After the afore-mentioned syringe full of cortico-steroid to gunge up my Rt eye it was a couple of days before I ventured out of the house again to allow it chance to clear. On this occasion it cleared rather quickly prompting me to think the Consultant must have reduced the amount injected, from 8mg to the original 4mg. Regardless, it was six days before I plucked up courage for another run.
|My trusty Inov-8 Terraclaws (Click pictures to enlarge)
On Saturday we'd woken to a winter wonderland as first snows of winter painted the landscape a uniform white, sparkling in dawn light under a cloudless sky. Pure magic.
|Passing below Pickering End - Hebden's answer to Wuthering Heights
Sadly, there was no time for photographs as 45 miles away a hundred assorted saplings were waiting to be planted at the foot of Hebden Ghyll. Remarkably, there was no snow in Hebden, much to the relief of the intrepid gang that turned out for digging holes, planting and tubing.
|Crossing the Miner's Bridge
Saturday night was clear and cold. Jack Frost worked hard throughout his moonlight shift, turning water to ice, coating car windows and generally making a nuisance of himself to those who don't always appreciate such things.
It wasn't easy leaving a warm bed on Sunday morning knowing what Grassington Moor and remote Bycliffe Hill would have in store for us. But eventually we did, though I'll admit to becoming a bit nesh in my dotage and lingered over three mugs of strong coffee before slowly donning running gear and activating TomTom. It was 11am when we stepped outdoors into the winter sun.
Weekend walkers who'd arrived earlier to block the village with their cars had all mysteriously disappeared. We'd the Ghyll to ourselves as we jogged gently uphill, over the Miner's bridge and past the waterfall to the heathery heights beyond.
|Ice is nice...to look at!
The gravel track across Grassington Moor gets longer every time we run it, or so it seems. We reached a spot far from civilisation where opening scenes of Casino Royale were shot way back in 1967.
|Endless track and icy puddles to old Casino Royale film set
John le Mesurier was M's chauffeur though local sheep thought he was a shepherd bringing them feed! Ursula Andress also starred, cough, cough, just saying...
|Posing on the desolate 1967 film set
Bell pits, sink holes, swamps, and maybe snares, call for care and undivided attention over Bycliffe Hill, the absolute epitome of desolation and loneliness. In my dotage I've lately resorted to carrying a mobile phone over this route, not so much because of its obstacles but more the likelihood of succumbing to cold and exhaustion in the Arctic conditions that prevail there.
|Crossing Bycliffe Hill
On most routes I just carry a whistle hoping, in cases of emergency, I'll have enough puff for the statutory six blasts a minute to call attention to my plight. Such is the remoteness of Bycliffe Hill, I reckon no-one would ever hear my whistle. Particularly if they're as deaf as me!
|Dodging a boggy bit over Bycliffe with a shower looming ahead
We crossed without incident, enjoying our wild surroundings while dodging bogs and odd patches of snow across the trackless waste. Typically, as we neared the high point, the sun disappeared behind threatening clouds, wind increased and showers sped across distant horizons.
But we were dressed for wintry conditions and didn't care, knowing we'd soon be dropping down to our marker cairn on the Mossdale track, to a short stretch of smoother, more runner friendly terrain.
|...to our little marker cairn beside the Mossdale track
At 1,500ft on the exposed track that Arctic wind was blowing straight into our faces so we didn't hang about. We noted the Stone Man, a large cairn marking the high point of the track has been vandalised and is now only half a cairn. It was too cold to stop and begin a repair.
|Into the shelter of the long wall - with another shower threatening
We dropped quickly down to Howgill Nick and turned for home down the long wall that sheltered us from the nithering wind.
|Stone with phantom fossil stud marks!
With only three miles left to run, all downhill, we could relax and poddle gently home at a speed least harmful to our legs and ageing joints.
|Crossing Coalgrove Beck...
A runner caught us up, one we'd never seen before, heading for Grassington before it rained. A stone with fossil stud marks called out to be photographed. Then another unknown runner passed us, running strongly up the beck in the opposite direction.
|...and finally back to Hebden Beck
It was getting busy. Time to call it a day - before suffering the ignominy of being criticised for our doddering behaviour! At least, we'd survived the challenging eight miles. TomTom, I discovered, had thrown in the towel at three!