Monday 14 November 2011

Cross training

Attermire Scars
    It's more than five weeks since I hit the deck with an almighty thud and heard that ominous crack in my Rt upper rib cage.  It's much less painful now though it still hurts when I sneeze or break into loud guffaws! The swelling on my Lt elbow has disappeared completely, so I'm almost ready to start serious training again. Hope springs eternal or, as old Isaiah put it,
"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint". I like that!
    After four days of thick mist, drizzle and semi-darkness, the sun finally broke through last Saturday to lift our flagging spirits and spur us into action. We'd chosen to do a brisk walk up Penyghent, a 2.273ft hill which, along with its two higher cousins of Whernside and Ingleborough, forms a well known Yorkshire triptych attempted annually by thousands of intrepid walkers and keen fell runners.
Woolly beasties by the Attermires 
    Driving past the Attermires the landscape was bathed in golden light. Wraiths of mist rose like phantoms from a forest of pines. Looking back, as D.H.Lawrence put it 'through the wrong end of the long telescope of time', woolly mammoths, bears, reindeer, ox and rhinocerus roamed this area and sought shelter in the various caves, mainly Victoria cave, where many of their bones were later found. Today's woolly creatures were of a much tamer variety, rain-washed sheep on the high pastures and shaggy highland cattle that lumbered along the moorland road. 
My first 'real' medal
    At such an early hour the old market town of Settle had barely woken up as we passed through, it's square devoid of bikers and Ye Olde Naked Man's door firmly shut. We drove by the Ribble with it's salmon ladders and waterfall leaps, to the village of Horton in Ribblesdale with it's squat Church looking across to the quarry scarred landscape. The Church features on a most prized medal that marks the first of my three MV60 category wins in the annual Three Peaks race, perhaps the proudest moment of my racing career. By comparison my two London medals pale to insignificance.
Penyghent comes into view - briefly
    We parked the car, donned our rucksacks, then strode past Brackenbottom and up steep pastures towards the craggy nose of Penyghent. At the Pennine Way intersection we were enveloped in swirling cloud, so thick that other walkers only metres away became nothing but voices. From here on a little care was needed as clammy moisture made the rocks precariously slippy, though in many places conservation workers have fashioned a functional flight of stone stairs to aid ascent, or descent.
Up the slippery bit
    In little over an hour we reached the shrouded summit where a kind gentleman took a picture of us both at the Trig point. This is noteworthy insomuch as it's probably only the fourth or fifth time we've been photographed together during the whole of our twenty odd year relationship!  It was too cold and windy to hang about at the summit so we descended rapidly for 3 or 400 feet until we popped out below cloud base.
Together at the Trig point
    From here on we strolled at a more leisurely pace enjoying the wild situation, miles from civilisation, with only the calls of grouse or bleating of sheep to break the silence. Black crows stood sentinel on bleak fence posts scanning the moor.      Back in Horton we spurned the delectable delicacies of the Penyghent Cafe for a more frugal snack of malt loaf and cheese - meanwhile discovering our new thermos flask had a serious leak!
    Our six mile circuit had taken 2¾ hours to complete. I find it hard to believe that 16 years ago, in the annual Three Peaks race, I completed the whole 24 mile circuit, with its 4,500ft of ascent, in just 65 minutes more!
   As light relief from running I suppose our walk could loosely be termed 'cross training', which we quite enjoyed, though a little on the slow side and hardly comparable to 'the real thing'.


  1. Great pics, great cross training and great to see the two of you together!

  2. Waiting for my chance to mount up with wings like eagles.

    Great photos, especially the one of the two of you. The wall with Penyghent is nice as well. Since I don't know many of these places you speak of, I should pull out a map and find them.

    Keep getting stronger! You'll be back at it in no time.

  3. It looks like you were climbing a proper mountain!!!!
    It's a funny thing what the years do to us, they make mountains higher and miles longer....

  4. Well done in all your running achievements. You certainly have had great success as a Veteran runner. A great blog!

  5. It looks lovely, and excellent cross-training!