I don’t remember the last time I went running on the moor.
I’m tempted to say it was the weekend before the UK went into lockdown, the same weekend I helped SWL reach her longest distance run. There was sunshine and cake, and I trialled my new poles.
I’ve been back since, when restrictions lifted I made my way, again to see SWL. And I’ve shared walks with my boys and friends. However, my running has all be focussed around town. Roads, little muddy tracks. Always managing to find some mud, no matter how paltry an amount. The mud is one of the things that lifts my mood.
Along with the big sky.
Last weekend I was late up. 11 hours of naked starfish is nothing to be sniffed at on my childfree weekend, and I was in no hurry to leave my pit. Then there was lunch to be had and coffee to be drunk. Chattering with a friend in the cafe I soon realised that the day was escaping and SWL was cooking me dinner. If I wanted to get a run in I would have to, well, run!
I wasn’t going to get the coast path half marathon in like I had imagined, but on my journey across the moor I could find a quiet pull in, lace up and head off for a few miles.
The weather was dank. Grey clouds, drizzle and a chill breeze. Ideal conditions for me.
I was surprised to see the moor bustling as it was. Halted at a bridge by a herd of cows the decision was made. I stopped in a car park which was full, but the area was deserted. I switched shoes, threw on my coat and set off for the clouds that kissed the brow of the hill.
Far away there was a tor which loomed large in the distance. I didn’t expect to get there but was going to enjoy exploring this little patch of isolation. Crossing fields and passing through woodland I suddenly found myself looking up at the very tor I hadn’t imagined I would arrive at. I whipped out my phone and brought up Google maps which told me I was looking up at Bellever Tor. Now that I had a new one to bag I knew I had to climb it and expose myself on the top.
I hadn’t seen another soul on my run to the top. Typically, as I crested the brow of the hill so did a pair of walkers from the opposite direction. Well, I didn’t want to get cold, and SWL had dinner on so… I turned my back on them and took a picture of my view.
Next was the descent.
And if the climb up was good for the soul, for digging deep and achieving something hard, then the return fed my inner child.
By the time I reached the car I had caught my toes on grassy hammocks, squelched through boggy patches and negotiated some seriously technical terrain. All with a grin on my face and laughter on my lips.
I have loved running around town, maintaining my fitness over lockdown and increasing my pace (marginally.) Saturday’s run through the wilds of Dartmoor has provided a reset, reinvigorating my zest for life.
This was exactly what my running mojo needed.
As Hans Christian Anderson wrote:
“Just living isn’t enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”
This was a grey and murky day to everyone else, but this kind of freedom is sunshine for my soul.