Thursday, 10 February 2011

Long Run - 07/02/2011

Below Ragleth Hill

I managed to get a few hours to myself this afternoon and so I headed out to Church Stretton. It was very windy, and still blowing from the south, so I devised a route that would get me up on the hills running generally south to north and then return lower down and hopefully out of the worst of the wind.

I started from my usual parking spot on Watling Street and headed up towards Ragleth Hill. I didn't find the route we'd used a couple of weeks earlier on a Tuesday night, but did climb out of town on a pleasant route up a little valley and past Snatchfield Farm to reach the Ragdon Road by a small quarry. 200 yards south west is the path up to Ragleth Hill.

As I got up onto the ridge, the full force of the wind hit me for the first time. I really struggled to maintain any kind of momentum as I headed along the ridge into the wind, aiming for the post at the south west top. Coming back was much easier, though.

I crossed the main Longville Road and headed up towards the Gaerstone, climbing well and mostly out of the wind until I got to the ridge. From here I was pretty much blown up the ridge to the 426m summit of Hope Bowdler Hill. I continued over the col to Willstone Hill. Coming back I had to run hard on the level into the wind to make any progress.

From the col I dropped down to the little plantation at Cwms Cottage, then headed across the west shoulder of Caer Caradoc to pick up the Skyline route south of Little Caradoc, and run down to Comley Farm. Near the farm were the first snowdrops I've seen out this year, about a month later than usual.

Overexposed Comley snowdrops
I continued on over the Lawley - the strong wind helped me to run the upper part of the ascent. The weathervane on the summit was clattering about a bit! I ran on along the ridge to the north east - I haven't been along here for about ten years...

The Lawley from its long north east ridge
At the end of the ridge I turned almost back on myself and took the path which follows the bottom of the west face of the Lawley and Caer Caradoc back towards Church Stretton. I was quite tired on this section and had to have a brief walking break - I think the rapid climbing was catching up with me, and maybe Saturday's racing too. Anyway a drink and a couple of Jelly Babies fixed it, and I jogged back the rest of the way fairly comfortably. The path climbs a bit towards the south end of caradoc, but it's nice single track at that point and so it didn't seem an imposition...

A nice jog across the field and down Cwms Lane took me back to the car. Today's run was 14.0 miles and 2,980' of ascent. I felt ok considering the racing at the weekend and 3 hours and 2 minutes was a pretty reasonable time considering this was (mostly) done at an easy effort level.

Today's route - anti-clockwiseround both loops
Today's profile (with the DEM elevations)
The climb at the end is the traverse round Caer Caradoc - more ascent than it seems

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