A bright, hot and sunny Sunday found a number of Striders gathering under the Post Office sign on Middleton-in-Teesdale Market Place, mostly for the first time in their lives, before our leader arrived and executed his meticulously planned run based on the concept of ‘there must be a path somewhere along here’, and so we headed off for the river and turned upstream in the direction of Low Force.
Alas, no sooner had we started along a well used track than the man with the map contacted a boulder and went over on his ankle in rather spectacular and gruesome fashion and concluded his exertions for the day bathing his foot in the river Tees; you could say he had petered out but it was a bit more dramatic than that.
After a moment or two consolation/discussion Will stepped forward brandishing an electronic map device and said words to the effect of ‘follow me’ – that’s never an easy option in my experience – so off we went, to find the proper path for the Pennine Way on the other side of the river, and bounded across the the fields through some very interesting and attractive scenery.
Millie and Casper ran twice as far as the rest of us but we humans were kept going by Will with his collection of phrases such as ‘there’s an interesting bit coming up’, ‘if we just go on a bit further’, ‘it’s only a kilometre more’, ‘once you get over this hill’, etc,etc, and before you knew it we arrived at High Force, 5.5 miles from town.
The return route was just as hot under the brilliant sun although we took a different route onto the opposite bank culminating in a short stretch of road with a mysteriously obscured right of way from which we were evicted by someone who suggested it wasn’t there – further enquiries are being pursued!
2hr 45min after leaving, we were back in Middleton and a bunch of hungry runners picnic’d on the village green until in true British style the rain started.
A long and hot run enjoyed by all, thanks to Peter for organising it and we hope there is no lasting damage to your ankle.
To conclude the enquiry about the mysteriously absent right of way on our return journey – this path has been legitimately closed by the council because it has been dangerously eroded by the river Tees. There was a sign there to that effect but I guess it has been stolen. They have told me that they will put a new one up. It made for an interesting diversion and took our minds off our tiredness and thirst at that point.