It had been stormy overnight and I awoke to a wet, grey day… not an especially appealing prospect for a run. Fortunately it was still unseasonally warm here, so at least I wasn’t going to get cold and wet.
I quite like running from my folks’ place in the winter and so it was 10am before I was there and ready to leave… into a most beautiful sunny day that had somehow emerged from the gloom!
So glorious in fact that I opted to wear the shorts and shades that I had somewhat ironically taken along for the drive!
My folks live in a village on a hill behind Brighton and most routes out involve going down… in this case two miles down to the Saxon settlement of Rottingdean. It was an easy way to ease myself back into the running, but after a little gardening yesterday my back was still a little tender.
Rottingdean is such a pretty village, with its pond, windmill and mix of tiny cottages and grand houses… one of which housed Rudyard Kipling for five years at the turn of the previous century.
One of the reasons that I particularly wanted to come down this way was to see the sea after last night’s storm… I was not disappointed! And I wasn’t the only one admiring the view of the whitecaps along towards Brighton.
A mile westwards from Rottingdean are the Ovingdean steps, which descend 25m to the Undercliff Walk below. Originally constructed in the 1930’s as part of sea defences, this is still an impressive construction… though not quite as daunting as the vertiginous and more recently constructed steps at Peacehaven, which can be seen in my post earlier this year
Once down at sea level the power of the waves became apparent… I’m pretty sure that Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano’s book Flotsametrics passes comment on just how much force each wave exerts (alas, I can’t locate my copy on my bookshelves right now) but the clap of sound as each wave hit home was thunderous.
Fortunately the wind was offshore (so the undercliff was sheltered) so whilst the waves breaking against the seawall below me were producing a curtain of water ten feet above my head, they were then dropping straight back down… otherwise I would have surely been drenched on numerous occasions as I ran along.
In the late sixties and early seventies when I was a child, we used to go down to Rottingdean and play on the beach and in the sheltered sitting areas. I’ve not noticed these sitting areas for years, but now I ran up through them and the combination of this and the baking hot sun transported me back in time in a most delightful way.
Then all that was left to do was run the two or so miles back up the hill. It’s not such a bad hill and it wasn’t as if I’d run the eight or nine miles to Shoreham harbour & then back again like I did last year, but after a few weeks off running it was still good workout.
I arrived back in 1.07 having completed 6.4 miles… a paltry 5.7mph, but a very enjoyable entrée back into the running world and I couldn’t have wished for a more glorious day to do it!