Out on the wild and windy hills

The end of September and beginning of October have arrived with a proper autumnal bang: the temperature has dropped with misty mornings returning; the wind is stripping of the trees of their remaining leaves; footpaths are rapidly devolving in muddy hazards.

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It’s easy to forget the thrill of exposure to wild weathers during the blazing days of the summer. I think I’m a cold soul, happier battered by winds and leaping puddles than chasing shade while wiping the sweat from my brow. Trails which are easy to stride along during the dry months become more technical each time I return, the tree’s offering providing more interesting textures underfoot, especially the crunch of the yet to be gathered nuts.

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Running the hills around Carisbrooke Castle at the weekend, I noted how the often barren quality of the agricultural landscape was heightened by the layers of shifting mist that distort its edges, returning the mystery of afar to the land.  On the smaller scale, up close and personal, autumn’s extended colour palette, with the first hints of the year’s decay, are much more preferable to me than the omnipotent green of the height of summer.

While the whistle of the wind may be soundtrack enough for your autumn running, I can also recommend the latest edition of In Our Time for those sections of the run when brain distraction is necessary (in our case, where I got us lost and added an additional half hour to the run!) The discussion of the role of the landscape in Wuthering Heights was a perfect accompaniment to a return to running in the greatest season of them all.

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