Monday 20 February 2017

Curlews, and the Snowdrop run......

      After a couple of 4 mile runs over the Castle mid-week it was time to up the mileage a bit on Saturday.  We set off to visit the village of Linton on what we call the snowdrop run.
The Snowdrop run   (Click pictures to enlarge)
      After recent rain it was a bit clarty alongside the Wharfe and I was skidding around a bit in my worn down studs. But if old ladies could cope with it, albeit with walking sticks, then so could I.
Beside the River Wharfe
      The temperature had risen to double figures and I could feel the warmth of the sun on bare legs. Hopefully, it will soon be warm enough for bare arms too for the start of my summer tan.
Running towards Linton Falls
      A loud roar filled the air as we approached the 'tin bridge' at Linton Falls where white water was thundering over the rocks and over the twin weirs beyond.
Bridge over troubled waters
      A pair of gaudy mallard were laying claim to a wee island in calmer water above the falls. We hoped they'd have enough sense not to nest there for they'd be in real danger of being washed away after the next heavy storm.
      Leaving the falls we took a route through fields from Threshfield school to cross and re-cross the old dismantled railway line to pick up a mossy lane to Linton village.
      Running up the hill beyond the school we were stopped in our tracks by the wonderful sound of the first curlew back to our area. It could have been navigating along the Wharfe to a favoured nest site in some quiet pasture. It's a favourite bird and a favourite sound I look forward to hearing each year, a sound that tells me winter is over, that Spring and new life are blossoming in the dale.

Ted Hughes was inspired to write:
Curlews in April
Hang their harps over the misty valleys
A wobbling water-call
A web-footed god of the horizons

New moons sink into the heather
And full golden moons
Bulge over spent walls

Mossy lane to Linton
      In a few more minutes we were passing through the gates of Linton House where lawns were smothered with shining white snowdrops, the most we'd ever seen. But perhaps we say that every year when we visit this site.
Snowdrops at Linton House
      Reluctantly, we left them to jog through the pretty little village, watching mallard playing in the water by the bridge and revelling in the warmth of sun on our bodies before striking steeply uphill to Langerton Lane and the hidden hamlet of Thorpe.
Running down to Thorpe
      Daffodils buds were thinking seriously about opening in a wild bit of garden where aconites and snowdrops were flowering among a mass of fallen berries.  And hiding among them was a solitary primrose, a bright splash of yellow in the kaleidoscope of colour.
Early primrose
      From Thorpe we'd a mile of enjoyable downhill running to the suspension bridge over the Wharfe before striking up through the ghyll back to our village. A steady 7 miles to put our snowdrop run to bed for another year.
Back to the suspension bridge
      We were up early on Sunday morning for what's becoming a regular run round Grimwith reservoir. And we were glad we did. The sky was burnished copper as we drove towards Dibbles Bridge but it disappeared behind the hills as we turned into the huge bowl of Grimwith.
Waterfowl at Grimwith
      A noisy gang of oystercatchers wheeled away over the water as we ran across the dam.  Then greylags kicked up a rumpus as we passed a favourite grazing area below the old ruined barn.
On our regular run
      But best of all, a pair of curlews were calling across the water and another solitary one answered from the moor high on our left.  Before that we'd spotted a lone lapwing but further along a whole flock of them took to the air as we approached.
Toiling uphill to the finish
 All those harbingers of Spring lifted our spirits and filled our hearts with joy.  And a field of lambs at Turf Gate on our drive home only added to the euphoria. 
      A couple of hours later in a crowded chapel in Grassington I'd an awful lot to be thankful for. 
      I'm sure I out-sang everyone.  Judging by the looks I got......      


  1. Wow, I've seen small clumps of snowdrops but never a carpet like your photograph shows ... amazing.

    We have had it a little warmer recently, but I'm sure as the week goes on temperatures will get back to normal!
    Do we ever have normal temperatures ... I don't know.
    We just make the best of any days we have and get out about and enjoy!

    Have a good week

    All the best Jan

    1. I don't think there is any such thing as 'normal' Jan, either in temperatures or anything else. And that includes us!
      Those snowdrops seem to spread every year and become a more and more amazing sight. They've excelled themselves this year.
      You have a good week too. Cheers!

  2. as I'm thinking about my first really race since my op this weekend I was wondering if you are going to be running any races this year?

    1. It's very unlikely Coach, I just run for pleasure and fitness nowadays, steadily away at a nice easy pace, savouring all the wonders of the great outdoors. I'm not sure my old body would stand the stresses of racing any more. Do you think you'll still be racing when coming up 85?