Taking to the Trails

Despite enjoying the first few runs of my challenge, I had been eagerly awaiting my trail shoes turning up! I’d ordered some Scott Supertrac 2.0 Women’s Trail Shoes and they arrived last week, so it wasn’t long before I was planning my first proper off-road run in them!

Now the one problem was lockdown 3.0…

The rules, sorry, guidelines, are pretty confusing to say the least. Basically no-one knows what “local” means and it would be really great if someone could clarify, but I planned my first run on Dartmoor, just out of the city. I did a lot of thinking before deciding to go, but it’s not far from where we live and it would mean I would see a lot less people than if I were to run around the streets here or head to a closer (but very popular and crowded) National Trust Estate.

So, onto the run itself. It was a bright, sunny, wintery day – perfect running conditions if you ask me. I love when there’s a chill in the air and everything feels so fresh! I had found a route on a website called Komoot, and downloaded it to the app so that I could have navigation the entire time. I would be running a 5km round trip that would lead me past a landmark called The Dewerstone and hopefully not take much longer than 40 minutes.

Off I went, bounding across the moors like a baby deer, totally thrilled with the fact that I was running on a trail rather than the hard tarmac I was used to. I’ve been injury prone over recent years, and I’m hoping that trail running will be a bit kinder on me old legs (though I’ll have rocks and roots and other roughage to contend with!).

Within 10 minutes, I reached The Dewerstone! Without another person in sight, I gleefully posed for a few snaps before heading along my route. I had reached it rather quickly, but I knew I was supposed to be coming across it fairly early on, and there was definitely a marker on the Komoot map (placed by a previous Hiker) to say it was there.

It wasn’t until I continued further, up to the top of a hill, when I came across a much larger group of rocks. These rocks featured to walkers stood chatting on top, gazing out over the city, as well as a woman sat on another rock, smoking.

Ah.

So that must have been the Dewerstone. In all honesty I was fairly miffed to have come across people on my otherwise isolated route, thus I didn’t bother to try and get a great photo. Instead, I attempted to continue following the route. Directly in front of me, where the navigation said to go, was a very, very, very steep downhill through a wooded area, with no apparent trail to follow. Or, I could follow a trail to the left, or to the right. I tried both directions, trotting off one way before hearing “rerouting” in my ear (Komoot has voice navigation!) and turning around feeling slightly perplexed, and definitely annoyed.

The route?

It took me a good 10 minutes or so before I gave up and headed down the hill. I couldn’t run at this point, and felt myself getting more frustrated as I slowly made my way down, holding on to trees or just using rocks to steady myself of the steepest parts.

It’s not that I didn’t expect to have to do some scrambling on a trail run, I was more annoyed at the fact the navigation was telling me to follow a route that simply wasn’t there! Fortunately, I did see 2 other people making their way up the hill, so I felt I was heading in the right direction and hadn’t gone totally off-piste! Humoured by the fact that I was going downhill whilst they were having to climb up it, I told myself it was all part of the adventure and continued down towards the river.

The rest of the run was fairly challenging, especially as I was in a rush to get home to get Ruby to the vets and have her stitches out after her Boxing Day escapades! But all in all, I truly loved the entire thing! I loved being somewhere different, I loved the more technical terrain and I loved that I saw a minimal amount of people whilst I was out. It’ll be even better now that Ruby has had her stitches out so will be able to come with me next time!

There’s a problem though – due to the rules/guidelines being somewhat foggy, I have decided not to venture back to Dartmoor until things are a little clearer. It seems that a lot of people are confused at the moment, so maybe there will be more clarification soon. All in all the running challenge is going well, the Covid vaccines are getting rolled out, our gravel bikes will be on their way towards the end of Feb, and our adventure camper should be ready at a similar time, so I’m keeping positive and hoping that things are on the up in 2021!

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