In a change from the norm, my long run this week took place on Saturday. And what a long run it was! Under the afternoon sun, I ran 16 miles around the North York Moors. It was tough, it was beautiful, it was hilly, it was stunning, it had it all.
Quite honestly, this run reaffirmed my belief that Yorkshire, more specifically North Yorkshire, even more specifically the North York Moors, are quite honestly the most beautiful place in the UK.
Yes, Snodonwia is beautiful and it is a great place to run, but just look at these photos. With a sunny blue sky with patches of fluffy white clouds and the purple heather, it was made for running.
I parked my car at the parking area just below the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge and headed off northeast on the old iron-ore railway line. I passed a couple of walkers coming in the opposite direction and a few groups of bikers too, after this I saw only one other person on the entire run until I was back near the Lion Inn at the end.
It was pretty easy going on the cinder track of the old railway, even as I turned off that and down into Westerdale, the path was good. Then came the tricky running – through the heather. Boggy in places and hard to see what was going on underfoot it was a test and the first time I began to realise that my pace on this run was going to be slow going.
The purple heather was in full bloom and it was stunning to take in the scenery. As was the case when I ran Moel Eilio during the week I was stopping to take photos far too often.
Most of this run took place on a section of the Esk Valley Walk and what a walk that must be to complete. Apparently, the whole route takes 3 to 4 days to complete – but what an ultra run that would be!
The route wound its way around to Castleton but I had a steep road climb to do to get there. That took a lot out of me at 9 miles into the run. I went the wrong way at the top and had to re-trace my steps to find the path I needed to take.
I was now in the valley and running on farm tracks and across fields. Stiles were getting hard and I stopped on the top of a particularly nice stone stile to take a breather.
I was starting to flag at this point and I had the climb back up the Blakey Ridge to do before the gentle downhill back to the car along the road. I passed a gorgeous abandoned farm that had an alarm going off inside it.
It was an eery place, with farm buildings, a beautiful house and what looked like holiday lodges. All were empty and the place was deserted.
The climb was tough and the terrain didn’t help at all. I was walking by this point and was fast running out of energy. I had been out for well over 2 hours and had no phone signal to let Helen know I was OK.
As I was climbing up through yet more heather my watch pinged. It was a BBC New alert and that means I had a data signal on my phone. I called Helen to let her know I was OK, taking the time to walk while talking.
I reached the road at last. Running along the spongy grass as cars sped past was actually a relief. I could see the Lion Inn in the distance and this was like a mirage. I contemplated stopping there for a Coke but opted to crack on back to the car.
I ran past the car to ensure I got the 16 miles on my watch. I sucked on my water spout and drained the dregs from the bladder. There was no more water in the car and I was thirsty. I got back to the car and tried getting into the wrong one! Another car that looked just like mine. The two women who were also trying to get into THEIR car were not that impressed.
I phoned Helen on my way home and asked for some Lucozade from the shop. She’s an angel and duly went and got some.
I was so happy to be home. I celebrated with a shower then made the pizzas for pizza night.