Little Sods

A Whale of a time on the Lawley - little sod

The hill, and therefore the location of my nomination for entry onto the official list of recognised ‘little sods’ will be familiar to many of you.  However, I suspect the route off of this hill will be less well known to some.

­To get the ‘full on’ little sod experience I therefore invite you to consider doing a training run which concludes at the north eastern end of the Lawley.

The summit is of course a familiar landmark on both the ’Cracker’ and the ’Skyline, not to mention the ’Hike’, but what each of these events deny you is the opportunity to descend the extensive whale back ridge that heads north east from the summit.

I was lucky enough to run this route many times each week when first living in Shropshire.  Whether it was at the end of a gruelling 6 hour outing or simply part of a quick 30 minute circuit, the view down off of the summit seemed only to offer the potential of unbridled pleasure as you bound down the ridge for home.  In fact, such is the distance from the Wrekin (which gives a fantastic distant reference to one’s direction), and with the relative flat countryside ahead, the sense of running down off of the last (or first) of the Shropshire Hills is quite palpable.

And so it is then, with the end of one’s run only touching distance away and with the prospect of a great big, juicy, runable, long grassy ridge to negotiate that one can get quite excited. (Well I don’t get out much!)  It therefore comes as quite a nasty shock when only minutes into this joyous downward romp one’s legs, not to mention one’s heart, lungs and soul are suddenly traumatised by the sudden loss of momentum that occurs when this most benign of ridges decides to head skywards once more.Like most of the little sods detailed in this publication and in the scheme of things, it’s not much of an up slope really, so I won’t bother to provide you with its exact location, suffice to say if you’re running hard or the tank is near empty, you’ll know when you’re there!!

Mark Bollam, April 2007

Cardington Cracker little sod

­Once you come off Caer Caradoc, you drop steeply down from Three Fingers Rock, cross though the stream (GR471 942) and its that little climb up to the Gate!

Colin Lancaster, November 2006

Cardington Cracker little sod (2)

Here’s my contribution to the Little Sods column, but I’ll call this one a ‘micr­o-sod’ as it’s only 2 feet! (Size doesn’t matter at  my age!) Its the step up the bank of the track you meet half way up Caradoc on the Cardington Cracker route. This is the tale of my attempts at that challenge.

Attempt number 1: place foot on top of bank and half-heartedly push-off. Not enough power and fall back. Ha!

Attempt number 2: put foot on top of bank again in same place (mistake!) and push-off harder this time. Bank gives way and I start to fall sideways. Arrgghh! Grab something quick for balance. I grab something in the periphery of my vision. Ouch! It’s a thistle. Muted mutterings could be heard.

Attempt number 3: All decorum is now thrown out along with any fell running creditability I may have had. I sit on the bank and roll over backwards. Success! I’m now lying in the heather on top of the bank.

Dave Nichols, April 2007

Long Mynd Valleys little sod

­(Not strictly a qualifier this one as it can be avoided by most routes off Yearlet in the final throes of the Valleys race). Anyway it’s that bugger of a mole hill that climbs a good 30’ from the mini reservoir at the bottom of Townbrook Hollow towards the Burway road crossing. Most humans have had enough of this race by then so this Smidgeon of a climb can be almost more than I can bear at that point.

Graham Hughes, January 2007

Long Mynd Valleys little sod (2)

Standing on the sideline at both the Time Trial and the Cracker gave me time to reflect on the many Little Sods that litter both races. There’s the road section up to Hollies Farm on the Time Trial; so close to the end, no climb at all, but the temptation to stop and walk so great it’s almost overwhelming. Then on the Cracker there’s the first climb as you cross the road near Enchmarsh, just half a mile from the start. It was so reassuring to see Tim Davies & Mick James struggle to keep the running going - you could almost think they were human.­­

But for my Little Sod, I thought I’d look at the races coming up, rather than those you may just have done. As far as the Carding Mill Canter goes, it’s more a case of which Little Sod dreamed it up rather than anything else, so it’s the Long Mynd Valleys that draw’s my mind.

Without doubt, it has to be the last climb of all - give me one of the big three any day. It’s when you’re just 400m from the end, your legs have dropped off, you descend down into Townbrook Hollow and you have that little climb to get back to the Burway (GR 447 938). If I ever find myself in a head to head with you, it’s yours, my legs turn to jelly just at the thought.

Keith Richards, January 2007