Friday, 17 February 2012


About 5 years ago on a winters night, I had just finished reading Richard Askwith's excellent 'Feet in the clouds' for the first time. I was siezed with the desire to get out - there and then, and run on the moors. I grabbed a headtorch, and the dog and I set off. We climbed the road and then turned off at the top of the hill and onto the moorland. Initially I turned my headtorch on, my breath creating clouds of steam in the cool air. I soon realised that due to the almost full moon reflecting off the snow on the ground that the light was unneccessary. Through silent fields we ran, Conn keeping pace with me. Another climb and we finally reached the highest point on the moor. The snow, as I remember it, was still clean and crisp, easy to run on and still unmarked by any tracks. We ran together. It felt almost effortless, the wind behind us. It was a run just for the pure pleasure of running. Conn would get slightly ahead and then he'd suddenly pick up the hint of a smell of something interesting and wheel back to locate it, snuffling into the snow. I felt true joy at this shared magical experience. The moonlight created shadows on the snow, little scuffs of cristals thrown up by our feet as we sped on. I think the memory of that night will stay with me forever. When I think of Conn that's how I remember him - bounding easily along, fur blown back, mouth slightly open as if in a smile. Conn was put down on Thursday. Run free boy. You were loved.

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