Good judgement leads to good experiences. Bad judgement makes for great stories...
Friday, 28 January 2011
I'm in the Midlands. I checked. Looking at the map, there is England all over the place, plenty above and below, and a similar amount left and right.
Yet strangely (or so I've always thought), I'm officially in the East Midlands, but when I look at a map, I'm actually about five miles east of the middle. Doesn'tt that make this the Middle Midlands?
It's 150 miles from Chester to Skegness as the crow flies, so I reckon there should be about fifty miles of West Midlands (maybe Chester to Buxton), fifty miles of East Midlands (maybe Newton-on-Trent to Skegness), with roughly fifty miles of Actual Midlands in the middle?
So I'm in this neck of the woods planning an adventure sports/trail running event for April. For the newest of the "Notorious Night Run" series, I've spent the day at the venue of the third in the trilogy, the "Legends of Sherwood".
Sherwood Pines is the bit of Sherwood Forest that the Foresty Commission own (for now). It's not got the "Sherwood Forest TM" stamp owned by the patch of woods which surrounds the Major Oak, but this area has proven connections to medieval England that are much less tenuous.
It's also got some great trails, and some really mixed forest - both of which will be key to my event. Where the Mighty Deerstalker has mountains and river crossings, and the Horseplay has horsejumps and a movie set, Legends of Sherwood has real darkness throughout, and some proper scary forest. And men in tights.
"Red. Difficult. Are these trails for you?"
So after today's meetings, I snuck back into the forest to make the most of its mountain bikes trails on foot. I do this quite regularly, as my job can take me all over the country, and running mounatin bike routes at night is normally a pretty fun way to spend a couple of hours. The trails are well waymarked, well maintained, almost always bring you back to the start. You don't need to know the area, or even take a map (though a few emergency supplies are a smart idea)
I've ridden Sherwood Pines's "Kitchener Trail" Red route a few times, and have run nearly all the trails in the forest (including the deer paths and guerilla tracks) during my initial survey for the Legends event, but running it in one hit was superb. From my stealthy parking spot I gained swift access to the forest, and following the Red to the visitor centre, included a quick lap of the "Family Trail" Green route to make up the miles, before returning to the car on the Red.
My sole and welcome company in the forest tonight were hundreds of fallow deer. Not the reddy-brown-with-white-bits fallow deer you see in parks and calendars, but the mostly-grey-with-almost-black-sides fallow deer that you can't see unless you're travelling fast, deep in the woods. They might not look as pretty, but seeing the owners of forty pairs of shining eyes can look pretty amazing.