Blake Street

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I was up early enough to take the puppies out for around a mile and a half each before work.

On the second walk, we were yomping along when I was aware of someone calling, “excuse me?”
On the second call, I turned to see a couple on the other side of the road. I removed my earphones so I could hear better what was wanted.

The man pointed at his female companion and shouted across the road, “Isn’t she shit in bed?”
I was somewhat taken aback but promptly replied with, “I can’t remember!”
The pair of them burst out laughing. “Nice one!” he retorted.

Now THAT was odd, I thought as we walked on.

Later in the day, after work, I took a mile or so walk into Birmingham city centre and made my way to New Street station.

Checking the departure boards, I discovered that I needed to get myself down to platform 8 for the 16:25 to Lichfield Trent Valley. I had booked a ticket on-line, earlier, to Blake Street station which lie just to the north of Sutton Coldfield.

Down on the platform, I noticed a lot of people waiting and was a little concerned about social spacing as when I’ve used this train before it’s started rather full.

A few minutes later than promised, a train comprised of around six coaches pulled into the platform and I was relieved to see a lot of empty seats.

Once on-board, I managed to find a couple of seats, one of which I occupied. I was lucky to have an empty seat next to me all the way.

The train rattled on through Aston, Chester Road (passing under a steep footbridge), Sutton Coldfield and Four Oaks, eventually stopping at Blake Street at five o’clock.

I orientated myself, selected my pre-installed route on my Garmin Fenix, pressed Start and I was off.

Following the appropriately named, station Approach, I turned onto Hill Hook Road for a few minutes before crossing over, through a gate and entered Hill Hook Nature Reserve.

This five and a half hectare area became a nature reserve in 2003. The reserve features a water mill and the original mill pond is home to numerous water birds.

Less than a mile later, I left the wooded area and after a little re-orientation continued along the roads towards Sutton Park.

Utilising a few footpaths between the houses, I gained a hundred and fifty feet in elevation before dropping down to the northern end of Sutton Park.

Shortly after entering the park, I joined a familiar path (part of my Sutton Park circular walk) dropping down to Little Bracebridge Pool before crossing the railway heading towards Streetly Gate.

Once I got to a proper road, I turned left and headed up to the Jamboree Stone.

The stone commemorates a mass gathering in 1957 when some thirty thousand scouts from around the world camped out in the park. It was wall-to-wall woggles !!! Dib Dib Dib !!!

From the stone, the road run generally downhill to Boldmere passing an unusually shaped building, home to the Sutton Coldfield Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets.

The building is in the shape of a ship as can be seen best from above.

I have seen a similar building in Dudley next to the Black Country Museum although, to be honest, Sutton’s is the better.

Leaving the park behind, I made my way through Boldmere towards the Chester Road (A452).

Just before I reached the A452, I branched onto Sheffield Road cutting the corner.

Half way along this road, I passed the Highbury Theatre. This theatre is quite unusual as it is a non-professional establishment and a founding member of the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain.

The theatre started as an old mission chapel and was later extended by buying an old shop, next door.

After the Highbury, I came back to the steep footbridge that I’d earlier passed under on the train. Over the bridge I went, passing Chester Road Station before finally reaching Chester Road.

From here it was a familiar walk along the A452, passing Pype Hayes Park and the Bagot Arms pub which is in the process of being refurbished. Well actually, I may no longer be in that state as the night after I passed, it caught fire – big time !!!

I arrived home nearly three hours after stepping off the train at Blake Street having covered some eleven and a half miles.

TOTALS for 2021
TODAY’S MILEAGE   12 miles
ANNUAL MILEAGE   1107 miles
#WALK 1000 REMAINING   -107 miles
ROUTE 66 REMAINING   1171 miles