Tuesday 8 January 2019

Happy New Year....

At my time of life I see little point in making New Year resolutions, particularly in regard to running (though I no longer consider it safe to book holidays very far in advance).  I've run my sub 3 hour marathons, sub 40 10K's, enjoyed moderate success on the fells, track and x-country and topped the British rankings over several distances in various age categories.
Reasons to run - a glorious dawn sky   (Click to enlarge)
Now, approaching 87, it's time to rest on my laurels for there's little else left to achieve running-wise, other than to enjoy it. 
I'll never be 10th in the world again - at anything
Parkruns aren't the same, no prizes, no podiums, and even the possibility of setting age group course records doesn't really appeal to me any more.
On Ben Hope.  The glory days running the Scottish Munros..
(Picture courtesy Dr Stuart Scott)
Yet I can't stop running, though my body often tells me I should.
It doesn't come easy any more though I still enjoy it in a masochistic sort of way.  There are no more runner's highs or euphoric out of body experiences. No more airplaning down hills at breakneck speed and plunging into rivers to cool off.  No more running Scottish Munros in sunshine and snow with soaring eagles, ptarmigan, ring ouzels or snow buntings for company.
Those days have gone.
Running by Hebden Beck on Saturday -  to Hebden Crag and Mossy Mere
But in the past week, mostly with my wonderful partner, I've clocked a little over 17 miles with a respectable 2,097ft of ascent.  So a good start to the new year.
The sun shone on the righteous - missing us
Weather was not kind to us last weekend.  It was sunny on Saturday morning - until we locked the door behind us for a hilly 4 mile run up Hebden Crag and circuit of Mossy Mere, Bolton Ghyll and Tinker's Lane.  The sun immediately dipped behind the clouds and didn't show its face again until we got home.

Crossing the moor towards Mossy Mere
I think we enjoyed the atmospherics though we'd have liked it a little warmer for there was a chilly wind blowing over the tops causing my wonderful partner to sing a little moany song.
Warming up on a sprint past Mossy Mere
My solution, usually, is to run a little faster to raise my body temperature but then it drops again as I wait for her to catch up!
Descent into Hebden Ghyll
There were voices as we dropped into Hebden Ghyll, the first we'd heard since setting off on our run.  The weekend walkers were arriving and a few passed us as we crossed the beck and struggled to open the gate into Tinker Lane.
Arriving at the high point on Tinker's Lane - Bolton Ghyll in background
From there on a rutted, steep ascent led to open pasture where sheep were grazing mainly in the lee of a high, drystone wall out of the nithering west wind.
Avoiding the muddy bits on Tinker Lane
Tinker's Lane is invariably wet and muddy but after recent high winds it had dried out sufficiently for us to run along it more or less dryshod.
Dropping down to Hebden having left Tinker Lane..
Away from the walled part of Tinker Lane there are amazing views of the Wharfe valley, across Hebden Ghyll to Scar Top and over to the grouse moor beyond.   It's one of my favourite places to run though I don't get there as often nowadays.
Leaving the horses and almost home.
After stroking the horses we were only minutes away from stepping back into a warm kitchen when, as you'll probably have guessed, the sun came back out!
Crossing Hebden Beck on Sunday's run to Bare House - and beyond
We both felt a bit stiff on Sunday morning so there was talk of a short(ish) flat run.  In fact we ran three miles farther than Saturday with 795ft of ascent!  Not only was it another cold, sunless run but I don't recall seeing a single bird.
Springy turf, much better than tarmac for the old knees
It was almost lunchtime when we set off so quite a few walkers were ahead of us up the ghyll.  This can be embarrassing as some walk almost as fast as we can run, especially as the first three miles are mainly uphill.  A good reason for quiet, dawn runs!
Dancing down to Grassington.
From the high point at the end of the lane beyond Yarnbury there are two miles of wonderful fast running, all of it on soft springy turf, right down to Grassington.
Old stone stile
A bit of rough stuff...
Then the final swoop down to the last stile before Grassington
Posing in stile...
 I can't resist picking up speed to run as fast as my little legs will go, invariably getting well ahead of my wonderful partner, but stopping here and there to take photographs of her.   I do stop for the occasional picture, mainly at gates or stiles where I have to stop anyway!
On High Lane
 From Grassington the wall to wall floods we'd encountered previously along High Lane had completely dried up making it more pleasurable to run those last two miles back to Hebden.  As I bent to take off my studs there was an anguished cry from the kitchen:
"Just look, the bloomin' sun's come out"
How does it know?


  1. Happy New Year to you both �� I hope this year is a good one and you keep inspiring us with your runs, blog posts and photos, Thankyou for the past few years I have been reading them ��

    1. Thanks Ian and a Happy New Year to you and yours.
      Dunno how much longer I'll keep inspiring anyone, at coming up 87 I'm slowing down fast - if that makes sense? It's gotta end sometime...
      All the best to you. Cheers!

  2. I agree with IanB that you keep inspiring us with your adventures runs, and blogs and pics like this week that are really good . A good start to the new year indeed with 17 miles done and 2097ft of climbing , it is not bad at all Old Runningfox ..I wish! Antonio.

    1. Thanks Antonio, but as I implied to Ian, I maybe wont be running for much longer. There can't be many people my age still running. You'll have to take over from me! Cheers!

  3. Beautiful photographs.
    Happy running :)

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks Jan, I do my best... I've copied that Paprika Pork and red pepper recipe from your site. Sounds rather good!

  4. Happy New Year. Great photos and wonderful landscapes.

    1. Cheers Stefano, and a Very Happy and Healthy New Year to you too.
      Keep on running....