Sunday, 20 June 2010

Another Inspiring, Hilly Cotswold Long Run.....

Well this run began in the little Cotswold village of Mickleton, heading out to Chipping Camden and on to Snowshill and the Lavendar Farm there... this was another one of the 'Hilly 100' legs, so plan was for me to run it for around 14.4km and then turn round and come back, so completing 18 miles. From the profile of the route it was going to be a long slow inclining outward run, maybe not as good training as doing the downhill at the beginning and then the incline at the end...but I wasn't going to complain! It was a lovely sunny day... my fuel belt a bit annoyingly 'sloshy', and the seal not quite good enough to prevent the odd trickle of water down my leg as it sloshed up.. heading out following the little yellow Hilly 100 stickers where we met junctions. A long slow hill was the first challenge and I felt strong in my legs to deal with it...but it went on..and on....and on a bit more.. but then coming into Chipping Camden, it was nice being met with the hussle and bustle of this beautiful Cotwold tourist trap! Antique shops, tea rooms and lots of limestone... and we strongly ran down the high street to avoid the crowds (feeling a bit of a local celebrity with my mirror shades on and plait swinging violently! After the High street heading out of the town, the most gorgeous collection of cottages... rounded hedges, long long long drives, some of the best kept gardens and just absolutely breathtaking houses!
Carrying on... long quiet roads with no paths, with beautiful views across the fields ... more slow inclines and a darker section with woodland either side of the road...and then a turning on the route to a Lavendar Farm.

Light hazey rows of lavendar, like purple tidal waves lined up either side of the narrow road here up and over past the farm... a tea-room sign advertising 'Lavendar Shortbread', sounded divine right now (nicer than my orange carb gel anyway!) I headed a couple of kms further than Pete to get to my target of 14.4km before turning round... just before the end a steep downhill .....owwwwww (that means I have to do a steep hill after the turn!) But this last section past chickens, more tumbling cottages, a pretty little village centre with picturesque church... and a twisty route through woodland... I stopped the Garmin - took a gel and changed direction. Was I confident about the route back...yes no problem, and the landmarks I enjoyed on the way out all to come again! It was lonely this way round as Pete had headed back after 12km.. just something I would have to cope with in the weeks ahead, but more inspiring routes like this one, is what long runs should be about!

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