“Upon the whole it was an excellent journey & very thoroughly enjoyed by me; the weather was delightful the greatest part of the day… to my capacity it was perfection. I never saw the country from the Hogsback so advantageously.”
So wrote Jane Austen of her trip along the Hog’s Back, in 1813. But today is a different kind of day. The view from the top shows nothing but fog. A December morning, chill, damp and misty. That’s how we live.
And yet, I can’t complain. An hour ago, I was still tucked up and fast asleep in bed. Thirty minutes of muesli, tea and fast driving delivered me to the start in Artington. Five minutes to jog to the start, another five minutes to score a race number, and I almost arrived too early for my geological odyssey. But not quite.
Time at the start line is always good. A few minutes to share notes on the course, and establish credentials.
A woman next to me is wearing London Marathon leggings from 2006. I ran it that year, too. Her son is a huge rower from Belfast. He’ll struggle on the hill, as will I.
And yes, the Hogs Back Race — it’s all about the hill.