Monday, 29 June 2015

Between the ultras

I could not sit and do nothing in a fornight between ultras. I soon felt recovered from Shap and so there were two indoor climbing sessions, short runs checking Street O maps for the winter months, cycle rides around the Fylde in the evening sunshine, a day collecting data with my son abseling in quarries, a birthday run with Josie on Winter Hill, a speedy 10km while Bob was at the opticians and one rather long run round the Langdon watershed but with the out and back necessary due to starting at Fell Foot.
I love the Bowland Fells. There are places where I can run for hours and see nobody. True I sometimes come back cursing the bogs and lack of paths  but they are beautiful. Bob had plans for a run from Fell Foot so I decided on a route starting from there.  I hoped I would have time to get up over Parlic and to the gate east of Fairsnape and still fit in the Langdon Watershed boundary whille he went down from Fiensdale Head to Langdon Castle and over to Brennand farm and Dunsop. We might even meet up returning over Totridge if all worked out well.
It's a stiff climb up the lane and then up over Parlic but it passed quickly despite the drizzle. I chatted to 3 DoE groups and was soon on the peat. Once at Fiensdale Head the obvious paths stopped but I found trods and headed north. I knew to be wary of using the fence lines as new ones have been added but it worked OK mostly. The ground was less boggy than I expected with just a cover of wet from recent rain. It was also unpredictable- mostly I floated across the peat but every now and again it gave way and sucked me in. Long before I reached Hawthornthwaite Top and the toppled trig point the screaching of seagulls and other birds was driving me mad and it was just a little eerie in the mist. Crossing Holdren and Blaze Moss in the mist I made one mistake thinking I needed to go east not NE but I soon put it right and before long descended to the cattle grid at the top of the Trough road and the old county stone. I set off up Whins Brow hoping I might intercept Bob on his way over to Brennand Farm but I could see no footsteps in the mud. I turned east again and dropped down to the Mountain Recue centre at Smelt Mill cottage. The road was closed but one motorist seemed keen to argue about the detour despite a big hole! I trotted off down the roads and across the fields to climb Totridge and work my way home.  I spotted a lone walker up ahead and caught him by the trig. We had passed much earlier and he was convinced Bob must be ahead of me as they had met at Langdon castle ages ago. We chatted broefly about Bill Smith as his memorial plaque is there and then I realsied I still had some way to go. I guessed we both expected to be out between 4- 4 1/2 hours and I was not going to make it. I ran hard all the way along the fence line, missed the path at Saddle Fell and just kept going east until Paddy's Pole appeared out of the mist. A speedy run to the gate and round parlic and I arrived at the van breatless happy to just be a little bit late.  
Not fast but uou need to understand what the pathless bits of Bowland are like to realise it was not a bad effort. 32.5km Distance      4:27:06
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I then had time to have a strip wash in the van, change, make two cups of coffee and read my book while I waited for Bob. He had over-stretched himslef too but came back smiling.

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