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 19 December 2010

A Short Leg-Stretch

Layered up as if an arctic expedition was on the agenda, we left the house this morning and tootled over to the Chase.

I had doubted that long-johns would be needed under my Cascada trousers, but Mick was absolutely right – it was jolly nippy out. In fact, within five minutes of leaving the car (unusually for us, heading across the road into a bit of forest)


I was wishing I had a buff for my neck and was thinking that my down jacket might have been more appropriate. Indeed, even my incredibly warm mountain cap wasn’t winning the battle against the cold, so up went my hood over the top, leaving just my nose and eyes on display; I stayed that way for the first four miles, when a bit of an incline finally got me warmed up.

IMG_1958Despite the unusually large number of cars in ‘our’ car park, it was quiet out and about, unless you count all of the people we encountered seemingly being pulled along by dogs. We had, for the first time, encountered a CaniX (or Cani-cross). It’s a sport that I’ve read about, but never encountered in the flesh. Everyone seemed to be enjoying it, and although Huskies and German Shepherds seemed to outnumber other breeds (at least of those competitors we saw) there was a wide variety of breeds:

 IMG_1969 IMG_1960 IMG_1962 IMG_1963 IMG_1965 IMG_1966

Diverging from the CaniX route, alongside the ponds we continued


Then over the oversized stepping stones:


Past the evidence of recent tree harvesting (where some of the ruts housed frozen-over puddles, hidden by snow; I was surprised quite a few times when I thought I was on solid ground, only to have ice give way beneath me):


Then, finally, the opportunity came to warm up, as we headed off uphill:


(hmm, looking at that photo, I’m pretty sure that we didn’t go that way!)

With so few people around (other than the runners and dogs), there was lots of virgin snow, and for a long time I resisted. Finally I could resist no more and a snow angel was born:


There may have been few people out and about, but when we got there, the visitor centre cafe was heaving. With all of the tables taken, people were standing around drinking their tea and whilst I desperately wanted a cup of tea, standing in a crowded room drinking it wasn’t quite what I had in mind, so onwards we went.

A couple of snowballs were thrown as we crossed the open ground nearby (but a full-blown snowball fight avoided) before we re-entered the forest to return to the car.  Feeling rather robbed of my anticipated cup of tea, we didn’t turn towards home as we left the car park, but rather headed to Slade Lodge tea room (which is a whole order of magnitude nicer than the visitor centre too) where pots of tea and various edibles were consumed with relish before we tootled back home to tackle the chores.

Our short-but-enjoyable route looked something like this:



  1. This was my route this morning, starting at -11 degrees rising to a balmy -7 when I finished

  2. On the Girly Christmas Walk yesterday, we walked passed a house with perfect snow on the front lawn. It took an amount of self-restraint from me and my two side-kicks not to leave a few snow angels behind, but it was broad daylight, we thought we might have been seen...

  3. Stephen - that would explain why I was feeling a bit nippy! It was only -6 when we left home.

    Louise - Oh how funny would it be to look out of the window to find three grown women making snow angels on the virgin snow on the lawn! But, I can see how you would have been put off by the prospect of being caught.