Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Friday Fell Run

The morning of Friday 16th was spent waiting in for my new cranks and new frame (more later). By lunchtime the cranks had arrived but the frame hadn't, however it was such a beautiful day that I couldn't let one of my few remaining Friday's go by without doing something, so a run was planned.

Being such a crystal clear day I decided to head for Winter Hill and have an explore. I had a feeling my legs would be tired from this weeks riding/running so a run with lots of map faff would probably be just the ticket.

I know a couple of major tracks on Winter Hill from biking but that is about it so to give me an idea of where to explore I had a look at the checkpoints for the Winter Hill fell race and picked a couple of them to try to find (none of the ones that involve trekking up and down the steep side of the hill though, I'm not that daft!).

Final route I did is here. I started at the barn and ran clockwise. It was an enjoyable run, found lots of tracks which I've never run before. I wore my Mizuno Harriers as I know I can run a long time in them without them bothering my feet, I wasn't intending on running fast so a little bit of slipping around was no biggie. I also took out my new OMM Last Drop for a test, even though it was a beautiful day I still had some windproof cover and a pair of gloves. I had my compass with me to practice bearings too, camera, gels, phone etc.

I gradually picked my way up to the trig point, disappearing up over my ankles in slop twice jumping off stiles, to where lots of people were paragliding, it was quite busy up there. A stop for a gel, a good look at the map and to take in the view across to Great Hill, beautiful day:

On the other side of the road I can see the track that I ran along in the dusk, I can also see the where the bog I fell over in is (behind that first rise).

It was surprisingly busy up there, lots of paragliders having a great time. The wind was strong on that side of the hill and pretty cold. From the trig point I just headed off down Dean Ditch, following a path running alongside the wall ruins. I took an educated guess that at some point there would be a path branching off somewhere. It's not something I would have done on an unknown hill on a claggy day that's for sure!

Anyway some slip sliding in a generally downwards direction and eventually a path does branch off in the direction I wanted to go. It skirted round what looked like a reservoir then eventually joined back up with a track up Smithills Moor that I knew. Which was good as I was now starving due to not having eaten anything since breakfast (now after 3pm) and the stop/start was now taking its toll on my legs. It was easier to keep moving.

Trundled (slowly) up towards the masts, down the tarmac road which hurt, got fed up with that and decided to take my chances with a boggy path heading for the Pike.

A good decision it was much fun and easy on the legs. Up to the Pike then try to figure out the best way back to the top barn, being on foot meant all tracks were fair game. I found running on the hard cobble tracks quite painful after all the soft stuff and for the first time on the run nearly turned an ankle - on a tiny pebble on a flat piece of track.

Found a nice but convoluted route down through the gardens, nearly slipping on a greasy step. Got back to car, chucked stuff in, checked how much cash I had on me, not much. Drove from the top barn down to near the other barn and headed into the cafe to see what I could buy managing to stop myself diving face first into one of their large display cakes. Had a nice piece of shortcake to bring the sugar levels up.

Good run, nice to do some new stuff. The OMM sack was comfy, comfier than my little one. The trails shoes coped ok as things were still quite dry. I never took a single bearing, oops.


  1. more fun than biking? only asking 'cos i can never decide (not that you have to though). but i generally find if i'm running i'm thinking ooh, this would be a great trail and visa versa. but all outdoor fun is ace :)

  2. Same, always thinking if somethings rideable or not etc. I do like the simplicity of running, especially when its only myself I have to clean the mud off.