June 16th, a run round some of my favourite places

6:05pm and time to do my diary. I was up early today around 5am as I wanted to go for a run over Hardcastle Crags way and I wanted to avoid the crowds and avoid the heat. I felt good too so getting up and getting out wasn’t a problem. The roads over to Heptonstall were quiet but foggy so driving was slow in parts but the fog and mist added to my anticipation of the run.

I couldn’t park at my usual spot as there are roadworks there so I parked further down on the main road at Lower Slack. I put a very thin shower jacket on over my top as there was a hint of drizzle in the air and set off on the Hebden route down to Gibson Mill. The run down felt good, last time I did it a couple of weeks ago I was on beta blockers and I struggled on this part so it felt nice to be able to run down and not feel like I was going uphill when I was going down.

Soon I was at Gibson Mill and I took the opportunity to take a couple of photos of Hebden Water before taking my jacket off and packing it away. I was sweating already!

I was ready to go again and I turned left and headed for the bridge. It’s only a short uphill section but again two weeks ago this defeated me so I was determined to run up this part and reconquer it. I did it with ease although my legs were already starting to ache from the efforts of the past two days. I took the path to the left and saw the owners of the cottage that is in the heart of Hardcastle Crags. They said ‘hello’ and I said ‘hello’ back. I continued down to the sharp left that takes you to the bridge and over Hebden Water.

Here I stopped as I had a choice of doing a reverse of the Heptonstall 15 feel race back up to Walshaw or carrying on with my original route. I the end I stayed with my original plan mainly because I wanted to run across Heptonstall Moor and not get interrupted by cows this time.

I ran over the bridge and up the hill towards Blake Dean. This is a familiar route to anyone who goes down Hardcastle Crags as it is the path that takes you to Blake Dean and you just follow the arrows. I was making good progress despite my right knee aching and my mind was set on getting a good time up the steps and claiming 6th place outright. I went up the steps fast and kept going at the top but when I uploaded my run to my dismay the segment wasn’t there! All that hard work for nothing.

I carried on up the road at Blake Dean, over the stile and onto the Widdop race finish. I knew this was a segment too so I kept pushing and pushing to get a good time. I felt good on here. My pace was coming down nicely and I felt that I was running as fast as I could at that time. I pushed on past the stile that takes you up to the pub and all the way to a gate that was closed with some rope. It was here that I realised I had gone too far. I looked around me and I didn’t recognise my surroundings. There was a road to my left below me and the Widdop Road above me. I was nearly at the end of the trail so I turned back and retraced my steps.

As I ran back I saw the signpost that pointed down and realised I should have gone down the path to the left to the bridges. A schoolboy error but at least I made it while I was going fast. I went down to the bridges and stopped to have something to eat and take some photos. It’s a lovely little spot secluded away in the clough.

I noticed a large crag above me. I go past lots of crags when I’m out running but for some reason there seemed to be something special about this one as if it had been watching over this clough for thousands of years soaking up knowledge and experience. I might be mad but it was a very comforting and warming experience as I looked at it. In some ways it reminded me of the rock in both its shape and presence although it is a lot bigger than the rock.

I continued on my run up to Lower Gorple Cottages and onto the Pennine Way across Heptonstall Moor. I was convinced this was a segment too so I went for it over the moor as my right knee had loosened up and was moving freely now. This was another surreal run as across the top of the moor it was mist and I could see nothing apart from where I was going. It made me feel like a real feel runner disappearing into the mist maybe never to be seen again and never found forever wandering Heptonstall Moor looking for a way off…

It didn’t happen today although I come close a few times on Midgely Moor and I made my way across the trail down to Slack Top before heading back up towards the Hebden route. I joined the Hebden route and followed it until Lumb Bank where I ran up the hill to Heptonstall and back to my car.

At my car I uploaded my route and to my utter dismay I hadn’t got anything on any of the segments and there wasn’t one over Heptonstall moor. My legs were really aching now from the past few days running and they ached even more when I saw my results. Thankfully when I got home the results had come up and I ended up with 3 PR’s so all my efforts were not wasted.

At home I had a chat with my supervisor at uni and we agreed on a plan for me to do a revised PhD proposal and I found out that uni should be reopening around mis August so I have something to do and something to work towards which makes me feel a lot better. I’m going to start reading some poetry and other books to get back into reading too.

After that I fell asleep in my chair.

Tomorrow is a rest day for running and then back to it on Thursday when we’re going round North Deans Woods and Norland Moor. Two days into my new life and I’m feeling so much better already.

8:37pm and time for a final update. it’s been a good day a positive day. Progress has been made at uni and I have some goals to work towards. I’ve had a look at Chris Goddard’s excellent book of the West Yorkshire Moors and have some ideas for future runs around Gorple and Widdop reservoirs and Boulsworth Hill. The area between Boulsworth Hill and Walshaw Dean reservoirs is the largest expense of open moorland in West Yorkshire and I have to run it. Time for a good nights sleep now.

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