i am lost, my mind wanders
here, there, everywhere. i
am a part of life yet at the
same time i am not. i cannot
concentrate, i feel anxious,
on edge, confused… life goes
on around me and i am in the
eye of the storm, alone, as
people walk by me talking
to me, smiling at me, but
it is all meaningless as i
don’t take anything in, just
words and faces from a far
away place that i am not a
part of…

i’m standing looking at the
natural beauty of the land
trying to comprehend how
the world can seem so
peaceful and serene, so
comforting and relaxing
and yet be in chaos and
madness at the same time
as an invisible enemy
spreads everywhere. it
doesn’t seem believable
a story that only the most
gifted and creative of
writers could pen and yet
here we are living in a
sci-fi novel that no-one
believed would ever happen
to them. plagues were a
thing of the past consigned
to history books yet here we
are writing the history books
of the future as we turn the
pages of each day not knowing
what the ending will be

the moors and fells allow me to
forget about reality as i immerse
myself in their natural beauty
feeling their watery vines creep
into my shoes, getting under my
socks, penetrating my skin with
their icy cold fingers, letting me
become a part of the moors,
hearing their voices through my
skin, feeling the breath of the
moors in my soul as it gives me
life where previously i had none

i escape the madness of the world,
running to the wild moors and fells i
love so much. here i am not judged or
questioned about who i am. here i can
free my mind from the madness and
run at peace with the world as i discover
my true identity amongst the rocks and
heather that live on the here. the moors
and fells let me find myself at my own
pace, discover who i really am and
become the person i’ve always wanted
to be, become my true self that has been
hidden, for so long from the world

Last week was a massive week for me running wise as I ran 43.2 miles and climbed 7,245ft the most I had run in a very long time and the most climbing for me in a week ever. The runs were all off road over a variety of open moorland, fell and trail. The week started off as normal as any other with the news about the Corona Virus being a distraction but ended with the Corona Virus being the most important issue the world has faced for some considerable time.
Monday and the week started off as usual with the East Pennine Orienteering Club run. We met at the Truly Scrumptious café at Rishworth and had an interesting run round the local area. I say interesting because some of the trails had not been used for years and they are unlikely to be used again for some time! It was a good run though as always and in the café afterwards we talked about the Corona Virus and the possible impact it might have on our lives. Little did we know then that events would overtake us and this would be our last run together for some time.
Tuesday and I decided to escape the escalating madness on my own. I had a run in mind but couldn’t decide if I wanted to do it. As I drove over the tops from Oxenhope to Hebden Bridge I remembered a small layby at the bottom of Haworth Old Road where I could park up and do my run from there. The run started with a climb up to Shackleton Knoll but it was worth it for the views. The sky was clear and I had uninterrupted views of Midgely Moor to my left, Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall with Stoodley Pike watching over them in front of me, Hardcastle Crags and in the distance Boulsworth Hill to my right and behind me Walshaw Moor as bleak and unforgiving as always.
It was surreal to stand there on my own looking round at all this natural beauty, so peaceful and tranquil and yet in the knowledge that the world was heading towards a pandemic and our lives would be changed forever. I carried on my run down to Walshaw, through Hardcastle Crags and up to Blake Dean. From Blake Dean I ran up to Walshaw Dean reservoirs and over the hill back to Walshaw and back too my car via Lumb waterfalls. I saw two people walking a couple of farmers on quad bikes and a lot of sheep. It was a perfect run for self-isolating from people and the world.
Thursday and myself and a couple of friends decide to go for a run over Ogden Moor. By now we’re getting increasingly worried about a possible lockdown and the effect it will have on our ability to get out and run. Running is vital for me and my mental health but if they are restrictions I will have to abide by them the same as everyone else. With this in mind and fearing that the next run might be our last we headed off. We did part of the old Ovenden Moor fell race route and then went to the trig point at Nab Hill before heading over to Warley Moor reservoir, down into Luddenden Dean and back to Ogden Water via Standing Stones. It was a great day with stunning views over the Calder Valley. Getting out and taking in nature is so important at the moment. It gives me a release from everything else that is going on and for a short while I can forget about the Corona Virus and breath the freshest air around for miles.
Sunday comes around and the Corona Virus is getting more and more serious on a daily basis. Things are changing so fast. I was in the club on Friday night when the government announced all pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants where to close indefinitely with effect from midnight. This meant it would be my last Friday night out for a while. So once again on Sunday a couple of us set off at 8:00am to do a recce of the Heptonstall 15 route in the knowledge that this might be our last run like this for a while. The weather was bright sunshine once again as we set off through the woods and over the moors. I surprised myself by having enough energy and strength to finish the run although the last few miles I ran on my own as I daren’t stop and wait for the others to catch up in case I got cramp and couldn’t move. What surprised me was the amount of people at Blake Dean and Hardcastle Crags getting away from everything. It was packed although I managed to avoid contact with anyone by going off the normal paths and by not stopping. What I remember most about this run is heading away from Walshaw Dean reservoirs on a road that leads to nowhere and just ends. From this road you can see open moorland with no paths or trails leading over to Boulsworth Hill just over the border in Lancashire. I’ve always wanted to run from here to Boulsworth Hill and experience what it is like to be in the middle of a raw, bleak moorland untouched by human hands and feel connected to nature at its most natural. If I get the chance over the next couple of weeks this is a run I am going to do.
And that’s what last week was all about for me. Getting back to nature and getting away from everything that is going on in the world even if only for a couple of hours and reconnecting with nature, taking in the views and breathing fresh, clean air. There’s an increasing possibility that I and others might not be able to do this very soon if people decide to continue to go to the countryside en masse, clogging up the very place they think will be quiet and peaceful and putting everyone at risk of catching the Corona Virus. I have some great memories I can look back and if we do go into lockdown I have no regrets about not getting out and enjoying the moors and fells I love so much for one last time.

i walk alone through
places that bring back
memories of when we
met and ran over moors
and fells together. the
streams and waterfalls
remind me of how we
would stop and watch
the ripples take our
faces to places we
could never get to,
never know the names
of… now all i have are
reflections bringing back
memories as i look for
your face in the stream
hoping you will return to
be by my side again

i have visited so many places
each a painting in my mind i
return to, remembering the
beauty and isolation i felt stood
still, alone, surrounded by water,
trees, rock and earth, talking to
me, taking me to far away places
i never knew existed, clearing my
overwhelmed mind of the daily
stresses of life, helping me realise
my place in the world, a world i feel
i belong to in this place pf peace and
solitude where i can reflect and
ponder on the wonder of nature
amongst the raw and wild landscape
where i find my place in my heaven

This poem was inspired by my friend Rachel Lumb and her landscape paintings. This one is Morning, Heptonstall Moor.

More of Rachel’s paintings can be seen here: http://www.rachelelumb.com/


i dig into my skin
like an eagle catching
its prey. out comes the
pain, stored for hundreds
of years, pouring like
fresh rain over a rock,
carrying everything away,
leaving a calmness that
won’t last forever, but i
will make the most of
while it does last

i heard a voice sing
but could see no-one
i searched in the woods,
in the fields and meadows,
over moor and fell and
saw a single white rose
holding its head high to
the sun, singing to the
angels in heaven, a
single voice in a sea
of green singing a
chorus of hope for all

i realise

Posted: March 18, 2020 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

it had gone, gone a long time ago
i can’t remember how it went or why
but i knew it had gone, i thought
forever, till you came and opened
my door, took me outside, poured
water on my dry skin, watched it
flow down the cracks in my face,
filling them with life and watched
me smile for the first time in years
as i remembered who i was, became
aware that i was still breathing
and realised that i had a life to live