Posts Tagged With: SWR

Sheffield Way Relay – Recce Leg 1, the sculpture trail

Digested Read:  The Sheffield Way Relay SWR is a September run that requires teams of ten people to run in five pairs, with each pair running one leg, each of which comprise a ten-mile section round the trails and roads of Sheffield.  However, the separate legs are complex, confusing even.  Hence, some intrepid Smilies plan to go off a-navigating each in turn, to check them out terrifyingly far in advance, in order to build the collective hive knowledge of the whole route in anticipation of next year’s challenge.  Today was Leg 1.  I went too. Hurrah.  Fine yomping was had.  We got lost, we had fun, there were autumn leaves, rainbows and, most importantly of all, sculptures and a pigeon loft.  Hurrah!  We shall do it all again for other legs soon.  Are you coming? The more the merrier, so please do.  Build the Smiley Hive mind and have fun on the way! 🙂

 

sculpture

I think it’s a sculpture.  It might be a fossilised high-fiving spectator from a previous Sheffield Way Relay event to be fair. Captured in time after a load of bonfire ash covered him/her in some freak accident some years ago.  It’s hard to tell.   Whatever, I’m reasonably confident it will still be in situ come next September, which may or may not be the case for all landmarks referred to in the route notes referenced today.  We clung to such notable sites today, to help us internalize the route, it’s not easy finding your way round this Sheffield Way Relay route, not easy at all.  Pressure….

It’s a very serious business running in general and doing recces for race runs in particular. That’s why it’s so important to focus, work together and not get distracted by posing for photos all the time for example, that way leads to chaos, anarchy and quite possibly the end of the world as we know it. It’s also lots of fun though, so it makes sense – in my world anyway – sometimes to throw caution to the wind, inhibitions to the wayside and jump for joy as only Smilies en masse can.  I think we need to work a bit on our synchronisation, but it’s not a bad start. That’s why these recces early on are so important, we still have time to iron out such little blips.  We’ll all be looking like a chorus line a year from now.  Riverdance will have nothing on us.  Nothing I tell you, members of the Smiley Paces Sheffield Women’s Running club are coming, and leaps and waving will occur and fun will be had, ready or not.

farewell to focus

Mind you, I really do wish I’d taken a photo of that dead rat on the bridge now.  It just took a while for me to realise that I wasn’t only at this Smiley Recce of Leg 1 of the Sheffield Way Relay to tick the ‘inclusivity’ box in relation to catering for slower runner for the club run, but also to document the route for other Smilies that might choose to come in our wake.  It was quite a responsibility really, many would have baulked at the task, but then as the saying goes, cometh the hour, cometh the woman.  Someone had to step up, and today that person was to be me. You’re welcome.  I tried to take photos of key landmarks on the route, the decaying rodent was a good one, very obvious, and judging by other directional reference points in the original instructions about the right degree of tantalizingly likely to have disappeared by next year versus could have been fossilised and become a permanent fixture.  It wouldn’t be the SWR if there wasn’t some element of tension in relation to finding your way.  In the event, the rat was decaying on a bit that wasn’t on the route at all, so it wasn’t a disaster, we were lost before we started, literally…. but I’ll come to that later.

To the uninitiated, the Sheffield Way Relay is something of a Sheffield Running institution, albeit a niche, invitation only one.  It’s a Steel City Striders club event in essence, and their website blah de blah explains:

The Sheffield Way is one of the most popular events on the club calendar and has been held every year since 1997. It is run as a team event and is open to Striders teams and selected guest teams by invitation. Since 2013, we also hold an ultra event on the same course on the same day. For details of the 2015 ultra event, have a look at the Sheffield Way Ultra page.

The race covers 50 miles, in 5 legs of approximately 10 miles each, of an off road route around the perimeter of Sheffield. Each team is made up of 10 runners, with a pair running together on each leg.

Taking place in late September each year, for the past few years Smiley Paces have also taken part, fielding a number of different teams.  However, also over the past few years there have been last minute panics as people drop out due to injury or inertia, I forget which and other runners have had to fill in at short notice. This can mean situations arise where neither of the running pair really know the route, and as this is not a mass participation event you can’t rely on following other runners, and nor are their any marshals to guide you on your merry way.  The route, whilst not exactly ‘secret’, is a bit obscure to those who have not run it before.  Instructions do exist, but they are somewhat idiosyncratic and some years’ old, not reflecting changes in infrastructure or shifting landscapes.  This is not a run to be undertaken without having previously recced it.  Indeed, this is part of the considerable appeal of taking part. What is not to like about a good yomp out with Smiley buddies (other running clubs are available)?  Quite.  Recces of the Sheffield Way Relay are just another opportunity for a grand yomp out and about.

In an ostentatious display of goal-orientation, leadership and forward planning, it was mooted (I’ve decided to give that word an airing today, as it doesn’t get out much, and seems apt if pretentious here), that it would be grand to start doing monthly recces of the various legs between now and next September so as to build the collective Smiley  hive mind in relation to knowledge of the routes. The more Smileys know the more legs, the greater number of possible teams can be fielded on the day. Plus, it’s a great way to see some different running trails and parts of our amazing city.  Speaking personally, I love the trails local to me, but there is a whole wide world out there of city and woodland running trails to explore as the outdoor city initiatives remind us.

Fired up with post Lakeland Trails enthusiasm, today was the day for Smilies in abundance to head off on a Leg 1 recce.  Fun would be had, routes would be found, friendships flourish and above all else laughter would be in abundance. There would be some running too, apparently, but I tried not to let that deter me.  You have to try these things.

The Steel City Striders webpage provides a map of sorts, and instructions, but these should be considered as impressionistic rather than literal.  We couldn’t even find the start as the Don Valley Stadium doesn’t exist any more, but hey ho, a minor detail!

Leg1-Map

So, it was a blustery, autumnal morning.  Despite the significance sacrifice of missing out on parkrun, I was nevertheless looking forward to my first proper autumnal run of the year!  Perfect running conditions were promised.  I was scooped up by  fellow Smiley who drove me and another to our woodland rendezvous point in Grenoside Woods (S35 8RS postcode for future reference). The plan was to meet there and then drive to the start at the site of the old Don Valley Stadium.  A note for future recces would be to include a statistician in the scouting party who could take the lead in supervising this part of logistical operations. Even though we were only 7 – with one in a car meeting us back at the start, we seemed to have enormous difficulties working out which cars needed to be where. In our collective defence, some Smilies were needing to rush off afterwards, some were going back for coffee, and some (me mainly) just stood blinking and confused, unable to offer sentient or helpful opinions on anything, and distracted by needing the loo. It was like those nightmare logic puzzles where you have to get a chicken, a fox and some seed across a river in a boat and only two things at a time can travel and you don’t want the passengers left unattended or they will eat each other. Apart from the seed, that doesn’t eat anything, basically I have no idea how a decision was made regarding porterage, but made it was.  My contribution was to be entirely passive, and follow instructions as best as I could.

We piled into a car and headed to Ice Sheffield  where we were rendezvousing with another Smiley who’d gone straight there. Navigation was mysterious, as I thought we’d be maybe using satnav, but instead we just headed ‘that way’ following gradients and compass points, until mysteriously we ended up where we supposed to. I love it when that happens. The overflow car park where we met was so derserted it was hard to know where to park, no white lines to aid decision-making.   We headed into the ice place to use the loos.  Oh my goodness!  I’ve never been before, I mean I’ve been to the loo before, obviously, but not into the ice place.  It was amazing. Not one, but two enormous ice rinks with skaters flying around(ish) and I had a brief moment of wondering if we could abandon the route recce idea in favour of a spin on the ice. That was before I remembered that the last time I ventured out onto ice was when I was still at junior school, and I spent pretty much the whole time clinging to the rail on the outside of the arena.  I had one brief sojourn away from the edge, only to find myself stranded in the middle of the ice, just as announcement went out to clear the ice so the pros could have uninterrupted use of the rink for the next half hour.  Complete panic ensued. It was messy.  How succesful do you imagine a ten-year old who can’t skate might be trying to get off an ice rink whilst panicking?  Well precisely.  That’s right, about that much.  Not a happy memory.  Just another to add to the list of childhood humiliations that punctuated my early years.

Eventually, I was prised away from the cavorting skaters, and we headed out from the car park along the canal.  It was all a bit sudden and frenetic and I was mightily confused. We darted along a bit of road, dived down by the canal and emerged at a sort of landing-place for boats, where the lead runner stopped.  Why?  This was the start of the SWR apparently.  Only it wasn’t.  This wasn’t the start at all. We had gone wrong already.  In fact, it was an epic fail from the off.  A shout went off and we all trailed off in the opposite direction, back the way we’d come, past the dead rat for the second time, and along until we got to a bridge, ran under that, and then, back again!  It was a bit like doing shuttle runs I imagine.  Our leader Smiley made an attempt to restore order, and showed us the point to look out for where we officially left the canal, or possibly went down onto it. I have very little idea really.

It is terrifying really, how quickly I got disoriented and confused.  It was extremely fortunate that Doctor Smiley had brought along some printed out instructions for leg 1.  Although disappointingly not on a clip board. She had also got with her a device for deterring aggressive dogs as well as potentially rounding up wayward smilies. I’d hoped it was some sort of  taser but disappointingly it was actually a humane high frequency sound emitter.  Aggressive dogs hear it, and it stops them in their tracks apparently…. In her defence, she is probably bound by the Hippocratic Oath or something.  Shame, but there you go. In a way, it shows how going for a run mirrors life in microcosm.  One disappointment follows another in sequence.  Such is the nature of our existence.  Best not to dwell on in too much, put that truth to one side, and go run in the autumn leaves instead.  Here are her accessories, for future reference.  The dog silencer is humane by the way, the leg one instructions may not be.

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We must have gone onto the canal, because that’s my main memory of the beginning, yomping along the side of the canal. It was unexpectedly pretty and calm, given that we’d just left the consumerist enclave of EIS and IceSheffield.  The sun was shining, the grass was green, the canal water still.   We jogged along and the instructions here seemed pretty accurate, if we just concentrated on what we were doing:

Continue on the left of the canal for about 1.5 miles passing below several bridges at Broughton Lane (new bridge), Tinsley Locks, Tinsley Wire Industries, Sheffield Road and Tinsley Viaduct. Continue forward on the towpath with the River Don on your left and after 2 locks cross the river by a concrete footbridge. Enter a pleasant wooded area and pass below a railbridge with a metal perimeter fence on your left. Over to your left is the hillside that you are going up and over on your way to Ecclesfield.

Pass below another railbridge where the path narrows. Continue to follow the river bank path until the river turns sharply east over a large weir. Ignore the signed Public footpath at the end of the perimeter fence and in 50 yards take the narrow concealed path sharp left.

The path rises to a footbridge across the railway and then climbs the hill up to Meadowbank Road

 

The next bit worked too:

On reaching Meadowbank Road turn left and cross over to the right hand side. In 350 yards and about 20 yards before a large advertising hoarding take the narrow path diagonally up the bank to a stile at the top. Climb, the stile and continue up the footpath and then a lane which climbs to Meadowhall Road. Cross the road and climb the bank to the left of the electricity pylon to a gap in the hedge at the top of the bank. Turn right to join a path towards the housing estate at Hill Top.

What the instructions completely fail to convey though, is how amazing the views are if you just turn and look behind you.  The juxtaposition of city and green spaces here is particularly pronounced.  One minute you might be on quite a grotty bit of road, the next you are snaking through unexpected patches of woodland rich in autumn colours, with the urban landscape stretching out behind you.  As most runners snaked ahead, this seemed to me a great place to try to coach a fellow smiley in the art of posing for jumping shots.  There’s a knack to it. The main trick is not to really care what you look like on launching, because in the early days it won’t be good.  Not a bad effort demonstrated here, somewhat balletic in parts it’s true, but almost definitely both feet off the ground third time round. So progress was made.  She showed me hers:

so I showed her mine:

CF out of the mist

So we were quits.  Nice wasn’t it?  I didn’t know any of these trails before, and it is genuinely a fantastic way to explore the city environs. We are soooooooooooooooo very lucky to have all this on our doorstep.  Delight gave way to reveal further even more delightful delights.  As we passed down a narrow track at the back of some houses at Hill Top there was even the fine sight of a full pigeon loft, with birds flapping their wings in the morning sunshine. As a nesh southerner, the sight of this fine northern cliché pleased me mightily. If only someone had come out to tend them wearing a flat cap with a whippet at his side I could have dropped dead happy there and then, sadly that was not to be, but on the plus side, it meant I was alive for the impromptu sculpture inspired group pilates and core work session out later on.

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Onwards and upwards. There was a magical moment when we espied a perfectly red apple all on its own hanging teasingly in a wayside tree.  Definitely like something out of a dark fairy tale.  I was tempted, but yomped on.  That can be an adventure into a parallel universe for another day….

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From here, we emerged again onto an unexpectedly busy road.  My running buddies were getting the hang of posing for photos to sign the way now.  Look at them smile and point here.  Like professionals. Note though, these photos are for illustrative purposes only. On the day, it is highly unlikely that there will be a line of smiling smilies like sirens calling you onward. You will need to navigate yourself, and look out for the GoLocal store and road turning all on your own.

Those yellow tees are from the Lakeland Trails Ullswater route last weekend by the way.  Good aren’t they?  We Smilies sure do get out and about.

From Poucher Street, it was indeed on to open country.  Through a little gate, then into a big field where there was a fork in the track. The lead runners headed off to the right, but, for future reference, the correct route is hugging the treeline on the left hand side.  It makes little difference in that both tracks end up at the same point, a style out into a bit of woodland, but the left hand track would be speedier and fractionally shorter.

In any event, once we got into the woods again, this is where the fun factory really picked up speed. To our amazement and joy, we met the first of our sculpture buddies.  Now I know not everyone gets my approach to ‘running’ I use the term loosely of course, some do think runs should involve extended periods of uninterrupted running say, but I defy anyone not to pause to admire this guy or guy-ess if they saw him/ her en route to anywhere.  Obviously, this required more group photos, and emulation of such magnificent core strengthening exercises.

It might have been around this point that I overheard one amongst us declaim ‘for goodness sake, this is like being at a children’s birthday party’, but I took that to be  good thing. We were having a riot out there.  In my world, running should always be fun, otherwise what’s the point.  Plus, it’s important to work on your core at any opportunity, and it is a well-known fact that running is basically a one-legged sport, so really we were just being very hard-core in undertaking spontaneous cross training here and not just messing around at all. Glad I’ve cleared that potential misunderstanding up before it went too far.  The green tee shirts are from the Lakeland Trails Helvellyn route last weekend by the way.  Good aren’t they?  We Smilies sure do get out and about. (Deja vu anyone?)

Workout session one concluded, we yomped onwards. …. only to come upon high-fiving man/man-ess.  This Leg 1 of the SWR just got better and better.  How come the sculpture trail isn’t noted in the route notes. They were awesome!  It was like stumbling across some hidden treasure:

well hello there

AFter this woodland interlude, we were spat out again onto another bit of slightly grotty tarmac road.  Depressingly, there was fly tipping here, but bizarrely, turned out the curtains were known to one of our number.  I hasten to say she had not herself been responsible for the anti-social disposal of them.  Rather she’d gifted them to a charity shop and now here they were by the road side wrapped around rubble.  It was as if they had been calling to her.  It was too big a pile for us to do more than look at dispiritedly.  We passed other examples of fly tipping in this area.  It really makes me mad, people go to some effort to drive to these places and dump waste, would it really be that much more effort to drive it to a tip?

There was a roady bit, and then we were off down a bridleway, into the woods, and looking out for rhododendron bushes along the way. Which there were.  Though as rhododendrons are a massively damaging invasive species we probably shouldn’t celebrate them, impressive as they may seem at first glance.  Probably worse for the natural habitat than fly tipping really, which is a sorry thought.  Oh well, it was still pretty in the woods.

Hilariously, (but then again I am easily amused) we reached a minor impasse at a point where the paths diverged. Which way to go?  Instinct said the wider more pronounced path, but straight on felt more in keeping.  At just this moment, having seen not a single other person out and about on the trails all morning (apart from fishermen by the river but clearly for running related anecdote purposes they don’t count), a cheery group of runners jogged towards us.  ‘Are you looking for the Sheffield Way Relay route?’ one asked, seeing us looking a bit lost.  He then cheerily directed us on our way before sprinting on to join his mates. Aren’t runners lovely?  Not just Smiley Paces runners (though we are the loveliest, naturally) but pretty much all of them. That was a happy chance and handy bit of navigational assistance. We went onwards.  Pausing to note the spectacular views along the way. Oh, actually, maybe that was just me.  Still, done now, and they did wait. Sorry smilies.  I did warn you I’m slooooooooooooooow.

You emerge onto a ‘road’ which actually isn’t. It’s the private road that leads to an extremely grand looking building which apparently (according to our Smiley historian) used to be some sort of children’s home but is now converted into Fantasy Flats. They may not technically be called that to be fair, but they should be, bet they are amazing inside.

Down to the actual road, then off again, down a less than salubrious looking turn – I have no idea how our Doctor Smiley leader was able to navigate at this point, but we followed her, sort of, in a Smiley Paces, might-as-well-try-to-herd-some-cats kind of way.  It worked mostly though, so that was good.  Maybe bring a PE whistle along next time, just as a back up…

The next memorable bit was along past a diary farm.  Nope I mean dairy, well, I presume dairy, because there was a lot of cow poo to negotiate, so presumable cattle toing and froing for milking.  There was also an unusually friendly farm dog that posed rather beautifully amongst the geraniums lining the walls of Butterthwaite Farm. All very lovely, and another completely different bit of Sheffield scenery – we’d had canal and riversides; road and back alleys; woodland and open fields; and now a working farm.  Excellent!

Somehow, through skips and runs we ended up spat out again onto a really main road, past a fitness garage, which seemed to have signage personally aimed at me, sharp right past Morrisons (opportunity to get fine breadcakes there apparently, if you weren’t having to run 10 miles instead), and then across the road into Ecclesfield Park.

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This was another place I’ve never been to. It is amazing how many parks there are around Sheffield. This one was in good use, with walkers and a football match in progress as we scampered along the tree-lined avenue that took us across the path and out onto Church street.  There was a bit of dissent at road crossing strategies, but we were more traffic aware than the pictorial record suggests.  Even so, keep safe out there people.  Whether you are a disciple of Tufty or more a Green Cross Code Man kind of road crosser, be true to your road safety guru.  Rospa will thank you for it.

From the park you are spat out into Church Street.  Here, by some extraordinary coincidence, you will eventually come upon Ecclesfield Parish Church which is just up on the right and the Ecclesfield Village centre with its old stone houses and pubs.  It was all incredibly picturesque, though for the record I had no real sense of where I was in relation to anywhere I actually knew. There was also a bit of a road crossing stand-off it has to be said. Every Smiley for themself at this juncture.  It also started to rain a bit.  ‘Thank goodness I have my waterproof with me‘ exclaimed at least one smug Smiley, clambering into her cagoule, before being shamed for her ostentatious bragging by another responding ‘well, I haven’t‘ with a just a tad of an edge in the voice.   Bit tense back there.  I did have my waterproof with me, but it seemed too much of a faff to put on .  The route requires you to continue up and just after the church turn right up Priory Road.  However, as we had historian Smiley with us, we took a short detour to admire a monument to some distant relative from way back, and pause to look at the exterior of the church, which it must be acknowledged looks very grand indeed.

On from the church, and back on track.  Down a path that took us back into woodlands, up and down, over a little bridge (that was disappointingly completely devoid of both trolls underneath and billy goats gruff trotting above).  This was a very pretty part of the route, but one that future SWR should treat with respect.  It would be really easy to be carried away literally as well as metaphorically with the lovely, bouncy, woodland trails and whizz by the turnings off to the side. Oh well. We didn’t, and we most definitely weren’t racing today, only yomping, so that was fine.  Loved that beautiful old Gatty building on the way past the church by the way, no idea what it was.  Quite some memorial though.

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Around this point, the route started to ascend again.  Eventually we came across a field with horses in it. They snorted appreciatively and came over to investigate as we trekked through, and emerged via a narrow stone style at the far end.

We emerged onto quite a wide tarmac road and found from here a rainbow guided our way. We just had to head towards the end of that, though again, maybe not a landmark to count on on the day, but never say never, hope over experience is not a bad way to pass through life. Admittedly disappointment may forever stalk you, but at least you don’t dwell on it, carrying on in the misguided belief that things are bound to get better in time. Good for you and your pointless optimism!  Bravo!  That’s rainbows for you.  Love ’em.

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Along the road, past a farm and off to the right.  I can’t quite remember why now, but I’m sure there was a really good reason why this became a designated Smiley posing point.  I’d worked out (slowly, admittedly) that some of my ‘helpful’ photos to remind us of the route were entirely pointless, because they were basically pictures of trees standign amongst autumn leaves.  They are much more useful if there is a responsible adult within the frame helpfully pointing the way. If one person is helpful, logically more people would be even more helpful, and at the very least show solidarity. So this is what we were trying to achieve. Great team work do you not agree? (This is a rhetorical question, no answers on a postcard please).

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Into the woods.  Here my compatriots warmed to their responsibilities in relation to the photo documentary of the route.  New innovations were introduced.  It was no longer enough to point the way, but others needed to ‘just say no!’ and signify a cross where there were no go areas.  I say a ‘no’ but really, I think by the end of this mornings shenanigans we all knew pretty much for certain who had the x-factor and who did not. The camera never lies. Draw your own conclusions in your own time.  Work individually, and own your decisions.  It’s a harsh lesson, but a useful one.  Well done all!

I think that’s what was happening.  Now I look again i wonder if the joke was on me. Is this perhaps semaphore?  I wouldn’t know, I don’t know any… aren’t there supposed to be flags?  Maybe that’s another advantage of wearing skorts.  Not just that they cover  up any accidents (although absolutely nobody wears them for that reason) nor even that they have lots of pockets (even though if you fill them the skorts will rapidly end up around your ankles) but also they can be whipped of in an instant to improvise a flag for either semaphore communication purposes, or to stop a train without having to take your actual knickers off a la The Railway Children. Must ask her next time our paths cross…

KN: Railway Children

There followed a TERRIFYING road crossing, a super busy road, Penistone road no less (or Penis Stone road if you are listening to sat nav), you take your life in your hands across there.

Back into the wood for serious exploration and yomping. The directions did fail us here. They sort of make sense once you’ve gone wrong a bit, but suffer significantly from new trails and loops having been constructed in the woods since the first instructions were put together.

Cross Penistone Road (EXTREME CARE REQUIRED HERE).  Just a little way to the right re enter the woods along the main path (painted SLOW on the road). Pass between a tree and some wooden poles and then in 20 yards bear right to follow a path along the edge of the wood (stone wall on the right). At the first cross path turn left to carry straight forward along the Trans Pennine Trail and in 100 yards bear right up a narrow stoney path.

The first bit was OK, we found a stone wall, albeit one that a random black horse was hiding behind.  I thought it was a wolf, which I concede is a bizarre misidentification.  However, before long, as we scampered back and forth in search of the ‘stoney path’, rejecting the signs for the ‘loop trail’ in favour of the short cut and correct route.  At some point, one amongst us spotted what I will refer to with some use of irony as ‘the path’, to be fair there was a massively overgrown footpath sign somewhere within. It was agreed this was probably the correct route, but it didn’t look like it had been used recently, not even for the September race.  We sort of bush whacked through it.  There was some shrieking.  At least one participant was heard to say ‘I’ve never spent this long on a run this distance before ever‘ I didn’t vocalise the thought in my head which was along the lines of ‘that’s strange, because pretty much all my exploratory runs follow exactly this format‘.  It wasn’t even that the other Smiley was making a complaint, it was more an observation, it’s just that when I heard it I came to reflect on whether or not my outward bound yomping excursions follow any recognised running training format at all.  Not to worry, I’m sure it means I’m a pioneer, not an oddity. Yes, that must be it! Makes perfect sense.

Another remarked ‘I feel like David Bellamy‘ I understand what she was saying, but I felt it was more Dian Fossey country  – you’ll have to go and find out for yourself.  We emerged eventually onto a trail, that looked very suspiciously like the loop trail we’d earlier rejected.  Two of us went back sheepishly retracing our steps to check.  Oh yes, that was it, you do follow the loop trail.  Note to self for next time, and helpful pointing shot by way of confirmation:

The others headed off, which created a bit of last-minute confusion, as we got to a junction where there was one path following a stone wall, and a wider path that went straight on and up ahead.  It was fifty-fifty, the instructions directed thus:

Continue on the wide path that climbs slowly up towards the road and after the wall follows a wire fence.

We went with the wider path, despite no sign of a wire fence, or fellow Smilies.  Turns out, we should have clung to the wall.  Unbeknownst to us, that’s what our running buddies had done, but as they’d not waited for us we got separated. Curses.

It doesn’t look very steep, but this was a bit of an uphill slog. I did try and run, but 10 miles in I was flagging.  I tried to explain to Doctor Smiley and we ran a bit despite me protesting I can’t talk and run at the same time, although, mysteriously, it seems I can run uphill and complain a lot really quite well.  I ran out of steam eventually though.  Doctor Smiley rang one of the others and we realised where we’d diverged paths. However, we emerged from our lane, and we were pretty much back at the car park where we’d started.

I’m not going to lie, it was a tad annoying to have gone wrong at the critical end point. This means that this recce would have to be classified as good in parts in relation to actually learning the route because both the start and finish will need to be revisited.  However, all is not lost, because I had a lovely time anyway, and surely the whole purpose of the activity was basically to provide an enrichment activity for me as I don’t get out much.  We yomped together splendidly, and as there is unfinished business with leg one, this is basically a good thing, as it means we get to do it all again another time. Everyone’s a winner.

This is what the car park rendezvous looked like in case you don’t know what a carpark looks like:

Not that special to be fair.

Smilies reunited, we scrambled back into our various modes of transport, parasitising lifts where possible (me) and back to the start to collect other vehicles.  Some Smilies were waved away, others of us went to Costa wehere you can get toast and marmite for £1.40 which I consider a boon to breakfast eating options at a venue I normally discount for being both too expensive and too corporate.  Just four of us made this final stand, but the rules are (apparently) them as that make the post run coffee option, get to decide the date for the next recce.

So smiley people, look out on our facebook page for an announcement of the Recce for Leg 3, happening on a weekend in November sometime soon.

For your infomration, despite the lack of a statistician at this point, we did collectivelyr ealise that strictly speaking SWR Leg 2 should follow Leg 1, but thats already been recced apparently, so the next collective yomp out will be for SWR Leg 3 will meet at the end of that leg i.e. the Cricket Inn, Totley, so we can go back to the Rivelin Head Dam start  and take it from there.

Be there, or miss out massively.

Oh my strava by the way (TomTom is once again functional, maybe it just wasn’t feeling it in the Lakes):

strava leg one first recce

So there we have it. Still some unfinished business perhaps, but a fine collective adventure all the same. Thank you SMiley buddies.  Let’s do it all again soon, the more the merrier.  I will try to run a bit faster and bit more continuously next time, but will also ensure inclusively is maintained but acting as a perpetual drag on the speedier runners.

You’re welcome.

🙂

 

 

Categories: off road, running | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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