Sunday, 28 April 2013

Cross-border skirmishing into West Yorkshire

Due to a busy work schedule and my son's swimming commitments it's been awhile now since I've managed to get out for a Sunday morning run. With a free morning slot in my diary I was determined to get out on the hill today. I decided a walk, instead of a run, would give me a chance to assess how my injured knee was recovering.

Setting out from Standedge Cutting, which is a century's old trade route crossing, I headed along the old Turnpike Road to Pule Hill. The climb up the southern face of Pule Hill is steep and a great test of leg strength. The views from the summit are wonderful and reach far across the windswept moors. The route to the Memorial Cross, which over-looks Marsden, was a delight on such a lovely spring morning. Passing several groups of walkers I could here the clanging of metal, drifting by on the wind, from the rattling racks of ironmongery clipped to the harnesses of climbers on the crags below.
Descending to Intake Head Farm I crossed the busy A62 and made my way to the Tunnel End Visitor Centre where I enjoyed a fresh cup of Yorkshire tea and a cream bun. The visitor centre is well worth a visit and if you're lucky you may see canal boats emerging from the dark tunnel after their deep passage from Diggle on the opposite side of the Pennines.

Heading along Waters Road I made my way to Close Gate Bridge which spans Haigh Clough. This narrow packhorse bridge stands at the start of an ancient trail that once crossed the moors to Rochdale. The course of the trail is now a designated Bridleway which I followed up the flanks of Willykay Clough. The moorland grasses appeared to flow in the wind like waves in the ocean and on the leeward slopes, new-born lambs were nestled amongst the grassy tussocks, sheltering from the wind, as their mothers stood close-by grazing.

At the top of the climb, on Little Moss, I turned south and followed the course of the Pennine Way along Millstone Edge to return to Standedge cutting. The morning had been lovely and whilst a strong wind had blown throughout, the weather had been mild and dry. However, I had timed my return perfectly for dark menacing clouds had now blown in and were beginning to unleash their sodden contents upon the parched moors.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Joe Mbu - The Running Man

A few years ago, whilst out on an evenings run in the Pentland Hills, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, I bumped into the comedian Eddie Izzard. At the time I didn't recognise him as we ran together and chatted about his 40 marathons in 40 days, to raise money for Sport Relief. It was only later that day, whilst writing a report which I had promised to do for him to raise more awareness and hopefully funds for his chosen charity, that I discovered just who's pleasant company I had enjoyed that evening whilst out running.
Today a running friend of mine, whilst out for a run around the hills of Saddleworth, bumped into and got chatting to a gentleman who was running Lands End to John O'Groats, to raise money for charity. That gentleman turned out to be, Joseph Mbu.
Below is a short statement from Joe's website. Please take a look at his site and, if possible support his cause and help spread the word.
Former professional rugby player Joe Mbu is running from Lands End to John Groats to raise money for charity

On 29th March 2013, Joe embarked upon an epic challenge to raise money for a good cause close to his heart. Joe is running solo...
from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a hospital built by his grandparents in Okundi, Western Nigeria. The hospital was built in 1998 in memory of his late father and uncle and is called The Joedy Memorial Hospital. Originally built as a maternity hospital, it soon found itself treating everyone who came through its doors. It is now in great need of refurbishment as well as ongoing financial support to ensure that there is free medical treatment available for everyone in the surrounding area. Joe is trying to raise £100,000 through his UK contacts and about £500,000 worldwide.

Just £5 will pay for a mosquito net to protect a child or pregnant mother.

You learn more about Joe's challenge and follow his daily blog at: