Feeling exhausted after the longest run yet at about 20 miles, amazingly I arrived around the same time as before,

The day started with the worst weather imaginable: tipping down with rain, a high wind and a chill in the air. Resolute to the task in hand, I boldly set off across a field to join the river path along the Stort, towards Bishop’s Stortford. Due to the field being waterlogged in many parts, my feet were soaked in minutes. The going was slow and precarious as the path was very muddy (despite wearing trail shoes, they weren’t really up to the task). As I approached Bishop’s Stortford the rain had eased off and I took a shorter route via a small lane that ran closer to the railway line and brought me into the town, close to the station.

From there I was able to follow a footpath through a park near the Castle Gardens. This carried on for quite  while, following the railway line quite closely, through other fields and open land. A sign told me I was on a public footpath called the Hertfordshire Way (or at least part of it), which is apparently a circular route within the county of some 195 miles, The section I took was pretty handy as it took me off road for quite a while and would have continued further, had a whole section not been closed off due to ‘re-landscaping’. It really annoys me that they feel they have to close it off and deny access to do something that is probably completely unnecessary.

This left no option but to take the busy B1383, which I had tried to avoid. At least there was a pavement and it was a pretty straight run to Stansted Mountfitchet. There, I thought I could cut across some fields near the Castle gardens and Toy Museum, which were closed. I managed to disappear into some woods at the end of the station car park and clamber over a wire fence. So far, so good… As I made my way across I noticed a couple of people wearing orange vests and another guy in the distance. As I headed over towards them I had already decided I would say i was lost if they asked what I was doing. As it was, only the other guy headed towards me and he seemed friendly enough. He said that actually, there was another path the other side of the railway that went right alongside it and that was my best bet or to head up to the B road. I decided on the quickest option, which unfortunately, was the road and made my way up the side of the field. At least it ws going in the right direction.Although it was not as close to the railway, as I would had liked, it got me to Elsenham relatively quickly. At about 10 miles, it was my halfway stage.

I crossed at the station crossing and a small B road took me close to the railway on the other side. there were a few opportunities cross to the other side, but they were unknown quantities, so I decided against them. I’m finding that I’m having to weigh up preserving my energy and running on faster more direct roads and taking risks and maybe having to turn back and make longer detours.

That said, I’m really struggling this evening now with completing this post. Exhaustion has got the better of me and I’m going to have to pause this for now- I can barely type and my nose is streaming. I need to have a good night’s sleep ahead of tomorrow’s final leg, and I still need to do a final check of a possible route…

Adding to this now retrospectively, having completed the run (more about that in the next post). I clearly hit a wall of extreme tiredness above when I had to temporarily abandon it.  I’ll try to continue from here.

The road to Newport was a small B road that followed the railway and the trajectory of the river Cam pretty much all the way. I am finding that this journey is becoming one that follows the waterways as much as it does the railway. A sit down on the bridge at the station allowed me a moment of brief recuperation before I was on my way again for the final stretch to Audley End and Littlebury, my stop for the night. Part of the route took me a little further away from the railway than I would have liked but it was worth it to see the spectacular view of Audey End House just before the home straight into Littlebury.

Amazed that this was my longest stretch yet at about 20 miles and yet I arrived at around the same time as the previous day when I had run 4 mils less. No wonder I was exhausted! Thanks to everyone who boosted my morale by regularly posting messages on the locatoweb site.


It’s amazing what a good 8 hours sleep can do for you: a much better day today aided by some glorious weather and a much easier and more scenic route. I was also confident of the route as I had done a practice run of this section about 10 days ago. I tried to redo it from memory, but it’s surprising what you forget in a short amount of time.

The first part continued through the Lea Valley park, adjoining the railway until Broxbourne. This part was the easiest and a great way to start. the ground was thrawing from the frost so neither too hard nor too soft- ideal conditions for running. Added to that the joy of being in green space, even if by the railway. The place is quite popular with dog walkers and I was tickled to see a couple of dogs wearing fluorescent onesies as I passed. I do prefer though to be on my and not see anyone- it’s the best way to keep focussed and to remain in the moment.

The next section was a foray into disobedience: a section of the park was closed off seemingly due to ‘contaminated land’, but it was hardly inaccessible and I had tried it previously and survived. It’s just that it is not landscaped and quite rough ground, but quite exhilirating to be completely on my own and a joy to see a couple of roe deer run across my path in the distance. In any case there was no other way to go without taking a huge detour and it did join a legimate path (as least so the map said) towards the end. This came out at the only industrial plant I had to make my way round: pretty huge and belonging it seems to Scottish Power. Why this is in Essex, I’ve no idea.

From this to a towpath along the River Stort all the way to Roydon. Some interesting boats and people seemingly living off-grid -seems really idealistic, particularly when the sun’s out. A far cry from yesterday and much easier on my feet to be running on softer ground. From here it’s pretty much a straight run (forgive the pun) along the Stort path, all the way to Sawbridgeworth. I tried a section on the other side near Harlow Town to have a bit more of a sense of discovery and got a bit lost for a while before rejoining the path near Harlow Mill. Nothing too worrying and I tried to see whether the river path would take me to where I’m staying tonight. I should have trusted myself: it does. I was worried and cut across some fields too early only to find myself having to precariously cross some water along an overhanging tree. Alot of unnecessary time and effort, but I was tired and not thinking straight. Even though the route was straight forward, 16 plus miles does take its toll

I arrived at my destination too early for check in and had to wait in the cold for a while until the owners appeared. But it’s a lovely place and it’s a shame I’ll be off in the morning.

This next one is a bit of an unknown quantity: the first part continues the Stort until Bishop’s Stortford and then I’m trying to figure out when I can continue at least until Standsted Mountfitchet. From then on it’ll be a case of working things out with what I can access without resorting to too many roads or getting stuck the oterside of some water…

It’s also probably the longest stretch so I can’t afford too many detours… I’ll write the next blog post from the other side…

On the up side, it’s been heartening seeing some messages come through via the Locatoweb.com site and good to see that the tracking is appears to be working,


Feeling pretty exhausted after this first stage. I arrived at Cheshunt youth hostel just before 3pm, later than I expected. A late night last night with only a few hours sleep took its toll, and a heavier than expected backpack, meant slow sluggish running; after 10miles or so I was really struggling. The last 7 miles were intermittently running and walking  (with more walking than running) and my energy levels were really low, despite being well-prepared and topping up with fluid and various protein-based nourishment. It might also have been something to do with the getting out of London and the relentless urban concrete and induxtrial estates I had to go through that never seemed to end. The section after Tottenham Hale until beyond Waltham Cross, was a particularly relentless greyness that went on for ever (well for more than half the route). As if to mark this there was a spectacular downpour just outside Waltham Cross station as I arrived. So pleased to have invested in proper trail-running clothing that keeps me super dry. I couldn’t have done without it.

Nothing spectacular happened en route, apart from needing a pee and having to wait far too long before finding anywhere until I passed ‘The Range’ in Enfield.

The end was in sight when I entered the Lee Valley Park after Watham Cross for the last mile and a half of the journey. Apart from being a very pretty and welcome respite to the concrete, it runs right next to the railway. It’s nice to know that tomorrow this will be where I continue for Stage 2. In fact, tomorrow’s run will be a far cry from today’s: much of the route follows the railway along the river, towpaths, and beside nature reserves. Really looking forward to it and to a good night’s sleep.

A note on the live tracking: this seems to be working well from what I’ve heard. Do check it out via locatoweb.com (go to Tracks an key in Vero_350 in the search and click on the track). I’ve been able to post a few photos along the way that appear in the location they’re taken in, though it does slow me down a little.