Monday 24 June 2019

Another week, another few miles...

On the morning of summer solstice I crawled out of bed at 3.45am, donned my running gear and drank an extra strong cup of coffee.  Half an hour later I was jogging up Castle Hill to greet the sun.  Strewth, I couldn't believe how many others were there already.  The car park was heaving, a crowd had gathered round the tower while various individuals and couples were spaced around the hill, all facing east to witness the imminent sunrise.
Solstice sunrise   (Click to enlarge)
At exactly 4.36am the sun duly obliged and as it peeped over the horizon a group by the tower began singing softly, words and music quite unfamiliar to me.
Solstice service.
Others, some in druidic robes,  appeared to be reciting a form of litany from sheets of notes.   Dressed only in shorts and vest I felt rather uncomfortable and out of place in such company so, after taking a few pictures, quickly scurried home.
Setting off on Saturday's run
 Weekend activities were a repeat of runs I've recorded scores of times in my blog so a few photographs will have to suffice.
The road loop
We set off on Saturday to run what we call the Appletreewick lollipop.
Passing the camp site
It goes mainly along the River Wharfe and back with a loop out onto the road and back round the camp site at the far end.
Burnsall Bridge
 We abandoned the riverside path at Burnsall Bridge on account of hoards of people with their children and dogs.
Anyone know what this is?
  We ascended a steep bank up to the Skuff road where we came upon a strange, tall plant that has only appeared this year.
Brakes off, full speed ahead
Once out onto the Skuff road we'd a section of fast running back towards Hebden.
  We were out of bed early on Sunday morning for another favourite run round Grimwith reservoir.
Foxgloves, orchids, yellow rattle and bugle lined our path back 'o Grimwith.
Amazingly, among the bracken we came across more of that strange plant we'd seen the day before.
Agitated mum
At the lagoon a mallard was very agitated as it waddled back and forth along the top of a weir.
Mother duck sliding down to rejoin her family.
 It transpired all its ducklings had been having great fun whizzing down the weir into the drain below.
Together again
They were all united in the drain below, though goodness knows how long it would take them to find their way out..
Early purple orchids
We left them to figure it out (the drain passes under the road and empties into the reservoir) and continued along the orchid lined path. 
Through thick carpets of alchemilla,
over the wee bridge, up to the car park and away home for porridge, toast and coffee
 - a well earned breakfast

Monday 17 June 2019

A funny week......

My appointment classed as 'extremely urgent' back in April, the one I was advised to cancel my holiday for, finally materialised last Thursday - June 13th.  After getting up at 5am and booking into hospital at 7am, I was told I was second on the theatre list.   I sat around suitably garbed in theatre gown and compression stockings until 2pm at which point the surgeon, Mr Bryan, informed me he'd run out of space. 
 "I've arranged for you to be admitted to Ward 22 overnight and you'll be first on my list in the morning" he said.
Fast forward 18 hours and I'm sat there again with gown and stockings, starving because I hadn't been allowed anything to eat or drink, when a surgeon arrived by my bed, and it wasn't Mr Bryan.
"I believe I'm first on Mr Bryan's list today" I said to him.  
 "I'm afraid Mr Bryan isn't in today, I'll be doing your operation" he said.
(Like hell you will, I thought)
"I'm sorry, but I'd prefer Mr Bryan to do it" I told him.
So, I was given transport home and told I'd have transport back some time the following week.
I was in rather a bad mood when I got home!
After mulling things over I phoned the hospital and told them to forget it.   I'd been messed about too many times and had quite enough.   As I put the phone down I felt a great weight had been lifted from me.  I'd had a bad feeling about this operation from the word go and felt in my heart I'd done the right thing.
I couldn't wait to go for a run...
Meanwhile, Mr Nutkins cheered me up    (Click to enlarge pictures)

...goldfinches were back as soon as he'd gone

...and this little fellow seemed happy on my astrantias

I felt to be flying next day

especially on downhill bits
Things kept interrupting our Sunday run - like this orchid oystercatcher
...a twayblade
...another orchid
but eventually we got under way.
...chugging up hills
...stopping for an occasional breather
...happy to be out on the trails again.
And that was the week that was, a great deal of frustration and not much mileage. 
Things can only get better.
One hopes!

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Still running, sort of....

Hospital appointments are coming thick and fast, recently two a day at different hospitals.  Yet none of my doctors/surgeons/consultants have told me to stop running.  One was even inspired to start using his exercise machine again before starting work each morning.  Or so he said...
Hours sitting around in waiting rooms or lying on consulting room couches are taking their toll.  I try to stay positive by comparing myself to unfit and over weight specimens surrounding me - and that often includes NHS staff !   Come weekend I feel drained of energy and quite happy to relax with a cryptic crossword rather than run.
In spite of inclement weather last weekend my wonderful partner successfully eased me out of my rocking chair and lured me into the hills.
(Click pictures to enlarge)
It rained quite heavily a couple of minutes into our run and we almost turned back, but a patch of blue sky held promise of brighter things to come.
It conned us but we carried on.

As we plodded up the ghyll a cuckoo called incessantly, the first we'd heard this year, and it made our day.  Out came the cameras for a very short video to capture the sound.
Me running across is purely co-incidental!
Further up the moor signs have been erected for people to control their dogs during the ground nesting season.
Over the past few years numbers of pewit, curlew, redshank and oystercatchers diminished somewhat but now seem to be returning.
Each of the above mentioned species became rather agitated as we ran across the moor, an indication that many chicks were hiding in the grass and heather.
As we ran along they were dive bombing us, shoo-ing us off their territory, away from their precious chicks.
We stopped at one point to gather sphagnum moss for hanging baskets.
They kept up their relentless bombardment until we'd left the moor.
An oystercatcher stood on one leg and watched us, seemingly unconcerned.

We repeated the route on Sunday in more persistent rain, hoping to hear that cuckoo again, but we were disappointed.  The bird had flown, trailing those repetitive notes behind it to brighten someone else's day.
 Birds were still there and unwilling to make friends.
A curlew really got its knickers in a twist as we passed Scar Top house where chicks were dashing for cover.
We left them in peace and descended into the lush greenery of Hebden Ghyll.
Back to our crossword...