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We’re delighted that our guest blogger this week is super-talented Fell Running Guide Dave Taylor. Dave is a highly experienced trail and fell runner based in the beautiful Peak District. He offers coaching, guided running and navigation training and is a font of knowledge on all things related to running in the fells. You can read more about Dave on his website www.fellrunningguide.co.uk. Here he shares with us his favourite place to run…
The great thing about living close to the Peak District is that there is such a variety of off road running to be found. It’s hard to choose a favourite route but most of my running is done in the Burbage Valley close to Hathersage.
“Burbage” is a fantastic training ground offering a mix of terrain which makes it suitable for novices and hardened fell runners alike and I often bring beginners here to give them a taste of the joys of trail and fell running. There’s a well maintained, easy angled track which is great for faster running, the steep inclines of Carl Wark and Higger Tor for hill training and a rocky, uneven path encircling the valley which gives a more technical run requiring fast feet and some boulder hopping! And all of this comes with a backdrop of beautiful Peak District scenery.
The valley is also a great area to teach and practise navigation skills with the flat summits and steep valley sides being easy to identify by the change in the shape of the contour lines. It is also one of my favourite locations for night running, it gives the feeling of being really remote even though you’re not that far from civilisation. You can’t beat running here on a cold winter night and then recovering in front of the open fire in the nearby Fox House pub!
There’s history here too, Carl Wark was an Iron Age hill fort built over 2000 years ago and evidence of its defensive ramparts can still be seen. Then, spanning Burbage Brook in the valley bottom is a beautiful medieval stone footbridge.
A great thing about running here is how the sounds and scenery change with the seasons; the first call of the curlew and cuckoo in spring, the scent of bracken and the purple heather of late summer, fog in the nearby Hope Valley in autumn and crisp, clear, winter days when Burbage lies dormant beneath a blanket of snow. Even in foul weather a quick blast up the steep side of Higger Tor blows away my winter blues.
Whatever the time of year, whatever the weather, running in the Burbage Valley is a joy.
Words and photos by Dave Taylor www.fellrunningguide.co.uk