No, nothing to do with age (though exactly four times that) but the number of miles in the bank last week - which isn't bad considering I'd had my latest eye operation only the week before. 21 is my preferred optimum, an average of 3 miles per day, though with increasing age it becomes a little harder to achieve. Belief is what it takes, as in the quote below by the most famous sportsman of all time, Muhammad Ali. Never, ever, say you can't...
. Three miles on Thursday and four on Friday were what I call bread and butter runs taken early morning over Castle Hill. The latter was superb with a cloudless sky, woods alive with birdsong, a cuckoo calling incessantly, rabbits playing tig in the early sun and the clearest of views all around.
At 6am I was surprised to find another bearded gentleman running circuits round the hill but was so engrossed in what was blasting through his earphones that it was impossible to communicate with him. Sad really......
Saturday was another glorious day giving the impression summer really had arrived. We opted for a gentle run along part of Hebden Parish boundary - the whole 15 miles of which we're planning to walk as a group next weekend. It's rough country with some serious ascents so will need to be reasonably fit to see it through.
The section we tackled on Saturday climbed to a mere 951ft, from the bank of the River Wharfe to where the boundary crosses Blea Beck high on Grassington Moor, way short of next weeks total.
Cloudless skies prevailed and it was dry under foot, a rare luxury amongst the bog cotton and ankle twisting tussocks of Sand Haw Moss. It felt good to be running in shorts again with studs on my feet and wings on my heels - the freedom of the hills shared with curlews and lapwings, snipe and grouse, redshank and happy little skylarks singing as they rose into the blue.
Lunch at Blea Beck was nothing more than a Brunch Bar (we'd forgotten to take anything to drink) but it sufficed as we left the boundary to jog over Hebden Moor, along Backstone Edge, past Mossy Mere, down the crag path to the village, and home. That can of cold beer in the garden never tasted so good....
As I opened my eyes on Sunday morning another cloudless sky greeted me through the bedroom window giving promise of a scorching hot day. And it sure was. After Saturdays strenuous 8¼ miles we opted for a shorter, flatter run along the road to Appletreewick and back along the river, a mere six miles.
"A bright morning and some brightly coloured runners" a neighbour remarked as we ran through the village. Burnsall village never looked lovelier as we ran along the Skuff.
Farmers had obviously heard of the imminent good weather and cut field after field of grass that was drying nicely in the sun. By Monday the balers would arrive to make perfect hay. At Woodhouse Farm a field was yellow with buttercups.
Children let loose from the overflowing campsite at Appletreewick were happily playing by the river while Daggett's field at Burnsall was rapidly filling with cars and picnickers. We ran through, enjoying all the sights and sounds of a Dales summer.
I've no idea what the temperature rose to in the afternoon but it was too hot and oppressive for me. I abandoned the garden, opened front and back doors of the cottage for a through draught and sat in the shade with a cold beer.
Summer has definitely arrived......
|A lesson from the late, great Muhammad Ali (Click pictures to enlarge)|
|Back in action|
|The sun caught in Castle Hill Beacon|
|Rough country by Tinker Lane|
|Boundary stone. H is for Hebden|
|Cotton grass by our lunch stop at Blea Beck|
|Dancing down the crag path on the way home|
|Beautiful Burnsall basking under the boundless blue...|
|Rampant ranunculus at Woodhouse farm|
|Daggett's field beginning to fill in Burnsall|
|Running for home - and somewhere cool|
Summer has definitely arrived......