|Shooters in the ghyll|
We'd a guard of honour as we trotted up the ghyll on Saturday, or so you'd have thought. The shooters were out again, a score or so of them stationed at various points up the beck and only yards away from the track. We were totally ignored as they blasted over our heads at pheasants driven from cover thick and fast. I dared hardly look up in case I got an eye full of lead shot, but on the few occasions I did it struck me that these were indeed wise birds as they flew high and fast, mostly out of range of gunshot. I never saw one fall. Not that I'm saying 'hurrah' to this, nobody enjoys pheasant more than I do (not to mention the nice red wine that accompanies it), but just occasionally I'm on the side of the birds.
|Approaching the start of our measured mile|
We continued on our way, albeit a little faster, in temperatures bordering on freezing but feeling more like 3º below in the nithering wind-chill. We'd set off to do a repeat of the measured mile down Moor Lane and after last week's poor performances we were determined to 'give it some welly'. The rough ground was frosted and a bit more conducive to running as I set off from our little cairn at what I considered optimum pace. I got it a tiny bit wrong and was slowing towards the finish, but that couldn't cloud my delight when I glanced at the watch and discovered I'd run the mile in 7.09 - some 43 seconds faster than last week. My wonderful partner's 8.34 was also a wee bit faster, so we jogged home happily and relaxed for the rest of the day.
|On my way to a 7.09 mile down Moor Lane|
Sunday dawned sunny and frosty with lots of blue sky, so whilst my wonderful partner roamed around Barden Moor on National Park duty I set off on a gentle run to Thorpe and Burnsall, returning along the river. I say 'gentle' because I was nursing a tight hamstring that was pulling a bit towards the back of my left knee, so I'd taken 75mgm of Voltarol (anti-inflammatory) before I set off. I'd noticed a slight pain three days previously while doing a a set of 200m reps on Castle Hill, but it didn't get any worse so I'd chosen to ignore it. There was little discomfort as I crossed the river and jogged uphill through frozen fields to the sleepy little hamlet of Thorpe. Of all the times I've run through here I've only once met an inhabitant, a friendly farmer who poked his head from the byre and asked if I'd like a drink of water as I sweated past. He obviously thought I needed one!
|Leaving Thorpe - the lane towards Burnsall|
Leaving Thorpe I'd a wonderful run past woods and mossy limestone walls, through open fields, across a stream and over a dozen stiles to the popular Dales village of Burnsall where I joined the river path towards Hebden. A young girl caught me up and I managed to stay with her just long enough to learn she'd run all the way from Silsden and heading into Grassington, a distance of around 18 miles. She was still maintaining a fast pace that I could only match for a couple of hundred metres or so before letting her go. Or maybe she was purposely showing me a clean pair of heels, not wishing to be shown up running with a decrepit octogenarian!
All in all it was a good week, 21 miles of reasonable running made all the more enjoyable by the appearance of the sun and some better underfoot conditions. But even as I write this, snow is falling quite heavily and the world outside my window has turned a deathly shade of white. Now then, where did I put my Yaktrax?
PS. I got a wee mention in Northern Runner's Guide last week - but you'll have to read quite a way down before you come to me!