Wow. I cannot believe it’s been nearly a month since I last ran on the fells. In fact it’s been nearly a month since I last ran full-stop, back-to back trips to the US, Norway and most recently Germany keeping any forays into the hills firmly off the agenda. On the odd day I could have squeezed in some Tarmac thudding run through another city scape but that’s not really my thing.
Luckily at 1am on Thursday morning I finally returned home. The thick blanket of snow that I had caught a glimpse of last week had vanished in the rain and yet more unseasonably high temperatures. The rain, the storm-force winds; those like me were back.
And so on Thursday, late in the afternoon as daylight was slowly merging with a subdued half light of dusk I found myself running along the top of High Street, sloshing through icy floes of water as I got hammered by storm force winds and rain; rain that hit my face so hard it hurt. Possibly the second worst, second most biblical (not that I sure any God had much to do with it) run of the entire ‘winter’. If the amount of swearing was anything to go by, it was pretty bad. Not that anyone heard, once again I was all alone, except for Seren and even she did not look to be enjoying herself.
Yet before my running shoes could even dry out, another day dawned. This time even windier as Storm Gertrude caressed our shores. Luckily by mid-afternoon the worst of her power had passed this corned of England. Making my way up besides Stickle Ghyll it was relatively benign. Again there wasn’t a soul in sight. Even the car-park could muster only one car. For once I could hear the soles of my shoes dancing on the damp rock, for once I wasn’t hidden in amongst the rustle of my waterproof jacket, for once fell running felt almost enjoyable again.
I picked up the pace a little as I traversed around the shores of Stickle Tarn, jolted by the occasional gust of wind and promptly dropped it again as I clawed my way up the slabs and rocky promontories behind Pavey Ark. Nestled amongst the rocks, there was little wind, I warmed up sufficiently and there was just the odd patch of fading snow to remind anyone that this was the end of January. It felt more like March or April.
The wind finally showed her hand as I neared the top, finally reaching its full-force as I touched the summit of Thunacar Knott. On the fell-tops it felt cold, the sky was leaden as I stopped and stared out across to the high fells of Bowfell and Great End. Yet it was strangely peaceful. For once the constant buffeting didn’t seem so bad. Perhaps a few weeks off hasnt been so bad after all.