09 July 2011

Real run

An ankle that can cope with 25 minutes of running in town can cope with a serious run on Dartmoor! Neil wanted to do yet another run on the old railroad, and I wanted to have a look around in one of the quarries it runs past. And that combined well.

We started at the point where the old railroad starts to be publicly accessible, and about 5 metres onwards I was panting and feeling weak. One month out of business means the entire shape you built up is gone! But I dragged myself along. It helped it was a beautiful day.

Me still looking acceptably dynamic in the beginning

Lagging behind

After five miles Swelltor quarry saved me. I left Neil, who immediately doubled his speed, and walked up the hill. The railroad loops around the quarry, so I knew I would catch sight of him on the other side. And indeed! Some pixel-sized runner appeared, and disappeared again after the next curve.

Small runner in very large world. The background, by the way, is formed by Foggintor Quarry.

I had a look around in the quarry: a reasonably sized one on the hilltop. I came in over the side, but when I came out through the entrance I suddenly stared into an abyss. What I had walked around in was only a small auxiliary quarry! The real deal was below me. Impressive!

The top part of the quarry, which I initially mistook for the quarry proper

I scurried around the edge, over finger dumps, past ruins of buildings, along the former branch of the railroad that allowed the quarry to dispense its granite blocks, and on which some blocks intended for London Bridge are still lying around, and into the actual quarry itself, with its swampy entrance, and by then I thought I should go and have a look if Neil would have appeared again. He would run all the way on to Princetown and then back. To my surprise I caught sight of him as soon as I returned to the path: he had already rounded the last loop, I was only just in time to rejoin him. Our timing was impeccable!

The actual quarry!

The skyline

The old branch of the railroad, where the position of the sleepers can still be seen, with some concomitant ruin

The ruin of the blacksmith's shop

Neil, by this time, was tired and boiled, so we drank all the water I had with me, and only ran back to the road, which is about 2.5 km before our starting point. There Neil considered both fainting and vomiting, but miraculously decided against both. It’s a long, long way from Dousland to Princetown via that route, and not taking water when it’s a sunny day is asking for trouble! But we walked into the sunset and made it home without problems. I was glad I had done my first post-marathon proper run (all in all 8.4 miles is not bad), and Neil had wanted to challenge himself and had succeeded like mad! And now I had finally seen that quarry, which is not easy to reach...

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