Sunday 7 October 2012

Morning magic

There's something magical about early mornings.

On a whim I decided to get up early this morning (Sunday) for a run. The alarm went off at 0545, and half an hour later I was cycling in the direction of Hampstead Heath, with the intention of catching the sunrise from Parliament Hill (or wherever there was a decent view).

I ended up locking my bike up on Hampstead Lane about halfway between the Spaniards Inn and Highgate Village. Trail running shoes on, Camelbak and helmet in my bag and away I went in no particular direction.

Although I attempted to track my progress via MapMyRun, the GPS on my phone failed and the app managed to discard everything it had recorded, so I don't know where I went although I criss-crossed my path all over the place.
 There was a mist rising off the ground - quite extraordinary.
 By 7am, the light was bright, but sunrise wasn't until 0712 (I had checked!)
 Above: looking out over London (you can just about see the Shard).
 The heath was almost deserted. I met the occasional dog walker and runner - and after about half 7 when the sun was up, it started to get busier. But for the most part around sunrise, I had the whole place to myself.

 The camera on my phone doesn't deal at all well with poor light, but these give a sense of how things were.
 This tree (below) was pretty spooky:

 I shared the space with plenty of foxes - and a rabbit:

 It was an extraordinary experience - pretty spiritual. I kept on saying "oh wow" to myself - and congratulating myself on the decision.
 And then, at around a quarter past seven...

  I could feel the spirit of Nina Simone in the air...
Here comes the sun, little darling
Here comes the sun, and I say...
It's alright...

 Above: yes along with the rabbits and foxes that is a lesser spotted circus.

 The mist/steam rising from the ponds was pretty magical.
 For some reason mainly that I didn't really care where I was going and kept changing direction randomly, it took me ages to find Parliament Hill. When I did, it was worth it...

 Above: running through the long wet grass meant that my feet were absolutely sodden.
Below: view from Parliament Hill

 Sadly, I could feel my knee problem which gave me problems about a year ago starting to twinge. When I went for a run in the Chilterns a couple of weeks ago (at Dunstable Downs; great place for a walk or run) the knee held firm but I had a problem for several days after in my foot, possibly a trapped nerve. The foot started to hurt again, so it was time to gingerly walk back to the bike.
 A fantastic, superlative, magical morning run. I can't recommend a morning start highly enough! As a reward for my endeavours, I was delighted to see THE BEST PLACE IN LONDON open at 0830: Louis' in Hampstead. I treated myself to a croissant and Danish pastry for breakfast and a box of cakes for later.

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