North from Somerby
Running the Leicestershire Round, it made me tired just reading it. The following extracts struck me:-
Jo was there waiting with rice pudding and tea
I think a few well positioned sign posts in the housing estate near Sapcote Road wouldn’t go amiss
I was determined to enjoy the last 35 miles
……..had my final test the damp muddy Owston Woods. I slipped a few times, got incredibly mucky, but nothing was going to stop me now.
Here’s Richard’s report………….
I completed the Leicestershire Round in 33 hours and a few minutes; it was quite a challenge. I had hoped to get under 30 hours, but with so many variables I will settle for 33.
This is my account of the ’round’, some of it is a bit of a blur but I have referred to the maps and it is all coming back to me, especially my sore feet!
I did this as a sponsored run for the Air Ambulance, the link to just giving page is www.justgiving.com/richard-perry1 .
Fresh at the start in Somerby
I set off from Somerby at 12.15 on Friday 21st June in an anti clockwise direction, and after months of planning it was such a relief to actually start. Bradgate was my first major waypoint. My first (of many) dilemma’s occurred at Borough Hill, after running through a comparatively dry Rise Hill Spinney, should I go round Borough Hill or straight up-I went straight up!! A great view awaited me on Borough Hill with Bradgate on the horizon. It looked a long way off! I headed off to Thorpe Satchville for the first tea break. My partner Jo was there waiting with rice pudding and tea. Five minutes later I was off enjoying the path to Ashby Folville then beyond to Gaddesby. I had my first ‘cow’ incident near Gaddesby. It was like playing ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ with a 50 calf’s. The path was relatively easy up to the A607, and the descent into Frisby was made easy as more tea and rice pudding was waiting for me in the village. It was also turning into a lovely summer afternoon too. The path to the A46 crossing was really enjoyable. I had to remind self that standing on a train from Melton to Leicester is easy but far less enjoyable than exploring the parallel path and all of it’s nuances as I headed west.
I dashed across the A46, and down into Cossington. I missed the turn into Bennetts Lane so had a slight detour. I was slightly annoyed with myself as I made the same mistake a few weeks earlier. At Mountsorrel I met up with my friend Nick from work who ran to Newton Linford with me. The road around Swithland was quiet and we made good progress to Old John. It was very clear on Old John and I could see Waltham aerial fading in and out of view. I’ve always used Waltham aerial as a landmark as being near home but I knew that I was going further away, rain was forecast and night was coming.
I said goodbye to Nick at Newton Linford and ate a double cheeseburger from a well known fast food chain which Jo had bought. The next way point was Market Bosworth. I wasn’t looking forward to the next section. I knew that once I had gone under the M1 I was out of my ‘patch’ and in parts of the county that I don’t know that well. I was relieved to get under the subway at Markfield, and once past I could focus on Market Bosworth. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. When I was learning the route Market Bosworth never seemed to get any closer. The ’round’ just seemed to be going round the town, especially from Nailstone. I had a little diversion near Shackerstone, which was a milestone. I was at the furthest westerly point of the trip. Approaching Market Bosworth I passed the golf course and thought that maybe I should take up golf, but I had to remind myself that it was a game that ‘ruined a good walk’.
I arrived at Market Bosworth just after midnight, and Jo was waiting with more double cheeseburgers, rice pudding and tea. I was beginning to feel tired, but I still had 60 miles to go. So what could go wrong? It started to rain, really hard! At least it wasn’t cold, I changed into my waterproof gear, and set off to Barwell. Although the weather was against me, I really enjoyed going through Ambion Wood. I don’t know how many different creatures I heard and I am not to sure how much my tired mind had to do with it, but the whole ambience of the wood was magical. This was the highlight of the trip as I had no expectations of what to expect it just ‘was’.
My serene moment was quickly lost however as I approached Barwell. I don’t know if I missed a sign or it just wasn’t there. About 20 metres from the industrial site I came across a barrier blocking the footbridge, which I vaulted over only to find a big red ‘footpath closed’ sign on the other side.
After negotiating this obstacle I came across another obstacle 5 minutes later on the other side of Barwell. Drainage work was being carried out and the field had a massive exclusion area around it, along with barbed wire! A brief moment of despair ensued which was followed by a brief detour; I managed to cross the A47, then I completely lost my sense of direction at the White House at the end of Barwell Lane. It must have taken me 10 minutes to find a way out of a very simple field. At least it was getting light, although it was still raining.
I had no other major navigation issues although I think a few well positioned sign posts in the housing estate near Sapcote Road wouldn’t go amiss. I met up with Jo just before crossing the M69, and I knew that I had to go just a few more miles before I reached the most southerly point and began the long trek home. It was great trotting along the Fosse Way; I had a real sense of history. For all of our dual carriageways and theft for want of a better word of the ancient Roman Roads, I was travelling on one, in the same way as some poor Roman Soldier did hundreds of years earlier. I expected that I would experience a great sense of relief at reaching High Cross, as I would be heading home. Sadly I didn’t. My legs hurt, my feet were wet through and I had some pretty nasty blisters forming. I had to go through a few mantra’s which I mumble to myself when doing these endurance runs, so I can just keep going. I kept going and with great determination of I went to Dunton Bassett. I passed through some lovely villages from Highcross to Dunton Bassett, but I can’t remember to much about them, except that a blister burst in one of them, and I stumbled into some very tall nettles in another. I met up with Jo in Dunton Bassett and I had an amusing encounter (confrontation) with a local shop keeper which made me smile and lifted my spirits.
Leaving Belton and Rutland
At last I was over the M1, and heading to Foxton my next major way point. It was turning into a lovely day and the tiredness I had felt in Barwell had gone, and I was determined to enjoy the last 35 miles or so. I made good progress to Foxton and met up with Jo and Nick at The Black Horse pub. The landlord and landlady of the Black Horse are absolutely fantastic. Throughout the winter they have supported my training runs on the ’round’ and made Jo and I most welcome. When I set off from Somerby I knew that if I made it to Foxton I would be able to do the ’round’ in one go. The final 22 miles however were long, every step hurt but I kept going. Although in pain I did have a great sense of enjoyment. I love the countryside going into Hallaton, and Belton, and Launde has always been a special place for me even as a child. I started talking to a chap just outside Hallaton, who gave me some very encouraging words. This was topped of by him and his wife driving over to Allexton, finding Jo and donating £20 to the Air Ambulance. Everything seemed worthwhile at this point. Jo walked with me from Belton along College Farm Lane, before she turned round, while I meandered my way to Launde.
Withcote Hall came and went, and then I had my final test the damp muddy Owston Woods. I slipped a few times, got incredibly mucky, but nothing was going to stop me now. I had arranged to meet Jo in Owston and we were going to walk the mile or so together. This was so fitting. I could not have done this without her, we were a proper team.
The last field
I had often imagined how I would feel when I reached the final field of the ’round’ in Somerby, but everything I had imagined didn’t happen. The Leicestershire Round had been completed in just over 33 hours-the world didn’t stop, there were no fanfares, no rounds of applause it was all very silent. The silence however was perfect. I looked at Jo, Jo looked at me, we smiled at a job well done- together.