Greenhead Park Regeneration: Family, Fun & Concerts 2012

One of my continuing enjoyments over the last couple of years has been visiting Greenhead Park, Huddersfield. Its restoration has been terrefic. My first post about the park was a couple of years back, when the main restoration was nearly complete. For the last year or so I have walked through it on my way to the office, and in a short flirtation with foursquare was briefly, dare I say proudly, Mayor! I’ve now dropped foursquare, but not the park.

We regularly visit as a family, making full use of the tennis courts and spaces for football and basketball. We often take the bikes and scooters, so the children can race around. I take the young lad up on a Sunday morning even when its raining, to get a bit of extra football practice in. Most recently I have taken part in the Huddersfield Park Run, a 5km Saturday morning run around the park – wonderfully organised by volunteers with an overall very friendly and vibrant atmosphere.

Just the other week, Mumford & Sons performed there. Now, I’m going to hold my hands up and say I am not a big fan of theirs. But then, that’s just musical preference. It doesn’t take away from the fact that a good couple of thousand people had a really cracking time, by all accounts. I might also add however that, even had it been a band I liked, the ticket prices I did not!

What I did like is the brilliant Concerts in the Park 2012, whole weekend of free music performances and entertainment that was staged by Kirklees Council. If you missed it, then you missed out. We managed to attend two out of the three days.

Friday evening was an Abba and BeeGees tribute night. It was wet. Very. But it clearly didn’t dampen the spirits of those that endured the rain and mud; certainly not ours. It also wouldn’t be a proper trip to the park without a go on the swings, regardless of the rain. We didn’t make Saturday nights Proms, and I guess this would be the one where sunshine would have been most appropriate. Classical music and a couple of Pimms would have been lovely. Sunday got the best of the weather and it was fitting for the finale,with Tinchy Stryder completing proceedings. The park was rammed with people and the atmosphere pretty good. We watched this one from afar, up on the hill so the children could see properly.

We had a great family weekend, at a park that has vastly improved since the completion of the restoration work. It has a warmer, friendlier atmosphere all round, whether you’re at a concert, having a stroll, or using the sporting facilities and cafe.

I hope these type of events continue to take place, but more importantly that the full range of facilities continue to be used and enjoyed by families over the coming years. In what are testing times for many families, it is great when there is something right on your doorstep which provides somewhere to go and have fun. I expect there are a cumugeonly few out there whom would disagree with some or all of what I’ve said, and each to their own, but I and my family love it.

Greenhead Park is also pretty much on the Olympic Torch Route, as it passes through Huddersfield on 24 June. Excellent!

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Running Scared: Kirklees 10k Challenge

Saturday, 26 May 2012, was the day of the Kirklees 10k Challenge. It started from the grounds of the splendid looking Cathedral House, on St Thomas’s Road, Huddersfield. The run incorporates a short stretch along St Thomas’s Road, then down onto the tow path of the canal, which you follow for another 4 and a bit kilometers, passing through Milnsbridge and Linthwaite, before reaching Titantic Mills (halfway-point), home of Titantic Spa (looking for a much needed free massage, for the free advertising) before looping around and back along the tow path.

Just another 10k run for many. For me, it was my first. Since first considering doing it I have, quite literally, been running scared.

For anybody familiar with my Snowdon blog posts, Snowdon in the Snow meets Spencer’s Vertigo and Up Snowdon and Up My Vertigo they were very much about facing my fears and challenging my comfort zones. This 10k challenge was another one those times.

So for context, I’ll give you a quick run down of my journey.

I made my first trip back to the gym at Huddersfield Sports Centre, in September 2011. I started with 20 minute walks. Nothing more. Over a number of weeks I built up to jogging about 2k, and mixing this in with some time of thecross-trainers. By Christmas, I’d managed to shift about 10lbs. Not bad. And I felt fitter and healthier. By New Year, I’d managed to put some of those lbs back on!!

With a renewed determination to win back my good work lost, I stepped up the pace. Four months down the line and was easily doing 4k runs, and I’d shifted about 23lbs since the previous September.

A colleague at work suggested I do the Park Run at Greenhead Park. These are 5k runs. I’d never done 5k outside. Had done it at a push on the treadmill, in about 30mins. So, I did a couple of these 5k’s and managed them in just over 25 minutes each time. Then I stupidly suggested I might do the 10k challenge!

I can’t describe to you how scary a prospect this was. Throughout May, I stepped up the training. In that time I ran about four 10k’s on the treadmill. I had to really push to sneak these in under the hour mark. I mean, really push. The challenge I made to myself was try and get around the course in under an hour. I was doubtful I could manage it.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man…cometh the fear.

I signed in, got my number, pinned it on. Went out side to warm up, stretch, focus on what I was doing and what I needed to do. I treated it like a professional athlete would, going into a big race.

And then we were off. And I was running. And I trusted to my self and my preparation. I knew the pace I needed to go. Despite many people running past me, that was fine. To cut a long story short, I just found a rhythm, my rhythm, and I ran.

It must have been a good rhythm, and I was right to trust myself, as I passed many people on the way around. Eventually, I hit the main stretch, the home straight. Imagine how awesome it felt when I came around the final corner, and I looked up and saw the clock still in the 50 minutes. Yes, I’d done it in under an hour. But more than that, the clock had only just got into the 50’s.

I came home in 50 minutes, 50 seconds. Unbelievable.

Another fear faced. Another comfort zone challenged. Another victory!

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A new and old Greenhead Park for everybody

Over the last couple of years or so, there has been a massive investment made by Kirklees Council and partners, in the regeneration of Greenhead Park. Me and Lil’Roo went up there yesterday tea-time for a bit of a nosey. Impressed? Yes, very much so.

There is clearly a lot of work still to do, and I am acutely aware there were some quite fervent objections to removal of a number of trees and to the change in location of the play area (I know, because I was the officer facilitating an area committee meeting where we received a presentation). Yet, I think what has been done has been done with respect and integrity.

I love the fact they used a lot of old photographs and ‘memories’ submitted by and collected from people who would have known the park as it used to be ‘back in the day’. So, bearing in mind not everybody is going to pleased with all elements, I think this new ‘old’ park is really good.

I took some photos that I hope capture some of the great renovation work, and how inviting the park now is…far more so than it was previously! Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me, so they’re not the best.

One of the most inviting things, maybe strangely, were the paths. They have all been tarmacked and the smooth even surface gives that great impression of ‘new’. And for bike riding, well Lil’Roo loved that bit!

For me, I love the reinstating of the lake/pond area, which is very pleasant to stroll around. Admittedly, it’s not all that relaxing when your youngest is circling it on her bike; she can swim, but still, be aware! Having a back drop which includes the band stand, really helps set the scene and I imagine that during the summer months (should we get them), there will be much frivolity.

Of course, there is also the play area, or several to be precise, which cater for the very young right through to the older children. Watch out for the zip-wire though, hold on tight,¬† it’s got a bit of a kick at the end!

Not yet fully restored, but what I expect to be one of the grandest features, is the restored ‘greenhouse’ which is currently having, I think, a sort of visitor centre/cafe extension built onto it.

Anyway, it was a nice couple of hours we spent up there. Can’t wait for the warmer weather!