View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Saturday 16th November 2013, Running around Ramsbottom

Twenty two members of The Cheshire Tally-Ho! Hare & Hounds Club and one invited guest runner gathered at the Lord Raglan, an establishment well-known for it's excellent Leyden Brewery. It was, of course, pure coincidence the Club had chosen this fine pub as a venue to run from.
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The trail-layers shall remain nameless for fear of potential litigation, but both Blackshaw and Jocys had set off from the pub at 11am, armed with bags of sawdust, just for the hell of it.
image Fast Blackshaw, one of the nameless trail-layers
The traditional trail length of 8 miles wasn't quite adhered to, although the additional 1.7 miles didn't seem to cause THAT much of a problem to those fine members of the club who take their fitness very seriously. Both of them.
And anyway, 9.7 miles is the new 8 miles.
It should be pointed out that the original route was around 11.5 miles, but fearing a lynching and possible excommunication, the nameless trail-layers (Blackshaw & Jocys) thought it prudent to shorten the route. Unfortunately this had the effect of adding around 3/4 mile of tarmac to an otherwise green(ish) trail. Tarmac does not go down well with the members of the Tally-Ho!
imageJust for Alan 
Anyroadup, the sawdust trail led north from the pub, over tarmac for around half a mile but then over more traditional boggy, slippery ground that the Club is more used to. Fallen leaves concealed a treacherously slimy surface that caused many a member to curse as they descended to the bottom of the Irwell Valley. Swearing was reported to have been heard.
The more alert members of the Club may have seen a steam locomotive running on the East Lancs Railway line that followed the valley bottom. Those that didn't really should pay more attention.
image The East Lancs Railway – I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to catch the steam loco
Once past the railway the route started to climb. The busy A676 marked the beginning of another short section of tarmac – and civilisation. The residents of Ramsbottom had been forewarned and so they weren't surprised to see groups of well-disciplined runners all adhering the the Club's pack system. Oh well, next time....maybe.
imageLancastrian Coos 
The route had so far been quiet, but crossing this busy road was more than a bit hairy. Unscathed, the runners sort of ran up a back street in Ramsbottom, religiously following the extremely well-laid trail. (Koff).
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Then there were steps, loads of them. Up through a wood they went. Not as many steps as at trail from Sheldon, but steps. And steep 'uns at that. At the top of the steps Mark Taylor was seen to slow down, he had sensed the Shoulder of Mutton. Fortunately the rest of his pack dragged him past. Either that or he'd forgotten his money and nobody would stand him a pint.
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The trail now went north along Moor Lane, a pleasant track that afforded excellent views over Ramsbottom and the eastern side of the Irwell Valley. Apart from that damned wind farm:
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imageHacking on Holcombe Moor 
 
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After 1.5 miles of gentle ascent the trail turned west for around 500 yds and suddenly the ascent wasn't gentle any more. Our heroic runners ran up onto Holcombe Moor, famous for soldiers waving red flags and shooting at each other. Fortunately this was the day that had to stay at home with their mums so it was safe. Well it was safe if you weren't John Wilson. He reckoned he'd tripped and fallen, resulting in cuts and bruises. That's what he told me, and why should I disbelieve him? He's a decent bloke after all. Isn't he?
The next couple of miles were without doubt the best of the route, the running was excellent and the views wonderful. It would have been very easy to trip up and fall flat on your face through not looking where you put your feet. If you weren't careful you could end up with a nasty cut on your face and multiple lacerations to your hands, sustained as you tried to arrest your tumble. It's just so easily done.
imagePilgrims Cross 
The trail turned south and followed good ground with not much mud or bog at all. It was in effect a ridge run, gently undulating and easy to trot along. The first point of interest was Pilgrim's Cross on White Hill, then over to Harcles Hill and eventually to Peel Tower where there were views over to Winter Hill, over Manchester – and even Shutlingsloe in the far distance.
image Peel Tower
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The initial descent from Peel Tower was easy enough, good paths and pleasant fields. And then there came Redisher Woods.
image Benign-looking Redisher Woods….evilly steep and treacherously slippy
Reports of cursing and vulgarity were dismissed as being too far fetched, a bit of a steep descent was all in a day's running for these fine fellows. It was a mere hill after all. No members at all resorted to sliding down on their backsides, after all we're a Running Club, not a Sliding Club. Those finishing the run with muddy backsides probably just hadn't managed to wash their kit through from the last run.
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A bit more tarmac took us past the Hare & Hounds where a beer festival was under way. Taylor M missed this fact. And the pub. He'd not brought his money anyway.
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The route now followed part of the course of the Peel Walk towards Brooksbottom, just in time to see the East Lancs Railway vanish into a tunnel. A bridge took our gallant heroes back over the River Irwell and before long the trail was climbing once again, this time through slutchy mud, until....a bit more tarmac.
imageDropping down to the River Irwell 
Soon after crossing the A56 / M66 the Lord Raglan came into view. The lights were on, it was a welcome sight. Before reaching the end of the run, an axe-man, a donkey and bloodthirsty barking dogs with big teeth and red eyes (They just wanted to play. Honest.) had to be encountered.
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Another one for Alan. And a Tractor
After safely negotiating these final hazards there was the serious business of getting cleaned up and changed in order to not frighten the horses. Oh and to be able to enjoy a beer and dinner without smelling too much.
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Vinny & Merciless on final approach. A crap photo, but the light was fading.
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Big Ian leading the Medium Pack in
Vinny, Big Ian, Fast Whitworth, Even Faster Shipley, Merciless and Murray were amongst the first in. Compliments flowed: 'A good try', 'not as bad as Tintwistle' to quote just two. Praise indeed. Other comments cannot be repeated for fear of causing offence.
Eastwood's return to running fitness meant he hadn't much to complain about, other than the tarmac of course. Jenkinson had also been under the weather, a severe bout of Man Flu had slowed him down to the velocity of a speeding bullet. It's good to see such athletes powering through adversity.
A Wells came along as an invited guest runner. I think he enjoyed it. He enjoyed having his Dad buy him beer if nothing else.
The bathing facilities at the Lord Raglan weren't too brilliant. The tin bath was in the brewery – although it might as well have been outside in the car-park, it was adjacent to a large opened door. And the water wasn't too warm. Many members just made do with a quick wipe down rather than a proper bath.
imageApres-run feet 
imageApres-run drinkies 
The food in the pub was tasty enough: hotpot for the meat-eaters, something that looked very nice for Des. Apple crumble & custard for afters. There just wasn't enough of it.
There wasn't really enough to satisfy the appetites of 25 runners who had spent the last couple of hours charging around the Lancashire countryside. There were rumblings (stomachs) and grumblings (the runners). The beer was good though. We'll be fine at the next run – it's from the Crag at Wildboarclough.
 

Anyway, the route was just under 10  miles and there was around 1600ft of the uppity stuff. Here’s where we went:

Route

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Saturday 30th November 2013, Wildboarclough

Time has been very tight here at JJ Towers, there’s just been far too much stuff going on. It was something of a relief to have the excuse to get out with the Cheshire Tally-Ho! Hare & Hounds Club (Estd 1872….founder members still running I think) and trot through some lovely countryside in the good company of the Club members…and a guest: the Long Suffering Rick.
The trail, from the very excellent Crag Inn in Wildboarclough, was a little longer than it should have been. Many Hounds returned late, some running in the dark. Those who took the time to turn around and look behind them were rewarded by a breathtakingly beautiful sunset:
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This is where we went (widdershins):

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A little over 10 miles with around 1800’ of up and downery. And mud.
Good fun though. And Rick’s still talking to me.
And my English teacher told me not to start sentences with ‘And’. And so I’ll try not to. And I’ll be careful with the use of apostrophe’s.
And now that I’ve got a little free time I’ll attempt to fill in some gaps in the ‘ere blog.