It started raining on Friday evening, driven by a fierce westerly wind that rattled the Holly bush and arm wrestled the Silver Birch. It continued all weekend until the Wharfe burst its banks, flooding fields and footpaths. Hills were cloaked in grey mist, streets deserted and smoke blowing in the lane as we stoked our fire against the dank chill. The only time we ventured out was to bring in more coal, more logs. Then, as we lay in bed on Sunday night, stars appeared one by one through gaps in the cloud and an almost full moon sailed majestically past our window, its silvery light creeping stealthily across the room, across our bed. What bliss. The storm was over.
On Monday morning after three days of slothful inactivity the temptation to lace up my Trail shoes and go for a run was irresistable. I'd mileage to make up so I opted for a favourite ten mile route along the riverbank to Barden Bridge - and back. The temperature had risen to double figures. Blackbirds were churning out their melodious tunes as if it were Spring. Mallard must have thought likewise for most of them were already paired, ducks bedazzled by the drake's gaudy plumage.
Water levels had dropped considerably though the river was still in noisy spate. The path on which I was running to Barden had dried out remarkably fast. I waved to a heron that flapped lazily upstream on umbrella wings but, except for a neighbour with her dog and a friendly farmer at Woodhouse, there was nary a soul to be seen along the whole stretch of river to Barden Bridge. To find a better viewpoint for a picture of the bridge I decided to cross it. That done, and still feeling strong, I continued running for another mile, as far as the next bridge at roughly six miles.
This was a bit farther than my computer brain had been programmed for, but I was enjoying it. The sun was out and I could feel it's wondrous warmth on my body as I turned for home with only my silent shadow for company. Hebden beck was still in spate as I crossed my last bridge by the Fish Farm.
My Garmin recorded 12.05 miles. It had taken 2 hours 8 minutes, not a great rate of knots but all the more enjoyable for taking time to absorb all the unfolding miracles of a rather magical day.