Thursday, 14 February 2013

Downhill in the Rain

Dark heavy skies. Rain dribbling down my neck. A dog walker struggling with the tangled leads of his two excited dogs.  Puddles on either side of the road stretching across to one another.  It is hard to block out  bad weather when you are in it.

Trying to avoid the worst of the puddles, but not succeeding very well, I ran towards Downhill Demesne and headed into the Black Glen yesterday afternoon. Below me was the long narrow fish pond, stretching down to the silent railway line  Three ducks glided silently towards the centre of the pond. At least they seemed to be enjoying the weather.

Rather than heading up towards the Bishop's Gate I turned right across the  hill lands towards the ruins of Downhill Castle. Bad move! I was now off gravelled paths and running along a grass track through the pastureland . The  water was oozing through the surface and every stride threw up a shower of muddy water. My shoes were now sodden. 

Reaching the Castle I picked up a gravel path again and after running through the old walled garden I exited Lions Gate and ran down the Lion's Brae before turning into Burrenmore Road and from thence into Downhill Forrest. To my right I could hear the roar of a waterfall, its flow enhanced by the spate flood.  As I approached the second of the Downhill man made ponds or lakes the path almost disappeared under a shroud of water. The banks of the lake were just managing to keep its waters within their confines. Two groups of Mallard patrolled up and down, each led by their drake. 

I ran as far as the old mill and then partially retraced my steps before exiting the forest and heading along the main road towards Hezlett House and then dropping down to Castlerock and the end of a very wet and muddy training run.

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