A while back, on a run with B through Oulston we spotted a finger post pointing the way along the Foss Walk. It had a cute little frog on it.
Later that same day, while scrolling through Strava I saw that one of my other running friends had been in Oulston that same day running the Foss Walk! It was like fate...
A little research told me that the Foss Walk was a 28 mile route following the River Foss (funnily enough) from York to Easngwold. Ideal for a mini-adventure. I put it to the gang and we started planning.
Unfortunately, despite it being a recognised route, there was no map or route description available, however there was a GPX downloadable from the LDWA website so A downloaded that to his phone for navigation and we were away.
The day we picked was Saturday 8th May and it soon rolled around. The forecast was pretty rubbish, but it's often wrong, right?
It was clear when we got on the train in Thirsk, drizzle on the way to York and chucking it down by the time we were rounding the city walls on our way to the river side start point.
I can't really tell you much about the actual route as I didn't know where we were 99% of the time! We followed the river side footpaths, through houses and pasture. We saw a kingfisher, a heron and lots of cattle. We passed under the York Ring road after a few miles.
|York Ring Road|
The rain just continued the whole time, varying in intensity but never actually stopping. It was also rather cold and occasionally the wind would whip up and chill us in our wet gear, quite miserable at times if I'm honest.
|Keeping our spirits up! No idea where this was...|
We had been promised cake at 28km (17.5 miles) and B had pre-arranged for his wife to collect him here. As the cake shop seemed further and further away, we began to wonder if it was real... At last though, 19 miles in, we turned off the route and down the road towards Stillington at the Pop-up Cafe at The Mill. Hurrah! Here we found tea/coffee and cake a plenty. We hogged the log burner for the best part of an hour, warming our bones and drying our gear while we ate lots of cake. They also brought out Flannigan the puppy for us to fuss, which he seemed quite happy about. As tempting as it was to stay here, we had to carry on as this was R's first ultra - but of course she needed to complete! Eventually, it time to push on, on legs that had seized up! Shuffle!
|Pop up Cafe at Stillington|
The rain eased a little in time, and we shed the extra layers we had put on at the cafe. We had a tangle with some horses this time instead of cows, flighty things. Eventually the rain stopped altogether and we were suddenly too warm in our rain coats! As the weather had improved, so had our spirits and we were noticeably more chatty than we had been in the freezing cold rain earlier in the day.
|Smiling at Oulston Res.|
Easingwold seemed even further away than the cafe, we couldn't even see houses in the distance. We rounded Millfield Park on the outskirts of the small town, we had long crossed the 28 mile mark. At last, the green lane we were on entered the town and we found the main market place! Hurrah!
|Foss Walk completed! A, Me, T and R at Easingwold.|
|End of the route|
We had rung ahead for our lifts and they were waiting just round the corner, we wasted no time jumping into nice warm cars and heading home for hot drinks and baths.
30 miles complete, in 6 hours 51 mins (not including time at the cafe) R had completed her first ultra and I had a sub-6 hour marathon.
Overall, very pleased with how it went. Navigating from the GPX on A's phone worked fine, the frog signs were better in some places than others. The route is almost totally flat - only 1000ft of climb over the whole 30 miles and all of that in the last 5 miles or so. No new injuries and no real mood slumps apart from being fed up of being cold and wet. I ate more than I would normally manage, cheese and onion pastry roll things from Tesco worked well and the mid-run tea and cake definitely helped. What did I learn? Cheap dry bags are no match for 5 hours of heavy rain! I should have used the better ones AND put ALL my stuff in them.
|The route from FetchEveryone - mucho squisho|