Sunday, 20 November 2011

Into the fog

Today was an unusual run as we had a "guest" runner with us in the form of Brian, so at last the Brecon Beacons Ultra team was together for fun and frolics on the North Downs. So at 6.45 am the three of us trudged out onto the North Downs Way ready to take on about 20 miles

The sun was not yet up but we were able to run comfortably in the pre-dawn light and when we were just 3 miles in we stopped at a particularly beautiful scene of the fog settled in the valleys and downs below when Brian exclaimed "Here it is" and we looked up to see the sun rise above the fog, a glorious orange ball spreading its warmth to the cold , dank ground below.

We continued on and the mischevious side of me decided to dip off the North Downs Way through a downhill path to the Pilgrims Way and then spotted a new path that was screaming to investigated. When ever I see a public path with a gate across it, it is like a red rag to a bull (more of that later) but we had now descended into the fog layer and the visibility was down to about 60 yards making it difficult to see across fields....this is to say we were now lost takinga  loop of a field until we all seemed to notice the hidden stile at the same time to find us back on track to appear on a road. We were unsure of the direction so the only way was to take a compass bearing to find that we had found a great short cut to Westerham. We remained in the fog for approximately 5 miles and made the decision to ascend the scarp again to the warmth of the day as all three of us were looking a little damp.

Later up the hill I asked if we could investigate a couple of paths we had passed on numerous occassions and after a disappointing one we were soon running down the second into a field of cows and as we ran across Brian and George shouted "Behind you" and I looked to see a cow bearing down on us to which I shouted a series of explatives and luckily it seemed to be put off by us but still very interested. I still think it was Brian's red shirt :-) The Cow Attack knocked our nerve a little so we took the easiest (and longer) route out of the field but then lost sight of the egress point so wandered around the field until we spotted it and we were back out onto the North Downs Way and the warmth of the day.

After a short break of soggy ginger nut biscuits and a sausage roll we climbed back up the scarp and then ran the upper section of the Downs in and around Tatsfield and the southern part of Biggin Hill to return to the car having completed about 4 hours 35 minutes of running and speed walking. I was happy with the days activity, George and Brian as usual were brilliant company and I know we are now ready for the Brecon Beacons 40 miler

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