Monday 20 December 2010

Runningfox routes (3)

Along the Wharfe.

Due to treacherous icy conditions on the hills in and out of Grassington we'd to abandon the car three miles from home on Saturday morning and walk the rest of the way on untreated roads.  After half an hour two snow ploughs came hurtling by, as if they were racing, but neither was salting or gritting. That came later. We got our car home around mid-afternoon. A bottle of neat Concentrated Screen Wash buried under our shopping in the boot had frozen!
Snow ploughs - at speed
Sunday was a truly magnificent day when we couldn't resist going for a run. With a covering of snow and temperatures down to -10ºC the landscape glittered like diamonds under a mainly cloudless sky. We opted for one of our regular runs along the River Wharfe where long flat fields are ideal for fast repetitions or fartlek sessions. Each of us wore Yaktrax to ensure we stayed upright.
Leaving the village on a slippery road
Winter wonderland by the River Wharfe, though a bit cold for the
resident Goosanders, Mallard, Heron and Little Grebe
Striding out towards Linton Falls in her Yaktrax
Feed my sheep.......
Linton Parish Church, St Michael and All Angels,
 a place of worship since the 12th century
Gulls on the river by the old corn mill at Linton
The 'Tin bridge' over Linton Falls
The weir above Linton Falls - the farthest point of our run today
Mist rising from the river by Hebden suspension bridge
Stepping stones for those who prefer not to use the bridge
Nearly home after a stonking good run!

Monday 6 December 2010


Last year when people were crawling across the streets of Huddersfield on hands and knees, terrified of standing up on the treacherous black ice, my wonderful partner's Canadian sister-in-law sent me a pair of Yaktrax to hopefully keep me upright. Typically, there was an instant thaw! 
Sunset by Victoria Tower, Castle Hill
So it wasn't until the recent freezing conditions that I was able to give them a test drive. On a day when temperatures plummetted to -18ºC in Yorkshire I strapped them to my Trail shoes and set off across the gleaming white landscape bound for the highest point on the horizon, a place called Castle Hill which, at 900ft above sea level, is where I do most of my repetition runs. I call it altitude training.
I must say the Yaktrax performed far better than I'd expected considering that under my feet was nothing but rock hard shiny snow/ice. I didn't slip once. I was a little frightened they might spring off my Trail shoes when I moved fast but the rubber bindings never moved.
It was wonderful to wander in sub zero temperatures on top of the world, in the shadow of Victoria Tower, with absolutely no fear of slipping or sliding. Whilst many elderly people were afraid to venture outside their warm homes this happy septuagenarian was marvelling at the breathtaking sunset as the great ball of fire gouged a great hole in the western horizon. I like my Yaktrax.

Saturday 4 December 2010

A bit of ice

We drove 'goodness knows how many miles' to Thirsk last Sunday only to be told their 10 mile North of England, Yorkshire and Yorkshire Veterans Championship race had been cancelled. Spit!  I'd rung the organiser on Saturday evening to ask if the course was runnable. He assured me it was and said he'd just run round it to check it out. Furthermore he said it was a good forecast for Sunday in his neck of the woods. And he was right, it was good. There was no more overnight snow, Sunday dawned absolutely beautiful, cloudless skies and roads perfectly clear all the way to the race venue in Thirsk. Perfect racing weather. All systems go, or so we thought....
Some time after I'd phoned it seems the organisers had spotted a bit of ice on some part of the course and the consensus of opinion was that it was too dangerous to race. To say I was livid was an understatement, I'd to drag myself away before I exploded. I'd trained hard for this race, intent on consolidating my position at the top of the 2010 MV75 British 10 mile road race Rankings.  Admittedly, I'm a fell runner so a a few patches of ice might add to the excitement but in no way keeps me from doing what I love doing. Were they frightened of being sued in the event of an accident? Surely not because at the bottom of the Entry Form we all had to sign this:

A bit of ice - up Hebden ghyll
"Declaration – Please enter me for the race as indicated above. I agree that the race organisers will in no way be held responsible for any injury or damage caused to me during the course of the run, and that I am fit and healthy to run".

A much better solution would have been for the organisers to warn runners of any possible danger at whatever point on the course, then left it to the runner's discretion whether to run, or not. Well, that's the way I see it. I certainly would have run.  We drove home disgruntedly, to say the least, and went for a long run up the Ghyll where it was REALLY icy, then out onto the moor before a fast mile down Moor Lane to work things out of our system!
Latest news is that the race date has been re-scheduled to March 20th, 2011. Hope I'm still around to run it!