I thought I’d try something different this week and use Google Maps “Street view” for the 5 hills. Once clicked you just close the photos “hide imagery” and click to navigate up/down or 360 degrees.
With the Meon Valley marathon only 5 weeks off todays 1,436 feet of elevation did include more roads/lanes than normal but it served it’s purpose. I was on my own this week but when you are out in the country there is always something to look at. The early morning chill soon wore off and in no time I was heading out across the fields from Paradise Lane towards the footpath sign and up Portsdown Hill (No. 1) The climb rises to the high point of Fort Nelson and the monument to his name. History and a panoramic view of Portsmouth after only 2 miles !!
Next it was across the surprisingly dry fields and down Crooked Walk lane to Southwick roundabout. The early morning birds were in full voice, probably due to the sound of gunshot, shooting season must have begun !! I started the long gradual climb up from Southwick (No. 2) it’s about 1 & 3/4 miles and has a grassy verge so even though you are near the road it’s strength building springy grass almost all the way up. Running across the top of Portsdown Hill is a narrow track that’s parallel to the road and has both views for miles as well as quite a few squirrels !!
Dropping down towards Cosham from the George Inn gives you a good idea of the prospect that awaits running back up past QA hospital (No. 3) I was half way up this hill when I looked at my garmin for the first time, 8.5 miles and 1 hour 20. The fact that 80 minutes had passed before I even thought about pace showed how much I was enjoying it. Topping up my water bottle at the burger van was an added bonus and the long downhill towards Southwick meant an easy 1 & 3/4 miles.
Isaac Newton once said whatever goes down must go up (or was it the other way around !!) he was right, Crooked Walk lane (No. 4) was quite a challenge. Cresting at the top of this one was, you guessed it, (No. 5) Portchester Lane, the steepest of the five. It’s a winding lane that kicks up sharply at half way , by now this was a test and slow but steady progress was made. No walking … no surrender !! The fields don’t have any crops in at the moment so I used the edge of the fields whenever possible, instead of the road.
Returning to Nelson’s monument was a welcome sight and dropping down into town with all the hard work behind me meant I allowed myself a nod of satisfaction. I’d set myself a target and achieving it, in beautiful surroundings, what more can you ask for 🙂 The map was 15 miles but if you add running from home and back that made 17. In summary, two hours and forty-three minutes without a thought in my mind …. apart from how lucky I am, to be able to do it.