Thursday, 5 March 2015

Another recee

The weather forecast promised warmer, less wind and mostly dry with sun so the plan was on. Bob wanted to run the coues of the Haworth Hobble again and I had bits of the Claderdale Hike I still wanted to recee. As we drove past Burnley the rain started. Perhaps it was just a shower. No, by Todmorden it was heavy drizzle. Bob dropped me at Summit and I set off along the canal hoping the weather would improve as the day progressed. He meanwhile drove back to leave the van between Tod and Hebden. The rain got heavier as I reached Sladen Fold and then almost stopped. I decided to check out the route Andy had taken first. It was fine until the end of Hey Head Lane but then there was a section where the ground was awash, then the rain started again and suddenly all the paths became a bit vague. Tunnel vision with my hood up didn't help and my goloves were soon soaked. I stuck my hands up my sleeves and ignored the map. Not the wisest choice of action really. Before I knew it I was soaked but I spotted some small cargs and used them to shelter while I dragged on waterproof over-tousers. Unaware at the time my garmin turned itself off here. It clearly was not my day! I set off back uphill to Fox Stones. I had at this point intended dropping back to the main road and trying the official route but I was grumpy, wet and cold and could not be bothered. With Andy's warning about avoiding the 'somme' of the wind turbine construction I pushed on. I must have dropped too far south because I missed the path shown on the map. After a stomp up the hillside I found a path and set offacross Crook Moor.  This section all the way to the stepping stones was easy and made sense. Now I was cross I had not stuick to my plan and returned to the main road. Andy had gone NW to the Rossendale Way so I decided to  go more northerly especially when I found a reasobale line if not a path. I had thought about going oon the track via Coolam but it seemed a detour. By the time my trod took me to the trig oon Trough End Edge it was blowing fiercely and raining again. I decided to drop to the Rossendale Way and use the wall for shelter and grab some food. The wind was northerly and so the wall didn't help and then it started sleeting. So much for the forecast. The ground was saturated and there were calf deep puddles everywhere. I ran on and checked out the drop to the Limers Gate track. It was fine. Then I doubled back to the Trig point to see what the start of that path was like. It was a reasonable fell path and no wetter than the top. Looking across to Stoodley etc it seemed to be sunny? Hmm, that's not fair. Limers gate track led me to the A681 but not until I had waded through calf deep watery mud from the contractors vehicles. I got some strange looks from motorists as I jogged up the verge to Slate Pit Hill. At least now the wind and rain were not directly into my face.  It was a joy to run although a sore glute was slowing me down espcially on the uphill scetions. At least my achilles seemed OK today. Andy had gone NE to the woods so I stayed on the Flower Scar 'road'  and only turned just before Tower Causeway. The rain stopped as I descended into Cornholme and I contemplated going back up to check out the woodland path  or another alternative. In the time it took me to check out the map the rain started again. By now I had lost my sense of humour and my sense of purpose.  I swore loudly and set off on the climb to Lower Mount Farm. From there I knew it was an easy run on the Hobble route back to the van.
Hawkstones looking splendid in the sun
Guess what? As I arrived at Mount Cross the sun came out, the sky cleared and even the clouds further south where I had spent the morning started to break up. Now I was angry.
Wet ground but clear skies towards Howarth and Stoodley
I had spent almost 4 and a half hours in cag and over-trousers, how dare it do this. I was going to back at the van very early but did not really think I had time or energy to run back to Summit and try the other lines.
Full gear although now the sun was out
What a waste of a beautiful afternoon. I sat in the van with coffee and a book and sulked. Fortunately Bob had really enjoyed himself. Despite being only a few miles apart he had enjoyed an almost dry day and had even run with no cag for the warmer middle part of the day.
I always wonder how many feet have walked the paved way
At least he now feels confident that he knows the route and can complete the course. So lessons learned: put OTs on more quickly, wear rather than carry the bigger gloves, stick to the plan of the recee and eat more and earlier. I did at least tell myself at the time that I should be thankful to be out... it could be worse, I could have been at work. It does give me an excuse for another day out.

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