Report from OAC’s Matt Podd:
Renee Saxton, Matt Podd, Ben Cousen and Matt John were all delivered to Middleham by Sharron Smith – big thanks. It seemed to take a long time to drive there from Otley and we were all a bit apprehensive as to how to get home.
We were blessed with a fantastic day, frosty underfoot, dry and no wind – the best day of the year so far. Freezing cold though and what clothing to take on this unsupported run was tricky. Food also was a challenge but between us we laid on a fabulous spread, not just gels and flapjack – Christmas cake and Ben’s dried mango were highlights.
So there we were at the square in Middleham and none of us knew which way the route started but after a bit of fooling around off we went. The Six Dales Trail is a new (2010) long distance footpath starting/finishing in Otley. We decided to finish in Otley – as we live there and going south is always downhill – its to do with the curvature of the earth! It is 38 miles long (though we clocked nearly 40) and has about 5,000′ of ascent. The scenery is fantastic as you visit the different dales and we were lucky to have beautiful views.
Most of the navigation was fairly easy and well signposted but there was a very trick bit across trackless moor to get across to Nidderdale and some of the cross-field stuff was confusing. However due to good visibility we only made a couple of minor errors – even though we were following the guide book back to front (their description starts in Otley).
One of our more stupid errors was that we only had one torch between us and it gets dark early in January! We lost all light coming up from Dob Park Bridge but luckily we were on home ground and only two of us took falls. As a final sting in the tail you have to loop round to Clifton via Haddockstones and then have to visit Weston Woods before your triumphal entry into Otley.
It took us 8 3/4 Hours, with a few stops on the way but I ran over 95% of it and the others all of it. The hill up from Dob Park Bridge defeated me though and I had to walk.
It was a brilliant trip out and the scenery was superb – one of my top runs. Photos from Ben and Renee in Club Photos.
Now what does the extra 15 miles feel like – bring on the Hardmoors 55. Any more takers?
ps Thanks for the help from the team!