Back in 2009 I suffered a running injury which stopped me running for a year and then only allowed me to start up my running gradually again, building up to 7 or 8 miles a week. You can imagine what a relief it was this week when I realised I'd done 10 miles with no ill effects and still had a couple of days to go.
I celebrated with a run to the summit of Tewfit How - a rather insignificant knoll not too far from here. This brought me up to a grand weekly total of over 13 miles which leaves me feeling even better. Although hardly anyone else seems to go there, apart from keepers looking after their birds, if there were a formula for finding the best, wildest place close to
where one lives (perhaps a number of "stars" divided by miles from the back
door) then Tewfit How would come out tops for me. It's not a great fell run - most of the route consists of Land Rover tracks laid with hard-core, but it's a great way of getting out into a wild place at this time of year, when the ground is cold and squelchy. It's not a taxing ascent, either: the track rises gradually. The panoramic view back down it comes as something of a surprise though, and leaves one feeling quite pleased with one's self. And its shortcomings, for me, are more than made up for by its close proximity.
And then there's the view from the top. This is the Northern edge of Wensleydale and, standing by the summit cairn you suddenly realise you've reached the wilder, upper regions of the dale. Opposite, Pen Hill, another "high-scoring" local wild place and the one which marks a similar point on the Southern edge, rises up. To the West, the broad, green bowl of the dale is edged with a rim of bleak fells. Somewhere below lies Aysgarth Falls. During periods of heavy rain, these are an awesome sight, totally overwhelmed by a thundering volume of water. Above the falls, the river spreads out to fill the valley bottom - it becomes, briefly, the kind of vast, broad river one expects to see in bigger countries than England.
Today, however, there's no more than a light drizzle to contend with, although the sky's a turmoil of cloud. The low winter sun breaks through here and there, casting oddly-coloured tints of light on the otherwise dull landscape. I linger for a minute or two. My eye follows the line of the fell-edges, tracing an imaginary run around the dale's skyline. In a way it's an enticing prospect. However, what takes the eye a second or two would, I know, be a grim, endless trudge on a day like this; not like the run back, which is a lot easier as the tracks all tilt downwards and the wind -which I fought all the way up- is on my back. What a morning.
11 months ago