Testing Testing 1-2…

…3km test run completed in about 20 mins or so – twice this week!  And a 6k walk up and around Gadding Dam today in strong winds.

Gaddings Dam

After 10 weeks, and with a lot of encouragement from ‘whiplash’ physio, finally braved a test run on Wednesday, a very slow and gentle 3 km.  Foot still obviously not right and back very stiff and painful following car crash but it was good to be at least moving in a vaguely run like manner!

Repeated test run again after Friday’s physio session had loosened me up and back felt a little better but stiffened badly afterwards.  I’m confident that problem should improve in the short-medium term, but it’s clear that my peroneus brevi tendon problem will continue to hamper any efforts at motion.

After my tendon brought me to a shuddering halt in April 2013, when I couldn’t even walk for 2 months nevermind run, at least I can now get my foot to function, if still painful.  However, the NHS has in the main been worse than useless, ranging from a prescription for NSAIDs when no inflammation is present in the tendon (and goes against common thinking) which just resulted in messing my stomach up for months that they then had no interest in dealing with; to a disgracefully disinterested GP telling me that “ALL sprained ankles heal fully within 10 weeks” and pretty much saying that if I am still suffering after 8 years then I am lying, accompanied by a refusal to ever see me again about it!

Fortunately the ‘foot’ physio was slightly better qualified – and could actually be bothered to carry out an examination unlike the incompetent GP –  to narrow the main problem down to a degenerated tendon.  The podiatrist was also of the opinion that I did have a real problem too, so not all in my head then! After initial rehab exercises failed to lift the ‘block’ I had in operating my foot without agonising pain, I was moved on to acupuncture and had a miracle improvement after 1 session, instantfr15_11_2013075523ly being able to walk again.  Even with some pain it was such a relief after weeks of despair.

There was sadly little further improvement with following sessions and so have been cast on the rubbish heap as far as the NHS is concerned, with a “well, you’ll just have to live with being crippled” goodbye.  If I can dodge the incompetent GP then there maybe a possible option to pursue surgery, but with a 60-40 chance of it making it worse it’s not really a solution I’m going to press for, even if I could persuade them to spare the funds.  There appears to be a second issue with my ankle-foot but whether it is a consequence of the tendon or a completely separate problem is destined to remain a mystery!

After years of things improving to a point where my foot breaks down, rest and repeat, I need a radical new approach after the last catastrophic halt… as they say insanity/stupidity is repeating the same thing and expecting a different result.  Prior to the car crash I felt like I was making a little progress but was getting dragged into too much too soon again, so it will be hard but will be working on a ‘no speeding’ approach this time.

After much internet research, I am looking at a recovery plan involving 3 months of low effort running (HR zone 3 and below), whilst simultaneously continuing with rehab exercises with the aim of retraining my biomechanics to take some of the strain off the tendon and back to where it should be.  Assuming this happens relatively pain free the next stage would then be to focus on building distance with any speed gains occurring organically rather than deliberately.

After nearly totally giving up on running last year, maybe there is a faint glimmer of hope reflecting off the storm clouds above the blackened horizon?



Green & Black

A variation on one of my favourite routes, an 11km circular from The White House on the A58.Green Withins & Blackstone Edge

A little downhill and opposite the pub, there is a short steep climb up the obvious path leading onto a level path that always has puddles on it.

The drain can be followed, but I prefer the less trod option by taking a small footbridge over the drain and cutting up diagonally on a narrow path rejoining the roman road near the Aiggin Stone to begin the loop.

Take the option to continue on the quieter section of the roman road which becomes increasingly wet and less distinct, dropping down to cross a drain to reach a clear permitted path and turn right, following the drain until a T-junction wooden signpost.

Turn right-ish and follow the clear path that wriggles south east, as the M62 motorway first comes into hearing and then view, with Green Withins Reservoir filling the hollow.

Green Withins

The path gets a little wetter and weaker before you cross a major drain and turn right onto the hard track that leads down and around the reservoir.

Turn right to follow a small drain before reaching the road and a short climb then takes you onto the Pennine Way, near the Windy Hill footbridge.

Windy Hill

With a new 800m section of stone flags this is now an even easier return over Blackstone Edge.Blackstone Edge


Still a little rusty but starting to feel a little fitter and almost ready to try a test run.

Sunset and Spine

A short late afternoon wander around Gaddings Dam, in the hope of catching the lead runners in The Spine Race.

There are actually two races, the main event follows the full 270 miles  of the Pennine Way, whilst the ‘short’ Challenger is a mere 108 miles.  Both start simultaneously in Edale and travel northwards, experiencing relatively kind weather this year with just the odd snow shower, gales and rain storms.

Using the excellent live online tracking it was possible to follow the progress of the runners as they approached but other commitments meant a descent back home just before the first came through along Warland drain, the competitors continued to trickle through throughout the night but I resisted the temptation to go back up at midnight, maybe next year!

Not a wasted journey, as managed to catch a great sunset at the Basin Stone.

Sunset at the Basin Stone


Gaddings Dam

Looking over Gaddings Dam – only a slight filter!


A New Year walk to the ‘Rain’ stanza stone, one of a set of themed poetry stones found across the South Pennine moors, appropriately undertaken in heavy rain and wind.

After a frustrating 2013 spent unable to run or even walk at times, I decided on New Year’s Eve that I would get out more in 2014 and rediscovered these whilst browsing the web trying to decide on a walk.  I’d originally heard about them last year but at the time walking more than a few metres was impossible so slipped from my mind.

The Rain Stone is situated in Cow’s Mouth Quarry, just off the Pennine Way about 1 mile from the A58, but we walked from The Shepherd’s Rest past Gaddings Dam.   From the main path, especially in the rain, it would be easy to run/walk past without noticing them if you didn’t know, just an unregistered lighter patch of rock in the corner of your eye.

Rain Stanza Stone

Rain Stanza Stone


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Rain Stanza Stone

Rain Stanza Stone


Be glad of these freshwater tears,

each pearled droplet some salty old sea-bullet

air-lifted out of the waves, then laundered and sieved, recast as a soft bead and returned.

And no matter how much it strafes or sheets, it is no mean feat to catch one raindrop clean in the mouth,

to take one drop on the tongue, tasting cloud-pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky.

Let it teem, up here where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world.

Commissioned by the Ilkley Literature Festival, written by Simon Armitage and carved by Pip Hall, there are six stanza stones, plus a secret seventh at an undisclosed location, located across the Pennine Watershed.

More information can be found in this guide.