Monday, 1 August 2016

No country for old men.....

and especially not for me!
      A couple of midweek 'bread & butter runs', each of 5 miles to keep the old legs ticking over, didn't quite prepare me for the rigours of the weekend.
A woolly audience as we set off to Mossdale  (Click pictures to enlarge)
 On Saturday we ventured into the wilds of Mossdale again, then back via Grassington, basically because there are one or two nice downhill sections where we can disengage brain and let our old legs move at whatever speed they jolly well want to!
Downhill into Mossdale, brain disengaged...
After leaving Hebden Ghyll much of the going is on springy turf, squishy upland pastures and grassy fields - all of which are kinder to runner's knees and don't hurt so much when we fall.  Usually!
Nearly home - running up High Lane
At just over 10 miles, with well over 1,000ft of ascent, it was the farthest either of us had run for quite some time.  I can't speak for a certain other person but I was pleasantly surprised with how fresh and relaxed I felt after it.
Not so the following day......
The easy bit round Grimwith reservoir
      "I thought we might run up Gateup Gill tomorrow, as far as the shooting hut" my wonderful partner said, in the casual way she does, "and we could maybe pick a few bilberries on the way back". It was another of those recce-ing runs to suss out a route prior to leading a group of unsuspecting U3A walkers through there a few weeks hence.  My antennae twitched a little at the suggestion I take gloves to push aside the bracken but I ignored the gentle warning and left them on the table.
Pheasant chicks on the path ahead - or they could be partridge...
      The run round Grimwith was pleasant enough but the gate into Gateup was locked and there was barbed wire along the top. But such little things don't stop fell runners!  We ran on, scattering hundreds of pheasant and partridge chicks feeding at the track side.
So far, so good
At a point where bracken was too thick to penetrate any further we struck steeply uphill, grassy at first, then through reeds, sphagnum moss and boggy bits towards Great Wolfrey, a rocky outcrop sprouting from knee-wrecking heather at around the 1,500ft contour.
Heather beginning to bloom
     Wisely, we unanimously agreed to abandon the idea of going farther, but very unwisely returned downhill through shoulder high bracken, thistles, rocks and hidden holes that gave us all sorts of problems.
Picking bilberries. A shot from my prone position...
      All at once I dropped into one of those said holes, twisting my back as it enveloped me like a straight jacket.  "Help" I shouted but was able to wriggle free before help arrived. As I lay there panting I noticed, just inches from my nose, lots of ripe bilberries.
On the way down, having escaped the worst
      I was thrown a polythene pot in which to collect some of these wild delicacies - which was a fine excuse for me to stay on the ground a while longer until I'd recovered from the shock of falling into that wretched hole.  It wasn't long before hands and legs were a fine shade of bilberry red!  Which matched the blood.  After filling the pots we thrashed around for ages, mostly out of sight of each other, following a fence through head high bracken and thistles, falling down more holes, into water, wondering where each other was, trying to escape.  After a while we abandoned the fence line, climbed higher out of the bracken, back onto grass and a runnable track.  Sorry, a joggable track......
Runner's leg...
      I was reminded of a quote by Richard Askwith in his amazing book 'Feet in the Clouds' when, after an even more horrendous energy sapping epic, wrote "This, I should add, is what I do for fun".
Happy again. Bilberry tart, ice cream - and wine
      After showering, patching myself up and swallowing a mega dose of Ibuprofen, our evening meal of roast lamb, roast parsnips, etc. was complemented very nicely with the added treat of scrumptious bilberry tart and lashings of ice cream.  Not to mention a mellow malt whisky we'd most definitely earned and very well deserved......
      Oh, and the proposed U3A walk through Gateup Gill into the hell beyond was quite sensibly struck off the list and a somewhat easier one added in its place.
It's a good job we went....really.


  1. envious of your running, looks like you are enjoying the summer weather, long may it last, but if a bad spell is coming, let it come while there are Olympics to watch...

    1. Ah yes, the Olympics. Must make sure there's plenty of beer in the fridge!
      Trust you're still being a good boy, taking it easy with that dodgy knee? Or have you got into the pool yet? Sending healing vibes and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Cheers Coach...

  2. Love the Richard Askwith quote :) !

    1. Aye, it's true Karien, us fell runners are a load of masochists....
      Happy running.

  3. Glad to see you're still getting out and enjoying some adventures Boothy!

    1. Yeah, I'm still enjoying it Dave, but the ground isn't moving quite as fast nowadays......