Monday, 26 May 2014

My "runny" Spring bank holiday weekend

Some cracking runs out this bank holiday weekend then:

Saturday - And its a bright an early start for me and Harry to get over the the Lakes to help Janson on leg 4 of his Bob Graham attempt. Leg 4 is a jolly good leg of the Bob Graham to offer assistance on too as, within the scheme of things, its pretty easy to turn up for even though it starts in Wasdale which, to get to by car, is a nightmare 7 day camel trek (well its at least 2 hours from Keswick via Cockermouth anyway). Its virtually always done in daylight too which is nice. Getting to Wasdale on foot is a doddle and its all about driving to Honister Slate Mine, through the Borrowdale valley from Keswick, parking up there and trotting the 6 miles over to Wasdale via Moses Trod. And I met up at 7am at Honister with Peter, also helping out, and by 8:30 we were in the National Trust car park in Wasdale waiting for Janson to arrive.

Soon after 9am Janson duly appeared as a dot on the Scafell ridge line and by 9:20 he'd arrived in Wasdale, alongside his leg 3 expert navigator Dale, looking in pretty damn good nick..... considering he'd been out in the hills since 7pm the evening before and had covered 44 miles, more or less, and 30 peaks by that point.  Better still he was about 10 minutes ahead of his 22:45 hour schedule. Apparently he'd had some trouble with poor visibility in the hill fog over night on the second leg along the Helvellyn ridge line but, hey, nothing new there and welcome to the piss poor weather on BG leg 2 club (there are loads of members).

Although the weather forecast for Saturday said that rain would be coming in later, as it turned out, the weather for us on leg 4 over the peaks of Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Steeple, Pillar, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth and Grey Knotts was really good with only one peak, Great Gable, having a wisp of cloud cover to 'cope with'. We, relatively speaking, whizzed round and delivered Janson to Honister at the end of the leg something like 45 minutes ahead of his schedule. He was absolutely cruising it actually and went on to finish the whole shebang about an hour ahead of his schedule and with getting on for two and a quarter hours to spare of the 24 hours allowed to complete the Bob Graham. Brilliant stuff Janson and thoroughly deserved - not quite as bum squeakingly close as my 6 minutes to spare last September then!

Oh and a bad day for photos as I must have dropped my camera as I got out of the car in Honister. Luckily somebody found it and kindly left it for me on my car windscreen. Thank you very, very much who ever you are ☺︎

Ze route - straight(ish) line out to Wasdale and around the houses going back

Peter's picture of me with the emerging vista of Ennerdale behind

Dale left, Janson sitting and the leg 4 support team right (apart from Hazzer out of shot). Have I got the best tan or what?

Me and Janson on top of Steeple

Lots of rock on this leg

Janson looking blasé with just leg 5 to go

Sunday - and me and Harry weren't exactly firing on all cylinders after Saturday's 17 or so miles. Never-the-less we still went for a gorgeous 7 mile run around the hills of Settle and through Cleatop Wood before I then popped over to Masham to see how Hester, printmaker extraordinaire, was doing at Crafted by Hand - she was doing very well as it happens and, apparently the crowd 'went wild' at her print making demo.

Harry surveying one of his many domains

Settle Hills

Harry back in Sticky (aka Cleatop) Wood

Cleatop (and Harry) looking lush 

The buttercup fields around these parts are stunning

Hester's stand at Craftted by Hand

Monday - and as we hadn't been up Pen y Ghent since, er... last Wednesday and were getting withdrawal symptoms, we went for an extended 9 mile run up Pen y Ghent, looping back to Horton via Helwith Bridge and the Ribble Way. Another rip snorter and in lovely weather too!

Yet another picture of Pen y Ghent

Harry with rock in mouth

Harry hurtling down the side of Pen y Ghent chasing a rock

Horton in Ribblesdale

The Ribble (and Pen y Ghent)

A Sandpiper's nest hidden on the river bank

Harry at his favourite Ribble swimming spot

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Smearsett Scar and Wharfe Woods from Feizor

On Sunday, still in recovery mode after our sun blasted trek around the 3 Peaks the day before, me and the H's had a nice relaxing and chilled out run around Smearsett Scar and Wharfe Woods from Feizor. (I don't know why but whenever you say Feizor you have to say it with a West Country accent, even though its clearly in the Yorkshire Dales. It just sounds better that way okay! Repeat after me: "Foy-zuuur me duck"). Anyway we'd been through Wharfe Woods a couple of weeks ago when it was completely drenched in Spring flowers, mainly primroses, anemones, purple orchids and cowslips, but we knew that we had to go back again to see the bluebells at their best. And yep, the bluebells were pretty damn spectacular on Sunday.

Mind you the highlight of the run was the stoat that we spotted in a tree (presumably out bird's nesting). We managed to get quite close to it and Hester took a couple of fabulous pictures which I have 'borrowed' from her facebook page and included below. 

Oh and egg and chips in Elaine's Tea Rooms afterwards made it pretty much the perfect Sunday morning outing. Foy-zuuur....

Looking back towards Feizor and Wharfe Woods beyond

Yet another flipping picture of Hester with Pen y Ghent in it

The ridge line from Smearsett Scar

Gorgeous Hester and gorgeous bluebells

And gorgeous Harry

The whole of Wharfe and Oxenber Woods were exactly like this

Ingleborough on the horizon

Looking towards the hamlet of Wharfe, nestled under Moughton (Moot'n), the hill on the right

A bit bluebelly then

Spot the stoat

 Hester Stoat pic 1 - cobwebby nose

Hester Stoat pic 2

Ze route

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The 3 Peaks of Yorkshire

Well after running the 3 Peaks of Wharfedale last weekend, yesterday it was the turn of the "proper" 3 Peaks of Yorkshire and, as it turned out, me, Hes and Haz couldn't have had a more gloriously sunny day to trot round them in. In fact ever since Hester agreed to our move to Horton in Ribblesdale she's always had a teeny weeny bit of a nagging concern over the weather for some reason - apparently the western side of the Pennines can be a bit wet! Well all I can say to that is 'boooo'sheeeeit'. In fact the climate in Ribblesdale is positively (nearly always) sub-tropica,l as yesterday's wall to wall sunshine clearly proves. Mind you the weather wasn't exactly as nice the last time I ran round with Gavin and Harry in February - never mind sub-tropical, that day the weather was positively biblical! But that was obviously a one off blip.....

Given that the starting point of the whole 21 mile circuit is our now home village of Horton it was no great shakes to get to the start line - we just smugly opened the front door and er... off we went. As is usual for pretty much every Saturday between now and September there were plenty of walkers trundling (and later in the day staggering) around the 3 Peaks yesterday and there must have been at least three large mass charity walks giving it a go too, most of whom had set off a few hours before us. This made the whole run for us even more fun as we gradually reeled in and overtook all of these 3 Peakeroos. Unfortunately, as I suavely trotted up to one keen charity walker who, about a mile from the finish,  was hoping to be the first home of his group, I managed to trip on a rock and somersault past him which, apart from anything else, made me feel a darn site less smug about things and I'm sure the chap was doing his very best to stifle a belly laugh at my expense. Mind you his legs were shot and he was well and truly running trudging on empty so, given that I hadn't broken any bones, I could still feel just a little bit smug after all.

A truly fabulous run followed by a lovely swim in the river at the end. Job done.

Hester about to start with Pen y Ghent waiting on the horizon

H and H now not far from the top of PyG

Me bringing up the rear

One peak down and two to go

Hester starting to question my 'off piste' route

Ribblehead and Whernside ahead

Looking towards peak 3, Ingleborough, from the very bottom of the climb up peak 2, Whernside

Hester just seconds before being half swallowed by a bog

The climb up Whernside goes on a bit

And gets a tad steep towards the end....

Hester at the busy top of Whernside

Ingleborough ahoy!

The H team in full flow

Hester on all fours going up Ingleborough

Harry acting nonch and Hester stumbling on

Uh oh, the six packs looking flabby!

Peak 3 in the bag.... and just 5 miles to go

Pen y Ghent ahead - second lap anyone?

Hester cools down

Me bobbing

Harry cruising

Ze route