Posts Tagged ‘outside’


It’s September and even in a world of uncertainty I feel calm and relaxed. Maybe it’s because the warm summer months have now gone and there is a cool, refreshing breeze in the air that makes it easier for me to breath and run that does it? Or it could be the changing of the seasons from bright colours to more subdued but still majestic ones that makes it easier on my eyes that makes me feel calmer? I love September and seeing all the changes around me as children go back to school, my cats fur starts growing longer in preparation for winter and different foods appear in the markets marking the time when we have to start storing food for winter incase we are snowed in. one of my passions is running over the moors and it’s here that I really notice the difference. The colours change from purple swathes of heather to greens and browns making it seem harsh and bleak but I find it magical as these colours sweep before me endlessly rolling over the moors. September and autumn bring longer nights too so we have less time to do what we want to do in the day and while this can be limiting it makes me more productive as I know I can’t leave things till later to do as the later might not be enough time. i understand why people don’t like September and autumn because of the changes but I love being on my own on the moors surrounded by the bleakness of the South Pennine moors, away from people and society and all the problems they can bring. To me it’s truly getting away from it, no phone signal here, and knowing that one wrong move can leave me alone and exposed to the elements with little hope of being found. It gives me a sense of adventure I don’t find with spring and summer when you see someone at every turn and you feel safe. Yes bring on the rain and mud and the solitary experience of being at one with nature that autumn brings for me. Have a great September and autumn everyone.


It’s a cold, dark January morning. Snow covers the roads and pavements, icicles hang from roofs, my breath is a cold, grey fog. I need the toilet, it’s outside. I don’t want to go outside and stand in the small, dark, damp space that is our toilet. I have to though. I have no choice but to stand there shivering, alone in the darkness.


It starts with a run on a familiar road, a road I’ve run before. I approach a stile, the stile I glance at as I run past. But this time I turn, approach the turn stile and climb over it. Wild, open moorland stretches out before me, a narrow, baked, mud track, twist and turning its way through the moor and over the horizon. I follow the track cautiously. Experience has taught me to respect the moors with hidden dangers underfoot ready to catch out the unwary and over confident.

Past a farmhouse on my left I send sheep scurrying in all directions, my movement and noise enough to scare them. Down a ditch, over a plastic bridge, I step over and round stones and rocks that have lain there long before I set foot on this moor.

And then the horizon changes as I begin to descend and the valley before me opens up. Fields of straw burnt from the heat of the sun, the tops of trees motionless in the warm air punctuated by the greyness of tiles made from Yorkshire slate, for now the only sign that man has made his mark on this land.

Down I go, through an old wooden gate, across a road, through a garden and past a sign that says beware of the bull. Warily, cautiously I look around before picking up speed to clear the danger zone as quickly as possible. The thought of two tons of bone and muscle terrifies me.

The field ends and the track goes through some woods, this is harder, more technical, more rocks to be careful around as nettles and thorns sting and cut my skin. They remind me that I’m human ant there will be only one winner if I fall.

I reach another road, one I did not expect and run to another stile where the hard work really begins. Up and up and up through reeds almost as tall as me, obscuring the ground below me which despite being a hard baked mud trail has steps made of wood laid into it at irregular intervals. I slow to a walking pace, it is more important to be careful then fast. I leave speed for another day.

Up and up the steps I go as they get steeper and harder to see. Every horizon is false revealing yet more steps to climb. In my mind I start to believe that this climb will never end and I will end up at the gates of heaven, but then it does and as I stop to get my breath back I turn round and take in the beauty of my surroundings. If this is heaven I can stay here for all eternity. Mile after mile of valleys and moorland. For me this is perfection.

And in the distance at the top of the moor is my destination, the white pillar signifying the trig point of the moor, the high point. There’s still some climbing to do, but with the trig point in sight it makes it a bit easier. The path has returned to dusty, dry trail. Still with stones and rocks to watch for but now with no reeds to obscure the view.

At the trig point I stop to take in my surroundings. The views are far reaching. I recognise places that down on the valley floor would seem miles away. I see a church steeple and know what church it is. So high up when down below. For now  am higher that it. I see other landmarks through different eyes, reservoirs of shining water, tower blocks sprouting from the earth and the folly that dominates this landscape. With the folly always in view you can never get lost in this glorious land of valleys and moors.

And then it’s the run for home. Down the path I have just come up but this time with a turn to the left at the bottom and along the conduit that should carry water to the reservoir but has nothing but warm, hard stone showing its face for the first time in years to a clear blue sky.

Down to my right is the forbidden land of Castle Carr, resplendent in a tree leaves and grass of the deepest green that stands out like a lake on mars. I wonder if all the water has been diverted here to keep this small patch of moorland alive at the expense of other parts…

But I need to concentrate on the path before me or  may fall in the conduit and give it an unwanted kiss. I plough on pushing myself as hard as I dare, wanting this flatness to end and be back on the ups and downs of the hills that I love and inspire me to better myself, push myself and be the best I can.

And after what seems like hundreds of miles I turn and I am faced with the final run in to home. A reservoir that shines like molten silver under the gaze of the brightest star I know. My eyes are temporarily blinded by the brilliance of its beauty as it reflects he suns rays into my eyes and I have to gather my thoughts and push on to the other side.

A short climb, a stretch of sticky tarmac and I am back at my car. It’s been hard work but worthwhile just to experience the sensation of running in some of the most beautiful land in the world.


Iktsuarpok (Inuit) A person who goes outside often to see if anyone is coming. From The Meaning of Tingo.

i’m waiting for someone

i don’t know who

the gas man, the post man

maybe even you

but no-one comes

however many times

i venture outside

in the cold

in the rain

no-one ever shows

but the anticipation

that one day someone will

gets stronger and stronger

day after day after day