Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Living in central London its pretty difficult to get time on anything resembling a hill. This is a bit of a problem given that in under 3 months time we will be walking up a very big hill for about 8 days.

Alongside all of the running and trim trails, I am trying to fit in as much time as possible walking on hills. This inevitably involves heading outside London, which means an early start.

So at 6.45 on Sunday morning my alarm went off and I dragged myself out of bed and got ready to head to the South Downs for a day of walking. Glen and I jumped on the train at Clapham Junction and headed down towards Hassocks, a few kilometers outside Brighton. Armed with the compass and map book I bought him for Christmas, and an OS map and guide book provided by Kiwi, Glen and I set about planning our route.

We had initially planned to walk from one train station to another but were not sure about how much ground we would cover, and given that it gets dark about 4pm, we didn't want to get caught out. In the end we decided to do an out and back from Hassocks. We planned to walk for about 6 hours in total so just decided to see how far we got in 3 hours, then turn back.

The morning was pretty cold, but as with our other training walks, we were lucky to have pretty clear weather. Its amazing how easy it can be when you can see where you are going and you have a map and guide book with you and for once we had no trouble following the path. After a 15Km run on Friday night and a trim trail session on Saturday morning, my legs were fairly weary but soon started to warm up.

Our first climb was up New Timber hill and from here we could see our target destination Truleigh Hill far in the distance. After a couple of hours walking and a couple of decent hills, we stopped for our first chicken, cheese and chutney bagel. We had made pretty good pace and were averaging about 8.5 minutes\Km.

Fuelled by our first lunch we made good progress as we walked up the icy sides of the Devils Dyke. This was a fairly long and slow climb up the ridge of a small valley and really made me realise how hard 8 days of up and down was going to be.

At the top of the Dyke we were rewarded great views over the South Downs escarpment and a good look at our last hill..

From here we headed down along the escarpment before the final climb up Truleigh Hill.
We had now been walking for a bit over 3 hours so decided to turn around and head back towards Hassocks. the return trip was relatively uneventful, apart from the second bagel which was probably the highlight of the afternoon.

We made it back to Hassocks at about 3.30pm after 5 hours 45 walking time in which we covered about 36Km.

It was great to get out and spend some more time in my boots which were for the most part pretty comfortable, but still gave me a bit of grief on the up slopes. After a couple of days, my legs are recovering and I think I may even be able to get out for a gentle run tonight.

The GPS track of our walk can be found at www.chrisbeale.com. Select the workout on 11/01/09. This will probably take a while to load as it is quite large...


Curry said...

Phenomenal effort buddy, you guys are really pushing it!

Zooby said...

Love that word 'escarpment'. You don't hear it much nowadays. I think you can still hear it in the desert.