Sunday, 5 May 2013

No 26 The Sandstone Trail

I had done part of this earlier in the year and was keen to do the whole thing properly. Andy (Splatcher) is the race organiser and needed to check the markers ready for the race next weekend. We met in Frodsham and drove to Acton Bridge station.  A frustratingly slow train journey with a 30 minute wait in Crewe got us to Whitchurch by 10am. It turned out well as we missed the early rain. After quickly checking that the supermarket car park would still be OK for coaches we walked to the start.
Stone archway is the start
The rain had stopped and it was going to be warm. Andy didn't just want to check the route marks he also had his eye on the MV50 record. I think he hoped I would be fast enough to push him into breaking it. It did not turn out that way. He set off along the canal tow path at a rate that I knew was too fast too soon for me. It was flat easy running but not what I have done much of recently. I tried to keep him in sight and did even catch up when he made a minor nav error. He was on a mission and my legs were full of Fellsman miles. I lost him altogether when I got stuck in a boggy field. Truely stuck. I only managed to get out after well over 5 minutes of effort and if I hadn't been able to reach a fence post I feel I might still be there! I plodded on towards Bickerton and Maiden Castle.
Here I had mishap number 2. I tripped and fell on an electric fence. These have always seemed mild when I have touched one with my hand but through my chest and for more than a second was something completely different. It did scare me for a minute and my heart took ages to calm down. It would have been good to explore Maiden Castle and figure out what the special stone and Kitty was all about but no time to stop today, I had a man to catch up. I was now paying for the early pace and reduced to a walk for some of the time in order to let my hip etc recover. This section on the sandstone edges is lovely with swooping paths, interesting rock outcrops and great views.
 I perked up a little at Peckforton Castle and realised I was now back on familiar ground as this was as far as I had reached on my previous out and back run. I sped through Beeston past the cafe and children dressed as knights and off to the railway line and canal. It was so much drier here than in winter. The ploughed fields that I had been dreading were dust dry and I picked up the pace a bit. I also managed to keep to the routethis time  through the Willington area and so avoided my long detour over Primrose Hill. It was busy with large numbers of walkers of all ages out enjoying the good weather.
Things were looking up as I crossed the A54 and headed into Delamere. I  could now start to think about the end and forced myself to keep up a good pace on the wide trails and out of the forest into Manly. After a short road section I would be back on the sandstone edges. I had run out of water so stopped at a campsite shop and bought a bottle. The climb up the steel steps near the end felt like torture but the end was close. I could see the war memorial and knew it was down hill to the Bears Paw. I was struggling to even run through the town centre and dodging pedestrians seemed like hard work. Andy waved- he had just had time to buy a pint and bag of crisps. The stone beacon just outside the Bears Paw marks the end of the trail.
Not my most memorable run but a lovely day. Sufferiing all the way and rain would have been too much. I did manage to break the ladyV50 record but it left me trashed. I was OK for a cup of tea, thanks Nicola, and driving home but felt totally zonked all evening, slpet like the dead and still feel really out of it this morning. I hope it was just too much after the Fellsman and I am not sickening for something. I had hoped to run tomorrow but think perhaps I will rest. I need to be OK for Brecon 40 next weekend and at the moment I feel in no fit state to even think about it. Thanks to Andy for the planning and for suggesting I go for the record. Sorry I couldn't keep up and run more of it with you. It is a great route and I will be back.

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