Sunday, 21 October 2012

Mind runs.

There are many reasons to go running. It could be to simply keep fit or to do hard training to push those personal bests or simply to keep mind and soul together.

Often fitting in the running is a slog - a combination of time and motivation. But when a run feels 'right' then you know its worth it.

Such runs needn't be about a competitive best. For me its usually a classic hill run when the body is going well and the mind needs the therapy of a decent run.

Last week was such a 'mind run'. With the Snowdonia Marathon coming up I'd been trying, rather badly, to get some focused training in. Many things kept getting in the way - cave rescue callouts; work; family needs.....

I'd ended up in Yorkshire for the weekend, partly to attend a cave rescue conference, but sadly also to attend a remembrance ceremony of a friends wife tragically killed by a speeding motorist whilst on a cycling trip. Gillian was killed outright whilst Paul suffered serious injury. The ceremony celebrate Gillians life but also brought home how loved and missed she will be.

So Sunday afternoon and the conference is over. The long drive down the M6 awaits but the day is too beautiful to waste. The mind is also too full of stuff such as Gillian and Paul, uncertainties with the job, and all the usual stuff of our lives. So I go for a run.

I set off from Clapham along the classic Thwaite Lane. This is definity the Yorkshire Dales - the whole texture of the landscape is so classically 'Dales'. After a few km I turn onto the Crummack Lane. Constantly I admire and absorb the karst landscape all around - the light, the landscape is simply superb.

Looking back down into the Austwick Beck valley
I pick my way along the bridleways and am soon following the route roughly alongside Austwick Beck. Just before the Beck emerges from its underground origins I swing up onto the Moughton Scars and the classic karst pavement landscape the area is so famous for. Ahead is Pen Y Ghent whilst behind is the summit of Ingleborough - two of the classic Yorkshire 'three peaks'.
Ingleborough in the distance

Pen Y Ghent

The running feels so right and the body good. I've no water and only a bit of food. I've also no set plan of where I'm going.

I follow the path across the scars to pick up the 'Sulber Nick' path. I had initially thought I'd run along this to pick up the route back to 'Long Lane', but the day is too good and the mind is demanding more. So I keep going - onto the flanks of Simon Fell and along the path to the summit of Ingleborough itself.
Summit of Ingleborough

From the summit is a fine vista with views out to the Lake District and beyond, and a wealth of cloud scapes from brooding dark sky to bright sunshine. I stop to absorb it all, however time was getting on so it was a rewarding mad dash back to Clapham via the classic cave country found on the flanks of this fine hill.
Looking towards the Lake District

After about 25km of running I'm back at Ingleborough Hall and the only car left from the conference is mine. A quick slug of water and a flapjack and it was time to face the joys of the M6. At least the mind felt better to deal with it......

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