I quite like running in the snow but it hasn’t always been that way. When the first time as runners, we were faced with persistent icy conditions, Helen and I resorted to an isolated stretch of country road, gritted (because it was on a bus route), so clear of ice that we could run up and down, relatively undisturbed by traffic. Later, we realised that compacted crisp snow is quite good surface to run on and so we did routes around Temple Newsam park in the snow. Once we discovered Yaxtrax, it was clear that with the right equipment, practically no surface was unrunnable on. Today alas was not Yaxtrax weather since it was all very melty and slushy but I did fancy an off road route for my long run, so I found myself running down the “Yellow Brick Road”.
There is a path that follows a deserted railway line from Bottom Boat (near Stanley), which goes under the M62 and ends up near Methley. It is now part of the Trans Pennine Trail. It used to have a rather attractive fine yellow gravel compressed in to Tarmac, hence the nickname: Yellow Brick Road. Alas, much of the yellow has now worn away but I expect, quite rightly, the Council has other more pressing priorities. It is about two miles long and it’s great to run along wihout any traffic to worry about or curbs to trip over; you can let your mind wander. Today it still had a nice snow covering in places.
My destination was Methley to see how under water the St Aidan’s nature reserve is since the floods (fair dos, it is supposed to be a wetland). To my surprise and contrary to some tales of it now being more of a lake rather than a wetland, it seemed to be almost back to normal. The lakes were a bit high and the causeway was cut off, but this is nothing exceptional so it looks like things are retuning to normal. All the canal towpaths are passable if a bit damp and muddy in places.
All in all a pleasant 15 mile run though the countryside but it was time to return home since it was rather cold and my fingers were feeling rather numb!