The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 31 October 2008

A Run, A Hill, Some Maps (in a Random Thoughts sort of way)

A Shuffle In The Village
On Wednesday morning this week, I went for a short jogette. That may not seem like a newsworthy announcement, except that this was my second run of the year, and the first one was some months ago.

Cardiovascularly, it was easy enough and at the time nothing hurt, but it seemed inevitable that I would ache the following day.

A Dash Up A Hill
Skip forward a day to Thursday and our trip down to Malvern. As with our previous trip down to backpackinglight in March, our plan was that we’d pop in for me to make my backpack purchase, which would take about half an hour, then would take a walk over the Malvern Hills (having no hills close to home it seems rude to be so close to some lumpiness and not get a little exercise on them).

What I hadn’t accounted for was Bob & Rose’s fantastic hospitality and the joys of being a child in a sweetshop, investigating all of the new kit.

By the time we dragged ourselves away (with apologies to Bob & Rose for taking up so much of their time again (not to mention eating all of the cake!)), it was a close call as to whether we would make it to the hills at all, the main consideration not being the daylight remaining but the state of the M5/M6 junction by the time we got there.

We just couldn’t leave Malvern without the shortest of dashes up a hill, so we hotfooted it over to the foot of Worcestershire Beacon, quickly necked our lunch and then set out uphill.

I made it a whole ten yards before the slippery ground got the better of me and I landed both of my (freshly laundered) Buffalo Mitts in the mud, but happily the rest of the route up was more firm underfoot.

It was busy on the main track that leads along the ridge, which soon reminded us that it’s half-term holiday this week, but we opted to take a quieter side track, which was also more pleasing underfoot.

The views were superb, particularly when we reached the top of the Beacon, and had the snowy-on-one-side, clear-on-the-other North Hill ahead of us. We vaguely considered quickly dashing over to North Hill, but our enthusiasm was dampened by the sight of rain rapidly approaching.

It turned out not to be rain, but variously sleet, frozen rain and hail.

Back down to the car we headed, getting back within an hour of setting off. It wasn’t long enough to warrant an entry in my walking log, but was long enough to ensure that we got caught up in the hideousness that is the M5/M6 junction at rush-hour.

By the time we got home I was seriously regretting even setting foot on the hills. My thighs had been aching as a result of the previous day’s run even before we set out. A few hours after our hill-dash every single movement was accompanied by an audible whimper.

I’m pleased to say that the muscles have almost forgiven me today, which will mean that I can abuse them again over the weekend and hopefully they won't complain so much next time.On Worcestershire Beacon, with a snowy North Hill beyond

Routes and Maps

I’ve been looking at maps today. Much of the afternoon has been spent contemplating our TGOC route. As a result of that exercise I have two potential start points in mind (one northerly, one southerly) with very vague thoughts as to routes we would take from each. In my mind the southerly route is currently winning, but there’s plenty of time for a change of mind (and what is a mind for, if not for changing?). Mick is yet to express an opinion (admittedly he was out when I was doing the bulk of the map-poring), so I’ll not say more until we have a consensus on the issue.

I’ve also been contemplating next Tuesday when I will find myself with a day free in Halifax. My first thought was (weather permitting) towards Horton-in-Ribblesdale where I could belatedly complete the part of the Pennine Way, over Pen-y-Ghent, that we were forced to omit due to ridiculously strong winds earlier in the year. However, the thought of five hours on buses and trains is a little offputting for a daytrip, which takes me back to the drawing board. Any easy-to-get-to recommendations (from Halifax) will be gratefully received.

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