I like to try and get in at least one run a month which is at least a half marathon distance. If I’m not feeling very inspired then this would involve running to Morecambe, doing Morecambe Prom parkrun (read about it here) and then run home again. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling inspired to drive up to the car park at the top of Jubilee Tower and run from there. Unfortunately I headed up the wrong shooter’s track.
Second attempt and I drove to Tarnbrook, a farm in between the two big road climbs of Jubilee Tower and The Trough. Parking up a couple of km before the farm the first section was on road, before heading into the open access land, generally the preserve of pheasant shooters. It is still pheasant season, so I decided that if I saw anyone who looked like they were shooting I would turn back. I don’t think that I look like a pheasant, but I didn’t want to take the risk.
I’ve been up Clougha Pike a few times and across to Grit Fell, but I’d never run from Tarnbrook Fell. One good thing about the shooter’s tracks is that they are great for running, even in road shoes, although I did walk up the steeper sections. Linking the summits of Grit Fell and Ward’s Stone is a footpath, which was fairly easy to follow, even when the fog descended.
For safety I was wearing my running vest with water, gels, food, compass, whistle, paper map, phone (with digital map) and a foil space blanket. I had also told my wife where I was going.
Ward’s Stone apparently is the highest peak in the Forest of Bowland, although I couldn’t see a thing at the top, and if it wasn’t for the Trig Point I might not have known that I had reached the top. Definitely a little bit of Type II fun to be had there. I started to descend slowly and carefully, not wanting an accident, knowing that there is almost zero phone reception. Saying that, Timpson did manage to send me a text letting me know that my dry cleaning was ready to collect.
Halfway down the other side and the path splits at a fence. From here the route was fairly straight forward; just keep the fence to my left until I join another shooters track. Downhill all the way back to the farm, with only a couple more km back to the car. I was surprised by how good I felt during the last road section, and I even managed Lancaster parkrun (slowly) the next day.
Final distance was 22km with 633m of climbing. One of the best runs that I’ve done. I was buzzing when I returned home. What is a shame is that I can’t run with Nelly, our unruly Pointer, as the whole area is strictly ‘no dogs’. However, the notice at the start of the shooter’s track with the ‘No Dogs’ sign, also stated that it doesn’t apply to dogs under effective control on Public Rights of Way. Am I right in taking that to mean that as long as Nelly is on a lead and we don’t stray off the footpaths onto the areas where birds are nesting, I can run with her?
Additionally, the shooter’s tracks would be fantastic on a bike, but again, definitely not allowed.
Next time that I’m up there I will try to run to Wolfhole Crag.