Sleep came easy that night as I drifted off early, during the evening I became aware of a noise akin to a metal sign creaking and rusted, it seemed to move as the night went on and for the life of me I cannot explain what that sound was. By the early hours though I was rooting around in my bag and donning myself in my waterproof leggings, this seemed to help but by now I was extremely tiered, I had been on and off through the evening with intermittent cold spots hitting various exposed body parts, I made a mental note to take my warmer gear for my next run.
With in 30 mins my geared was stowed and tent packed, the call of nature arrived and picking what I thought was an ideal spot, sitting on a log I proceeded and then with comic timing the branch broke landing me on my back, legs in the air with pants round my ankles, I was rather fortunate to land where I was and proud that no one had seen this little mishap, I celebrated with a brew and sesame snap.
The wind continued as I rejoined the path I left last night, Dartmoor was boggy and Exmoor is windy, a short section of road passing Alderman’s Barrow, a rather fine Bronze age burial mound which for some reason has been disturbed by road construction in the past. It seems that after 5 parks the world seems to care little for the sites of our ancestors and is quite happy to move, disrupt or destroy these ancient sites in the name of progress.
At Lucott Cross, I was faced with the choice of turning right and following the mapped route of carrying on straight ahead, both would end on the same place but it ment less road time. I opted for the latter and followed the bridleway across fields until I was running past a farm and a rather angry farmer sign and began to enter a woodland that reminded me of Fern Gully.
Hawkcombe Wood Nature reserve was one of the most beautiful places I have yet come across, it is no secret that I thoroughly enjoy woodlands and here they didn’t disappoint, resplendent in all manner of green growths and woodlands fungi it was a wonderful change to the biting wind of the open moorland.
What surprised me were the number of homes nestled at the foot of the reserve, these were not little timid cottages but rather fancy homes with an air of wealth attached to them, still they were nice to look at and one even had its own water wheel attached. I was in Porlock and seeking food, this was now my breakfast time and I was able to find a nice little cafe where there was all manner of cheese and beer on offer. To early for me I opted for a large sausage roll and chutney, the owner and I talked about my current project and it was nice to share this adventure with others.
Fully fueled I set off towards Porlock Beach and the coastal path, the wind had returned but thankfully the air was warmer here, I traced a path along the beach front and passed remnants of WW2,
a series of serious looking defensive features, a little explore and I was off again, passing through the little hamlet of Bossington, I made friends with a little cat and considered adopting it as an adventure cat.
I trekked up the steep incline to Hurlstone Point and took in the magnificent views out to sea, below me are reputed smugglers caves and hushed myths about tunnels to nearby towns, I took time to explore the coast guard tower now a shell but a great explore non the less and set off along the rather narrow path, here a signs warns against walkers but says nothing about trail runners and so I went forth.
The paths clung to the hillside and I was careful to watch my footing as i went as to the right was a sheer drop into the sea below, I climb and climb some more before I was at last on top of Exmoor, not bad it had only taken some 7 miles to get here, Selworthy trig was touched and claimed, windy as usual off I trot. I had been struggling since setting of in the morning with a constant ache in my achilies muscle or lower calf muscle, it tinged as i tried to run or was made worse by uneven ground.
I could tell I was no in close proximity to care parks and roads as more and more day walkers appeared, shed in lightweight clothing I seemed to stand out more than ever, bedecked in my running gear and large pack. I stopped to chat to a few people and was able to hand out some cards as I went. The crowds thinned out as i cut away from the main coastal path and I was soon nearing the boundary.
A small field, quiet and sitting above Minehead I had now crossed another national park, I took in the sun and refueled updating Facebook and the approaching family, they were around an hour out of Minehead giving me time to make my way down into the town for a celebratory ice-cream and coke.
Each time I complete a run, I find it more and more difficult to enter back into a busy environment, I become to my own thoughts and the peace that the trail affords me, I noticed that people are can be categorised into 2 separate types, the friendly local’s happy to converse and share a story and those that visit the areas who bring with them a closed off mistrusting persona. A few times now people have purposely moved away from me when I’ve approached them, I will assume that looking as I do they seem fearful of me, maybe it is because seeking out such adventures is becoming out-of-place with a lot of people these days. People like comfort and familiarity and to them I must seem slightly odd.
My Achilles seems to have sorted its self out now and with only 2 weeks until I run across the Brecon Beacons I barely have time to unpack before im setting off again, but I long more and more for the next trial, the next shut off from the modern world and its troubles.
If you liked reading this, please share and help me spread the word, #projectparkrun2019 is a first, no one else has ever attempted this before and it appears that I can coincidentally setting new records for only known times. Please give a little into the charity pots and help support the vital work or Edward’s Trust and the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation.