Feb 12 12
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Last week, Elsie and her team found themselves short of a runner for the High Peak Marathon in early March. When asked whether I could step in, I couldn’t decline the chance to run 43 miles around the Derwent watershed in the middle of the night, so I said yes.

So, in preparation Richard and I met up with one of the team, Amy, to run the section of the HPM route from Cutthroat Bridge (on the A57 up the road from Ladybower) to the top of Snake Pass. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing to get the cars in position, we set off from Cutthroat Bridge at about 10.30. The route made its way along Derwent Edge and then along to White Tor. On inspection of the map after the event, we note that we passed a place called ‘Cakes of bread’ near here, which I think we should have visited. Anyway, after passing the cakes, we made our way past Back Tor and across the top of the Abbey Brook to Featherbed Moss, from where we continued along an edge to Margery Hill and on to Swains Head. Here we had a short discussion about whether or not we would get to our car before dark and decided to make the decision at the next possible escape route. This point soon came and went and we kept going. Our next landmark on the featureless bleak moorland was Bleaklow Stones. After more featureless moorland, we arrived at Bleaklow Hill, which was equally as featureless. From there we had the easy job of finding the Pennine Way… It should have been easy, but it still took another 25 minutes and numerous glances at the map before we finally found it. From here, the route back to Snake Pass was simple and we made it with at least an hour to spare before dark.

Happy runners

On the route - with the Edale Valley in the background

Map reading by the mushroom-shaped rock

It was a very nice, wild run and the ground conditions were surprisingly ok considering that there was 0.5 m of snow in places. All the icy bits had thawed sufficiently not to be too slippy, and the snow was not too physically-demanding to run through. We did get quite cold toes though. Towards the end of the route, some of the snow had thawed leaving lines on all the peat hags… it was very zebra-like, hence the title!

On arrival at the car we ate some of the sticky toffee pudding cake that I’d made over the weekend. It tasted very good :-)

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