Friday, 28 August 2020

Pre-season Friendlies?

I don't know whether it's the weather making it feel Autumnal, or whether the lads are getting in some pre-season friendlies ahead of the big kick off in October. The Mem and I set off early on Friday evening for a walk as the nights are drawing in (cheering thought in less than 4 weeks the nights will be longer than the days) and the storms are making it darker even earlier.

Starting off at Richmond Park's Ladderstile Gate we turned left and walked down the hill towards Kingston Gate. On the path we were on there was a lot of evidence of soil erosion from the recent torrential rains. Yesterday (Thursday) when I passed that way in the evening on my bike, muddy water was gushing out of Kingston Gate into the road outside. There were lots of loose stones on the path were the mud had washed away.

By the time we'd passed Ham Gate we decided we'd carry on and do a full circuit of the park, around 6 miles. Most of the walk is fairly flat except for the initial walk down the hill, and two steep climbs. The first of these climbs starts by Petersham Gate and rises up to Richmond Gate, and bloody steep it is too. I wouldn't fancy trailing a pike and having to fight a bunch of lairy Puritans at the top. At the top we caught up with a young Swedish couple who'd walked up with bikes, one of which had one those carriages that small children ride in (contents two 3-year olds)

. They were trying to work out how they were going to get through a small kissing gate when we turned up and helped carry the contraption over the fence.

Entry at Ladderstile (indicated by arrow), then we walked anti-clockwise arriving back where we started an hour and 40 minutes later.

Further on near Sheen Gate we saw a couple of young stags having a gentle 'rut' rather like these guys: Lads messing around . It wasn't as dramatic as a pair of mature stags going at it, but interesting nonetheless. More of a play fight that was over in seconds and the boys stuck around together aftewards, bezzie mates.

The next climb was in the last section of the circuit, up from Robin Hood Gate. I was feeling the effects of the climb and by the time we got to the top of the rise I was breathing heavily. We could hear some rattling, which at first I thought was somebody's bike chain coming loose. Then around a bend we saw the bigger boys sparring.

This should be a video but due to a Google Glitch it wouldn’t load properly so you’ll have to make do with a blurry photo instead.

After the above bout a third stag took on the winner in pub pool fashion. Winner stays on. Unfortunately for the first winner he didn’t get to stay on for much longer. Whilst filming all this we breathlessly decided to give the boys some room and took a big circuit around the arena and headed back to Ladderstile Gate and then home.

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