Pages

Friday, 4 January 2013

Tewfit How

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.

9 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

glad you are back to form...Ben my son is distraught at the moment as he has done his knee in and one of his coping strategies is running....

patteran said...

A youth spent in gentle ambling has ensured (thus far) sound joints and sinews in age. But your account does bring alive the relationship between the effort made and the reward achieved. So thanks for having done the leg-work for me, Dominic!

George said...

Congratulations, Dominic! Glad to see you're back at full stride. Keep moving, my friend. As they say (was it Newton?), a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Nice piece of writing here. I have only a vague idea of where Telfit How is - is it beyond Scarth Nick somewhere?

Rachel Fenton said...

Beautiful writing, Dominic. Can well picture a sublime view if not the view, though I've spent many an awed hour in the dales.

Happy New Year! Glad the injury's better.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments.

GS: When I was unable to run, I tried cycling to keep fit. I also got into wild swimming, both of which kept me going as they managed to replicate (just) the "runner's high" I had been getting in the great outdoors.

patteran: Yes. I sometimes worry about the pounding on my joints. It's one reason I've done so much off-road, on softer surfaces.

George: I've never thought of that Newtonian angle on running before. I suppose Einstein would say that when I'm running I'm aging more slowly.

WG: It's the knoll you can see with a very small pile of stones on top nearest the lead-mine chimney above Redmire.

RF: It can be awesome. I have to spend many hours here, awed and non-awed! :)

Gwil W said...

Keep at it. Sounds like a wonderful trail to run on. In winter it's a bit of a job to find nearby places not too muddy. I have an old pair of lightweight NB trail shoes with a good stud but I don't like to wear them out so I tend to go for runs in sturdier shoes over bridleways and land rover trails rather than slippery muddy sheep trods etc. at this time of year. I protect my knees by wearing a knee bandage or a double layer of elasticated tracksters and finding gentle shallow gradient descents as far as possible. Also in winter I take a daily Vitamin D3 tablet and a spoon of black syrup with my breakfast. Over Christmas I ate lots of dates, figs, clementines etc. to keep the bugs at bay but I was still sidelined with a cold for more than a week. I always remember what my doctor said 20 years ago and it gets me out on bad weather days: Always keep on with your running and you won't end up in the lung clinic.

tony said...

Dominic....Totally Off -Topic ! In the next few weeks me & Alan are meeting up for a drink at THE BIG SIX in Halifax.Fancy joining us?

A Cuban In London said...

Ah, here's to you, fellow runner! I'm glad you're back into it and that your injury is a thing of the past. I have been a jogger on and off for the last 20 years and in the last decade I have built up more stamina and therefore clocked up more miles. I love running, just love it.

Greetings from London.