Wednesday, 14 August 2013

No 43 Exploring from Settle

I had contemplated Duncan's Dales Skyline but thought it might be just a little too long for my mid week jaunt and also I was not sure of some of the route and what the ground was like. Instead I ran from Settle and explored some bits I did not know. Running midweek is fantastic even in August as you see so few people, although I had more chats with farmers today than on any run this year - they must be a friendly bunch in that part of Yorkshire.

We seem to be lucky with the weather at the moment. We ran in sunshine and the dry last weekend, needed a rest Mon/Tues when it rained and were ready to run again today. The forecast said no rain before 4pm and they were correct. It got cooler and duller but we had no rain until we were driving back past Clitheroe. I set off up Constitution Hill and onto the bridleway that would take me above Langcliffe. It would be a day running until the watchful eye of Pen y Gent, or that is how it seemed as every time I looked up or back it was there, looming.

At the end of the bridleway I made brief contact with the fell road before turning off onto the BOAT. It was a bit of a pull up to Jubilee cave and I remember driving up here somewhere for an orienteering event in the past. I did well- only to be told by one of our club that open hillside was easy and it was simply a runners course. Today I had the place to myself and I made good time on the track - it would make a great MTB track and a better route then the one we did in 1989 which stays on the road and then goes over a less rideable fell. There was a big herd of cows with calves but they did not seem interested in me thankfully. It was nice not to have to study the map and to be able to run on steadily to Langscar Gate and then Malham Tarn.

 It was only as I ran through the car park here that I met my first people to say Hi to then suddenly I was on my own again. The NT were repairing a wall at the tarn outlet but the track around the tarn was deserted and so was the field study centre. Towards the bottom of their lane I caught up with some little boys splashing in puddles but then I turned off on to a section of the Pennine Way. I had not been on this bit before and it was a beautiful wide grassy track on a very slight incline. It contoured round to the quiet fell road- through yet more cows. I crossed the road and fouund the path up Fountains Fell- more new territory.

 The views in all directions were superb if a bit hazy. Looking north and east it is so big and empty, amazing. I passed a few walkers and then stopped for a chat with a group that were interested in what I was doing and had done the Fellsman. This was one of the few parts of todays route where I could not see Pen y Gent, well not until the top anyway.

 At the top are a small cluster of rock towers a bit like those on Nine Standards. The next section was a leap of faith as no path was shown on the map. I couldn't believe that there would be no path along the ridge and wall to the trig point on Knowle Hill.
Pen y Gent again- I am blocking Ingleborough!
There was a path of different sorts the whole way. Sometimes wide and boggy, some bits narrow and swamped by heather and then some lovely grassy bits. I had on scarey moment when the bog I trod on bounced like a huge trampoline but I did not break the surface and escaped unscathed. I met a farmer out on his quad bike but nobody else. The trig point seemed a bit battered and grey and the sheep here were strange. I am sure they were talking about me as one would cough and baa, look at me, cough some more and then the next sheep would stare at me before replying. (perhaps I just need to carry more water and food and halucinate less). Leaving the trig pint was a wonderful grassy track and I could not resist racing down it.

 After a kilometre or so I realised it was pulling me SW when I wanted SE but nevermind. I eventually found a way through the wall on what I recognised as our old MTB route. I followed it to almost the edge of the access area and then dropped back to Malham Tarn. I thought I might see Bob at some point and here was likely but our paths never crossed. I aded a short loop out past Street gate before heading back to Langscar gate. I didn't really have a plan from here but knew I did not want to drop to Malham. I picked up the BOAT again but only briefly and then headed across country. This surprised some farmers that were out repairing walls but they were friendly and did not seem to consider I should be on a path. I explored a wierd section of intermitent stream and loads of caves and pot holes on Grizedales and then headed towards Stockdale Lane (yet more of the MTB route). I found even more farmers out mending walls and sussed out the route up Rye Loaf Hill for whenever I do the Skyline route. At the edge of the access area I turned off the tarmac and towards Attermire.

 Here a GPS trace would be hilarious because I went exploring and just ran where it looked interesting.  I also checked out Warrendale Knots and the trig point there. A quick check of my garmin suggested that I needed to run a bit more before descending to Settle si I headed north on grassy paths and then doubled back to the lane at Castleberg plantation.

 I avoided the town centre and headed north for the river and some flat final distance. I know the river path from the Ribbleway challenge and it was a pleasant way to end the day. Just as I was turning back to the car I got a text from Bob. He had just finshed - what perfect timing. A quick feed and drink plus change of shoes and we were homeward bound. 29 miles completed and I am now in single figures! 43/52 ultras completed.  Not that I have promised to stop if I reach 52 before the end of the year but I am determined not to reach the point where I need to do 28 miles on the treadmill like Jon.
Rye Loaf Hill- ready for next time

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