View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Monday, 20 February 2017

Trotting around Saddleworth, Saturday 18th Feb 2017

18 runners (well some of them were runners) gathered at the Cross Keys in Uppermill on a pleasantly mild afternoon in order to drink lots of JW Lees go for a run around some of the hilly bits of the area.

Only 17 runners actually set off on the trail, Merciless deciding to go home when he realised he’d be better off putting his feet up in front of the telly.

I set off with Whitworth and Bell, always good company, and after a good 10 minutes of faffing about trying to locate the route we finally set off in a muddy direction, sort of northerly.

Running parallel to Running Hill Gate (a misnomer if ever there was one) through Running Hill Head and then by Big Rough (about right) our trail led us to Diggle. The ground wasn’t too bad, being only a bit incredibly muddy, but there you go. My tastefully coloured brand-new pair of La Sportiva Raptors (yellow & black) will never be the same again.

We tried to run but the ground wasn’t too good here-abouts.

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No idea, it just seems to be an odd place for a statue (about a mile E of Diggle)

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In the middle of nowhere…situated almost directly above the Standedge Tunnel

Built in 1859, this building may have had something to do with the reservoirs, Brun Clough Res is just to the east.

The route became moderately runnable, the mud wasn’t as squelchy as on our last little outing 2 weeks previously – although there were some quite bad bits. Hon Pres Park came into view, he’d set off 10 minutes after us and was making good time.

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Whitworth & Bell keeping their distance from Park

The running on Standedge was good. We were afforded excellent views over Delph, Oldham and Shaw. The breeze was quite chilly on the tops, it was good to keep moving. The edge was popular with walkers, we met a goodly number – all going the other way.

Park stopped to chat to a sweet young thing at the trig point, obviously attracted to the pack of egg sandwiches she was trying to hide from him. Foiled by her determination not to share her lunch, we continued on our way – still heading north, and still not always too sure that we were on our route. Nowt new there then.

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Millstone Edge, Standedge

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Marsden Moor, Castleshaw Reservoirs in the distance

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Park burning off the opposition

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Still keeping to the high edges, and still enjoying good ground, were began changing direction – bearing over to the west. We kept Park in view for quite some time but he was determined to avoid our company (wise man that he is) – at least we didn’t have to worry about going wrong as long as we could see him….assuming that he was on the right trail.

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Castleshaw Reservoirs

No photos, but the faster runners were now coming into view. It would be a while before the caught us but spotting them spurred us on. But only a bit.

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Oldham Council Waterworks stuff at Castleshaw

According to the O.S., Castleshaw is the site of a Roman Fort. Interestingly, when I lived in Newhey, a few miles to the west, locals often referred to a local footpath as being a Roman Road.

We were now heading south, downhill too, on Moor Lane. This was (is!) a very good track although the trail we were following wasn’t always that obvious, the trail-layers were probably yakking and had forgotten to put sufficient sawdust down for us to follow. Oh well.

The trail-layers were Taylor & Wells, Wells being a stand-in for Old Markham who needed to stay at home to deal with ill-health in his family.

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Daisy

Faster runners now caught us up. Wilson and Burston being the first. They stopped to chat, we stopped to chat….and then the Fast Pack caught up with us. And still we chatted. Well, it had been two weeks since we last saw them, there was a lot of catching up to do.

Downhill and more downhill, eventually reaching the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Standedge Tunnel. The running now was very easy….having said that, Bell took a tumble at one point. Being the finely honed athlete that he is he was soon back on his feet.

Standedge Tunnel is over 3 miles long, running from Diggle to Marsden – the site of the tea stop on the Point-to-Point route from Newhey to Holme a couple of years ago. The tunnel was dug over 200 years ago which means it’s even older than Taylor and Wells’s ages combined. Just.

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A bit of muddy up and downery needed to be traversed before we got back to the Cross Keys….and because we weren’t, er,  the fastest runners, the bath water was a bit gritty. I needed a shower when I got home.

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Riley relaxing. That’s what he said he was doing anyway.

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Chillin’ after the run…and waiting for dinner.

We were relegated to the barn, not only for changing and bathing, but for dining too. We were served meat & potato pie, or more accurately patato and a bit of meat pie and chips. Apple crumble & custard finished the job. It would have been nice to have our meals served on real plates and to be allowed to use real knives & forks. Perhaps they don’t think we’re ready to eat like the grown-ups yet. Plastic utensils and polystyrene chippy-type plates aren’t brill.

Whatever, it was cheap, and the food was warming and plentiful. The JW Lees MPA was on fine form.

Around 9.4 miles with 1450’ of ascent. 

Tally Ho Uppermill 2017

It would have been less than 9.4 miles, but some silly sod laid a nice clump of sawdust right by the way we normally leave the venue. We wasted a good bit of time trying to find the right way.

This was a really excellent route, hard enough but without being stupid = very enjoyable. We missed the company of Old Markham of course, he probably had more than a little influence on the route choice – being as wot he lives in the area. Thanks to Whitworth & Bell for their very entertaining company, Taylor & Wells for laying a damned good trail (even if we couldn’t always find it!)…..and John Willie Lees for his Manchester Pale Ale.

3 comments:

  1. Edited: thanks to Joe for pointing out that we can't blame Old Markham, he was at home caring for Mrs Markham. Wells stood in as trail-layer, fine chap that he is.
    I hope Mary's back on her feet soon!

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  2. Nice course JJ and well done. I walked past that old house about 18 months ago and a guy was working on it. There were no shutters up. Must be a problem there.

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  3. Very impressive JJ, you are doing good, phantasmagorical.

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