Beautiful evening for a pack run

And so it was.  The previous Wednesday I did something I have never done before – turned up for a pack run, turned back, and went home without running.  It was cold; and just going between the car and the pub (less than 100m) had me soaked.  I did appreciate it would ease off later, and so it did; but I couldn’t face the prospect of setting off, thoroughly soaked, and being out in the cold for an hour or more.  So I went home.

Not like that this week.  A lovely evening, blue skies, excellent visibility, light wind, no rain.  Rather soggy underfoot still – but no matter.  We were out for over 90 minutes and had a really lovely run.  From the Lane Ends pub above Hebden Bridge (Hare & Hounds) at Old Town, initially up to High Brown Knoll.  Here it is.

Wadsworth Moor. Approaching the trig point at High Brown Knoll from the west.
Wadsworth Moor. Approaching the trig point at High Brown Knoll from the west.

Then down and over the Haworth road and to Lumb Falls

this picture doesn't do it justice
this picture doesn’t do it justice

before running down Crimsworth Dean; then up the Calderdale Way to Pecket Well, after which, as time was pressing, back along the road to the pub.

And veg chillie & chips and a pint – just the job.

Wardle fell race

I certainly remember this race last year; wind blasted from the start, quite debilitating.  Today we had sunshine and a very light breeze.

My daughter’s baby arrived a couple of days ago; I had a bit of a spring in my step in consequence.  A little girl, 3.4 kg, very well after a bit of a hairy time.  So it’s a great relief as well as a pleasure that she’s here.  They’ve called her Alice.

I was running in amongst other runners all the way today – perhaps there were more runners this time?  Anyway, I did not have the long, lonely, anxious stretch where I was worried I had gone off route and wasn’t sure whether to turn off.  And I recognised a portion towards the end as being part of the Sheep Fell Over race, which was reassuring as well.


This shows the imposing registration building; the race starts & finishes just outside.

Another counter in the Tod Harriers championship, so a few more points; and that’s about it really.  But I did see Julie, the lady who made the blanket & cushions and presented me with them at Shepherd’s Skyline; and she told me she reads this blog; so I do have one reader anyway.   Not just typing away for entire oblivion.

Just re read my last effort; readers may feel I have some criticism to make of our esteemed Prime Minister; that is indeed the case, and is accentuated obviously this week.  If this poor little rich boy can’t think of a good story to tell about his massive inheritances from his parents, his family’s efforts to pay less  (or no) tax where possible, and his generally over privileged position; then what the devil did he learn at that expensive school and during his expensive university education?  Apparently even more stupid than one thought him anyway.  No way are we ‘all in it together’.  We can only hope it’s the turn of his various chums next.

Panama; here's where Mr Cameron's dad kept his money
Panama; here’s where Mr Cameron’s dad kept his money

And we have completed lambing, and we have some nice looking lambs; the early morning routine of getting up to see if there are new lambs, and especially if there are new lambs in trouble, is over for another year.



Darwen 1/2 Marathon

Hilly.  Possibly more so than Liversedge.  Though not as much as Hendon Brook.  The organiser apparently described it as ‘undulating’; this year was the first that this race was staged, and it’s impressive that there were over 400 starters; it will be interesting to see if the number is maintained.  A fell runner’s view of road runners is that generally they don’t like hills.

Whereas Tod had more than 40 runners at Cowm on Wednesday night, we managed only about 15 today.  And we got quite a haul; 2nd lady, first in about 5 different age categories.  So people went home with smiles on their faces.

Darwen grew from virtually nothing to quite a big place in the space of about 50 years, from the mid 19th century; another Lancashire mill, i.e. cotton, town.  One claim to fame was a visit by Gandhi.

Gandhi visits Darwen
Gandhi visits Darwen

This was to do with an Indian boycott of British goods; he was invited to see at first hand the effects, in the form of unemployment.

The mill workers, however, canny folk, correctly did not blame Gandhi; they knew the fault lay with the millowners.

Nothing left now of the cotton industry; indeed British manufacturing is a sorry remnant of what it one was, as we can see currently with the steel fiasco.  Edward Heath nationalised Rolls Royce; otherwise the company would have gone under.  It went back into the private sector 18 years later.

Mr Cameron isn’t going to nationalise Port Talbot steelworks.  We have a lot to learn from the past, if we only wished to do so.

I found the race hard; but I spent the last few miles overtaking other runners, always a nice feeling (is one kidding oneself? should one have been ahead of them anyway?) and I was overtaken in the finish funnel, that is, after the finish line, by about 4 runners, so it seems I must have given it my all to the finish line, and no further.  Time not so great, really, but a nice day, lots of runners behind me (I was 315th of 411 runners), and some points for the club championship.

Cowm 5k

So here we go again with Andy O’s 2016 events.  Two variations; I’m not going out of my way to do them this year (no pressure to complete events) but this race was in the Tod Harriers Grand Prix; and, of great import, Andy has developed bladder cancer.  So I guess it’s added poignancy, for someone who has raised huge sums for charity, that this race was in aid of a cancer charity.

But last week we had visitors; Antipodean relatives; this meant I did not do the Calder Valley night score event, nor the Caldervale 10.  Which meant I was eager to get out for the Cowm 5k.

A massive turn out.  As I remember, on this day in 2015 there were about 40; tonight over 200.  A congested start therefore, and never a quiet moment going round the reservoir.  Otherwise, little to report; I was not on great form and my time reflected this; and I managed to go without my Tod vest.  This should be a major crime; the very first Tod race I ever did, points were refused to me, as I had no vest; but things change and these days one gets away with it.

My first points for this year’s competition.

Orienteering – Pendle Forest at Burnley

Another of the plethora of local events; I stepped up to the blue course (I’ve never done more than a green before).  I remain astounded at the amount of work the organisers are prepared to put in; the blue course had 27 controls, each of which has to be put in precisely the correct spot; it took the winner three quarters of an hour to get round, so the time taken to carry and place all the controls must be immense.  Plus the controls for all the other courses.

I did not exactly cover myself in glory, though one kind man does appear in the results behind me.  However, since I was the only M70 on the blue course, I guess I won my age category.

Queen’s Park and Thompson Park are adjacent, divided by a main road, and beside them is the Brun Valley area, which along with the newer part of Thompson Park, is reclaimed land, largely from the mining industry.  Mining shut down over 50 years ago in Burnley.

So we started in Queen’s Park with a couple of controls, over the road to Thompson Park which is bigger, for another good number of controls, including a scramble up to the canal (it’s the Leeds Liverpool canal, another very significant engineering achievement) for one control.  Then an immediate return and through an underpass under the canal; a little later, to get out of the park, an underpass under the main road and into Brun Valley.

My timing for the controls was pretty consistent; slower than almost every one of the other competitors.  And so it seemed as they each came past me; I had started fairly early and a lot came past.  But I was pleased nonetheless as I found the controls quite steadily; occasionally, of course, helped by seeing where others were going, but generally finding the controls myself.  Navigation improving therefore.

Helped because the organiser had put the controls visible; except for control 20.  I had gone to the right place; but I could not see it.  My confidence evaporated pretty instantaneously.  Anyway, I went back to where I was absolutely confident I knew where I was, and followed round again, this time helped by another competitor who was coming past.  And I had indeed been in the right place; but the control was just over a little edge at the side of the clearing, so not immediately visible.  Valuable learning point perhaps – if you’re in the right place, then the control will be there somewhere.  No call to go running around in little circles.

And it was a nice day.  Some snow still lying.  The previous day had been the annual core skills day with the Search & Rescue Team; we roped up stretchers, carried them, tended to casualties, did a search by water and a search on some steep ground; and completed a scenario.  All on a lovely day, with sunshine, but also snow and hail, and in the snow.  The orienteering, at a lower altitude, had less snow and possibly more mud.