Preparing for the best of sport – despite the weather


The Ashes returns this month - Credit: PA

As we enter December, excitement is building as we get closer to some of the best sport of the year.  

The Ashes series starts on Wednesday in Australia and the football, rugby and racing fixtures are coming thick and fast.  

This year, once again, we have the cloud of Covid hanging over us, with all the uncertainty that the new Omicron variant is bound to bring. Hopefully, the current vaccinations will be sufficient to keep the NHS from being overrun.  

From last Tuesday, face coverings became compulsory in shops once again. I don’t like wearing them myself but we just have to get on with it.   

I read an interesting article the other day about our health in general. It said that Covid appears to have taken the focus away from so many other health issues. You only have to see the ONS statistics about the underlying health conditions of those that are dying from Covid to see the reality of this.  

Diabetes continues to be the most common pre-existing condition for Covid deaths in England and Wales. And the average age of people dying from Covid is 80.4 years. The booster take up is picking up in pace and I’ll be delighted to get mine next week.  

I think we all know this will be around for a very long time. One day we will treat it just like other coronaviruses such as the common cold, flu and other contagious respiratory illnesses.       

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The strong northerly wind last Saturday ensured our landfill recycling bin had its annual short journey down the road!  

The sea at Sidmouth was relatively calm due to the northerly direction of the wind but some of the town centre Christmas lights were dislodged.  

The posts at Sidmouth Rugby Club took a battering but survived the onslaught. In the game against Chew Valley, all the points were scored with the wind advantage. Sidmouth took an early 17-point lead and that remained the score at halftime.  

However, table-topping Chew Valley made the best use of the conditions in the second half running out winners by 31 points to 17.  

In other rugby, Exeter had a fine away win at Bath.  

This weekend Sidmouth are away at Crediton and Exeter are at home to Saracens.  

On the football front, Exeter City’s fine unbeaten run came to an end at Colchester and they followed this up last Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Rochdale. This weekend, they visit Cambridge in the FA Cup.  

Exeter races are due to feature on terrestrial TV today (Friday) which is a good opportunity to show off the course. Did you know it is the longest circuit in English racing apart from the Grand National course at Aintree? It is also the highest racecourse in the country, standing 850ft above sea level. This sort of information is why you buy this paper!  

Finally this week, I have just done a walk I thoroughly recommend. It is just over 8 miles and follows a good part of the eastern section of the Sid Valley Ring.  

From Sidmouth, proceed up The Byes to Sidford. Cross the main road and turn left as if going towards Harcombe. Don’t take the turning to Harcombe but continue up the lane and bridleway to Buckton Farm. Continue along the path and you eventually emerge at Harcombe.  

You then follow the Sid Valley Ring to the coastal path at Dunscombe. Rather than cut back into Salcombe Regis, continue back on the coastal path to Sidmouth. Your heart rate will jump as you go up the hill from Salcombe Mouth!  

The only really wet area is by the brook at the back of Knowle House in Harcombe where water has gathered in the hoof prints of grazing animals.  

The walk took me just under three hours.