Saturday, 9 October 2010

Search for Adventure

'No matter what you're doing,or where you are in your life right now,it is crucial to be vigilant in a dedication towards adventure.It is immensely important and keeps the existential fires burning brightly.Adventure keeps you creative and alive'.

I was sat at my wife's flat at the tail end of last week.The flat is on the 3rd floor and has large patio doors which overlook a communal,grassed play area.The weather was bad.Strong winds blew the torrents of rain straight against the doors-the resulting noise making the weather seem even worse.It was comforting to be inside and warm,but the wildness of the weather always stirs the wild edges of the spirit and sets the mind wandering of potential adventures new.

Browsing facebook,I came across pictures of a friend who had carried out a 130km hike to Santiago ,in Northern Spain.This interested me.It reminded me of the walks that Ken,a member of my running club,had done carried out over the same routes earlier in the year.On his return ,he told me that it was the sort of thing that would be right up my street.Remembering this I carried out a piece of impromptu research.

There are a number of walks,all converging on Santiago,due to bones being found that were rumoured to be the bones of St James.This resulted in the routes being used by Catholic pilgrims.The routes are still walked by many Catholic pilgrims,but also by people seeking a spiritual experience,or by people just doing the walks for sport.The religious and spiritual aspects of the walks appealed to me.The religious pilgrims were the first people who really travelled for long distances,with peaceful aims,rather than the aim of claiming and taking over land.I am not religious,but would like to consider myself as spiritual-and am interested in seeking a spiritual experience ,through running.

The Camino De Santiago route that caught my eye was the Camino Frances,starting at St Jean de Port,in France,crossing the Pyrenees and finishing 780km later in Santiago de Compostela-travelling the breath of Northern Spain.There are cheap hostels situated every 20km or so along the route,so the options are:(1)Run 40ish miles per day,stay at the hostel and repeat for 2 weeks or (2)take a lightweight tarp and sleeping bag,run as long as possible each day and then just wild camp,get a few hours sleep and continue.I've pencilled the trip in for the start of March,and which ever option I decide,I'm sure it will be a spiritual voyage.

Adventure does not only mean going to far flung places-just putting yourself in situations outside the norm.This year,over the Christmas and New Year period,I have a months holiday.On the lookout for adventure I have come up with the following,more local options:

The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path.

This route begins in Knettishall Country Park and follows the Roman Road to Holme next the Sea on the North Norfolk Coast and then joins the Norfolk Coast path-as it runs from Hunstanton to Cromer.

Distance --93 miles/150km

The Lindsey Loop

This route is a figure of 8,which takes in six market towns-Market Rasen,Spilsby,Alford,Caistor,Horncastle and Louth.

Distance --95 miles/153 km

The Yorkshire Wolds Way/Cleveland Way

The Wolds Way runs 79 miles from Hessle ,near the Humber Bridge,across the Yorkshire Wolds to Filey.

This route can then be connected to The Cleveland Way ,which runs for a distance of 110 miles,from Filey,skirting the upland ridges on the edge of the North York National Park.

These routes will certainly provide me with several days of adventure soon.

On the more mondane front,things have progressed well over the last two weeks.Last Sunday marked the seasons first Cross Country -The Louth Open.The weather was brilliant country weather-raining and windy.I had a relatively good run,placing 11th-about 1mins 30secs faster than last years performance.
Today was the Ducks and Drakes 10 mile-off road at Lincoln.Again I had a relatively good run,placing second-time unknown ,so far-but it didn't seem too fast!

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