Day 161 Mile 161: Damp Donkey Path Descent. O.K. so the photo is of the river Gyrach which carves its way down the mountain forming the Fairy Glen valley down which the Donkey Path runs but the weather wasn’t much drier.
There seem to be several versions of how the Donkey Path got its name. One of the most popular is that it was simply the route that was used to take produce from the farmed land at the top of the mountain down to the village. Slightly more specific is the version that it is the route which in the 17-19th centuries was used by donkies and their attendants to descend the mountain; before hauling up large sledges, which would then in turn descend under their own weight, full of peat, for export on ships as fuel for fireplaces in the growing towns and cities.
It’s a great route. I had intended to run 1/2 mile up and then come back down, but sadly the gradient of the path, early Saturday morning and a stuborn sheep on the path combined to mean that there is no way I could honestly say I had run the entire way up! As a result I ran, walked and jogged my way up and out onto the top of the mountain in order to make it a 1 Mile route.
Starting up on the tips where the grass is cropped short by the sheep and the wind wistles around, the route follows the paths across the undulating baize past the herd of mountain ponies and a startled brace of partridge.
The path then vacuums in by a drystone wall desending sharply as the wall suddenly ends to the left and you are hurtling downhill next to a precipitous drop down to the river.
From there the path gets even better losing hight at an almost alarming rate, barely 1ft wide at its broadest and a mix of stone, grass, mud and gravel. The ferns, gorse and foxgloves hurtle past often obscuring a view of where your feet may be going adding zest and colour to the crazy undertaking. Finally the hill gives way to tarmac and meets the river and everything becomes calm. The rushing in the ears gives way to the white noise of water, and it seems that the rain has stopped. I wonder when that happened!?
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1766.1 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!