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A New Women's Record on the Trigs and Crosses Round

With yet another lockdown, Holly Page has been strutting her stuff and throwing down times on more of the SPFC routes, this time being the trigs and crosses round which she ran in a very impressive 5:04:43 (in wi

Holly been kind enough to provide us with a quick write up of her adventure which I've posted below. Sounds like a fab day out!

Thanks for the write up Holly.

The Trigs and Crosses Round

I noticed the “Trigs and Crosses” route when I was in the Calder Valley in lockdown 1, but although the moors were lovely and dry back then, a delicate foot meant that running for more than a couple of hours wasn’t a sensible idea.

So it was that I found myself back in Yorkshire for lockdown 3 and with a less delicate foot, the idea of having a bash around this route was quite appealing. I awoke to a beautiful sunrise on Tuesday, had a coffee and was going to set out for a 20km loop when I thought I may as well put off work until the miserable weather forecast took hold, and make the most of a beautiful sunny day.

The Trigs and Crosses route is about 45km of undulating terrain, visiting lots of different trig points and old stone crosses around the hills of the South Pennines. There are plenty of route choice options, runnable sections and indeed not at all runnable sections!

I set off from the Bridestones trig point and immediately made the mistake of tussock bashing the “direct” way to the road rather than the marginally longer path/road combo! It was a beautiful day and I was happy to be ambling along in the sunshine, even if it did mean a few stops to cast off my layers!

All the beautiful white snow of the previous week had melted / was melting, leaving behind VERY wet, boggy ground, with bits of ice and a few snow drifts in the places the sun hadn’t yet reached. I made some poor spur of the moment route choices; one example being trying to cross the river in the Craggs for a direct line to Walshaw. Sadly, the river was raging, and I decided it was too early on in the run (and cold!) to have a morning swim.

I chugged my way over to Top Withens; the path I’d seen on the map was obvious but covered in a snow drift for its entirety which meant deviating onto the boggy tussocks for a few slow miles. Beyond the Hanging Stone and up to Wolfstones was new territory for me, and admittedly not somewhere I am overly keen to revisit as I stumbled my way through the ridiculous tussocks and reeds, understanding why Ricky Parrish had warned me about that section. I eventually made it up to the trig point, however my jubilation was short-lived because just as I scrambled my way over some snowy boulders to touch it, I fell through the rocks and managed to reopen the same hole in my shin which had landed me with a week in hospital back in November. Of all the body parts available to batter, that exact spot shouldn’t have been the #1 choice.

With blood merrily streaming down my leg, I gritted my teeth and ran down the (now more runnable) moorland, enjoying wonderful views of the Yorkshire Dales and Pendle Hill in and amongst negotiating a route through the heather. Looking at my watch, I was a little concerned that it was going to get dark in a few hours, my shin was throbbing, and I was still only about halfway. I needn’t have worried though. After Coombe Hill Cross, the route largely follows the Pennine Bridleway before veering off up to Lad Law, the highest point in the South Pennines.

After feeling fairly energy-less earlier in the day, I felt strong as I ran back towards home territory. Maybe it’s something about getting past that halfway mark which spurs you on? From Lad Law, I knew I wasn’t a million miles away from the end, and really enjoyed the long slog over to Hoofstone Heights, trying to decide which of the many quad bike tyre marks (aka moorland destruction!) was the least boggy route over the hills.

The sun was getting lower in the sky as I detoured off the main road to bag the final stone (Mount Cross) and followed the Bridleway back to the Bridestones 5 hours and 4 minutes after setting off. In a moment of serendipity, who should come running over to the trig point a minute after I finished, the one and only Ian Symington, one of the few people to have made it round the same route last year, so it was great to chat to him about it as we ran back down to the road together.

With some better route choices early on and drier conditions, I’m sure I could run it a fair bit faster, but for now, I don’t think I want to negotiate that Wolfstones tussock hell again in a hurry so I’ll leave it at that!

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