Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Mam Tor ridge running

On my list of runs to do has been the ridge from Mam Tor to Lose Hill and back. It's only just over 8km long, and has the most spectacular views down into both the Edale and Hope Valleys. I had no idea how long it would take me; the day dawned hot yet again so I planned for an easy run, enjoy the views and see how I coped with just a small amount of water. I had no problem going out with just 150ml as the ridge is popular with walkers whatever the weather and day of the week, so should I get into problems I'd just scrounge some water from a passer-by, plus I had a full bottle waiting in the car.

I'm not a fan of starting a run with ascent immediately, but on this one there just isn't a choice. I settled into a rhythm and was really pleased to run all the way up the field to the start of the steps. I then alternated with easy run and walking with a purpose, never letting my heart rate drop too much. I reach the summit in 6:30, at just 0.7km it has 85m ascent on the uneven and oddly spaced steps up to the trig point.

I took no time to pause at the trig, noticed the murky haze towards Lose Hill (views into the valleys obscured by the haze) and recovered my breathing as I descended down to Hollins Cross. I took the higher path from Hollins to Back Tor, then up the steep climb. Once more I was really chuffed to be able to run up some of the steep ascent. I've been practicing counting paces, not allowing myself to stop before I reach 100...I think I got to 120 before switching to a strong walk up the final steep part of Back Tor.

On the flatter path I stretched my stride out, and tried to work out just how far up the climb to the summit to Lose Hill I could run. I picked a random stone and got to it. Then switched to a purposeful walk again. Would I have got further if I'd picked a more distance stone? Not sure, my heart rate was above 165bpm when I changed to walking, and I know I can't sustain much higher than that for very long. The good news is it took me just 21:15 to get from trig to trig; 3.3km with 125m ascent (it feels more than that!).

I paused to take a couple of photos...

Looking from Lose Hill towards Mam Tor...it really was quite murky up there, but very hot and humid
time at the trig point on Lose Hill, 3.89km done so far
...then headed down Lose Hill to pick up the path back under Back Tor, through the plantation and along the lower path to Hollins Cross. It was somewhere along this flatter section that I wondered if a sub 1 hour run would be feasible. This thought spurred me on and I managed to push on the final climb to Mam Tor trig, reaching it in just 56mins. Now for the final descent....and I did that in 3mins30 to get back to the car in 59:30. Actual moving time for the 8.25km was 56:23 with 362m ascent. I'm pleased with that, and will be back at some point to see if I can shave any time off in cooler conditions.

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