I Spy Blue Sky

The deluge that affected most of the country this week made running in the Peak District an unpleasant experience.

However the worst seems to be over, for now anyway, and I looked out this morning to see blue sky and sunshine. Having only managed some short flat runs in the past 2 weeks I felt the urge to hit the hills and decided to take on a double ascent of the grandly named Win Hill.  Although relatively small at 463 metres Win Hill dominates the western skyline when approached by the A57 from Sheffield.  It stands proud above the southern shore of Ladybower, green on its lower flanks with its rocky tor emerging from the conifers below. 
Ladybower, the plug hole and a distant Win Hill
The twin reservoir overflows were thundering frighteningly as I ran along the dam wall and I paused briefly to look into one’s Stygian maw, consuming countless gallons into the bowels of the dam.
With “that feeling” that this view always provokes: a brief shudder at the thought of being swept over the edge and into the abyss, I ran on turning immediately into the woods up a steep, stony path to emerge on a good track.  Sunlight found its way easily through the denuded branches, dappling the ground and reflecting off the puddles as I pressed on uphill.  
Sunlit woodland
The final steep section overcome I emerged from the trees and into the sun, running on up the rocky steps to reach the summit, breathless, and the reward of a 360 degree vista, surely one of the finest in the Peak District.  I have stood here many times, this being one of my favourite training runs, but I will never tire of the view.
Win Hill summit
Win Hill trig point and views to the west
After a few moments soaking up the view the cold northerly wind prompted me to move again as the heat of the uphill effort quickly ebbed away and keen to stay warm I ran on along Hope Brink towards Wooler Knoll.  Ahead of me Lose Hill, Mam Tor and Kinder lay splendid under blue sky and fragmented cloud, a patchwork of sunshine and shade.  
Mam Tor, Lose Hill and Kinder
The deep incision of Jaggers Clough was accentuated by deep shadow, the sun low now even at midday.
Heading down with Jaggers Clough behind
On a different day I would have run on towards the horizon but not now, and so I turned sharp left to drop to the lane, wet today with water running off the hill, and on to Fullwood Stile Farm. 
Sunshine & puddles
I stopped to say hello to a pair of tiny ponies, friendly at first but soon indifferent to my attention when they realised I had nothing to offer but words.
Wot no sugarlumps?
Recovery over it was time to make the second ascent and I headed up the long drive to Twitchill Farm.  The field behind the farm must be one of the steepest in the Peak and it’s an effort of will not to stop running.  A stile marks the end of the farmland and a stony path now leads up past a single windswept Hawthorn tree, stark today against the blue sky. 
Hawthorn and Win Hill
Striding out to Win
And then to the summit again to soak in the view once more, the sun casting long shadows, the wind cold and bracing, the sight splendid.
Me and my shadow 
Homeward bound now I retraced my steps down into the woodland to emerge at the reservoir and cross the long dam wall.
Almost there, along the dam wall
And so, after the rain, it felt great to be running again under blue skies in wonderful Peak District scenery.

12km with 675m climb

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Posted in Blog, Fell running, Peak District, Trail Running.


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