This week’s adventuring took myself, Captain Rob, Paul Little and Chris Taylor oop North to the Peak District.
I almost didn’t make the trip, as I had been ill in the week, and it wasn’t until Friday where I started to feel ok again. So rather that worry about the trip – I figured to just turn up and see what happened.
We met at the club house at 5.50am – I know – on a SUNDAY….who even knew that time existed. We all piled into the car and set off for the deepest darkest north.
We arrived after around 2 ½ hours, to park in a small train station car park, in the ‘centre’ of Edale (its not much of a centre – I think there were three sheep and a dog…) Once we were ready we set off (around 9am) to see what the ‘Edale Skyline Run’ was all about.
On paper the route looked fairly simple. The full route was around 21miles – but being on limited milage I had asked about a ‘bail out option’ and this was around 12 miles. The weather at the start was dry (although it had been raining on the journey up) and not too cold. – but we were even warmer as the first order of business was a 1000ft climb up the ‘Ringing Roger Pass’ (no really) to get up onto the ridge line. This certainly got the heart rate pumping. Once at the top we posed for the obligatory photos (with the LFR banner) and then continued running along the southern edge of Kinder. This was a great section to run along, and you could really enjoy picking your way through rocks, tufts or moorland grass and puddles / mud. As we ran along, we could see our next summit off in the distance, Win Hill, and further across the valley to The Great Ridge of Lose Hill to Mam Tor.
At the end of this ridge we made our first (and only) navigational error – we should have turned right onto a trail that headed down into the valley, but missed the turn – and when we realised, we were fairly far along, but could see the trail we needed below us. There were two options – double back, or forge our own path straight down through the bracken…..well lets be honest, there was only one option – straight down the hill it was.
We then ‘undulated’ (that’s trail runner code for heaving up and down huge climbs) where the going underfoot was almost too steep to run – and there rocks were slippery which also didn’t help with the pace.
Upon turning upwards towards Lose Hill we could see the weather was starting to change and there was some ‘humidity’ about to be dropped on us. We managed to crest Lose Hill before the rain started in earnest, and as we stopped to don raincoats, we could see locals participating in what they call a ‘tough 10km’ – imaging looping up and down the big dipper in Rushmere for an hour or more….then double it and add slick rocks – oh and pouring rain….thats about what they were racing in.
It was a little further along this ridge, before Mam Tor that I split from the group to take my ‘bail out’. This lead me straight down off the ridge, and into a farmers field where he was trying to round up his sheep….probably didn’t help that I ended up right in the middle of them, then I had about another mile and a half along footpaths back into Edale village for a cup of tea and change of clothes – and waited for the others. Chris was first to come back – he too had found a shorter way back to the car, as he was struggling to see his footing with the rain on his glasses – so we had more tea and then waited for Rob and Paul to return.
So conclusions – well Edale is certainly scenic (especially when its not pouring with rain) – and some of the running was great – but there were many sections that were too steep or technical to run – which wasn’t really what we were looking for…..so our search for the ULTIMATE place to run continues…..where will we try next??? Where do you think we should try???