Since November I’ve been taking regular training walks, initially breaking in my shoes, slowly increasing the distance, then adding a backpack. Up till now I’ve mainly walked along the beach, on level streets and gentle slopes. Footpaths have been particularly muddy due to an exceptionally wet winter but finally the sun is out and it is getting drier underfoot.

The first section from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port will take me straight up into the Pyrenees so it is good to tackle some slopes during the last few weeks of preparation. Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day and I set off from West Stoke car park and headed up the hill in Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful area, so I’ve taken some photos during my walk; a nice excuse to stop for a breather!

The first section is a very well maintained gravel path, great for a gentle warmup. From here the hill doesn’t look particularly steep.


At the bottom of the hill is a little clump of ancient yew trees. Their twisted branches bunch close together, creating several spooky chambers.

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The slopes curve gently upwards to a dew pond, and from here the real climb starts.
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I practically collapsed in a heap when I reached the top, but after a rest it was possible to appreciate the spectacular views.
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The glint of blue down below is the dew pond.
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Then it was time to head on down hill again.
In the distance one can just make out the spire of Chichester Cathedral.
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The evergreen yew trees are easy to pick out from the sea of grey foliage.
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Somebody must have had great fun carving this.
Shadows were creeping down the valley as I made my way back.
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5 thoughts on “Training

  1. Hi Gideon, yes, you really are so lucky to live were you do! I’ve just promissed myself that I will come over again within the next five years (being realistic, but two would be even better!) and take enough time to go for long walks on wonderful paths like the ones on these pictures!


  2. Great photos and I love your brief comments between them! Sorry, I didn’t realise you’d been posting recently… Will come back to this regularly when I start blogging this week!


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