Tag Archives: Mountains

Alpine Adventures…

Reuben_Tabner_Aiguille_du_Midi.jpgI’m back in Chamonix for a few days, to spend some more time running on these amazing alpine trails, this time with my girlfriend. The weather has been amazing… The views breath taking…

Reuben_Tabner_185700.jpgIt’s largely a relaxing holiday, taking time out, to drink coffee, watch the clouds, and read as much as enjoying the trails. Whilst here, I’m also making final adjustments to my kit for the Lakeland 50, which is now only 10 days away and moving my thinking forward to the UTMB – TDS which is also getting increasingly closer.

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Into Mordor

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3396What a difference a day makes… I slid the van door open this morning expecting to be greeted by more rain, but instead it was a bright clear day… Ok the tops were still hidden in a blanket of clouds, but apart form that… It was enough to make me jump out of bed and put the coffee on…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3397The clouds had rolled in by the time coffee and porridge were finished, but it was still warm enough for just a base layer as I worked my way up hill. The plan for today was flexible, but either a long run or an even longer run… but I didn’t know I was heading to Mordor…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3399I crossed fields and streams, through gates showing the test of time, and up a path laid by generations before for me. Carved from the hill side, with blood, sweat and tears, turning my own into mere insignificance…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3411Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3417As I reach a view point, I’m brought to a stand still by the view below me. The valley drops away, turquoise lakes shimmer in the sun, light patches play the opposite hill sides… what more could you wish for…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3423 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3448Yet higher I climb, through gates on to a track, winding its way through the landscape… I’m absorbed in one foot in front of the other, blocking out my surroundings… but when I look up, my feet stop moving once again… carved through the hillsides, my path goes onwards… to another world…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3439 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3434It’s a world created by man before us. Some may regard the slate quarries as a blemish on the landscape, but they are a stunning monument to what we have achieved. I follow the path through them in awe… and when I reach the road, I turn around and go back for more. Climbing a series of inclines and staircases, exploring tunnels into the mountain, climbing ever higher on ancient steps and paths laid by hand. I stop watching the clock, I stop paying attention to the distance covered and just run free in this dream landscape…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3452 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3457Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3473Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3468Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3471Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3466 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3462Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3455Eventually I climb clear of Mordor and I’m alone once again with the hills… I continue up, climbing in to the cloud, before tucking into a small stone shelter to eat some flapjack…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3478And then it’s down a ridge, jumping from rock to rock, uphill and down again, as the cloud lifts to reveal more views below. I hear the sounds of a distant helicopter, settling in to a hover, I hope it’s a practice, not someone fallen or worse… It’s hidden in the mist, as I race again one foot in front of the other… passing a man and his dog, the wind behind me, not a care in the world.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3501 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3484Bam..! I fly through the air, hitting the ground hard… For the first time ever, I trip over in the hills… I was enjoying the moment too much, misjudged the height of a rock and caught it with my toe… Blood seeps from my finger where I’ve grazed it on a rock, but worse my new Skins are ripped… At least nothing, except pride is broken so I continue past a little lake and I’m faced with a rather steep climb…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3502I look for the path, but all I see is scree… It must be there somewhere. And yes, there are the faint tell tail signs, but it is barely a path… Snaking straight up, no let up… I pass a group of walkers, complete with stares… I assume it’s the beard… wild in the wind… As before me lies the finish…

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Well, not quite… I eat Scottish Tablet, feeling the sugar hitting my veins, before I set off back down the way I have just climbed, running with the scree where I can, trying to find the path when I can’t… back round the lake and then follow the little stream all the way to the valley floor… Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3508The sun is back out and it’s getting warm, I drink from the water running next to my feet, fresh from the hillside, nothing tastes better. One more stile, and thats it, the final stretch is along the road, a minor inconvenience after a mind bending day…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3520 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3518 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3516Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3511Shower, pub, Steak Pie! Thank you!

(Sorry for all the photos in this one… got a bit carried away…)

Ankle deep and alone in the Welsh mountains

I’m in North Wales for a week of running up and over mountains. The idea is to get fit for the Lakeland 50 in June, get some miles and hours in my legs and generally escape from work and find the smiles…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3279Today was day one, and as I pulled the van in to the car park at Capel Curig it was lashing with rain… big droplets ran down the windscreen as I changed… I waited and made a bacon sarnie, at least it would provide me with some fuel… then I made a mug of coffee, but still it rained… It didn’t matter how long I sat and waited, I was going to get wet… So I slid the van door fully open, pulled on my muddy shoes and said goodbye to the cosy dry van.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3299I set off a gentle trot, ignoring the rain, feeling the ground pass beneath my feet, the track was running like a river. I was looking for the sharp right, that was meant to be so obvious, but I turned to early and contoured round the hillside, sure I was going the wrong way, yet convinced this was the path… Common sense prevailed, I back tracked to find the right path, the one that rose steeply up the hillside, working my lungs and quads to burning point.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3309The hillside was like a river, water running over every surface, my feet sank ankle deep, with every step water flushed through my shoes. I climbed higher, into the cloud and driving rain… I ran to my compass, passing no-one, or at least seeing no-one, the mist was so thick, I could just about see twenty paces in front…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3306To day there is no view. A steady wind blows sheets of rain at me. I huddle in a rock shelter to eat some flapjack and quaff a TORQ Rhubarb and Custard gel (I could get addicted to these) before heading onwards.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3302As the mist thickens, I make the executive decision, and turn for that warm dry van… But as I quickly drop height the World opens up below me, to a brighter dryer day, I stop in the lee of wind to take in the view… it’s all so worth it…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3324Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3342Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3331A brief mountain drink and quickly now I skip from stone to stone, over dryer ground, making for the valley floor…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3354Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3353But again I’m forced to pause on a stile to admire those views… Views you can never get running in the city, feelings which just aren’t there when you pound the concrete…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3375Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3378Almost home now… as tired legs turn the miles, this track seems to stretch further and further away… I leave the Devil behind me, alone in his kitchen… One last stile, one last muddy puddle and theres the van… slide open the door… Job done… Smile..!