By now you should have seen that driving somewhere to go for your one form of daily exercise is liable for a £30 fine, as it is deemed to be unnecessary travel. I absolutely agree as the scenes on Snowdonia last week were a disgrace, and I don’t blame the Lake District for stating that they are closed.
Our planned run in the north Howgills obviously had to be curtailed. Instead we went for a run from our front door, heading onto a few footpaths that Helen and I had never run.
We set off up the large hill past the park, dropping down before climbing again. Near to the top was a footpath on the right, our first footpath of the day, and into a field full of chicken sheds. All too often when a footpath goes through or near to a farm, there is a dearth of signs, as there was here. I knew from the map that the path went straight through the farmyard, but there was a Heath Robinson style electric fence to duck under, before we came to a ‘Bull in field’ sign. It is illegal to allow a bull to roam free in a field where there is a footpath. There was no bull, but at the other side of the field, where a style should be was a broken stone wall with barbed wire strung across the top. Fortunately we could open the gate, just. This is one farmer who really doesn’t want anyone to use the footpaths through his land. However, there was a great view of Langthwaite Reservoir, which can’t be seen from the road, as well as Blea Tarn Reservoir, seen below.
Joining the road we ran down the steep Proctor Moss Road and then up onto our second footpath. We walked up the grassy field to a broken style, over a small stream, over a small fence and into another large field, before once again joining the road. On the map there was another footpath opposite where we came out, but on the ground there wasn’t a sign anywhere. We therefore stayed on the road until we reached a farm track which dropped down to a ford. I’ve run and cycled over this ford a few times, and in winter when the water level is too high to use the stepping stones, your feet don’t half get cold. Nelly decided not to use the stepping stones.
Another missed footpath before we joined the University Trim Trail. Dogs are not allowed on campus, but seeing at the Uni was closed we risked it. We’d run along this trail for a Santa Dash in December 2018 (read about it here), and it is kept in very good condition.
At the end of the trail we sat on a handy felled tree for a few minutes, giving Nelly a drink and having a snack. Down into Bailrigg, and if you didn’t know where the footpath is, you would think it was someones drive. It wasn’t clearly marked, but it took us across a couple of fields (a planning application for 700 houses has been submitted for these fields) and into Hala.
Through Hala we followed Burrow Beck until we reached the Barton Road Playing fields. We let Nelly off the lead for a romp and to find some poo to roll in. She’s the best dog in the world. From there it was a steady run back home. We’d been out for almost exactly two hours and run almost nine miles, taking it nice and easy.
It isn’t always easy trying to find new and exciting routes from your front door, but in these times of trouble exploring closer to home can be just as rewarding as driving somewhere.