Beacon Bash, 22nd Feb

Ian Hodge reports…
Distance: 21 m
Type: LDWA walk/run
Location: Newburgh, Lancashire

This was an event I did last year, when the weather was a lot colder and  the ground rock hard. This year it promised to be much softer underfoot.
Starting at 9 am, an hour after the walkers, the route initially followed the Leeds/Liverpool canal before heading north. I’d planned to take
things easy but steady and to concentrate on keeping the pace steady. Some parts of the route were common to the Parbold Hill race that had taken place the week before, so there were some swampy spots, but nothing too bad. After the first couple of checkpoints the route turned south and I soon found myself more or less alone, catching the odd walker.

At Appley Bridge I made sure not to repeat the navigational mistake of last year (turning off down the canal, rather than the stream) and
continued my steady progress. At this point the wind was in my face and I could feel a slight drizzle which was chilling but not too bad. The conditions were mainly good, with the odd bit of clagging mud.

On reaching the last but one checkpoint I was asked by a fellow plodder ‘where now?’. His only aid to navigation was a now disintegrated route description. Hadn’t he read the advice that a map and compass (and the ability to use them) would be a good idea? Anyway, we set off, him following. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t lose him (sounds cruel).
After the final checkpoint the route differed from last year, not sure why. The new route was not more scenic, or less muddy.

The final stretch back up hill (isn’t it always?) brought me back to the start. Checking the clock I was pleasantly surprised, 3:17, which is about my normally Sunday shuffle time over a shorter route. As typical the food options include a vegetarian, but non vegan, option. So, out came the banana and apples. A pleasant day out, certainly better than the streets of Warrington.
Well done Ian, saviour of the lost!