Monday 21 January 2019

Wild runner......

I normally run Tuesdays and Thursdays before breakfast, weather permitting, but appointments at the eye clinic on both those mornings last week put paid to any thoughts of getting out into the hills.  I was looking forward to Saturday's run in the Yorkshire Dales but that too went by the board after my back went into spasm.  Bent like a banana I'd difficulty getting up and down stairs, let alone running.  I sometimes wonder if I'm becoming an old man?
Hebden Crag and resident jackdaws   (Click to enlarge pictures)
Lashings of Voltarol gel and a few 600mg tablets of Ibuprofen took away the pain sufficiently for me to be able to walk straight again.  On Sunday morning I was rarin' to go.  We'd awoke to thick, freezing fog but it was forecast to begin clearing by 10am.  My wonderful partner was on National Park Ranger duty so left home at 9.15am to patrol Grassington Moor with an accomplice. 
Dwarf ferns
 It was  11am before fog cleared sufficiently from the village to allow the sun to lure me out of the house.  Setting off at a fast walk up the ghyll, interspersed with a few gentle jogs, it wasn't long before I'd totally forgotten any back problems and settled into a steady run.  A clattering of jackdaws wheeled around the crag.  Scores of them nest there, once allowing a kestrel to reside amongst them.
Getting a bit icy up Hebden Ghyll
The sun still shone as I crossed the old Miner's Bridge where beautiful little dwarf ferns sprout from moss on top of the wall.  Ascending higher it wasn't long before the track became icy.  A nithering rawness prompted me to don a jacket and move faster to maintain a reasonable body temperature.
Looking across Hebden Beck to Bolton Ghyll
 A party of mountain bikers were pedalling up the lower slopes of  Bolton Ghyll, possibly bound for  Mossy Mere. 
Farther up Hebden Beck
  I carried on following the beck, rising into thickening gloom towards Grassington Moor. The 'bent tree', a moorland landmark just below Cupola Corner, was shrouded in mist.
Bent tree in snow speckled landscape
  From henceforth any views would be severely limited, but I've run across this moor on scores, maybe hundreds, of occasions so it held no fears.
Stone man - the high point at 1,500ft
The same could not be said for the lady accompanying my wonderful partner on Ranger duty.   I'd noticed their footprints on an icy track rising towards Mossdale, and the same footprints returning from a point a mile or so farther along.  The lady was frightened of getting lost, she'd said.  My wonderful partner assured her she'd run the circuit scores of times and knew exactly where she was.  Ah well, it was icy and the lady had forgotten her trekking poles.   They aborted and turned back. 
Shepherd's or gamekeeper's vehicles had churned up the track past the 'Stone man', most likely the latter as they went about regular duties checking their traps.  Footprints in the snow indicated a fox may have been checking for small game ahead of them!
setting off down the Long wall...
I'd expected much more snow as I set off running down the Long wall for it tends to drift there, sometimes as high as the wall top, but it was relatively clear on Sunday. 
...and still running to the sheep pens by Moor Lane
It's exactly a mile from leaving the Mossdale track to sheep pens at the end of Moor Lane.  In spite of rough underfoot conditions, in marathon training days I'd run it in 6 minutes - the first of three measured (downhill) miles on my way home.  Nowadays it takes twice as long with no chance of attempting another two!  
Happy runner
 Jogging back down the ghyll I emerged into sunshine again and felt a gentle warmth on my face.  TomTom registered 7.48 miles with 923ft of ascent.  

 'Run Happy' 
it says on my cap, and happy I certainly was.


  1. That looked a great day out in great conditions, with a good distance and good height climbed, inspiring, you along with Jasmin Paris !

    1. Cheers Ian. If only I'd started running when I was Jasmiin's age - and what will Jasmin be doing coming up 87?

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks. All taken with a little Sony Cybershot WX350 that'll fit in your waistcoat pocket.

  3. Again I agree with IanB that post and the photos are amazing this week. You still have plenty of runs in you Old Runningfox , I would say that still got 13 years of hard running . I can not get over the fact that you can still rise your legs at that height like you did in the second last pic in Moor Lane , I just do not know on how you are able to manage to do such efficient stride. Well done Gordon . Antonio .

    1. Thanks Antonio, you're too kind! I doubt if I'll do much running after my 87th birthday in May. I love running, as you know, but sometimes I feel it's doing my old body more harm than good. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weakening......

  4. Great run and great photos. The place is wonderful even if it looks very tough to run through.

    1. Thanks Stefano. It's great country for building strength and stamina. Mix it with a bit of speedwork on the track and Voila - a sub 3 hour marathon.

    2. Well done Gordon
      New Zealand

  5. Miss running with you
    We had some excellent times.
    I remember catching the bus with you to Holme village and running back to almondbury through all the wonderful Yorkshire countryside.