|Crossing the retaining wall into wild country...(Click to enlarge)|
It was cold, cloudy and blowing an 11 mph sou'westerly as we set off up the crag path, pushing aside
head high bracken as we laboured skywards towards Scar Top House. Unlike the previous week when I'd been running topless in 75º I'd donned tight shorts, thermal top and a buff as the temperature dropped down the scale. On the exposed open moor I was wishing I'd brought gloves too! The path along the holding wall of Mossy Mere was once a joy to run, or linger along while watching the sun set over the water, but is barely traceable now in a riot of reeds. Running was reduced to a jog, or even a walk in denser areas - a portent of things to come. After crossing the dam's outflow a machete would have been handy to hack a way through bracken, thistles and nettles to the stile beyond - the climbing of which proved to be one of the easier parts of the route so far.
|Through tall thistles and dense reeds|
|The three stone men of Bolton Ghyll...and a threatening sky|
A Plan B came into operation. Or was it Plan C? We struck N.E. running parallel to the stream
that feeds the ghyll, through a vast bog known as The Wolf. I've no idea why it's called The Wolf. Maybe it was once clothed in sheep - but there were none to be seen as we battled through. I reckon they'd more sense. Due to the nature of our wild routes we're all too familiar with sphagnum moss but The Wolf has its very own variety in the form of two feet high hummocks which we'd to either circumnavigate or stride over with knees to chin. We were supposed to be running but The Wolf had other ideas.
|Showing the strain already - and I'd only run two miles!|
|It was fun running through these...|
Storm debris was left behind as we climbed onto a ridge
running parallel to a beck known as the Deep Cut for a mile or so across Grassington
Moor. There was once a good sheep trod along here that was easy to run but it's totally disappeared under rampant heather and grassy tussocks that reduced us to a very slow jog. It's strange, since we fellrunners stopped using the trod, sheep have abandoned it too. Shortly, there was yet another fast flowing beck to cross, and yet again the midstream boulders had been forced into different positions that called for some nifty footwork to gain the far bank dryshod. In my dotage I'm not very good at balancing and have toppled into the river on more than one occasion! But this time I was lucky.
|Climbing onto the ridge...Grassington Moor|
|Completing her navigational exercise. Time to go home...Thank God!|
I stretched, gave my legs a load of Stick before relaxing with two mugs of exceedingly strong coffee - Italian, of course - and silently vowed that next time U3A walking routes are due for submission I'll dig out my ear plugs and bury my nose in whatever book lies closest to hand. All in all we'd covered just over nine miles, with 967ft of ascent, but I'll refrain from mentioning how long it took us. It brought my total mileage for the week to around 24 which I'm completely happy with. Next Sunday my wonderful partner will be engaged in National Park duties so no chance of being coerced into any more madcap meanderings, luckily for me.....