Sunday, 28 April 2013

No 25 The Fellsman

My third time at this event so I knew what to expect. If I had planned more carefully it would have been good to have this as No26 and half way but it only occurred to me too late. Someone did suggest that at 61 miles I could make it 25 and 26 but that would be cheating.

I had vowed last time that I would not sleep on the sports hall floor again but memories fade and our campervan is of the road. It was good to be sociable and sit and chat plus they had cured the sweaky door. I had eaten at home so I had little to except kit check, pack and discuss possible routes with people. I had opted for a civilised 7am bus but after 5am there was little chance of real sleep.  In the hall at Ingleton I met up with more friends and we were all relieved that it was not as ferociously cold as last year. It only seemed minutes before we were being herded outside and down the steps to our first 'clip' of the day.
By 9.05 we were off. Maybe we were less reckless this year but I made it all the way to the end of the tarmac before I was reduced to a walk. As we climbed up Ingleborough we were well strung out as we settled into our rhythms for the day. I felt quite strong and enjoyed the runable bits until the 'steps' slowed me down.

The marshalls on the top looked cold and there was some confusion about whether we only had to be clipped or if we were meant to swipe the new timing chips. The snow had vanished from the NW face but the rocks were wet and greasy. I lost about 20 places going down but never mind, I did at least arrive at Hill Inn in one piece. Dry biscuits aren't my thing when I am running so it was on, on to Whernside and a bit of effort to regain some places or close the gap.
 The marshalls for the PPP were in place and chatty and it was great to see Suzanne (last years organiser) near the top. The front runners were already descending the ridge as we plodded up so we could see what a gap had opened already. It was nice running down shouting encouragement to others on their way up. I blasted down towards Kingsdale until a tweaked an ankle and then took a more cautious approach. There was a cameraman by the river but there was no way I was risking a soaking this early on and I picked my way carefully across. Here I had caught up some who had passed me descending Ingleborough and maybe that alone should have been warning that I had put in too much effort too early.
 I also struggled to eat the rather dry flapjack, gave up but failed to eat anything else. My plod up Gragareth got slower and by the time I got to the top I suddenly seemed empty. I had been looking forward to the ridge run but my legs felt like jelly, my stomach ached and I was tearful. What the heck!! Jon had warned me I would get slower with all the miles but this felt much worse. After some strong words to myself and some concerned glances I slowly got my act back together and worked on reeling in Jon Steele who had gone steaming past me. He got to Great Coum before me but did not know the way so we ran down to Dent together.
He was flying and I was struggling to hang on, especially on the stony track towards the end. My pit stop here was also swift and I almost got through without clipping or swiping. It seemed tropical down in the valley but I knew I could eat and drink as I set off up the lane. Before long I met Julian and we chatted until he pulled ahead. The craven way track stretched out into the distance but I could see runners up ahead and worked on closing the gap.
 I managed to join them just as we left on the rough path and the boggy descent across to Blea Moor. I was feeling better and made good time on the descent into the woods and to Dent Head Farm with the rather imposing turkey. I was still overtaking or catching some runners and now in a quandary about food. I felt better but knew I really should eat. To have pasta or not? I know Nick is convinced it is not a good idea but I liked he idea of something savoury.
I arrived at Stonehouse to find fellow Krypton member Darren sprawled on the grass making the decision to retire with a pulled muscle. Shame as he had been going well. I also caught a glimpse of second lady as she finished refuelling and set off. The pasta slipped down fast and I let the marshall check my kit as I ate. Then it was off up the lane beside Artengill viaduct and the beacon to Great Knoutberry. Half way up the lane I ran out of water so I picked to biggest stream, refilled and prayed there were no dead sheep on the fellside.
Encouragement from descending runners helped my up to the checkpoint and then it was relatively easy running across and down to Redshaw. It was here that I joined Chris H and although I did not know it then I was to stay with him until the end. Refuelled with a hot dog and cup of tea we were of. Chris has done the event more times than me and it was good to join someone who was confident with the route and knew some  different lines. More food at Fleet Moss set us up for the next leg. Julian appeared as we were leaving but it was Wharfedale Paul that we ran with from here to the end.
We didn't find the perfect line below Oughtershaw Tarn but picked up our forth group member and located the tent on Middle Tongue with no problem. We were moving well and celebrated with a group wee just before Cray where we were officially grouped. I knew it would get cold now the sun had dropped and put on my warm layer and my cag, gloves and hat. By the summit I was glad of them. Another group departed at the same time and we toiled up Buckden Pike together.
Chris and Paul took us on a different line from the memorial and we caught the other group at Starbotton. By Park Rash we needed head torches and more fuel- rice pud this time. It left me feeling sick again but as I got going I felt a bit better. I had been dreading the climb up Great Whernside as I had bonked here on my first event but was more gradual than I remembered and not so bad. The marshalls on the top tried to direct us but seemed to be sending us too far right. We ignored them and stuck to our plan of finding the big cairn and fence and although we were now moving more slowly it went well.
 (I might recee a rapid SW descent to pick up the footpath my Langcliffe pot if I remember?) By now we knew the end was in sight and I had started looking at my watch. Despite the bad time earlier I was hoping to break 15 hours. It was possible but not likely. I pushed the pace as much as I could but Yarnbury never seemed to get any closer with lots of beacons giving false hope. We over took the other group and they wished us well. By the time we hit the road I knew we couldn't do it. We degrouped and Chris got second wind. He charged off towards Grassington and I tried to keep up. The upping of pace shocked me and on the descent my knees and quads were screaming.  It was a struggle but I tried to keep the gap between us small. Suddenly there was just the climb from the Wharfe back up to the school and it was over.  About 15 hours 12 ish? Job done and the weather had been kind. My shower seemed to take an age as  performed everything in slow motion and then fell into bed.
I was flat out and zonked for the next few hours. I did not even hear people creeping into bed on either side of me. By 6.30 I could sleep no more and got up in search of breakfast and a mobile signal.  I ate and drank many cups of tea with Jon, Jen, Chris and others, all with their own stories and ideas for their next adventures. Thanks for the company and navigating Chris. Jon you know you want to come back and improve on your time- you loved it really. Mick- I hope you get your stomach sorted and can do it again next year.  I'm tired but happy- completed and only a few minutes longer than last year.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

No 24 Barbondale Round (and a few extra miles)

The forecast had me worried as after a beautiful Saturday they were forecasting heavy rain almost all day. Then the forecast changed and improved a bit and in the end it was not as bad as the predicted.
I had never done this LDWA event before although I had heard about the famous hill climb for cars.
It didn't take me much more than a hour to get there and I set out to get a couple of extra miles under my belt and to explore the village. The parkland/ estate was beautiful and full of lambs leaping about. Ironically by the start there were four of us from Preston and if only we had known we could have shared transport. It was all typically low key as we assembled on the lane and were told off you go.

The entries were small and I suddenly realised that there were very few runners, infact within 500m it was clear only 3 of us were running at the speed I hoped to go. I chatted with Pete as we climbed out of Barbon on a lovely little track through the woods and then across the road and bridge to join the bridleway up to Bullpot Farm. Pete is responsible for me doing all this in a way as it was him that took me to my first Howarth Hobble and Calderdale Hikes so I owe him for that.
The marshalls seemed a bit disappointed that I didn't need anything but we had only been going a few miles and I was just getting into my stride.  I slowly and steadily pulled away from the two men and hoped I would find the way OK. The path uphill seemed quite obvious, if a big boggy in places. I climbed up Crag Hill with atmospheric views across to Wernside and Great Knoutberry. It was encouraging to see that almost all of the snow has now melted. The running from Carg Hill to Great Coum was easy and I soon spotted the marshalls and their tent sheltering in the wall corner.
This section is Fellsman land so I knew where I was going. Down, down and then bog bog bog until the so welcome green land that leads onto Occy Road. Today it was left, not right to Dent, and the next CP on Barbondale Road. I still didn't fancy stopping and there was no sign of Pete so I pushed on and prayed my route finding would be OK. The grassy path around the fell to Tofts was great running and then I dithered a bit but found my way down onto the lane.
 It clearly does not get much traffic as parts were flooded and others used to pen sheep. The lane did go on a bit but it was quiet and the miles ticked by. I surprised the marshalls at the next CP who had not been expecting us just yet. I thought the next bit was track but it turned out to be tarmac whether it was road or track - fortunately the views into the Howgills distracted me until I hit the grassy bridleway at Holme Fell. I made my only nav error here and climbed too high but it was soon put right. The ancient sunken green lane was a bit rutted but it was over too quickly and I had another short section of tarmac along Jordan Lane.
I did stop at the next CP and the food was very welcome. We joked about trying to race the rain and I set off to climb up onto the fell. Long Bank is well named and I wasn't entirely sure which path to take but figured up and right until I hit the ridge wall would be fine. I could see my goal of Calf Top but there was a huge loop around Luge Gill first. (wonder if anyone really has ever has luged it?) These hills are nicely rounded and would be great for cross country skiing if the had a good cover of snow.
At the self Clip by the Trig I saw my first and only other person in the whole day! a fell runner going in the opposite direction. The drizzle had started by now so we did not linger or chat. The col before Castle Knott was incredibly wet but from then on it was superb running all the way back. The path swooped and dropped steadily down to Eskholme Pike with its huge cairn and then more steeply towards Barbon. I could see the church and thought I might break 4 hours 30 but it didn't seem worth a sprint and I ran steadily across the final field to the bridleway and the hall. I had not considered that there would be so few runners that I would be at the front and route finding the whole way but it had gone well. 4 hours 33. I was glad that I had done over 2 miles before the start and only had slightly less than 2 to do now. Barbon village hall is new and airy and the quilts hanging on the wall were amazing. It was good to sink several cups of tea and to refuel with pie and peas. I had a long chat with the organisers who were clearly troubled and disappointed that so few had turned up. It's a great route despite the road section so I will encourage others to have a go next year. It would be a shame for the event to die out and it got me onto some tops I had not visited before and was so wonderfully quiet.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

No 23 Calderdale Hike

As I sit here snug and cosy the wind is howling outside and the rain is cascading down the window. Thanks god it was not like this yesterday! Calderdale was not just my next Ultra but the second in the ultras series. Despite telling myself that all I had to do was get round I knew that was a lie and that I would want to race it. The day started well as I had a lift, not my turn to drive. We arrived in plenty of time although too late to really help Jon put the ultra flags up. Sorry.

Registration was not quite ready for us runners so I had a cup of tea and an egg butty. I always seem to be hungry at the moment. Then it was discussions over the route maps. At least part of the recee I did with Andy had been in vain as the diagonal off Hoof Stones was banned due to ground nesting birds and re-seeding.  Ah well. It was great to catch up with Mick P, Chris, Martin D , Jen, a sun-tanned Nick, all the Krypton team and then to spot two local rivals from Garstang. Long before 9 I realised I was going to be warm enough with a thermal and a T so I shed a layer and then we were assembled outside comparing rucksacs and ready for the off. The start is not quite so reckless as it was when the start was a steep downhill but the front runners still tore off into the distnace and I knew I was being pulled along faster than was probably wise.

Jen, Nick, me, Mick and Jon
Most of the snow on Nab End had gone but the descent to Cragg Vale now had all the water draining off the hillside.  The climb out of Cragg Vale had most of us muttering and a little uncertain but infact we picked up exactly the route I took last year. At Erringden Grange I paid the price for my early exhuberance. My right leg locked up and refuesd to run properly. It was annoying but I have got used to this and am now better at not getting in a panic. So it was jog, walk and run if you can from there to Lumbutts. Stoodley Pike looked magnificent in the sunshine and all the snow had now disappeared.
Mick P caught me up and we ran chatting for a while. I had been undecided about the best way off the Pike and now know it probably wasn't the way we went? As I got to Lumbutts Gerry appeared speeding down the road with those words "where have you been?". It was enough to kick in my competetive brain and to try out my right leg. OK race on. I shot off through the pub and down the little path to the main road. Here I found Martin D and running with him and guiding him up the next tricky bits spurred me on. We picked off a few more runners that were just in front and ran as a group to the next CP.

 It was amazing just how much snow had vanished from these bridleways in just over a week. I am getting better at eating on ultras and it does seem to work. I grabbed a banana and set off up to the main road and the way onto the moor. The ground was less frozen than on our recee but was still less boggy than it often is up there. Having no navigation decision other than to follow the fence meant I could switch off and enjoy the view. My leg seemed to have recovered and I now slowly but determinedly started to try to pick off runners up ahead. I caught up with Chris and ran with him to Widdop Dam. Jogging along the road I realised there was a decision on the next bit- down the path to the lower reservoir or stay on the access road to the main dam? Almost everyone in front opted to go down but I thought it would be easier running on the road and stayed high. It worked, I was closer to Mick C than before. It had cost be a bit so I plodded for a while but heading towards Withins ruin I started trying to reel Mick and his group in.
I struggled to keep up, especially when he set off down hill at speed, but my catching him up seemed as much a downer for him as it was a boost for me. I never saw him again once we got to Bronte bridge. I did make a new friend in John and he dragged me from Penistone to Leeshaw Reservoir via a track I had not used before. We slowed to a fast walk as we climbed to Top of Stairs but not before we had spotted and caught up with Will, another Kryptonite. This was possibly the worst snow of the day and where it was thawing there were holes deeper than my legs.  The very icy water on the top was a shock but we soon warmed up running down to the next CP where Will assured us there would be a cup of tea. Sadly the kettle had gone cold so grabbing more food we pushed on.
We got a bit seperated on the next section but regrouped at New Bridge where there was tea. Again we got seperated as Will munched sandwiches and I stopped for tea but soon after Delf End we were back together. The bogs up by the air shafts were wet and the path by the fence line was a muddy mess but we knew we had cracked it now. The walkers that we were catching up were extremely friendly and every single one tried to step off the path to let us by. I now dared to believe that maybe I could be first lady. Not content with that I now hoped I could beat last years time. We made good time to Jersusalem Farm and knew that it was pretty much all downhill for a while. It was also all tarmac - good or bad? At the time it was almost a relief as it was easy running but I knew I would pay for it later with sore hips and knees.  John slipped off the pace but Will had the bit between his teeth and set what seemed to me to be a furious pace. Passing Oats Royd Mill we spotted two more runners and I recognised one as my local rival Graham. By the main road at Luddenden Foot we had almost caught them. They shot through the CP and carried on along the canal and we turned back to the road - their way was marginally quicker. And then it was the last long lane up to Sowerby. It had been drizzling for a bit and now it got heavier.  Will steadily pulled away and we both managed to edge past the canalside runners. Now I had a big decision- could I remember the back way in or not? If I took it but got it wrong Graham might catch up back up.So I followed Will around the church and along the road. I couldn't keep up but kept trying. It was only now (honest) that I realised first lady would mean 1000 ultra points.
As I finshed I thought I had beaten last years time.Once I got home I realsied infact that it was exactly the same 6 hours 50.The heavy drizzle meant we could not lie out on the cricket pitch this year but it was very sociable in the club house. I refueled with chilli, tinned fruit and countless cups of tea. I even managed a shower while the water was still hot, even if it did mean sharing and changing in the corridor. I rewarded myself with a pint and chatted as I waited for my driver to complete the course. Thanks for driving Dave - and of couse you want to do Round Rotherham now.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

No 22 Wharfedale

Then plan had been to run on Tuesday but my legs were too tired, so instead I went on Wednesday. Knowing that I had to be back for a birthday meal out with the family had me checking my watch often and in a bit of a panic when I was in deep snow and the minutes were ticking by. Despite this it was a grand day out in the sun and the snow. It was so quiet.

I parked in Buckden and set off northish along the Dales way. This got me nicely warmed up and also got some miles under my belt early on. What a beautiful spot. There was nobody else in the car park and I did not see anyone to speak to for over an hour. Very calm and peaceful.
There were lots of tiny lambs, especially around Hubberholme and I imagined converting one of the many barns into a house. Oughtershaw seemed like a pretty idyllic place to live although I suspect it was cut off in the snow last month. Here I left the Dales Way and used the road to climb up towards the Fleet Moss CP. In the end I never got quite that far because I spotted a trod leading steeply up to the edge of the moss and the fence line. Here I picked up several sets of footprints and the most recent looked like another set of fell shoes.

  Unfortunately the snow was thawing just too much at this height and it was slow work plodding my way through. I thought it would improve when I reached the quad bike track to Yockenthwaite Moor but although there was less snow here it was starting to get wet and boggy on Cray Moor.
Gilbert Lane was full of compacted snow and I was able to make better time, albeit cautiously as some crust supported my weight but not all of it. The grass on either side was almost snow free.
 Here I met the first people of the day that were close enough to talk to. The climb up Buckden Pike was full of snow but fortunately it was higher and facing north so the crust was just a little firmer. The family coming down were having such a good time I was tempted to reverse my route and return that was so that I could have a go at sledging or bum sliding. The sun and clouds were taking turns all day and it seemed to turn quite grey as I reached the trig point.
 I was also starting to get short of time, so no chance of taking in Great Whernside today sadly. From the memorial on Buckden it was a rapid descent to Starbotton road and then the village itself. I had contemplated Top Mere Road but had seen it full of snow as I drove in this morning. Then it was the Dales Way again back to the car. The car park was now quite full but I have no idea where all the people had gone because I hadn't seen them. With a few out and backs checking for navigation I just managed my 28 miles and just as importantly got back to the car in time to race home for our evening out. It felt like hard work at times and seems to have brought out the cold that has been threatening for days. Hope I can get rid of that by the weekend!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

No 21 Blubberhouses

This would be the third year in a row and I was looking forward to it. I arrived early and although there was still snow blocking some verges I was soon parked and registered.

It is called Blubberhhouses 25 so I shot straight out to add some extra miles. It was frosty, dead still and very quiet down at the reservoir. In fact the only people I saw were some of the walkers who had set off early. It seems a good way to warm up and I made it back to the hall in plenty of time to shed a layer. Already at 8am it was clear it would be warm running. I managed to catch up with a few friends, some of whom like Chris and Dave I have not seen for a bit and then I had to escape outside as the hall was so hot. I spotted Shirley and Jon just before the start and then we were off.  I had told myself that this event did not matter, at least as far as times were concerned, and that I could nurse my sore throat and just enjoy a day out in the sunshine.
 Yeah....  Either the warm up helped ot I was running more slowly because this year I made it to the far end of the first reservoir before taking a break and a few stpes of walking. I had slotted in with Dave and some others who seemed to be running at a very steady pace. By the first road crossing it was warm and the gloves came off. I think the Washburn valley is beautiful but I managed to avoid all the tree roots and stay upright despite taking in the views.  We were soon at the dam steps and the next CP. I didn't loiter but did grab two pieces of flapjack to munch as I went. The road section was short and then we were off to the moors. We could see our goal Rocking Hall on the horizon and I kept plodding trying to keep Dave and others within attacking distance.
 The Hall looks quite majestic and I think it would make a great house, although I am not sure the kids would agree. I think it must be a relic from landed gentry shooting days.The section of track after the Hall was full of compacted snow. Most was firm enough to run on but now all of it. It was also slippy as one of the Clayton lads found out. Heaven knows how Dave stayed upright in road shoes.
 The big drop down the stoney track to Bolton Abbey had my big toe screaming. I managed to keep running along the big path by the river- suprising what an audience of the public can motivate you do do. However by the time we got to the ford I was forced to a walk. The others would have been long gone if they had not stopped to check on a guy who took a spectacular tumble. It meant they were only just ahead at Storith CP and this kept me going across the very wet fields. I knew or hoped that the next CP after the main road would have lemon drizzle cake - I had been dreaming of it.
Yes they did have cake and the lady seemed delighted that I wanted two pieces to go with my pain killers. It hit the spot and I felt I had second wind. The haul up to the CP at the foot of Beamsey Beacon was not fast but I could see others starting the climb. The climb did not seem anything like as bad as I remembered and before long I could see the trig point.
I managed to run pretty much all the way to Round Hill, bar a couple of very boggy bits, and then I realised that the only lady I knew was in front of me plus Dave were not that far ahead. Who said time didn't matter today..... of course it does. I started to work on winding them in and by Stainforth Gill Head had caught the lady. I could see Dave's yellow shirt and made a big effort to catch him by the Ellarcarr CP.  I knew from here that the real effort was over so, fortified by some orange quarters, I set off down the road  feeling strangely fresh. Timble was soon passed and I found the little path between the walls. The fields from here to the woods were wet but I didn't care anymore, the end was in sight. Through the woods and down the steps to the dam. Why do there have to be so many stiles in the last sections of some races? and why do they always seem such incredibly hard work after 20+ miles? Spurred on by another public audience I ran across the dam and up the road. I found the correct footpath this year and trudged uphill. A family cheering their dad motivated me for a final push and I gained another place. I also glanced at my Garmin and noticed to my horror that it was not Blubberhouses 25 but 23.9! So, more miles to be added yet. I grabbed two cups of tea in the hall - how could I forget a water bottle today- and said a quick Hi before dashing back out. I knew that once I sat down I would hate the idea but in the sunshine and warmth it was not so bad. I went back down the field and cheered in some finishers and then did a section along the lane. Yes, at last 28 miles done and I could return to the hall.  A bowl of stew, yet more tea and even a pudding made me feel more human. I also had time to chat and catch up with gossip. Jon made me feel like a superstar as usual and it was nice to be asked by so many people how it was going. (I didn't realsie so many people had found the blog). On the way to the car I got chatting again and so cheered Shirley in before finally setting off home. A great day out and although it was only about 5 minutes slower than last year I now know it was just as fast as two years ago and faster than last year!! plus my legs did not feel as trashed by a long way. The pain in my big toe must have made me forget my sore throat when I was running but now sat in the car it grated. At least I had a choice of ice cream shops along the A59. I suspect I ate more than I burned off today- 2 flapjacks, 2 cakes, oranges, stew, rice pud and then an enormous ice cream at Mrs Dowsons. Oh well.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

No 20 Calderdale recee

Thanks to the snow time is running out and I wanted to recee bits of the Calderdale Hike and of the Fellsman. I did do Calderdale last year but there are sections I cannot remember- perhaps because I was following somebody who knew the way at those points. Andy R (Splatcher) offered to join me and seemed keen to recee the same bits so the day was set.
We parked at Tod Leisure Centre and set off north to get up onto the Calderdale Way and Cross Hill.
Merlin set the pace and we were off. Our first bit to recee was Hoof Stones to Widdop Dam. Last year I had gone due north along the fence line and then just slightly cut the corner through the ruined walls and up to the track. I was keen to see what Wicken Clough  was like. Not too bad if you stay high on Whinberry and then head for the dam. I think Nick went that way last year.
Andy refolding map in fierce wind!
After the dam there are two obvious paths upto the track so we decided to ignore them for the day and see what contouring  NE was like. Not bad in places but overall not worth it. Neither of us wanted to worry about the section across to Withins ruin so we stuck to the road and got some miles under our belt. I suspect  the road across the Ridge had only just opened so heaven knows how a pub like the Packhorse Inn makes any money?

 My original plan had been to reverse some of the old CH route on the big track at New Laithe Moor but Andy knew some lovely paths by the river into Black Dene and Hebden Dale, plus down there we were out of the fierce chilly wind. It was boggy in places but very pretty and until through to the old mill very quiet. After New Bridge we both needed food (well Mint Cake in Andy's case) and Merlin needed a drink.
Then it was off uphill to Pecket Well and onto the moor. There was a surprising amount of snow compacted into the lanes and tracks but the moor was almost snow free and the bogs were thawing. From Deer Stones Edge we picked out the trod and old shafts and were soon heading for Luddenden Dean. Last year I had stayed  just below Garnett Edge so we experimented with the path that dropped to Goose Green and picked up the big track. It worked well, especially today given the melting snow and bogs on the higher path. It was then road and more road past Jerusalem Farm and right down to the main road at Luddenden Foot.
Andy cheating? get a tow
Sadly Merlin was limping so Andy called it a day and said he would walk back along the canal ( I did offer bus money but was refused and Merlin seemed OK at a walk on the flat). We parted company in the valley bottom and I climbed up and up and up some more to Nab End. I tried to remember which way I had descended from here last year but don't think I got it right today. This meant when I hit the road in Cragg Vale I was uncertain.

 In the end I decided to drop beyond Dauber Bridge and then climb. It felt a bigger climb than last year so perhaps not wise. I did eventually end up at Erringden Grange though so it would have worked out OK on the day!  I had hoped to run fast along Kilnshaw Lane and London Road as they are relatively flat but my legs seemed to have other ideas at least until the downhill section to Mankinholes.

 Nevermind, the sun was out and it was the final stretch. I even got a bit of a sun tan. Stoodley Pike was surprisingly quiet and so was Lumbutts. I ignored the path near the pub, but will probabaly take it on the day, and headed along the Calderdale Way to return to Tod and my car at the leisure centre.

My big toe/toe nail was giving me hell for some reason so I was glad to hit the valley floor and flatter ground. A bit wierd to be back along 'normal' people and crowds in Todmorden. The market traders were packing up but the sun had brought the crowds out to the park- there was even an ice cream man. I looked for Andy and Merlin but suspect they beat me back. Not a bad day at 28.8 miles that finished with a nice run through the park. It must be getting warmer though because I was desperate for a drink and to my dismay the tea wagon on the way into Burnley was shut!