Sunday, 25 September 2011

Recovery Run?

Dew drenched cobweb
No that was an epic foot journey!

Leaving from Shoreham Village car park at 7.05 am George and I were on an exploratory run to find some new paths, little did George know that this was probably not going to be the case having forgotten my trusty OS map by the front door meaning I had to go back and fetch it on my way to his place. It had occurred to me the other day that we had not explored villages south of Otford and some of the paths amazing considering they have names like Greatness, Widernesse, Noah's Ark and Seal. The email I sent to Michael and George yesterday said:

"I thought we could explore Greatness and once there could run into the Wildernesse, find the Seal that should have been in Noah's Ark."

After that we planned to run without the map...that soon changed.

View north from Seal
Taking the new routes through the new villages we were met by some typical Down's hills which undulated at frightening rate that soon had us panting and sweating, the villages of Greatness and Wildernesse were nondescript with boring new housing sprawled around a clay pit open mine but still interesting to discover. I was beginning to think the visit was a mistake until we entered Seal and found a beautiful village with the 13th Century Saxon church of St Peter and St Paul which backed onto a wonderful view across the downs to Noah's Ark and Kemsing to the North.

Crossing the motorway and railway lines once more we approached Kemsing (visible in the fog above) and for some reason George and I though it totally acceptable that whilst on a recovery run to near as damn sprint up the forehill along an alley to find us both bent double gasping for air, from then on we chose to walk the hill the rest of the way. It was at this point we decided we needed a short break to have a banana and enjoy the view....absolutely stunning but now the mist was burning off and we had some more miles to go.

We soon met our old trail friend the North Downs Way and were back in Otford in the shake of a lamb's tail but I was then heard to say "Shall we turn right here and then just jump off the road onto a trail?" It sounded so matter of fact but I was feeling brave, after all I did have my map with me.

The trouble with reaching known territory is that it is very easy to revert back to old routes, of which I was getting tired of as I have been around this area quite a lot recently so after 2 miles we agreed to take a path we had not been up together to find ourselves in the middle of one of the busiest golf courses around and were surrounded by about 50 golfers. The next mile was one of amusement and bemusement as we watch the antics of some of these people, some slamming clubs down in temper, others driving buggies down "our path" and others driving over areas that were protected by law because of the wildlife, the latter irritating me beyond words. George quite rightly mentioned that this was not the place for one of our Sunday runs as we prefer trails and paths away from people...we won't be doing that gain in a hurry.

The journey home
This was a new phase to the run finding us on the wrong side of the motorway and no obvious roads to get back to the car, the only way was by map and trail. Working the course out we were soon taking paths that we reckon were not used for people for some time, with 16 miles in our legs to be met by four 6 foot ladder stiles some overgrown with brambles, yuck. The last mile was all down hill a drop of 300 feet which ate into the legs but now back in Shoreham people had surfaced and we refused to give in until the car which couldn't have come quicker.

"I thought that was suposed to be a recovery run" George was heard to exclaim. Yes but what a glorious tough recovery run it was.


  1. Fabulous but tough, I have done nothing but eat all day...perfect :-)