I had a fitful nights sleep that night, despite falling asleep pretty much as soon as I lay down on the sofa early on, once in bed I woke around 1am, nose running, eyes itching and throat sore. I assumed it was an allergy as I had been suffering on/off for a week or so before this trip. It’s early I know but as the trees begin to come into blossom and the grass begins to grow my hay fever starts. I struggles to find my tablets and so suffered for most of the night.
I woke before my alarm, 5:30am but buoyed by the knowledge that I had a shorter day of around 25 miles I could take it easier, breakfast was taken this morning or freeze-dried egg and cheese it tasted delicious but the texture left a little to be desired and im not sure how much more I could eat before it began making want to heave, a nice cup turmeric tea to help the old aching joints was consumed as I took part in the usual ritual.
Bag packed and ankles strapped, I was pretty much ready to go, I had looked outside first thing and noted that during the night as promised the heavens had dumped a little snow on the tops, the was a slight low mist and in all it looked both uninviting and adventurous, this time I donned 3 layers on top along with my waterproof.
With the key deposited safely with the owners, off I set, the day was already light and the air cold, luckily it was dry and I gave thanks for that. Todays start saw an immediate climb up Grindbroke Clough, the path was undulating up hill and was easy going until you hit the base of the waterfall, the Clough runs its way down from the upper slopes of Edale Moor and consists of nothing more than a jumble of large boulders, today it also consisted of wet and icy rocks, going was slow as I carefully picked my way through the rocks being carefull not to slip. There was of course no one else around here, the sun had begun to rise behind me and despite the warmth the wind being channeled down cancelled any hint of warm.
After some 40 mins to scramble 1.5miles I was finally on top, I stopped refueled with water and sat to admire the stunning view, this view has become my ultimate favourite of the trip so far, a shallow blanket of white covered every inch of ground here lending to a magical feel to the start.
From here I cut east toward Crowden Tower and then Northwest towards Kinder Downfall, this little route I remember well and so may others from reading the Hills and Idiot blog, here on my very first fastpack adventure I lost a trainer in a bog. Today the path was even more less distinct, snow hid any former paths and I was solely reliant on my navigation skills as I followed a rough direction around the barren landscape, I was soon upon the back of the Downfall and luckily once you find the stream it was a simple matter of following to it’s amazing end.
The wind whipped up from the SouthWest as I stood at the start of the River Kinver, here the small trickle from the moors, drops some 98ft and runs into Kinder Reserviour, passing as along it way the mysterious mermaids pool. I was lucky today to capture the river running up, yes you did hear me correctly, with the wind blowing in somewhere around 30mph the water is forced backwards and creates a spectacular image that I managed to film before the wond cruely took my beloved illuminous backpack cover, all I could do was wave goodbye and watch as it quickly disapered into the distance.
Navigation promised to be pretty easy today, for the most part I was just following the Pennine Way towards Marsden and so this was one less thing to be worried about doing, I was soon joining the Pennine was and settled into a shuffling run along the wide and hard surface of the massive flag stones, the wind continued to blow along but luckily blew behind me providing a little helping push along. I was greeted with amazing views of the wintry moorlands from Churnel Moor and the High Peak the land was clothed in a light wintery white coat, unfortunately the wind and cold had also frozen much of the flags and these became quite difficult to run along, a number of times I lost my footing but managed to keep upright, that is until I was caught by a foot sized gap between the flags, this saw my left foot disappear into the cold icy and boggy depth of the moor, I took a tumble forward and landed on my right knee bashing my elbow just for good measure, a few choice words were had and off I set, the purchase of new Seal Skin socks definitely paid for themselves here, with the mid length once I picked up, they kept my foot dry and warm.
I could spy the Snake Pass and was quickly crossing the fast route and onto changing terrain, to my left a group of people were wandering around the moor sticking metal poles in the ground whilst one wandered back and forth with some sort of detector type thing, I drank some water and ate a little as I set forth again, the path now had changed into something I was more akin to, hardpacked pathway with no ice here I was able to gain a little more momentum and jog along quite happily onto Alports Low and Bleaklow Head, atop here lays the wreckage of a RB-29A Superfortress which crashed in 1948, I have always wanted to see this but today it would remain hidden from me as I concentrated on the terrain and paths. I climb out of a constant gully and came upon the marker for Bleaklow head, a simple cairn topped by a loose wooden pole, I snapped a pick and some film footage and rechecked the route and I was again off, following a path alongside Torside Clough.
The past days down hill knee pain had now returned with a vengeance, I struggled to run at all here as I was treated to a searing hot pain in my left knee, I winced and shouted with every footstep and stopped often, the view was great and spread far into the distance allowing me to trace the route where I was to be heading soon.
I dug deep and was eventually at the side of Torside reservoir, it was here that I saw my first walkers since leaving Edale at 7am, I exchanged the usual hello and cross the reservoir under the wild blowing wind and sought a seat overlooking the waterway. I ate and drank and took some paracetamol, im not a fan of medication at all but knew that even something would provide a little relief to the pain I was now enduring.
I traced a wooded route along the opposite side of the reservoir which made a welcome change to the constant windy moorland that I had just come from, I passed 2 ladies out for the day and once asked if I was following the Pennine way, I handed out one of my many cards and gave a very brief explanation of what I was doing and off again I went.
I followed a nice route between Bareholme Moss and Rakes Moss and was treated to a little respite from the wind, the sun was actually warming me now but I dare not shed my waterproof layer knowing in all likelihood that I would be treated again to either high winds and rain.
I climbs and climb, stopped in between the climb to top up my water and eat some Haribo, I admired the view and climb some more and was soon on top of Ladow Rocks, I looked back and looked back from where I had come, the view was nothing short of stunning and I took great pleasure in admiring and taking in the hard work, I watched people wander below me, Ant like figures wound their way along a separate path back towards Crowden.
With the path being flatter than previous, I was able to gain a little speed over the ground and threaded my way through a multitude of stream and river crossings, now if you wish to follow the Pennine Way please take note that it is wet, very wet. The path along this stretch constantly swapped sides and over knee-deep rivers and streams, crossing points were few and far between and I became so good a jumping that I could now rival a show jumping event.
I topped out at BlackHill happy that they had installed the flag stones here as the ground surrounding the trip point promised a boggy demise should you stray from the paths, there was a distinctly less wintry feel the route now and I couldnt believe the change in weather as I was now warm for the first time in 2 days, the wind was significantly less as well, beyond the trig point I could spy Holmfirth Road and to the left of me Saddleworth Moor, I descended Dean Head Moss and a sign proclaimed a difficult crossing ahead in wet weather, having been in wet weather for most of the day I couldnt say I was to bothered by the prospect of more wet, there was a slight river crossing but the Seal Skins continued to pay for themselves as my feet remain dry throughout.
I cross the busy A road and followed a path on the map but one not evident on the ground, I could see Wesseden Head reservoir below me and between the A road and rejoining the Pennine way I fell 3 more times, I sat on a bench and huffed, feeling a little fed up with my clumsiness, not only had I had fallen a number if times today but I continued to bang my foot on and off.
Legs and body were tired now, what had started as a fairly simple run became a mammoth task of navigating a wintery and slippy landscape, I had pretty much eaten all my food now, only a few Haribo now remained and I gladly picked at these as I went, the route followed Wesseden Brook and the many reservoirs feeding Yorkshire with clean water. I passed deer and some people walking dogs, a watefall and as Ive come to expect glorious landscape and then I spied the end in sight, Butterly reservoir I smiled and laughed, congratulated myself before sending the news home that Park 3 was now complete, I stood and admired my work, the view and the adventure, people went past unknown to the them the adventure that I had undertaken over the last 2 days.
I ventured down into Marsden safe in the knowledge that I was now done and could take it easier, I went in search of a shop to feed my all cravings of fizzy pop and chocolate, the local national trust info centre were kind enough the allow me to use their staff toilet to change in and I was grateful to get into dry clothing, I had a friendly chat with the guy there and handed out a card for him to read and sat at the train station awaiting my train home. I was more awake than the last time and happy that this journey home would only take a few hours.
Park 3 was now complete, my knee hurt and burnt with the muscles around it stinging to the touch, I was happy with how I had managed over the past few days, over 7000ft of ascent and 56 miles of total running which seemed to be running continuously uphill for the whole miles.
For a week after the run my knee continues to give me some issues, im more aware that this has happened as I need to strengthen my quadraceps and so I best start adding in another lot of exercises, but I have some 6/7 weeks until I start parks 4 and 5 and so I can take extra time to rest and recharge.