On Sunday I decided to go a bit bonkers and without any additional training arranged to meet my Dad at Princetown at 9.30am, so he could support me on a mini South Dartmoor running and cycling adventure. The plan was that I would cycle the 18 miles from Ivybridge to Princetown, 2678ft of climbing, give him my bike and then run the 14 miles home straight across Dartmoor. You can see the full route profile in the image to the left, if you want to also consider what was going through my mind! I should probably add at this point that I do occasionally like to throw the odd challenge into my training, just to do something different and have a bit of fun. In this case I had a great time, took some good pictures and was lucky to get away with very minor sunburn due to being a bit unprepared for the extremely good weather!
I left Ivybridge just after 8am, with my trusty rucksack full of food, drink and my running
Arriving at Princetown
gear determined not to set out too quickly and burn myself out. I’ve done the route to Princetown a few times, there is usually very little traffic, but it is remarkably uphill. Nothing untoward happened and I plodded on through Cornwood, past Lee Moor, over the picturesque Cadover Bridge and into Yelverton. Here I joined the potentially busiest road, but it was early on a Sunday morning, so all was quiet. My Dad drove past with about 5 miles to go and I eventually caught up with him at the entrance to Princetown, after spending the last few miles climbing over beautiful open moorland.
A change of clothes later and I was ready to start running. If you’ve never tried to run after going for a bike ride then you’ve never experienced the odd sensation that occurs in your legs as they try to switch from a circular motion to running. The closest description I can think of is “jelly legs,” but it doesn’t quite do it justice. It only lasts a few hundred yards though and you probably don’t look as silly as you feel!
Again I set off very gently determined to run the whole fourteen miles. I was also safe in the knowledge that a few miles at the latter end of the trip would be on the fairly even Puffing Billy Track, although I would be taking in a few hilly diversions for some good views.
I followed the well beaten track from the Plume and Feathers pub out to Nun’s cross and then picked my way through the streams and tussocks for the four miles to Red Lake. The spoil heap at Red Lake was visible for a lot of this, which made navigation very easy, thanks to the good weather. From here I followed the Puffing Billy track back towards Ivybridge with detours up Three Barrows, along a stone row and over Butterdon Hill and Western Beacon.
I was beginning to get a bit worried by this point as I’d packed for a cloudy day and so far it had been wall to wall sunshine. Thankfully I had my headscarf, sunglasses and long sleeves to protect me as much as possible, although I did have a flying hat and goggles type of mild burn that evening! I vowed to keep suncream in my bag as a permanent feature from now on. I also ran out of water with six miles to go, which wasn’t ideal, again this was due to the overly warm weather. Next time I’ll remember to pack some purification tabs just in case. Overall I had a great time and can’t wait to do the route again, perhaps with some different detours.