7 January 2011 – thinking of building an arc


This morning I got up early determined to do a long walk. Fifteen miles was the target. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas. I don’t mind a bit of wet but this was ridiculous. if it carries on like this I may also have to start thinking about building a boat, a la Noah! It’s bren raining for the last two days and I’ve been wet when I got to work but this was a whole new level of rain. 

Torrential rain hammered down on the roof of the gym as I ate my muesli and checked the weather report. It looked like it was going to be raining most of the day but it did say light rain. I’m not sure what window the people at the Met Office were looking out of but it certainly wasn’t mine. 

At this point it was still dark so I read through the daily posts on BL, drank some cocoa and then had a shower. By the time I’d dried myself and slathered on some body butter it was beginning to get light.

The rain was still falling and the sky was pretty dark but it wasn’t nearly as bad so I decided to brave it. 

I grabbed my bum bag, with walking kit of blister plasters, fibre bar, water, keys and iPod, put on my parka and the hat Commando refuses to be seen with me in (pom poms and ear flaps, not fetching but warm OK?) and set my GPS pedometer. It wasn’t too bad walking down to the river and I had high hopes at first. The swans at the town end looked a bit sorry for themselves with their feathers all ruffled up against the cold and it was very grey but there were a few hardy runners going up and down and some dog walkers.

When I got to the first bend in the river, just over a mile into my walk, the path was flooded. I walked on the spongy wet grass round this and wondered what it would be like further along. The water was very high but the path was still passable when I got to Woodmill so I pressed on. My little swan family were huddled by the bank and looked at me expectantly as I passed. One of these days I promise I am going to bring them some bread.

The marshy area up by the bridge has finally thawed out but the water was beginning to spill over onto the path. When I got to the little bridge I saw the whole path was flooded. There was no chance of going any further so 

I decided I could still fit in the miles if I walked back and forth along the river. A few quick mental calculations and I worked out four trips would probably more or less do it and I could always walk round the running track if I fell a little short.

So I began to march back and took a little detour along the running track just after Woodmill. Bad idea. Half way along it was flooded and I had to slip and slide on the grass again to get round it. I pressed on round the track until I came back to the main path and then carried on back towards Bitterne Triangle. 

As I got to the last bend in the river, just before the path was flooded again the rain began to get heavier. It was so bad I had to take my glasses off and put them in my bum bag because I couldn’t see anything with them on.

Walking on the grass past the flood water the wind had begun to get up too and the water on the path was not only being dashed with rain but was also being washed into big ripples by the wind. It was at that point that I decided I’d have to give up my plan of walking back and forth and make do with the miles I had done. I even ended up taking the shortest path back from the Triangle to my house instead of the normal circular route I take past St Mary’s college and down the little footpath called Monks Walk after the monks who run the college (if that had been flooded I would never have got past). All in all a very disappointing and soggy five miles. The rain has hardly let up all day either. I think I really will have to build an ark if this keeps up.

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