Friday, 25 April 2014

A coast run

A dull overcast day but not cold or too breezy, at home at least. The objective today was to run along the coast from Beer Head, however I had to negotiate 3 lots of road works traffic lights in the few miles to Axminster, with those and commuter traffic, it took longer than normal. But! After Axminster, the roads were empty, Seaton and Beer showed few signs the holiday season had begun. The car park on the hill was empty but for one van, who clearly had spent the night there, curtains were still shut, however, one sign of summer was that I now had to pay to park at £1 an hour, always difficult to judge, in case you go further than expected or perhaps an injury, so I played safe and went for three hours, more than enough, with enough time for a cuppa, on return, advantages of a camper, portable changing room and travelling canteen!
It was chilly on the cliffs so long sleeve, but threequarter tights, and of course my new favourite Fellraiser shoes. The cloud was lifting with a hint of sunshine as I set off, the track was very dry given the rain we had over the last couple of days.
The route to Beer Head was deserted, no dog walkers? Bit early for ramblers, maybe the chilly northerly breeze put them off, sad, as they were missing some lovely bluebells at the path side that gave off a strong scent as I ran past them.  had warmed up considerably by the time I got to the top and it was a joy to run along the cliffs with views towards Sidmouth. My descent into Branscombe Mouth was steep, and care taken as dew was still on the grass. This along with the waxy grasses that appear on the coast made it slippery in places, my Fellraisers coped well and gave me confidence, to try to descend a little faster, using my arms as windmills to keep balance.
Once at sea level the only way is up. Several visitors in the car park, booting up for walking.
I went through the gate signposted coast path and jogged the first part of the climb before easing back to walk zig zag over the last 50yds, the steepest point.
I entered the woods and was amazed as the smell of wild garlic and blue bells was almost overpowering, the whole floor was covered in either wild garlic, just starting to flower or bluebells, most of which were in full bloom. I climbed up the steps, trying to keep a rhythm of left foot on, then right, then alternating when my left leg ached! Along the top views over Branscombe were starting to disappear behind new growth on the trees. Out into fields before descending again to the Fountains Inn at the end of Branscombe. Again the woods were full of garlic and bluebells (see picture)

 I joined the road and ran downhill on the road at a good pace, sometimes a bit of road downhill is nice to speed up a little. I turned off back towards the sea at Branscombe Mouth. The next hill loomed above! I decided to take the under cliff path that terminates in the 'Grizzly stairway to heaven' but provides a really nice single track run with lots of ups, downs and sharp turns always with a fantastic view of the sea shore and the sound of the sea crashing over the shingle, however, later on the path this sound was replaced by bird song, very noticeable, even above my heavy breathing! I passed no one on the path, which was a surprise. I started the ascent of the stairway, never easy, but never as hard as I expect, red faced and a sweaty brow I emerged at the top of the cliff (picture from stair way to heaven)

 breathless, but not too bad, knees felt it a little, bit of lactic acid! Or just old age. A swig of ISO drink before the final mile back to the van, a fabulous run and completed just as the sun came out, tea and flapjack and use of my personal changing room before driving home to mow lawns etc. 6.65 miles covered, big hills, lots of climbing 1500 ft, not a fast time but fast enough for me to enjoy it, taking in the views and peace that a run like this brings, why do I do it? This is why, see above! And no niggle on my knee sh,sh!!
Very pleased with today as I did 42 miles on my bike yesterday with an average speed of 15+ mph, I had no intention of going that fast, and was surprised to see the end result, the weather was beautiful, I was able to wear my new 'Marmite' jersey, a birthday pressie from one of my sons. Very comfortable and bright.
I also dropped into the bike shop today, Andy had my new Hope hubs, ready to be assembled into wheels, a lovely piece of engineering!

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