I shouldn’t complain. I am fortunate. Nevertheless the restrictions brought about by the Corona virus are,…….well,…….restrictive. The Ecclesall Woods are terrific, they are my starting point, two minutes from home, of all my runs. The alternatives from home are all on road but they are out of my bounds. Whilst the woods are possibly and arguably at their best at spring time, with bluebells and fresh green leaves, this (very) dry season and the heavy recommended exercise use has given the paths a worn and tired look. Plus, too much familiarity does bring on a sense of deja vue, if not boredom.
So, how can the running routes be spiced up? Time trials have been suggested e.g. Nicky’s greatest height climb in an hour from home and back. This got me thinking of a route for that, I used the nearest trig point (almost) and back. This further begged the question of where are the other local trig points which I could manage in a “reasonable” time without resorting to the use of the car with its guilt loaded “Is your journey really necessary?” cachet? A Christmas present from one our sons came to the rescue. It was an OS map centred on home, neatly named as “Urban Perambulations”. Despite its title, it does have a bit of the south eastern side of the Dark Peak, so, were there any other local trig points?
Some of them are ones from Alan Yates’s 15 Trigs round, namely, High Neb, Rod Moor and Emlin which was in the top left-hand corner of my map; also marked on my map is a trig point at Stanage Pole. Further south, there are trig points at Cowper Stone, Oxstones and a hidden one (behind a wall) on private land near the top of Limb Valley. A couple more at Totley and White Edge, complete the ones on my map and which are mainly in the National Park. Most of them are reasonably reachable to only get there but what goes out, must come back again, thereby doubling the distance which, for me, becomes less manageable.
In order to keep the world turning, I obsessively believe each trig should be touched with three fingers (mine!), on each of my visits. It has certainly worked so far though I’m not sure whether my mental health needs to be checked?! Which trigs, therefore, could I visit from home to do my bit for the world? The nearest was on private land though before the erection of an extra barbed wire fence could, with a stretch, be touched. Now, I’m reduced to touching just a stone in the adjacent wall with three fingers. So far, it’s kept things moving! The next nearest one is near Oxstones, close enough to be considered for an outing from home. To continue this almost due westerly line, the next candidate trig is near Cowper Stone on Stanage Edge. Any further ones would possibly take me into beyond reasonable distance territory.
The plan was therefore set and, armed with two jelly babies, my mobile phone and a pair of glasses to read the phone, I left home on my mission to save the world. I indulged myself by taking the most direct line which did involve Ecclesall Woods and some tarmacked snickets and ginnels to reach the Birkdale playing fields and the first trig. The descent from there into Limb Valley was slightly tricky with the forest ground being covered in dry beech nuts which provided an interesting rolling surface, not quite skiing but needing some slick slalom moves. It’s a bit of a drag up the hard track to Ringinglow and then through Lady Canning’s Plantation, though the compensation was my first hearing of a cuckoo this year. The nature experience continued with the sound of a curlew at Oxstones. Burbage Moor is now fully dried and there are some very pleasant patches of dry and bouncy peat to delight in. Nature again stepped in near the Cowper Stone when a pair of Canada geese squawked (not a sweet bird song) from out of Hallam Bog. Half of my mission was now completed, a couple of snaps for proof of the visit and one jelly baby set me off on my return journey without, of course, revisiting the intermediate check points.
Once back home and recovered enough to even contemplate another mission, where next, south to Totley and maybe beyond or even a three-jelly baby run to Stanage Pole or even High Neb? But, this maybe “vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself. And falls……..”.
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2020
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