Flower Scar 2016

So that’s my final race prior to my 70th birthday.  I started the 12 months with Flower Scar 2015 at the beginning of March; and it was brought forward to late February so I was able to finish the 12 months with Flower Scar 2016.  Not an English Championship race this year – the first EC race of 2016 will be Black Combe on 12th March, in the south west corner of the Lake District.  Another fine race.

Very windy today.  Very windy.  Possibly 50 to 60 m.p.h.  A very fine excuse for not running, but just plodding along over the moor.  And the tree disease in Todmorden’s Centre Vale Park meant that last year’s route start and finish could not be used, so the route was very different.  The tree disease means they’re cutting down all the rhododendrons, which certainly gets a very big thumbs up from me.

So – start in the High School grounds instead.  Run the length of the playing fields, climb onto some hay bales and over the boundary wall onto the main  road for about 15 m, then off up the valley side.  I was not the only one who was soon walking.  And walking.  And walking.

Route choice once we reached the moor, and I think I gained a little by not following the herd.  Eventually up to the top of Flower Scar hill,

Flower Scar Hill from Flower Scar Road
Flower Scar Hill
from Flower Scar Road

then a helter skelter drop down the other side to the 2nd check point, a ruined building by a small river.  And up the other side of the river.  Up and up.  Eventually getting back to the track which is Flower Scar road, to find runners standing huddled over maps.

Local knowledge is a glorious thing, but they followed & soon got past me again.  Down into Green’s Clough,

Greens Clough Didn't get as far down as this today
Greens Clough
Didn’t get as far down as this today

a climb out the other side and into our local woodland, with a long run down to the bottom.  Over the stile – and route choice again.  First choice I made was to slide down a bank and end up on my back with both legs in the air.  Didn’t hit the stile or the fence, happily, but then proceeded very gingerly down the rest of the slope.

30 m along the road and strike off to the left through a gate.  Along a very rough track, then more boggy stuff.  Two runners perusing a map – ‘Do you know where we’re going?’  Answer – ‘I’m going home’.

Soggy boggy mess down to another stile, choice of route, 2 more runners -‘do you know the way?’  Answer – ‘yes’.

Somehow it took a while for them to come past me on a fine smooth downhill running slope; by then they had tranmsmogrified into 5 runners in all, rather than 4, but my legs were giving out and they all quickly got past.

Final climb, then finally back onto the initial outward route, so a steep drop to the main road, back over the wall & hay bales, and a ‘sprint’ to the finish.  Where I learn there are actually, somehow, 8 runners behind me.  One comes in quite quickly; she suggests the organiser could advertise this race as a tough mudder type race and charge £50 entry.

Now there’s a thought . . .

2016 so far

Well – I seem to have been a little dilatory lately. I guess it’s the winter hibernation. Though, with global warming (aka climate change) we’ve had a quite unusual winter – virtually no snow, not a lot of frost, and masses of rain. The ground is extremely wet. The after effects of the Boxing Day floods are still with us, with a vengeance.

So I did do the New Year’s Day race, but I have not yet done another.  Tod Harriers ran from the Lord Nelson in Luddenden in January; so we had some of the same glorious runs as last year in March.  The weather was pretty good on each of the 3 Wednesdays that I was present.

This month we had intended to run from Hebden Bridge, but the flood damage prevented that.  So we’re running from the Hare & Hounds in Todmorden instead; I’ve just got back from another splendid evening out, though as usual I struggled more than I would like up the hills.

The Red Hot Toddy was staged after all – 6 weeks later than intended.  A nice day and a successful event.  I was in charge of the Fun Run and it went off uneventfully and successfully too.  All proceeds to the Floods Fund.

And Joyce & I have started on our walking tour of Britain’s trig points.  Erected between 1936 & 1962, these triangulation points consist of pillars a little over a metre high, generally of concrete, used for accurate mapping by the Ordnance Survey.  I was intrigued to find, when I was in the Western Isles a few years ago, that on Harris they are each enclosed by a circular dry stone wall.  They’re redundant obviously in these days of satellite mapping; but many are still loved and given a regular coat of white paint by volunteers who have adopted them.

A trig point in use
A trig point in use

So we had a nice walk from Barrowford along the Pendle Way to the summit of Weets Hill, and got quite muddy; then this week we walked from Earby to the trig point at Kelbrook Moor and the frost and ice meant we could skate over the muddy and wet bits and get home with our boots merely damp.  Two pl;easant days, though somewhat windy.

Only about 5498 more to go – or, it may be, around 6498.  Depends how many were erected, and how many have been removed.