Welcome to Rob's World, the (cheesily titled) homepage of Robin Rainton.

Given I'm mainly too lazy/busy (take your pick) to write a full 'blog very often there's now a Microblog which you'll also find on Facebook and Twitter, and maybe a few other places too.


Microblog... everyday ramblings interspersed with posts from trips and other activities.

10:56

Only 1 in a million will get it! Are you special? Solve 1+1=? Share if you know! Or stop spreading spam disguised as stupid easy quizzes! sad

12:08

View of Castelloubon valley while on a friend's mystery tour wink From the road to Col de la Bonnaliere. What a gem!

10:46

Planned a little walk up to the Pibeste this morning. Sadly cut short, but what we did manage was really very nice!

14:05

Visiting the gite we first stayed in back in 2012. View here is always fantastic. Esp. on another sunny winter's day!

10:52

Pic du Montaigu & other randomness. Just the sort of every day stuff you see wondering around here wink Ahhhhh... smile

14:34

More signs of spring. Pretty lucky to see this any time of year to be honest, let alone while out walking in January!

14:21

Looking to the val d'Azun (just beyond that village) on what's getting to be a bit of a regular walk above Préchac.

11:46

Always nice to look around local markets. Here's the weekly Argelès-Gazost one. Plenty colourful even in winter! smile

16:28

Dear @GarminFitness this is a graph not a report. Old site did reports OK. PS. It's not Feb yet. Not in any timezone!

13:57

Today's ride: for a change here's the 'ugly' view looking North wink That's Saint-Savin on the left saving the shot! grin


The below are collections of posts/images organised by trip or subject or other events. Click on the title or image to view each.

France - Winter '15/'16

Work in progress...

Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal - Autumn '15

Not that we didn't absolutely love Norway, but it wasn't really that summery up there. Sure, we did see sunshine, but also snow. Say no more!

So come Autumn and return to the South I had in mind at least a few weeks of sunshine to make up for that lack of a real toasty summer. This kindof worked, but, then there was a change of plan.

You see: we were supposed to travel all the way to the bottom of Spain or Portugal for winter, but only made it as far as Porto (beautiful place that is too) before returning to France to attend to some business. Oh well, but it will hopefully be worth it.

At least, after the Norwegian experience, we know how to make the most of cold, grey weather wink

Norway - Summer '15

After failing to make it during our last big European adventure in 2012, Norway was a main 'goal' of the year. And yes... wow!

Truth be told, we spent a little too long 'messing about' (having fun in the sun!) in France and Germany in June but in the end don't think that really mattered. We had seven weeks in total in Norway but by the end became difficult as it seems most places shut down in September as none of the tourists are silly enough to stay this late in the year. Luckily in our last week we had one day of spectacular weather for a final hike, squeezed in between a couple of weeks of rain. Yes - cue to leave the country indeed!

The route was basically a blast Northward (close to Åndalsnes) that took just a couple of days from Denmark before meandering back South via the fjords and coast. The first week set the scene with a single, superb sunny day as we arrived followed by a week of cloud and rain which had to be waited out in order to hit one of the famous hikes in the area. Well worth the wait, it has to be said! This pattern was set to repeat, but there was time to get out cycling or hiking between the rain, or just a few times where one had to toughen up and brave it for fear of getting cabin fever!

If I tried to describe the entire visit would soon run out of superlatives. This appears a county of extremes: Beautiful always, and even more so when the sun shines, but even in summer the weather was a challenge. So much brutal cycling on roads out of fjords and spectacular hiking above them I'm sure we could easily do the whole thing again.

Best to leave it at that and let you flick through the pictures, as words simply cannot do the place justice.

France, Germany, Denmark - Summer '15

As previously mentioned - you do read everything here, right? wink - we had a short period at the start of summer in which to wait for some parts for our motorhome, which meant staying within easy reach of 'base' around Frankfurt.

This wasn't really a problem, as even a few hours from here will get you to the Black Forest in Germany and Vosges region in France.

We hadn't been to the Vosges before but there's plenty of great cycling there it would seem (the region is a regular feature in Le Tour) and upon arrival it didn't disappoint (well - aside from getting caught out in a brief rain shower that is).

The Black Forest was one of our favourite spots in German from a previous trip (Black Forest & Lake Constance, Aug/Sep '12) and again provided some fantastic cycling, walks and food.

This short interlude dealt with (and said parts fitted) we headed North for the main event. A quick stop in Copenhagen seemed a must and is included here, but for the rest of the summer it would be on to Norway! Or at least that was the plan!

Amstel Gold 2015

Close to the Ardenne in Spring, with a few days to 'kill' while waiting for our 'home' to be prepared... one has to take in one of the classics of course!

So we found ourselves in Valkenburg the day of the Amstel Gold race.

This actually proved to be an excellent place to watch. Most bike racing there's a lot of waiting around for a few seconds of action to pass. You go there to experience the anticipation, hang out with fellow fans, catch perhaps a glimpse of your heros before it's gone in a blur and a scramble to the nearest TV ensues to see what happened next.

However, here in Valkenburg there are four passages of the riders: One early morning for the die hards, one mid-afternoon then two more in quick succession which by now is the business end of the day and plenty of attacking riding is happening.

Of course between these there is plenty to do in this beautiful little town. Naturally though, that mainly involves food and drink! There are still plenty of TVs out on display to see what's happening elsewhere on course too.

We positioned ourselves bottom of the Cauberg climb for passing one, then found a spot on the rather crowded slope for later in the day. Nothing better than seeing riders attacking full on just meters away.

Perfect!