A couple of early morning runs mid week, a street party on Saturday and a 15 mile walk around the parish boundary on Sunday were the main events leading up to and during the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations. And in spite of dire weather warnings all concerned managed to remain dry throughout. Well, except for our feet...
|Early mist beginning to clear (Click to enlarge pictures)|
Thick mist mid week muffled traffic sounds, birdsong and just about everything else as I ran through a landscape of eerie silence. Resident rabbits were in friendly mood, hopping aside to let me pass.
|Friendly rabbits...."Don't bother to move"|
Young beef cattle raced me across their field one morning but graciously allowed me to win. Occasionally they'll get ahead of me and block the path to the stile. Maybe they enjoy the human contact as I slap them out of the way!
|One of the chasing group...|
The main street through Hebden was closed to traffic for five hours on Saturday afternoon as almost the entire village turned out to celebrate the Queen's birthday with a huge street party.
|Hebden's Street party in full swing...|
Though skies looked threatening it remained fine to allow for a happy social occasion with masses of home cooked delicacies, a huge birthday cake and the odd glass or two of tipple. Amongst the winners of 'Best Crown' competition was neighbour, Helen Davey.
|Helen with her winning crown|
Sunday's boundary walk organised by Peter Hodge (father of double Olympic rowing gold medallist, Andy Triggs Hodge) proved a little more difficult than some, including me, had anticipated.
|Hebden Parish boundary|
Even my Garmin gave up the ghost. After 8 hours 10 minutes its face went blank. Fortunately we were less than ½ mile from the finish so its recordings gave a good idea of the severity of the walk when plugged into the computer.
|Intrepid boundary walkers all set to go|
Had we been doing this circuit on our own my wonderful partner and I might have deviated slightly onto less severe parallel tracks for ease of movement (i.e. running) past one or two hard parts of the terrain, notably Deep Cut and the river bank.
|On the move. Peter (left with cap) and Liv (middle with fair hair)|
. But Peter, purist that he is, was having none of that and stayed as close as possible to the true boundary line as marked on the OS map, regardless of how difficult that might be.
|Getting spread out a bit along Deep Cut|
He strayed a little, reluctantly I'd think, where the boundary ran straight up the middle of the rushing River Wharfe, though even that might have been preferable to the steep and slippery, rocky route through thistles and nettles, hanging foliage and tree roots, keeping as close to the bank as possible, sometimes just inches from the water.
|Even more spread out in this mossy, boggy stuff. I was at the back!|
Peter and his Norwegian wife, Liv, fly to Poznan this coming week to watch their son competing in the World Rowing Cup races. By the end of Sundays walk I was wishing they'd gone last week, and stayed! It's a long time since I finished a walk feeling so knackered.
|Welcome break by Henstone Crag|
We'd booked a meal at the Clarendon for 6:30 and wondered whether we'd make it in time, or whether I'd still have strength to eat it! But after showering, easing away the cramp and changing into more respectable clothes we made it with minutes to spare.
|A bit of easy track - before more horrors....|
The first pint of Timothy Taylors never touched the sides while local trout and a calorie filled chocolate fondue transformed the rigours of the day into a smug sense of achievement and the meal into a well earned celebration.
|Sticking by the river. I'd cheated to get in front!|
Basking in such an aura it was easy to forgive Peter for the horrors inflicted upon us and actually thank him for organising the event and being such a stickler for accuracy. As he said, "If you're going to do a job, you might as well do it right".
Yeah, I know. That's how son Andy came by those gold medals in the last two Olympics.......