|Top in three out of four 2012 British Track rankings
With another 26 miles in the bank last week I'm now only 40 miles away from that 1,000 mile target I set myself for the year, and there are still six weeks left to achieve it. Not that I'll stop running on reaching the magic figure but if I can resist the lure of faraway hills I'll cut back on mileage and settle for a few shorter, sharp runs over the festive period to draw this year to a close. I'm reasonably happy with performances since turning 80 - being top, or close to the top, of British 2012 rankings over most distances I've run - so I reckon it's time for a recuperative rest period before hopefully winding things up again next year.
Since last Friday I've been a little below par and feeling under the weather. I'm not absolutely sure why but I'm blaming a flu jab - though it's never affected me before in all the years I've been having it. Perhaps this last one was a particularly powerful strain they pumped into me, a combination of bird flu, piggy flu and maybe rhinoceros flu for all I know. There was something fishy about it too. When I rang for an appointment there was a lot of hesitation at the other end of the phone before I was eventually given a date and time.
|Where I ran on Sunday - over the top of this Flue to the Chimney.......
When I arrived, at 8.40 in the morning, I was the only one there, so it wasn't your normal flu clinic where people are nipping in and out, one every few minutes. I'd been conned! Besides my annual flu jab I suspect the nurse had been instructed to corner me for a routine blood pressure check, something I'm reluctant to have done and usually refuse. My BP is invariably sky high. The nurse gets twitchy and consults the doctor. Between them they try to put me on some form of medication - which I always refuse. "I'll go for a run" I tell them, "that'll bring it down". In spite of this constant refusal to take medication, they never stop trying. It's their job, I suppose.
Luckily, I'd clocked up 19 miles before the weekend so it didn't really matter that I hardly moved out of my rocking chair for the whole of Saturday, except to make endless cups of tea or coffee to flush the system - which they certainly did! It was well into Sunday afternoon before I forced myself out of the house for a steady run up onto Grassington Moor. If you could call it a run, more of a jog really - taking over 80 minutes for the seven mile circuit. But half of it was uphill. And I was taking photographs, of nice things and nasty things.
|past Coalgrove reservoir......
My bumbly route took me through the relics of old lead mine workings as I ran along the top of an old flue leading to the tall chimney that once released fumes from the smelt mill, past Coalgrove reservoir whose water was used to turn a 15m diameter water wheel, then farther onto the moor where I peered into the remains of an old building I've often passed on my way to Blea Ghyll. From henceforth I shall refer to it as the Charnel House for a corner of it was heaped with rotted down corpses of various birds and animals that had most likely met their doom by the slaughtering guns or myriad traps of our local gamekeepers. Along with plastic bags of other corpses, spent cartridges, empty cans and food wrappings, it was a most unpleasant place and I was glad to get back into the fresh air of the open moor.
|.....to the Charnel House.
The sun was setting as I left the moor and ran back down the ghyll at a leisurely pace. A cloud of jackdaws had returned from their wanderings and were wheeling over Hebden Crag, sounding to be having a good old blather before settling down to roost. They'd spent all day feeding in faraway fields whilst I was eagerly looking forward to a veritable feast of succulent roast lamb and vegetables, bakewell tart with lashings of cream - not to mention a glass or two of choice Australian Shiraz - before settling down for the night. Every now and again I try totting up all my blessings, but whether it's an age thing, or whether there are just too many, I'm not sure, but I'm forever losing count!