Sundays are run days. It’s 7:45am. Everything’s even quieter than usual, and the sky is starting to get light. I can tell it’s going to be a cracking sunrise. I throw on my trainers, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of leggings, 2 tops, 2 jumpers, a coat, a scarf, gloves, and a hat. It’s a miracle I am still able to move let alone run. But it’s a good job I’m wrapped up because it is freezing out there. Literally. The river is partly frozen and the snow has hardened. The river birds seem a little solem this morning, though they still have the motivation to fly away when they see me. A flock of over 40 cormorants take flight over head, along with a grey heron, and several ducks.
My plan is to follow the canal until I reach the bridge. Google maps tells me that this will take roughly 1hr15mins at walking pace. Google maps is a liar. I set off running, thinking I will make light work of the journey, but it turns out it’s really hard to run when you’re stopping every 5 seconds to take in a view/duck/heron/kestrel. It’s also really hard to take in the view whilst running, without falling over. The ground is thick grass, and uneven. I am very aware that if I sprain my ankle or fall over there is no one around, and my phone is on 6% (rooky mistake). The run eventually becomes a jog, which then becomes a run/jog, which then becomes a walk with intermittent sprinting/hyperventilating. After a while I come across a farm, and there, on a pole at head height two or three meters in front of me, staring me dead in the eye, was from what I can decipher; a Golden Eagle. Now, I know buzzards well, I saw them daily in Herefordshire. This was different, much bigger, mottled, stoic. Eagles are not know to live in Lincolnshire but I swear to god that’s what it was. I saw it again on my way back, sat on another pole, just looking at me. To be fair it was probably waiting for me to drop dead from the run. I tried to take a picture the first time I saw it, but it promptly flew away, looking quite disgusted with me. So I didn’t attempt to take a pic the second time. I had a chat with him instead. He seemed pretty chill.
Tracks in the snow indicate quite a few deer, I can’t wait to come across them. A decent camera is definitely on my wish list. One thing I’ve seen a lot of is muscle shells. They are dotted along the grass all the way down the river. Little abandoned pearlescent wings tucked into the grass. Presumably from the Herons or Cormorants bringing them inland.
The river seemed never ending, and just as I was about to give up and go home, I spotted the bridge in the distance. It was a much bigger bridge than I had imagined. To the right of which was life ‘Is that a petrol station?!!’ I shouted in the middle of nowhere. It bloody was as well. I wandered round the tiny villages on either side of the bridge and found TWO PUBS (uh oh indeed!), a post office ( if you want a letter send me your address), and another petrol station. There were also some beautiful abandoned buildings and a converted train station. It was good to know that there were some signs of life within reach of my self-imposed exile. I mean, I had no cash on me, but in future a nice pub meal and a pint to recharge me on my walk will be most welcome. I realised that I should probably head home. I have a tendency to need to see what’s round the next corner and end up miles away. Too tired to get back.
On the way back I did my first bit of foraging for ages; a few rosehips. There weren’t many, and I always make sure I leave some for the wildlife. But a good handful will be enough to make a bit of syrup to add to a couple of hot drinks. Rosehip is one of my favourite flavours, and it contains a boat-load of vitamin C. I’m just coming out of a pretty chesty cold (that I purposely negated to tell you about :P) so that vitamin C should help kick the last of it out my system. I’ll put up a recipe tomorrow after I’ve made it.
I think the act of foraging is in built within us still from our hunter gatherer days, and I think this is something that capitalism exploits. We collect things. Collecting things makes us feel safe. But we’re collecting the wrong things. Disposable things. Things we don’t need. I do it in charity shops. Treasures, clothes, kitchen stuff. I am now making a conscious effort to only buy what I need. I’m hoping to forage more, and to grow a little fruit and veg through the year to bring my shopping bill down and become more sustainable.
I was pretty much on my last legs for the last 20 mins of the walk., but with the caravan park in sight I got a new burst of energy, and as I passed the site entrance I imagined this is what marathon runners must feel like when they cross the finish line; knackered, elated, and gasping for a cuppa.
I collapsed and checked my phone. I had done over 18,500 steps, and 9 1/2 miles.