Monday 16 July 2012

Wild runner

I'll go with that.....
The wild unsettled weather continued throughout last week producing a somewhat wild but determined runner. On Monday, a day after the Kilburn race, I dragged weary legs around the six miles of the Appletreewick circular on what was planned as a recovery run, but sloshing through muddy puddles along the riverbank and spending a long time chatting to local character Geoff Lund (whose atmospheric pictures illustrate the book 'Yorkshire Dales Stone-waller) in Burnsall. By the time I reached the swaying suspension bridge at Hebden a coach-load of hikers were lining up and crossing it - and I was at the back. My annoyance must have brought on a rush of adrenalin for on reaching the far bank all the stiffness left my legs and I absolutely flew up the steep hill back into the village. It was the best I'd felt all day. Excluding stop time I'd clocked 6 miles in 58 minutes.
Tuesday was a none-day running-wise. Part of the route has been churned into such a boggy morass by farm beasties that I was quite unable to find a way past without sinking up to my knees.  I aborted after only ½ mile, returned home and mowed the lawns instead; surely the shortest run I've done in years! 1 mile in 10 minutes
On Thursday I jogged up and around Castle Hill with the intention of doing 12 x 200m fast repetitions on the flat sumnmit, but my mind was so engrossed with the wonderful scenery illuminated by rare sunshine that I completely lost count. My Garmin later revealed I'd done fifteen reps averaging 42 seconds each. Altogether, 7 miles in 71 minutes.

Spectators on Grassington Moor
Weekends are when I run in some of the wilder, more scenic parts of the Yorkshire Dales where I rarely meet another soul. A circuit via Bare House, another seven miler, was my chosen route on Saturday. Prior to this run I'd been watching a video of Kenyans training in the village of Iten and was impressed by their relaxed easy style, keeping the same cadence throughout.  For the first three miles to the top of Yarnbury Lane, all uphill, I found it hard to emulate them, but persevered, though at times I must have sounded like a clapped out old donkey. The next four miles down springy turf, through limestone pastures and grassy meadows with panoramic views across the dale to Pendle Hill and Rolling Gate were more relaxed and it was a very contented runner that returned home after 77 minutes of delightful running.
Wild runner in a wild landscape - passing Blea Beck dams on Sunday
Sunday's run was yet another seven miler up Hebden Ghyll, over Grassington Moor, alongside Blea Beck dams, over Hebden Moor past Grimwith reservoir and Backstone Edge, then home by the fish farm in Hebden Ghyll. This wasn't a training run, just a means of getting out into the fresh air and re-acquainting myself with an area I hadn't visited for many a month. 

Grimwith reservoir

There were changes. Local gamekeepers have built three well constructed shooting butts alongside the biggest of the dams at Blea Beck, though I can't imagine why. Rarely have I seen any wildfowl in that vicinity, the odd Canada Goose, an occasional Teal nesting among the reeds, but nothing to justify the expense of that lavish equipment. Beyond the dams many parts of the track have been churned up by mountain bikers and farmers' quad bikes. My feet sank deep into saturated sphagnum moss, a quite exquisite sensation on a warm summer day though something to loathe in winter. Other parts of the track were completely flooded after heavy rainfall. After circumnavigating the worst parts, stopping umpteen times to stand and stare, or take photographs, it was 95 minutes before I eventually set foot in the house again to round off a 28 mile week. I wonder why I'm aching so much?


  1. Absolutely love your blog! Beautiful scenery. Great running week.

  2. Fantastic! I used to live on the Lancashire side of the moors, near Oldham, so these type of views are very familiar. I wish I could find similar routes here!

  3. I've been out of internet action for awhile but have just read your report on the Kilburn race and your wild running! Well done - a good category win on what sounded like a tough enough course...

  4. You had an amazing week! I need to start including speed reps in my weekly workouts. Our weather in Victoria BC hasn't been idyllic either, but it doesn't sound as bad as yours. Hopefully that improves for you soon. Love the pictures, as always AND the Kara quote, too.
    My Running Shortz