Last winter I had my first try at a hill race at the Kendal Mountain festival. I really enjoyed it but as the winter has gone on I have been pondering what direction to take my running next.
So far I have learnt that my favourite part of fell running has to be fun technical downhill running! However, I currently (and hope to continue!) only travel around by bike and public transport, (mainly with environmental concerns in mind) and realise that to compete in even just a few fell races each year would mean a lot of travelling for me.
However, a big inspiration for me is the idea that by running I can explore more mountainous/upland terrain in one go and connect routes that would have previously been a logistical nightmare to walk. Hiking Pádhraic would have had to attempt such areas section by section and to return by public transport, which in many cases is pretty much impossible.
So this is where this year’s plans come in.
I grew up looking up at Slemish. It’s a wee rocky mountain overlooking a broad valley and I couldn’t begin to count how many times I have climbed it! It is a very special place for me. It also lies at the end of a long distance footpath called the Antrim Hills way. I have yet to explore many parts of the route and have never walked the whole 35km. So this summer I am aiming to find a good dry spell,(roughly a third is pathless bog!) get up really early and run/fast walk all the way from my door to the end at Glenarm (maybe dip myself in the sea too!). An afternoon bus later and I will be home for tea!
I am also very lucky to be going on a wee holiday to Sognefjord for my Birthday next month! My bike can’t come with me unfortunately so I am planning to do loads of exploring on foot. I am not making many definite plans as the weather can still be quite wintery above 500m there in April but I do have one goal. To run up Storehaugfjellet!
The summit lies at 1173m and has beautiful views over Sogndal and across the fjord. I attempted to run it in December but ran out of daylight and turned back at around 900m. Once I left the tree line I did feel like some snow spikes (something I don’t own at the moment) would have been helpful but I think in similar conditions I will still be in a safe position as long as I give myself enough time to go very slowly and carefully on the steeper snow sections.
I have many more ideas but these are my main goals for this year. Keep an eye out on my twitter for updates or even just to have a wee chat. I would love to hear what running adventures people have planned for the coming year!