Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A serious miscalculation...

..or misjudgement? Not sure what to call it but I messed up on Monday's run. My original plan was to run Sunday out from Rivington near the barn, out towards White Coppice and up onto Great Hill, back across the top of the moor then onto Winter Hill for a bit of an explore. I've never done any real running around Riv and fancied a change.

Heading out on Monday after work meant I didn't have a lot of daylight to play with so I decided to vary the route so it was about 8.5 miles, sunset around 7:30, should manage it. I had hoped to get out of work before 5 but I didn't get away until 5:15. Sense should have sent me to Abbey Village but no I continued onto Rivington and added another 20 minutes on.

I knew I had to keep faff to a minimum, gutted to find public loos shut so headed off out on run keeping an eye out for a suitable bush, spotted one, zoomed over, heard voices, right under the Go Ape course bah. Anyway sorted eventually so head out on part of the Rivi trail course, alongside Anglezarke really enjoying the run.

its really dry so having the road/trail shoe debate, la la la. All the way up to Great Hill, the moor being pretty dry. Stood on top of Great Hill watching the sunset, isn't it pretty:

It was about 7:30, I'm on top of a hill, it's taken me about 6 miles to get here, there is no way its only 2.5 miles back to my car and the sun is dropping fast - I know cos I've been watching it! I think briefly, as the light is fading decide to keep on open tracks to take off across the top of the moor on the flagstones.

Lovely glowing heather and orange sky.....must not stop to stare. Not too bad on the moor as its open. The flags stop but its still quite dry, running well then splat, left leg up to the knee in bog and I fall over, luckily onto firm ground so only leg covered.

Hee hee, giggling away, faffing, take a picture, realise I don't have time and get running again across to Belmont Road. Hard work running on the rough track, particularly as it was in shadow and I coudn't see a thing just had to hope I didn't turn an ankle and keep running. Lots of gorgeous reflections on the puddles but must not stop. It seems to take ages to get to the big left bend, get round it, where the hell is the pigeon tower? How can it be that far away still?

I've only biked around these trails and its a lot faster than on foot. Forgot track get really rough just before the pigeon tower, stumble a bit but get to tower. Think, what is the best way down as it is quite frankly dark, not dusk, its night, feck. Think, think, think. I have a map but its too dark to see it!

I realise I have no phone (charging elsewhere), no layers save a pair of thin armwarmers and no light. Decide to head for the Commonwealth Down, stay out of the trees as much as possible. So across where the cottage used to be down through a short pitch black tree section out into the clear then cut down to the track. I have biked the rutty/grassy track but couldn't make out any detail on it at all so was stumbling all over the place like a drunk. Then a couple of metres in front of me something bounds out of the gloom right across the track.....probably a fox.

Now, I'd been having a few axe murderer out to get me worries but had never thought about the wildlife. The anxiety level was raised a few notches then I fell out onto the big track at the switch back. I know its fine at the top but gets rough at the gate at the bottom. As its out of the trees I can make out a bit of the track but no real detail but it was a fun descent even so. Then two sheep shuffled out of the bushes at the side of the track, all I saw were two slightly glowing white blobs.....

..I though OMG Polar Bears! Wtf? Eh? Rivington, that well known Polar Bear habitat! I realise I am actually getting a bit hysterical worried. I get to the gate turn right and head for the car. Again, I've only biked this flattish track so I was expecting the gate to come soon but it didn't.

I was feeling very disoriented, I was sure I was going the correct way but if I wasn't I couldn't see to go somewhere else. Then it appeared, could have hugged it! Next the wooden stumps.....they appeared. Oh the tracks going left, think, oh yes it does that keep going.

Almost fell down a big dip in the track but managed to stay upright then I saw car headlights where I'd parked, hurrah! Arrived at the parking but had to wait for another car to go past and use the light from its headlights to actually find mine.

Quick check of the Garmin 11.6 miles and 1:56 or running, what an eejit! I must have plucked the 8.5 miles figure out of the air.


  1. It does sound like a great run even if the last bit was a bit scary.

    I find it's worse when you have a head torch on and you can see all these eyes reflecting back at you but not the actual animal.

  2. Polar bears? From now on no adventure should be without them.

  3. hopefully this sat. will be slightly less 'exciting'!!

  4. Well it might have a bit of a knee-knockin' advenuture dodging all those monsters but it made for a great read. I want more! RB

  5. your blog writing style is so funny! polar bears?! had you eaten a few mushrooms on your run?

    sounds a exciting adventure but a little scary! I hate it getting caught out unprepared clothes wise and no lights.

    well done for not panicing too much and getting back safely! x