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 11 March 2010

Last Week On The Chase

‘Last week’ may be stretching it slightly. I seem to have got a little behind myself (due to far too much time cooking, dehydrating, looking at maps, looking at maps, looking at maps, changing routes, making lists, looking at maps, changing routes, looking at maps, adding more things to more lists, jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to start more lists, looking at maps, and that sort of thing).

The first walk of a set of three on the Chase was on 27 February, when Mick and I thought we would go and stretch our legs (with 10.5kg apiece on our backs – a theme we continued through all 3 walks).

It was one of our usual routes and the only notable thing was that I was wearing brand new shoes, in an effort to wear them in (even though the last pair of the same aren’t quite worn out), just in case I need them on the upcoming walk.

They were jolly shiny and new as we left the car park:

IMG_0628They were, of course, soon baptised in mud.

The stats for that day were 8.5 miles walked with 1200 feet of upness.


Two days later we would have been up in the Lakes ready to join Martin on the next in his series of Great British Ridge Walks, except that other things intervened and I had somewhere I needed to be on Monday afternoon. That didn’t preclude a walk on Monday morning, though, so we met up with Jeff for a quick stroll and a cup of tea.

‘The other side of the Chase’ is what I call the area we visited, and under glorious skies we fair trotted along, past the ponds:

IMG_0630though forestry and thence to the visitor centre where we resisted the cakes on offer (I had homemade flapjack in my bag and didn’t want to carry it back!) but partook in their finest mugs of tea.

It was a short one at a smidge over 5 miles (with a whole 500 feet of ascent!), but it fitted nicely into the time available.


Last Sunday saw us back on the Chase again (in the space of a week doubling our number of visits for the year).

Fortunately, the confusion (on our part) in the arranged meeting place was resolved before the allotted meeting time, and so exactly at the agreed time it was as a party of three that we set out to do a non-standard variation on our usual route.

Once again the weather was stunning, and even better, it was warm too. Better still, our companion for the day pointed out a further variation to our usual route to us, so a bit of extra lumpiness, with the benefit of excellent views, was added in.

IMG_0645 I particularly liked this tree on one of the lumps, even though pausing to take the photo did cause my heart and lungs a bit of extra work in order to catch back up:

IMG_0647 Once again the cloud-factory at Rugeley was trying its best to ruin the blue-skied day:IMG_0649We had earmarked Seven Springs for the location for a cup of tea, and so were dismayed to arrive there to find the only picnic table already occupied. We duly stood staring at the couple-in-occupation for so long that they eventually gave in and vacated the bench for us, and once in situ, we stayed there for a very long time, but so lovely was the weather that I could happily have stayed there for hours.

Eventually I was dragged away, and on the way back to the cars a quick Geocache find was made, which coincided with me receiving a text from Vic (friend who, amongst other things, helps us out enormously with remote logistics when we’re our walking and occasionally appears on the blog to provide holding reports when we can’t get a mobile-blogging signal) telling us that she had just given birth to her first child, a girl :-)

By and by (after no small number of wiggles to avoid the direct route) back to the car park we headed. A full car park it was too. It’s like 1 March marked the day when it suddenly became reasonable for the masses to enjoy the great outdoors again. We’ve not seen the Chase that busy since … well about this time last year, I think.

Just under 8 miles had been covered and thanks to being introduced to the slightly lumpier variation on our norm, 1300 feet of upness was had.


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