Ankle deep and alone in the Welsh mountains

I’m in North Wales for a week of running up and over mountains. The idea is to get fit for the Lakeland 50 in June, get some miles and hours in my legs and generally escape from work and find the smiles…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3279Today was day one, and as I pulled the van in to the car park at Capel Curig it was lashing with rain… big droplets ran down the windscreen as I changed… I waited and made a bacon sarnie, at least it would provide me with some fuel… then I made a mug of coffee, but still it rained… It didn’t matter how long I sat and waited, I was going to get wet… So I slid the van door fully open, pulled on my muddy shoes and said goodbye to the cosy dry van.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3299I set off a gentle trot, ignoring the rain, feeling the ground pass beneath my feet, the track was running like a river. I was looking for the sharp right, that was meant to be so obvious, but I turned to early and contoured round the hillside, sure I was going the wrong way, yet convinced this was the path… Common sense prevailed, I back tracked to find the right path, the one that rose steeply up the hillside, working my lungs and quads to burning point.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3309The hillside was like a river, water running over every surface, my feet sank ankle deep, with every step water flushed through my shoes. I climbed higher, into the cloud and driving rain… I ran to my compass, passing no-one, or at least seeing no-one, the mist was so thick, I could just about see twenty paces in front…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3306To day there is no view. A steady wind blows sheets of rain at me. I huddle in a rock shelter to eat some flapjack and quaff a TORQ Rhubarb and Custard gel (I could get addicted to these) before heading onwards.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3302As the mist thickens, I make the executive decision, and turn for that warm dry van… But as I quickly drop height the World opens up below me, to a brighter dryer day, I stop in the lee of wind to take in the view… it’s all so worth it…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3324Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3342Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3331A brief mountain drink and quickly now I skip from stone to stone, over dryer ground, making for the valley floor…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3354Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3353But again I’m forced to pause on a stile to admire those views… Views you can never get running in the city, feelings which just aren’t there when you pound the concrete…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3375Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3378Almost home now… as tired legs turn the miles, this track seems to stretch further and further away… I leave the Devil behind me, alone in his kitchen… One last stile, one last muddy puddle and theres the van… slide open the door… Job done… Smile..!