This was to be a sneaky little ultra just in case next weekend didn't work out ie. my way of making sure I did my 61 ultras. It also meant we got to sleep at home and have a lie in before we drove to Pateley Bridge.
After a quick tour up the valley we settled on the very reasonable pay and display on the edge of town. It was almost 9am when I jumped out the van and dashed across the road to the public toilets. Sorted for the day I set off up the valley. The first miles were easy along the river Nidd and up towards Wath. The path alongside Gouthwaite reservoir follows the dismantled railway and so was fairly flat although I did meet my first mud and puddles here.
It was quiet and by now warm enough that I had removed my cag. The gloves were to come and off all day. Just before Bouthwaite I met my first people to say hello to, two old guys who had bagged a dozen rabbits between them. At the village I turned up hill and onto the moor.
Although it was steep for a while it levelled out as I branched off onto the Six Dales Way and climbed towards Jenny Twigg and her daughter (two enormous rocks on the horizon). The next junction brought a downhill section and the surprise of a wonderful little shooting house nestled into the rocks.
Sadly this also seemed the end of the decent path. The map showed a public footpath so I headed off through the heather in what seemed to be the correct direction. There was a path of sorts and I did find a cane, presumably left from the race the week before. I was slow climbing up to the farm and then onto the track across the moor and I was getting worried about how long I was going to be out. Luckily the next sections seemed to pass quickly and I made up plenty of time.
The drop down Bracken Ridge was a joy and then the track contoured high above the Nidd with great views further west above Angham. There was a sneaky detour up around a stream and then it was downhill to Scar House Reservoir.
It was a short steep climb onto In Moor and past the trig point at Rain Stang but then a long long descent down the rocky muddy lane all the way to Middlesmoor. The descent continued across some fields and over the beck by How Stean Gorge. I was going to explore but it is all privately owned and set up for paid tours.
The bridleway/ Nidd Valley Way took some detours but led me into Ramsgill and I realised we could easily have parked here. I hoped Bob would forgive me as parking in Pateley Bridge extended his route by some miles. At Ramsgill I followed the road back to Bouthwaite and retraced my steps frrom the morning's run. I wsa safely back in Pateley Bridge by 2.20pm. I changed and got warm and made a cip of tea in the van. I went for a walk to suss out the best coffee shop to give Bob a treat when he returned. Unfortunately that never happened. I made another brew, crawled into bed, read, fell asleep and dozed until 4.30 when he arrived and opened the van door. Just as well we had taken head torches. No time for a cafe but at least it wasn't too long a drive home and the rain held off until we were warm and dry in the van. 61 completed - but kept quiet for a week and sort of held in reserve. The forecast for next weekend is not looking good and not getting round the Tour of Helvellyn is always a possibility.