I didn’t set out to make this a 100% dedicated running blog; it was more an outlet for things that came to mind where an opinion or a desire to share came through. But this morning I had what regular runners will know as a good run. Not good for its speed or its distance but good for emotional reasons and good for the warm afterglow and the reassurance that it was a great day when you decided to start running.
The River Chess snakes through The Chilterns, springing clear from the chalk near its village namesake, Chesham. It flows through stunning woodland, quaint villages and marsh scenery studded with wildlife before eventually joining the Colne and ultimately the Thames. I stopped at Sarratbridge Mill and in early morning autumn sunshine and under a clear blue sky I ran three of the most enjoyable miles I’ve run in ages.
Heading upstream I travel NW towards Flaunden on a clearly marked trail. I pass toy-town cottages still sleeping and with ipod at home I hear the stream gurgling and Ring-necked Parakeets squawking in the trees above. The Romans cultivated the river flanks leaving ridges called “Lynchets” in the gently sloping hillsides, each throwing impossible shadows in the shallow sunlight.
After just over a mile I reach the Cress Farm run by 76 year-old Terry Tyler who has stooped and cut cress every day in all weathers as long as the daylight allows since he was 14. Here I cross the river, admiring its clarity as it flows over polished shingle. A small road section takes a slow loop and after admiring the white Egrets who guard the surrounding marshes I head back through Mount Wood. In spring this is a riot of Bluebells but today it’s under a canopy of gold and green as the season starts to turn. I startle a small Muntjac as I crash through dry leaves and fallen twigs from the branches above where rooks are starting their day.
Finally, I’m out in the open again among ponderous cattle and heading back towards the car. I don’t want it to end so I pass the car and cross the road to add a final half-mile downstream loop, crossing the river once more by a small pumping station before heading for the car, then home and a high calorie breakfast.