Sunday, 18 September 2011

LMH Recce - 16/09/2011

Stormy skies over Corndon Hill from the Stiperstones

I managed to finish work a little early on Friday afternoon after a couple of late evenings earlier in the week, so I headed out to the Stiperstones car park to finesse the recce I'd done on 31st July. I had a few new pointers from friends who've done the Longmynd Hike, so I bore these in mind as I headed round.

I wanted to do the Stiperstones - Earl's Hill - Bank Farm - Shelve section again just to get it off pat.

The first mile across the Stiperstones is rough and almost unrunnable, and I certainly plan to walk most of this on the day - it'd just be too easy to ruin everything by turning an ankle up there. This time I stopped and took a picture or two...

Running up to Manstone Rock and the trig point
Running down the ridge past Blakemoorflat
I headed straight along the ridge to Blakemoorgate and through the middle of the band of conifers there, before making a bit of a mess of negotiating the field above Upper Vessons Farm. Staying on the main track here might lose 30 seconds over an ideal line, but it's pretty hard to find that ideal line, and rough if you don't.

From the start of the road, I'm unconvinced about the field crossing to Habberley. There's a narrow section along the edge of a maize field (will it have been harvested in two weeks' time?) and the biggest field has recently been cultivated and will be a nightmare if it's wet. Probably best to use the road in the wet but the fields if its dry...

I think I've got the ascent of Earl's Hill off, after a friendly reminder as to where the path starts (right on the LH bend in Habberley, not by the pub) from a local.

Looking south from Earl's Hill with another shower coming in...
Coming down, this time I retraced steps to Habberley and then took the road to Bank Farm, which seems both shorter and easier, although climbing on the road is a bit of a drag.

From Bank Farm this time I stayed low, skirting round the edge of the woods under Maddox's Coppice, past Coppice Farm to Snailbeach. This is better and easier than going over the top. In Snailbeach I didn't have the best line - keeping left just in the woods and staying above the workings looks to be more direct than my route via Snailbeach Farm and Lower Works Road.

From Snailbeach to Tankerville is a pretty grim two mile slog along the road, mostly steadily uphill. This is one of the tiresome bits of the route, along with the climb to High Park and the ascent of Black Rhadley (both on roads and uphill). At least this time I found the public footpath towards Shelve (starts at an unpromising hole in the hedge just before a "Pennerley" sign.

The next bit over the hill towards Shelve is straightforward as long as you trust yourself to find the stiles - they appear as you crest rises in the middle of each field. The last bit up to the Shelve checkpoint is uphill, but not too bad - it's fairly short...

I ran back along the road to the Bog car park and then up the waymarked path to cut off the hairpins, and finished with half a mile of road back to the car park.

16.4 miles with 2,500' of climbing in 3:27: I very comfortable taking just under 12:40 per mile on average.

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