The weather forecast seems to suggest that, come the weekend, things won’t be quite as nice as it’s been all week. So even after I decided yesterday that my running might have to be done after dark, I decided that I’d have one last blast in the sun.
The morning continued with the tidying up of the house whilst it was bin day. Although as it happens the paper recycling bin was never emptied, so that may slam the brakes on the clearout as all the tips are shut and it’s not clear when the missed collection is fixed (I presume they’re a crew down). So instead I took to the front and did some re-pointing of the drive as the winter rain had washed away some of the sand between the paving. Bizarrely my watch calculated that I’d walked 5km during this time. I think that’s rather optimistic and overestimated things by about 4.5km!
Meanwhile the cat was keen to get my attention, climbing out of the upstairs window and walking around the roof miaowing himself silly because he couldn’t get down. He eventually went back through the window when I brought the post in to the house.
Following lunch I decided it really was too nice to not be outside. All my runs this week have been short as I recovered from the ultra at the weekend. Today I wanted to go a bit further, if nothing else than to get onto some empty trails. Most people around here seem to be adhering to the advice of not travelling too far to go out to get some exercise. But the downside is that locally it’s busy. And, as I mentioned yesterday, the dog walkers were out in force leaving their poo bags on the trail because…. Well, I really don’t know why people are so %^&%ing selfish.
Hitting the trails once again
When I ran yesterday I was thinking all the time I needed to have a psychological trick to make sure I only used one hand to negotiate stiles and gates and leave the free hand available to wipe sweat out of my eyes. So today I grabbed a plastic glove out of the car for my right hand, which was designated as the ‘dirty hand’. And off I set.
I noted that yesterday’s poo bag pile had been moved from the middle of the path to the edge, but was still there in all it’s glory. Clearly the poo bag stork is self-isolating as well. Or it doesn’t exist. I’ll let you make up your own mind on that one. I figured that I would clear them on the way back as at least I had some physical protection from the owners germs (is being a selfish &&&& contagious too?).
Anyway, here’s today’s route: 14 miles and 1500ft of elevation:
I immediately had a change of plan seeing a fleet of walkers up ahead on my planned trail, so instead I diverted 90 degrees to take a different route; actually it was similar to yesterday’s although on the opposite side of the brook. However rather than visiting my ‘favourite’ telecoms mast I discovered another footpath which dropped me near to the Middlewood Way. I love discovering new trails! Upon checking it didn’t seem too full of people so I used that trail to get me up to Pott Shrigley. I couldn’t think of any trails that were heading quite in the right direction which meant I had a road section. Very quiet, but my goal for this route is to try to do as much off-road as possible.
It’s time to climb!
I reached the car park off the road which is usually full, but there was only one car there. I presume because Lyme Park is shut to the public at the moment so people have gone to drop their dog poo bags somewhere else…… I took that cut through which leads towards West Gate, but then headed away from Lyme to follow a trail that runs along the perimeter wall. I’ve run down this way before, but going up was a slow affair, not that I was rushing. I even attempted a live Instagram video thing part way up. Which took several attempts before I’d managed to upload the right video to the intended account. My social media skills are a bit rough in places!
I ditzied across a bit boggy section that I really should just have ploughed through, but there was no rush. And I still got wet feet. I met a couple of walkers coming the other way before making the final long climb up the side of Sponds. In fact I followed a parallel wall to the boundary to Lyme, but to be honest I wasn’t worried. It wasn’t a test, just a vague plan. Usually when I’m on the tops here I’ll see a fair few people, but today I was alone. And it was fabulous.
I then followed the Gritsone Trail all the way from Sponds down into Disley. Whilst the main Gritstone runs through Lyme Park, there is an ‘alternative Gritstone Trail’ which runs around the perimeter of the Park. It does involve another road section; I was in two minds whether the top path in Lyme was a Right of Way or not so erred on the side of caution. Given my involvement there it would provide a poor example if I’m ignoring closure signs, and that just isn’t how I roll.
A couple of other runners were heading up the road section towards the Bowstones as I headed downhill. I know which way I prefer to travel on this section!! At the bottom of the road the alternative Gritstone Trail takes you through a farm before picking up a trail down towards Lyme’s East Gate where the two Gritstones become one. From here it was away to join Green Lane and all the way down to Disley Rail Station where the Gritstone Trail ends.
Back to civilisation?
Under normal circumstances I’d have turned off and cut across Red Lane via the admissions hut of Lyme to get to the other side. However with that option off the table there was little choice but to take the A6 road and get around the tip of Lyme that way. I did notice a couple of other interesting trails, but I couldn’t see that there was any way they wouldn’t go into Lyme. However, a left turn after the Park ultimately took me down to a trail I’ve used many times out of the Park and over to the canal. From here it was a bit more cross-country to get back onto the Middlewood Way. And then just a matter of choosing my route from here onto Middlewood Road and back onto the trails near home.
As I reached the gate nearest the bypasss, unsurprisingly the 4 dog poo bags were still there, awaiting collection by someone who wasn’t the person who left them. So with gloved hand I collected them, and pointed them out to the 3 dog walkers I passed as I came back to dispose of them at home. Just like the ‘owner’ should have done in the first place. Colour me unimpressed, whoever you are, you’re a disgrace.