THERE WERE 12 legs pushing hard on a perfect morning for running on Dartmoor.

Not only was the weather ideal, warm, dry and giving us clear sunny views of the landscape, but it was empty of people, riders and mountain bikes who can sometimes get in each other’s way, even in the wide open spaces of the moor.

It was Colin Kirk-Potter’s idea to meet early on a Sunday to take me on a guided run round one of the routes in his new book Dartmoor Trail and Fell Running.

So, Colin, who runs the Run Venture shop and outdoor adventure courses in Tavistock, was joined by his dog Mia and my short-legged pet Stanley on a four-mile jaunt across country to test out how user friendly his routes are.

I’m not a hardened multi-terrain runner, but running is my hobby and I much prefer running off-road in the countryside.I find that the more dramatic the scenery, the more motivated I am to continue in the face of exhaustion — so, to be offered routes designed for runners by an off-road runner and expert in enjoying being safe in the great outdoors is ideal.Colin spotted a space in the market place for a Dartmoor guide book for runners — for some reason, no one has written one: ‘There are plenty of guide books for walkers or for finding history or wildife, but none specifically for running. I think the forbidding reputation of Dartmoor, thanks to Conan Doyle, puts people off running on their own. The stories of the Hounds of the Baskervilles and escaped prisoners, for instance, just adds to the overall scary atmosphere.

‘My book is aimed at all levels of runners with choices of distance and difficulty and with interesting features to see along the way.’

Colin picked a relatively easy route for me to test. We met at Norsworthy Bridge, near Yelverton, at one end of Burrator Reservoir. We rise above mist and early cloud which makes a stunning scene. The first leg is up a track with large stones, which soon makes us hot and out of breath. Down Tor is to the right across the valley and we can see for many miles. So, Colin’s map reading expertise is no t needed, we can easily find our way along obvious tracks and via landmarks.

I certainly feel safe and confident with a former Royal Marine and their renowned ability to make the most hostile enironements their home, even though Crazy Well Pool brings back memories of when a Royal Marine under training died swimming the length of the drowned mine working.

Moorland cattle and ponies largely ignored us and our heavy breathing as we walked on the springy turf for a rest. Higher up we meet the engineering marvel that is the Devonport Leat water supply and run downhill alongside as it flowed smoothly across a narrow aqueduct to cascade noisily down a steep fall. We follow the leat as it slows and is a soothing companion with granite stone banks until we turn left through the commercial woodland, recently restored after heavy scarring from felling. Soon we are back at the start and energised for the rest of the day.