Thursday, August 2oth, A beautiful run round the Calder Valley

7:17pm. I was up and out early to avoid the morning traffic and get to Blake Dean in plenty of time for a stress free run over the moors. The route I had in mind was one I had done before and I wanted to try a few tweaks to it to see if it made it a smoother run.

The drive over was nice, the sun was shining, blue skies and little traffic on the roads. I arrived at Blake Dean in good time and soon I was parked up and ready to run with the sun blazing through the branches of the trees. I headed up onto Ridge Scout above Graining Water enjoying being out in the warmth of the sun. I wasn’t bothered about pace, I had plenty of time for my run. Today was all about being at one with nature and having a stress free run with no worries. I headed on the trail turning down towards the water and the climb to the cottages. I stopped at the bottom of the water to take some photos, the rising sun leaving the valley in light and dark.

I carried on the path crossing over the Pennine Way and heading towards Reaps Bottom where I would turn left and climb up to Standing Stone Hill. Every step I took seemed to open up a whole new vista with rolling fields of green and purple as far as the eye could see.

The views were stunning, everywhere I looked was a landscape of sheer beauty. Today was about enjoying being out on the moors and taking in as much as my sense would allow me. I ran up to Standing Stone Hill enjoying running through the cold mud, feeling it seep into every pore of my feet.

At the trig point on Standing Stone Hill the views took my breath away. It was too much for me to take in, I wished I could have stayed there forever turning round looking at the sheer magnitude of greens and purples and blues that I was surrounded by, my breath taken away, my senses struggling to process all this raw beauty.

I carried on down to Slack even managing to take a wrong turn off the moor and discover a new path by accident! I was running free now, my legs felt strong and stable and it was all I could do to not stop and take more photos. At Slack I went down the steep hill through Hebden Wood to Midgehole. I was wearing my Altra’s and I wanted to test them on this slope as it had been raining heavily the night before making it muddy and slippy and I knew if I went down here with confidence it would make a massive difference to me mentally when going downhill.

My shoes performed amazingly well, far beyond my expectations. I flew down the hill despite it being wet and muddy, my shoes gripping to wet rock and no slipping in the mud. I was filled with confidence from this knowing that I had a pair of shoes I could put my trust and faith in and not worry if I was going to end up slipping and falling. I could concentrate on running for pleasure.

I made my way through Midge hole and up the short slope to the gate at Crimsworth Dean. I love running through Crimsworth Dean the tranquility broken by the sound of water rushing through desperate to get down to Hebden Bridge. My legs had woken up by now and it was one of my better runs through the dean. I made my way down to Lumb Waterfalls to see what state it was in after the mindless thugs had been down there and wrecked it.

I needn’t have worried as the waterfalls were as lovely as ever, the water gushing down from above into the pool at the bottom, the sun shining on the spray making them dance on the early morning light.

I left the waterfalls as I found them and made my way up to Sheep Shit House and on to Shackleton Knoll another of my favourite places to go to. The views from here were beyond compare, everywhere I looked froze my gaze as I stood there feeling a sense of serenity from being at one with nature at it’s very best.

Time was ticking away so I left the knoll and headed down to Walshaw and Hardcastle Crags. When Claire and me had come this way on Monday she had said it would take too long to run this way as she was pushed for time herself. I wanted to find out for myself to satisfy my own curiosity so took the trail through the crags. At first it was steady progress but then when I got to the house and went up the trail behind it Claire’s choice of route on Monday made sense. It get tricky, very tricky with thigh high bracken and grass and it was longer than I remembered too. I passed the house and saw a deer. It stopped and looked at me giving me just enough time to get a photo of it on my camera.

I made my way back to Blake Dean slowly. My hips and calves were tiring now and I struggled, I always struggle on this trail just one of those things. Despite the last mile being hard work it had been an amazing run, a pleasure to be up early and witness how beautiful nature can be on a perfect summers day.

Home, showered and changed and over to Jenny for my sports massage as painful as ever but I know it’s worth it in the long run. My legs were tight from all the running I’ve been doing but not as bad as before a testament to running in zero drop shoes and running how we were designed to run by nature not society.

A good day when my mind freed from all the worries and stress of the previous months was able to enjoy and appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

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