Author Topic: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?  (Read 989 times)

WhitstableDave

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The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« on: 18:01:35, 05/07/21 »
A few weeks ago, there was a piece on The Running Channel (on YouTube) about setting a Fastest Known Time (FKT!).

In a nutshell, a FKT can be claimed for any route that is 'notable and distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it' (https://fastestknowntime.com/guidelines). All you need to do is find a route that satisfies the conditions (preferably one for which a FKT hasn't been claimed yet!), walk or run the route, record it (GPX etc.), write a report, take photos and submit the whole lot to the FKT for verification. Should be easy enough - so I decided to have a go!  ;)

The first thing is to find a suitable route. So far, only one has been claimed anywhere near where I live - that's the 22 mile Canterbury Outer Ring - and the claimant did it a lot faster than I did. Something a bit shorter and closer to home was needed.

I looked at various long distance and named paths, but nothing appealed - mainly because they were too far away or too long. Then I had a brainwave! The Crab & Winkle Way passes just 50m from my house and, at about 6.5 miles in length, it satisfies the rule that FKTs must be at least 5 miles long. It's very definitely a notable route because it closely follows the line of the World's First Passenger Railway, which took holidaymakers from Canterbury to the seaside at Whitstable and was known as the Crab & Winkle Line for obvious reasons.

And the route is distinct because National Cycle Route 1 uses it for almost the entire way between Canterbury West Station and Whitstable Station, so it's very well signposted. Cycle Route 1 does turn off towards Faversham about half-a-mile before Whitstable Station and Route 15 takes over, but the way is still clearly marked.

So the Crab & Winkle Way it was then!

But which way? I didn't need to be particularly fast to set the FKT if I was the first to set it, but I still wanted to do my best. I studied the elevation chart...



..Hmm, not much in it. Then it occurred to me that although it would have been a return journey back in Victorian times, the passengers were mainly interested in travelling from Canterbury to Whitstable, so that's the way I'd go.

I could have arranged to be driven to Canterbury or I could even have taken a bus (no chance!), but I chose to walk the 5.8 miles from South Street to Canterbury West Station. On the way there, I took the shorter route that I've marked in blue on the map. When I got to the station, I followed the Crab & Winkle Way all the way to Whitstable Station, and that's the route I've marked in green.   



This wasn't intended to be a sightseeing tour, but I took lots of photos that include signposts for the route as evidence and to (possibly) guide anyone who follows! I'd like to point out though that stopping repeatedly to take photos with my phone wasted many valuable seconds!

Here I am at Canterbury West Station. Leaving in the direction I'm facing, I soon passed a cycle signpost for the city centre...   



...but it was only a few dozen yards before I spotted the first Crab & Winkle Way signpost - we go through a pedestrian tunnel under the railway lines and head for the University of Kent.



Our route goes alongside Beverley Meadow. There are regular markers on lampposts, making Cycle Route 1 extremely easy to follow ..



Up through a small area of housing and on to the start of the steep-ish climb through the delightful grounds of the university:



The route continues to be well-signposted through the university. At the roundabout, take a left turn onto Park Wood...



The road ends at a nursery and the Crab & Winkle Way heads off to the right towards Whitstable going through farmland and woods...



The cycle route continues pretty much straight on for about a mile-and-a-half and uses a byway and gravel and stony paths as it passes through a farmyard then on to a wonderful part of the ancient Blean Woods:



There are even some very fancy route markers along the way:



Eventually, the path arrives at a sort of crossroads. The way continues to the right - as is clearly indicated. At the winding pond (just out of shot) the route turns left and Whitstable isn't far now..



The path descends steeply out of the woods and crosses some farmland before it reaches South Street (the road as well as the area!):



A few hundred yards along South Street, the Crab & Winkle Way becomes a cycle- and pedestrian- only track again and from here it leads directly to Whitstable Station. Just make sure you go straight on under the bridge towards Whitstable, because it's here that Cycle Route 1 turns off to Faversham!:



The paths ends with a zig-zag descent and the station can be seen from the other side of the footbridge.  :)



And here I am at Whitstable Station! Woo hoo!!



I need to submit a GPX file for the Crab & Winkle Way, so I actually recorded the whole walk/run in three separate parts: South Street (home) to Canterbury West Station (5.8 miles), the Crab & Winkle Way (6.62 miles), and Whitstable Station to home (1.2 miles). The overall distance was 13.62 miles.

Now, if all goes to plan, I can submit my time of 1 hour 22 minutes 55 seconds as the FKT for the Crab & Winkle Way! My average speed between Canterbury and Whitstable (station to station) was 4.8 mph, which was very pleasing because I'd hoped to beat 4.6 mph (and because I'll be 70 in just over a year's time!).

The map shows that I returned home a slightly different way, passing through the local churchyard (at 12.15) before joining the C&WW again:



Finally, here are some photos from my walk to Canterbury - starting with me setting off across the fields towards the woods.

This is a route I use a lot and it's exactly 4 miles to the university grounds. It used to take me exactly an hour to get there, but as time went on I was able to do it faster and occasionally I'd see how much further I could get in exactly one hour. This morning I beat my PB  - doing 4.35 miles in the hour, so I took the second photo to record the spot I'd got to!



It's all downhill from there to Canterbury and I reached the station at an average speed from home of 4.4 mph - all walking, no running!  :)

I took a selfie when I was opposite St Edmund's School. (My eldest daughter used to teach there.)



All-in-all it was a very successful morning. I might have a FKT, I beat my 'first hour' PB and I think I've beaten my best half-marathon time too (when I add the 3 sections together). My new Merrell Moab Speed shoes were waiting for me when I got home, and a man from Southern Water had been to unblock the drains!  :)
Walk, Jog, Run : our YouTube video channel.

BuzyG

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Re: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« Reply #1 on: 11:00:50, 06/07/21 »
A very thorough trip report Dave.  Good look with getting into the record books. O0

WhitstableDave

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Re: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« Reply #2 on: 11:11:45, 06/07/21 »
A very thorough trip report Dave.  Good look with getting into the record books. O0

Thanks Buzy.  O0 

I've just been through the lengthy process of submitting the route; I'm now waiting to see if it gets published.
Walk, Jog, Run : our YouTube video channel.

Southwester

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Re: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« Reply #3 on: 17:13:10, 06/07/21 »
Congratulations Dave, I see you are now on the FKT website as the record holder. Well done. O0

WhitstableDave

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Re: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« Reply #4 on: 17:28:34, 06/07/21 »
Congratulations Dave, I see you are now on the FKT website as the record holder. Well done. O0
:) Thanks Southwester, but I think that might be premature. At the moment, I can only see that I submitted the route - but it's not showing my time yet.  :(

Walk, Jog, Run : our YouTube video channel.

Southwester

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Re: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« Reply #5 on: 17:35:45, 06/07/21 »
You are right - I should have read the whole submission - but I am sure congratulations will be in order anyway!

vghikers

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Re: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« Reply #6 on: 19:26:26, 06/07/21 »
That's a fun project, well reported and logged  O0

I should think the very name of that route ought to be  'notable and distinct enough'   :)

4.8mph average is damned good going.

WhitstableDave

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Re: The Crab & Winkle Way... and a FKT?
« Reply #7 on: 19:00:56, 08/07/21 »
Thanks everyone - it's just been confirmed that I have the fastest known time for the Crab & Winkle Way!...  :)

https://fastestknowntime.com/route/crab-and-winkle-way-united-kingdom

...until someone beats it, that is!  ;)

It was just a bit of fun that turned into an interesting challenge - with quite a few hoops to jump through too.

I don't know if this sort of thing will appeal to anyone else, but I'm fairly sure I'll see if I can find another route for an FKT before too long!
Walk, Jog, Run : our YouTube video channel.

 

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