Priddock Wood is fun I told myself as we set off from the Ladybower Inn. Even before the climb, there was fun when crossing the stream, with some managing to keep dry feet via a precarious scramble and a leap and others going for a reviving semi-immersion over their knees. The fun continued up the steep, wooded, brambly, muddy, unstable and mossy hillside. Please think of any other descriptions (not rude ones) you would wish to apply to this epic start to a run. It was all topped off with an exciting clamber across the boundary between wood and moorland. Even at this stage, the group was now splitting, with at least three sets of lights heading for the Jarvis Clough rest home.
Here, now all regathered, time was called on togetherness and the less slow group set off into the night leaving the more slow group in the rest home. The stone circle was reached using an uneventful track and with the guidance of the lights of the faster leading runners. Reminiscences of races held round the circle on runs from the Sportsman brought a touch of sentimentality to the discussions (we must have been going slowly to be able to "discuss").
Crossing Cutthroat Bridge, the next target was the Derwent Edge path and then on to the Coach and Horses (not a pub) where there was some respite from the cooling wind. By now the Cap'n and John had wisely decided to return to the real pub and the rest of us including Bob, Mark, Graham and the newly recruited Leicester man, Steve Jones, dropped down Grainfoot Clough to the edge of the wood. Prompted by some health statistics from Bob that 15% of older runners were likely to have some heart problem, there were further discussions this time on mortality and the way to go, in both senses, before climbing all the way back again to the path leading to Ladybower Tor.
We practiced yet more dispersal by taking at least three different routes back to the pub, with some claiming the moral high ground by going further and climbing more. This was, of course, nothing to do with losing the way back. We were all checked in at the Ladybower Inn where Leicester man, Steve, revealed he was not driving back but was bivouacking somewhere near Win Hill and then, in the following morning, checking out the route of the Margery Hill race. As always, another good Warting/discussion outing.
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2018
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