Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A nocturnal festive foray

Festive Owls at Pots & Pans

With Christmas Day looming, and following a month of exciting and successful Christmas themed runs - The annual Santa Run and the Christmas Handicap - followed by Howard's Christmas Eve morning, Ho Bloody Ho Run, the Owls held their own nocturnal Christmas Eve Dash.

With most people busy making last minute Christmas preparations, myself, Jo and Howard met at the Cross Keys Inn, Uppermill, for a nocturnal foray on the hills and moors of Saddleworth.

The planned route of running Hill Pits, Sykes Pillar, Alderman and Pots & Pans was shortened due to myself feeling under the weather and also as a result of having to get back home for my son. It was a cold night when we left the 'Keys' and made our way onto the hill via Pobgreen. Ascending the outgoing route of the Cross Keys Fell Race, we were met with a strong icy wind as we made our way to Shaw Rocks. Heading south, the gale force winds threatened to stop us dead in our tracks as Howard's head-torch dimmed to nothing more than the wattage of a candles flicker. However, with a clear sky above and a scattering of fresh snow on the ground, visibility was clear throughout the whole route. Passing the Oven Stones, our words were lost on the racing wind as we huddled close in conversation, on route to Alderman Hill.

Attaining the summit, we huddled behind rocks on Alderman to protect ourselves from the freezing wind as we enjoyed the view across the Chew Valley, which was covered under a blanket of stars.

Breaking cover, we made the short crossing of Board Hill Brow to reach the Saddleworth War Memorial at Pots & Pans. Taking shelter on the leeward side of the cenotaph, we enjoyed a wee dram and took a few photo's. Whilst others were busy preparing for Christmas amongst the twinkling lights of Sadleworth's Villages, we hardy few continued our nocturnal foray on the quiet windswept hills and made our descent of Primrose Hill to return to the Cross Keys, via Pobgreen.

Whilst the outing had been short, we had enjoyed a bracing run on the tops and what better way to see in Christmas than with good friends, enjoying a few laughs and doing what we love most. We finished the evening off with a quick festive pint in the Cross Keys Inn.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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