Tuesday 3 January 2012

Happy New Year

The Wharfe in spate
    The weather is still up to its old tricks. For the past couple of weeks, at least, Britain has been a drab and dreary place. And still we have dire warnings of gale force winds, torrential rain, hail, sleet and snow continuing well into the New Year. Trees and overhead power lines have been brought down, disrupting public transport, while many homes are without electricity. Water is pouring off the hills, fields are saturated, the River Wharfe is a whirling brown maelstrom. While travelling on the Ilkley bus we'd to hurriedly lift our feet when water came rushing inside as we negotiated a flooded section of road near Linton.
     A final run of the old year had me slithering all over the place during a five mile effort through quagmire fields to Grassington Bridge and back. The effort required, just to stay upright, was so exhausting that for the first time ever I'd to walk the final hill back into the village.  Glad I'm not running in the Yorkshire X-Country Championships this coming Saturday! 
Running out the old year
     New Year's Eve celebrations were somewhat subdued. A running friend who'd invited us to share 'nibbles' and drinks was struck down with a stomach bug a few hours before the chimes so, after our traditional Hogmanay supper of haggis, tatties and neeps - not to mention a wee dram - we quietly saw in the New Year alone.  How different from days gone by when we'd stream out of Gerry's hostel at Achnashellach and into the warmth of Katie Ann's cottage for untold hours of music, song and jollity at a good old Scottish ceilidh. Later, we'd finish up dancing in the road, everywhere sparkling with frost, stripping the willow in a starlit ballroom. Those were the days. I think!
     The first day of the New Year, being a Sunday, coincided with the annual Covenant Service at our Methodist Chapel, for which I was on duty both as steward and reader. It began at 9am, so it was just as well I hadn't been dancing the night away. A part of the sermon that caught my attention concerned the three wise men traversing countless miles across trackless desert, without the aid of maps or satnav, to the town of Bethlehem.  "In those dim distant days travellers had to navigate by the stars" our Minister said. On my way out I suggested if we'd had to rely on stars this Christmas we wouldn't have got very far out of the village!
The Wharfe at Linton Falls
     After the sloshing through fields fiasco of yesteryear I resolved to henceforth keep to roads and tracks until such time as the landscape has dried out. So, sensing a short weather window after Chapel, I set off on what should have been a pleasant six mile jog to Appletreewick, then back along the mainly gravelly path by the swollen River Wharfe. All was going well until, just before the suspension bridge, I was greeted by a loose dog which, by way of saying Hello, ripped a hole in my best Gore running tights at the top of my thigh. Had it's teeth struck a few inches to the right, things could have been far worse! He was a beautiful looking dog. Shame he had such an irresponsible owner. Perhaps by way of consolation, she assured me she'd have harsh words with her very naughty doggy. I departed quickly, counting up to ten, before letting out a loud stress relieving Aaaarrrggh!
     So, a bit of a curate's egg really, some good bits, some bad, which I suppose is what the rest of the year will be like. A Very Happy New Year to all my Blogger friends and visitors.


  1. Oh no! That dog bite sounds nasty. It's the one disadvantage of running on paths and trails is that I get nervous of the many large dogs. Take care in this dreadful weather (we've got it in the South too!).

  2. I see a dog coming, I just stop. They'll invariably chase a runner, but have no interest in a still person. Course the ones that worry me are the ones I don't see coming. Hope you don't need a doctor, runningfox.

  3. Sorry about the dog attack! You are a better man than me because I would have called animal control and they would have impounded the dog and fined the owner!

    I used to be like you until I was attacked by three pit bulls who seriously tried to kill me. They had been set lose by their "owner" with a large chunk of raw meat on a country road I run on. When they saw me, they attacked!! I was bitten once just below the knee, but because of my Gortex pants they were not able to get a grip to disable me and bring me to the ground.

    They won the battle, but let's just say I ended up winning the war as country justice prevailed in the end.

  4. Summer roles on here in Cape Town, so if you want great weather this is the place to be...

    I alway thing ever dog is out to get me, so I often stop and say HI so they don't have a chance to attack.

    But then on the mountian it's really to hot for doys so I don't really see any up there.

  5. Looking at your pictures makes me want to travel overseas and run where you run!! Even on your dreary days. It looks so beautiful.
    Take care.

    My Running Shortz

  6. Happy New Year.

    All the best for 2012.

  7. You might not be able to see by the stars, but you have a full moon tonight! Sometimes those are hard to see through the fog here, as well.

    Hope the dog is not a telling of things to come this year. I hate to admit it, but I pick up rocks- when the owners are not with the dogs. If the owner is there, shame on him/her!