The easy early morning run the day after the Hare and Hounds the day before...
Had arranged a bright and early 7am start with Niall with the intention of taking the Nicky Line to Redbourn. Early it was, bright it certainly wasn't. Rain had been forecast and with the extra cloud cover (and little snow) it seemed darker than ever. Most of the ice had melted but there were still patches out there to catch out the unwary. Taking to an unlit tree lined footpath in these circumstances seemed out of the question.
However, opening my front door seconds before the appointed meeting time I was greeted by a grinning Niall (not sure how long he’d been lurking out there) complete with his latest Christmas gizmo – a head torch. Fantastic! I’ve got one of them too - bought by my nearest and dearest for our wedding anniversary (yes I know – how romantic). However, unsure how comfortable it would be on a long run I hadn't used it yet. "Hold on, I’ve got one of them too. Just need to put some batteries in. Back in a second". Slam! Leaving Niall on the doorstep while I quickly grabbed the torch, fitted batteries and put it on over my running hat.
Wow – what a revelation. Why I hadn’t I done this before? OK so we had two torches and Niall’s was slightly brighter than mine. But it was such an improvement.
It tuned out the Nicky Line was still very icy – doing it in the dark would have been too risky. But with our new illuminating technology we were fine.
Once in Redbourn Niall threw in a short new section round Church End for me. However, the real fun didn't start until after Redbournbury Watermill on the way back. I knew there was a route via Hammonds End Farm and thought today was as good as a day as any to try it. Truth is it wasn't as there was still sufficient snow on the ground to hide the footpaths. Anyway we went straight when we should have gone left and ended up stuck in a farmers field and had to cut onto the golf course to make our great escape. That mile took us 12:46 - yup barely quicker than walking speed. Kenny would have loved it!
Anyway after that crossed Redbourn Lane and followed the track straight across the field (wot no footpath sign?). Before we knew it we were heading for the tree lined avenue into Rothamsted Park and home. Just as it started to rain - perfect.