Achievement Unlocked: The Tolkien Trail ***Updated With Map***

Today was our second hike of the weekend and it was a cracker. Seven and a half miles of hard slog that means out children collapsed into bed this evening, falling asleep practically immediately. As a parent I find this as satisfying as can be. The hike today was The Tolkien Trail. It took us through the countryside surrounding Hurst Green, and at one point near to Stonyhurst College, a very expensive public school where J.R.R. Tolkien often visited and stayed, and against which I played football and cricket at school, beating them regularly. I was particularly reminded of one occasion when we played cricket against them and they waltzed up to us and announced in their toff tones that they would ‘bowl us out’. We won the toss and promptly smashed them all over the park, clocking up over a hundred runs in thirty overs, eventually embarrassing them and winning by a huge margin (for a schoolboy match). Those happy memories came flooding back to me today and brought a smile to my face. No doubt those boys went on to have the last laugh, however, as they and their fee paying school would have opened up a world of opportunities, both personal and professional, the likes of which were absolutely off limits to a working class kid like me who hailed from one of the poorest towns in Britain.

Photographs

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Anyway, my navel-gazing nostalgia aside, today we had a good hike, only getting lost once. This trail takes you through fields riddled with cow dung, farmland, forests and villages, all of which were beautiful. There is very little climbing to do on this, save for a couple of particularly steep but short forest paths that are, thankfully, stepped. The toughest thing is following the trail as some of it is nondescript farmland with very little in the way of landmarks, so getting one’s bearings can be challenging. I recommend this trail to anyone with a bit of stamina. Despite being relatively short it can be a hard slog in parts. If it has rained recently then you are going to sink in mud and cow dung. It is worth it for the fresh air and the stunning natural beauty.

Data

Rather irritatingly Runtastic isn’t exporting GPX files again, seemingly a website glitch so I can only give data for this one.

  • 7.67 miles
  • 2:19:23
  • 947 calories
  • 535 feet climbed

A grand day out, a great weekend spent hiking in the countryside and a lovely finish to our activities for the week. Happy children, satisfied parents, and a tired but active and, hopefully by tomorrow, well-rested family. Back to work/school tomorrow.

***Update: Map Added***

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