Somewhere Around Staunton Harold

The more I’ve been running the more I’ve started to enjoy running up and down hills, along muddy footpaths and climbing over stiles.  It made sense to invest in some trail shoes and possibly in time I might get some fell shoes too.  So I went to the only proper running shop I know of The Derby Runner. I got my road shoes from here a few months ago and was really impressed with the choice and the guidance from the staff. After trying on at least 6-7 pairs of shoes I decided on a pair of Walshes.  I mainly wanted something with more grip and something I would be less likely to twist my ankle in.

Now the only downside to these shoes is that they are ugly, very ugly.  They are black with a red stripe, make my feet look enormous and legs look like they have never seen daylight. So as soon as could I went running on the muddiest footpath I could think of.  It disguised the appearance and was a good test for grip.

I am so impressed with these shoes, they have a small amount of cushioning compared with my Asics road shoes, but to be honest I didn’t notice.  I enjoy being able to feel the ground when running off-road more than bouncing around on cushioned shoes.

I’ve been enjoying nice slow, local runs from home that go across the fields and alongside woodlands more than trying to improve my time.  So I’ve decided to try and explore more places like this, even if it means a short drive out.

The first of this type was this week.  I went to Staunton Harold and thought i’d try exploring the Forestry Comission woodlands Jaguar Lount Wood and also Bignall’s and Alistair’s Wood and aim for a 5k run. I parked at Staunton Harold Ferrers Centre (take some change as they’ve started charging for parking), and headed out across Bignall’s Wood.

There is a multi-user trail, but I decided to run mainly around the perimeter that’s designed for horse riders. On the other side of the fence were some beautiful blubell woodlands, shame you can’t run through those. It was extremely wet, and my feet were soon soaked due to the long grass and oh, that it was raining. When I got to the end of Jaguar Lount Wood I decided to try Alistair’s Wood as I’d never been that way before.

After that, I have no idea where I was. I just kept taking the most interesting footpaths.

I got to about 6km and started to feel tired, I felt a little worried by that point that I was going in completely the wrong direction and didn’t really want to have to retrace my steps. Then I started getting really worried, what if the car park was only 1km away and that km was fields full of cows? I felt quite sick at the thought, but it was ok, because my other biggest fear, dogs not on leads, was becoming apparent by some crazed farm dog chasing me across a field.  I got to a safe place and then realised, the phone I had on me wasn’t just in my pocket so I could take nice pictures, I could use some maps app and find out where I was, genius (hmm).

Another 2km and I was in sight of the car park, just as I started to get wobbly and the rain fell heavy.

After 8km, the Walsh shoes were still great and looked even better now they were covered in mud. I think from now on I need to plan a little more, but it was an adventure!