Monday, June 06, 2011

Juneathon 6 - The long haul

I've said in an earlier post that I want to spend less time in June reading maps and worrying about distances and more time just going out for a run. Contrary to this, I keep catching myself at the maps, making plans, looking at routes, going "Ooh, well, that would put me up to X-km this week... dagnammit! Behave!". Today's run started a bit like that, with a plotted, measured, planned route, but I'm happy to say that the planning went a wee bit awry when I spotted some pretty looking trail that looked like it'd be fun to run down, and the rest of the route varied between the planned and the "Ooh, shiny... less go see where that goes..." This is, I think, a good combination. Especially on lovely sunny summer evenings like tonight.

Sunshine on singletrack
I drove up to Guiseley, with the idea of looping round on to Baildon Moor to pick up two rogue trig pillars* that I'd planned to stitch onto an Ilkley Moor run, but never got the time (or inclination) They seemed to sit in the middle of an area with lots of pink dotty lines on the map, meaning possible interesting singletrack to wander along. The start didn't disappoint on that score, hardpacked snaky woodsy trail running up the edge of a field, parallel to the road, dappled sun shining through the trees. It was a pretty stiff haul up for a K or so, and then the footpath turned right and up along a ridge before dropping down into Hawksworth (not the one near Kirkstall, another one. Common name around these parts, methinks.) From here, field-edge grass track had its monotony broken up by the pair of Curlews swooping around above my head - I'm not sure I've ever seen a Curlew in real life before, only pictures, but the bill is distinctive enough! I stopped to watch a while, chomping a handful of Jelly Babies and a gulp of water, before pottering off again towards where the trail dropped steeply down to Low Springs and more pink dotty fun-looking lines.

Runners right, horse gallop left
From Low Springs (where the pink dotty lines did indeed turn out to be quite fun) came a bit of a long drag, up a gravel and tarmac lane past some very posh looking holiday cottages and expensive houses - at least, I assume they're expensive. I'm only going by the number of expensive 4x4 vehicles parked outside them. At the top, accompanied by nice warning signs, was a horse gallop. I'm not in much of a position to judge, but I reckon running down that would have been harder work for little me than it is for a much larger stallion, so I opted to go for what looked like a footpath to the right. Probably the best idea, I think; getting mowed down by an irate mare at full bore would probably have spoiled the day.

Trig #1 - Baildon Hill top
From the gallop, more sunshine, two 'frontal assault' pushes up hills and the first trig! Baildon Hill top. A quick stop, to let the guy taking a panorama get his picture without a small sweaty runner in-shot, the off downhill to cross the golf course (good running on greens, I've found. Very level...) and drop onto tarmac very briefly to climb to the second trig. I'd seen this one on StreetView (strange thing to look at, I know) as it's just off the Hawksworth road climbing north out of Baildon, so I knew it would be an easy find. There, at 11.25km run, I committed the slightly silly mistake of pressing 'Stop' on the tracker instead of 'Pause', hence why today's RunningFree update is logged as two runs. No tech issue today, just Operator Error...

Restarting the tracker, I plodded onwards, avoiding the nettles on the tight bits of trail - grippy shoes really are a Good Thing in those conditions, aren't they?! - trying not to get chased or stood on by the horses in the field with the bridleway through it, trying not to eat ALL the Jelly Babies in one go, for they are treats for when we have done well, like reaching the top of the hill without stopping. Although I did allow myself a couple when I had to stop to let some golfers tee off, on the basis that running across in front of three guys who are about to whack a small hard ball with a metal stick and who have the sun in their eyes was probably not a great idea. At least, not if I wished to keep a few things intact, like my teeth, and my consciousness.
Trig #2 - off Hawksworth Road

Pretty soon, after a fairly uneventful bimble up and over another golf course - what is it about golfers?! They seem to get everywhere... - I was back in Guiseley, with a mere kilometre along the pavement back to where the car was parked, next to the White Cross pub, the Prachee curry house and Harry Ramsden's chippy. Talk about temptation. I managed to resist, and simply drove home to pasta, meatballs, a hot bath and the slightly long-winded blogging of what turned out to be a 10 mile run! According to the Tracker 16.62km, 2:28:17. I'm happy enough with that!

Oh, and lastly, as an aside from tonight's run: I've said, many times, that entering the 'athons is about me and me only - I'm not competing with anyone else. Unfortunately, I'm quite a competitive soul at heart, and can't resist a bit of cheeky verbal, especially with Ross (Chooban), an old compadre and long-time AR associate entered in Juneathon as well. So, I've been guilty of a bit of joshing. And before we've even finished Week One. Oops... Sorry 'bout that Ross. We'll see how we both get on, eh...

*Note for newcomers to this blog. The author has developed some kind of bizarre attachment to the angular concrete lumps deposited around the country by the Ordnance Survey to aid in their mapping of the British Isles, and often goes to great lengths to 'bag' these pillars either on foot, by bike or for the few roadside ones, by car. When conversation turns to 'Trig-Bagging', the easiest option is just to smile and nod.


Anonymous said...

[Nods and smiles]

maggiee said...

You really do end up in some fantastic, yet definitely 'off the beaten track' places. I like it... I wish I had the nerve, and the skills, to work my way around like you! :-)

Carrick "Pyro" Armer said...

What's stopping you, Maggie?!! Find an OS map, look for the pink dotty lines, go play. Simple as you like :-)

Running Meditations said...

Great looking run route - I lerrve running through woodland tracks. I'm planning a bit of exploring myself next week as I'll be a bit further away from home and want to investigate some of the numerous public walk tracks I frequently drive past but don't have time to try out.

Also think I'll have to copy you and take a pack of jelly babies or Hariboes.