Monday 16 October 2017


It's got to that time of year again when fields around Castle Hill are full of hock deep holes that squirt mud and water all over my bare legs whenever my feet accidentally land in them - which is quite often on my pre-dawn runs.  Charolais herds and their cavorting calves make a real mess of the place from September onwards, particularly in gateways that are impossible to avoid and more so after heavy rain. 
The culprits    (Click pictures to enlarge)
After Thursday's run I returned home plastered.  Not with alcohol, you understand, but with mud, glorious mud.  So my new bathroom, courtesy of Kirklees Council, is proving a real blessing.  No longer do I have to stand outside in a bowl of water to wash my filthy legs after those messy runs, but for the first time in 39 years, I have a shower!  A power shower with wonderful hot water.  
Old Runningfox is at last moving into the 21st century!
Nice to meet you, now can I have some shut-eye?
Meanwhile my eldest son, Alasdair, is stepping back in time as he roams through darkest Africa photographing many of the wild creatures and exotic birds that inhabit that wild continent..
Yeah, I'm a bit tired too...
 His pictures give the impression gorillas would like to shake hands with him, lions adapt posing positions in trees as soon as they hear him coming and crocodiles delay their return to the water until he's finished shooting. 
Can you see me better now?
One night a leopard graciously moved into a lighted spot to provide a better view for him.  Dunno how he does it...
Dunno what this was that came to say hello to him?
Meanwhile, back in sunny Huddersfield I have to make do with more mundane stuff - like the goldfinches that were having a punch-up the other morning. I was wondering, how many goldfinches make a 'Charm'?  There were nine of them squabbling at the feeders.  
Goldfinches building themselves up, ready for a punch-up
Regulars hog the same perches day after day and there's hell to pay if an intruder tries to muscle in.   Not very charming at all.
Come to think, I'm a bit the same - always sit in the same seat at my friend Abdul's fish restaurant, same at my regular coffee shop and yes, maybe feel a bit aggressive if someone else is sat there.  Guess it's only natural really.  Hmmm, God help anyone I find sat in my pew next Sunday!
The state of the moor
I'd a good 8 mile run across the moor on Sunday though it was a bit saturated after all the rain.  Regardless, I'm pretty much in my element up there, relishing the wildness, wind whispering through the coarse grasses, grouse kek-keking, plovers piping, wandering sheep and nary another soul to interrupt my reverie.
Hebden Ghyll
Hebden Ghyll was beautiful in the morning sunlight but there was a fair amount of water in the beck which meant I'd get wet feet where I crossed a mile higher up.
Atmospherics beyond Cupola Corner
Sunlight paled as I ran out of the ghyll and onto the moor at Cupola Corner.  Atmospherics enhanced the character of the bleak moor.
Bell pits - a long way from civilisation
I ran out of track and into much rougher country, old lead mining territory, of Mear stones and bell pits of which warning notices advise walkers to be very careful where they tread. One local lady was terrified when the ground opened up in front of her, swallowing her dog, never to be seen again.
Some hardy sheep
Grassington Moor can be a very dangerous place made more so where local gamekeepers have set hundreds of snares to destroy any creature that might prey on their beloved grouse.
And maybe some that don't...
Almost at the top..
I was still running uphill and my 85 year old legs were beginning to feel it.  Garmin reckoned a total of 884ft and I wasn't going to argue with it.
A few rocks on the way down
A few rocks and peat hags mark the topmost point but from thereon ½ a mile of gravel track sets one up for the glorious run down the long wall and back into the ghyll.
Parting shot before the jog home
Almost home and the sun came out again.. sod's law!  It called for a parting shot from the same spot by the Miner's bridge where I'd taken one on the way out.  It was a perfect ending to the week, one deservous of a well-earned dram that evening.
Just a wee one you understand, didn't want to get plastered...


  1. I can just imagine how glorious those showers must feel...!

  2. Oh to have a shower must be wonderful for you. I can't even imagine not being able to take one for all those years.
    Wow that pictures taken of the wild animals by your son are fantastic!!

    1. Actually Karen, I've been using my wonderful partner's shower for the past 26 years, but she lives 45 miles away so not always handy!

  3. I'm like everyone else who commented, I can't believe you've just acquired hot water. You must be loving it! I can't start my day without a hot shower:)

    Your son is an extremely talented photographer. Those pics are stunning!

    1. Oh, I've always had hot water and love to wallow in the tub for an hour with ½kg Mag Sulph thrown in and some nice music playing. I'm not too uncivilised!
      Alasdair has only just begun his world tour and already taken hundreds of photos and videos. When he gets home next May he'll probably spend the rest of his life editing them all!

  4. More often than not, our club relies on a tin bath that gets taken from venue to venue: HTTPS://

    1. Great idea JJ, saves wasting valuable drinking time looking for the nearest stream! My favourite was the River Ribble after the 3 Peaks where crayfish always came to inspect my toes....