This last weekend I was supposed to be driving to Chamonix, drinking excessively for three days and driving home with my good friend Greg. I already had my doubts about the wisdom of this, what with the challenges I’ve set myself for this year starting 2015 by destroying myself probably wasn’t the one. So when the trip fell through and I had a few days to fill I planned a trip somewhere new, and replaced all the booze with all the jogging!
We stayed in the YHA New Forest, and while this blog is no place for travel reviews rest assured they’re getting all the gold stars on Tripadvisor. The place is fantastic and couldn’t have been more accommodating. We got up on Friday morning well rested with a route planned*, tied our laces, stepped out the door and immediately started our run.
It took us no more than a couple of hundred metres before we got lost the first time, trying to get through the village of Burley. Once we were on the trail though the scenery was stunning, simply stunning. In the Cotswolds where I live trail running means going from view to view, often with miles of hilly woods in between. You get fleeting glimpses of big skies and sweeping vistas then it’s back in to the close confines of the trees. By contrast, the New Forest offers huge expanses of heath land flanked by beautiful woods with glorious graveled paths to ease progress (although we also found a decent amount of mud!)
We went out for over 14 miles of glorious running. A few wrong turns added a few more hills which we didn’t mind at all, the local wild ponies made interesting obstacles and Greg stopped to admire some lewd street art on an underpass.
Almost exactly 5 years after my very first attempts at running, I think this was one of my favourite ever days out on my feet.
*(thanks to Catherine of New Forest Runners who provided the routes for the weekend after an appeal on the Brockenhurst parkrun Facebook page. Just another example of the running/parkrun community being bloody lovely!)