I found myself at a loose end on Thursday afternoon and since the good weather had extended into another day I decided to take my session to Holcombe Hill and attempt to run it’s rough terrain. It’s fair to say I underestimated the challenge and had to run-walk rather than run the hill.
Running on cobbles and trail paths rather than tarmac was a very different challenge and my speed reflected that. It’s a long way to the top of the hill but going up the steeper path, it didn’t take long to reach Peel Tower, the monument that stands at the top. The view that I was rewarded with as I reached the top was glorious and well worth the climb. Foolishly I didn’t take a picture at the top. From there it was time to explore, I’d been up the hill once already this week whilst out walking so I knew roughly where to go for some peace and tranquillity. The paths and trails were muddy and there was plenty of standing water on route. Keeping clean wasn’t an option. The line ‘we can’t go under it, we can’t go over it, oh no, we’ve got to go through it’ from my all time favourite children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, seemed apt. With the rough terrain and my poor sense of balance it was only a matter of time until something went wrong and, about three miles into my adventure I twisted my right ankle on an uneven patch of dirt which jutted out over the narrow trail I was running along. Considering it only hurt mildly I decided to press on, after all I wasn’t exactly covering the ground at enough speed to do much more damage. After that I made my way over the moor rather more gingerly and without the finesse that I imagine Scott Jurek or Haruki Murakami would have as they kiss the land. I thud my way across the ground even when on the flat, I can only dream of running with their grace.
Holcombe Moor is occasionally used for army training purposes, I don’t know precisely what activities go on up there but there were plenty of warning signs advising those foolish enough to be running (like me!) to watch out for red flags. Luckily for me none were raised so I could venture into the moor to my heart’s content without fear of being besieged! As you round the moor in a westerly direction the view is simply breathtaking.
But for the odd sheep and a cyclist that I met on the path, I was alone with nature at its finest. The cyclist that I encountered advised me that if I continued I would eventually get to a quarry which was well worth having a look at. Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn shortly after and never made it, it’s a mission for another day.