It's that time, when I dress myself in various layers including a heavy headtorch. I drag myself out into the rapidly cooling evening to a lonleish car park.
As I arrive I can't see anyone and it seems very still. My first thought is that no one else has bothered coming and it's going to be a quiet one.
Then over the next ten minutes various people in similar strange attire begin to emerge from cars. They mutter hellos, shiver, jump up and down and sort out headtorches and garmins.
We are psyching ourselves up for the first official headtorch of the winter.
It is a mammoth task of running round in similar circles, up and down hill, over rocky paths and hidden tree roots, through muddy slurry, for a number of uncountable weeks before the sun returns to bathe us once again in light.
It is almost a pagan ritual as we set off. Familiar faces take familiar paths and resume familiar banter making conversations. We stop at the pinnacle, climb up and over stiles, scatter sleepy sheep and discuss the underfoot conditions.
The new moon comes out while the sun sets, clothing the horizon in red.
We moan a little about the start of the winter. About how many weeks we have to get through.
Yet as we run, the ancient ritual of putting one foot in front of another brings peace and perspective. We laugh at old jokes and exchange stories from recent weeks. We wait for each other and agree (mainly) on the route we will travel.
We finish on a down hill and head for the pub. For more chat, food and drinks. Our minds refreshed and our bodies stretched, we all silently realise we might actually enjoy another headtorching winter.
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