Yesterday was bright and sunny; a perfect day for running the Six Dales Circuit, organised by the Staffordshire Group of the Long Distance Walkers Association. The 25 miles route went through six Derbyshire dales; Biggin Dale, Wolfscote Dale, Beresford Dale, Lathkill Dale, Bradford Dale and Long Dale. This was the first time we’d run this route, so on Friday night I spent some time cutting the sticky edges of post-it notes into triangles and using them to mark the route on the Ordnance Survey White Peak Map.
All was going well until we got to Crowdecote. Richard slipped with map and compass in hand and managed to land on a rock, breaking his compass and impaling it into his hand! Thankfully his hand was only grazed slightly, but unfortunately the housing of the (very expensive, fast settling) compass cracked, which resulted in the mineral oil spewing all over the map bag, through the holes in the map bag and onto the map, where it solubilised the post-it note glue, resulting in the post-it note waymarkers moving around somewhat. Who would have predicted that!! Anyway thankfully we had written instructions and Richard had memorised the route anyway, so all was not lost (except for a little blood).
The first section of monotony was the High Peak Trail. It’s not only flat, uneventful and slightly dull, but it was also really hard underfoot. Richard and I have become accustomed to running over endless bogs, which are physically demanding and ankle twisting, but are extremely forgiving on the muscles and joints… in comparison the hardness of the High Peak Trail was painful.
After a few miles we cam off the trail, crossed the A515 at the Bull i’ th’ Thorn Hotel and headed across to Monyash. Here we were greeted with a fantastic spread of food. We ate some hot cheesy oatcakes and malt loaf and then without delay set off to Lathkill Dale.
Whilst Lathkill Dale is pretty, and fairly natural, the path was again pretty solid underfoot and I could feel my muscles tightening up and my stride becoming shorter. Thankfully though I was running with a chap called John, which eased the discomfort. After some time we turned off into Bradford Dale and then detoured to Middleton to another checkpoint, where more food was awaiting us :-).
The last 6 miles back to Biggin were quite hard. Our speed had gone from a run, to a jog, to a plod and then a shuffle. The distance wasn’t a problem, but my muscles did not enjoy the terrain. And, today … I haven’t ached this much for years!