Monday 14 August 2017

Play misty for me......

Below was the sight that greeted me as I stepped out the door for the first of my dawn runs last week.  The sign points downhill, towards Huddersfield, but I ignored it and, as usual, went uphill.
To the Castle, of course.
Stepping out to greet the sun - or was it greeting me?
 (Click to enlarge pictures)
Fields were awash with dew and an eerie mist was spreading through the valleys as I climbed higher.  Rabbits ran ahead of me, indicating the absence of dog walkers.  I'd the hill to myself, which is just how I like it...
Then the mist came
It was Thursday and my first of only three runs last week.  I'd set off to do 4 miles but got a bit carried away with the beauty of my surroundings.  I finished up running 5 miles and felt fresh enough to have run farther.
Misty valleys
Mileage was down on last week, but still managed a very enjoyable 15 miles with a little over 1,300ft of ascent to spice it up a bit.
Clear and bright on Friday
Friday's run was kept to a strict 4 miles.  Unlike the previous morning's run there wasn't a shred of mist to be seen.  Perfect for photography if only I'd had time to take more.
Poetry in motion
Descending past the wood on my way home three young ladies were setting off up the hill, running in line, perfectly synchronised.
Ah, no-one will notice me scrumping at 6 in the morning!
Passing someone's  garden I noticed that apples were turning russet and would soon be ready for scrumping.
Uphill but enjoyable in the clear air on Sunday
Sunday dawned clear and fresh with not a cloud in the sky.  Instead of running directly uphill I turned left, dropping down into Mollicar Wood, then up through Roydhouse and a steep field towards Farnley Tyas.
Castle Hill from Farnley Hey
Turning right towards a distant Castle Hill presented me with a couple of problems.  The first was a virtual swamp of evil smelling slurry flooding across the public footpath. It appeared to flow from a hole in the ground.
There's a footpath somewhere under those clods
The second was a long, roughly ploughed field with ankle twisting clods that slowed me down a bit.
Arrival on Castle Hill...
As ever, I had to finish over Castle Hill and again I had the place to myself.  The views were superb and I was reluctant to descend.
...and a view from the top, to the heathery heights of West Nab,
purple in the morning light
 It was one of those days I felt I could run forever.  I love these wild runs, often with some wild and wonderful music (click to play) rushing around in my mind, helping my pace, drawing me on, transporting me, obliterating discomfort.  Except my tummy was crying out for porridge, and running across dusty, ploughed fields had proved thirsty work!  I contented myself with 6 memorable miles.
But thinking about that run while relaxing in the garden afterwards, it brought back memories of a poem I wrote,  many years ago:

There are days
On paths that  zig-zag
High into the hills
We pass beyond the pain,
Catch that tingling in the scalp
That tells us soon
We'll treadmill out of time,
Out of self.

To rufflings of raven's wings
We'll rise above the stones,
Sail in the eye of the wind
To worlds beyond the womb.
In that transmigratory state
That's neither flesh nor blood
Male or female, warm or cold,
We'll run, like disembodied joys,
The gauntlet of eternity.

Only 15 miles in total but a thoroughly enjoyable week.  Deserves another glass of wine methinks.  Or maybe even a wee dram....

Monday 7 August 2017

Dawn runs......

Last week marked a return to early morning runs, up at 5am and a quick cup of coffee before running to some vantage point just as the sun came peeping over the horizon.   The vantage point was, of course, Castle Hill, just one mile and a couple hundred feet of ascent from my garden gate to the landmark tower.
I'd forgotten how good it felt.
A new dawn    (Click pictures to enlarge)
So good in fact I maybe got a little carried away and ran it on three consecutive mornings before deciding it might be a good idea to save some of my energy for weekend.
Up, up and away
Running came easy as I powered non-stop up the steep bits in a cool morning breeze, racing the sun to the summit.  It beat me. I shall have to get up earlier!
Sun - shining upon the righteous!
Surprisingly, as I stood admiring the view and taking the above picture by the tower, another runner came pounding up the steps, hooded with ear phones rammed into his lug-oles.  He touched the wall of the tower and made off before I'd time to accost him.
A young pretender on my patch!
Friday was a rest day as I travelled to the Dales, stopping in Ilkley to do an extra large weekend shop, before the arrival of my wonderful partner's sister-in-law.  Sue arrived later in the afternoon by some devious route all the way from Carp in Ontario.
Bare House route
Saturday dawned bright and sunny, pleasant enough to lure us up the ghyll on a 700ft climb to Bare House.
A bit of colour on the moor
Heather was coming to its best as we ran up the lane beyond Yarnbury. Keepers, with their dogs, were out assessing the state of the grouse moor prior to next Saturday's so called glorious twelfth.
 Prelude to the annual slaughter.
Running towards Bare House, above left in the picture
From the end of the lane we'd a little respite, chance to catch our breath on a short downhill stretch towards Bare House, known locally as Barras. The landscape was bare too, and silent.  Curlews and lapwings have all finished breeding and returned to their seaside haunts.
Closing the gate at Bare House.
After closing the gate at Bare House there's a wonderful two miles of turfy trail down into Grassington. It undulates slightly in parts but one gathers enough momentum on the downhills to cruise over the uphills.
Downhill to Grassington
It's a popular trail for walkers as well as runners, so much so that indigenous sheep and cattle seem quite used to us all and hardly bat an eyelid as we sweep past.  It's wonderful, wild country and one of our favourite runs.
Ancient but still in good running order
Returning to Hebden through meadows of scabious and meadowsweet we popped out onto the road to find an ancient old wagon parked on the green, a relic of Longthorne's, the village hauliers, with an equally ancient tractor strapped on its back.
A glance at my Garmin told us we'd exceeded 7 miles as we closed the door just when it began to rain.
Ha ha, you missed us that time!
Heather by Grimwith reservoir
After that illustrious effort we'd a lie in on Sunday morning, till 6am.  After a quick coffee we were soon scattering the hundreds of partridge and pheasant poults along the road to Grimwith. Apart from those we saw just one solitary lapwing.
A dreich, misty morning
It was a driech morning, cloudy and misty but with very little wind.  A gentleman walking three beautiful Staffordshire Bull terriers was the only other person we met as we set off to run our circuit.
Running up that hill...back o' Grimwith
Two miles in, I tripped and fell heavily on the gravel track, bashing my elbow, bending a finger and knocking the wind out of my sails.
 I was hauled to my feet after a couple of minutes and was so mad that I set off to do some 5.50 pace reps - just for spite!
End of run - with bent finger
It had been a good 22 mile week, my highest mileage for some time, but with several imminent commitments it's doubtful if I'll achieve similar mileages in the coming two weeks.
Happy running everyone.