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Portfolio Simon Lock

editor and copywriter

Prepare to be


Discover our spectacular coastline Nothing stirs the imagination like a visit to the sea, and with so many coastal cottages to choose from you’ll have no shortage of inspiration. Follow paths between old smugglers’ coves or leave the day’s first footprints on vast, deserted beaches. Whether you’re looking for buried treasure or seeking seclusion, we have cottages that will inspire your holiday.

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Front: Compton Farm Cottages on the Isle of Wight (each cottage sleeps 4)

Unwind at a woodland retreat

Escape into


Escape the crowds and surround yourself in nature, with a trip to one of our woodland cottages. Walk amongst some of our oldest trees, spot wildlife right from your doorstep or pack a picnic and simply relax beneath the canopy. Each season brings a change in scenery, so there’s always something new to discover.

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Set foot somewhere new

Walk in autumn’s glory

Front: Nant Las in Snowdonia, Wales (sleeps 2)

Explore new pastures this year Make the coming year a time for exploration as you venture out into uncharted territory. Put your best foot forward as you cross vast moorlands, follow tumbling streams or conquer chalk hills. Our countryside cottages make the perfect base for walkers, but you’ll find they make pretty good spots for cosy afternoons by the fire, too.

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Front: White Edge Lodge in The Peak District, Derbyshire (sleeps 5)

Be part of somewhere special

More than a holiday

Our cottages offer more than just a chance to escape, you can become a part of somewhere special. How would you like to look out upon an old castle, or spend the night in a fairytale tower? A stay at one of our cottages helps protect the places in our care, so your holiday really does play its part.

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Front: Fountains Cottage, Yorkshire

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From: Subject: Date: To:

Simon at Readbug It wasn’t broke, but we fixed it anyway… 20 April 2016 16:30

Hi there, We’ve been sending out these weekly emails on the regular for the best part of a year now. Where does the time go!? And I think it’s fair to say (based on an unsubscribe rate that is below industry standard) that you bloody love them. However, never ones to rest on our laurels, we’ve given the tried and tested model a right old switcheroo. Don’t worry, if you’re hankering after a selection of beautifully curated articles you can still check those out via the Discover section of the app, or scroll down a bit. This new, multifaceted nugget of email gold will provide you with what we’ve been up to, the magazines we’re excited about, the new stuff happening on the app and a few extras besides. It really is a humdinger of a read (so keep those subscription settings where they are). Enjoy!

Simon Readbug

Out and about...

Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones at The Saatchi Gallery The expression ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ appears to be a fallacy. Over 50 years, these Stones have gathered so much moss that the Saatchi Gallery has fashioned some kind of memorabilia bird’s nest out of it all. Our friends at Art & Music, the Saatchi’s magazine, invited us down for a butchers.


Mags you should be reading...

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winter training guide quick tip If you can keep your shoulders relaxed when riding the velodrome you’ll hold your line a lot better going into the bends

riding the velodrome

Get on track

track newbie simon lock takes to the boards for the first time, in the company of sir chris hoy…

winter warmer If your training usually takes a nosedive from Bonfire Night onwards, bottoming out on Boxing Day before the needle on the bathroom scales sparks a very gradual return to fitness, you’re not alone. It’s a problem faced by riders everywhere. But what if there was a way to bypass this shift in seasons without embarking on a six-month training camp? What if we roadies could maintain the standards worked on all summer, without having to suffer the merciless conditions of British winter or the monotony of the turbo trainer. Away from the wet and cold an increasing number of UK riders are enjoying temperate conditions on bikes that will most likely never encounter the slightest speck of mud. And with no hills, no gears and no oncoming traffic to deal with the velodrome doesn’t appear to offer much to keep an ardent roadie on his toes. But despite what the cynics might think, three new indoor venues opening in the UK in as many years points to a rise in demand for track cycling and perhaps a bigger appeal than just avoiding potholes. CYCLING PLUS Winter Training Guide

Intrigued as to what exactly it is this faction of our beloved sport is getting so excited about, and keen to spend a day training in the dry, we head to the UK’s newest indoor cycling arena to meet the man whose name hangs above its doors.

making tracks The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow opened in October 2012 and will host the indoor cycling events at next summer’s Commonwealth Games. The UK’s latest indoor track to open to the public, and Scotland’s first, Glasgow will be followed by the reopening of London’s Olympic Park venue next year and a brand new centre in Derby in 2015. It seems track cycling is on the rise and the man I’ll be riding with today must be held partly responsible. His enthusiasm for the sport clearly hasn’t diminished in retirement, despite admitting to being a little out of practice. “I’ve not been on the track for about six months,” says Sir Chris Hoy, who is visiting the Glasgow Velodrome in his new role as ambassador for Science in Sport (SiS). “That’s the longest I’ve been off the track since I took it up and it just brought it home today how much I miss it.” It’s no surprise that our most decorated Olympian has struggled adapting to life away from the track. His career, having spanned nearly 20 years, has earned him six Olympic golds and 11 world titles; going cold turkey was never going to be a long-term solution. “I do miss it now,” Hoy confesses. “That feeling of entering the bend with a little bit of speed and that compression and g-force you get. You can ride down a hill fast but it’s a different feeling; this is a unique thing and I just love it.” Despite the roof overhead, and my own

Images Rick Robson

Having finally seen a British summer last more than a fortnight, it’s a safe bet that winter this year will hit us harder than ever. Faced with the prospect of sub-zero temperatures, howling gales and radiators covered in damp Lycra, a cyclist’s training normally goes one of two ways once the clocks go back. Some wear winter mud like a badge of honour, splattered on their grinning faces like the blood from some medieval sacrifice. Others though, and I count myself firmly in this latter camp, cower behind the curtains waiting for the first daffodils to come poking through the frost.

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squad. It’s for everybody and it’s gone through the roof.”

Hoy’s legacy The velodrome is part of Glasgow’s Emirates arena and sits beside Celtic Park Football Stadium in the city’s East End. While football has been played next door for well over a century the track is barely a year old. With sculpted lawns, convex glass and a roof shaped like a potato waffle, the area looks every bit the modern sporting complex. Through the doors things are a lot more businesslike and inside the velodrome itself the atmosphere borders on industrial. The air-conditioning ducting and steel girders overhead add to an intimidating air which turns to terrifying upon entering the spectators area above the track. Looking down on the 44-degree banking from above isn’t advisable for a first timer. This point is later reiterated to me by Hoy but by then it’s too late, the psychological damage has already been done. Designed by renowned German architect Ralf Schuermann and hand-built from Siberian pine the 250-metre track has some of the steepest bends in the world. From any angle they look dangerous and it’s no surprise that cleaning them requires abseiling equipment. Thankfully my first impressions aren’t uncommon, and even burly Scotsmen are susceptible to some first day jitters. “I was terrified,” says Hoy. “It was at Meadowbank and I walked out of the tunnel into the track centre and I just thought, ‘there’s no way I’ll be doing that’. But, within ten minutes I was up there

give it a minimalist elegance that isn’t done justice by my clumsy advances. Like a couple on a first date the Dolan and I head awkwardly towards the track to join a group of other riders.

Braking Bad Safely propped up against the fence in the centre of the track we’re introduced to ex-GB rider turned track coach David Daniels, who will be guiding us through our afternoon session. Among some other instructions I pick out the words ‘keep pedalling’, something that more experienced track riders have reiterated to me countless times in preparation for today. This doesn’t seem like advice that is beyond my level of expertise but, as anyone who has gone from a road bike to a fixed gear will testify, this isn’t as easy as it seems. As we begin to circle the bottom of the track in single file, advised to keep close together

i picK out the words ‘Keep pedalling’… any attempt to stop is quashed by a sharp jolt as the cranKs force the legs to Keep moVing riding round with a big smile on my face, it was really good fun.” With these words of comfort ringing in my ears I head to the track to get acquainted with my Dolan Pre Cursa, the bike that will hopefully keep me on course for the afternoon. Having never worked as a bicycle courier, or lived in Shoreditch, I had never ridden a fixed gear and initially struggle to adapt to the lack of freewheel and perpetual pedalling. There is though something appealing about the simplicity of the bike. The lack of mechanics and cables CYCLING PLUS Winter Training Guide

so that we can listen to instruction, the need to speed up and, more problematically, slow down becomes a factor. Any attempt to stop pedalling is quashed by a sharp jolt as the cranks force the legs to keep moving; it’s as though the bike wants to speed up and is cracking the whip as we circumnavigate the track. We begin riding the blue band on the inner most section of the track, known as the côte d’azur, which acts as a buffer between the flat safety area and the track proper. Although there is a slight incline it’s

nothing compared to the banking above us, which still looks unthinkably steep even with Hoy now circling on it. “The more you relax the easier it is,” says Daniels, spotting a few nervous faces among us. “If you tense up or you’re resisting the bike going into the corner then the bike will tend to turn left off the track. You’ll hold your line a lot better if you loosen those shoulders.” Trying to loosen the vice-like grip I currently have on the bar we move up the track to the black, or measuring line, so called as it is where the length of the track is recorded. A couple of feet above the black line is the sprinter’s line and it’s between these two sets of markings where the action happens during a race. Here my mind inevitably begins to replay grainy footage of track pile-ups, culminating with


a close-up of the 25cm splinter protruding from Aziz Awang’s calf muscle in the 2011 World Cup. The first few laps up on the boards are unnerving as the lack of speed makes cornering more difficult. Picking up speed it becomes easier to compress into the bend and lean the bike over, while at slower speeds the tendency to remain upright makes the bike more likely to slip. As this fact becomes apparent the pace quickens and things become easier and, much like Hoy’s first time out at Meadowbank, it’s not long before I’m sweeping down off the top of the banking, grinning like a madman as I head into what feels like a world recordbreaking lap. My sub-19-second 250m lap isn’t going to break any records but it feels lightning quick. With no brakes, no gears and only one continuous corner to deal

with there is nothing to distract you from gaining speed. It’s surprising how quickly the basics are mastered and, as the group weaves up and down the banking, it becomes easier to forget about the constant pedalling and the lack of brakes and to just relax.

around and around As much as I am enjoying myself on the track something about this form of cycling still feels alien compared to the road riding I’m used to. Clipped in to a fixed-gear bike riding the same 250 metres over and over does feel somewhat constricting but there’s no denying the fun factor. As we come off the track there is a real buzz among the group of riders, with those who have never ridden in a velodrome before especially animated. The sensation as you hit each

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bend getting progressively faster is exhilarating, and a winter ride in nothing but bib-shorts and short sleeves is a very welcome novelty. Someone who has clearly enjoyed himself is Sir Chris Hoy, who has relished his first day back on the boards. “I’m definitely going to make sure I set aside some time to come down and stay on the track,” says Hoy. “I’m going to be testing my track bike a lot over the next few weeks.” Hoy’s enthusiasm is infectious but it’s still difficult to imagine that a winter indoors will provide the workout a roadie like me requires, but our coach assures me there are plenty of advantages to be had. “There is a lot more that you can control while you’re in the velodrome,” says Daniels. “When you come to the track you can put a gear on, get a cadence going and do a set amount of time on the black line or the red line. You can look at your training a lot more precisely.” The track does have a certain clinical quality about it and watching riders circle you can see how training could be honed for a specific event or distance – without flash floods wreaking havoc on your pre-race plans. But if training away from the elements is a priority, then unless you live within spitting distance of an indoor track, a turbo trainer is surely the sensible option? Daniels is having none of it. “There’s a really good energy,” he says, “and it’s a friendly environment. Everybody knows each other and the coach will get everyone pushing hard and bouncing off each other during training.” Hoping that ‘bouncing off each other’ is a figure of speech I let the coach have the last word and make my way to the changing rooms, tired and still smiling but not 100 per cent convinced. But as I leave the velodrome’s cosy air-conditioned entrance hall and head out into a cold, wet and windy Glasgow evening, I can’t help thinking maybe I should give the track another try. CYCLING PLUS Winter Training Guide

long-form print features interviewing gold medallist chris hoy, featured in cycling plus magazine


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or most people a summer holiday is the perfect chance to unwind. Spending a week or two on a sun lounger, sipping sangria and taking the occasional cooling dip in the hotel pool is often just enough to convince the body that it’s ready to return to the office. But it doesn’t take a genius to realise that a fortnight of eating, drinking and sitting around might not give your body the break it really needs. If the only exercise you get during your holiday is attempting the salsa in Jose’s Bar after one too many happy hour cocktails, in reality, when you return you’ll be in a worse state than when you left. You might be a skin tone darker but, baring a severe case of calamari-induced tummy trouble, you’ll also be a few pounds heavier and your fitness levels will no doubt have taken a nosedive. However, before you tell the boss you’ll be forgoing your annual break next year, there are some great ways to escape without throwing away a season’s hard work.

Activity holidays are on the rise as more and more people start to see the benefits of fresh air and exercise over all-you-can-eat-buffets and karaoke. So for those who want to work up a sweat on the trails rather than by the pool there’s an increasing number of opportunities, and some of the best breaks are right here in the UK. With this in mind we tracked down the brains, and the legs, behind two of Britain’s most popular running holiday companies to see why so many people are running for the hills.

a BreaK frOM the nOrM

Eight years ago Neil Stewart packed in his role as an HR director and began organising running holidays in Aberdeenshire, East Scotland. Having spent years working in offices in London and Glasgow the temptation to spend his days running in the Scottish Highlands was too strong, and his affection for the area is something he’s keen to share with other runners. Running The Highlands gives runners of all ages and abilities the chance to enjoy some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery but, rather than from the comfort of your hotel or

at a pedestrian pace, holiday makers can work up a sweat and an appetite as they explore the Cairngorms at a canter. “At first I must admit there were a lot of people who said, ‘Running holidays? Is that not a contradiction in terms?’” says Neil. “But people go on golfing holidays, they go on cycling holidays, so why not running holidays?”

Picture Perfect

The idea has proved to be a good one and Neil’s company now sees hundreds of runners heading out on trips every year. They’ve proved popular with beginners, those looking for a training boost and those who simply want to enjoy running in such an idyllic environment. “We base our guests in the Aberdeenshire village of Ballater, which is a small, very picturesque village on the River Dean,” says Neil. “Traditionally it’s been very much a hunting, shooting and fishing area. Balmoral Castle is just down the road and you can see why the Royals like coming here – it’s a lovely area.” Besides the wow factor that running in such a beautiful setting delivers, there are lots of other GET INTO Running | 95 95

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holidays “People can just chill out – they can get advice if they want it but if they just want to run then that’s great as well” Top five trips 1 run the highlands One Of the original running holiday pioneers, Running The Highlands offers a variety of different trips for runners of all abilities. Choose between a training weekend with guided runs and expert advice, or tailor your own trip. The Eastern Cairngorms make a spectacular setting for whichever trip you opt for.

2 Jelley legs Dave Jelley takes individuals, couples and small groups on running weekends in North Yorkshire. Guests stay in Dave’s cottage, a stone’s throw from Studley Royal Deer Park, and can choose between a variety of routes in the Yorkshire Dales or North York Moors. A qualified physio, Dave is on hand with expert injury and technique advice if needed.

3 wild running WilD Running takes you on a journey in every sense of the word. A weekend involves up to three runs in Dartmoor National Park, briefings on basic navigation and advice on route planning, food and equipment. Guides Cerri and Mark describe their runs as a meditative experience, stretching the mind as well as the body.

4 PurPle Patch running PuRPle Patch offers running camps with all the trimmings. The weekend workshops include en suite accommodation with access to a swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. There are plenty of opportunities to run in beautiful surroundings on weekend camps in either Southampton or Chesham, or if you’re happier by the pool then that’s fine too.

5 run snOwdOnia fOR a more rugged experience Sarah Ridgeway offers training camps in Wales’ stunning Snowdonia National Park. An experienced fell runner, Sarah takes groups of mixed abilities out on the hills offering some great runs, navigation training (including night navigation for more advanced runners) and tips on planning routes and avoiding injury.

benefits that come from a running trip. For beginners the chance to improve on technique and learn from experienced coaches brings instant rewards. “We had one women who arrived on a training weekend who said the longest she’d run was a mile,” says Neil. “I thought she was joking but she was actually quite serious, but by the end of the weekend she had done 10K.” For more experienced runners, running in a different environment with new people is just the motivation they need to push their technique to the next level. Although all abilities are catered for most of Neil’s guests have run a 10K or half marathon, and find the trips a great way to push themselves further. “People often say that they do a heck of a lot more on the holiday than they thought they were capable of,” says Neil, “so it gives them a lot more confidence.”

Off-rOad rewards

For the many runners out there who are restricted to training largely on tarmac, the opportunity to experience some more forgiving terrain is one too good to miss. Dave Jelley, founder of aptly named

Jelley Legs Running Holidays, is a firm believer in the benefits of running off-road, and does a lot of his winter training in the Yorkshire Dales, where he often runs with guests. “I love training off-road,” says Dave. “The ground’s soft and often muddy and I always wear a backpack with a bit of gear, so you’re carrying two or three kilos. Your feet are going into soggy ground so your quads and your hamstrings and everything are getting stronger, so when you take that onto the road on nice smooth, flat tarmac you suddenly feel faster.” Jelley Legs takes individuals and small groups on breaks near Ripon in North Yorkshire. Much like Neil Stewart’s, Dave’s company was born from his own passion for running and his affection for Yorkshire. Having worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS for 20 years Dave decided he needed a new challenge. “I got boxed into a management job and had a boss that wanted me to just sit in the office,” says Dave. “The kids had left home and we’d got quite a bit of space so I started the company. It’s not meant to be a coaching holiday or anything like

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Simon Lock - Portfolio  

A portfolio of selected work by freelance editor and copywriter, Simon Lock.

Simon Lock - Portfolio  

A portfolio of selected work by freelance editor and copywriter, Simon Lock.