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]

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Ankle Shaping

(This is a ‘this is really dull but I’m going to post it anyway for my own benefit’ type of post, so you may as well move straight along to the next one. I can assure you that there’s nothing of interest to see here. )

Walking over soft sand isn’t the only thing that’s ‘ankle shaping’, as I’ve been finding out over the last few days.

After rain on Monday and a marked increase in temperature the snow had turned to slush. In contrast, the cooler overnight temperature had turned all of the compacted, melted-then-refrozen snow into ice. I realised within moments of stepping out on Tuesday morning that I had two choices: slip-sliding on the ice or trudging through wet slush.

Wet slush comes into the ‘ankle shaping’ bracket of activity, and where possible I stuck to the edges of the paths (or walked alongside the paths) to avoid the worst of the ice. Add to that the modified gait that I adopt when I feel like a foot’s going to shoot out from under me at any moment, and I came home feeling a lot more exercised than I should have after a flat, 5-miles walk. Incredibly, in spite of a few hairy arm-waving moments, I kept to my feet the whole way.


Comedy feet. Not my foot, and not from today’s walk as I didn’t take the camera, but I thought that the post deserved at least one random photo.

This morning, after three days of positive temperatures and some rain to add to the snow melt, the main obstacle was clearly going to be mud. I ran through mental catalogue of local walks and none stood out as being The Route of Least Muddiness.

The one I opted for wasn’t helped by one of the fields (one that’s usually waterlogged) having been cropped. It was comedy-feet time as my boots accumulated the clay-like mud.

Once again, the soft underfoot conditions made the distance feel much further (and like far greater exercise) than the measurement on the map. It was another 5-miler, but this time with thrice the ascent (a whole 300 feet!).




  1. Sounds a bit like my regular 'Monday walk with friends', only six miles, before Christmas. We braved the slippery footpaths and compacted snowy lanes to wade through eight inches of snow on woodland tracks. It was like climbing sand dunes for a few miles, I was knackered! Knew I'd worked hard though.

  2. Sorry, but I initially read hairy arm-waving moments as hairy-arm waving moments! Been walking in thick fog on the Chase today.

  3. Louise - In the absence of good company (or indeed any company) to distract me from the hard work, I just had to keep telling myself that I was getting double the exercise per mile and that given my current lack of fitness, more exercise is a good thing. Pleased to report that although today's mud was, in places, slippery, it wasn't ankle-shapingly deep.

    Mike - Perhaps I should have rather more ambiguously missed out the hyphen!
    I did consider popping over to the Chase myself yesterday, but a failure to get out of bed at anything approaching a reasonable hour made me opt for a local stroll instead. Fog wasn't too bad here, so looks like I made the right choice.