a doctor says

I n today’s Guardian, Doctors write of their own choices when faced with various illnesses. On diabetes, this doctor said:

“I would never take medicines to lower my blood sugar for a haemoglobin A1c of 7%. A long-term study of 50,000 diabetics in the UK found that trying to lower A1cs below 7.5% increases the overall death rate. I’m not sure we should even call an A1c of 7% “diabetes”, but I’m very sure I wouldn’t take medicines to lower it. Instead, I would try to lose weight and exercise more – and would be open to considering medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.”

and

The haemoglobin A1c test is a better indicator of diabetes risk than the commonly used measure of fasting glucose .

Recent research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has suggested that measurements of haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) more accurately identify individuals at risk of diabetes than the commonly used measurement of fasting glucose.

“HbA1c has significant advantages over fasting glucose,” stated Elizabeth Selvin, the study leader.

The A1c test has low variability on a daily basis and levels are not as affected by illness andstress . It is more stable and the patient does not need to fast prior to the test being performed.

This study has been published just as a major change in the way doctors diagnose diabetes is underway. In January, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) published amended recommendations for diabetes screening and diagnosis .

 

These recommendations include, for the first time: “recommendations to use HbA1c to diagnose diabetes and also to identify people at risk of developing diabetes in the future, also known as “pre-diabetes.”

These new findings are of great help to doctors and patients in the interpretation of HbA1c test results.

In the study, people with HbA1c levels between 5.0 to 5.5 percent were identified as being in the “normal” range.

Most of the American population is within this range. The study discovered that with each incremental HbA1c rise, the incidence of diabetes went up too; those at a level of 6.5 percent or greater are considered diabetic , and those between 6.0 and 6.5 percent are considered at a “very high risk” (9 times greater than those at the “normal” range) for developing diabetes.

The revised ADA guidelines classify people with HbA1c levels in the range of 5.7 to 6.4 percent as “at very high risk” of developing diabetes within 5 years.

The range of 5.5 to 6 percent, according to the ADA guidelines, is the appropriate level to initiate preventive measures.

My readings in April and December were 5.9 and 6.

The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, March 4, 2010.

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this is ACE!

Pete Townshend didn’t die before he got old as he’d hoped. Here’s why 

by  Oliver James

The Who’s Pete Townsend famously sang “Hope I die before I get old”. He didn’t, but fellow band member Keith Moon did.

“What a drag it is getting old,” drawled Mick Jagger, but it was Brian Jones who died young. David Bowie brilliantly explored what it would be like to be a rock’n’roll suicide. He lives on.

What marks out the pop stars who die prematurely from the ones who do not?

A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) provides some answers. It proves for the first time that it is not the fame that makes one prone to emotional problems, it is mostly childhood maltreatment and adversity.

The crucial finding was that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) – experiences like parental divorce or maltreatments like emotional neglect or abuse were the main cause of premature death – and a key factor is that they increase substance abuse. Twice as many of the stars who died from substance abuse had at least one ACE compared with those who died of other causes.

This is exactly what studies of the general population would predict. Having four or more adverse experiences makes you seven times more liable to abuse alcohol and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide.

The BMJ study accords with a wider and still little-known fact: the Human Genome Project finds that differences in DNA explain very little of why people suffer the vast majority of illnesses, both mental and physical – 5-10% at most. Childhood adversity is emerging as the main cause of mental illness.

The BMJ study also provides potent reasons to discourage young people from believing that fame in itself is a desirable goal. We already know that people who place too high a value on money and fame are more at risk of mental illness. The BMJ study provides further scientific reasons for government to consider our new obsession with fame as a public health issue. Its authors conclude that “pursuing a career as a rock or pop musician may itself be a risky strategy and one attractive to those escaping from abusive, dysfunctional or deprived childhoods”.

We have created a society in which far too many people suffer such childhoods. Growing numbers of children aspire to pop stardom; those who do so are more likely to have had high numbers of adverse experiences. The case for meeting of the needs of children gets ever more persuasive.

Oliver James is the author of Love Bombing – reset your child’s emotional thermostat

the last cycle ride before the end of the world

The Mayan Long Count finishes today and before the world comes to an end I decide to go for a winter bike ride. I haven’t been out for ages but the ride through the forest, past Connaught Waters and to the Butler’s Retreat is both exhilarating and exhausting. The ground is very wet and the forest is flooded in places. But what joy to be out on the bike again!

men from the Environmental Agency check the Loughton Dam to make sure it is holding

men from the Environmental Agency check the Loughton Dam to make sure it is holding

IMG_5006

Connaught Waters are flooded

IMG_5013

canada geese await apprehensively for the world to end

IMG_5014

 

This was my ride :http://cyclemeter.com/be9d5491a61ad747/Cycle-20121221-1007?r=x

Anyway, the world didn’t end so hopefully there’ll be plenty more bike rides!

does this add up?

First night’s sleep that I have had which lasted for 8 hours (only a couple of short awakenings in between) and no toilet breaks and no arthritis this year! The pillow seems to work. Insomnia and arthritis are linked? Check out the notes in Health/Soho and see link below.

It was about a year ago I had the visual problem when I started seeing flashing lights behind me as I turned my head. This was accompanied by occasional blurred, misty vision. Afterwards I started getting “jet-lag'” symptoms and my sleeping patterns changed so that I was getting less sleep overall, no drowsy sleep and just getting by with REM sleep.

I was then diagnosed as having diabetes and later my arthritis increased in intensity and frequency. All along though, I felt conscious that there may be something else. My circadian rhythms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm) had changed and I wondered whether this was due to melatonin  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin) problems. Doctor Sebastian didn’t think so. But my feeling that there is a connection persists.

Nurse Gillian, of course, suggested that a weakened immune system (caused by my statins) could have triggered arthritis and pancreatic/insulin (plus melatonin/pineal damage?) problems – giving me diabetes. A weakened immune system would also likely have given me psoriasis and eczema which only started a few years ago.

Check out insomnia and weakened immune system at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2235429/Arthritis-Why-lack-sleep-trigger-arthritis–treating-insomnia-improve-condition.html#ixzz2ClDyjXN3

I also wonder whether the constant nose bleed in my right nostril has anything to do with anything.

paleolithic diet

My lifestyle regime has been created by myself on the basis that early man is our best example of optimal survival. So as far as I can, I have eaten similar foods and exercised in the same way as a hunter-gatherer might.

Now, I discover that this is called the Paleolithic Diet. See wiki entry, robbwolf’s page, and nerd fitness for examples.

Oh, how wonderful it is to invent the wheel!

There was also this in the Mail online on ketones and diabetes and starvation:

Could this elixir hold the key to weight loss? Experts hope it’ll also treat diabetes, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s 

By JEROME BURNE

PUBLISHED: 22:00, 26 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:38, 27 November 2012

There’s a new drink that could not only help you lose weight, but could also treat epilepsy, diabetes and possibly even Alzheimer’s. It might also be an incredible energy booster. When a group of international rowing champions took it, one of them beat a world record.

It sounds far too good to be true, but the drink’s scientific credentials are impeccable.

It’s been developed by Kieran Clarke, professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford University and head of its Cardiac Metabolism Research Group, at the behest of the U.S. Army.

Equally amazing is that the drink doesn’t involve a new drug. It contains something our bodies produce all the time.

This key ingredient is ketones — the tiny, but powerful sources of energy our bodies make naturally when we start using up our fat stores for energy because there are no carbs around.

We all have slightly raised ketone levels before breakfast because we haven’t eaten for a while. And if you fast for a few days or go on an Atkins-type high-fat diet, your body will start pumping out ketones. They are nature’s way of keeping you supplied with energy — especially your brain and muscles.

The clever trick Professor Clarke has pulled off is to have found a way to make ketones in the lab. This means that instead of having to follow difficult diets (with unpleasant side-effects such as constipation and bad breath), you can just add ketones to a normal diet — in the form of the Drink, as it’s known

It’s a radical new approach, which flies in the face of more than 30 years of advice that a  low-fat diet with lots of carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight, treat diabetes and  protect your heart. It also raises questions  about the demonising of diets such as Atkins, which are blamed for causing constipation and kidney failure.

IT TRICKS YOUR BODY INTO BURNING OFF FAT

So how do ketones help? They are the reason why high-fat diets such as Atkins seem to work so well. Without the energy from carbohydrates, your body starts releasing stored fat, which the liver turns into ketones for energy.

The pounds drop off faster than with a low-fat diet because you are actively burning up stored fat. But there are other benefits of these ketogenic diets, as they are called. Blood sugar levels come down because you are eating hardly any carbohydrates.

In a study published earlier this year, Professor Clarke found that rats given the new ketone compound ate less and put on less weight than those getting the same amount of calories from a high-fat or a high-carbohydrate diet.

In the first trial Professor Clarke has run on humans with diabetes, completed within the past few months, the effects were also impressive. In the week-long study, eight people with diabetes had three ketone drinks a day as well as their normal diet.

As with the rats, their weight dropped (an average of nearly 2 per cent of their body weight), but so did their glucose levels, cholesterol and the amount of fat in the blood. The amount of exercise they did went up as they had more energy. However, the study was small and as yet unpublished.

To anyone with diabetes, the idea of ketones being good seems extraordinary. That’s because they are usually warned that high ketones can be very dangerous. In fact, the danger is limited to cases where the diabetes isn’t controlled and the patient has very high blood sugar levels as well.

That’s rare these days with effective drugs. Indeed, very high-fat diets, which produce ketones, are being tested as a treatment for diabetes.

HELPING CHILDREN WITH EPILEPSY

The Drink has its roots in ketogenic diets, which are designed to raise ketone production. One medical area where a very high-fat ketogenic diet is used as standard treatment is in childhood epilepsy.

A review by the Cochrane Collaboration found that in children who weren’t responding to drugs, it was as effective as medication would normally be.

This followed a major study conducted four years ago by Professor Helen Cross, a neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, which showed the diet was effective.

‘About 30 per cent of epileptic children don’t respond to drugs and they can have a dreadful time — 100 fits a day is not uncommon,’ says Susan Wood, a registered dietician who works for the charity Matthew’s Friends Clinics, which aims to make a high ketogenic diet available to all children who may benefit from it.

‘We see a big drop in the number of seizures in nearly 40 per cent of the children who go on the diet.’

It’s thought the diet helps suppress stimulation signals to the brain.

The problem is that ketogenic diets can be hard to follow. A typical high-fat diet for children with epilepsy, for instance, includes oil, butter, double cream, eggs, mayonnaise and cheese. Not to everyone’s taste.

Even more difficult on this sort of diet, you have almost no fruit or vegetables (most count as carbo-hydrates) — this can lead to mineral and vitamin shortages and a raised risk of heart disease from all the fat.

THE U.S. ARMY RIDES TO THE RESCUE

And this is where the U.S. Army comes in. Like other radical innovations, such as the internet, driverless cars and a battery-powered human ‘exoskeleton’, the ketone drink was the result of a commission from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is set up to research imaginative high-risk projects.

‘Back in 2003 they were looking for an energy source that would improve soldiers’ mental and physical performance under battlefield conditions,’ says Professor Clarke. ‘Troops weren’t taking enough rations into action because they filled their rucksacks with extra ammunition instead. As their blood glucose dropped, they became confused and sometimes ended up shooting their own side.’

Professor Clarke had been working on ketones as a high energy source for more than a decade when she approached DARPA, who funded the research that allowed her to discover a way to make ketones in the lab.

‘No one had done it before,’ she says. ‘We called it DeltaG, which is the biochemical name for energy, but also has a military ring to it — Delta Force and all.’ She tried the new compound on rats and found it boosted physical and mental performance.

But that wasn’t all. The rats became much healthier. They lost body fat, had lower levels of triglycerides (fatty acids) in their blood and lower blood sugar levels. There were no signs of harmful side-effects.

U.S. defence chiefs are reportedly delighted with the Drink, but it’s expected to be a while before it’s taken up on a large scale by the Army.

So how does a drink that adds ketones help you lose weight if you’re not burning fat to produce those ketones in the first place? It is because ketones make you less hungry — they damp down hunger centres in the brain. This means you eat less and so you have the same weight loss as on a high-fat diet.

Meanwhile, because you’re eating less, your blood sugar levels come down (which is good for diabetics).

LOSE WEIGHT AND HAVE MORE ENERGY

Eighteen months ago, Professor Clarke tried her ketones on rowers.

DeltaG ketones come in a thick, clear liquid that is very bitter, so in the trials on rats and humans, it has a little water added along with orange-coloured flavouring plus some sweeteners to make it more palatable — in this form it’s known as the Drink.

A group of top international rowers were given it shortly before they rowed on fixed machines in a lab.

After half an hour of hard rowing, those getting the Drink had rowed on average 50m further in the same time than when they had a dummy drink. This was an improvement of 0.5 per cent. It can be the difference between silver and gold.

Dr Scott Drawer, head of research at UK Sport, who helped design the trial, said: ‘Ketones have been ignored as an energy source in sport. We need to look at them seriously.’

DON’T WORRY ABOUT SIDE-EFFECTS

The big idea of the Drink is that it is a way to get the benefits of weight loss and metabolic improvements that come with raised ketones without going through the pain of the diet.

But what about the dangers of high levels of ketones? Ketogenic diets are linked with constipation (through lack of roughage) and sometimes bad breath (the result of the way ketones happen to smell). Increased ketone levels may also lead to kidney failure, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease, according to NHS Direct.

Professor Clarke believes fears about raising ketone levels are based on a misunderstanding. ‘Our bodies have a parallel system designed to make use of ketones as an energy source, which is faster and more efficient than the way our bodies use glucose. Gram for gram, ketones give you 38 per cent more energy than glucose,’ she says.

‘The trouble is we rarely need to use ketones because we are surrounded by food. But that’s happened only in the past 50 years when everyone has had enough to eat. Before that many people would often be ketogenic.’

The ketone pathway developed as a way to provide animals and humans with energy in times of famine; it’s only if someone has uncontrolled diabetes that raising ketones is dangerous.

BUT IT’S NOT AN EXCUSE TO BE LAZY

But what do other experts think? Dr Rhys Evans, reader in physiology, anatomy and genetics at Keble College, Oxford says: ‘Ketones are a superb source of energy, so it makes perfectly good sense to use them as extra fuel for the brain and muscles.’

‘Kieran has pulled off a neat chemical trick creating a new version in the lab. In metabolic terms, this offers some new and exciting possibilities.’

Epilepsy researcher Professor Cross adds: ‘Getting the new ketones could be a boon.’

When it comes to epilepsy, neurologists are concerned about the health risks of a high-fat diet, while sticking to it can be difficult for children — a ketone drink could be more appealing.

So why haven’t we heard about this before? It’s because ketones are a natural product that can’t be turned into a top-selling treatment, so no drug company is interested.

‘We have a problem raising the money just to produce enough of it to run trials cheaply,’ says Professor Clarke (which is why you won’t see it in shops for some time).

She adds: ‘DeltaG is not a licence to stay glued to the TV eating take-aways. It provides 10 per cent of your total calories (each drink is around 200 calories), so if you are going to lose weight you are going to have to cut that much from your diet or you would put on weight.

‘For best results, you should be eating a sensible, healthy diet, maybe some variation of the Mediterranean.’

And then there is the taste — ‘It tastes dreadful — just like the cold remedy Benylin — so you’d take it only if you had to,’ says Professor Clarke.

But losing weight without feeling hungry might prove pretty attractive!

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2238842/Could-elixir-hold-key-weight-loss-Experts-hope-itll-treat-diabetes-epilepsy-Alzheimers.html#ixzz2DQKHtP9T

For many people with Type II (and type I under controlled conditions) benefit from a high fat, low carb diet. Carbs turn to sugar in the blood and raise blood glucose levels – what is ironic is that we’ve been telling our doctors and health trusts this for years and years but they still insist on a high carb diet for diabetics which is actually killing them. You don’t tell an alcoholic to continue to drink every day! You don’t tell someone who’s allergic to fish to eat a portion of fish every day! So why in gods name do doctors insist that diabetics eat loads of carbs every day? Oh, perhaps their mission is to kill us off – save money – or is it so that they can benefit from the government handouts for every diabetic on their lists, so they want to keep the cash cow running.

tired-of-rip-off-uk , somewhere else, 27/11/2012 11:19

I recently did the Cambridge diet and because you eat so few calories your body automatically produces ketones and you dont feel hungry. this article doesnt mention the dangers of drinking alcohol whilst your body is in ketosis, and it also doesnt mention that you shouldnt do it for long periods of time as your body is in ‘starvation mode’.

Low carb is the way forward. Loads of energy, beautiful skin, weight loss perfect! oh! and bad breath does not occur if you are adequately hydrated. Ketones give a sweet fruity smell to the breath. The bad breath is dehydration.

the voice in the corner, is this England ?, 27/11/2012 8:07

Click to rate     Rating   105

It says at the beginning of this article about fasting. I started the 5/2 diet 10 weeks ago and i have lost just under a stone and a half. I only eat roughly 500 calories on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the rest of the week i eat normal. The knock on effect is great, meaning i tend now to not overeat on the 5 normal days. I feel great, it is not difficult to sustain as it is only for a day and tomorrow, you can eat again. Also, i stopped smoking 7 weeks ago so any weight gain from that has not been seen. Great result for me.

fliss, manchester, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 9:24

Click to rate     Rating   72

It is already widely acknowledged that for diabetics to go low-fat with lots of carbs isn’t the best way to reduce blood sugar although the official uk booklets continue to preach this. Elsewhere low carb diets are actively promoted.

why do I bother, england, 27/11/2012 1:10

Anyone who has read the Atkins Diet – and been on it – will be aware of ketones – as the first two week phase is designed to make your body go into ‘ketosis’ . Interesting that the late Dr Atkins may well have been proved rioght with his high fat, low carb diet after all.

Stephen, Cornwall, 27/11/2012 10:11

stuartbartley, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 09:08 Very true. Like you’re explanation. I stopped eating gluten nearly 3 weeks ago. Lost half a stone and have more energy. My joints feel great. I don’t feel bloated. And I don’t even feel hungry! I like to keep fit and do half marathons and 10 mile races but find I tire in the last few miles. I’d definitely take this drink if it becomes available. However, I can see the drug companies doing their best to smear its reputation if it does what it says on the tin!

sicon67, Gosport, Hampshire, 27/11/2012 9:22

Click to rate     Rating   21

Or you can just make your ketones naturally by alternate day fasting. Alternate 24 hours of water only fasting with a 24 hour eating window where you can eat whatever you want in regular amounts.

Bobbo, London, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 10:23

This is not news to low carbers,have known for decades that a body’s preferred fuel is fat, specifically ketones, and not glucose. A low carb high fat diet (Primal or Atkins) will give you EXACTLY the same results as this concoction but it tastes nicer, is better for you, is cheaper and won’t put more profit into the pharma coffers..

Educatrix, Keeping Trump Out of Town, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 9:49

I have just gone back on a low carb way of eating (paleo) because although I was eating carbs again, I noticed my energy levels had dropped and my depression had come back. I generally feel SO much better on a low carb diet and Paleo suits me because certain veg and fruit are allowed, but it is expensive sadly.

Nancy, London, 27/11/2012 11:11

I stopped drinking this year after 20 odd years, but to be honest I felt exactly the same, I don’t smoke and exercise regularly so felt quite fit anyway….I have done a couple of 2/3 day fasts in the past couple of months after watching a TV programme and I have to say 2/3 days without food and I strangely felt the best I have felt for years…I believe in this article but you can do it by fasting for a 2/3 days…try it, it’s hard but you’ll feel great.

Everbeenhad, Toytown, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 10:48

Your comments:This article conflates ketosis with dangerous ketoacidosis. Ketosis is normal and natural. Why drink something that tastes bad in order to mimic the effect of a diet that works perfectly well by itself? Atkins-type diets are extremely effective, as well as very satiating, meaning one never has to be hungry. They aren’t as limiting as the article suggests. Fruit and vegetables are fine, so long as sugar and starch are limited. Atkins diets mainly involve breaking our addiction to carbohydrates. After about 8 weeks, once appetite hormone sensitivity has been restored, the addiction is broken and people don’t feel the carb cravings anymore. It’s extremely liberating. I lost 9 stone and got my life back eating this way. Nothing else ever worked. Losing weight eating natural foods is so much better than chemical quick fixes that only avoid dealing with the underlying problem.

nmfoss, Ottawa, Canada, 27/11/2012 5:37

Easy – just fast for a few days each week (eat nothing), but remember to drink plenty of fluid (Not booze, wine or beer). It will do the same job, and is cheaper.

uncle vanya, Colchester, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 10:57

those bad, bad statins

I see Gillian the diabetic nurse and she is a wonder. Straight, simple explanations. She can’t understand why she is seeing me as my Hba1c test brings back a score of 6 – well below the threshold of diabetes. I explain I’ve never had a proper test to confirm I have diabetes (the Whipps X fiasco) and am only diagnosed as diabetic by symptoms. I also express concern that despite my blood glucose levels being low and controlled  I still have hyperglaecemic attacks. We come to the conclusion that my insulin/pancreas is not functioning well enough to cope with my glucose levels, low as they may be, and that this may have been a result of the statins that damaged my immune system giving me firstly rheumatoid arthritis and now diabetes.

I still need to consider myself as a diabetic and continue my lifestyle and it is likely that my diabetes is the result of a “gene”being switched by the “bad” statin rather than a previous poor lifestyle or genetic factor.

Otherwise blood levels are good for kidney function and general blood functions and my cholesterol level is 5. I confessed I hadn’t been taking statins for a few months because I suspected they were increasing my rheumatoid arthritic pains and we both agreed I didn’t need to worry about resuming taking statins.

Also had the flu jab.

NB:

How is the blood sugar level checked over a period of time?

A test known as the HbA1c test can show the average blood sugar level over the previous six to eight weeks.

HbA1c is the compound produced by the chemical reaction between haemoglobin and glucose in the blood. HbA1c is also called glycated haemoglobin.

High blood sugar levels produce more HbA1c. But because the process happens over several weeks, an occasional blip of high blood sugar is not enough to influence the HbA1c level.

This means only consistently high glucose levels cause HbA1c levels to rise – and why HbA1c levels are used as a measure of diabetes control.

  • HbA1c is about 6 per cent of the total haemoglobin in people who don’t have diabetes. The target to aim for is an HbA1c level of below 6.5 per cent if possible – although 7 per cent or less is very good.
  • HbA1c of 7.5 per cent shows only fair control of diabetes.
  • HbA1c above 8.5 per cent shows poor control of diabetes.
  • Any increase in the HbA1c level indicates poorer control of diabetes.

The United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study Group (UKPDS) was a 20-year-long research trial in diabetes.

It showed that for every 1 per cent rise in HbA1c, a person with Type 2 diabetes is 30 per cent more likely to develop late-stage complications arising from damage to the small blood vessels.

Panorama on St. Ives

sunrise in St. Ives

I manage to take a 360° picture of the harbour beach as I run along the water’s edge at low tide. The picture can best be seen at: http://360.io/g8jZGy

around St. Ives by beach

sunrise above the end of Porthminster Beach

 

This was not much of a run by distance but was certainly one of the best by scenery and beauty. The weather was bright and sunny but cold with a biting wind coming down from the Arctic. At 7 am there were few people about and it was fantastic to run across beaches that were empty apart from the odd dog-walker.

the view from Porthminster beach

I ran across Porthminster Beach, then across the Harbour beach, climbed Smeaton’s Pier and then ran across Porthwidden Beach and came around the Island before, finally, running across Porth Meor beach.

Smeaton’s Pier on the Harbour beach

the Harbour

one of the three tunnel below Smeaton’s Pier

 

It was fabulous to see your footprints crossing an otherwise unspoilt sandy beach.

I did the run twice.

waltham abbey lock

graham by the lock

Graham and I cycle up to Waltham Abbey and lunch at the Olympic white water rafting centre. En route we pass the Waltham Abbey town lock.

Now that the Olympics are over the centre is open to the public. It cots £50 a head to experience the white water rafting and, as we saw, the event is popular with stag parties.

Pole Hill

Cycled through the early autumnal forest to Pole Hill. This is where T E Lawrence had a hut which, years ago, I tried to trace with Paul Bourdais.We only found the concrete base but later I discovered the hut in the Warren where the Epping Forest Keepers and Conservators are based.

Paul Bourdais

Beautiful scenery and weather. The leaves are just starting to turn orange and yellow and beginning to fall but it is still summery with clear, blue skies. Saw the city skyline from Pole Hill. A great bike route, with lots of possibilities for diversions and not arduous or far. Must do again.

 

the view of the city approaching the top of Pole Hill

the Shard in the distance

an obelisk set up to commemorate my bike journey

the autumn sun – on the way down from Pole Hill