Monday 27 October 2014

Making friends with rabbits.......

As if I'd any choice....on the road to Castle Hill (Click to enlarge)
      What I remember most about last week was the wind, particularly on Tuesday morning when the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo came hurtling across Yorkshire at a great rate of knots. "You're a very brave man" one of the morning dog walkers shouted above the roar as he battled his way along the lane at low level. I was jogging home after a series of loops around the leeward end of Castle Hill. On the exposed side it was impossible to run a straight line along the path. I tried but was blown all over the place and decided that, fun though it might be, once was enough. It brought to mind an ascent to the CIC Hut on Ben Nevis along an icy path in a raging blizzard when, in spite of being weighed down with a heavy rucksack, the gale was constantly blowing me off my feet and smashing me to the ground. I arrived at the hut feeling like I'd fought ten rounds with Muhammad Ali. Another frighted soul sought shelter in the hut after his Force Ten tent had been ripped apart. Gonzalo was a summer breeze compared to that.
       The next two mornings were relatively calm but cloudy and cold with none of those fiery heart lifting sunrises to get me 
Fancy a race then mate?
Battling against the wind back o' Grim'ith.....
reaching for my camera. Dog walkers had either stayed low or stayed in bed. Resident rabbits were still unchased and stayed at their feeding grounds each time I passed. A kestrel hovering by the tower was hunting smaller prey and a buzzard mewing somewhere in the distance was too far away to cause alarm. I wondered whether rabbits are intelligent enough to distinguish between friends and enemies? Whether they've grown accustomed to the crazy figure who jogs past them on numerous circuits of the hill and no longer view him as a threat? I'd like to think so. Likewise with the beasties that graze the lower fields through which I run. Certainly the young calves aren't as skittish now, their mums just stand and stare and the old bull probably has other things on his mind.
      Each of those three morning sessions put a little over five miles in the bank - far enough for an old codger to run before breakfast with just a coffee and biscuit inside him. Two more runs at the weekend brought the weekly total to a fairly respectable 24 miles. Saturday's run was an exploratory 5 miles to Grassington bridge, and back, to determine what state field paths had deteriorated to after some persistent rain. The answer: a muddy mess, worse in fact than we'd ever seen them before. We wont be running that route again for quite some time. Probably not until Spring. Sunday's run was a flattish 4 mile circuit of Grimwith reservoir that nearly didn't happen.
Autumn tints where Blea beck flows into Grimwith...
       I'd returned home in the morning frozen to the marrow after our Chapel heating had failed. And whilst Communion elements of bread and wine might refresh the soul their combined calories raise the temperature of the body not the slightest fraction of a degree. So it was lunchtime, and several cups of coffee later, before I'd thawed out sufficiently to face those other elements of wind and water round the exposed shores of Grimwith reservoir. And oh boy, was it windy. Scudding sail-boarders were just a coloured blur on a picture I took of them. Sailing dinghies were constantly keeling over and it couldn't have been much fun dragging wet sails from the water, righting the boat and getting under way only for the process to be repeated again, and again. In the chill buffeting wind I was glad I was a runner and relatively dry, and even more glad when the day's run was over. Having put back the clocks, meaning summertime is officially over, it felt wonderful to enjoy a long relaxed evening by a warm fire with a glass of wine to hand and nothing more taxing than a crossword, codeword or good book to while away the hours.


  1. I think 24 miles in a week is excellent! never mind 'old codger' I only manage 15 -18 and I am a young[er] codger!
    I don't fancy your chances against the bull though and the rabbits carry on chewing as I run past. The sheep are the worst they are indignant and either poo or pee as I pass.
    Hurricane Gonzo missed us down here, good job as I was teaching kids to ride bikes that day!!!!
    Keep on running as always - I enjoy reading of your adventures and as always huge respect for you :-)
    Ian B

    1. 24 miles is unusual for me Ian. I try to average 3 miles per day (21 miles/week) but often struggle with that. I'm very much ruled by the weather, more so now I'm never in serious training for anything!
      Whatever the weather, have a good week.....

  2. I also saw a rabbit on my run on sunday.... It was on the Lawn outside someones house...

    1. Lol....I used to eat rabbits regularly in the bad old days, now I leave them for the local foxes. Steak is nowadays the norm, a fact of which those frolicking Charolais calves and their big daddy (above) are blissfully ignorant!

  3. Another interesting read Boothy. Good to see you're still in shorts - be in a vest too if the forecast for the weekend is correct!

  4. Hi Dave, I changed into 'tight shorts' last weekend - now it's come warm again! Started out through the clag in a lightweight rainproof jacket this morning but soon took it off, it was just too warm for comfort. And they're forecasting around 64º for tomorrow. Ah well, it's a rest day tomorrow. Bring on the steak!
    Happy running....

  5. Enjoy your steak - but don't let that big bull find out!!

  6. "Having put back the clocks, meaning summertime is officially over, it felt wonderful to enjoy a long relaxed evening by a warm fire with a glass of wine to hand and nothing more taxing than a crossword, codeword or good book to while away the hours."

    Sounds an excellent way to spend an evening.

    All the best Jan