Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Five Trigs of Ingleborough

Following on from my recent Five Waterfalls from Settle run, on Saturday me and Haz set out from Horton-in-Ribblesdale with a view to visiting all five of the Ingleborough trig points in one 20 mile loop. There is obviously only the one trig point on the summit of Ingleborough but, if you extend your view to the whole of the Ingleborough massif, you certainly get four, and with a bit of imagination, if you throw in the trig on Smearsett Scar you get the set of five. 

The trig points in the order that we visited them were Smearsett Scar, Moughton, Ingleborough, Park Fell and Sulber. The Sulber trig point incidentally is way off the beaten track and is seldom visited or even known about. I'm not sure it even has a name but as its not far from Sulber Nick, on the main path from Horton to Ingleborough, we've called it the Sulber trig point.

The weather on Saturday was quite Spring like, although hazy, and was just perfect for running (although less brilliant for photos as the haze tended to ruin what would have otherwise been some stunning views). The first part of the run south to Smearsett and then back along the ridge, through Wharfe Woods and down to the hamlet of Wharfe was really great running and easy going but, after that, things got decidedly tougher. A steep climb onto the top of the Moughton plateau was followed by much grassy tussock hopping and sheep trod following to the Moughton trig point and from there, all the way to the top of Sulber Nick, it was all limestone pavements and limestone grikes; potentially ankle snapping stuff. From Sulber Nick it was then a gradual uphill to the summit of Ingleborough before the running finally got a bit easier again going along the west edge of Simon Fell and around the back of Park Fell to the trig point there. Then it was a grand descent in the direction of Selside, past Alum Pot and then taking a rough line to the final trig point (just marked with its 348 meter height on the OS map) at Sulber. From our direction of approach, this trig point was hidden by a dry stone wall so it couldn't actually be seen until we got right to it. Having successfully bagged that, it was a scoot back to Horton with Harry having a much deserved swim and clean up in the river at the end.

A top run out if I say so myself!

Ze route

Smearsett Scar ahoy!

Trig 1 - Smearsett Scar

Harry looking back towards Smearsett

Wharfe Wood - certain to be the bluebelliest place on earth in a month or so's time

The most fricking stupidly positioned and rickety stile on earth

The Moughton plateau

Trig 2 - Moughton

Just got to get across all of that to Ingleborough next then!

Capple Bank and Moughton Scars

Jolly jolly limestoney

Ingleborough ahoy!

Harry's swimming pool just below Ingleborough summit

Trig 3 - Ingleborough

Our path ahead looping around the side of Simon Fell

A friendly mountain frog

Park Fell ahoy!

Trig 4 - Park Fell

Harry investigating Alum Pot

Trig 5 - Sulber

Horton-in-Ribblesdale and the end in sight

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Edale Skyline

Hester and Gav were running the Edale Skyline fell race today, a stunning 20 mile lap around the top edge of the bowl like ridge line that surrounds the beautiful  Edale valley in the Peak District. As fell races go its always a tough one too - its not just the 20 miles itself or even the 3,800-ish feet of climb but its the notorious Peak District mud and bogs, that do their best to suck every ounce of energy out of the runners, that makes this route such blinking hard work.

I had been down to race too but, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was on Harry care assistant duties today so, instead of racing, me and Hazzer decided to run the Skyline route anti-clockwise. We set off about half an hour before the race and, rather than go up Ringing Roger, the first climb of the race, we climbed the opposite side of the valley up to Hollins Cross and proceeded anti-clockwise from there. This meant that we ended up passing all of the competitors of the race twice as they were running in a clockwise direction.

The weather was mostly sunny but with the odd squall of snow and hail thrown in. There was also a cutting wind which made the going harder still, especially as we were running straight into the teeth of it for at least half (and what seemed like most) of the distance. 

Anyway what a cracking run. Me and harry loved it. Hester and Gavin did well too, although I think their climb through the swamp and bogs to Brown Knoll took its toll on them (and all of the other runners to be fair). Me and Harry running down (rather than up) from Brown Knoll found this bit easy and, having timed things nicely to meet the race for a second time at this very point, felt obliged to smugly pass all of the runners struggling in the opposite direction, smiling our smuggiest smiles and smugly telling them to 'dig in' and 'for Christ's sake make an effort". (Not really).

Me and Harold finished at Edale Village Hall just in time to wander up to the race finsh and see Gavin and, a few minutes later, Hester romp home. Then it was meat pie and mushy peas in the village hall and a well earned cup of tea.

Looking back towards Edale not far from the top of Lose Hill

Hester, with Gav just behind, coming the other way on the 'Roman Road'

Looking back towards Win Hill

The Peak District 'rocks'

More Peak Districts rocks, this time with walkers in for scale

The grind to Brown Knoll

Hester patting Harry when we passed for the second time

Just behind me out of shot a lady runner was stuck in a bog (haha)

Beautiful eh?

Hester's sprint finish

Mine and Harry's route

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Pen y Ghent

The 'snow's' not over till the fat lady sings!

A lovely run up Pen y Ghent from Horton with Hazzer this morning, with added snow on top. In fact, although it was bright and sunny when we set off, the clouds rolled in behind us as we ran up and we reached the top just in time for a fair old blizzard. Fantastic.

Haz waiting patiently for me to catch up

A snowy Pen y Ghent ahoy!

The buttresses of Pen y Ghent

Harry loving the blizzard

At the top

Lets go!

Frisky McClusky

The snow on Park Fell and Whernside shining through the gloom

The weather clearing nicely now for our run back down to Horton

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Fairfield Horseshoe

The trouble with setting out to go for a run every single day, especially when you've been doing it without break since August 2011, is that it becomes a right pain in the back side when you're ill or injured............. or, in my case come the end of last week, a (right) pain in the right side of my back! At the same time, the running streak must continue and you 'have to' bash on.

At the beginning of the week I jarred my back stepping off a curb (that I somehow didn't notice) and, all through the week, it got progressively worse, not helped by two long business days stuck in my car for hours on end. On Friday evening, just as I left work in Leeds to meet my younger daughter for a Nandos, the muscles in my back then decided to up the anti and go into spasm which, amongst other things, made it almost impossible for me to sit down. (It also made me groan out loud and grimace every now and then too, not that I made a drama of it or anything. Noooo, not me!).

That meant that, yep, I had to stand up in Nando's to eat my chicken burger and corn on the cob, much to the embarressment of my daughter, with the occasional groan and grimace thrown in not particularly helping. Worse still, I still had to drive the 40 odd miles home after our Nandos! Luckily my daughter convinced me to buy some nurofen (I don't do pain killers and hadn't ever taken them or anything like them before) and, thankfully, a couple of those just about made driving home possible, especially after the 40 minutes that it seemed to take them to kick in.

Having got home though there was still the minor problem of going out for a run. My back was feeling a little better by this point and wasn't spasming quite so much so I got changed and managed to take Harry out for my most pathetic run ever. Just one mile but, jeeeeesus, did it hurt!

Which kind of made going for a run in the Lakes with Hester and Harry on Saturday as arranged kind of questionable and, going to bed on Friday night, I was far from sure I'd make it. My back was painful over night but luckily the half bottle of red wine and nurofen cocktail I had consumed in the evening (not something I'd recommend to be honest) did help me sleep and, come Saturday morning, hey presto, my back felt okay for a run and it was off to the Lakes for a tootle round the Fairfield Horseshoe from Rydal with H and H.

It was a fabulous run too, with my back feeling not too bad while I was moving. We even managed to get round quite speedily, despite the bitterly cold and gusting wind and low cloud with us all around the top half of the Horseshoe. 

Hester climbing Nab Scar, with Windermere catching the sun in the background

Looking towards Ambleside and Windermere, with Rydal water immediately below

H and H giving it some welly, with the bowl of the Horseshoe beyond

Me in Leeds Rhino mode with Harry charging along behind

Hitting the slushy snow line

Hester whizzing down one of the best descents in the whole of the Lake District

Looking svelte!

Me modelling my Virgin London Marathon running vest, provided courtesy of my employer Investec

Hester and Harry leaving me behind

Looking back up the Horseshoe

Harry's swimming pool near the finish

Ze route


After holding up for all of the 10 and a bit miles and 3,000 odd feet of ascent of the Fairfield Horseshoe, my back did stiffen up alarmingly later in the day and then became agony over night on Saturday. Luckily it was nurofen, and a fantastic (and fantastically painful) back massage from Hester, to the rescue and, incredibly, my back has been almost perfect ever since then. 

Just goes to show, don't give in to injuries and bash on!