Out on the moors today running in a navigational event, put on by the Saddleworth Runners: Not The New Chew. Big, big thanks to Jill Davie (Sue Hinde) and helpers for an excellent jaunt. Nice to do a “big one” after time out with bashed ribs.
Checkpoints were placed across the Saddleworth Moors with points allocated to each checkpoint depending on difficulty to find and distance from start. I chose the Short Course, giving me three hours to get as many checkpoints in that time. If you are late you lose 3 points per minute over You had four hours if you fancied the Long Course.
I managed 13.5 miles starting from the Cross Keys pub above Uppermill and ran to A, B E, M, Q, R, J, and G, giving 195 points., but I was 17 minutes late and lost 51 points, but I came first for the Short Course! A result.
It was a long old slog, but was glad of route choice. Clear day, but the wind was head on in places, and hard work moving from R to J when heading for Birchen Clough where there were neither paths or trods but tussocks galore. On reaching G above Ashway Rocks I realised that I had a task ahead to make my way back to the Cross Keys via Alderman and Pots and Pans in order to be under my three hour time limit. The climb up Alderman from the Binn Green car park was hard on tired legs and it was at this point I’d hit my three hours, which them meant a pelt back from Alderman/Pots and Pans to Pobgreen to minimise my time over. Thankfully it was downhill.
On reaching the Cross Keys pub I was tired and welcomed a change of clothing and food with the motley posse.
A great day out, and made all the better by getting back to a coffee a nice fire, my wife and dog, Finding Nemo, and Return of the Jedi!
FLICKR PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/8W5b5D
Footnote: Today should have been the actual New Chew race but was cancelled due to permission not being given by Natural England; it’s a little more complex than that. Point is that as a club we were disappointed to have cancelled a very popular event on the Saddleworth Moors after a lot of effort put in by the Race Organiser Sue Hinde and helpers. It is a long standing race. It appears initially that Natural England are taking a strict approach to land usage which is to be welcomed. For example when running today I saw MTB tracks on a trod running to the Chew Reservoir dam from Dove Stone rock. In my opinion unacceptable to be up there in wintery conditions that wrecks the peat, furthermore rocks had been put down to make a cycle route. But this is an example and certainly don’t want to single out all MTB people. Everyone can and should enjoy the land, and that comes with obligations. That said and after the rant I do feel that Natural England are taking too hard a line with established and once yearly races run by people who care about the landscape, and who often collect litter for example. A balance has to be struck, surely that is common sense.)