We had planned to run on Friday but the weather forecast, and the rain, in Yorkshire was not good. We have managed to run in heat and sunshine twice a week for most of July and August so it seemed a shame to spoil our record.The beauty of being on holiday meant we could just delay. Sunday night saw us ensconced on Penistone Hill above Haworth and ready for the off.
We even had an evening stroll across the moor to check out the multitude of pathways before turning in for the night. By 7.30 we were up and apart from some early mist it promised to be a fantastic day. Bob was going for a recce of the half route so I left him having a more leisurely breakfast. I was confident I knew the route for the first bit. I ran down the track to the road and was soon up at Drop Farm and heading for the reservoir and the rocky track that would take me almost to the Top O Stair.
Somewhere along this first bit I realised that the red circles with YORM were for us! I had not realised the route would be marked. I think I would have found the correct culvert on my own but the markers took the doubt away and allowed me to head off along this beautifully level path for a couple of miles.
I stopped to text Bob as he had been worrying about route finding and did not know the area as well as me. The only problem with flat is that you have to run all of it and feel you should run fast. I did admire the views as I ran though even if it was a bit hazy. I love this part of the country where there are wild moors, the steepest of valleys, remote farms of ancient gritstone and loads of history with old 'roads' and mills.
White Moor Lane was wet and muddy but I was soon on a good dry path and heading high up on to the moor. The heather was bright purple and I don't really mind the wind turbines. The YORM markers were still there to help me but I was sure the next bit would be easy and I just had to spot the turn off down to the footbridge across Ogden Clough.
Then before I knew it I was at the house that was once the Withens Pub. 8 miles done and going by present progress I would be back very early in the afternoon. I suddenly realised that I knew the next bit too. Just as well as the YORM markers seemed to have stopped. I had run across to Slade Barn on a Calder Valley event organised by Bill J.Once I was out of the bogs it was easy running over Rocking Stone Flat and towards the Gatehouse which I recognised from the FRA relays some years ago now.
The next bit led me past yet another former pub. I picked up the Calderdale Way signs well but was tempted to run down a grassy track that seemed to go more directly towards the golf course. It will be interesting to see if anyone goes that way in the race. Today I stuck with the description down and down then across the fields and a track to Brookhouse. I made my first real mistake here and crossed the stream to a tiny footpath almost enclosed by nettles. I am sure there must be a better path on the other side. I emerged near the dam searching for dock leaves. The cafe looked inviting but I pushed on towards the A629 and Denholme. Noisy traffic and a derelict factory meant it was not a place to linger.
Here I picked up the YORM markers again- maybe it was just me not finding them between Slade barn and Denholme? The lane and then path took me under a railway bridge and down to a small reservoir where I was treated to yet more nettles. Here I found not only dock leaves but some blackberries. Then it was over the dam and across fields to a path that led to the railway viaduct. I had made a big mistake here on the long-O event and searched for the control under the viaduct rather than on top of it.
Today my instructions were clear and I stayed high. The next few miles covered the same ground as the long O so I ran well until a huge bank of blackberries tempted me to stop and eat. Dolphin Lane on the outskirts of Cullingworth seemed hard work but the reward was a lovely grassy track all the way to Ryecroft. I had run out of water so knocked on an open door. The elderly couple invited me in and let me drink and fill my bottle. I set off revived and was soon on a lovely piece of moor. It was so good I put in an extra lap and added two of my extra miles. The route description for the whole of the rest of the route seemed very short but I found my way OK in the end. A couple of times I just kept running and hoping I would meet another marker or red paint. Each times just as I was getting uncertain a blob of red was there. The footpath after the single turbine and stone quarry had yet more nettles but the river path to Brow Road was pleasant. There must have been a few people out on the route today because one guy asked me if it was a race. From the bridge it was uphill all the way and the only respite was when my phone rang.
I stopped to check in case it was Bob but it was only the provider trying to sell me stuff. Butt Lane had a very steep start but I managed to run from in front of the secondary school to the end. I detoured to check the price of parking and then did battle with the tourists in Haworth. It was a relief to trek up through the car parks and the relative solitude of Penistone Hill. An extra little loop around the bottom, up to the trig and then back past the cricket club and into the main car park.
Bob was already back and changed but said he had not been back long. I had a long lay in the sun eating, drinking and reading. What a glorious day. 29.5 miles.