junior & Senior years.

– Sub 02:00 800m, Sub 04:00 1500m, Sub 15:00 5km.

– Three-time British Champion of Canicross (2015, 2016, 2017).

– European Champion of Canicross (2017).

– World Champion of Canicross (2017).

– World Record Holder (Canicross 5km) of 12:24 (2017).

– Self-coached Athlete who also coaches Matthew Robinson (Robbo Snr/Ben’s Dad) & Elaine Sherwin (A previous British & European Canicross Champion & current World Record Holder for the Women’s “assisted” parkrun).

The adventure begun

I have never known what to do to improve my running skills. I always stick to good healthy food, which probably somehow helps, but nothing really changed much in the performance. There was maybe slow progress but nothing major. The 12 weeks programme changed the game for me. At the beginning it was to understand the different wording used in “athletics world” and the pacing terminology. Surprisingly I really struggled with it. I literally needed to learn from start. Week by week and it was getting easier to know the paces and what to do.

Firstly I have learnt that recovery runs are very important, and rest days not as much. It is all about different running, not just same session all the time just faster. Variety is the key! I probably don’t make it easy for myself choosing the terrains that aren’t the easiest but I really want to work hard, and push myself!

What has changed?

As I am planning to stay on Ben’s programme for some time (approx 2 years 😀 haha- he cant get rid of me now), it wasn’t all about results. I needed to build strength and my head around all that running. I don’t know how that happened but I felt super excited about every single training session. Half way through the programme I had a break down, but got an amazing support from Ben which really help me to pass that tough time. Back on track and week 9 and 11 proved that hard work pays off. I improved my times, but what is more important I really enjoyed racing with my girl! I felt like running, not trotting anymore. I felt strong and love every step out on trails!

Week 12 just finished and I can’t believe how much it changed. My body is stronger, my head is loving and buzzing for all the running (even hills) but also legs just goes themselves (it feels I started running lighter-not so heavy anymore), my strava keeps saying trending faster. Yeah I just love the running! I even managed to skip my healthy diet, and slipped to have some bad habits for a bit! It didnt affect it all. Everyone deserve a small treat from time to time, right? No more skipping it tho 🙂 and I have added some additional restrictions.

New thinking

I also discover that if I follow the same patterns for pre-race and post-race my body prepares and recovers much better. I felt I was always good, but Ben really changed my thinking on small things, for example to leave my chilli behind if I know I have races coming. I love my chilli and never thought it can affect my running.

I used to be dreading for hills training and my legs would be very tired. Now I understand that the hard work and the tiredness after training is worth, and eventually it will pay back. I also unexpected gain few kgs, but I blame all the muscles, as I see my legs getting stronger. Despite the extra kgs, my legs are feeling lighter and faster, my body looks stronger and tighter during running.

Time to start part two- next 12 weeks programme

I am so looking forward to next programme. Now we are just training, no more races as season finished. My next stop is Trophee des Montagnes in August in France. This event is more about holidays: fun and meeting friends. My next major stop is Canicross Midlands and ICF in Poland. It will be challenging, but I hope to enjoy it and tick it off my bucket list than race it as fast as I can. Keep smiling, keep training and results will come!

 

 

Explorer pass- Historic Scotland- an amazing historic tour with dogs

Last week was a bit different than usual as I was on holidays and we had a visitor. We have decided on explorer pass which gets you to over 70 attractions and therefore fast track to Edinburgh and Stirling Castles. We have bought 3 days pass which needed to be used within a 5 day period. Most of the attractions are apparently dog-friendly, so we tried to see what it is like to go and visit Castles with dogs.

Tantallon Castle, North Berwick

Set on the edge of the cliffs, looking out to the Bass Rock, this formidable castle was a stronghold of the Douglas family. Ascend Tantallon’s towers for spectacular views of the Bass Rock and to watch gannets plunge into the North Sea. Then descend into the depths of a particularly grim pit prison. The castle was home to the powerful Red Douglas dynasty, which often clashed with the Crown. It was besieged by both James IV and James V but was ultimately destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in a siege of 1651. Tickets: 6 GBP.

Amazing thing about this castle is that you can bring your dog (leashed) and explore the castle. Massive massive respect for being dog-friendly. Love that there were a lot of grass around to walk. Not many tourists too and a lot of place to stop and have a break with stunning views.

Dirleton Castle, Dirleton

A romantic castle often in the forefront of Scottish history since it was built in the 12th century. The renowned gardens include an Arts and Crafts herbaceous border and Victorian garden. The herbaceous border has been authenticated by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest. The two gardens and grounds are accessible to those using wheelchairs. Two steps lead to the inner courtyard. The castle interior is restricted for visitors using wheelchairs as are the gazebo and dovecote. Surfaces on all garden paths and those leading to the grounds are suitable for wheelchairs. The main garden has a selection of scented flowers and plants. Tickets: 6 GBP.

I think this one was my favourite, it had lovely garden to walk around the castle but also dogs were allowed inside. It was very quiet with tourists so we could enjoy it just to ourselves. The staff offered us the water for dogs and welcome them too. We even stood in a shop and Roger was taking all the teddy bears! Oops.

We could walk around the castle, but also inside the building in the Great Hall and so on. Dogs loved all the livestock around, we saw goats, cows and horses while walking in the gardens. Dogs were really keen on sniffing around and we could also take an amazing photos out and in. Loved it! I was very impressed with my first castle tour!

Linlithgow Palace

Inside one of the most spectacular ruins in Scotland you cannot help but walk in the footsteps of royalty. This royal pleasure palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and an iconic filming location in hit TV show Outlander.

Visit the great hall where monarchs hosted banquets, tour James IV’s suite of chambers or say a prayer in the private oratory of James V. Outlander fans will recognise the Palace gates and corridors as being those used in the scenes when Jamie was imprisoned.  You can see the elaborate, restored fountain in action every Sunday in July and August – it reputedly flowed with wine when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited.The high towers look down over the palace’s grounds –the Peel – and Linlithgow Loch, an important refuge for wildlife. You can explore both on well-surfaced paths. Tickets: 6 GBP.

Maybe actually this one is my favourite one?! You can walk around the Palace which has a Loch (dogs ran into it for a cool down), but also an amazing palace’s ground full of ground for playing fetch. A lot of walking around inside the Palace once again brought a lot of interesting smells for my two mutts. Laferra was in love with birds inside the castle as they were really teasing her.

Cragiemillar Castle

The castle of Craigmillar is one of the most perfectly preserved castles in Scotland. Even today, the castle retains the character of a medieval stronghold. Building began in the early 15th century, and over the next 250 years the castle became a comfortable residence surrounded by fine gardens and pastureland. The castles history is not only closely involved with the city of Edinburgh, but plays an important part in the story of Mary Queen of Scots who fled to Craigmillar Castle following the murder of Rizzio. It was in the castle where the plot was hatched to murder Marys husband, Lord Darnley. Built round an L-plan tower house of the early 15th Century, Craigmillar was much expanded in the 15th and 16th Centuries. It is a handsome ruin, including a range of private rooms linked to the hall of the old tower. Tickets: 6 GBP.

Once again a very quiet place to visit with friendly staff and a “make it yourself” wheel trolley so we made ourselves crowns! So much laugh as we knew it was just for kids. A cat welcome us which probably would be funny if Roger would spot it. Apart from that a nice building to walk in and out and literally noone there apart from the staff.

Blackness Castle

One of Scotland’s most impressive strongholds, Blackness Castle was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons.

This Castle is close to the beach so dogs could have a deep in the sea, but also on the other side there is grass grounds for them to run around and play. [Note: I actually realised this was a part of our training grounds, but from other side]. Absolutely lovely and tiny castle. Dogs are not permitted in roofed buildings.

Absolutely amazing time exploring! I would defo recommend a dog-friendly tour around Scottish Castles.

Why am I so motivated to start my day so early in the morning?

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As you may know, I am not a big fan of running and in past, I really used to hate it. However recently things changed and I am more into it, even train every day. A few folks asked me how do I do it that I am so motivated to wake up early and just go out there in the dark and do my training. So here are my thoughts on that:

Why early morning

I am an individual that likes to be on her own, a lot of people make me tired 🙂 Recently also a lot of people started asking me how I trained my dogs that they are so well behaved. During training I don’t have time for chatting, I like to go out there and smash my training in 30min! Early morning it is usually me and the dogs, which means I can totally focus on training and don’t need to shout after Laferra to not approach other dogs and of course no people keen for chat. Easy life for everyone: I can run, dogs can run!

Stunning morning

Usually, in the morning I can see the sunrise, which in Scotland is just stunning.

Food fuel

In the morning I can also feel I can go quickly do the training without worrying about food, I can just fuel my body straight after the run and during the day at work. I am always worried to get a stitch if I run after work due to that when I finish work I am hungry for light dinner already. The only minus of this is that if you work hard (most of the time for me) you will get a headache after a good training session and you feel like you can eat the whole fridge 😀

Consistent morning and increases discipline

I am always up early in the morning even at the weekends, so keeping the consistency in waking up makes it easy for the whole week. Also, it means training is done and nothing interrupted it as it the is always the same time. If I decided to do it in the afternoon, my workout time frequently ends up at the bottom of my to-do list and by day’s end, I might not even do it. So I rather hit the trails first thing in the morning and I am able to enjoy it and be fully focused on training. This also means I have a free evening and can spend it on catching up on tv shows or reading books.

Metabolism

I have noticed that morning start helps keep metabolism elevated for hours. Why not get your engines running as soon as possible- the earliest the better hehe?! In this way, my increased metabolism will be working — and burning more calories — while I am, instead of when my body is at rest. If you are like many people who sit at a desk all day, you know that this is reason enough to train in the morning.

Clears your mind

We all know that training really helps clear our head and put us in a healthy mindset. According to literature training before your day officially begins allows you to start each day with a fresh perspective as you destroy the stresses of the previous day with a run on the trails. It would help you to decrease the chance to become stressed or upset during the day. Of course, it also depends on individuals but it defo works for me.

Energy for the day

Early morning… yes it is hard to move from nice and cozy bed when it rains outside. The weather and accumulated fatigue can make you feel a bit lazy, however, if I go out and do the training first thing in the morning I am buzzing for the day. Doing so will release endorphins and other hormones to give you a much-appreciated boost that often lasts all day. In other words, it’ll give you the required energy to work all day and party all night if you desire.

 Sleep better and increase mental awareness

I have noticed that I feel more alert and ready to take on whatever challenge or curveball life throws my way after a good workout. I am ready for the day. As my body learns the pattern I started to sleep very well too. My sleeping patterns are consistent and I feel like I am resting/recovering much better and quicker.

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So stay focused and disciplined yourself! Get your “ass” out of bed early morning and enjoy the rest of the day. Happy training.

 

 

 

Dog-friendly movie in Edinburgh

A few weeks ago I have seen that Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh invited folks for a dog-friendly and human-only movie. I didn’t think twice and just booked in for the early movie, and already planned that I will take Laferra.

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Pre-movie

I have parked near Meadows, so I have walked Laferra prior the movie. Unfortunately, I forgot to check how long is the movie so I didn’t know how long we were going to sit there. Luckly, very early morning we were at the beach, so I thought a quick walk around for pee and have a look at Meadows, as I have never really been there before with dogs.

 

Then we went to the cinema, I had really no clue what to expect. I could see from afar that there are people with dogs already outside. We walked in and see more people with dogs. However it wasn’t really overwhelming so I thought this is great. A few journalist waiting just at the front door and small tiny stall from Dog Aid Society, who straight away guessed Laferra breeds and gave her biscuit.

I never thought her the manners, but she sat straight away knowing she will get a biscuit. Super proud moment. We showed the ticket on the phone and at the same time received an IKEA blanket for Laferra’s seat. I must say, I didn’t expect that and brought her blanket, but this is just great. We walk pass and see a lot of bowls with waters and finding a seat for us. I put a blanket for her but she just jumped on my knees and sat watching surrounding. We were approached by STV as the journalist said: “would you like to answer few questions, as your dog seems the calmest in here”. Wow, thank you, that is massive compliment. Cinema was feeling, but every owner had spare seat for their dogs. My only issue was that people had popcorn and crips around us, so Laferra was chancing to beg, but quickly gave up and just cuddled into me.

 

Movie

Screening started with some house-keeping and rules: how to put blanket on a seat and that dogs must be kept on a lead all the time. Here we come “Isle of Dogs” and all the dogs in the cinema started to bark as on screen there is a massive talking dog.

Everyone just laughed. I was like this is great, Laferra was just watching around. I thought she might be stressed but nothing at all, she was one happy dog.

During movie, she was sitting on my laps or sitting on the floor watching me and her treats. Overall she did brilliant, nice and calm. Only interested in treats even from people near us. The movie wasnt long maybe around 1h 40min, which was just perfect for Princess.

About the movie

Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Koyu Rankin, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Kunichi Nomura, Ken Watanabe, Yoko Ono, Greta Gerwig, Akira Ito
Duration: 101 min

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Four long years after The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs brings another welcome dose of Wes Anderson’s whimsical charm and offbeat direction to capture audiences’ hearts. Set in a dystopian future Japan, the paw-some stop-motion animation follows 12-year-old Atari (Koyu Rankin) on his noble quest to find his adored pet dog, Spots (Liev Schreiber). After a mysterious outbreak of ‘canine flu’, all the hounds of Megasaki City are exiled by the authorities to a colossal rubbish dump known as Trash Island. Atari sets out solo to rescue his beloved pooch, meeting a few new mongrel friends along the way. Together, they end up on a journey that will decide the fate of the entire prefecture.

Note: when you are with your dog in cinema you don’t really focus on a movie! Haha

After movie

I wanted to leave quick so we would avoid the crowd, but I didn’t manage. It was a bit overwhelming for Laferra but she kept looking to me for assurance. Once again she didn’t show any signs of stress just walked near my heel.

 

Perfect spot after cinema, Laferra ran around Meadows, before we head to naughty Roger, who did recycling of the bin for me. I always thought it is Laferra, but I know it is Roger to blame from now on. I think he really missed her, as since we are back they just cuddle and Lafie just kisses him.

Overall

Overall movie was great and the whole idea of dog-friendly was brilliant. Laferra is just perfect for that kind of inventions. I had a lot of fun and seeing so many crazy dog people were great. Laferra proved that we have an amazing bonding together and that she is a really perfect dog. Love her to bits.