Let us take you on a journey to discover some of Britain’s spectacular mountains, forests and coastal trails, perfect for a wild run.
It’s still early as I leave the campsite and start running towards Kinder Reservoir. There’s no one around yet and I wonder if I’ll see anyone on my run.
It’s warmer than I thought and I have to slow to a walk at the bottom of William Clough to take off my windproof.
As I start running again I look up and a Ring Ouzel takes off from the path in front of me. Brilliant! I reach the main Pennine Way path where I turn right to follow the skyline along an exciting boulder-strewn path. It’s fun to run fast along the next section, the gritstone boulders are secure under my feet and it’s a great technical challenge to pick the best lines through and over the rocks.
I hop up to the trig point on Kinder Low, lay my hand on it for a moment and then start the descent. Initially the path through the peaty section isn’t obvious but I soon hit the paved section where the running is very fast. The bridleway channels me back off the hill towards Hayfield, on larger angular rocks, but with my speed high I float over them, barely landing.
Point to point
The Dark Peak forms the higher, wilder northern part of the Peak District, lying mainly in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. On these high moorland plateaus, the Millstone Grit creates a dark and brooding landscape, often peaty and waterlogged underfoot.
The famous gritstone outcrops form an inverted horseshoe shape around the lower limestone White Peak. The highest points of the Dark Peak include Kinder Scout at 636m and Bleaklow at 610m. This area is home to the infamous High Peak Marathon, a 42-mile navigational challenge for teams of four.
This already sizeable challenge is further enhanced by being held at night, in March – when snow often still lies on the ground, icy gales blast across the open moorland and driving rain brings added misery to those lonely pre-dawn hours.
By day, and in good weather, the running in the Dark Peak is outstanding, with hundreds of miles of great trails covering the fells. It’s easily accessed from Manchester and Sheffield, and dotted with pleasant villages with train stations. The Pennine Way begins its 276-mile journey northwards from Edale and provides challenging, waymarked running.
The Kinder Trespass was a 500-strong march demonstrating against the closure of moorland to walkers (and runners!). Access was granted in 1932. Our run follows the route of the Trespass from the banks for the river Kinder, upwards to the Pennine Way at Ashop Head.
Dramatic views open out over moorland and rugged gritstone cliffs. Visit fellrunner.org.uk for more routes.
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