Sunday, 17 January 2010

Mayhill recce

I met Mike at the sawmill at 7am on Sunday morning to run the route of the Mayhill Massacre. It's Mike's race. He used to cut timber in the woods of the Mayhill and saw the potential. Proceeds are in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a charity that he has good cause to be involved with.

The thaw had frozen overnight and the ground was slippery with black ice as we made our way up the extraction tracks into the wood by the light of headtorches. The initial climb up is a consistent pull of about a mile and a half and includes short sections on roads.

From the trig on the top, we descended footpaths and extraction tracks, teetering over the ice as the dawn came up.

"Why so you call this bit The Somme?", I asked as I slid into freezing mud over my knees...

The second climb up to the top is muddy and probably best power walked in places. I found it just as fast and much more efficient.

Definitely one to pace carefully in the early stages.

Although, I'm looking forward to this race I'm disappointed that the Long Mynd Valleys race is on the same day. It will be Shropshire in 2011, however.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Night run in slush

Friday night. MIke, Duncan, Chris and I did the Sandy Lane loop in reverse. 9 miles. The plastic bags didn't work to keep out the meltwater so it was numb feet from the outset. The windy conditions lowered the temperature as we ran over the top behind Coberley.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Night run on Lecky Hill

The almost athletes cancelled the wednesday night road run due to dangerous pavements, so ten of us headed out from the Old Pats rugby club for some risky running up on Leckhampton Hill. Great to run with a larger group: Chris, Marek, Duncan, Paul M, Paul, Tim, Simon, Nick, Mike and me.

There had been a fresh dollop and along the top, the drifts snaked out like linear dunes, some of them thigh deep.

A smaller group of us picked up the Sandy Lane loop.

Coming out of Upper Coberley wood and onto a field of unbroken snow, there were no visual cues. We went spectacularly off route and had to follow the field edge to get back on track.

Broke out the emergency Kendal mint cake towards the end - there some tired guys, myself included.

All this extra effort needed to run in snow should eventually do my legs a power of good and will hopefully be good training for Mike's race: the suggestively named Mayhill Massacre...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Cleeve Cloud snow run

Duncan and Nick and Mike and I went for a ten mile circuit on Cleeve. Great company and a great run.

Night run in snow

Sandy Lane loop with Mike. -6 C, colder in the wind. Brrrrrr. Thousands of ice crystals sparkling in the torch beams.

Ewes Top Moss

I had a spare few hours so wrapped up warm and did a little circuit above Ingleton.

Headed out past the open air pool, up a road then a track and then onto Ewe's Top Moss a fine vantage point above the town.

The snow was just beginning to melt and when I realised I was heading into limestone pavement, I cut my planned route short and gingerly retraced my steps heading back down the way I had come. Picked up the waterfalls walk on the way back.

Crap snaps

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bowland night run

There was a foot of snow on the edge of the Forest of Bowland where where the family and I went to spend Christmas with my parents this year.

With the memory of the Cardington Cracker receding, the boys in bed asleep and my stomach full of too much food I felt that I should get myself out. I left Rach in front of the fire with a good book and the promise of Gavin and Stacey to come and went out through the back gate and onto the moor.

There was a slight thaw and I was glad I'd taped my feet into plastic bags as my feet sank into the water between the tussocks.

Along the line of unmelted snow lining the centre of the road. A still night and moonlit enough to turn off the headtorch. Smoothed and wind-crusted snow in all directions. A curtain of mist away to the right. All very peaceful.

I dropped down past a farm and all hell broke loose as half a dozen chained up sheepdogs went ballistic.

Further ahead the snow was banked-up against the gritstone walls. A silhouette of a hawthorn bent over by the prevailing winds. Magic in the air. And then back, retracing my steps cockily this time past the farm.