|Mossdale shooting hut|
It is a delectable place where Red Grouse feed and nest among the heather shoots. In the Springtime Curlews come skirling out of the sky in gentle descents to the grassy river banks while Plovers twist and whirl in joyous acrobatic displays. Ring Ouzels rear their young by the shooting hut and Wheatears bob and call from the old stone walls. Sometimes a Peregrine goes hurtling past and once, in September, a pair of Red Kites stopped me in my tracks as they rode a thermal high above in the boundless blue. But it is a place of tragedy too. Where the Mossdale beck disappears under the Scar a plaque is fixed to the wall commemorating six cavers who were trapped, drowned and entombed by a flash flood 43 years ago. There is also a memorial cairn high up on the moor above their exact resting place. I know it's illogical, but I always give them a wave as I run past. You can read more of the tragedy in this more recent newspaper report.
My route, measuring 10 miles with 1,144ft ascent, was the farthest I'd run since racing a half marathon in Spain last November. The pain caused by a whiplash injury acquired in a road accident in early 2009 had become progressively worse, cramping my style, and was much aggravated by running. Pain-killers, anti-inflammatories and short, slow runs became the order of the day. I'm not sure whether the pain is subsiding slightly, or whether I'm just getting used to it, but I can now run further without too much hassle. All I've got to do is re-train my old legs and cardio-vascular system to let them know I haven't quite finished with them yet. Who knows, there might even be more races to come!