Monday 28 November 2011

A wild weekend

Burnsall and the River Wharfe
     Wild, wet, windy and bitterly cold would be an apt description of last weekend's weather. The storm was building up to gale force as we drove back home from Knaresborough on Saturday afternoon, bending  trees and buffeting our poor little car as we drove with dipped headlights through the misty and inhospitable hilltop village of Greenhow. It was a relief to get indoors, stoke up the stove and warm our hands around a mug of hot tea.  I couldn't help thinking about an intrepid walking acquaintance of mine, Alan Sloman, who was planning to camp with friends, and a dog, high on the slopes of Ingleborough. With winds gusting to 75mph throughout Yorkshire I somehow think there may have been a change of plan so can't wait for him to update his excellent and entertaining Blog to find out what really happened!
Riverside path - a delight to run
     We didn't sleep much on Saturday night, or Sunday morning, as rain rattled against our window like beads of slingshot. Come morning, the sky had cleared to a brilliant blue but there was still a vicious wind. Anxious to start building up mileage again I'd planned an eight mile route, half of which was on tarmac, as far as Howgill, and the rest along a very puddly riverbank back to Hebden. That way I wouldn't get my feet wet until turning for home!  I was accompanied by my wonderful partner who hates wind at the best of times but positively loathes it when it's freezing cold and gusting to umpteen miles per hour. I can tell you, this was a run she didn't enjoy!
The New Inn at Appletreewick
     There are three well known refreshment stops on this route, the Craven Arms and New Inn at Appletreewick and the Red Lion in Burnsall, which together attract hoardes of thirsty walkers at all times of year. There were no signs of life at any of them as we ran past on this wild morning, no cars or anyone sat outside at picnic tables gazing at the glorious landscape while quaffing a good old pint of Yorkshire brew. It was a good time to photograph these famous hostelries - if only I could hold the camera still enough! Even the New Inn appeared to be keeling over in the wind!
Pat Proudfoot's memorial
     Turning towards home we ran past Pat Proudfoot's memorial, an 18 year old member of Bradford sub-aqua club who saw in the year 1960 underwater in the River Wharfe but sadly died 5 months later. In the twenty or so years I've regularly passed this way her plaque has always been marked with flowers. The path through Howgill Wood required care as it was thick with fallen leaves that hid jutting rocks and raised tree roots. A shooting party was bagging pheasants across the river - or trying to. In today's wind I reckoned there might be a fair bit of deflection that would work in favour of the flushed birds.
Hebden suspension bridge
     The cold blast stung our faces and blew us about as it funnelled straight towards us down the swollen river.  In an elemental sort of way I was enjoying the experience of battling against it, though wishing I'd brought along a thermal hat and gloves. Next time! Hebden's rickety old suspension bridge was swaying a bit as we dashed across before climbing the final hill back into the village to complete a hard won but stimulating run.  I was happy to be back up to eight miles though my wonderful partner, being of slender frame and therefore buffetted around a fair bit more than me in the draughty conditions, finished quite exhausted. Hopefully the weather will be a little more clement when I go for the ten.


  1. That wind sounds nasty - we had a windy day on saturday but not as bad as that. It sounds as though we are increasing long runs and mileage at a similar rate - you may well run further than me this week! I'm looking forward to a 10-mile run soon too!

  2. Glad you are recovering nicely from the rib injuries, and managing to up the mileage. I have been under physio's orders to keep my distances down at just 1km while I ease myself back after my calf injury - which was actually a blessed relief this weekend, as I hurdled broken off tree branches, and ducked for shelter against the gusts!

  3. A challenging run. Well done getting out there!

  4. Seems to me like that zip is coming back to you! Great photos and wonderful blog as always!

  5. It was bit breezy, ol' chap! But some of us did okay but retreating to a warm house with a woodburning stove on Saturday was rather nice! Sounds like you are doing okay too. That's good to hear.
    Yes, I made it through the draw again and so this will be the... I've lost count now... seventeenth?

  6. The trail looks lovely. Is that a style going over a fence? The water looks swift right now.
    A suspension bridge would be fun too.

    Your partner and I have something in common. We both could do without wind :)

    Glad you are on the mend. Keep on increasing safely!

  7. The wind can blow in cape Town

  8. Just beautiful! Sounds like a fantastic time, in spite of the winds.

  9. I've run in a lot of wind lately and chilly weather, too. Sure makes the workout harder, but I do like running beside rivers!