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Harlow Campus Bipeds' Guide

The following maps identify a number of routes that you can run, walk, or bike from Memorial University's Harlow Campus. These are the routes that my husband, Chris, and I have devised and/or discovered, and run many times over the course of the year we spent here (2003/04). I've indicated the approximate distance and have given a short description of each run. If you look at these maps carefully (click on any of the thumbnails for a larger map), you'll see that any of these routes can be modified - turning west onto the short road at Hobbs Cross and heading back to campus from there turns the otherwise 11.4 K run we call Threshers Bush into an 8 K run; adding Matching Church to the Collin's Cross run adds a full K (and a picturesque hamlet to make it worth it) to a 12.75 K run; and there are many public footpaths which criss-cross or lead off most of these runs which could be used to shorten or lengthen the distance for each. Do keep in mind that these routes were measured using the odometer on my bike so the accuracy of their distances is subject to my potentially imprecise calibration and the ever-changing amount of air in my front tire. That is, the distances listed are approximate only. Bear in mind, too, that the footpaths that are incorporated into some of these runs can be very wet and/or muddy after wet weather, so choose your route and/or clothing accordingly.

Ultimately, I hope that these maps will inspire you to explore some of the area that immediately surrounds this campus, but is too frequently ignored by those who stay here. Essex was described by the Somerset-based relative of a student who was here during the summer of  2003 as "dry, dull, and flat" and I have often heard other, similarly disparaging, remarks about this part of England. But don't be misled by such remarks or by the Essex you see from its motorways and train tracks, which often reinforces the characterization quoted above. Memorial University's Harlow Campus is short minutes away from some of the prettiest countryside you can imagine and, often, all you have to do to appreciate it is cross a road or pass a hedgerow or climb over a stile. Essex can be very dry, depending on the time of the year. It is reputed to be the driest county in England and in mid to late summer, this part of the county can take on a sahara-like appearance with its wheat fields and rape seed crops which make a faded patchwork out of its landscape. But the hills roll just enough so that on many of these routes, you can see for miles, and the views are lovely... certainly, far from dull.

Those of you who are used to running, walking, or cycling in and around St. John's (I'm afraid I can't speak for Corner Brook) will appreciate how relatively flat the area covered by these routes is and how gentle the weather is. For the time that you are here, you can enjoy not having some form of precipitation being driven sideways into your eyes, nose, ears, and mouth by gale-force winds that seem to be in your face no matter which direction you turn.