Five Miles an Hour

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As is becoming the norm, I was up early on Saturday morning to head for Sutton Park.

I parked in my usual place just outside of Sutton Park, pulled on my Raidlight pack and set off towards Queslett. The first couple of miles or so was along lit street until I reached Horseshoe Crescent. It’s the oddest shaped horseshoe I’ve ever seen !

Realising that I wasn’t quite on the right path, I backtracked until I spotted a track heading off into the darkness. Out with the head torch and onwards along Sutton’s Drive through Great Barr Hall Park. No longer a proper drive as there are chunky gates at either end to keep vehicles out. There was once a hall in the ground but this was converted into a hospital in 1918 but abandoned in the 1980’s. Part of the grounds was utilised for housing including Horseshoe Crescent.

Sutton’s Bridge, which dates from around 1840, was crossed and the drive followed to Chapel Lane. From Chapel Lane a, muddy in places, path was followed through Merrion’s Wood to the A34, Birmingham Road.

At The Bell pub, I turned off the dual carriageway and shortly after I was able to get onto the tow path of the Rushall Canal.

The Rushall Canal shortly ended at the Tame Valley Canal which I followed all the way to Brookvale, just shy of Spaghetti Junction. I consumed an Espresso energy bar at Perry Bar washed down with a swig of pop.

After leaving the canal, I followed a path to Brookvale Park Lake. This is the path that I couldn’t find a couple of weeks ago when travelling in the opposite direction. I know where it is now !

A couple of interesting facts about Brookvale Lake. A local gardener, John Biddle was killed in the 1914 – 1918 war whilst serving on HMS Monmouth.

To commemorate the event, in December 2014, eight hundred and fifty people planted five bulbs each, simultaneously to achieve a Guinness World Record.

The main path through the park was renamed John Biddle Walk.

Walking through a few more parks, I eventually arrived back at the car but had only covered fourteen of the fifteen miles planned. Easy solution, a short loop to bring me to the required distance.


After a short break which included a Nutrigrain bar and a banana, I made my way to Sutton Park to await the start of this Saturday’s parkrun. I chatted with some of the regulars and just after 09:00 we were off.

I started about mid pack and set off quickly, picking up the pace. The first mile, I completed in 12:12 then subsequent miles in 12:07 and 11:43 !!!

Coming back up the hill from the turnaround, just before mile 3, I was accosted by a woman who marvelled somewhat at my walking speed. I explained that I had been practicing. She said that she tried to beat me every week but was yet to succeed. I apologised for walking too fast !

I crossed the finish in 37:48 according to my watch or 37:29 according to parkrun. Whichever time, that was a speedy stroll, averaging twelve minutes per mile or 5 MILES PER HOUR !

It could have been quicker if I hadn’t posed for a photo !

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