Sunday, 3 October 2010

Grin `N` Bear It - 2nd October 2010
A 23 mile circular from Crow Edge to take in Dark Peaks Finest - there's a good description for you. However, dicing with the Bog Monster may be more appropriate and for me this was a first outing so close to home, nearly on my own patch so to speak.

This is a good event, no question: three distances to dip at, obviously being out for the day with camera to hand I opted for the 20 odd miler although there was a shorter "race" and walking options - down to a family 4.5 mile distance - they get `em young up here!.

We plodders headed off at 8.00am and even though the air had an early October chill, the bright sun soon warmed us nicely and by the time we'd got through the first 6 miles of road, village and field navigations to checkpoint 1, we were ready for whatever the Peaks had in store. It had lashed it down the previous day, and overnight, so I suspected that there'd be a bit `o stuff to get through before the day was out.

A steady climb from Langsett up and over Hingcliff Common then on to Cut gate and the sun left us. Finally Featherbed Moss and the Bull Clough Checkpoint had us checking to see if the shoes were on tight enough - it was now the worse bit was to be taken on.

Thanks Ian from Dark Peak "Stay 20 yards to the left of the path and run parallel" .... pearls of wisdom that couldn't have been heard by everyone back at Crow Edge, perhaps one or two were distracted by the sight of so much bottled beer on the table!.

Jumping from one peat hag to the next all the way up towards the ridge, passed Outer Edge, through Harden Moss was particularly heavy going: Often calf deep, occasionally knee deep but for me, no worse. Then the clag came down.

Then it lifted! was that a flag I saw before me? quick after it before it disappears again.

Which way? ... over there?

... Or down there?

Surely not up through there! ...

Finally, and with much relief we turned away towards the A628 checkpoint at Lasche much muddier, thoroughly soaked and with complaining calf muscles but we were through. Further Sanity was added by the re-appearance of the sun and a chance for a regular trot and stride pattern to put an end to the previous nonsense.

Returning eastwards via Winscar Reservoir, we were treated to a decent sailing display - a small red sailed flotilla tacked in unison -  a great distraction but then "we" became "I" as my earstwhile navigator - Rodders - succumbed to calf cramps leaving me to make a solitary fist of the climb to the Harden checkpoint.

Enjoyed this bit, alone through the clough area and down the Holme Valley Woods before being briefly joined then overtaken by the Dark Peak race leader on the descent of Hades Clough. The next climb to Hade Edge and up Snittle Road finally emptied my small tanks and the elite crew began to stream passed - along with a few of the long distance plodders whom I hadn't seen since Langsett a few hours earlier.

I must add at this point that this is probably the only time that I'm going to be side by side with the likes of Nicky Spinks, Ozzy Kershaw and Kevin Holmes: the race winner Mick Stenton being long away with kind words as he cruised away from me in Holme Valley Woods. Even though we were in different events - but in the same field at the same time - its great, but slightly sobering, to see trail running done properly!.

The final push up Ox Lee Lane and Crow Hill reduced me to a shuffle (actually caught by two walkers!) however the sight of a flat run to the road then down to the end, once again happily alone saw me through the door with a time of 4 hours 40 mins.

I say happily because this was my first outing since early July: not only was I pleased to get round well inside my notional 5 hour target but put simply I enjoyed it all enormously and heartily recommend this event.

Running close to home enables a few quid to be put back into something local and I was delighted the money raised was for the Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team. From the entry fees raised (many thanks to Bawtry Newsagent who gave me £5 to chuck in the tin early that morning) to the excellent bottled "Rescue Ale" which I enjoyed that evening. This team proves time and again, for the Sheffield Dark Peak region, that it forms an invaluable rescue service supporting all of us who escape up here as often as possible.

Good Grub, Great Cameraderie, Great banter - so that's who all you forumites are then!. Fantastic marshalling and support on the route and back at HQ - A big thank you for looking out for us all and providing fine refuelling at the finish. I may be slow but ....

"I'll be back".

1 comment:

  1. Hey ho Mike,
    Great to meet you at this year's "G&BI". Thoroughly enjoyed the report and snaps - impressed that you found the time to take them. I was too busy hopping from tussock to tussock.
    Perhaps see you at the Round Rotherham?
    All the best!