Dodgy terrain AND cows. 

Today’s run was interesting. 

After Helen and I got lost on our last run on the trials and footpaths, I was intent on not having that problem again. 

I got one of these:

Problem solved. 

So, today’s run, although I wasn’t sure of the length of it, I was definitely sure on the route. It was easy. I’d checked on the map. Just follow the green dots. Green dots are public footpaths. 

This was the route:

  • Run out of Bourne
  • Turn left onto a public footpath and follow it along for a bit
  • Turn left onto The MacMillan Way and follow it along for a bit
  • Turn left along a little road until you reach South Fen Road
  • Follow it until you get back to Bourne. 

Easy. Or so you would think. 

It began well, partly because I knew where I was going, I often walk the dog on some of the footpaths. I’d been following the footpath for about a mile, until we reached the village of Thurlby. At this point the footpath directed me through a churchyard, I followed the only clear route through the churchyard without running across graves and found myself at the far end of the graveyard with no clear indication of what way to go. So I did what I do best, that is to make a poor decision, and ran to the far corner, squeezed through a gap in the hedge and found myself on the edge of a field. Clearly not a footpath. But unperturbed I carried on down the edge of the field desperately looking for the actual footpath. 

Just as I was contemplating turning round and retracing my steps, I noticed what looked like the actual footpath, parallel to were I was running, but the other side of a ditch. Cue some sort of ridiculous scrambling through said ditch avoiding brambles and stinging nettles, as well as the manky contents at the bottom of the ditch. Job done. I was back on track.

The map suggested that this footpath would continue on and meet up with The Macmillan Way, on the map the green dots just met. What the map failed to show was the barbed wire fence and gate I had to clamber over. Now, I’m sure I must have gone wrong somewhere, but for the life of me, I couldn’t work it out. 

So I found myself on The Macmillan Way. 

The Macmillan Way is a 290 mile long public footpath that goes from coast to coast, starts in Boston and finishes in Dorset. There’s a challenge there somewhere, but that’s maybe for another day. 

Now,  I found myself on the wrong ‘side’ of the river/dyke, the ground underfoot was difficult to run on with loads of cow pats that required a lot of concentration to avoid. Remembering I had the Fivefingers on and didn’t fancy the cow shit squishing through the toes. I crossed the river/dyke at the first available point.

The beauty of wearing the Fivefingers is that you can simply run across rivers without any worries. 

Now I was back on track things went well for all of ten minutes, before the amount of cow pats drastically increased and I spotted a massive herd of cows up ahead. I was left in a quandary, do I face the cows, do I turn back, or do I cross back over the river? 

Well, I was never going to face the cows alone. Never. Cows are evil. Turn back? Face the barbed wire again? Nope. Which left the prospect of crossing the river again. Only this time there was no obvious crossing point. So I just went for it. Negotiated the bank down, the knee high rushing river and up the opposite bank. I was safe once more. 

The cows just watched and mooed, although I could hear distinct giggling as I continued on my way. 

Now I found myself on the wrong ‘side’ of the river/dyke again. So decided to get off The Macmillan Way and turn back towards home. Cue some more scrambling down banks, over fences and avoiding stinging nettles. 

The last couple of miles was spent on trails/fields/roads, with horrible stoney ground, traversing my way across to the South Fen Road and the relative safety of Bourne. 

The Fivefingers took a battering today.

Now for the numbers: 

Total mileage = 9

Barbed wire injuries = 2

Cow pats negotiated = 1000s

Massive herds of cows avoided = 1

Feet wet = 2

Lovely jubblies = 1

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