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Two go trail running together!

Two go trail running together!

Postby Gillzajoker » 16 May 2021 12:21

Looks a lovely track through the woods, but don't envy you the rain. To me, wet = miserable! :D
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Dave » 23 May 2021 15:37

I'm feeling very pleased with myself, because this morning we did a half-marathon which was my longest trail run yet - 13.4 miles in 2hrs 54mins. :)

We've recently done two extremely enjoyable trail runs that began with train journeys, so we used a train again. We parked at Canterbury West station and took the train to Wye, three stops down the line and right on the North Downs Way. And then we followed the NDW all the way back to Canterbury.

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Leaving Wye across level, aromatic fields and heading for the Downs. It was a chilly start and I wore my new and very bright jacket for the first couple of miles. I was pleased to note that the jacket matches my socks perfectly ;) :

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Our favourite part of King's Wood where the beech trees are. That's me in the distance - I often carry on while my wife takes a photo, because she can catch up with me very easily!

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We spotted our first slow worm of the year...

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One of my favourite spots on the North Downs Way and certainly the scene I've photographed more than any other.

The track rises steeply by the row of trees...

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...and my wife ran to the top without stopping. I prefer to walk up hills (which is just as well because I don't have a choice!):

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My final photo shows one of the vast fruit farms in this part of Kent - the Garden of England.

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The weather was very kind to us today. There was a breeze going the same way as we were going and it was neither too warm nor too cold. And it started to rain just as we got back to the car.

This was the very same route that we'll be following in less than four weeks from now for the Pilgrims Challenge 2021, except that on that occasion there'll still be more than 20 miles to go. It's mostly downhill to Dover though..! :)
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Gillzajoker » 24 May 2021 10:13

Well done to you both! Love slow worms - back in Wales we had a large rockery with a waterfall cascading into a pond, and they were often seen sunning themselves on good days, and hiding in little nooks and crannies when it was wet. :D
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Dave » 06 Jun 2021 16:14

Just a quick write-up of this morning's run... :)

We've really enjoyed using a train on our weekend runs, so we did it yet again today. This time, we drove to Wye and took the train to Charing - a 20 minute journey calling at Ashford International - so that we could run and walk back to Wye along the North Downs Way. We arrived in Wye and parked with about 40 minutes to spare, so we walked around the village a couple of times for a warm-up!

The NDW passes Charing along a high ridge about a mile away, which meant walking uphill to join it before we did any running. Then, although the way was undulating, the trend was gently downhill and we spent more time running than we sometimes do. The distance (not including our stroll around Wye!) was exactly 8 miles.

Here, we're killing time on a bridge over the Great Stour right next to the railway station in Wye. The pub is called the 'Tickled Trout'! :)

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A view from the North Downs Way. There's a huge vineyard to the right, but we couldn't get a clear view for a photo until we'd almost passed it:

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Crossing a lovely field of wheat near Westwell:

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Eastwell Lake and beautiful Lake House, which apparently dates from the 13th century:

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Our run this morning took us through some of Kent's best countryside, but it had another purpose too - it served as my entry for the virtual Vitality London 10,000 for which I'll get a medal and a t-shirt! :)
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Gillzajoker » 07 Jun 2021 11:35

Whooo-hooo - fame at last! :lol: And yet again I enjoyed your photos of the wonderful scenery. :D
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Dave » 28 Jun 2021 18:03

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first Great North Run. To celebrate the event, we entered the GNR81 - a virtual half-marathon walked or run on a route of our own choosing and my wife had an idea that sounded good to me...

Just over a week ago, we completed the 55km Pilgrims Way Challenge, but my left knee had been hurting throughout the second half and it was especially painful as we neared Dover towards the end. So the plan was to do the bit of the North Downs Way that I hadn't enjoyed very much, but in the other direction!

We drove to Bekesbourne Station, a few miles east of Canterbury, and took a train to Kearsney, near Temple Ewell, just outside Dover. From there, it was almost 15 miles back to Bekesbourne so the half-marathon fitted into the distance with room to spare!

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The whole of the first mile was a steady, steep climb to Whitfield. Then we were supposed to go though Whitfield to meet up with the North Downs Way just before Waldershare Park, but we went the wrong way (see detour far right of map!). Eventually, we sorted ourselves out and found ourselves heading the right way on rural lanes - just as it began to drizzle...

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The rain came down ever more wetly so we sheltered for a moment to put on our rain jackets. This was the first time I'd worn my Higher State waterproof while I've been carrying a backpack and I put it on over the pack - it was a great success! My pack and the contents stayed dry, I was comfortable and it was easy to get to the front pockets that held a bottle and my phone.

My wife decided to wear her backpack over her Salomon jacket; here we are on the North Downs Way about to go through the churchyard of All Saints Church, Waldershare...

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...it's an extremely atmospheric churchyard with a huge, ancient yew tree:

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By now it was tipping it down. Much of the next several miles was across fields of long, wet grass and wet cereal crops. We were dry from the waist up and absolutely drenched from the waist down!

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Here's one of those photo-ops we can't pass by - a totally pointless gate in the middle of a field:

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The rain eased to a drizzle then gave up altogether and the jackets came off. This is the sort of track and setting that the North Downs Way is famous for...

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Here, we're approaching the delightful village of Womenswold (just past Woolage Village). The rain might have stopped, but every time we began to dry out, we found ourselves in another field of long, wet grass...

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...but the best was yet to come. This narrow path through a big field of oats really is the North Downs Way and it was like a car wash - we were completely soaked. It was tremendous fun though!

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I said at the beginning that today's route was to do with making up for me suffering a painful knee on the same stretch just over a week ago. Today, I could still feel a tiny twinge as we set off and I hoped my knee would be okay. And for about 10 miles all was well, but then my knee started to get worse quite quickly so I slowed to a brisk walking pace, then a properly slow pace, and as we were nearing the end I was really struggling. Okay, it was daft to try a challenge like that so soon, but it was still a brilliant adventure!

And finally... coming (limping!) into Bekesbourne, we passed a fantastic display of poppies: :)

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p.s. The GNR81 medal is really impressive! ;)
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Re: Two go trail running together!

Postby rdw123 » 29 Jun 2021 08:42

Well done both of you. At least you got your legs washed. I hope the knee is improving and that you shut that gate! Lovely photos.
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Gillzajoker » 29 Jun 2021 16:11

Well done - I really enjoyed the photos, especially churchyard ones - and those poppies were amazing :D
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Dave » 03 Jul 2021 15:17

With today's weather forecast being for rain, but tomorrow's forecast being much worse, we decided to do our weekend trail run this morning and hope for the best. :)

We drove to Bridge, which is a delightful village to the south-east of Canterbury, in pouring rain. Our walk down through Bridge served as a warm-up and we began our run along the Elham Valley Way, first crossing Bourne Park, and on through the charming hamlets of Bishopsbourne and Kingston. Leaving Kingston, we headed up a long, steep hill to cross the A2 via a bridleway bridge and we were soon on the North Downs Way and the long, gentle descent back to Bridge...

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It rained steadily for the first mile and we were glad of our rain jackets. Fortunately, as we crossed our first field the rain began to fizzle out and it wasn't long before the jackets were stowed away in our backpacks. But at least we got one photo showing my carefully colour-coordinated gear. ;) I took my Inov-8 Trailroc shoes for their first proper outing today (>10km) and they were excellent!

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We crossed Bourne Park and were pleased to see that the intermittent Nailbourne was still flowing. As with most streams in the area, the water is crystal clear due to it flowing over and through chalk:

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Bishopsbourne lies a little further on...

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...and we arrived in the hamlet at St Mary's Church:

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We followed Bridleway 274 to Kingston (it had started to rain, so my wife had put on her jacket - and of course it stopped again almost immediately!)...

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Some time later, we'd reached the North Downs Way and were heading back towards Bridge. This section of the NDW passes through meadows and fields of crops and is very open, with excellent views to the south. There's also a gentle downhill trend which makes it perfect for running with little effort!

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This area is one of our very favourite local spots for walks and runs because the countryside is so idyllic and varied. Two excellent long-distance paths run roughly parallel to each other either side of the A2 and route-planning isn't too difficult - once the various underpasses and footbridges have been located! :)
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Two go trail running together!

Postby Gillzajoker » 04 Jul 2021 11:41

Really enjoyed those photos, Dave - what a wonderful area! So apart from being a walker and runner
extraordinaire, you can now add 'fashionista' to your list of attributes! :lol:
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