White Bear Way, Adlington (21m)
This was a Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) event, organised by the local Scout troop. 40 people (17 runners and 23 walkers) were taking on a pretty flat 10 mile route, while 86 people (12 runners and 74 walkers) went for the full 21 miles.
The route started in the village of Adlington, then south along a canal for a short while before heading across country to the bottom of Rivington Reservoir. The route involved a diversion to see “The Castle” by the Reservoir, and to ensure no-one missed it out the distance between checkpoint 1 and checkpoint 2 was around 700m, a record short distance perhaps?
To this point the route was pretty flat, but from here started to head up Winter Hill, but the route chosen was a very runnable one, and it was a surprise to turn around about 2/3s of the way up and see how much height had been fairly easily attained. Up to the top of Winter Hill you were overtaking the walkers quite regularly, who start up to an hour earlier. This is nice for several reasons: it’s nice to say hello; it’s nice to have targets to chase down; and it’s nice to know you’re still heading the right way!
The descent of Winter Hill is down the steeper side, which was fun, and was followed by several miles of mostly gentle downhill to the reservoir. It felt surprising to only really have first glimpses of the reservoir around this stage, having spent a couple of hours running around it. There was also a 1km section around the ‘tourist’ path round the reservoir, which almost felt too pleasant to be part of a run like this.
After the reservoir came the last little uphill section over Healey Nab (thankfully devoid of mountain bikers) before a few more miles across fields back to the canal. Then followed around a couple of miles along the canal, which dragged a little by that stage, but at least didn’t require any navigation from a tired mind.
Hot pot, trifle (sadly lacking Sherry) and plenty of tea and cake awaited at the finish, alongwith a certificate, badge and a very warm welcome.
Anyone who hasn’t tried an LDWA event would be encouraged to try this one next year (or the similar Beacon Bash in February, weather not guaranteed!). It’s all runnable and gets you round a variety of terrain without being overly onerous on the ascent, and the Scout Troop and helpers do their best to make you enjoy the day as much as possible. The lack of a full-on competitive feel about the LDWA events makes for an enjoyable and relaxed run. Having said there isn’t a full-on competitive feel about it, this was of course a club counter in the long trail series, and a LAMM-weakened Andy Robinson was proved beatable so for once relinquished his near-mandatory 20 points:
Edward Halliwell 20 points (2nd overall)
Andy Robinson 19 points (4th overall)