This weekend was a long weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, a part of the country I have never visited before. It was a wonderful weekend of running on fells and trails and relaxing by a log fire, in the Yorkshire Dales. I can’t remember what I used to do on holiday before running dominated all holiday plans.
Public transport is very limited in this part of the world, much more so than Snowdonia or the Lake District. I can’t drive and we don’t have a car so running was the perfect way to go further than if we were walking. We stayed in Settle which is accessible by train, on the famous Settle-Carlisle railway, and it proved to be the perfect base for challenging runs.
Malham Cove and Goredale Scar are fairly close to Settle but not easily accessible by public transport (although there is a bus from Skipton which we used to get back to the railway and on to our base). Following the Settle Loop route which is part of the Pennine Bridleway, the run involved rough tracks and lots and lots of mud. We ran over the Bridleway, then dropped down to the top of Malham Cove, ran across to Goredale, then back along the river into Malham finishing with a view of Malham Cove from below.
My navigation skills were a bit off at the start, so we ended up doing a couple of miles of proper fell running to get to the lanes and bridle path. Definitely more fun than starting with a couple of miles of lanes though. Starting at around 500ft and climbing to 1200ft within the first mile was tough. Especially as the steepest part of that was up a muddy grassy hill slope (what did I say about fells being more fun than lanes?!). My lungs and legs felt ready to explode.
There was snow on the tops between Settle and Malham too. Bitterly cold so very glad for all my warm layers. Despite having a rucksack full of warm layers to put on at the pub for the journey back, I realised I’d forgotten clean dry socks. Must always remember fresh socks.
Navigational errors also resulted in a pointless run up a hill with a 14% gradient warning sign. Malham Cove was stunning, although the limestone rocks were horrible to walk on in my Saucony Peregrine trail shoes. Goredale Scar was beautiful too.
I attempted to record the run on my Garmin but there was so much stopping and starting, for map reading, rests, and to take photos of the amazing scenery, that it kept going into power save mode. So I’ve plotted the route very roughly. It works out somewhere around 12 miles with 2240ft of hills. I am trying not to care about time or pace and just enjoy it. After all it was a run about challenging myself to different terrain and taking in the fantastic scenery. Walking to Malham and Goredale Scar would have been a very long day, whereas we fitted in all the sights and a pub trip within the space of 4 hours!