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]

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Same Old, Same Old

When: Today

Where: Cannock Chase

What: 12 mile training circuit

Ascent: 1500 feet

Being a route that we’ve walked so many times there’s not a lot more to say about it. We met a couple of large groups of Ramblers (the second group being exceptionally large and seemingly intent on walking six abreast at about 1mph and not letting us past; the first group we met twice and was far more friendly) and, within half a mile of each car park, plenty of other people out and about.

There’s an outbreak of Phytophthora Ramorum on the Chase at the moment (from what I can make out reading the media coverage, it’s a nasty disease that is currently present in the bilberry in the area and which, if spread, threatens the oak population) and we did see a few (but not many) signs instructing people to keep to the main tracks and to keep dogs on a short lead. We didn’t see many people complying with the dogs on leads bit, but then, as is so often the case on the Chase, the signage was very patchy – with signs at one end of a short path, but not at the other.

The item I saw on the local news a couple of weeks ago stated that the disease is most commonly spread via animal fur, but that it could also be spread on shoes. By effective signage people and dogs can perhaps be kept out of the infected areas, but surely the biggest threat is the sizable deer population which will wander at will in and out of the ‘closed’ areas.

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