Posts Tagged ‘local’


Ogden Water is a local nature reserve surrounding a reservoir local to Queensbury where I live. It is a lovely place to go for a run or walk and is very popular with people who visit it all year round. There is a path around the reservoir where you can take a leisurely stroll with children and dogs, or you can go for a nice run safe in the knowledge that there are no cars trying to kill you! Alternatively you can head up into the woods and run the trails that take you through them. This gives you the opportunity to try running off road in a reasonably safe environment without going too far too soon and getting yourself into trouble.

However as I have recently found out Ogden Water is also the venue for a New Year’s day fell race, the Giants Tooth, where competitors race up to the Giants Tooth from the carpark up the trails through the woods and on the surrounding path back to the carpark. The race is around 3 miles and is run at a fast pace.

On Monday 7th I decided to do a recce of the route. I printed off a map I found on the internet of the approximate route and familiarised myself with it. The trial up to the Giants Tooth is easy to navigate and whilst steeper than I realised should not present too much of a challenge for anyone who has been running. On trails it is not too dangerous either although care must be taken when ascending the first climb as there are some wooden sleepers that act as steps but in wet and muddy conditions can be dangerous is a foot is misplaced on them.

Once at the Giants Tooth most of the climbing has been done and you are treated to some stunning views over Thornton Moor, Queensbury and Halifax. If you are racing though you will not have time to savour the views as you will be too busy trying to get your best time! However this was the point where the familiar became unfamiliar and not for the first time I took a wrong turn and whilst not lost I struggled.

I tried to remember the route from the map and decided that out of the three paths in front of me I would take the one that took me furthest away from the woods assuming that this would be the route as the other paths may make the total distance too short for the race. So off I went running through water and mud as is the norm at this time of the year, following a vague trail through the marsh reeds.

Soon I came across a stile, not uncommon and climbed over it and looked for the next trail path. I soon spotted this and began a descent down a step and at times tricky path but one that was by no means unrunnable until I got near the bottom and the path disappeared. This was worrying as I needed to cross a stream at the bottom and begin an ascent back to the woods. I looked around for a stile but could see nothing. Not wanting to damage what looked like a newly erected barbed wire fence I looked for the safest descent to the stream and carefully began to negotiate a steep embankment where I had to create my own path as there was not one visible.

This was where the familiar became unfamiliar for me. I thought I knew Ogden Water and I thought I had walked and run most of the trails around it. However this was a new part of it for me and all of a sudden I felt very isolated from the outside world, hidden in the vee of a valley away from all other life. I was stood at the bottom of a small valley surrounded by nothing but marsh reeds, water and mud. I knew there would be others walking Ogden Water and the moors but there was nothing to indicate any sign of life.

This made me realise how dangerous running off road can be sometimes. You may think you know an area intimately and then decide to take a new path out of curiosity and find yourself in a place that is at once unfamiliar, dangerous and exciting. What is dangerous for me is that I never take my mobile phone with me on a run so if anything was to happen I would be stuck on the moors on my own with no way of telling anyone. If I had broken my ankle on Monday I may very well still be on the moors lying at the bottom of a valley.

Today was not to be that day and I continued my run which was now reduced to a crawl, up a steep embankment looking for anything that might resemble a path. I scrambled up the rest of the embankment and eventually found something resembling a path which led to a stile and back to the safety of the woods.

The rest of the run was on familiar trail paths and my pace picked up immediately, at some points surprisingly so according to Strava! And at the end I had done around 3 miles and felt a sense of accomplishment having discovered another part of Ogden Water. I completed the run in around 42 minutes which isn’t a great time for 3 miles but considering the descent and ascent of the valley I felt reasonably happy with it. If I go a different route I should be able to knock at least 5 minutes off that time.,

I’m sure that Ogden Water has no more surprises for me but you never know! Next time I do a recce of the Giants Tooth I will take a slightly different route that doesn’t go as far off the usual track and also have someone with me who knows the route. That should help me improve my time!

 


Here is the second part to my short blog on the QRC run last night.

It’s the morning after the evening of my toughest run to date and I don’t feel as bad as what I thought I would. My legs ache but I’d have been surprised if they didn’t and the nettle stings are still tingling a bit, but it’s nothing I can’t cope with. I’ve been through a lot worse and may have a lot worse to come so this is nothing in comparison.

The route as I said last night was a tough one. The group I run in is called the intermediates group and whilst we do all try our hardest when we are out there I would not consider myself the best runner in the group, but every week we all do our best and give it 100%.

However last night was very different. Our regular group leader Jo was away on holiday and her stand in Karl decided to give us a run to remember as he won’t be taking the group again. Karl does Ironman competitions so as you can imagine he has a high level of fitness, far higher than any of us in the group!

The route he had chosen was mainly off road and a route I didn’t know about even though the start is only ½ mile from where I live. Quite often we don’t realise what is on our doorstep and I wish I’d known about this route before.

After turning down an old cobbled path you begin to descent over open moorland before inevitably going up open moorland on the other side. A short run down a road and you are cross country again running through nettles. I know because I got stung several times! Once at the end of this trail a short road run and then up a steep grass hill. This was the killer. Half way round and we are faced with this monster to climb.

But climb it we did and at the top we paused to get our breath back and take in the stunning views. It’s moments like this that make me realise how lucky I am to be alive, to live where I do and to have the use of my limbs. But moments like this don’t last long and nor did this one. Off we went again on another trail that led us to a short but steep downhill section and back onto the main road.

I had guessed where we would come out and I was right. Halfway down a hill that led to the infamous Brow Lane and a short but steep climb before the climb got less steep but longer on the way back to the club house. I walked most of this. I’ve never run as far before and this highlighted how much distance training I need to do.

But I enjoyed it. I love running off road, far more than running on road. It’s the changes of scenery, watching where to put your feet. Running through long grass, water and mud, running up and down steep hills that does it for me and you don’t always get this when you run on road.

And finding a tough route right on my doorstep was a great feeling. I’ve entered some tough races, the Pudsey 10k in June and the Eccup 10 miles in July and this is the perfect training ground for me to build up my distance, stamina and hill work.

Tomorrow is the very first Horton Park, parkrun and I am looking forward to it. I went to the trail run last week and it is a tough course but very enjoyable. I hope it achieves the success it deserves.


A link a great page of poetry from poets local to the Ryburn Valley, Sowerby Bridge. Have a look and enjoy.

https://sites.google.com/site/ryburnramblings/local-poetry