18 January 2014

A walk on the wet side

The weather was reasonable again this weekend so I was able to get out for about an hour and a half for a serious leg-stretch and a chance to catch-up with some podcasts.

On my last walk I had kept to roads but this time I followed the footpath all the way around the long bend in the river. Ham gets its name from the word "hamme" meaning place in the bend in the river.

It is a long bend and there s nothing except grass and woodland for most of it. Even Ham House  does not make much of a dent in the natural order.

Parts of the tow-path are subject to frequent flooding, especially the section east of Ham House, and I have been trapped on the path before, but this time the tide was kind to me.

The rain was less so and the path often looked like a series of large puddles kept apart by the squishiest of muds. I expect my shoes to recover in a day or two. Of course the mud was part of the fun and I knew that it would be there, though I must admit that there was more mud than I expected.

On the bend there was no way to go except to carry on or turn back. In some places a turn right in to Ham Lands was possible but that was wetter and muddier than the path so was not much of an option. This area is a flood plain, hence the lack of roads, and the water runs in to Ham Lands through culverts in the man-made bank that carries the tow-path.

People seem to have been deterred by the mud and the tow-path was very quiet despite the dry weather and decent sunshine. That just made my walk all the more pleasant as there was no jostling to do with the large slow-moving groups that can block the narrower sections of the path.

My route back was (mostly) along roads and across the two terrains I managed to keep up a healthy pace of under 10 mins/km, taking just 80 minutes to walk 8.3km.

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