Sunday 16 June 2019

3. My Kilimanjaro Training - 3 Months in - Box Hill 8 Mile Hike

Hello and thanks for dropping by to check in on my latest Kilimanjaro 2019 training journey.

My nearest what I call 'hilliest hike' to me is Box Hill in the Surrey Hills 'Area of Outstanding Beauty' so I've been jumping on the train for the cheap journey out here a few times to get more boot miles in as I search around for new hikes to add a bit of scenic variety to training for the big mountain in four months. The hike I come and do here is the Box Hill Hike which is a demanding circular trek covering 8 miles over the 230 acres of Box Hill. I'm pushing myself to take on long walks with anything with the words 'strenuous' 'tough' or 'hard'....

The National Trust map....'It is strenuous, climbing steep hills and dropping down into deep valleys. The ground is rough in places and includes steep slopes, slippery paths and many steps'............

........ perfect. 

Here's a video of me on one glorious sunny day visit about to embark on it.

So even though you can carry the map with directions, its pretty hard to get lost, the whole thing is marked by red waymarkers from the Box Hill visitor centre which is at the top of the hill - so you gotta get to the top of the hill first... 

Up the stairs that never end....

Well no, they do actually and look at the view from the top at 224 metres after all the huffing and puffing!

England's green and pleasant lands...

And an awesome hill for school kids to roll down. The viewpoint looking out onto the town of Dorking, the River Mole and over the sprawling fields of Surrey is at Salomons Memorial named after Leopold Salomons who gifted the land of Box Hill to the National Trust in 1914 to ensure it would be preserved for the nation 'forever, for everyone' what a nice chap! and you're really helping me with my training Mr Salomons.

So Box Hill (named after its abundant box trees) itself has had visitors coming for hundreds of years and Victorian and Edwardian Londoners were encouraged to visit the hills to get some fresh air away from the smog of the city and let their kids take Donkey rides on the 'Donkey Green'.

So enough about history and back to the training, which the start is a relatively pleasant walk through the calm serenity of the woods down into the valley and then barm barm barmmmm, more steps!!!

No dramas. Steps are exactly what I need in the training so off I go, the more steps the better and the more uphill and steeper I can go the better. The key I'm told on climbing Kilimanjaro is ascending slowly, slowly, slowly, so I'm putting my best tortoise steps into practice.

'Be the tortoise' is now my internal training mantra....

I've also started to wear my sports mask out in the field when I'm going uphill to at least test my air resistance out of the gym and in a real outdoor environment - and yes I do get funny looks from people when Darth Vadar is coming up the hill towards them brandishing pointy sticks. I only wear it uphill as wearing that thing for over four hours would be horrible! 

Yo Sheep! Passing through private farmland and plodding on, a quarter of the way around the hike you come across Mickleham Village (meaning large homestead or hemmed-in land) crossing through the graveyard of the church and into the village for country explorations, including getting a free glass of water in the Running Horse pub and locals asking me about my strange mask!

Pony petting! 

No carrots today my friends!

There's alot of historic significance that I've encountered in the landscape of Box Hill with remains of a Roman road called 'Stane Street' that was built in the first century which linked Chichester (Uni town!) to London. The map tells you that at the time in Roman England, London and Chichester were very important cities to travel between and Stane Street would have carried lots of civilian and military traffic. Who knew!

Lots of ups and downs....steep slopes, steep hills

Later on in the hike still following the red arrows, you emerge out of the woods and onto a long open grassy area of The Mickleham Gallops which was used to exercise the horses that competed at the Epsom races, you sure get alot of exercise walking the stretch of that even if you're aren't a horse!

And eventually 3/4 of the way round on the trail you enter Headley Heath which is commonland for well, commoners. They were allowed to graze their cattle and collect natural materials and during World War II the Canadian Army used it as training ground leaving lumps and bumps for you to trip over.

But the Bluebells are out!

The final stretch emerging out of the woodland at about 7 miles in overlooking the limitless green patchwork of the English hills sprawling into the horizon...

Video close to the 8 mile mark - the home stretch descending down onto the meadow, sore feet, red cheeks but I'm in no rush!


Back down to earth with the cows...

So there you have it, a snippet of the Box Hill 8 Mile walk, a good tough hike to put you through your paces and a beautiful escape from the town life - maybe come across you one point over summer if you're there!

If you watched the videos thank you, you are a fabulous person! as I mentioned I am inviting any donation you can afford to help me raise some funds and awareness for my sisters illness M.E or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so I can help charity Action for M.E to work with individuals like my sister who cannot walk 8 miles prancing around in meadows talking to cows! 

Please carry on being your fabulous self and imagine how any donation could really help by visiting my Kilimanjaro Just Giving Page and might make my altitude sickness more bearable!

Thank you so much for taking an interest in my Kilimanjaro Training - see ya next time for the next update.

With much gratitude for your support. My boots are grateful too.

RealPeople. Real Disease. Real M.E 

#MEAwareness #RealME

Training Hike Distance - 8 Miles (12.8km) Wooh!

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