Monday, 1 August 2011

Long Run / LMH Recce - 31/07/2011

Hot work on the summit of Earl's Hill, despite the early hour...
Today's effort was a 13.5 miler taking in the Stiperstones, Habberley, Earl's Seat, Snailbeach and the Stiperstones (again). I was partly doing a recce for this section of the Long Mynd Hike.

Starting at 0830 was a good way to get things done... I parked up at the Stiperstones car park and took the lower path past Hollies Farm and then up to Shepherd's Rock.

It was misty first thing, looking up from the path near the Hollies to the Devil's Chair

Shepherd's Rock from the Hollies
I ran north east down the ridge through Blakemoorgate and then turned east to pass through Upper Vessons Farm, before picking up the road to Habberley. There's a path across the fields here which we used on the Pontesbury Potter: it's more direct and easier than the road I think. I ran on through Habberley and out on the lane past Lower Farm, staying just north of Habberley Brook. I had to negotiate a few cows and a gazillion flies at the field gate turning north to get to Earl's Hill. I started up to the south ridge just into the woods and should have gone 200m further north which would have avoided the need to climb one fence and roll under another in the woods as I got on the ridge. There's a very steep section just above the wood before the route flattens out a bit to climb gently through iron age fortifications to the summit of Earl's Hill.

Final 200m towards the summit of Earl's Hill.
From the top I cut across to the descent down the side of the wood used on the Pontesbury Fell Race, but continued down where the killer ascent starts on the race to come out at the Nills Farm drive across fields and a minor road at the bottom. Going through the buildings at Nills Farm, I had a premature attempt to climb to the ridge at Polesgate, taking an impassible route somewhere between the two footpaths. Error corrected I headed up through the quarries in Poles Coppice to reach Bank Farm, the next checkpoint on the Long Mynd Hike.

From Bank Farm I made the long steady climb through Eastridge Wood, mostly walking, and drank the last of my water. I didn't think I'd make it back to the Stiperstones along the ridge in comfort with no more fluid, so I dropped down into Snailbeach and filled up in the loos there.

To get back on the ridge I climbed the lovely valley of Crow's Nest Dingle (OK it's a mess at the bottom by the farm, but the top two thirds is good). I managed to run very steadily most of the way up... At the top I turned left and climbed to the main Stiperstones ridge path, raching this about half a mile north of Shepherd's Rock.

Just tovary the route on the way back to the car I went via the Devil's Chair and Manstone Rock. The path on this section is very rough and I find running almost impossible for any length of time. Good practice for the Lakes or Snowdonia, though.

Think this is the Devil's Chair (R) but stand to be corrected!
The run down to the car park isn't so bad though and I was soon doing some warm down stretches before heading back to Telford.

The Runkeeper thing had a complete wobbly after about mile 8, so the mileage and ascent are from the map: 13.5 miles and 2,650' in a very very steady 3 hours 25 minutes (this included a couple of biref stops and is just under the 4mph I'd like to maintain on the Hike).

I wore my new Saucony Peregrine trail shoes (yet to be convinced - they're ok but my right foot was slopping about a bit and I think the backs might irritate my poorly achilles tendons) and also new Inov8 coolmax socks (excellent).

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