Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Stepping out on Ilkley Moor

Well that was some weekend for fine weather,wasn't it; two runs in, both of which did much for the confidence at this time of year with some targets still to achieve.  A 12 miler on the canal in 1.39, with the last 5 miles well under 8 mins pace following a solid tempo run was especially pleasing.  A 5 minute neagative split  and faster than the equivalent run this time last year.
 Perhaps I am halting the advance of  age...for the moment at least.
Having started this week with a very easy 3 to recover from Sunday;  today Tuesday it was time a run "up the moor"

 I first started running on ILKLEY MOOR, aka Rombalds Moor,when I came over to Yorkshire from Manchester in 1969.  A circuit from Guiseley taking in the moor was a regular Sunday morning training session. Races tended to be on Saturday afternoons  in those days.
 The majority of the paths up there at that time were very narrow; we would run single file for many of the 15 or so miles. With the passage of time, time which has seen a large increase in the numbers walking , running and even mountain biking up ont' moor, the paths have become more and more eroded. As erosion occurs and bogs form, so we have tended , naturally, to skirt around the boggy bits and as a consequence the bogs gets wider and wider. In many places there is a danger of sinking thigh deep into clawing, black peat.
 The Bradford Countryside Service  solution has been the importation of mill flagstones from Accrington and ,using helicopters,  deposit them for laying down later. Regular readers will know that I have previously posted about this practice.
 Recent letters in the Ilkley Gazette have referred to more work going on up there. Some are in favour but it would seem that "purists" prefer to walk or run with that constant danger of sinking up to two feet.  So with the sun high in the sky I made a rare excursion to see for myself what the "fuss" was about.
 I was pleased to discover that one notorious short section had been addressed.  I called it the "red bog".
Only 100 metres or so but a stretch that could spoil on a great run on a summer night and ruin many a pair of socks in a matter of a minute.  Deep, very soft, red goo! Gone!
 Carrying on up the main trail to the masts at Whetstone Gate and then swinging left to the trig point I found the flag stones laid in the last couple of years have been existed even further; to the trig point and beyond.
Hardly surprising that a letter debate is ongoing in the local press.
 Personally it suits me as I like to keep the pace safe and steady and not get bogged down. Whilst getting well away from traffic and enjoying superb views of Wharfedale and Airedale. But I can see why  many walkers  are upset about the so called improvements.
 But surely even the purists of purists would admit that certain pathways were becoming impassable.
But they haven't finished yet. I came across more flagstones ready to be laid.......

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