A Dire Warning from Neil Bryant

Hail Gaveller

 

I read about the CFP a couple of years ago and instantly felt the need to run it all. Time passed and my weekends were filled with races and other challenges. It wasn’t till I saw that there was to be a race on it that the idea was re-ignited. I checked my diary, but was sad to see that I already had a race on that same weekend. That was it I had to run it before the race!

A week later, with as good as zero planning, I was running in the dark up thedeer parkinAshton Courttowards the Green Man which to me was the only place to start. I met the Gaveller and was then off on my way. I believe that I had the speed for getting close to the record, but was quite aware that I really didn’t know the course so was expecting to get lost. An adventure was what I was after!

My first problem came quick when I was still in darkness. Shortly after passing through the two rocks, I entered into the field and before I knew it I had lost the trail and was in a marshland! I crawled under some barbed-wire and soon was back on track. As I approached the church at Dundry I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. The going was really muddy but lots of fun, and my progress was pretty good. The section beside the river was really nice and was helping me to decide that this would definitely be a new favourite long training run.

I passed through Keynsham before dropping onto the familiar river footpath, through the field next to the old Cadburys factory, then past the Willsbridge Mill. All completely stunning! Once I got onto the Dramway things got a little confused. After I passed overLondon RoadI lost the signs and confidence that I was travelling on the right path. When I hit a road, I felt pretty sure that I was in the wrong place.I travelled up the road to where I thought I should be and carried on and on running in confused circles, till I returned to the same point discovering that it was in fact the correct place (though I’m still not sure that I had got there in the correct way). I continued for a fair bit further without error, till I approached Lyde Green. I passed under the M4 on a road (it should have been a trail) then continued to get rather confused again! My girlfriend Louise rang me to tell me that she was close on her bicycle. After much running around she discovered me next to the Kendleshire Golf Course. She fed me a still warm pasty before saying goodbye as I entered the golf course back on track. It wasn’t till I was at the 44km point that confusion returned in a vengeance. I crossed over the M4 which I knew was wrong as I should have gone under it, then I followed along a footpath before passing back under the M4. Very lost again! I headed in the direction that seemed to be right and spotted a CFP sign! Back on track again, but not for long! Soon I was walking and trying to work out where I should be going with no joy. The really frustrating thing about this was that I knew where I was but didn’t know where the trail was! The importance of preparation!

After much bumbling around aimlessly Louise found me again and got me back on track in Bradley Stoke. I then was fortunate to have Louise’s company till I got into Aztec West where we had to split again. All went really well as I arrived in Easter Compton as it was getting pretty dark and came out a lane onto the road and there was Lou again! I kept moving back into the dark and switched my torch on. Everything was going well and even though I had made an incredible amount of errors, I was really enjoying myself and was feeling pretty strong. I climbed up Spaniorum hill with a steady run then down the fields the other side. It was really wet but my feet were ok. I had a little pause in Henbury, as I was a little unsure then was on my way again. When I entered the Blaise estate, it was pitch black and I had read about some people having troubles here. Oh dear! I couldn’t find the steps up and ended out on the road, then back in the woods on some exceptionally wet and sloppy trail. Lost but I knew I was going in the right direction! I ended up at some shops. Turned back and went back where I had just come from and soon found where I should have come out of the woods. I headed into the golf course, and from here to the end I had no problems! Amazing, I was really enjoying it.

As I got to theDownsI called the Gaveller and he said he’d meet me at the Green Man. As I was passing over the suspension bridge, Lou caught me up and we arrived at the Green Man together where the Gaveller was there to greet us.

So to conclude my adventure I’d just like to say that if you are considering taking on the fantastic challenge that is the Green Man, I would strongly urge you to not be as foolish as me and actually put some time into doing some recce work, get the correct maps and study them well beforehand. I will now recce the parts of the route that confused me, before trying it again and getting around without getting insanely lost.

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