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Archive for the ‘Walking and running’ Category

Pitton 01

A sunny September afternoon walking with my sister was the purest pleasure – mixed with a tiny amount of pain from that most annoying occupational hazard, a zingy blister.

Nothing, though, could spoil the joy of hours immersed in sun-drenched countryside in one of the prettiest parts of south Wiltshire.

The terrain was interesting and varied, with a few hills, cool woodland, baking-hot, open fields, narrow paths, village lanes, all of it the very stuff of rural England in the full heat of late summer.

We saw two other people in the whole time we were out: a rider conducting a loud mobile-phone conversation while his horse flicked its ears in contempt, and a man walking towards us through a copse close to our finishing point.

We started at Pitton and followed a map and written directions on a circular route that would take us to Farley and Clarendon Palace before bringing us back on weary legs to where we’d begun five hours earlier.

It was meant to be a six-mile walk. We walked nine miles with several stops, including picnic lunch and a visit to a church, a little blackberrying and a fair amount of “oh, whoops, we’ve gone wrong” doubling-back. We are not good map-readers and we talk so much we rarely stop to read directions.

“I’d planned to go for a run this evening, but I won’t now,” my ultra-fit sister conceded as we trudged up the final hill. “And I won’t be going for my bike ride, either,” I said.

Even we had managed to exhaust ourselves, and that’s saying something.

A lovely rustic stile - the first of many we crossed

A lovely rustic stile – the first of many we crossed

The terrain was very varied

The terrain was very varied

We enjoyed a wander around Farley's All Saints Church, still decorated after a weekend wedding

We enjoyed a wander around Farley’s All Saints Church, still decorated after a weekend wedding

A stray dog preceded us into the churchyard

A stray dog preceded us into the churchyard

Bishop of Llandaff dahlias ablaze in this pretty cottage garden

Bishop of Llandaff dahlias ablaze in this pretty cottage garden

Open fields . . .

Open fields . . .

. . .  and shady woods

. . . and shady woods

A footpath as straight as the nearby Roman road

A footpath as straight as the nearby Roman road

Llamas inspect us at Clarendon Palace

Llamas inspect us at Clarendon Palace

Only minimal evidence of a medieval ruin remains of the original Clarendon Palace, a royal residence throughout the Middle Ages.

Only minimal evidence of a medieval ruin remains of the original Clarendon Palace, a royal residence throughout the Middle Ages.

Resting after a vigorous dust bath

Resting after a vigorous dust bath

Late afternoon sunlight on a majestic beech tree

Late afternoon sunlight on a majestic beech tree

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I am fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world where there are limitless opportunities for walking in the countryside and for running, too. This great variety of terrain, from woodland paths to watermeadows to trailways (former railway routes), is all within a few minutes of home, and further afield there are ancient hill forts to puff my way up, countless acres of downland and, of course, the glorious Jurassic coast.

Here are some of the photos I have taken of uplifting sights while out walking. I see lovely things, too, when I’m running, but I don’t like stopping so a lot of good things go unrecorded.

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