The sun breaks through the trees on this unseasonably warm November afternoon, offering promises of what lies ahead at the top of the climb. The slow grind up Pilgrim’s Pass is pleasing to my legs, a heavy week of training having not yet had the chance to wear them down too much.

Heather heavy moorland opens up at the head of the pass, still the trail heads upwards and today I don’t even pause at Oxstones, preferring instead to follow the secret path across to Burbage. Heavy rain in the last few days has reduced a few sections to no more than deep peat bogs and progress is slow whilst my effort is high.

Before long the sodden singletrack begins to hold more firmly. Heather brushes my ankles and legs as the path narrows and winds it’s way to the edge. The relative chasm of the Burbage Valley lies beneath, colourful dots of human beings scattered either side climbing it’s steep gritstone walls, solving it’s many problems. It’s a good place to be.


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