Into Mordor

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3396What a difference a day makes… I slid the van door open this morning expecting to be greeted by more rain, but instead it was a bright clear day… Ok the tops were still hidden in a blanket of clouds, but apart form that… It was enough to make me jump out of bed and put the coffee on…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3397The clouds had rolled in by the time coffee and porridge were finished, but it was still warm enough for just a base layer as I worked my way up hill. The plan for today was flexible, but either a long run or an even longer run… but I didn’t know I was heading to Mordor…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3399I crossed fields and streams, through gates showing the test of time, and up a path laid by generations before for me. Carved from the hill side, with blood, sweat and tears, turning my own into mere insignificance…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3411Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3417As I reach a view point, I’m brought to a stand still by the view below me. The valley drops away, turquoise lakes shimmer in the sun, light patches play the opposite hill sides… what more could you wish for…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3423 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3448Yet higher I climb, through gates on to a track, winding its way through the landscape… I’m absorbed in one foot in front of the other, blocking out my surroundings… but when I look up, my feet stop moving once again… carved through the hillsides, my path goes onwards… to another world…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3439 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3434It’s a world created by man before us. Some may regard the slate quarries as a blemish on the landscape, but they are a stunning monument to what we have achieved. I follow the path through them in awe… and when I reach the road, I turn around and go back for more. Climbing a series of inclines and staircases, exploring tunnels into the mountain, climbing ever higher on ancient steps and paths laid by hand. I stop watching the clock, I stop paying attention to the distance covered and just run free in this dream landscape…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3452 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3457Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3473Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3468Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3471Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3466 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3462Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3455Eventually I climb clear of Mordor and I’m alone once again with the hills… I continue up, climbing in to the cloud, before tucking into a small stone shelter to eat some flapjack…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3478And then it’s down a ridge, jumping from rock to rock, uphill and down again, as the cloud lifts to reveal more views below. I hear the sounds of a distant helicopter, settling in to a hover, I hope it’s a practice, not someone fallen or worse… It’s hidden in the mist, as I race again one foot in front of the other… passing a man and his dog, the wind behind me, not a care in the world.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3501 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3484Bam..! I fly through the air, hitting the ground hard… For the first time ever, I trip over in the hills… I was enjoying the moment too much, misjudged the height of a rock and caught it with my toe… Blood seeps from my finger where I’ve grazed it on a rock, but worse my new Skins are ripped… At least nothing, except pride is broken so I continue past a little lake and I’m faced with a rather steep climb…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3502I look for the path, but all I see is scree… It must be there somewhere. And yes, there are the faint tell tail signs, but it is barely a path… Snaking straight up, no let up… I pass a group of walkers, complete with stares… I assume it’s the beard… wild in the wind… As before me lies the finish…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3490

Well, not quite… I eat Scottish Tablet, feeling the sugar hitting my veins, before I set off back down the way I have just climbed, running with the scree where I can, trying to find the path when I can’t… back round the lake and then follow the little stream all the way to the valley floor… Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3508The sun is back out and it’s getting warm, I drink from the water running next to my feet, fresh from the hillside, nothing tastes better. One more stile, and thats it, the final stretch is along the road, a minor inconvenience after a mind bending day…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3520 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3518 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3516Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3511Shower, pub, Steak Pie! Thank you!

(Sorry for all the photos in this one… got a bit carried away…)

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