6th Jan, 2010. On the road before 7 so a proper dawn outing today. Cold, cold air, my nostrils and throat begin to burn almost immediately, but strangely there is little frost compared to the previous few days, the roadway and pavement wet rather than frosty or icy. The great promised snow storm that has blanketed the south of the country has not yet reached Cambridgeshire. It is dark of course, with fairly low cloud, but not as dark as I expected. Still, off-road it is a little perilous cos I can’t see the details of the going, and one misplaced step could mean a twisted ankle.
I take Route2, to Histon and back. I have worked out 5 more or less circular short routes, which makes 10 if I do them backwards (well, that would be a feat, but you know what I mean), and there must be as many longer routes again, though I am a long way from tackling those.
The cloud cover over Cambridge itself, some 6 miles south, is underlit by the lights of the city, and over to the south-east a paleness above the horizon precedes the day. A very diaphanous and milky half-moon slips in and out of the cloud. On the roads there is a constant stream of commuter traffic, lights on, but out on the tracks and fields there is no-one, and few creatures about. Despite the virtually frost-free conditions, the water in the puddles and pools in the ruts and dips of the farm track is frozen solid. A single cock-pheasant trumpets briefly from the parkland of Westwick House, and a skittish blackbird dives for cover, but that is it. There is a gloomy feeling to the not-yet-day, and the sun has not even broken the horizon before I reach home. Daylight running, in the winter at least, is a lot more fun I must concede.