Fell Running: Grey Skies to Blue

Peak District Running

Running in the Peak District on autumn mornings often means setting off in damp grey conditions.  

The colder nights combined with the still relatively warm ground can lead to early morning mist and fog, especially in the valleys.  However if the atmospheric conditions are right this low cloud can burn off giving fantastic views later in the day.

I set off on one such morning for a run around the Burbage and Stanage area.  Getting out of the car the air is cold and damp without a breath of wind.  Moisture hangs heavy on the branches of the trees, half stripped of their foliage now as November approaches.

Misty Autumn morning

Visibility is only a few hundred metres but I set off on the familiar path heading south down the Burbage Valley.  I must have run in this valley hundreds of times yet I never tire of it, there is always something that catches my eye as the seasons change and the weather, flora and fauna likewise.

Running down the Burbage Valley

I make my way down to emerge at the road and cross over, through the trees down to the little footbridge over Burbage Brook.  The run seems to have awoken my senses and I notice the smell of damp leaves and hear birdsong, clear in the still morning air.  Up the other side and across the road again I now head up to Winyard’s Nick hoping for signs that the fog is lifting as I reach higher ground but the blanket of moist air remains.  A heavy dew covers the grass, bracken and rush as I take the familiar route towards Mitchell Field, dropping down through the fields in order to climb again up Callow Bank.  I pass a couple of isolated trees which emerge out of the gloom as I approach.

Trees above Mitchell Field

I run hard up Callow Bank and as I stop to catch my breath at the top there is a very faint hint that the conditions are brightening.  The change in light is barely discernible and at first I think I am imagining it – light headed from my exertion, but it’s real, there is the merest hint of sun in the sky.

The first hints of brightness

After crossing the road and taking the path up towards Stanage I stop.  The conditions are changing rapidly, visibility is improving and distant features are emerging from the mist.  The rocks ahead of me are crisp and clear whilst behind me the fog is fragmenting to reveal some features whilst still cloaking others.
In less than 2 minutes the scene has changed dramatically.

Rapidly improving visibility
Fog dispersing

I head up onto Stanage and run north-west along the edge for a while, enjoying the clearer air and the views to the east whilst the Hope Valley is still under its canopy of fog below me to the west.
I would love to run all day but my schedule doesn’t allow and I need to head back.  My planned route would drop me down back into the damp blanket of fog so I decide to retrace my steps along the top of the crags in order to remain in the weak autumn sunlight which is now breaking through.

Running along Stanage Edge
Running along Stanage Edge

Dropping down past the Cowper Stone I pass through some remnants of fog again before emerging into clearer air at Burbage Bridge.  The valley below me was in thick cloud an hour ago, now tendrils of mist cling to the flanks of Higger Tor but the sky above is clearing and weak sunshine is reflecting off the puddles and dew on the clumps of rushes.
What started as a cold, damp morning has changed and given the promise of a beautiful autumn day and I am glad that I got out early to see the grey skies turn to blue.

Remnants of mist on Higger Tor

To join me for a guided run visit: http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/contact-us-2/

Lake District fell running

I do most of my running in the Peak District but I also get to other lovely areas of the country.  I was recently in the Lake District preparing for a race and enjoyed a fine day in the hills with great weather.
Here are a few images, hopefully they might inspire you to try fell running.

Peak District Twilight Run

Peak District Running

With the light fading at the end of a sunny autumn day, I set out for a quick run in the Peak District.  By the time I got to the car park at Surprise View above Hathersage the sun was almost below the horizon and I realised that I would only get a half hour run without a torch.

Twilight in the Peak District

I set off along the path towards Millstone Edge which offers fine views over the Hope Valley (not taking any photos as I needed to make the most of the light) and then turned right up to the Mother Cap and Over Owler Tor and on past Winyard’s Nick towards Higger Tor.

The sun was down now and I was running in the afterglow.   Needing to head back I took the path through the bracken taking care not to trip in the reduced light.  The final few hundred metres rewarded me with fantastic views as the cloudless sky silhouetted the trees, almost bare of foliage now as winter approaches.

To join me for a guided run visit: http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/contact-us-2/

Fell Running on Big Moor

Peak District Running

Peak District running doesn’t have to include steep hills. Areas such as the Burbage Valley, the gritstone edges of Stanage, Froggatt, Curbar and the Derwent & Howden Reservoirs offer popular locations and fantastic scenery for the runner. Big Moor, just off the main A621 Sheffield to Chatsworth road is a quieter area which also offers flat running in a scenic location. Having less walkers and climbers it encourages wildlife and is home to a herd of deer which can sometimes be glimpsed and, in the autumn, heard bellowing as the stags vie for dominance. It also contains several cairns and stone circles, evidence of human inhabitation from times past. On my last visit there were also a number of long horned cattle resting beneath a couple of windswept trees. They are quite placid in nature but nevertheless well armed so I slowed to a walk to negotiate them.

long horns guarding the path

  Parking in the small layby on the B6054 the moor is accessed by a small gate and boggy ground soon gives way to a good grassy path leading down to a short tarmac drive. This is the access road to the lodge and (now drained) Barbrook Reservoir. Turning left here the track runs south for a couple of kilometers to a prominent white gate on the main road. It passes by a small reservoir which in today’s still conditions mirrors the few scrubby trees on its bank.

 reflections on the pond

 The Ordnance Survey map shows a stone circle just off the path a little further down the track and I take a short detour to investigate. Several larger stones remain and I spend a few minutes inspecting them.

stone circle

  Picking up the main path again I run down to the gate and turn immediately left taking a small sheep / deer track that runs parallel to the road for a few metres before swinging left across the moor. I come across several piles of stones and another, larger stone circle seemingly restored such is its good condition.

restored stone circle

 From across the stream to my left I hear a low bellow and look up to see dots on the moor, the deer are there but too far distant to photograph. I push on along the thin path with the benefit of having run it numerous times and so knowing which particular line to take. It soon drops me back onto the main track, the Duke’s Drive by the bridge above the small reservoir and I reverse my outward steps as far as the lodge.

Duke’s Drive bridge

I bear left behind the lodge and immediately through a gate to visit the drained reservoir.

the drained Barbrook reservoir

  From here a path leads northwards past the windswept trees and back to the main road.

windswept tree on Big Moor

To join me for a guided run visit: http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/contact-us-2/

Higger Tor at Dusk

Peak District Running

Evening sky over Higger Tor

As the nights are drawing in, evening runs in the Peak District are occasionally accompanied by a lovely sunset.  I put a small torch in my bum bag so that I can keep running as it gets dark rather than have to stop before it gets dark.
An October evening found me on my usual training ground of the Burbage Valley. Parking at the upper bridge I ran down the main path below the crags before cutting right, down across the stream and working hard on the ascent of Carl Wark.  Looking right I see the sun going down behind Higger Tor and notice that the notch of Winyard’s Nick was perfectly aligned as it dropped below the horizon.

Sun sinking over Winyard’s nick

By the time I crested Carl Wark the sun had already dropped below the horizon leaving hues of pink on the higher clouds and a salmon glow in the western sky.  I worked hard on the short climb up Higger Tor and then stopped to appreciate the sunset as the gritstone boulders were silhouetted against the evening sky.  I dropped down towards the road crossing to take the path to Toothill Farm, seeing the lights of Hathersage twinkling in the distance and the sun’s afterglow over Mam Tor and the western hills.

Looking west over Hathersage towards Mam Tor

Dropping down through the fields it became too dark to run in the gloom so I put on my head torch to light the way.

Head torch running

Head torch running

In the gathering darkness I crossed the field and turned right to pick up the track that leads up past the derelict building and steepens as it rises Callow Bank.  From the I aim to reach the top in 5 minutes and need a few moments to recover at the top before trotting along the road and back to the car park.

A lovely evening run with wonderful skies.

To join me for a guided run visit: http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/contact-us-2/

Evening Run over White Edge

Evening light on White Edge

White Edge, high to the east of Grindleford in the Peak District is a lovely location for a run.  There are interesting things to discover off the main path and it offers great views across Big Moor towards Sheffield, Chesterfield and westwards across the National Park in the direction of Tideswell.  This westerly aspect makes it ideal for an evening run when broken high cloud offers the prospect of a fine sunset and the orange rays enhance the purple of the heather.

Starting at the junction of the A625 and B6054 I head up onto the moor and my first intention is to visit Lady’s Cross which is marked on the Ordnance Survey map off to the east.  It is easy to find as it stands less that 100m off the path.  The ancient crossroads and boundary marker, although no longer having its cross piece it is well preserved.

Lady’s Cross

My next destination is the Hurkling Stone and cairn marked about 800m to the south.  Navigation is easy by first finding the old wall and following it southwards to its corner.  Here I find a large boulder but no evidence of a cairn.

The Hurkling stone


Returning to the main path I pass the fingerpost and drop down, steeply a first to cross the road at the Grouse Inn and cross the fields into the woods.  Passing by the parking I dip down to cross the stream and startle a hind which bounds away and is gone before I can fumble for the camera.  Steeply up the other side and crossing the road again to the path leading south along Froggatt Edge I pass climbers walking back after a day on the crags.  Through the Birch woodland I am heading for Stoke Flat stone circle tucked just to the left of the path.  In late summer the bracken is high and hides the stones from view but after a little exploring I emerge into the clear space of the circle.  I wonder about the significance and history of these Bronze Age artefacts: who erected them and what was their life like?

Remains of Stoke Flat stone circle

Rather than take the main path along the crag top I opt to cross the centre of the moor, heading south eastwards below White Edge and after a couple of minutes of rough ground I pick up a good path.  I pass a small sheepfold and glance up and left looking for the trig point that is my next stop.  The light is starting to fade as I reach it with the sun now only just above the horizon.

The last of the sun on White Edge trig.

After savouring the views for a few minutes I turn northwards, passing by gritsone boulders, the few clouds tinted salmon pink by the lowering sun dropping below Sir William Hill.

The sun dropping below Sir William Hill

I take a last look at the sky before picking up the pace, heading north along the good path which undulates along the edge.

Salmon pink clouds and purple heather
I make it back to the car in the afterglow of sunset and take a final look, the lodge house silhouetted against a pastel sky.
Fantastic sky above White Edge Lodge
Another lovely run completed, I head for home.
White Edge 10km with 230m climb

To join me for a guided run visit: http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/contact-us-2/

Night Run on Houndkirk

The nights are drawing in but recent good weather has given a great opportunity for evening running in wonderful conditions.

Twilight running

Grabbing the opportunity to squeeze in a late evening run I picked up my mate Matt and headed out to the nearest part of the Peak District for a twilight run.  The sun was setting by the time we set off but there was just enough light to run without torches for 20 minutes or so. The light was fantastic, salmon pink in the west and a deep indigo to the east above the city lights starting to shimmer in the distance.

Running into the sunset

We picked our way through the heather visiting the Ox Stones, eyes gradually adjusting to the increasing darkness before we finally had to put our our head torches.  Running past the trees of Lady Canning’s plantation, bats flitted about overhead catching our peripheral vision but changing direction too quickly in the gloom for us to get a proper look.
When running with a head torch your world shrinks to the pool of light immediately ahead of you and your concentration increases as you focus carefully on your footsteps.  We ran along the edge of the woods with the neon glow of the city behind us, enjoying the tranquillity that is so special to the Peak District; close to the city yet remote.

Peak District night running with city lights behind

Running through the woods we lost the last of the light and were totally reliant on our torches to pick out the terrain ahead although the clear path didn’t present too many obstacles and we were able to maintain a reasonable pace.  The beauty of night running is that it forces to slow down and become more in tune with your senses, your awareness heightened compared to running in daylight.
We were soon back at the car and off back towards the city leaving the moors and woods behind, glad to have experienced them as few other people do and looking forwards to venturing out again after dark.

Night Running through Lady Canning’s plantation

A big thank you to Justin Grainge for the photographs.

To join me on a night run visit http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/contact-us-2/

Fell Running: You Win, You Lose, You Win Again

The Peak District, despite it’s name, doesn’t have the high mountains of the Lakes, Wales or Scotland and so doesn’t give the opportunity for running constantly uphill for much more than 300 metres (1000ft).  But if you know where to go you can combine multiple climbs and descents in order to pack a decent amount of ascent into your run.

Win Hill and Lose Hill are less than 4km apart and stand as guardians over the southern side of Ladybower reservoir.  At 462m and 476m respectively they are not the highest points in the Peak, in fact Kinder is more than 150m higher. However unlike the higher plateaus of Kinder and Bleaklow these two hills are in fact peaks having relatively steep aspects, dropping 300m from their summits into the surrounding valleys of the Derwent and the Noe.  Viewed from certain aspects Win Hill gives the feel of a mountain with its rocky “Pike” dominating the skyline.

A wintry Win Hill viewed from the west

The pair are easily accessible from several points and so give numerous places to start and finish as well as offering different distances of route.

My regular run starts at the car park on the east side of Ladybower.  I cross the road and dam wall and depending on my mood turn left or right to either tackle the fiercely steep Parkin Clough or take the just steep path which switchbacks up through the woodland.  Both paths emerge at a gate and the route follows a path due west.  I push on hard to the summit, rewarding my effort with a pause at the top to take in the fantastic views.  My gaze is draw across Ladybower and the A57 to the rocky crest of Derwent Edge and then the darker hills to the north.  Turning to the west I see a distant Mam Tor and closer, Lose Hill just over 3km away as the crow flies, this is my next target.

Mam Tor (left) and Lose Hill (centre) seen from Win Hill summit

I have a choice of routes, today choosing to continue northwest towards Wooler Knoll before kinking left and down to pick up the road to Fullwood Stile Farm.  I back off the pace as I cross the railway and drop down to the river – I know from experience that the 2km climb to come will hurt.  I glance at my watch as I turn off the road and start the climb, it will be about 15 minutes to the top on a good day.  Although there are steeper climbs to come I always find this one the hardest and I try to block out the pain and focus on staying relaxed.  A walker is coming down the path from the summit and I set myself the challenge of getting to the stile before they do.  A cheery “howdo” from the walker as I start the rocky steps and change my stride, taking shorter, faster steps as I hit each slab. I think of the hard work that went into constructing the path and wonder how many times I have run up it, how many heartbeats I have spent on it, how many breaths?

The summit gives a welcome rest and even though I’ve been here many times I never tire of the scenery, taking time to soak up the views: the ridge continuing west to Back Tor, Mam Tor and on along the Edale skyline towards the remote Brown Knoll; then the Edale valley with the village itself tucked away below Grindslow Knoll; and to the north west across the valley the flank of Kinder and its deep incisions of Ollerbrook, Lady Booth and Jaggers’ Clough.  

I have choices to make now, I could retrace my steps down the flagstones then off down through the fields towards Hope and back up via Twitchill Farm and the steep, steep fields leading back to Win Hill.  But today I seek a longer run and my eyes turn to the north as I look over to the route I am going to take, down to cross the Edale valley and back up to the edge of Kinder.
So I press on along the well worn path, up and steeply down Back Tor taking care not to trip on the tricky descent and then, glimpsing Castleton below on my left, onwards to Hollins Cross.  Down now on the rough path and tiptoe through the slurry and inquisitive cows at Peter Barn before crossing the road and taking the path to Ollerbrook.  I’m off the tourist trail now and the steep bilberry clad slopes and rocky outcrops beckon me to my favourite part of the route, the steep climb to the gritstone prominence above Rowland Cote moor.

Steep ground above Ollerbrook Clough

Heather and bilberry ally with the steepness of the slope to slow me to a walk as I take the line of least resistance up to cross the fence then up the final steep few metres, hands on rock and heather to emerge on the plateau.  Here again a rest, sitting down facing south, a handful of jelly sweets the physical reward, the view and the solitude offering a deeper, intangible satisfaction that will stay with me not burn away with the coming miles.

I am now eastbound, skirting the head of Jaggers Clough and losing height as the rough path gives way to grassy fields down Crookstone Hill and meets the bridleway passing Hope Cross.  The early part of the Edale Skyline fell race takes this route, the runners still fresh before the toil to come.  For me tiredness is beginning to creep into the legs but the ground allows me to maintain a steady pace and I can see in the distance the summit of Win Hill, my next target.  For some reason this stretch can seem to take ages so I play mind games, not allowing myself to look towards my goal until the next wall, that way it looks much closer when I finally allow myself a glance.  Along the last flat stretch and up the final path, keeping running until I touch the trig point and the last climb is done.  I take in the view again, this time looking back over the route I’ve taken.

Been there done that – looking back towards Kinder from Win Hill

Satisfied, I set off on the descent back to Ladybower taking care with tired legs on the rocky steps.  Into the woods again, reversing my outward route to emerge at the reservoir and glance at the scary “plughole”, overflowing after recent rain, as I pass it by. (I always wonder what’s down there).  

The “plughole”

Across the dam wall again and the final 400m to the car, happily tired – I won, I lost, no I won!

Win, Lose,Win – 25km and 1250m climb

Profile showing 3 big climbs

To join me on a guided run visit http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/contact-us-2/

Supporting Mike’s Bob Graham

When club mate, Mike asked for runners to support him on his Bob Graham attempt (approximately 70 miles, 42 Lake District Peaks, over 28,000 ft of climb all in less than 24 hours!) I was happy to help.

He was particularly looking for help on the night leg from Threlkeld to Dunmail raise, approximately 13 miles with nearly 6000 ft of ascent.  I was happy with the physical challenge having covered that sort of distance plenty of times, but what about navigating in the dark whilst trying to maintain a 24 hour pace – would I get him lost and blow his chances?

Mike & Mark, ready for the off

Mike set off from Moot Hall in the centre of Keswick at exactly 7pm hoping to be back before 7pm the next day. I started my watch and waved him and Mark his supporter off on the first leg and went back to camp to pack my bag for the next leg. It was tricky to know what pack to take as I needed to be able to carry my own kit, some safety equipment plus leaving some room for any of Mike’s kit, food and drink that he needed carrying.  Having checked all my kit including new batteries in my head-torch and tried to eat at a time when I would normally be going to bed it was then time to get to the changeover.

It was twilight at Threlkeld and torch lights could be seen descending the ridge off Blencathra as nervous supporters waited for their teams to come off the hill.  Mike arrived just ahead of schedule and managed 10 minutes of feeding and changing kit before we (Mike, Mark, Martha and myself) set off, across the main road towards the hills and on into the night.

The climb up Clough Head is steep and there is no obvious path but I knew to take a line avoiding the scree before turning to reach the top.  Just before the top the cloud came down and visibility dropped – not a good sign for the 12 miles to come.  Thankfully the navigation here isn’t too tricky and we soon picked up the trail leading on to Great Dodd and left the cloud behind.

There is something special about night running: enveloped in your own small pool of light listening to the silence, your senses seemingly more alert, the need to concentrate on your footsteps, the way that the land looms around you with even the smallest hillocks giving the impression of mountains in your peripheral vision.

Night running

The leg was straightforward from here until Dollywagon Pike with good paths meaning that only slight detours had to made to bag the summits allowing us to roll along at a good pace.

After Dollywagon we had to choose the best way to summit Fairfield, the choice being a good descent path and less well trodden route up or a grassy descent to pick up the main, loose scree path to the top.  In daylight I would have chosen the former but in darkness it would have been easy to stray into rocky ground and lose time so we opted for the main path.  This made for a tortuous climb on steep loose scree but led us safely to the summit from where we retraced our steps to a col and the last climb of the leg, Seat Sandal.  The summit was again in cloud and so we ran on a compass bearing westwards, gradually dropping towards the road.  A slight moment of worry when, with the lights of the cars in sight, we found ourselves in deep bracken, our torches illuminating a boulder field below but thankfully a short traverse brought us to a path and a swift downhill run to our waiting support crew with Mike’s fuel of choice – a Pot Noodle!
4 hours 26 minutes of night running and on schedule.

3.15 am Leg 2 / 3 changeover

After the scheduled 10 minutes refuel a new support crew took over to guide Mike on the longest leg to Wasdale.  This included the technical climbing section and he was in the capable hands of Matt and Mike G who were to get him safely up Broad Stand whilst Kirsty and Richard were to do the navigating. The sky was just starting to lighten as they set off and they would soon be able to run without torches. For me it was back to camp for some sleep. 

Dawn, high in the Lakes

After a welcome hot shower I managed a handful of hours sleep and then spent the morning drinking tea and eating.  I wondered how Mike was getting on, the signs were good with only a little low cloud on the highest peaks and it was calm and dry. Then we had a phone call to say that he had struggled a bit on leg 3 and was 30 mins behind his plan. Feeling reasonably fresh I packed a bag and drove to Honister, the changeover for leg 4 / 5. My plan was to reverse leg 5 and meet up around Great Gable.  The weather was colder now with a chilly breeze and as I climbed out past Grey Knotts I could see Gable’s summit in cloud.  On Green Gable the conditions were dramatic, one moment visibility was down so a few hundred metres, the next the cloud lifted to give fantastic views of the valleys below.

Lifting cloud revealing dramatic views

I reached the summit and decided to stay and wait for Mike and his support of Andy and Julia. I had company from spectators and marshals of the Wasdale fell race that was taking place.  Just as I was beginning to worry that something had gone wrong they emerged from the gloom looking tired but pleased to have reached the top.

Emerging from the cloud on Great Gable

The descent of Gable is tricky on tired legs – steep and rocky but after that and a short climb to neighbouring Green Gable it was an easy downhill via Brandreth and Grey Knotts, picking the best grassy lines down to the supporters at Honister where dry socks, flapjack and drink were thrust upon Mike by his crew.  Then the 10 minutes were up and the final leg back to Keswick began.  In theory this is an easy leg, a generally grassy section, 3 hills with 2500 ft of climb leading to roads and a gradual downhill into town.

Mike and Julia leaving Great Gable behind

There was a sense of optimism in the air as the merry crew set off up Dale Head, only a disaster now would prevent Mike from getting round in 24 hours.. wouldn’t it?

Mike and supporters leaving Honister

“Drink Mike, have a jelly baby, want a gel?”  The well meaning support crew were anxious that Mike kept up his energy levels but after 20+ hours of force feeding himself sugar he had had enough. He was tired, he even admitted it.  Luckily Phil insisted and he was able to manage sips of Coke and on autopilot now he continued up and over ticking off Hindscarth and Robinson, the last of the 42 hills.  Matt spotted a quick line leading to the valley and we dropped down quickly, leaving the hills behind and only the run in left to do.

A quick change into road shoes and the famous club vest but Mike was so tired, he was almost falling asleep in the chair as Simon attended to his feet like a father dressing a child! A couple of minutes and we were off, 3 miles of almost flat running and it would be over.

Left foot up, Simon attending to Mike’s footwear

I don’t know if it was the magic of the Dark Peak vest or the background as a 10k runner but suddenly Mike was looking strong, his long legs eating up the road and his sense of humour returned as he teased Dan about not being able to keep up. 
Helen was up front with the map looking for the footpath leading into town and there it was .. with a big fence and a sign saying footpath closed!  but we weren’t in the mood for any detours now so it was around the fence hoping there wasn’t an impasse further along the path.  Suddenly there were cars and pedestrians, the main street into town and the roof of Moot Hall visible 500 metres away.  A swerve through the market traders who were packing away and the glory was Mike’s as he mounted the steps where it had begun 23 hours 45 minutes before.

The final steps
Well done Daddy!

Burbage Evening Fell Run – Racing the Clouds

My favourite running area is the Burbage Valley, close to Hathersage in the Peak District.  

It is only 10km from the city centre yet gives the feel of being rugged and remote, especially if you can avoid the weekend crowds.
There is plenty of parking at the top and bottom of the valley and a choice of terrain to run on including trail, fell and steep hill.  It has everything an off road runner needs and if you park at the Fox House you can reward your efforts with a little “liquid refreshment” afterwards.

Carl Wark & Higger Tor above Burbage Brook

I took advantage a brief gap in the wet summer weather to enjoy an evening run around “Burbage”.

Starting from the car park at Burbage North I take the upper path above the crags, heading southwards. Recent heavy rain had made the ground wet and boggy and it is a case of dodging puddles and looking for the driest line.  After a couple of kilometres a stream makes a natural break in the rocky outcrops separating the north and south sections of the valley and I drop down its side to pick up the lower track.  This has been recently improved and makes for faster more even trail running in contrast to the higher path which is more fell running terrain.

The lower path offers trail running terrain

Continuing southwards I look across the valley on my right and see the 2 summits of Carl Wark and Higger Tor under a threatening sky, maybe I won’t escape a drenching after all.

Stormy Skies over the Burbage Valley

I could continue to follow the track down to the road and on towards Padley Gorge but I  decide to cut right towards Carl Wark on a grassy path and cross the stream by a tricky leap across some rocks. Sometimes this is a simple stride but occasionally after heavy rain it is more a leap of faith!  I then climb up through a boggy patch (wet feet again despite it being mid summer) to the ancient hill fort of Carl Wark.  It fascinates me to think that this flat topped hill with its natural defences was occupied around 4000 years ago!

Running on Carl Wark with Higger Tor behind

A quick trot across the flat, boulder studded plateau and then a short, steep drop before climbing again to Higger Tor and its fantastic views.  I pause to look over at the route I’ve taken and gaze at the towering cotton wool clouds, pure brilliant white from afar but dark and threatening at close quarters with the threat of further rain.

  Burbage South quarries and Carl Wark from Higger Tor

Racing the gathering clouds I press onwards now on the final leg towards Burbage Bridge where the brook passes under the road in 2 sturdy tunnels.  

Burbage Bridge

I take a quick peek into one before it’s back to the car, pleased to have avoided the rain.

Under Burbage Bridge
Racing the Clouds

For information on joining me for a guided run visit; http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/guided-runs-2/