Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday 26th May: 4 Mile Trail Run

I had planned to do a 4 mile recovery run today on the local roads/tramway area but I ended up changing plan. It was stupidly windy again, even more so than Sunday but the expected rain didn't materialise instead it was glorious sunshine. If it hadn't been for the wind one of the bikes would have been going on an outing but as it was decided to catch up in the garden. I spent most of the day pottering until the cloud came in and it got cold.

I had been dithering all day about where to run as quite frankly I'd had enough of tarmac with the road race yesterday but I didn't want to run any real hills and all the trails I run on are hilly. I had decided to myself that once Garburn was out the way and I no longer had to do very long runs I would do some more exploratory runs and find new trails so in that spirit I got the map out. There are some footpaths out of White Coppice that stay low level, I also wanted to run round Healey Nab as I'm sure there are lots of little trails in there that we don't ride on. I have found that trail running is a really god way of spotting and investigating potential bike trails, on the bike I'm usually moving too fast or concentrating on the trail itself to notice peripheral detail.

So I parked up at White Coppice, opened the car door and nearly stepped into a bunch of nettles, that would not have been pleasant. Got my kit on, including bike arm warmers as the temperature had really dropped and dug my trail shoes out. I had obviously just chucked them in the plastic bag at the end of my last run and not let them dry out, I need to run some clean water through them and let them dry properly me thinks as they were rather ripe. I had a quick scan of the map for the key paths in the general direction I was heading, I didn't bother taking it with me as even if all else failed I knew how to get back on road.

So I set of along a footpath that followed the base of Stronstrey Bank, the surface was hard packed as it had been dry so much but it would be good going even in the wet. This is one of those footpaths that as far as I'm concerned should be a bridleway, it is wide enough and strong enough to handle bikes and horses but for some reason its no go, doesn't stop people riding it and I can see why, there are a few paths like that round this area. I pop out at the road near the Waterman's Cottage at the north end of Anglezarke Reservoir, have a quick look at the steep road hill just to confirm it is in fact steep (yep, still steep) and have a quick look down a footpath that follows the east back of the reservoir. It is a woodland type path and is bone dry but looks like it could get very boggy when wet, I'm not going that way but will investigate it soon, would be a good fairly flat trail run to run all the way round Anglezarke. I head along the road for a bit to the very start of the West bank of the reservoir, I've got a choice of two paths, I can either go up the steep steps which I've noticed before whizzing past on a bike or go along the track that hugs the reservoir (which I've never noticed when whizzing past on a bike). I opt for the latter. It is a fantastic running trail, undulating, rooty and runnable. In its present bone dry condition it is probably pretty bikeable as well, may try it one dry evening. The track pops out at Heapey Fold Lane which is the bridleway they "restored" (i.e annihiliated) so I follow that for a bit and run on the normal biking route into the Nab area. I drop down the drops and as I turn to head down the wide track I notice two steep paths dropping down from the main one, so I stopped the Garmin and headed down one for a look. It is steep and rooty but will make an interesting bike descent as long as there is a sensible way back up. It drops to another wide track and I look around for a rideable way up, I pick another steep track which is not rideable up but would make a good down and get back to the top of the drops. I restart the Garmin and continue on my way. I follow the main bridleway to the the sharp right hander before the gate, at this point I notice that the wide track the steep descents dropped to joins the main bridleway here (result!), I have never really appreciated this when on a bike. I also noticed two other short sections of track that are worth looking at....I continued on the normal route back to Heapey Fold Lane, there were a couple of other likely looking tacks but my stomach was really rumbling by this point. I followed a footpath sign that brought me out by the steep steps on the west bank of the reservoir then I retraced my steps back to the car.

4 miles in about 40 minutes and lots of exploring though not the easy recovery run it was supposed to be. After finding those new trails I spent a lot of time looking at the 25,000 scale map tonight to start identifying some new tracks to run and ride, got some plans...

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