Monday 12 June 2017

Another week, a few more miles......

After recent runs over Castle Hill I'm happy to report the resident rabbit population is once again on the increase.  
My running track round Victoria Tower.  I call it altitude training!
(Click to enlarge pictures)
Strangely, a few months ago, nearly all my little furry friends vanished overnight for no accountable reason.  A pair of buzzards may have been partially responsible - and the local poacher readily admitted taking 'a few' - but between them they couldn't have wiped out so many so quickly. 
Oh, it's you again...
No evidence of myxomatosis was either seen or reported.  It's a mystery.  But it's good to see them back and I hope they soon get used to the sound of my feet pattering past on early morning runs.
Setting off round Grimwith
There were sunny spells on Sunday's pre-breakfast run round Grimwith but a nithering south westerly chased white horses across the ruffled water.
Scattering the sheep again...
We were looking for orchids but found only one, an early purple not yet fully opened.  In weeks to come there'll be many more of various varieties to cheer us on our way, or stop us in our tracks with cameras in shooting mode.
Only 4½ miles?  Let's go round again...
The Grimwith cuckoo seems to have deserted us but judging by the constant alarm calls of curlew, lapwing and oystercatchers there must be quite a lot of chicks enjoying their first taste of life on earth.
"Did you bring me any breakfast?"
 "Don't be frightened, we're not going to harm you" my wonderful partner will say to the agitated birds.  But apart from a friendly chaffinch none of them seem to understand!

Monday 5 June 2017

Winding down......

Updating my latest running log book this morning I discovered I've run 39,600miles, over 1½ times round the equator.
My thanks to Terry Lonergan of Complete Runner for this birthday greeting - and for the smart vest I'm wearing.     (Click pictures to enlarge)
No wonder I'm feeling a little tired. Since returning from Menorca runs have been reduced to just three a week, though I've extended some of them a little. 
Bluebells enhancing a run back o' Grimwith
and a cuckoo called
Bluebell woods and cuckoo haunts added a couple of miles to my Castle Hill route whilst back in the Dales we ticked off a seven mile run that used to be a favourite of ours until it got too churned up with rampaging beasties. It's dried out now and a pleasure to run again.
Please let me through
I think the local Charolais cows and calves think I'm quite harmless for they allow me to burst through the herd without incident. One of them, playfully I thought, blocked a stile on my way to Castle Hill the other morning and no matter how hard I pushed, it wouldn't move.  I turned my back on it and it walked back a couple of yards, maybe having lost interest. I think it laughed as I ran by...
Son Alasdair and partner Angela in Hebden Ghyll
I'm missing Menorca sunshine and warmth but it's good to get back to old haunts of which I never tire.  My eldest son and his partner, Alasdair and Angela, favoured us with a visit last week.
Zoom on a ring ouzel
 Alasdair is a keen ornithologist and was anxious to see if ring ouzels had returned to their nest sites up the ghyll.  They had but proved awfully difficult to photograph though we hung around patiently for quite some time. Another visit is called for. When the rain stops...
A happy little meadow pipit
We enjoy walking with Alasdair.  He has eyes like a hawk.  Consequently, the number of species observed with him is considerably more than when we're walking by ourselves.
Hawkeye on the lookout.
What's more, he knows what they all are, can recognize their calls and focuses his binoculars in a matter of seconds.  Ironically, he'd come to Hebden to drive me home for an appointment with my Consultant eye specialist early the following morning.
The news was not good....
Bare House run
On another day we ran the 7 mile Bare House route in glorious sunshine passing less than half a dozen people throughout.  It involves over 750ft of ascent, so can be a bit tough on old legs.  But we coped well.
We got the blue carpet treatment where speedwell lined the trail towards Yarnbury and a myriad mountain pansies turned their yellow faces to salute the sun. High in the clear air a tiny black dot against a fluffy white cloud showered larksong over us.

The wonderful downhill run to Grassington.
We love its two miles of fast downhill to the 5 mile marker at Grassington, leaping over stiles and scattering surprised sheep before the trog back along High Lane and through flowery SSSI fields to Hebden.
Zooming in to early purples in the SSSI area.
Orchids are starting to bloom but we declined to make trails towards them through the grass that would show others their whereabouts. Not that we don't trust people you understand!
Stepping stones across the Wharfe at Linton
Water was quite low in the River Wharfe on a day we ran along its banks in a cooling westerly breeze.  A Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme group were heading for Grassington under their loads, girls marching cheerfully ahead, boys looking a wee bit miserable to the rear.
Happy to be running on such a braw day
An albino duck accompanied a pair of mallard while nearby a gaudy mandarin drake and female goosander appeared to be having a siesta in a calm stretch of water. Over and around them, a solitary sand martin hawked back and forth in search of morsels. Such sights make welcome breaks as we stop and stare.
It's not all about running.