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Mile Cross #20 | by StuMcP
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Mile Cross #20

The Big Dipper.


This large storm drain runs from here at the bottom end of Sweetbriar Industrial Estate until it reaches the River Wensum behind Wickes Building supplies. In the foreground you can see where a path has been worn down one side and up the other. This used to form part of the Mile Cross Middle School Cross-Country course and was known to the pupils as 'The Big Dipper'. We'd run from Sloughbottom Park, through here and into the wooded area towards Sweetbriar Road before heading back again.


I used to love running this course as a child as it felt a little dangerous and exciting. The fact that I was always the winner helped too.


One afternoon we were running this course and a friend of mine named Billy Underwood took a tumble down the big dipper. There wasn't much sympathy from his fellow pupils or the teacher but he would not get up. For reasons I could never figure out his mother appeared with an old pushchair and took him away in it. I still remember his cries of agony as he bounced through Sloughbottom Park in his makeshift stretcher-cum-trolley.


It wasn't until the next day that we learnt of his broken hip. Poor sod.


I can also vaguely remember that the wooded area completely died in the early 1980's, there was an awful smell and all the Silver Birch trees turned black. I think I remember my mother blaming this on a leak at the nearby May and Baker Chemical Factory.

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Taken on February 24, 2015