Monday 16 January 2017

A good octogenarian day out......

      A Christmas present bought for me by my wonderful partner's sister-in-law is an incredibly warm pair of slippers I slip into within minutes of entering the house. Printed on the soles it says 'The walk to the breakfast table is exercise enough for any gentleman'. Not everyone agrees.... 
Saturday's route    (Click pictures to enlarge)
Take Saturday morning for instance. I'd just made myself comfortable, sprawled in my favourite chair in front of a warm stove with a nice mug of coffee when I heard the words "I think we'll have an early lunch, then go for that run over Buckden Pike". Oh yes....
Leaving Buckden
      It was after noon when we eventually set off to drive to Buckden in Upper Wharfedale where we parked the car in an area that could have doubled as a skating rink. We stripped down to running gear, donned our Yaktrax and set off up the waterfall route as the sun sailed past its zenith.
A scrambly bit on the waterfall route
      I was struggling in the snow and icy conditions. Not to mention over 1500ft of climbing.  So far as the ascent was concerned the word 'running' was far from the truth
Plodding upward
We didn't break into a run until reaching the level path to the Trig point and summit cairn, halfway to heaven in the frosty air, blue sky, icicles, sunshine and sparkling snow. Days don't come much better than this.
Icicles showing how cold it was
      Back in 2004, in the Buckden Pike fell race, I actually ran the whole way to the summit and back (not by the waterfall route, I hasten to add) finishing in 53mins 2secs to win the men's O/70 category.
The MV70's sweat shirt I won in 2004
"That'll take some beating" the late Bill Smith said at the prize-giving, intimating it was an O/70 course record. He'd know.
Approaching the summit
It was the second race, of four, to determine the winner of the inaugural Fell Runners Association Championship for runners over 70 years old, a championship I went on to win.
At the summit Trig point
      We left the summit, running, for we still had over ¾ of our route to complete and the sun was already sinking towards the horizon.
Starting the run down in a cold wind
We could have taken the shorter route down Walden Road from the Memorial Cross but we were in full flight now and kept to our original plan, returning to Buckden via Tor Mere top, Starbotton and the Dales Way along the west side of the River Wharfe.
The Memorial Cross
      It was rough going through tussocks and bog to Tor Mere Top, a lot of it still frozen under a covering of snow, but we made good progress and were racing down Starbotton Cam Road as the sun disappeared behind the moor ahead of us.
 Reaching Starbotton there was some discussion about whether to take the main road back to Buckden, saving time, or stick to the Dales Way route. We agreed on the latter.
A cairn near Tor Mere Top, flanks of Great Whernside behind
      A couple with a boisterous Hungarian Vizsla approached us as we crossed the river.  "Are you Gordon?" the gentleman asked. Affirmative. "I thought I recognized you, you left a comment on my Blog last week.  "I'm Derby Tup" he said before hurrying off, anxious to reach the Falcon Inn at Arncliffe over the heights of Old Cote Moor before dark.  A man of few words......
Those slippers - so nice to come home to....
     For us it was level going all the way to Buckden, though the snow covered path was a little icy in parts.   Darkness fell as we drove home through freezing conditions to our cosy cottage where I donned those warm slippers that told me the morning's breakfast table would have been quite far enough.
 I can't help thinking they might be better suited to somebody else....someone a little older perhaps......
......or more of a gentleman!
PS. All pictures except Saturdays route and MV70 sweat shirt were taken by my wonderful partner. My camera (or was it my brain) failed to function. I'd neglected to Format the SD card....


  1. What a fantastic run, brilliant route, great conditions, lovely photos. Well done both of you.
    I agree, those slippers are for an older person, but I cant comment on the gentleman bit!!! but best wear them anyway to keep the feet warm and S-in-L might ask where they are.

    1. Thanks, it really was a great day. Couldn't part with those slippers now Ian, it was wonderful to get home and pull them onto tired feet. Maybe I am getting old?

  2. I love the waterfall route. Never done it in the snow though. Bet that was adventurous. :)

    1. We'd a bit of an epic by the first waterfall Milly, but I wont go into that...

  3. Those slippers are perfect for you... just remember: for some of us enough is never enough!

    1. That's as profound as the Nightwish T-shirt slogan Coach - 'Woe to all who stop at the horizon'. It's time you started blogging again so we can check your progress. Cheers!

  4. Lovely to meet you both on the most wonderful of winter dales day. We got to the Falcon just before five!

    1. Yeah, it's always nice to meet fellow bloggers. You made good time in approaching darkness. Shame we didn't meet a little earlier for a lomger chat. Cheers!

  5. Those slippers sound lovely and comfortable ...

    What a lovely run, the weather looked wonderful.
    I really enjoyed all of the photographs.

    Have a good weekend

    All the best Jan