I woke early this morning and headed out to the tea-house with my quadspresso to contemplate the day… which was beautiful. It was already nearly 20 degrees and there was a light mist giving the morning a delightfully ethereal quality.
I came to the conclusion that a day like this, so late in the season, was really deserving of a long run. I wasn’t sure that I could deliver this, but when I got to the end of the road my feet took me right, to all points south, rather than left towards my recent wooded circuit.
On my route at the edge of town there is a collection of workshops which I must have run past more than 50 times in the last seven years. It’s amazing that despite knowing them really well, I’d never noticed before that there’s a huge Victorian house adjacent to them. Someone had clearly cut back a hedge and there it was, like magic!
At Oldlands Mill I paused to soak up the mill and the view that I was about to run in to.
Then it was off along the view-side of the hedge (I normally run on the other side so I can see a house that I particularly like) and down Lodge Hill into Ditchling. Rather than run down the high street I opted for the path that cuts round the back of all the houses and then, at the bottom of the Ditchling Beacon Road, I took a path which does the same again, ending up at the bottom of the Downs further to the west than the Beacon road.
I then followed a path that I’ve run down from Home Hill before, but took a wrong turn and ended up with a huge expanse of scarp slope to run directly up. I was surprised that the climb was so easy (taken very slowly, of course) and I was soon on the intended path (which was steep in it’s own right) which took me to the top of Home Hill.
I normally arrive here having run up the fabled tank tracks with Daren, although there was one mad day when I ran up and down them 7 times to replicate the height gain of The Grouse Grind, a run in Canada that he had done.
I decided to run down the tracks, north towards home, but detoured to the right to find a track that I had seen horses on during my steep scarp slope climb on the other side of the valley.
It was then a simple case of running down the farm road to Keymer, where I followed the paths back to Oldlands Mill where the view was still worth soaking up.
Then I retraced my steps past the magically appearing house and back to base. The run took me 2 hours and 7 minutes, the longest for ages, and covered a distance of 10.6 miles, an average of 5 mph, Not bad bearing in mind my recent short runs. Mind you, I did need to imbibe some protein PDQ… before taking a cold shower (a normal feature of my life since the day before my 50th birthday) and going out to cut the grass and the green and do a load of gardening!
Well, it really was a most beautiful day!