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]

Tuesday 1 September 2009

You’re Mad!

“You’re going in this weather?” Mick asked me incredulously as I bade him farewell on Friday morning to take myself for a bit of a leg-stretch on The Chase.

“It’ll have stopped by the time I get there” I said doubtfully, looking out at the dark sky and lashing rain.

“You’re mad!” said Mick.

I thanked him for the vote of confidence (I put it down to jealousy; I’m sure that if he didn’t have to work he would have happily come along with me) and dashed along the drive to the car.

Twenty minutes later I pulled up in the usual car park on The Chase and got quite damp around the edges as I conceded that waterproofs were going to be required.

It seemed that most people had been put off by the weather, as I can’t have seen more than a dozen people in the 8.5 miles that I covered, and half of those were from a distance. As it went the weather wasn’t as bad as it had threatened to be. The rain did eventually give way to showers and having learnt my lesson the week before I took to sheltering under trees rather than taking the trouble to don waterproofs only to need to take them off ten minutes later.

Everything was very green and lush, except where it was the startling purple of heather in flower, and except in the vicinity of this sign which I particularly liked for its being so precise about what was being cut:

Bilberry Cutting WarningI saw no evidence of any machinery in use, just a couple of men with gardening implements, and lots of cleared and burnt areas like this one:

Bilberry Cut and Burnt It looks like the war against Phytophthora Ramorum is still being waged, but the ‘disease control area’ signage is still woefully lacking and confusing (as I passed half a dozen ‘you are now entering a disease control area’ signs, but not a single ‘you are now leaving a disease control area’ one).

The 8.5 mile route was the usual one. I walked it anti-clockwise, because I always do. The only times it sees me in a clockwise direction is when I’ve just walked it clockwise, am after a 17-mile brain-in-neutral training walk, and can’t face walking it the same way twice in one day.


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