I am really into my running at the moment.
I'm not claiming to be a good runner. I'm not. I'm a slow runner. But I love it all the same.
This is the gate I go through when I run on the fells.
It's a bit like one of those magic entrances in children's fiction. C S Lewis' wardrobe. Lewis Carroll's rabbit hole. Enid Blyton's tree.
When I am through that gate I feel free and happy and empty and absolutely knackered.
Fell running is about running in the hills. Sometimes on tracks. Sometimes through wild grass. Sometimes knee deep through mud and bog. For some people it is about speed. But not for me.
I've got this route I do. Up from the Shepherd's Rest pub above Todmorden, into the Pennines past Gaddings Dam, all the way round Warland Reservoir and back to the pub. Six miles exactly. An ascent of about 400 feet.
Today I did it for the first time under and hour. It felt good. Really good.
But I don't just do it to be faster. I like to see how the tops change as the seasons change. In January the paths became rivers of ice. In July they were hard-packed and dusty. One day a grassy area will be bouncy and easy going: the next it will suck your feet deep into the hillside. You get different birds (like curlews and geese) and animals (like deer) up there. Occassionally even humans.
Two days ago I miscalculated the light and had to walk the last two miles because it went very dark. It was so beautiful up there.
One day I'll enter a proper fell race. One day.