Monday 26 November 2012

Rain, rain, go away....

The Wharfe in spate - yet again.....
   Over the past few days the country has taken an awful battering as severe storms and torrential rain turned low lying floodplains into vast muddy lakes. Hundreds of homes have been flooded with evil smelling water, cars swept away, major roads made impassable, many trees brought down and, sadly, two people are reported killed. As I write this, heavy rain is still splattering against my study windows and the surrounding landscape has disappeared into a misty gloom. It's almost dark outside though it's still only early afternoon. All very depressing.

   Reading various Forums, it seems there are runners who actually enjoy being out in wind and rain. Some more macho types even prefer it, or so they say. I'll freely admit, I'm not one of them. The type of terrain I run over can be dangerous enough without the further hazard of rain spattered, steamed up spectacles. Many's the time I've kitted up ready for a run, only to notice splashes of rain on the stone flags which has rapidly made me change my mind. As I've got older suchlike 'exhilarating' conditions no longer appeal to me and I've become very much a fine weather runner.

...but some early blossom in Burnsall
   Anyway, in spite of all the elemental chaos throughout the country I managed to find enough weather windows to churn out another 24 miles - though the squelchy, energy sapping conditions have left me feeling totally knackered! On Friday an alternative way home after a set of intervals on Castle Hill turned out to be far worse than the normal route, an ankle deep muddy morass for the total length of quite a large field. I'll swear the cows were laughing at me as I dragged my feet from the glutinous mire to get past them. I wont go that way again!
   While driving to Hebden on Saturday morning the temperature gauge registered a chilly 0°C. Black ice made walking hazardous across the car park outside the Farm Shop where we stopped for meat. Thick fog blanketed all the low lying land but on the hills above Haworth wind turbines were turning majestically against a glorious blue sky. Perfect weather for running - so long as we stayed high. 
Why I'd difficulty finding the trod across Grassington moor on Saturday
After two cups of strong coffee and a couple of calorie filled buns I plodded up the ghyll, where a line of shooters by the beck blasted pheasants out of the air above me, and upwards to the welcome silence of Grassington Moor.  I'd difficulty following a faint 'trod' that has almost disappeared as it threads its way across the boggy landscape to Bycliffe Hill. Either the sheep are not doing their job properly or I'm not running it often enough. A huge shakehole I passed still has a colony of rabbits living in its subterranean passageways, which I was glad to see. The sky darkened and storm clouds appeared on the horizon as I bombed down the long wall back into the ghyll. A couple of young lads on a quad bike, checking traps for our local keeper, shouted a greeting and told me I was looking good, which was heartening. Back in the ghyll I found myself racing another quad bike, this time a shepherd and his young son, who provided a rare bit of competition as I sped ahead of them down the rocky track to open gates. Back home my Garmin registered 7.94 miles with 898ft of ascent - so quite a good work-out before the rains came.

Stirring the Christmas puds..... 
   On Sunday I'd an easy run around Burnsall to see how high the river had risen before attending Church in hopes of acquiring some badly needed God-given strength to help me through the coming week!  In Anglican Churches the last Sunday before the season of Advent, as everyone knows (?), is Stir-up Sunday, traditionally a day when we mix our Christmas puddings, make secret wishes while stirring them and hide coins in the mixture to bring good fortune to anyone who happens to crack their teeth on one. Maybe our Minister was unaware of this for there was no mention of it at our afternoon service. He arrived a little late and treated us to a stirring rendering of Zadok the Priest from his CD player whilst leant on a warm radiator probably pondering the finer points of the sermon he was about to deliver. Back home, my wonderful partner knew all about Stir-up Sunday and dutifully mixed the twelve calorie filled ingredients, with a generous fortifying splash of rather nice cognac, which we stirred in turn while making our wishes.  Christmas can't come soon enough.


  1. No stiring of Christmas Pud for us, Dawn just went out and bought one!!! (From the charity she was working at)

    I am one of those people who love running on the mountain in the wild weather we can have in Cape Town, and while summer is well on it's way on Saturday you might have thought other wise! The Cape of Storms was living up to her name. And it was exciting to be running on the mountain.

    All that said I can't wait for a hot day so I can steal a swim in the dams!!!

  2. Hi Gordon,I loved reading about your wet weather/rough terrain runs as I recover from my 36C/high humidity efforts the last few days. And it is not yet really into our respective winter/summer seasons yet,so can we really expect things to improve? I don't think so.
    For your interest,we have just had a young lady named Norma Wallett and aged 83yrs old race the track 5Km in Canberra in a time of 31m11.58s,an Age% of 95%.Not bad eh!