In the summer, Kirkstall Harriers run anywhere. Off-road, on-road, fields. We have some lovely routes, and I have seen parts of Leeds I would never otherwise have encountered. In the winter, we are a road running club. Road, road and road. Armley, Pudsey, Horsforth, Headingley: we still get about, but there are limits to how interesting Meanwood Road looks on a cold dark night with rain coming. But every so often we have a treat: a torch run. We bring any manner of torch – head, hand-held, finger-held – and we set off to the canal. It’s led by Peter, one of the guiding lights of the club. He guided us with lights through puddles and more puddles, and into Bramley Fall Woods, my second visit in a month. Last time, we’d gone to find Elliot’s ancestral home: his grandfather was a wood-keeper here, and they lived in a house right by the canal. The house has gone, and his grandfather left it anyway before it disintegrated, moving up the slope to the main road and opening a fish and chip shop. The family story is that the house was damp and not particularly nice to live in. Here is Elliot standing next to his grandmother’s kitchen steps.
The woods looked nothing like this on our torch run. They were black and witchy. But our group looked great: when I turned round at one point, it looked like there was a moving disco behind me. I didn’t mind the mud or the puddles. My shoes hadn’t dried since the trail run on Sunday anyway. And I got to splash people. Squelch, splash, squelch.
TODAY’S SPORTING ACTIVITY
ACTIVITY: 5 MILES ish (no Garmin)
TIME: 45 minutes ish (no Garmin)