22 February 2009

Hampstead Heath

The last few days have been full of firsts, including my first visit to London's only Kyrgyz restaurant (to my knowledge) and the purchase of my first proper trail shoes. This gave me the opportunity and incentive to run off my samsi, lagman and plov on Hampstead Heath today.

One of the reasons that I like running in London is that, having grown up here, many places have very old memories for me. For example, my slight fear of dogs was clearly down to our family's habit of going for a walk on the Heath every Sunday morning prior to lunch until I was in my teens. Here, I was regularly attacked by hounds that were, for the most part, bigger than I was. Even today, I found my way barred by an Old English Sheepdog, who refused to let me past.

Going to the Heath has some great advantages over my usual routes. This was my first real off-road running and the first on anything like hilly terrain - central London is actually pretty flat. On the other hand, it's a bit of a probe having to commute to your run - the Heath is a bit far for me to run to, then around, then back again. Apologies to those on the tube on the way home who had to put up with a somewhat feral-smelling man.

Speaking of memories, the view from Parliament Hill (above) was as cool as I could remember (maybe better, now that Canary Wharf is in existence and viewable) and it was good to see my and my brother's tree from all those years ago still standing there. Check it out - perfectly designed for climbing:

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