I felt drained by the Lakes and needed something less steep, different angles, wide and expansive: The Dales. The Dales were lovely; hay fields ready for cutting and awash with wild flowers. What a difference from the sterile herbicided fields of the eighties. Birds seemed to be celebrating the return of the flowers. Larks sang above the meadows and higher up we found flocks of curlews and plovers.
By Friday night we had moved North to Wooler. The sky had that extra clarity I associate with Northumberland. One lungfull of air and you noticed it. The winds come sweeping across the enpty hills and carry the clean scent of peat.
The Chevy Chase is a sightly esoteric race. Like the Manx, it provides competition for walkers, joggers and runners. People come from all sorts of clubs that raely feature in Lakeland races and the competition is generally not too fierce. Our illustrious editor once finished third in the event. It provides a good antidote to the Ennerdale, being long but providing plenty of good fast running. It splits into three sections: five miles of cross country followed by a long boggy climb up Cheviot, a steep down and up to Hedghope and finally about ten miles of mostly downhill paths. There is some argument about which is the fastest line but basically you just need to know where the sheep tracks are.
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