Monday, 30 March 2009

Kipling Kaper 28mi. Sat 28/03/2009

Kipling Kaper
Another low-key event that ended up being one of drama. It was based at Meerbrook Village Hall and was fully booked – good news. We watched Alison send the walkers on their way at 8am before returning to the warmth of the hall to sup tea, chat with fellow runners and wait for the 9am runners’ start. Once on our way the route took us past Tittesworth and Rudyard reservoirs to Rushton Spencer, through a trout farm, up Shutlingsloe, onto the moor via Cumberland Clough (to think we run down that in the dark on the Bullock Smithy Hike), through a disused quarry with spoil heaps of large rocks, through Gradbach and up along the Roaches to the final descent across fields to Meerbrook.

The weather continued to toy with us with a final fling of winter. The forecast light shower or two had become frequent hailstorms with all-too-brief sunny interludes between them. The worst storm hit at the wrong time for me, just as I made my way along the Roaches Ridge. I had seen the squall approaching as I made the final climb. It was upon me with alarming speed. The little pellets did sting as they were driven on icy gusts into exposed legs. I was thankful the wind was on my back. The ground was turned white within seconds.

Shutlingsloe provided the first major climb. The descent down the back side was slow and clumsy because we could not see where we were going; the icy blasts were causing our eyes to water too much. However it wasn’t long before the wind was on our backs after the right turn towards the shale valley and descent. I greeted ‘CollieDave’ and his pooch Charlie beginning their climb as I neared the bottom.

The traverse through the old quarry proved eventful. At the top of the steep descent to the stream crossing, an unseen rock jumped out at my left foot. Oh yes it did. I went flying, ejected two high pressure jets, one of water and one of isotonic as I landed on both hand-held bottles before rolling left onto my back with a sharp rock embedded in the top of my left buttock. I lay there shocked and dazed for a few seconds with the hail bouncing off me, waiting to see if the pain got worse or less. Thankfully it was the latter, and more thankfully no one was in sight to witness the clumsiness, or the strange blue hue that may or may not have affected the atmosphere about the vicinity.

Later on as I was running across the fields with another runner towards the final checkpoint at Gradbach, we saw a helicopter flying up and down the valley and hovering, appearing to be looking for someone, or perhaps a place to land. Soon it was out of sight and all was quiet. As we approached the Youth Hostel, there it was, ‘parked’ in a small lay-by on the lane, its rotors just clearing a tree. We heard that a walker had fallen and broken her leg. We saw a large gathering to our right, as we turned left past the Youth Hostel. That must have been where the casualty was. It wasn’t long, as we were climbing through the woods away from Gradbach towards the Roaches, before we heard it take off. That was a quick rescue service.

I finished in 5:31 to be greeted by the healthiest selection of food – a choice of quiches or pork pie, a choice of cold pasta, rice and pulse dishes, salads, beetroot, olives, pickles, boiled eggs, coleslaw, etc. For afters there was apple pie and custard. Then we helped Vaughan and Anne Wade celebrate Vaughan’s 50th birthday with a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, followed by cakes supplied by Anne.

The complete set of pictures is here.


  1. crikey...same run but much more drama for you!

  2. I must have been in the right places at the right times to catch all the drama. Not sure I wanted it on the Roaches though.

  3. that's a lot of weather! good effort though