Sunday, March 06, 2011


Yesterday we found time with my cold to go to the rather promiscuously named Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. I had already intended to go and meet up with my friend Stuart (Mr Johnson) who mentioned that he was exhibiting his artwork here when I bumped into him at the National Cyclo-cross Championships in January.

As the weeks passed approaching the SHAFF, my brain went into some kind of melt-down and I completely failed to make any decisions on what lectures to visit, what films to go and see or which events to go and watch. Some of the films on offer I have seen. Some of the presentations are by people I can chat to after a race. Some of the people there are climbers whose names I vaguely recognise from times gone by but whose sport I associate with a darker time in my life that I still yearn for yet don't feel the urge to repeat certain aspects of.

While I attach a certain level of "Turn off your TV screen and go and do something more interesting" to most of the sports I pursue, I admit that SHAFF was a big draw and I knew I'd regret it if I saw nothing so the cold was a perfect excuse to head into town after lunch, do a bit of bike-related shopping and then head out to the cinema.

We spent about 45 minutes admiring Stuart's work. He's awfully good. We talked through where all of his paintings were and the channels he has had to go through to get permission to sell reproductions of photographs by some of the world's leading mountaineers.

Stuart proudly shows off his work.
but is more proud of the photo he had taken with Andy Kirkpatric yesterday.

We watched Bike Films 2 - the second of a collection of cycling films, actually mountain bike films. The jumps and tricks became a little boring after a while and I would've given up completely if it hadn' t been for the promise of "Life Cycle", the third and final film of the group. On the upside, Mount Washington, my old ski hill was on the first film including the little tree runs we used to take the kids down on lessons. "Life Cycle" turned out to be less promising than suggested by the guy who did the intro, another excuse for filming bikers hammering down rediculous downhill routes, salvaged only by the clever imagery of the seasons swooping through the forest behind the rider as he passed along the trail - vibrant greens turning to orange then grey then snowfall gathering. Enthusiastic mishmash about riding in 6inches of snow when I know Jill and her pugsley regularly trudge through knee-deep powder together.

The whole thing made me disgustingly enthused to get back out there being adventurous and I was quite happy to bump into another friend, Nick Craig after the show. Clutching a pint of Guiness to soothe his cold, he was off to watch the Steve Pete demonstration.

I declared that next year we would walk down here from our Sheffield house so we could drink as much beer as we like, not worry about parking and spend the whole weekend enjoying the spectacle and catching up with friends. I have since discovered the weekend pass tickets although on a beautiful day like today, I'm not sure they're appropriate. I am sorely tempted to return there today to watch the running films selection.

I have no excuses since I have been out for my run already although I will probably, instead manage a bike ride with my paniers to the supermarket to pick up stuff we forgot last week and get some miles in whilst I am at it. Decisions decisions. I fear that if I become any more motivated, my brain may explode.

My run today was glorious. I didn't want to repeat yesterdays route. I fancied more distance but didn't want to get in the car and drive anywhere because with the cold, I wouldn't be able to get on and do the distance I'd otherwise like to, having indulged diesel in the drive out. I decided to man up and take on the footpath from Towick to Anston which I'd been putting off because I don't know what condition it's in. If its in good condition, it's an easy run but I didn't fancy bog hopping if that's what it was going to take.

I checked the map before leaving to discover I had a choice of routes - footpath and bridlepath. I decided to take the footpath and if it was shitty, try the bridlepath further along. I scoped out the return route which avoided the main road - but still put me on some fairly busy, pavement-less minor roads.

I reached the church in Todwick down a lane I'd never thought to try and said hello to a couple of dog walkers passing the park. At the end of the tarmac lane the path was very do-able. Despite the recent rain it was well drained, slightly sandy soil which ran alongside the field, paralell to the main A57. A strip of bright sunshine moved across the field and for a moment bathed me in the prelude of summer.

There were no slippery bits at all. It wasn't till I neared the end of the path I thought of the option of returning along the bridlepath and to my delight, the two joined eachother 100m from the road meaning I didn't even need to negotiate the lanes of a different village.

The return bridlepath was also lovely and sandy. One minor slobby bit which either of my shoes could've coped with but I was glad I was in the fell shoes.
In the distance, at least 15 vehicles surrounded a couple of ox-bow lakes in the fields. I wondered just how many fish could be left in there to fish-out but apparently plenty as another two vehicles passed me on the dirt-track from the fishery.

I was back in the village. I toyed with calculating the extra distance I had run, trying to estimate the length of the two paths and adding to yesterday's distance. Turns out I was a bit short and my run was only 8.55km. Still, over 5 miles so I can be happy. The legs still hurt. Can I, I wonder, legitimately add to yesderday's effort and proclaim myself a 13km weekend run?

Anything that gets me closer to beliving I can comfortably complete the Newbury Duathlon in three weeks time gives me a boost so I'll go for that.

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