Monday 17 March 2014

Blackthorn winter.....

Wednesday, bright blossom and blue sky on Castle Hill..
       It seems likely my actual running activities are going to be put on hold for several weeks but if I can think of anything running related that might be of interest I'll try to keep my blog active and updated. Though I've been mainly winding down, relaxing, putting my brain into neutral, I managed three enjoyable runs last week amounting to a healthy 19 miles. The first two, a six and a five, were run in warm Spring sunshine and it felt really good to be running in shorts and vest again. The third, an eight miler on Sunday, was totally different. The dreaded blackthorn winter had set in.  We'd awakened to blue sky, a few fluffy clouds and a gentle breeze twangling the wind chimes below our window. Gulls and geese were already about their business and having a few arguments by the sound of them. By breakfast time the breeze had become a jostling wind, the sun went back to bed under a thick blanket of cloud, mercury dropped and barometers heralded the return of low pressure. After jogging round the village delivering Parish newsletters my wonderful partner was glad to get back to a hot shower and reviving mug of coffee. 
       Realising it would be my last run for quite some time I forced myself into running gear, pressed the Start button on my Garmin
Blackthorn - harbinger of cold weather....
and set off up the ghyll with no idea where I was heading. I just kept going.  I'd been advised to stay low but felt I needed something more challenging - and I certainly got it!  Some first early primroses peeped from their bright green foliage to cheer me up the lower part of the ghyll. At Hole Bottom new born lambs were staggering after their mums on wobbly legs. At Cupola Corner a skylark was in full song as it soared higher and higher, regardless of wind that had reached gale force away from the confines of the ghyll. I was lucky at that stage, the blast was behind me as I jogged onto the open moor, though it froze the back of my neck.   My brain was on automatic pilot, my senses acutely attuned to everything around me. Golden plovers piped their plantive notes, staking claims to prospective breeding plots. Startled grouse flew low to more substantial cover. And all the time the wind grew stronger and colder. On turning uphill following a faint sheep trod it struck me full frontal.  My eyes watered and I struggled to maintain any forward momentum towards an unnamed pothole I use as a marker at around 1,500ft on Bycliffe Hill. My chest felt it had a block of ice inside it, my bare legs were tingling cold but, strangely, I felt incredibly exhilarated having reached a real high - in more ways than one.

Sunday, all doom and gloom looking back down Grassington Moor.....
     Photographs were out of focus because I couldn't hold the camera still! Also, my camera has an aversion to really cold weather and refuses to open up. I gave up trying. At the Stone man I could hardly stand up but lingered a couple of minutes, savouring the experience. From there it was a bare couple of hundred metres downhill to the lee of a long wall leading to less windy conditions in the ghyll. As my body warmed up again my stride became more fluent and over the last three miles my feet hardly touched the ground, or so it felt. Quite unexpectedly I returned home a very happy runner indeed, refreshed and invigorated, as if my old body had undergone a thorough Spring clean. No records were broken. It was all about enjoyment....
       Later, in Church that afternoon, our minister referred to a passage from Genesis I'd just read for her, when God told Abram "to go to a land I will show you".   "I wonder if Gordon on some of his runs ever gets to places he hadn't intended to go?" she pondered.
       Funny she should say that!


  1. "Quite unexpectedly I returned home a very happy runner indeed, refreshed and invigorated, as if my old body had undergone a thorough Spring clean. No records were broken. It was all about enjoyment...."

    Yes it is about enjoyment and I enjoy reading your blog and looking at your fantastic photographs. I can almost breath in that lovely fresh air. Thank you

    All the best Jan

    1. There seemed to be an awful lot of 'fresh air' that day Jan - and it worked wonders. Can't wait to get up there again....

  2. Love those beautiful spring pics!

    1. Thanks Barbara. I used to love the pictures on your blog too. Time you resurrected it!

  3. You really have perfect surroundings for running and taking photos. How will you manage not to run for a few weeks?!

    1. That's the trouble Liz, the more I can't run, the more I want to run......