Monday 14 March 2016

Spring has sprung......

      At long last there was a wee bit of warmth in the sun last weekend, almost shorts weather, except I didn't have them with me. It's time to dig them out, to make sure they still fit before taking them on holiday.  It was still soggy underfoot as we trogged over the moor on Saturday so it wasn't long before socks and feet were soaking wet.
Saturday's route - 7.34 miles/889ft ascent
 The area through which we regularly run is old lead mining country and a glance at the map would frighten many away. Such information as 'Disused Mines', 'Disused Shafts', 'Area of Shake Holes', 'Swallow Hole' and the like can be fairly off-putting. A local lady had the shock of her life when the ground opened up immediately in front of her. Her dog disappeared into the depths never to be seen again. It could so easily have been her.
Dangerous places
We'd barely run a mile when a pair of Curlews flew over us, calling their welcomes - harbingers of Spring. There was total silence from the frog pond but my wonderful partner heard a skylark singing in the distance, way beyond my hearing range. Flappies were performing their aerial acrobatics, as they do, and a Golden Plover was piping away as we approached the Chimney.
Towards the Chimney
 A significant landmark, the Chimney was built to disperse smoke and fumes from the smelt mill to which it was connected by a long flue from some distance away and much lower down.
Crossing the Old Miner's Bridge
We threaded our way through hoardes of people lured from towns and cities with the promise of a fine weekend, crossed the old Miner's Bridge and jogged home, stopping only to photograph Hebden's first lambs of the season.
Hebden's first lambs
Sunday was warmer and even more Spring-like. I'd put a Helly Hansen under my running top but took it off after sniffing the air. One layer was quite enough, and I really wished I'd remembered to bring a pair of shorts.
Mossy Mere overflow
Sunshine had brought frogs to life and there was a heck of a noise going on as I approached their pond. Like trial bikes being revved up. In spite of all the rain nothing is showing but a patch of reeds, but there must be water in there somewhere. Or they're in trouble.
The path by Coalgrove beck below Cupola Corner
Yesterday's skylark had kindly moved to within my range of hearing, stopping me from running (if you could call it that) until he'd poured out his last note. Curlews were my constant companions and as I got nearer to Mossdale Flappies were wheeling around crying pew-wit-pwee-wit-pwee-wit. It sounds far nicer than the red grouse call of go-bak, go-bak, go-bak - but I suppose it means the same thing!
On the Mossdale track
On reaching the bridge at Mossdale a black bird flew up from quite close by. Close enough, in fact, for me to discern a flash of white on its throat. I couldn't believe it. I'd never before spotted a ring ouzel so early in the year. Ian Appleyard, an authority on Ring Ouzels of Hebden Ghyll, gives his first official sighting as March 15th, but that was quite a few years ago, before all the talk of global warming. Last year it was into April when we spotted our first male.
Two bridges at Mossdale - one of them lethal......
I left Mossdale by a rarely used heathery ramp, possibly only known to shepherds, gamekeepers and fell runners for I've never met anyone else on it. It lifted me quickly up to the main track, the homeward trail - and I still had dry feet! The Stone Man came into sight but it looked an awful long way away without my specs, as did everything else. Fortunately, I knew just how far it was and soon reached it.
Breaking into a run - up to the Stone Man
From there on it was a repeat of Saturdays route, past the Chimney, over Coalgrove beck, past the bent tree and down into the ghyll to join the hoardes again making 11.84 miles/1,271ft ascent. Actually, walkers were a bit thin on the ground when I got back. Maybe they were sampling the Clarendon's excellent pub meals before setting off again. 
Lucky beggars!


  1. Good To see Spring is coming to your parts... I drove up to the nek of Sunday and parked the car in the rain! It didn't last long or reach our house, but rain it was... My mountian was cover in mist and the views weren't there! Winter is coming!

    1. I always think your winters are warmer than ours, but it's all relative, I suppose. They'll still feel cold to you. Hope you're soon running up that mountain again. Cheers!

  2. We've had some good days too, it does seem to bring a smile to peoples faces.

    Those lambs look cute,lovely to see. We have some local farms offering lambing days - just right for the coming school Easter holiday!

    Enjoy the rest of your week

    All the best Jan

    1. Those lambs had been playing 'king of the castle' and dashing up and down the field in their own version of the Grand National, really enjoying the sunshine. They give us endless pleasure too - one way or another!
      Enjoy the pageant of Spring.......