Digested Read: still plodding on with my recces. This time from Lady Cannings/ Norfolk Arms to Yorkshire Bridge Inn and back. Mentally tough today, but bees were amazing. My battery went flat though, my watch battery literally, and my morale figuratively. Not sure I’ve got this, not sure at all…. Disaster. Not on strava, didn’t happen, maybe that’s just as well as not my finest yomp out. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.
Literally. Buzzing. Never in my life have I seen so many bees. It was beezarre. The bees’ knees too, as it was pretty awesome, but so strange. The air was a-hum and the ground looked like it was moving, and it was all bees. Who knew? Get me the intrepid naturalist, checking out nature’s wonders out in the peaks. More of this later, though, loads more trivia to communicate before we get to that.
In case inexplicably you haven’t already guessed. This is another in the series of my Dig Deep 30 recce confessionals. It was a something of a case of ‘good in parts’. I was going to say ‘ups and downs’, but given the elevation for this day was 2178 ft, I think we can take the highs and lows as a given. The summary is that I struggled, and found it mentally tough out there today. Battling back to base, reserves depleted and morale already low, sun beating down on me and water supplies exhausted this happened:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Everyone knows that if it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen. Sometimes a yomp out and about is its own reward, but sometimes, call me shallow dear reader, I need the hit of subsequently seeing my stats on Strava. Then the aching legs, coating of sweat and salt and unfortunate areas of chafing become badges of honour earned through miles on the trails. Without the evidence, you are just a physical wreck, deluded as to both your actual abilities and future potential. To be honest, you might as well have stayed in all day and eaten lard.
See how persuasive the lure of lard can be? I’d be happy if only I’d done that…. still, not an option, I’d have had to have trex instead anyway, and I don’t know if that delivers quite the same buzz. I’m not aware of a black market in trex so I’m assuming not, but then maybe I just don’t move in the right circles. Anyway, this is the best that Strava would offer up at the end of all my sweaty slogging, 16.55 miles and 2,178ft of elevation. I think the elevation is probably about right, as I was descending Houndkirk Road when my Tomtom announced it was through with this whole misguided endeavour. But I reckon the actual mileage would have been about 19 miles. Which is still a very long way off where I need to be. Only about half the elevation and two-thirds of the mileage. I didn’t even do Win Hill. Oh crappity, crap crap. Right now, I can’t see this Dig Deep ultra malarkey becoming a reality for me, not on current evidence at least. And I’m trying soooooooooooooo hard.
The only certainty about the Dig Deep, is that if I don’t try I wont know, and if I don’t get to the start I definitely wont make the finish, so I may as well behave like I’m doing it and see how within reach completion is. Part of this has required the acquisition of new skills (get me and my self-awarded gold star sticker for navigational prowess) and part of this requires the acquisition of new kit. I’ve already got the new parkclaw inov-8 trail shoes. A relatively painless purchase this time as normally buying shoes requires contortions and agonies of indecision before settling on the least worse with which to swaddle my arthritic, bunion adorned plate shaped feet. Fortunately, inov-8 have cornered the market for my niche needs as far as I’m concerned, so I’m sticking with them for their trail shoes. However, the time had come to do something about what to carry all my gear in.
It occurred to me, that my running gear apparel is a sort of evolution of my running journey. I started off with a miniscule bum bag for keys and hanky and an in-case-of-emergency fiver, that invariably got blown on a post run latte. Then, with my eyes on the prize of London, and having started to do slightly longer distances with the Dig Deep 12.12 last year, I bit the bullet and bought an ultimate direction belt, which came with two water bottles and you can fit a small Shetland pony round your midriff if you pack it right. That has been great, but… there’s always a but… for longer distances, I’m finding you need to carry more than a Shetland pony in official kit. Waterproofs, food, maps. Also, I have to reach around to access the bottles, and that is a pain. Also, I’ve found with longer runs it can slip a bit and chafe, and it’s hot and sweaty too. Time to move up the apparel ladder, and get a running vest which will take a hydration pack/ bladder thing. I don’t really like using them, I much prefer bottles, but I think I need to get over myself, bladders definitely are easier to access, and therefore I guess you’d be more likely to drink little and often, instead of doing what I tend to do, which is stop, glug a whole bottle, and then wonder why I get hiccups or a stitch 10 seconds later. I know, a complete mystery. Anyway, time to up my game.
First stop, local running shop. I’ve loved my Ultimate Direction belt, and loads of my Smiley Friends have their vests so I was expecting that to be my purchase. Still, I like to demonstrate my enthusiasm for the purchase process by creating maximum disruption and trying on everything potentially suitable in the shop and scattering the detritus of rejected items on the shop counter. Whilst it is true that this might create many hours of subsequent work for the proprietor, sorting everything and putting it all away neatly I see this as my way of providing the shop staff with some enrichment. How dull it would be to be stood behind the counter otherwise, dreaming of the trails you could now be running on, were it not for the inconvenient truth of needing to earn a living.
Anyway, turns out, there are loads of vests to choose from. It also turns out that none are designed for women in possession of any kind of frontage. It is a dispiriting experience, trying on gear. Heart-breaking even. It does contribute to that sense that you don’t belong, you shouldn’t even try to be part of this running community. I get for men having pouches for water bottles positioned on your chest might work, but for females of the mammal species, this is just blooming ridiculous. Most of the vests I could reject out of hand, they barely did up, or they did, achieved this by comically framing my boobs like one of those appalling, supposedly titillating seaside postcards of old. Please gawd you can’t still get them? I really don’t know. Eventually, it came down to an ultimate direction that could fit a bladder – but I’d have to buy that separately or maybe a salomon one, because that had some stretch in it, and looked potentially the least ridiculous when worn. But they didn’t have my size. However, being of an obliging disposition, this was duly ordered in, and when it arrived, I went to try that and compare with the UD vest. The Salomon one was disappointingly hopeless. I mean it’s a good vest, they all are, but none of them really cater for a more, erm, curvaceous form. To maximise how disruptive I could be, I’d brought along all the kit I would need to stuff in to the bag, lawks a lordy, it’s quite a haul:
- Full body cover (windproof/waterproof)
- Compass and full route map
- Spare water and food
- Mobile phone
- Cuddly toy for reassurance when it all gets a bit too much*
- Paper bag to breath in when hyperventilating, note, keep in dry bag to ensure it hasn’t disintegrated in rain/as a consequence of a leaking hydration pack or bottle*
- Huge box of tissues for if/when quiet cry or primeval wail is called for*
Then food, water, hat, sunglasses, reading glasses, book in case I get bored. I’d even brought a bladder with me that I’ve hardly used, but wanted to see if it would fit the UD vest. Long story short, after much angst, whilst the Front Runner team was distracted by another customer I espied a previously unnoticed running vest an arcteryx, which is apparently a fine outdoorsy brand. Seizing the moment, I had a rummage through and try on of them. I thought they were all size 14, but turns out, that is the capacity which is HUGE. It came with a 2 litre bladder (big tick) and sort of fitted ok when stuffed with my kit. The disadvantage is that it’s really just one big bag at the back, though there are various pouches at the front, but it is 100% waterproof, which none of the other vests are, and could yet turn out to be something of a boon. This is The One, I thought, starry-eyed with eager anticipation. Like all new relationships, it’s going to take a while to get used to each others’ little ways, but hopefully we’d make it for the long haul. I give you the arcytex Norvan 14.
Also, because I think it’s important to learn something new every day, even it if it isn’t necessarily something particularly useful, did you know that the name and logo of Arc’teryx refer to the Archaeopteryx, among the earliest known birds? I didn’t. We all do now though don’t we! Isn’t that splendid.
I left the shop feeling moderately confident. Trying on running gear always makes me feel like a freak of nature, running vests aren’t flattering to those in possession of my physique, but I told myself that doesn’t matter, this is all about practicality, and any minor humiliations in terms of appearance are but a small price to pay for the multitude of pbs over distance that will now rain down on my Strava stats.
So, the next day, I filled up the bladder – 2 litres is a good quantity. Added in everything I would be required to carry on race day. They say race, I would say it’s a run not a race for me at least, though actually that’s not strictly true, more a walk than a run the way things are going, but let’s not quibble. It seemed crazy to be piling stuff in that I wouldn’t need for today’s run, but the whole point was to replicate what I’d need to do on the day. Quickly, I encountered some problems. The stash bag principle is great for capacity, but not great for keeping bits and bobs separate. The pockets on the front of the vest are hopeless for me, I’ve got more than enough stashed up front as it is. Oh well. The greater challenge was when I put it on with the full bladder, it completely shifts how the darned thing fits. The tube from the bladder no longer reached up high enough, the pockets were stretched and misaligned, it looked bloody awful to be honest, and wasn’t even especially comfy. I could have wept. It does frustrate me. With a bit of tweaking you could have a great running vest for women, but manufactures are only catering for a narrow range of physiques. When I am an international sporting icon, with my own sporting range to include bespoke decent comfy support sports bras for women of substance and shoes to accommodate those with plate footed arthritic feet with a bunion on the side, I’m also going to launch a range of bespoke running vests. Vests that you can put all your kit in without looking like you are modelling for some sort of weird bondage gear designed by a team of misogynists. Just saying.
Unfortunately, I have yet to be discovered and launched as an international sporting icon, so the arctyrex would have to serve. I knew none of the others would be any better, and at least this has a decent sized bladder and can fit all my gear. There was much wrestling, shoving and rearranging of water tubes. I got there in the end. The pouches now stretched over my bust and so anything put in there would just catapult straight out, but I could shove a couple of naked bars in the lower pockets and everything else fitted in the stuff bag so hey ho, off we go.
I headed off to the lay by opposite the Norfolk Arms car park. Very handy for nipping in and using their loo before off. A final wrestle with my running vest, and I was in. Fighting back the tears a bit, nothing like finding you can’t fit into even a large without contortion for crushing morale at the start of a recce. What are you supposed to do? Short of breast reduction or strapping my frontage I don’t see how any running vest would ever work with my contours. I felt such a misfit, but I’ve overcome bigger battles than this one. As long as it’s functional when on…
off I go.
It was a lovely morning to be fair. Cool and breezy. My plan was to go to the Yorkshire Bridge inn and back in one go. It’s annoying doing out and back routes, but it is a good way to get really familiar with the course, and it is logistically the easiest way to tackle recces on my own. It’s been grand going out with others, but in reality I need to practise solo too, I’m not expecting any company at my speed on the day.
Up the path, through Lady Cannings plantation, the heather is rapidly blooming once you get out on the moor. There was hardly anyone about. I was surprised, I didn’t even see dog walkers. It was nice once I was in my stride, the vest may not be flattering but it is very comfy, and extremely light. The only weirdness was that I could feel the bladder sticking in my back a bit where the tube joins the reservoir. Probably need to tweak that. Also, I’ve been doing all my other recces with a much-loved old day pack. I hadn’t realised this has got me into the habit of hanging onto the straps as I walk along. It keeps my hands elevated and stops all the blood rushing to my finger tips. It felt weird not being able to do this. Having the water accessible all the time is definitely much better. The only downside being that you can’t tell how much you are drinking. I know you are supposed to drink on feel, but I also sometimes suddenly ‘notice’ I’ve drunk hardly anything on a long walk/run and so will make a point of drinking more. Be interesting to see how I go.
I wasn’t going to take too many photos today, but look how lovely it is out there, different every day.
This is my favourite picture though:
That was worth getting up and out for.
As I walked, I was trying to think what would be the most amazing thing I could possibly see out and about today. I’ve had a lucky run of seeing amazing things, so wasn’t expecting any particular highlights, but I decided it would be to see an adder. They are out there, but I’ve never seen them. Maybe today would be the day! Spoiler alert, it wasn’t, but I moved in hope rather than expectation. It’s good to have an objective for the day.
Unremarkable first bit of walk. I realised after a bit that I’d left my phone at home. I’ve never really used it, oh, apart from the other week when I found that bank card – but of course sod’s law would dictate today would be the day. Oh well, too late now. Over Houndkirk, through the gate, and inspected ‘my’ white heather, it’s not a big patch, but it’s still there.
Scampered onwards. Past the cars and coaches at Fiddlers Elbow, along the road, up towards Stanage Edge. One really good thing about today, is that I found I remembered the whole route without needing to look at the map even once. I think I’ve also remembered where all the dibbing points are too. Until a couple of days ago I’d assumed all of these would be unmissable because they’d be in the company of a hi-vis marshal, but I discovered recently this is not so. I do need to make sure I don’t get complacent on that score. Would be really, really annoying to skip on by one and not notice it. I’ll be slow enough without time penalties thank you very much.
So my spirits lifted as the miles rolled by. The pack is comfy, it doesn’t do me any favours in the ‘most glamorous runner you’ll see out on the hills today’ contest, and I was wondering if maybe the UD one would have been better because it was more generously fitted over the chest and had more pockets… but then I think on balance having a pack that is fully waterproof could yet prove to be a boon, and I will get used to it I’m sure.
Eventually I found the path up towards Stanage and clambered slowly up. The road is shorter now I know where I’m going, the weather was perfect, this was going to be fine.
So then I was on Stanage. The clouds gave the sky a particularly spectacular look, and sort of increases the sense of space. Every time I come up here I’m astonished at how often you have the whole skyline to yourself, especially first thing in the day. It’s extraordinary. I think maybe there were a couple of runners who skipped by, but that was it. Even so, I was not completely alone. It was a little while before I properly twigged what I was hearing. There was a fair old breeze, but caught within it was a distinctive hum. ‘If I didn’t know any better‘ I thought to myself ‘I’d swear that was bees swarming‘. I stepped on, listening more intently. ‘That’s definitely bees’. I decided, stopping for a bit to examine my surroundings. I looked down. Oh my! Now, maybe you have seen this before and it happens all the time and I’ve just never noticed, but I really don’t think so. It was absolutely amazing. It looked the whole ground was moving, it was alive with bees. I don’t know what they were doing quite, or what had brought them out. It was like those rare summer days when ants fly, they are suddenly everywhere. Here were hundreds and hundreds of bees. Thousands of them probably. I bent down to investigate at closer quarter. Oh my! Even more extraordinary. There was a multitude of little round holes in the loose grit ‘banks’ of the path. I don’t know if it is one colony, or a gathering of thousands of solitary bees. There was a lot of activity. Some bees were tumbling together – fighting? I have no idea. I’ve never really thought about the bees up there. I mean, logically, I suppose there must be bees, because of the rich heather – but then again that is only at certain times of year. For much of the year there is practically nothing to eat, and the bleak windswept more can’t be a good place for an insect to thrive. I tried to take some pictures, but they don’t do the phenomenon justice. I also took a video, which is ace, but which I have no idea how to upload. You’ll have to just use your imagination, and hum along the pictures for yourself. It was quite the bees’ knees though.
I must google this. Maybe they are seasonal specialist bees? Maybe they were battling for possession of the most desirable earth hole dwellings for themselves, or for their young. One of the most exciting battles I’ve ever witnessed was between a baboon spider (type of tarantula) and a scorpion, for possession of a hole. The scorpion won, it was quite poignant, how they tumbled and battled to the death. Here is scorpion in its newly acquired hole. It used it as a base to hunt termites, ambushing them as they (failed to) pass by. The poor spider just crept away and now destitute, died.
Don’t know what was going on with the bees though. You should have been there! Not just for the bees, but for the view from on high, spectacular up there:
I continued my crouched down examination of this entomological display. I didn’t at first notice the family who had now joined me up the top. A youngish boy stared at me, apparently looking me up and down, a thought seemingly taking form in his mind as he did so. Then he looked at his mum and said ‘mum‘ (that’s how I know it was his mum, I’m quick on the uptake like that), ‘you look stupid‘. She replied ‘it doesn’t matter what I look like, we are out for a walk, nobody cares!’ A good sentiment, but I couldn’t help noticing she didn’t look stupid at all whereas… I have a suspicion there was a bit of transference going on there. I may have been temporarily distracted by the bee display, but I still wasn’t really rocking the ultra runner look.
Oh well, maybe it is because I wasn’t actually running. I stood up and sort of jogged off, bit half-heartedly it’s true, but speedily enough to put distance between me and the family walking along behind.
Carrying along the tops, the views were stunning and the weather perfect. Oh for it to be like this come August bank holiday weekend. I felt OK, plodding along, occasionally slurping from my water spout, I ate one of my naked bars. I’m really bored with them. I’ve not sussed the fuelling aspect of this endeavour at all. I want something more savoury, crinkle cut crisps would go down a storm, but not very portable. I am cutting it fine for experimenting with new things. I didn’t put electrolytes in my water today either, I’m wondering if that could have been a contributory factor in crashing a bit later. I know it’s pathetic, but I didn’t want to put electrolytes in the bladder because I think the tubing might be tricky to clean, but that’s crazy, it must be possible to clean it and it rather defeats the object of carrying fluids if they aren’t fit for the long-distance purpose.
More bee sightings later, again, a carpet of them buzzing around. This wouldn’t be good for bee phobics (are there such people) many a fine B movie features killer bees (the swarm dear reader), that’s why they are called bee movies. Fact.++ What are they all doing. And how come I’ve never noticed all those little bee homes along the ridge before.
Eventually, I descended and ended up on the undulating tarmac road that takes you to the base of Win Hill or the Yorkshire Bridge Inn, depending on how intrepid and strong you are feeling. Being weak-willed, today my destination of choice was the Yorkshire Bridge hostelry. One more epic thing happened en route though. It’s going to sound far-fetched, but I promise you it’s quite true. As I was on the last bit of road towards the T-junction that leads to Yorkshire Bridge, I came across a youngish couple. They were evidently lost, and, what’s more, didn’t even have a map with them! Honestly, what rookie walkers were they? I was able to get my map out for the first time that morning (did I mention enough that I’d memorised the route and hadn’t needed it at all up until that point) and show them where we were, point to the path they needed and estimate how far away it was. I tried to appear nonchalant about my fabulous display of applied navigational skills, and suggested in what I hope wasn’t tooooooo patronising a tone, that they might like to take a photo of my map, in case they needed to reorient themselves later on. This they did, and I waved them on their way, inwardly rejoicing at this demonstration of how I’ve now moved up the navigational food chain. Not only able to navigate for myself, but competent enough to give advice to others! Wow, who’d have thought such a transition was possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’d survive very long if you blindfolded me, and dropped me on a moor somewhere unspecified with nothing more than a map and a pair of clean knickers to sustain me. (Everyone knows you should always have a pair of clean undies on your person in case you should get hit by a bus on the way home from anywhere. Even the most dastardly of evil villains would not deny me that surely). Mind you, if you tried to blindfold me and drop me on a moor you probably wouldn’t survive very long either. I didn’t spend a year doing body combat three times a week for a whole year for nothing. Sigh, those were happy hours at the gym, with a steroid infused instructor who would stand in front of you shouting in your face with beads of sweat pouring from his forehead ‘punch me, go on, see if you can hit me‘ and I would try, and he would always dodge the hooks, but there was always that frisson of peril that one time he might not. I’ve since discovered to my dismay, that this isn’t apparently standard practise for body combat classes. It is not usual apparently for the instructor to say ‘for this one, think of someone you hate, imagine you have managed to grab their head and now smash the skull down on your knee to shatter it and keep doing it til it’s completely smashed. GO!’ I was so disappointed when I changed gyms and the new instructor was all ‘now look around you everyone, we don’t want you hitting your class mates by accident, and watch out not to over extend your joints, nice and gently everyone 4 3 2 and go!’ Not the same stress busting tonic at all. I stopped going then. That’s years of tension I’ve been storing ever since, so BACK OFF abduction people, it won’t work!
Boosted by my ability to direct others, albeit only up the road in a straight line until they saw the gate for the public footpath, I headed to the pub. I was flagging a bit, and thought maybe a bowl of soup would be just the thing. Unfortunately, the pub was absolutely heaving and maybe had only just started serving food as the bar was 3 deep with people placing orders, no-one actually had food in front of them and the place stunk, I mean really really stunk, of fish. It made me heave. I’m probably more sensitive than most to this smell as I’m actually allergic to fish as well as being vegetarian, so have never ever eaten it apart from as an infant when I went into anaphylactic shock, which I don’t remember. Though the medication I had then explains my idiosyncratic teeth, a story for another day.
I decided to leave it, just turn on my heels and head back. Now, with the benefit of hindsight this maybe wasn’t my best move. I’d only got 2 litres of water with me, and two naked bars and some emergency glucose tablets. It was hot, so I wasn’t feeling hungry, but as I started trekking back I could feel my reserves depleting. I was really hoping there’d be an ice cream van at fiddlers elbow (there wasn’t) and losing my enthusiasm for the trek I slowed. Why hadn’t I put electrolytes in my water? Sooooo dim. I didn’t really bonk as such, but I just started to feel a bit sorry for myself. My mind crowded with negative thoughts about how crap I am at this ‘running’ malarkey, and what’s the point in entering an ultra if you are just going to walk round. Blah de blah petulant stuff for the most part. The bees were still in evidence once I started the ascent to Stanage Edge though, and they calmed me and distracted me. They are/ were blooming amazing. Also, I met a couple with a strange-looking big red-eyed dog with a liver coloured coat. It stopped and stared at me for a while then sniffed me and walked on. It’s keepers looked on a little anxiously, which didn’t instil confidence, but then remarked ‘oh, that’s good, he barked at the last person, you must have the magic touch‘. Being shallow, I am easily won over, ‘how lovely that I may have the magic touch’ I thought to myself. ‘I am practically a dog whisperer. What a slew of talents have gushed forth from me of late. Perhaps I am finally finding myself after all these years. Must update my LinkedIn profile, curses, I should have got their names and email addresses, they could have done me a testimonial. Never mind, it’s a start…’ you get the idea. Onwards and upwards until I was back up on high. Stunning views, a lot more people, and a bizarrely flattened rabbit corpse. How did that happen? Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a
rabbit habit of posting dead animal snaps, it’s just that this one was a bit weird.
Just a thought. Is there some deeper significance to the proximity of dead animal carcasses and bees? You know, like the Tate and Lyle lion with its bees. Not sure why a brand would want a dead lion swarming with bees for a logo, but I’m sure google can tell me. Oh ok, it did. Religious imagery apparently. Nope, wasn’t having a religious epiphany up there, though I was renewing my appreciation of bees.
Once I descended Stanage, I took a slightly different route, though a little gate to approach the ice cream car park from a different angle. I had it in mind that I’d try to increase my mileage a bit to make it a 20 mile recce, the outward trek had only been 9 and a bit miles so I was a bit short. There weren’t many people about, but I did disturb a poor woman who was quite clearly trying to have a discrete pee, only drawing attention to her plans by pretending she was looking for a dropped pen or something. I pretended that I didn’t notice, so dignity preserved all round. The lies we all collude with to ease our way through life eh? Lovely view though. Not of her having a pee, but of the heather and hills. I hadn’t seen the approach to Higger Tor from quite this angle before.
There was no ice cream van, and it dawned on me that my water was quite low too. Another disadvantage of the bladder, you can’t see how much you have left, I should have refilled it at the pub.
Oh well, I decided to take the upper path at Burbage, partly just for a change, I hate just retracing my steps, and partly because if there are adders about, I think I’d be most likely to see the on the less travelled path. Didn’t find one, but it was probably good to do technical terrain whilst tired. Suddenly it was seemingly a long, long pootle out. I hadn’t even covered half the 30 mile distance and was flagging. I really need to up my game. Sometimes I think I just genuinely don’t try hard enough. I don’t push myself in case I bonk, but of course that means I never progress. I’m running out of time to try new tactics. I can live with ‘getting round’ but on today’s evidence even that seems doubtful. Hurrumph. I was so hot and sweaty. There being nobody around, I took advantage of the breeze from being up high and lifted my top to let the air onto my skin. Lovely.
I gave myself a talking to. You want to know what the weird thing is? Nope, well I’m going to tell you anyway. The weird thing is, when I went through my mental ‘how am I feeling checklist’, I actually felt pretty OK. For me at least, it’s a good way to test whether the challenge is mental or physical. My legs felt fine, strong even. No problem with breathing. I was hot, but not especially bothered, yep, a bit thirsty, and my water had run out. But I’ve suffered worse, and possibly peckish but not about to faint, though I was definitely at the point where I’d have liked to have had a little something left to eat and didn’t. Conclusion. I was fine. It was just my body pronouncing it’d been lovely, but it’d be quite good to stop now. Stopping however, wasn’t an option. No phone, so I wasn’t going to be calling mountain rescue, and anyway, I’m not sure they come out as a taxi service just because you can’t be bothered to walk anymore. They aren’t a mountain side über service, contrary to what some may want to believe. No option but to press on. Fortunately, the views were stunning, and it is one of my favourite parts of the walk.
I trekked on, thinking of the high points still to come. The white heather patch. The Houndkirk road and the end in sight. The glory of uploading a 20 mile run on Strava. Maybe people wouldn’t focus so much on my speed as my endurance #legsofsteel might even be in order, if I could just break that 20 mile mark… I got onto the old Roman Road really believing this, and it seemed to be at that exact moment I glanced down to my watch, which hadn’t vibrated in quite a while – it does that every mile, well, it’s supposed to. Disaster. The battery had packed up. I could do what I wanted, but my watch had given up on me I’d be going it alone.
This was not good. I tried to think of all those great adventurers who’d pressed on without GPS or even a watch to time themselves accurately. I could do the last mile to the Norfolk Arms surely.
And I did. I was too hot and tired to even go in there for a coffee, I just wanted to go home for a bath. So I did.
Bath concluded, I’m not sure what I feel. The upside is that I did near enough 20 miles and I’m not injured or anything – not even a blister, I’m just knackered. I can find my way, and the new pack will be fine once I get used to it, not flattering, but for me no public appearances ever are, so the camera tells me anyway. The downside is it’s increasingly dawning on me that even walking 30 miles with that much elevation is going to be a significant challenge, plus doing it on my own. I’m expecting to be so slow that I won’t be in sight of anyone else. Still, I’ll have the bees for company and maybe a stoat or too. As for my watch’s battery life. That’s a problem. I can’t bear that if I do the route my watch will give up on me half way round. I can see only two solutions, buy a new watch, erm, nope, just bought a vest and new shoes, the watch will have to wait, and the alternative? To speed up sufficiently that I do get round before my watch gives out. Can’t honestly see that happening. Maybe in a parallel universe. Oh well, que sera.
So that was that, another day’s recce done.
I still don’t know what’s going to happen, but then again, that is what makes life interesting. I am thinking though, next time I head out, I might try to visit the rock shop discovered on my last foray out, and deposit some magic stones or similar in their honesty tin. What might be a good and suitably mysterious find I wonder. …. now there’s a project
See, there’s always a reason to head out, maybe it isn’t game over quite yet…
Or maybe it is, I honestly have no idea at all.
For all my Dig Deep Series related posts, click here, and scroll down for older entries, or don’t, it’s up to you
*I might have made that up. But they are not altogether bad ideas now are they?
++ yes, but a Lucy fact. i.e. something I choose to believe to be true, but am unable to evidence objectively other than pronouncing ‘well it should be‘.