Sunday, 27 January 2013

And it's snow, thaw, rain, hail, sleet, wind and sun

In a weekend when just about every type of weather except fog is thrown at one, it's hard for a chap to decide what to wear.  So facing that dilemma full on, I wore everything I could lay hands on and Hilary and I set off for Longshaw and the tea shop, taking in a walk round Burbage on the way.

We hadn't even reached the start of the walk when we got flagged down by a bloke in a high vis vest on Pitchford Lane.  Winding down the car window, I was just about to launch into a tirade along the lines of "What's the meaning of this my good man, stopping an Englishman on a Sunday from getting to a tea shop?" when he mentioned there were 300 runners about to come through and Hilary remembered that her son was one of them.  Aha.  Bright lights shone.  Pennies dropped.  It was the annual Tiggar Tor race, a 10 mile circuit from the Sheffield Tigers RUFC ground up on to Higgar Tor and back (hence "Tiggar Tor".)

So we waited for a few minutes and then the first runners came into view and Hilary shouted, "There he is" and jumped up and down in her seat a bit. 

Tiggar Tor runners heading up to Houndkirk Moor
Anyway, we reached Longshaw, parked up , put on a lot of coats and set off through the slush. The first obstacle was the gate down from Fox House which seemed to be doing a poor job at keeping a seasonal stream from escaping the moor.

It's a bit of a pointless affair anyway, as you can step over the wire fence.  We splodged our way through snow and slush to Burbage South,  a popular bouldering spot in winter but where unsurprisingly, there was nobody climbing today.

Burbage South Quarry

View from Burbage South across to Carl Wark and Higgar Tor
Higgar Tor and the Burbage plantations
A bit of heather bashing ensued, to drop us down to the main track and we soon met up with the Tiggar Tor runners again, who by now had been to the top of Higgar Tor and were heading back over to Houndkirk by another track.  Well, the front runners were.  The whole group was spread out by 20-30 minutes at this point.

Runners heading back towards Houndkirk

Runners below Burbage Edge

We missed Hilary's son - he was too fast for us - but offered words of encouragement to the participants. 

At Burbage Bridge we decided to take the road, rather than ford the river.

Burbage Bridge and a very brown and frothy Burbage Brook

It was blowing a hooley on the top of Higgar Tor and we struggled to stay upright.  It was a relief to drop out of the wind briefly, to cross Burbage Brook by the old packhorse bridge, which is thought to date from medieval times.

The old packhorse bridge and Burbage Edge in the background

Then a back up to the main track below Burbage Edge and a brisk walk into the wind to this particular journey's end - the Longshaw tea shop.

Woolly hats off to the runners - a blooming good effort in far from ideal conditions.  Hilary's son finished in the first 20 (he's far too fit!).  Would I like to run the Tiggar Tor?  Yes.  Am I ever likely to?  No.

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