A hill to climb – At last!

On Sunday May 10th, the government in England announced that we were now allowed to travel for ‘unlimited amounts of exercise’. Which marked a big change, as since the start of lockdown we have been restricted to one form of local exercise per day. The ‘stay local’ advice did give me a great chance to find many new trails and routes closer to home however, living in the Cheshire plains, a speed bump is the closest thing I could find to a hill!

Following the announcement, most, if not all trail runners, hikers and nature lovers hastily made plans to travel (what a strange concept) to the nearest route that will provide some much-needed ascent. Still wanting to remain respectful to residents in smaller communities in the Peak District and the other National Parks we decided that on Saturday we would head over to Frodsham, marking the start of the *Sandstone Trail. A route that we have trained on for years and been to many times but on this occasion felt very foreign and brand new.

On Saturday we woke up early, filled our bags with the essentials for the day, got in the car (another strange concept) and headed for the hills! At the start of the trail we could barely contain our childish excitement as we strained our necks upwards and still couldn’t see the top of Frodsham hill.

Off we set for 15 glorious miles of up and down and up and down again. Following the Sandstone trail route from Frodsham to Delamere Forest and back, cross country, through farmers fields, woodlands and over rocky tops looking outwards to the River Mersey Gateway and Silver Jubilee Bridges. After 2 months of running on the flats, these mere hills felt like mountains and our legs struggled to remember what to do. Thighs burning and calves like lead we proceeded to plough on up, with our minds telling our bodies that we’ve done this a thousand times, to stop complaining and keep moving forward.

It’s hard to describe the elation of what was, in reality, just another run. A route we’ve done before and only a 20 minute drive away however, it felt great to be up there again and it symbolised another big step back to normality from a world in turmoil for the most part of 2020.

The total ascent was 1611ft (491m) and a distance of 15 miles but that’s not the end of this short story! There’s more, and I saved the best ‘til last.

At the end of the run, nearly back to the car, we encountered a pub with a glorious sign outside which read ‘take away beers- bring your own container’. At first I thought I must be dreaming. The best thing you can reward yourself with after a fulfilling amount of exercise is a nice cold pint in the nearest pub, I certainly didn’t think I’d get that luxury today but to my amazement there was a chance.

As soon as we got back to the car I immediately drained (threw away) the water from our container and headed gleefully back to the pub. Sheepishly handed it to the landlord and watched as he disappeared into the cellar, returning with a litre of Ale and his card machine. All told, Saturday 16th May 2020 was an absolute success story!

Did anybody else head out that day in search of their own Everest?

Where did you head to? Was it somewhere you’ve been before or somewhere just discovered?

Comment in the section below and if you have any questions about the routes we love and would like to know more, please let me know.

*The Sandstone trail is a brilliant 34-mile (55km) route which starts in Frodsham, Cheshire and finishes in Whitchurch, Shropshire, taking in Delamere Forest, Beeston & Peckforton castles. If you are interested in running, walking, hiking or mountain biking it’s a great day out with family and friends. Check out their website https://sandstonetrail.co.uk/

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