Sunday, 28 April 2013

Another long one

I've been putting in the long miles on recent weekends, and this one was no exception.
It started out, in the greatest of traditions with a good strong coffee, which was swiftly followed by Lynne calling out - "have you seen the hills?"

I wandered back upstairs, and yes, there was a smattering of snow up there. Ah well, all the more fun then. There was meant to be an occluded front making its way across the country at some point, so thats probably what did it. Excellent.

The vague plan was to follow the 4 Dark Peak County tops route for a while, maybe do all four of them, or maybe just do 2, and then run back along the High Peak marathon route to Glossop. No idea how long it would be, just a nice day out. I was joined for a short time by a couple of other Glossopdalers, who for various reasons turned back for home at various points of the run.
I thought that I could cut the whole thing short, but really, that would be a bit rubbish. If I've said I'm going to do it, then I might as well get it done.

We ran from Glossop up to Kinder, and hit the top from a devious route up Redbrook, which I had never done before. It was snowing lightly at this point, and there was a smattering of snow on the ground from about 550m. Quite breezy too. Coming back across the plateau, we strode out down Fairbrook, and then up through some trees to the Snake.
I did some sneaky manoeuvring to get up into the beginning of Oyster clough, wondering if I should go right the the end, then across to Alport, or if I should just go down, straight up, and then down into Alport.
Looking at the ascent, the latter won out, and I went up a fabulous climb, and then quite an adventurous down through some very overgrown woodland into the Alport.

On my way down I saw a group of walkers on top of the Alport and wondered if I'd catch them up. I carried my speed (well, not really speed, but you know what I mean) up the hill, and lo and behold, they hadn't moved at all. Along the top, and then straight down Fagny clough, around the reservoir, and then the hail hit me.

Just a little at first, not really enough to warrant a waterproof, and then it became more incessant. Waterproof on.
I had vaguely committed the route to memory, but didn't have a map (yes, I know the area, yes, I had a GPS watch in case I needed to give a 10fig grid ref), I was really just out for the joy of a long day without any real worry about where I ended up as long as I could get home.
So I took the turning I thought was the right one, made my way up Howden clough, and after a fair amount of climbing, and another hail storm, I came out on top in pretty much the right place- High Stone, and the view was magnificent.

This was the view that you want to be able to see on the High Peak Marathon, but can't.

I then set out on the slog across the bog tops to Outer Edge, Swains Head and up to Bleaklow stones. Hail storm, followed by snow flakes followed by more hail, all with a driving rain. I kept my pace so that I wasn't entirely walking all the time, but I certainly wouldn't say I was being fast in any way shape or form.

From Bleaklow stones I took a Southern line back across the top and then finally turned down the hill back into Glossop- and the sun finally came out, forcing me to take off my waterproof for the first time since being
in the Derwent Valley.

53km, 1858m ascent, in 6 and a half hours. I wasn't as tired at the end of this one, as I was after the 50km 2 weeks ago, not sure if that is because of better management of food, or that I'm vaguely getting used to longer stuff.
So I chased with a 60km bike ride today.
I'm pretty smoked now.

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