Keeping with my plan that every other Friday should be a long run I decided to give Ward’s Stone another go. Ward’s Stone is the highest peak in the Forest of Bowland and one of the highest peaks in Lancashire, topping out at 561m. I’ve run up there before almost 18 months ago, when I started from Tarnbrook (read about it here). This time the plan was to start and finish at the small car park at the top of Littledale. This wasn’t the first time that I had attempted this route, as just over a year ago I started out but turned back due to snow (read about it here).
Anyway, the weather was much warmer and there was even a bit of sun as I set out. I was running in trail shoes as over half of the route was off-road and then only a couple of miles on-road. The first mile was all downhill and then the next four all uphill. I’ve been up the shooter’s track many times but I’m always surprised by how steep and long the climb is. It was also quite windy so I pulled on my gloves. There is also a magnificent Andy Goldsworthy land art sculpture just off the path which is well worth a look.
Soon I was at the Clougha Pike footpath crossing and unlike the previous times I could see the top of Ward’s Stone and the footpath to get there. I tried to dodge most of the standing water, but fell running in Lancashire is always wet. At the top I took a photo from the trig point and then headed along the plateau to the next trig point.
Once the path started to drop I was on the look out for a long fence. Follow the fence to the right and you end up in Tarnbrook, to the left takes you back to Littledale. This short section was the only part of the route which I’d never done before, and it was classic fell trods, or tussocks. Very difficult to run on as well as being very wet. I also had the wind in the face at this point and when the hail arrived I quickly pulled on my hat.
I tried to hurry down the fell to escape the worst of the wind and hail, only tumbling over the once. The footpath here doesn’t really exist so I just followed the breadcrumb trail on my watch. Soon the hail stopped and I was down in the Roeburndale Valley. After a short climb the muddy track soon joined the road and one last climb and I was back at the car.
Almost 19km with 667m of climbing is what I call a good run, and as an added bonus my legs didn’t feel too tired the following morning.
Strava activity can be found here.
Next time that I run in the area I might start from Tarnbrook again and head up to Wolfhole Crag, which is almost as high as Ward’s Stone. It is fantastic to have these amazing fells within a couple of miles of where we live.