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Tintern trails a treasure

Athletics: Emma embraces the delights of 'joggleting'

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The mother and son team of Emma and Myles Hewlett from United Striders

The mother and son team of Emma and Myles Hewlett from United Striders

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey

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The mother and son team of Emma and Myles Hewlett from United Striders

Emma Hewlett of Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens in Campile is a member of United Striders Athletics Club.

Emma is mother of three boys, Joshua, Myles and Cosmo. All three are talented athletes and have, over the years, competed for Striders at county, provincial and national levels.

Myles (15) is one of the top middle distance runners in his age category in the country. Throughout lockdown, Emma has accompanied Myles on many of his runs. In this article she writes about one of their favourite places in which to train.

'As we all self-isolated over the past three months, exercise has played a major role in keeping us healthy and sane. The easiest way for many of us to exercise has been to simply get out and walk or run, or as a friend of mine calls it 'joggleting', which is something faster than a walk but not quite a run!

'It helps if one can exercise in a beautiful environment and, in that regard, County Wexford is steeped, with miles of stunning coastlines, woodland trails and upland areas with breathtaking views.

'One of our favourite places to run is on the Tintern Trails in Saltmills. Tintern Abbey, founded in the early 13th century, sits on the west shore of Bannow Bay. In its time it has played host to 'knights, monks, scoundrels, law-makers, law-breakers and custodians'!

'The trails, of which there are four, all marked on a large outdoor map, start at 'The Trailhead' at the abbey.

'The shortest, at 1km, is the Gardeners Trail; the Tintern Demesne trail is 2.4km; the Bannow Bay trail is 7.2km; and the Foxboro trail is 3.5km.

'Variety being the spice of life, we like to mix them all up and create our own routes, providing us with a good mix of scenery and terrain.

'My favourite lap starts at the trailhead and heads out along the river, keeping it on the left-hand side, across a sweet narrow bridge, turning left and completing the loop back to the abbey from the other side.

'Somehow it helps to have flowing water beside you, especially as one's energy starts to wane trying to keep up with a fleet-footed 15-year-old with focus and a whole month of a training plan in his head!

'There is something so good about running along quiet woodland trails through glades of trees and spectacular scenery, past ancient monuments, with a variety of birdlife providing the backing soundtrack.

'The area around Bannow Bay has strong links with the past and there is so much to engage the interest of both runners and walkers alike. The Normans first landed in Ireland at Bannow in 1169 AD and dominated the region for many years.

'Their influence can still be seen in the wealth of castles and other remains which dot the landscape.

'The abbey itself was founded by William Marshal circa 1200 AD for the Cistercians, and the monks lived and worked here for centuries.

'One can enjoy panoramic views out over Bannow Bay and, beyond that, the Saltee and Keeragh islands. The bay is an important overwintering ground for a wide variety of migratory birds and, as such, it is very popular with bird-watchers.

'An expanse of mudflats exposed at low tide offers an ideal habitat for large numbers of waders, Shelduck, Brent geese and other wildfowl.

'Getting there and parking: Tintern Abbey is situated 16km south of New Ross, just off the R734 road; it is 29km from Wexford town, taking the Ballyhack road (R733) and turning off at the L4041.

'Around 1km along that road, the entrance to the abbey is on your right. There is a large car park just inside the main gates.

'Trails: Two trails lead off from this carpark: the one on the left takes you through bluebells and wild garlic with stunning views of the abbey across rolling green fields.

The trail to the right winds down to the pretty river. Both bring you to the 'Trailhead' at the abbey where you can study the map and decide which set of trails you are going to explore on your run.

'Other attractions: Tintern Abbey itself and Colclough Walled Garden (admission charge for both). Both are expected to re-open on June 29 as lockdown restrictions are eased further. Likewise for the tea-rooms.

'The trails were created and developed by Hook Tourism over the past ten years with assistance from Coillte, Wexford Local Development, TUS and FÁS schemes, Wexford County Council and the OPW.

Emma's Flapjacks

Emma's flapjacks are famous! Whenever she travels to an athletics meet she makes sure to have a supply on hand.

Many proclaim them to be the ultimate power-boosting snacks.

They are low in sugar, largely organic and absolutely delicious.

Emma has finally decided to share her flapjack recipe.

'It is important to use the natural sugars found in honey and the 70% dark chocolate which is also low in processed sugar. The oats and seeds are a wonderful source of protein and fibre.'

Ingredients:

454g of butter;

600g of organic rolled oats;

A Jar of organic honey;

A double handful of seeds - pumpkin, sesame, pine nuts or whatever you like;

A double handful of 70% dark chocolate drops;

A shake of cinnamon.

Heat your oven to 180 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the honey. Mix over a low heat for two minutes. Add the oats, seeds, chocolate and cinnamon.

Line two trays with parchment paper. Place the mixture into these.

Place trays in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

Take out and portion them with a cutter. Leave in the tray to cool.

When cool, gently take them out and store in an airtight container, if you do not intend to eat them right away!

General news

Provisional dates have been set for a reduced Leinster Juvenile track and field championship.

On August 1 it is proposed that Leinster athletes Under-17 and Under-19 will compete in Santry. It is also proposed to have an open competition on the same day.

The following weekend, August 7-8, the plan is to have the Leinster Junior, Senior and Masters championships at the same venue.

It is the opinion of Wexford Athletics Chairman, Paddy Morgan, that a definite decision on these events taking place will not be made until such time as Athletics Ireland gives clear guidelines on health and safety procedures.

Munster has cancelled its Senior and Masters championships for 2020 and has yet to decide on the Juvenile event.

It looks like no decision has been taken in Connacht yet on whether to host competitive events this Summer.

The Ulster and N.I. Juvenile championships (Under-13 to Under-17) take place August 22, with Under-18, Under-20 and Seniors competing on August 29.

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