I was concerned about the lack of training miles since the six dales circuit so I decided to do it again.
|Just Before Hartington (anti clockwise)|
I took a day off work to do a long run. It was an impulsive decision and because of the lack of time to prepare and think of route choices I decided to drive back to the Peak District and run round the six dales but in reverse and starting at Monyash. I couldn't tire of this route which involves long valleys flanked by streams, higher level fields with extensive views of the high peak and picturesque villages nestling in between .
The benefit of starting at Monyash is that you get the monotony of the Tissington Trail done first and arguably the best bit up Lathkill Dale leads back to the finish at Monyash. I was blessed with a glorious day. As I arrived in Monyash before 9am it was bitterly cold, there was a deep ground frost which made the surrounding landscape white, like a scene from a Christmas card but despite the cold and frost, the sun shone brightly. I could not have asked for a better day.
|Just before Wolfscote Dale|
The run went well until I turned my ankle just before Middleton. Frustratingly I was just about to begin the aforementioned 'best bit' but as I was shuffling down a track the ankle turned with its customary popping sound leaving me to shout expletives at the on looking cows. Oddly enough, before the actual six dales event I had witnessed confusion before the start as there was a map displayed in the village hall with an highlighted route that seemed shorter than the actual event route. The organiser explained to those confused, that he had simply marked a short cut which avoided Lathkill dale and Braford Dale in case anybody was too tired to complete the whole thing. Conveniently the end of the short cut was just about where I turned my ankle so I retrieved the map from my ruc sac and navigated back to Monyash over the top of the fields above the dales below.
The shorter route meant that I missed the best parts of Lathkill Dale but I did run along some new trails and its always 'fun' using the map to find your way. Before Monyash I decided to drop back into Lathkill Dale for the final couple of miles. Although it was bitterly cold I had managed to keep warm by shuffling on because the pain from the swelling wasn't that bad.
I ran some 20 miles. at much less furious pace than during the event some three weeks earlier. It took ages but I had a great day and it was worth the effort to kick start a bit more serious training before getting engulfed by the Christmas party season. When I got back to the car I drove into the village and visited the excellent Smithy Cafe and drowned my ankle sorrows in tea with cake before the drive back to Grantham.