Monday, 24 November 2014

August Challenge: The Great Yorkshire River Run - prologue

July Challenge

As previously mentioned July's challenge was back-to-back long runs of 18 miles and then 30 miles at a fairly challenging pace on mostly off-road routes. As well as for enjoyment I thought these would be a good training peak for the August challenge and confidence booster if I could complete them - in not too bad a state - that more and bigger back-to-back runs weren't beyond me. As it was the 18miles was quite hilly and at a fairly challenging 6mph pace. The 30m the next day was slower at a bit over 5mph, less hilly, but also run in "getting on for uncomfortable" July daytime temperatures above 22c by the middle of my run. I didn't feel too bad after these, if a little de-hydrated, which was a good boost.

Beautiful Dentdale

August - Travelling to the start and prologue run

All I'd need for 4 days?
Tuesday morning after breakfast, dropping the boy at Nursery and saying goodbye to Clare - I packed my gear into my 12L pack: spare shorts, t-shirt, socks; wind-jacket, waterproofs, thin baselayer, warmer baselayer, hat/gloves/spare buff, food, headtorch, phone and garmin charger (good old USB, only needed to carry one plug for two leads, which helped with limited space), tablets/compeeds/first aid stuff, small wash kit, sample size pouch of sun-lotion, small bottle laundry detergent, space shoe lace/string, tissue/soiling bags/wipes, b&b/train instructions, two sets route maps and schedule (places, rough times, mileages).

All went in at a squeeze and not that heavy. Everything else would be worn or picked up on route. I did also have a small bumbag up front with quick access to phone, money/debit card, notepad and just as an extra pocket for food, etc.... I used lots of small and quite thick plastic bags to waterproof everything that I think needed to be.

Some luxury before I go...
Taxi to Hull station (as I packed last minute), train replacement-bus to Selby, train to Leeds to meet my connection with the train to take me on the famously scenic settle-Carlisle railway. I'd stocked up with a veggie flatbread and drink from Greggs at Hull for lunch and basically was nibbling all day on things like cereal bars. Lovely railway journey, you don't get much of a view of the glorious ribblehead viaduct on train as your going over it, but the section through the Yorkshire 3-peaks area is pretty impressive, though I'd say the high-level traverse through Dentdale at the other side of the tunnel trumps it! Emerging into the next dale I was off at Garsdale (West end of Wensleydale) at 2pm and picked up by the B&b owner who also does local taxiing.

The B&B was only a mile away and apart from pub next door its a pretty remote road pass halfway between Hawes and Sedbergh. B&B more luxurious than needed, but an ideal spot for my challenge. So I made use of the amenities, nibbled the complimentary biscuits, cups of tea, then chilled for awhile. Then about 4pm headed out for day 0 run - or as I thought about it in the terms of the big cycling tours my prologue day! The target of the day was to find the source of the River Ure - the first of the 3 adjoining rivers I'd follow for the rest of my journey, or close to it and follow it back as far as the B&B.

I headed just up the junction road then off through a campsite, upward past a plantation to join a section of pennine bridleway. This undulated and twisted along the hillside passing gills running off the moorland above and lots of shake holes - typical "off the beaten track" dales I thought. After just over a mile north-west along this path I diverged off path at a right angle onto pathless, tussock strewn and sometimes wet moorland. Slow progress up the hill, but found the white stick marking top of the unnamed local peak at 2185 feet (666 metres.... uh ehh!), then I turned slightly west of north and downhill to seek out the earliest trickles I could of the River Ure.

A few hundred metres away I found evidence of water breaking through and tracking back a bit
The River Ure close to its source
could hear a trickle underground - good enough for me as the source or close to. I followed close to the water where I could down the hill, on feint 4x4 tracks or through pathless vegetation to get back down to the pennine bridleway. I then headed back to B&b via slightly different lower paths and road. Good little 8.15m with 1500ft asc and desc. Quite slow due to half of it being pathless moor. Great views from top over valley and neighbouring peaks though.

I made use of the fancy power shower in B&B, but decided to save the complimentary fluffy robe for another day. Washed wet socks, wringed dry and then compressed in towel and hung. Other gear not too wet or dirty yet.  Mark turned up about half 6 having driven up the dale from Ripon. Tomorrow Mark would be running with me back that way, the days after that I was on my own. On B&B owners advice we tried out the Indian restaurant in Kirkby Stephen - about 10 miles north of the B&B. We had a good fill and enjoyed a few beers to finish off the night. In bed before 11pm.

The River Ure a few miles from source

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