Sunrise at Chigwell Nature Reserve

On the evening of 7 February for some strange reason it seemed to be a good idea that I should walk to and from work the next day.  I checked the weather forecast and clear blue skies were predicted so as my diary was relatively clear I decided to go for it.  I reclaimed my rucksack from Stephanie who is using it for a school trip next weekend and made my preparations.

Waking up bright and early the next morning the walk didn’t seem such a good idea but I  knew it was all for a good cause.  It seems to take quite a long time to get everything together and I should remember that for the mornings of the trek.

I left at about 7 o clock, there were no clouds in the sky, it had been frosty overnight but the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  The first part of my walk took me through the back of Loughton through a  nature reserve to Chigwell. The sun was just rising over the trees and that gave absolutely spectacular views with the frosty ground, mist rising, birds settling on the water and a red clear sky.  It was breathtaking.

I slowed down and stopped to take some photos of the beauty and solitude that was right on my doorstep, but not often enjoyed. Its obviously made me get quite philosophical!  I started thinking of all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for, my family, my wonderful wife and kids, all the good times that life has given me so far.  Of course there are also the not so good times, but just looking around, surrounded by the beauty right on my doorstep, it made me feel quite exhilarated and happy to be alive.  It was a great morning.

After the nature reserve the rest of the journey was by road but even then there were some spectacular views, especially down the hill from the crossroads in Chigwell with views all over London. The walk took about two and a quarter hours and wasn’t really too bad.

After my walk in I had a good day at work, but by the time it got to 5.30 the last thing I wanted to do was to walk another 10 miles home. Nevertheless I had set that as my target so changed back into my walking clothes and set off around 6 p.m. By then it was dark and a little bit cold but thankfully dry and still clear. I decided to take a slightly different route back home just for the variety and I must say it was really a hard slog. I particularly wanted to challenge myself on two very long hills, about a mile to a mile and a half long each through Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill. Then there was another mile and a half downhill home. I eventually arrived home around 8.45 p.m. ready for a nice long bath and a relax.

Fortunately I didn’t have too many aches and pains and it seems like the training is paying off because to have walked 25 miles and still feel like I could do more is, for me anyway, a good achievement and good preparation for the real thing. I just hoped I wouldn’t ache too much the next morning!

The next day my legs were quite achy but nothing too bad. I know on the trip we won’t walk so far in one day but will be walking slower for longer periods. Just what that will be like for 6 days in a row is a big unknown.

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