7:51pm. Its been a good day. I was up later than planned but after breakfast decided to head over to Heptonstall for a planned run to Standing Stone Hill. The drive over was amazing. I set off in cold mist and fog and this continued until I climbed above Oxenhope and came out of the mist into glorious, bright sunshine, so bright it almost blinded me. With the mist below me and clear skies above I cruised along the road until I dropped down into Pecket Well and back into the mist until I was just above Hebden Bridge where it cleared again.
I got to Heptonstall and parked at my usual place just beyond the school. I got my gear on and set off along Slack Road heading towards Knoll Top and the Calderdale Way. I was running at a steady pace, one I could manage and enjoying the moment. It was great to be back out on the moors feeling the freedom of wide open spaces.
I ran along the Calderdale Way, muddy and technical at first, then familiar Yorkshire stone flags before reverting to rocky trail. Maybe it was the mist but it seemed shorter than usual. Maybe it was because I was enjoying running and not pushing myself that made a psychological difference. I don’t know but soon I was at the gate and going up the trail towards Reaps Bottom.
I walked this part as I was conscious of putting too much strain on my Achilles. Weirdly this part seemed further than I remembered and I nearly took the wrong path up to Standing Stone Hill but saw the waymarker poking out of the grass and got on the trail I like to take. I walked up here too, not because it was rocky but because it was muddy and wet and it made running difficult.
At the top I started running, following the trail a trail that bared to the right until I realised that I was going away from the trig point and I turned round and found a path that took me to the trig point. I got to the trig point, feet covered in mud, cold and wet but feeling good. Good to be back at one of my favourite spots in Calderdale even if the views were non-existent due to being enveloped in a shroud of mist that took everything away, sights, sounds, smells, all signs of any existence.
I took some photos and set off back down to Slack. I had to stop and get my bearings a few times and the trail was extremely muddy and wet which made running difficult and I felt my Achilles twisting a few times as I struggled for grip but again the trail seemed shorted than I usual. I got to the small climb at Stoney Turgate Hill and knew I wasn’t far from the farm at Long High Top. I made the short climb wading through cold water and ran alongside the wall at the top to the farm
At the farm I took a left back down to the gate on the Calderdale Way that serves as a gateway between civilisation and the brutal, bleak moors. I got on the trail and soon I was running through Slack the mist lifted enough for me to see more than a few yards in front of me. I was sensible too. Usually I go down the trail to Lumb Bank and run up the hill back to my car. I knew today that my Achilles wouldn’t cope with the hill so ran through Slack and back to my car.
I sat in my car for a while and reflected on my run. I was happy with what I’d achieved. The distance and elevation where nothing compared to some runs I’ve done but considering everything I’ve been through over the past six weeks it was a great achievement and in tough conditions over one of my favourite routes even if the views weren’t much! I felt very satisfied with what I’d done.
Home and the usual before I went to Tesco’s for a few bits and settled down in front of the Television to channel hop all evening in desperation, looking for something even remotely interesting and finding nothing, eventually going to bed, tired but happy.