I usually manage some kind of fun excursion a few days before Christmas, and this year was no exception. Stuart and I did some quick mental gymnastics in the car on the way up the M1 to try and work out a running route…

Ad-hoc Navigation

Written by Haydn Williams

I usually manage some kind of fun excursion a few days before Christmas, and this year was no exception. Stuart and I did some quick mental gymnastics in the car on the way up the M1 to try and work out a running route which kept us out of the way of the apocalypse predicted by every weather forecast we’d consulted. We eventually decided to strike NNW from Fairholmes, with a vague plan to probably end up back where we started.

The day began with a fizzle rather than a bang, as we slogged our way up knee-deep heather with a complete lack of anything resembling a path. A quick trog across the first exposed moorland of the day, before dropping into another valley and a more amenable track.

There is no path here. This is not fun. © Haydn Williams 2013
There is no path here. This is not fun. © Haydn Williams 2013

From there we broke with even the vague plan we’d formulated on the way out of the car park, instead heading north onto Ronksley Moor at the east end of Bleaklow. This turned out to be delightfully quiet, and the descent to the headwaters of the River Derwent gave great running with the sun on our backs (even if there wasn’t a bridge at the required point!).

River! © Haydn Williams 2013
River! © Haydn Williams 2013

Turning back toward civilisation we eventually reached the top of Howden Reservoir, from where it was easy going down towards Fairholmes.

Heading back in the general direction of civilisation. © Haydn Williams 2013
Heading back in the general direction of civilisation. © Haydn Williams 2013

A brief stop for some food, and then back into familiar territory down the length of the Derwent Reservoir. The route ended up being about 22km and very enjoyable, just going to show that making things up as you go along isn’t necessarily a bad route-finding strategy.

It's not Christmas without chocolate coins. © Haydn Williams 2013
It’s not Christmas without chocolate coins. © Haydn Williams 2013

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