Sunday, 8 May 2011

Hello, is it me you're looking for....?

The song lyric doesn't really have a lot to do with this weekend's walk, except to say that I love how everyone I pass on my coutryside walks seems to want to say hello. Today my walk started with a friendly greeting from a topless Worzel Gummige look-a-like, what more could a person want?!

Today's walk was from Cantley to Brundall, via Buckenham and Strumpshaw. I got the train from Norwich to Cantley and headed down to the river, from here there is an elevated footpath which follows the river to the left, and the grazing marshes of Cantley and Buckenham Marshes to the right. The marshes are full of cows and swans, an odd combination I must say. There were some amazing views of the Norfolk countryside along the way, although it did remind me just how flat Norfolk is, maybe not the best training ground for a hillwalking challenge.

and they say Norfolk's flat....

The walk itself must be a bird watchers paradise. Sadly I'm no bird watcher so struggled to identify anything other than swans, geese and heron, but there were definately lots of other interesting species for the more bird-educated eye to spot. Saw several swans with their nests and was careful to steer clear, wondering if it's an urban legend of not that swans can break your arm. Also saw a few hare (or is it hares?) running across the path in front of me and also nearly got mown down by a pheasant!

Throughout the guide books that suggested this route you are warned to watch out for flooded paths, given the recent hot dry spell this wasn't an issue for me, rather the opposite in fact. The dry weather had left the path extremely dry, so much so it was cracking all over the place, opening up large holes into which my foot slipped on more than one occasion. Visions of a Norfolk broads version of 127 hours washing over me I made sure I walked very cautiously....
taking care to avoid falling down a hole....

Just after Buckenham Drainage Mill the path took me towards Buckenham train station, via a small bird hide. From there it was a mile or so further on to Strumpshaw Fen (over the train line) then through Strumpshaw village to Brundall. All in all a 7 mile walk, shorter than I have been doing but still very enjoyable. The weather wasn't as consistently sunny as it has been for the last few weeks but still very warm, the breeze making a welcome appearance from time to time. So the weekly walks part of my training seems to be going ok, just need to try and up the gym visits, seem to be averaging 2 visits a week, rather than the 3 or 4 I'm aiming for. Did notice through today's walk though that my pace is steadily increasing without any real effort on my part so the training is starting to have an impact on my fitness.

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