Saturday, 28 January 2012

Keld to Richmond

Once I got off the bus at Keld I was shocked to feel how cold it was compared to Richmond that was further down the dale so hanging about before the run wasn't an option.
To start with, Keld was just on the snow line and a light snow had covered the road but traffic had worn most of it away. It was a postcard picture and if it wasn't so cold I could have hung around a while and got a few photos but a job had to be done and now it was time to get on with it.
The first half of the run from Keld to Reeth is on a narrow road where oncoming vehicles have to slow down to pass or in some instances even have to pull over to the side and stop so with this in mind vigilance was the name of the game and I had to keep an ear open at all times for vehicles approaching from behind.
Running on a strip of tarmac between two limestone walls was rather picturesque, and with the old trees lining the road I was amazed with the colours around me. The colours of the moss on the walls and trees was anything from mild brown through to a beautiful bright green. Then there was the lichen which was anywhere between light grey to a lovely golden yellow.There was also an abundance of snow drops along the way which stood straight up like soldiers on parade as I went past.
After about 4 miles a friend of mine stopped his ash cart to see if I wanted a lift home and on asking him if I looked like I needed a lift he answered “yes”. (Bloody hell, do I really look that rough?).
After politely declining his offer he just told me I was mad and shaking his head we parted company.
Approaching Reeth he stopped yet again and asked if I was ready for a lift and again on declining the offer he again shook his head and drove away.
Now looking back I think I can say that I am either mad or I just like to be out of my comfort zone now and again.
Passing through the small hamlets as I slowly made my way down the valley it was easy to see why some people want to move out of the city and live in the dales. Life is a lot slower and the scenery is out of this world. What more could you wish for when you open your curtains in a morning. Rather than looking at concrete buildings and listening the sounds of cars and buses going by, you see a vast wilderness with green pastures, hills rising into the sky with the streams running down the gills between them.
After 13 miles I reached Reeth and the snow had all but gone and I just had to stop at the bakery and get a cheese and onion pasty before heading to the Swaledale Outdoors shop to have a chat with Richard the proprietor who was happy to make me a cup of tea to compliment the pasty but after a quick chat it was time to move on as I was now starting to cool down.

This second part of the run was done on wider roads but with that came more traffic and the scenery was now more bland as the hills and gills were now behind me.
Soon after Reeth I started to feel my old arthritis starting to come back into both big toes and also the soles of my feet were starting to get rather warm. I suppose that heat problem is expected after a long run on tarmac but the mild arthritis comes and goes intermittently and can slow things down tremendously.
On top of that, an old ankle injury has popped up again and over 24 hours later it is still giving me a hard time and even though I have been taking ibuprofen for the pain I have not been able to run today.
Looking at these aches and pains it seems to be something I will just have to put up with as a mature runner and looking back a few years, I can remember a back problem I used to have when driving long distances that no longer occurs since I stopped driving trucks and I have never had even a twitch in the back since starting to run regularly almost two years ago.

To view the run in detail go to my Garmin page  

The start looking down the Swale valley from Keld

Further down the valley with a view from just above Thwait.
Thwait can just be seen on the right hand side of the photo

Close knit communities like this are in abundance in the Yorkshire Dales

Green meadows and lime stone walls along with frequent lime stone buildings are a common site in Swaledale 

Friday, 6 January 2012

18 mile road run

Today's run was the longest for a long time and needed doing to kick start the training plan for this year.
On leaving home it was nice and sunny and a far cry from what we have been experiencing in the north of England all week with the high winds and rain but by the time I got to the other side of Catterick the sun had disappeared , the clouds came over and the air cooled down by a couple of degrees. Cool enough for my sunglasses to start steaming up so they had to come off as well.
After Catterick, it was onwards to Scotton and past Vimmy Barracks where the Paras 10 race is held every year. (I'm considering of doing P company in boots and 35lb bergen again this year but I might TAB the 4.5 miles from home to the 10 mile event over the army training ground, do the race and hen TAB back home again at the end).
Now out of Scotton and onto the Bedale road for a short while before turning left and heading to Tunstall. Just at the start of Tunstasll there is a lane off to the left called Stripe lane which is an unclassified road that has very little traffic on it and is a pleasure to run on. I have never run on the full length of this road before so it was a pleasure to get away from the cars for a while. What made this such a lovely part of the run was the fact that in the open fields near Hornby there was a couple of large herds of dear grazing and in the distance I could even make out a herd of buffalo. (Now there's something you don't see everyday around these parts).
Have you ever tried buffalo meat by the way? I've never had the meat but I have had buffalo burgers on many occasion. Very spicy and if you cook them on the grill there is no fat what so ever coming out of them. (Ermmm, can't wait for the next farmers market to come to town).
After joining the road again at Hakforth (Had my first pint of beer in the Greyhound Inn when I was only thirteen. In fact I was very drunk by the time I came back out) it was a slight uphill drag to East Appleton before dropping down to the A1 flyover and into Catterick Village.
It would have been very nice to have stopped off at the chip shop on the way through the village but I settled for a couple of bites of Clifbar Shot Blocks and a drink of HIGH 5 ZERO berry flavoured electrolite.
Now I was running on the footpath alongside the main road toward Catterick Bridge and the traffic was slowly getting on my nerves but I just had to put up with it now and even got worse when I cleared Brompton on Swale as there was no footpath and some the drivers were very reluctant to even move a couple of inches, let alone a couple of feet.
By this time my legs were slowly getting the better of me and I was reduced to a few seconds walking every now and then just to get a breather and most of the hill into Richmond from ST Trinians was done at walking pace but I still managed to pick the pace up again once I got back onto the flat.
After Maison Dieu it was all down hill for well earned hot soak followed by scrambled egg and beans on toast.

To view a more detailed plan of the route and the split times go to my Garmin page

Follow this link Map My Run and click on the 3D button on the right side of the map to see a fly over video of the route