Sunday, 3 March 2013

Blackstone Edge & Stanedge

Date of Walk/Run : Saturday 2nd March 2013

Distance : 17.14 miles
Time Taken : 4 hours 32 mins
Elevation Gain : 2378 feet

I needed a decent outing as I have a marathon at the end of April, so need to keep the miles ticking over. I have become rather bored recently of knocking out miles on the road, and knowing I have a trail run in a fortnight thought it might be an idea to get some off road miles in. Also, my road shoes have been giving me some achilles pain so running in trail shoes should help this. It certainly did.

I set off from Ogden Reservoir in bright glorious sunshine, although it was amazing how cool it went whenever you went into shade. I had no intention of trying to run all my route today as although it was about the right distance for my marathon training, I knew my intended route had a lot of ascent. I ran up onto Tunshill Lane, which is a regular off road route I use in the Piethorne valley, but then cut off across the valley before crossing the M62 for the first time - there is a bridge! Once across the motorway, my route joined the Rochdale Way for a while before cutting below Blackstone Edge which was my first target. I hadn't the stamina to run up the Roman Road and anyone who's walked it will know why! (This photo doesn't show how steep it is!)

Eventually I arrived at Blackstone Edge to meet of my bugbears - summit hoggers!! I've visited here loads of times so just continued after a couple of quick photos. The route back down to the motorway was pleasant, especially as it was going downhill which I hadn't had any of yet! After crossing the M62 again, I then ran up to the summit of White Hill, and this then dropped down to the main road into Denshaw. I did contemplate cutting back to the car here but persevered and decided to aim for Stanedge.

I'm glad I continued as this was the best part of the day as for about a mile it involved running through snow. The run along Millstone Edge was fantastic although the sun was creating rather hazy views. Then I ran down into the Castleshaw valley before the extremely steep climb to Broadhead Noddle. My plan here was to return via the road but as I was in my trail shoes, saw a sign for Piethorne across the moors. This plan was perfect until I didn't trust the path. It was going in the opposite direction to where I intended so I did a bit of off piste wandering. Great fun but it involved dropping down and up a steep valley before reaching the path I had been on!!

A fantastic afternoon and no achilles pain, so at least I know it's my road shoes and not my actual feet! It also helped my train of thought as regarding plans for 2013 as I enjoyed this off road running far more than recent road outings. So off road it will be although still need to consider that I have 26.2 miles of road at the end of April, so will need a bit of mix and match between then and now.

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