Sunday, 28 July 2013

Wild Running in Weardale.


On Saturday 27th July 0600 Stu Ferguson set off from Wolsingham in Weardale, the most northerly of the Durham Dales on a linear route following the southern skyline of the dale. The route to finish by the roadside at Killhope Cross above Nenthead. The route took just under 7 hours covering 28 miles and around 3000 feet of ascent. The route covers high exposed moorland, tough underfoot terrain of prolonged heather bashing, up and down peat hags, tussocks with few tracks. The ground was reasonably dry but there was still many wet marshs and peat area’s for Stu to get stuck in, knee deep but there were also some great fast running sections.

The Old Man of Bollihope.

With only the moorland birds for company, the route starts with descent track till the Old Man of Bollihope the route then follows the harsh terrain and it is relentless. Stu had to use navigation skills, map and compass [ no GPS was carried ]  on a number of occasion to ensure staying en route, there are many new fence lines and grouse shooting roads which are not mapped. Being a solo and unsupported run, this meant that Stu was totally self sufficient , meaning no road side checkpoints with coffee and cakes. He got the food right but not the liquid with 2 bottle of 500ml, he had about 100ml left at Chapel Fell Top, so having a good look at the map, his best bet for a top up was a largest pond at High Field GR 820359, well the water was kind of stagnant [ this is really not recommend to drink with our some kind of water purification ] but kind of tasted OK and 2 bottles filled up which was just enough to get to Killhope Cross. The good news in that today all body functions working as normal.
                                                              Looking to Chapel Fell Top.

Running lightweight means that you have to compromise on non essentials and stick to essentials such as for this run, Map and Compass, food, water, mobile phone [ emergency use only ], cash,  first aid kit, emergency blanket, waterproof top and bottom carried in small lightweight pack.

                                                                          Burnhope Seat.

The route visited 16 principle hills above 1,500 feet, with many over 2,000 feet in the following order Five Pikes, Pawlaw Pike, Harnisha Hill, Outberry Plain, James Hill, Dora’s Seat, Fendith Hill, Chapel Fell Top, Noon Hill, Three Pikes, Great Stoney Hill, Scaud Hill, Burnhope Seat, Dead Stones, Nags Head and Knoutberry Hill.
This is wild adventure running at it’s best and something the Durham Dales and North Pennines has in abundance.

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