June 22nd, a good run over the moors

4:09pm. Today started off well. The sun blazing through my curtains at 4am I decided to go to the rock and go for a run. It was a toss up between the rock and the stones and the stones are easier for me to get to so the rock won today. I wasn’t sure where I was going to run but I have so many places I can go to now it doesn’t matter. I am not limited in where I can go. I drew back the curtains and saw the sun rising on the horizon. It was a sight that calmed me and I felt in awe of seeing the sun rise. I took a photo.

I had breakfast and set off to the rock. I had to turn round and come back home when I realised I had left my Garmin at hone but then I was off. It was a lovely clear and sunny morning with very little traffic and soon I was at the layby I use when I go to the rock. I parked up and got out of the car and I struggled to move. My right knee was very stiff from yesterdays run. I decided to run it off round Norland Moor before I went for a run. I didn’t put my Garmin on. I wanted to feel what it was like to run free without worrying about pace and elevation.

I could feel my knee on the short run to the rock. It’s range of movement was limited but I could move and soon I was at the rock. I said a prayer and looked around me. I had the moor to myself and it looked so calm and serene. It was a pleasure to be up there. I tried to run further but my knee wasn’t having any of it so I turned round and headed back to my car. I had thought about running round Blackstone Edge again but Standing Stone Hill was in my mind so I headed to Heptonstall.

I parked up and looked around me. Everywhere looked so beautiful this morning I took a few photos and then took one of the sun just above some grass in a field. I liked it. I thought it was quite artistic of me framing the sun in such a way.

As I’ve found with my writing art is a very subjective thing and whilst you can create something you think will set the world on fire it’s not until you put it out in the real world that you find out no-one is particularly impressed by it and you come back down to earth with a thud. I take photos of subjects that I like and I hope they bring pleasure to others too.

I started my run as I always do along the Slack Road. My knee was still very stiff but I was sure it would free up after a couple of miles as it usually does. I headed for Heptonstall Moor and took it steady as my knee wouldn’t let me run with any of the pace I had the day before. The run was nice, I could feel the sun warming my body and although I was moving gingerly I kept going.

I took my usual route, up to the gate then left, past the farmhouse and right to follow the wall until you get to the moor. At the end of the wall I was met with two paths. I convinced myself that the path on the left was the right one despite it going down and headed off on this path. I was wrong. This wasn’t the path I should have taken. Either that or I had missed a path off it. I continued heading down and across the moor and eventually headed back up towards the trig point up on the horizon. I was losing sight of the path and having to run and walk through bogs and heather. I was hoping to avoid this today but because I had taken the wrong path I found myself in and amongst it. Eventually I got back on the path I should have taken in the first place and seeing the trig point in the distance managed a gentle jog up to it.

At the trig point I stopped, stood and took in everything I could see. It was a perfect morning. The sun was warming my bare shoulders and the heat haze made Stoodley Pike appear double. I could see for miles, moors and fells all around me. I thought this is why I run to experience moments like this, once in a lifetime moments where for a couple of minutes everything is at peace and right with the world. All of life’s troubles and dramas are far away and words like anxiety and stress are in dictionaries on book shelves not whirling round in your mind. It was a perfect moment.

Then the silence was shattered. A bird maybe a kestrel was hoovering and flying around overhead. I was spooking it. I must have been near it’s nest possibly or near a recent kill. Whatever the reason it wasn’t happy and then it’s mate appeared and the noise levels increased. I decided it was time to move on, I didn’t want to be upsetting these birds, it was their home after all. the birds had been flying close to me but my phone was in my pack. By the time I got it out they had moved away. I did try and get a shot of them.

I remembered that Claire had taken a different path up to Standing Stone Hill and I saw what I thought was it and decided that as it was a nice day I would see where it went. My knee was still stiff and I was moving slowly but I had all morning to be out so I set off. I could see the path stretching away in the distance before me so I followed the path at a steady pace. After half a mile or so I could see Lower Gorpel Reservoir to my right so I knew I could do a loop round across Heptonstall Moor as long as I could get down to the reservoir.

On the path I came across a large monolith just stood in the middle of the moors. A plaque on it revealed that it was Reaps Cross. I Goggled it and found the following page useful: https://www.thenorthernantiquarian.org/2018/02/14/reaps-cross-heptonstall-moor/  

Looking over the moors and fells in front of me I felt a sense of awe and belonging. This place was pure wild beauty. Even though I could see the reservoir, the cottages and the pub on the road I felt a million miles from civilisation and knew that it was me against Mother Nature and I had to respect her or she would teach me a lesson I would never forget. Today was about appreciating the stunning wilderness on my doorstep craved out millions of years ago, not about try to prove how brave I was.

At this point I got out my phone and had a look on Goggle Explore to find a path down to the reservoir. As much as I wanted to run on this path and see where it took me I knew I couldn’t because my right knee wasn’t getting any better and I was thinking about heading back as soon as I got to the reservoir. I found a path that appeared to be below the one I was on and as soon as I saw a path going down I took it. I ended up all over the place although I kept going. I was hopping from one path to the next and it wasn’t doing my knee any good. I could see a clough below me and I headed for that as there was a hut and a track at the other side that must take me to the reservoir.

On the way down I went past an old, abandoned farmhouse which I now know is Raistrick Greave. As I went past I wondered about the history of this place literally in the middle of nowhere, who had lived here and what had made them abandon it? What had they done for a living and how long had it been here? It is set in a beautiful part of the country with stunning views on a  day like today but in the grip of a bad winter you would be cut off from everyone and everything so surviving could be very difficult.

I carried on over the moor now at a walking pace due to the heather and bogs. I eventually got down to the clough and saw two paths that I could have jogged on even with my stiff knee. When I got home and looked on Strava I found out that if I had carried on the main path it goes to the right taking you past Raistrick Greave and down to the bottom. Next time I won’t be so eager to take the first path I see and will continue on the path I’m on! Life lesson learnt!

At the clough I walked the plank to the other side and struggled up the other side as my knee was aching a lot now. This was a beautiful little spot with two streams coming down from the moors feeding into the reservoir. The vegetation was lush and a variety of greens all around me. Crags were everywhere, I could have stayed here for an hour taking it all in but my knee wasn’t getting any better and time was beginning to be against me. I knew the ran back would be steady but I still had to do it and I had to keep going.

I ran down the main path to the reservoir and I was rewarded with seeing the reservoir at it’s calmest, bathing in the summer sun with not a care in the world. I took a photo of it in black and white, me trying to be artistic but my phone does have a dedicated black and white sensor so I thought I’d try it and see how it turned out.

I ran past the reservoir and Gorple Cottages and onto Heptonstall Moor. I made good progress over the moor, nothing special but I kept going which today was the main thing. I got into Slack Top and decided to head down towards Lumb Bank and take the shortest climb back up to my car. When you get down to the bottom of the path and it splits into three there is one of the best views around of Hebden Bridge and the valley it nestles in. It’s easy to miss it as most of the time you run past it but I have discovered it recently and it is one of my favourite views now.

At the car I saw on Strava that Claire had been to the stones. Maybe ideas are put in our minds for a reason and I was meant to do the run I did today and not go to the stones. I found out some more about the stones and about a new megalithic site that I must have run past many times but I will search for next time I’m up there. I know where the new site is. I’ll show Claire them along with the alternative route up to the stones one day.

Alcomden Stones, Stanbury Moor, West Yorkshire


it has been a great day out on the moors exploring and enjoying nature and not worrying about the pressure and stress of modern life. I discovered new routes and a new area to run round. The reservoirs at Gorple and Widdop seem to be far more interesting than those at Blackstone Edge and are set in a more spectacular setting too in my opinion. Everyone is different though and that’s what makes life interesting. Did my foray in black and white photography work? I’m not sure. It’s not as easy as it looks but I’ll continue with it and see if I improve.

At home I had something to eat and fell asleep. The strain of running with a stiff knee had taken more out of me than I realised. I decided to relax today and not worry about writing anything other than my diary or uni work. Now I’ve run today I wont run until Wednesday at the earliest so can catch up on uni work and writing tomorrow and most importantly rest my knee and hope it regains some flexibility before my next run.

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