The Improbable Blog

No.5: Cannock Chase

Last weekend I was offered some top up work which I couldn’t refuse, so I adapted my plans and packed a bag for Birmingham (well… Walsall).

The whole point of these trips is to challenge myself within my means and I’m not rich enough to do 52Reflect without making sacrifices.

Eg. I just looked through my November 2017 bank statement, and I can see that I spent almost £300 on drinking.

So drinking is out.

This means that I am sober… constantly… constantly sober… in London… for a year.


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Cannock chase is 148 miles from London and (importantly) 20 minutes from where I was working.

It sits between Cannock, Lichfield, Rugely and Stafford. Cannock Chase has walkways and mountain-bike tracks that take you through woodland, heathland and even the remnants of mines and other dilapidated industrial buildings.

I was tight for time this week, leaving work commitments as soon as I could and putting my foot down in the car so that I could get at least two hours of walking in.

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After last weeks ‘blistergate’ my right foot had healed up completely, but my left heel was still missing skin and pretty raw so the first twenty minutes were a bit ‘hobble-y’.

I was disappointed at the number of people who were there, but only because I was hoping for a bit of seclusion. I walked off the path and through a thick patch of fir trees, bringing me to a pretty and seemingly unoccupied area with smaller tracks.

I walked along one of these smaller tracks, but had to jump out of the way a few times when I realised that I was walking up a busy mountain bike trail!

It turns out the same contempt that exists between cyclists and pedestrians in London also exists in picturesque national parks, so after being sworn at a couple of times I waded off through a bog looking for some peace and quiet…

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I was lucky enough to find this amazing patch of heathland a little way later.

Closer to the tree line I was able to sit and enjoy the views over the park undisturbed, while I chomped on the complimentary biscuits that I had stolen from that mornings meeting (sorry). There was the light hum of the M6 coming from somewhere (probably the M6) but it was a treat to stop and be still for 10 minutes.

After this it was time to go home – it was a cute little adventure – well worth it. I didn’t find any mine shafts, but in the woods I did find an important industrial building.

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Only 330 days until I can start drinking again.

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