Thursday, 12 August 2010

Ultra Tour Mont Bradwell

Following my last entry I felt I was back - ready to resume long trail running. After 104 miles, 31 should be a doddle shouldn't it? Well the organisers have gone to great lengths to assure this is not the case and this was an exciting, varied and most of all HILLY course.

The initial climb, through the cement works, through Pin dale onto a rocky moor road and then down Cave dale (slippery when wet). Castleton intervenes for a mile of flat and some supporters on route (the only ones). The 2nd climb which goes upto Hollins Cross and straight down the other side is where the hard work starts.

A brief respite on the road to Edale, but then its up the zig-zag path to Ringing Roger, into low cloud and right onto the high moor on Kinder, the 'dib' being at the Druids stone. The emphasis on being a tough challenge is then further enforced with an initial scramble down heather and rock, before grassy paths which were slightly too steep for comfortable running on knee's that are suddenley exposed as not being quite as recovered as I though they were. Back across to the ridge of rock in the centre of the Hope valley and this time up Back Tor and to the summit of Lose Hill.

Already I was seeing myself suffering on descents withn inner knee niggles so I wasn't really letting go on grassy trail descents that are a million time kinder than the rock paths I gotsed to in the Lakes. The terrain so far was not unfamiliar to me from the excellent Hope Moors and Tors and a long run I ran in this area during easter. Making use of the classic steep climbs of the compact valley around Hope, the central ridge linking Mam Tor, Hollins Cross and Lose Hill and then the High Peak district area of Kinder to the north. Throw in the good quality runnable paths and this is an excellent adventure playground for short and long trail and fell runs that I don't visit enough.

Skirting Hope it was now new territory for me, rounding Win Hill through woods and then dropping to Ladybower reservoir (pic above) and the following an old railway line path towards Bamford and the toughest climb of the day from here up a steep hard track referred to in the route description as "the Escalator". There was then a bit of roadwork before the climb up onto Stanage Edge (left). We followed the boulder-strewn edge path for a good few miles. The sun had started to peak out and the wind up here was very slight comapared to the usual on this ridge. It was reasonably flat so we mostly ran this bit. And maintaining a run was starting to feel hard work. After much dodging of walkers and passing hundreds of rock climbers we arrived at the CP - tantalisingly close to an Ice Cream van.

From here we dropped into a small valley gradually downhill for a few miles of quite good, soft footing to Toads Mouth Bridge. Obscurely the dib control was down quite a steep bank actually hanging over the river - I wonder if anybody fell in?

The majority of the remaining miles were undulating rather than long climbs and descents. This took in more river valleys and quite a lot of forest which is always pleasent. After nearly 8 hours we appeared on a path heading down to Bradwell and the looming cement works. I was quite pleased to get thye picture, right, not only a view but some flying action in there too. This captures the outdoor pursuit nature of the area perfectly for me. Mark and I finally dragged into the cricket field in 8hrs and 6 minutes - also having covered 34 miles. As we didn't get lost very much I suspect the 31m advertised is way out! A pint and a pizzza later finished of the day nicely. Bodily I'm not quite intact writing this now though. The sore knees eased pretty quickly. But I have a slightly worrying swelling and pain on my right-lower shin. Impact bothers it as does pointing my toes out. A bit of rest and non impact exercise is on the cards for a week or so.


  1. Yourself, Mark and Nick don't know the meaning of the word rest! great recovery after Lakes to run this so well and at ease. I haven't stepped out yet since TR24 but will give the foot a try on Sunday and see how things are. I have to say I haven't missed not running in the last 2 weeks, and so hope that this will re-energize me for whats to come on the Ridgeway. Lets hope.

    Enjoy the wedding in Czech Rep! Not a country I've visited but would like to.

  2. aye danny..take it steady and avoid aggrevating anything too the tigers for a bit!
    much do this one next sounds like a mix of hp40 and an ldwa event