Friday, 12 February 2010

Almost Spring? – 6 February

Another sunny Saturday morning might seem to be suggesting Spring isn’t too far away and, as ever, I am seeking signs that the “winter slog” of grinding out training miles might be about to turning into something much more enjoyable. Next weekend, with both the Anglezark Amble (24 miles) on Saturday and Winter Hill fell race (11 miles) on Sunday,  is the first real test of my winter training. This will be a fairly tough weekend and I wanted a sort of “preliminary test” to confirm I was ready to do both and as Ray, who is a Bob Graham Aspirant, was joining me I thought a “Grand Tour” of Winter Hill with four ascents on part of the race route would be about right. With the days beginning to lengthen our 08:00 start was well after first light but still early enough to catch some of the morning golden glow.

Winter Hill (1 of 5) By the quarries looking over Horwich and the Lancashire Plain


Winter Hill (2 of 5)Over Bolton with Manchester beyond under waves of cloud

Although initially cold the sun wasn’t long in bringing real warmth to the morning and although the frozen ground and if occasional icy patch hadn’t reminded us it wasn’t really Spring it would have been easy to believe Summer was only a few weeks away. It is as well for both of us that the year isn’t so advanced because many more miles of running and feet of climbing are needed before the big challenges of the year are faced.

Winter Hill (3 of 5) The “Blue Lagoon” with Belmont Church beyond

Despite the “Spring Illusion” the sunshine and the blue sky were trying to conjure up the moorland hasn’t yet awakened and the bracken lies brown everywhere with trees standing bare like silent signposts.


Winter Hill (4 of 5)North westerly face in shadow for many more weeks


Winter Hill (5 of 5)Trees below Rivington Pike with Pike Cottage beyond

Perhaps it was the warmth of the near Spring sunshine, perhaps my winter training is beginning to come together, I am not entirely sure but with 20 miles and almost four and half thousand feet of climbing in my legs I felt exhilarated at the end of wonderful Winter Hill morning. I only hope I feel half as good next weekend.


  1. I'm highly jealous. It seems so long since I've seen the sun I can hardly remember what it's like.

    It would seem Winter hill was the only place in the entire UK to have sun. We had the delights of yet more sleet/snow.

  2. I just hope it is the same tomorrow and Sunday because otherwise it is going to be a very tough weekend indeed

  3. yup, you've just jinxed it! enjoy the snow ;)