Sometimes I hate my stern inner voice. No more so than when grinding to a halt up the grassy slope through the mist, with steamed up spectacles, that leads to the track which in turn eases its way to the top of the fell. Readers, I felt like a lardy pudding, with legs like string and lungs with the strength of wet paper and the capacity of an acorn. Grumbling, I ground on and then, as is so often the way, Nature offered a reward. This time it was a skylark (or at least, it sounded uncannily like a skylark. I'm no ornithologist, but I presumed it was overwintering up on the moor) trilling joyfully, maybe at the thought of the oncoming spring. At once my spirits lifted - as did the mist - and all of a sudden the running got easier as I went down off the fell and discovered a new footpath that avoided having to come out of Staveley on the road.
The river was lower than I expected, the woods were full of snowdrops and vivid green leaves of bluebells which promise a beautiful show to follow.
Only one dog out today - a lovely little long-haired spaniel that was determinedly pulling its owner along. "She's on her way home to her breakfast" said her owner. So was I. And after 9.79 miles, with 1,178ft of ascent/descent, at an average pace of 11.05, and a shower, I got to it. And as I munched I thought of ultrarunning collie doing 19 miles and 12 miles and planning a C2C of 190 miles. And my little effort seemed rather pathetic. But the skylark was wonderful.
Smile rating 3/10 pre-skylark, 8/10 post-.