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]

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

On Sunday Last

In the absence of having planned to go anywhere else, Sunday saw us with our good old fall-back of a walk on Cannock Chase, this time with heavy packs and with determination to walk further than we have on any other single day this year.

It was a lovely day for it, with initial cloud cover, but still and warm, so with our brains in neutral (this being our umpteen-hundredth repetition of a familiar route) we set off at quite a lick. A freak incident resulting in a collision between a dog and a small child on a bicycle (both appeared fine, even if they child was wailing loudly - but then he did hit the ground with one heck of a clatter) provided a small diversion for us, and a brief detour over a few lumpy bits took us away from the masses for a short while.

Having more or less kept up with Mick's pace-setting I was more than ready for a break and some sandwiches when we reached a bench at the place that in my mind is called 'the high point' (but I think it's probably identified somewhat differently on a map). Having forgotten to make a flask, my focus from there on was the Visitor Centre, where we could get a cup of tea.

By the time we reached the Visitor Centre I was so warm that my longing for a cup of tea had been transformed into the need for an ice cream, which was consumed amidst consideration of what to do next.

A number of options were contemplated, and a concensus reached that to make sure that we walked a good distance we would simply turn around and walk the same route back to the car, but before we did that, our break was extended as we popped into the Great War Interpretation Centre that opens for just two hours each Sunday afternoon (we've seen it open a few times now and were feeling that it was rude to so repeatedly pass it by).

It dawned on us as we started retracing our steps that despite having walked our circuit on this part of the Chase umpteen-hundred times, we have always walked it in the same direction (and thinking about it I could come up with no reason why that has been the case), so it was something of a departure for us to be appreciating the views in the other direction.

The only modification made to our return route was that we omitted the three lumpy bits added on to our outward journey. I was feeling sufficiently exercised by that point without the extra effort and was focussed more on a Hot Cross Bun Break at the next picnic table we reached. That break was blissfully boots-off (gosh, it was warm!), then feeling slightly refreshed we covered the final distance back to the car.

In all seventeen miles were covered, with a reasonable smattering of ascent. Although the terrain wasn't representative of what we will find in Scotland, having completed the distance with plenty of energy remaining it did make me feel slighly better prepared to be setting off in less than a month for a stroll across Scotland.

I had intentions of fitting another walk in on Monday, but when the day turned out to be fine our attention was diverted instead to attacking some of the weed-fest that is our garden - an activity that left me aching far more than walking 17 miles ever has.

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