Monday, October 10, 2022

Winter Hill Round

 Steve Pearson and I missed the original run and so we decided to make our attempt on Sunday. Actually we had originally picked last Wednesday but Steve had to pull out, and the weather on Friday brought out the southern wimpiness in me, so we settled on Sunday.

I picked Steve up en route to the Top Barn and we set off just after 10.30. We decided that ploughing through long grass would be difficult so we followed the path from the car park into the woods and then uphill on a distinct track up through the trees to George's Lane and the first of our fence climbs. Noon Hill was ticked off and we managed to avoid the worst of the swamp by following a quad bike track to the trig on Winter Hill. 

Winter Hill
We followed the path to Counting Hill and then made a serious error of judgement. We opted for a direct line to Egg Hillock which proved problematical with long grass, tussocks and bracken all making progress difficult. (I suspect in winter the best line might be more obvious) Eventually we reached the col between Egg Hilock and Whimberry Hill, polished them off and followed the track south to find our first new CP, Lomax Wife's trig. Locating it was easy, getting to it a lot harder as we had to climb two fences.( that's three if anyone is counting). Someone had left some flowers on the trig, probably in memory of a loved one, so we eschewed the photo opportunity and followed a distinct track that led us out to Coal Pit road after another fence climb. We looked for the path marked on the map but decided that it was too overgrown and instead used the track past Hampsons Farm and out onto Colliers Row.

There now followed  a longish section of road running interrupted by a brief climb up from the car park to Matchmoor Lane. The next trig point was again difficult to get to because of a deer fence but we persevered and found it.

Matchmoor Trig

Exerting our right to roam, we cut across country to White Brow with yet another fence climb for good measure. Adam Hill proved problematic, not because we couldn't find it, but because there was a herd of cows with big horns and Steve doesn't like cows. As a result we had an extra two fence climbs before we reached the mast road and the easy run up to Two Lads. Here an unpleasant sight greeted us: some idiot had clearly vandalised it and the cairn was surrounded by green fencing.

Two Lads

Down to Sportsman's Cottage, along George's Lane, and the final two summits. Neither of us had been up Brown Hill and so from the summit we took a direct line to the Pike. Now apparently we should have carried on to north to a gate which would have avoided our final fence climb, our eighth, and saved me getting a  couple of nasty scratches from the barbed wire. The Pike was busy, so after the obligatory photo

                                                                      The Pike
it was downhill back to the barn., which should have been straight forward but since neither of us were familiar with all the renovations in the gardens, we didn't pick a good way down. 

Our running time was 2hrs 25 mins for 10.8 miles and 2000ft of ascent, which is not too shabby given that our combined age is nearly 140! My thanks to Steve for his company and to Ed for devising the route. If you haven't tried it, I strongly recommend it - a great day out.

Friday, September 30, 2022

The Three Peaks


On Friday 23rd of September, I ran the Three Peaks of Yorkshire to raise some money for Ukranian refugee children. First of all, a big thank you to all the people who sponsored me: your generosity was overwhelming and the fund now stands at £1300. A number of people have asked me why did I do it, especially at my age. The answer is two-fold: I love fell running and I wanted to do something to help the Ukrainian refugees. So why not combine the two?

The weather could not have been better. Blue skies, very little wind and not too hot: ideal running conditions with the bonus of outstanding views. Roger and Eleri arrived at my house at 9am, and Paul drove us to Dalehead for the start. Pen y Ghent was straightforward and we were ahead of schedule when we arrived in Horton, to be met by Anne and Gordon, and flasks of tea. I should explain that I am physically incapable of going for more than a couple of hours without black tea.

 Eleri had to leave us at this point as she was going away for the weekend, but Gordon replaced her so we were still a gang of three. The ascent of Ingleborough is long and at times tedious, but it was enlivened by discussions on an eclectic mix of topics from the Royal family to Brentford FC. The descent proved problematical. I have known Gordon for well over 30 years and he is a top bloke (he had driven up from Horwich to join my run) but he is not a good descender. So Roger and I got ahead going down the first steep bit, and after running along the ridge we realised that Gordon was not behind us. We surmised that he must have taken the tourist route instead so we carried on to the Hill Inn where Anne, Peter and Shelagh were waiting with food and more tea. After 10 minutes anxious wait, Gordon appeared having taken the tourist route as we had guessed.

At this stage I was feeling a little tired and decided to press on, telling the other two (mere youths in their 60s) to catch me up. The ascent of Whernside was a slog: the sun came out and it was very warm. In addition, there was a charity walk going the other way which led to some awkward manoeuvres on the steps. Eventually I reached the ridge where things became much better. I soon reached the summit to be joined by Roger, and then Gordon. The descent was straightforward, although we had to be wary of tripping, easily done with tired legs on rough ground. Down past the viaduct and the finish was in sight. The support crew were there with the finish tape, and more importantly, more tea. We then went to the Station Inn for some well earned food and drink.

It was a very enjoyable day and my especial thanks go to my support team and my fellow runners, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

'All' the Winter Hill Tops - Saturday 17th September 2022

Just eleven of us assembled at the Top Barn for this inaugural tour of Winter Hill; Paul and his two buddies set off to run the route, seven (plus two dogs) of us planning to walk and Young John just there to see us off, before his road run.

It turned out that Hazel had a date with 22 footballers at the Bolton Wanderers' Stadium, so just stayed with our main group until the top trig, where she took this photo:-

From the left - Leon, Debs, Yours Truly, Jim, Steve, Daisy, Julie and Nicole - thank you for this, Hazel. From there Hazel skipped the furthest south eastern six, planning to finish with Two Lads, Brown Hill and the Pike.

From there we continued, pausing for refreshments in brilliant sunshine beside Lomax Wife's Trig. Mainly due to my slow pace, we began to realise that we were running out of time, so we left the Matchmoor Trig for another day, likewise Adam Hill, finishing off with Two Lads, Brown Hill and the Pike. Total time about six hours, for the ten out of twelve.

Heard later that Paul's Posse covered the dozen in about 2:45.

Thank you to one and all for your company and to Julie for her help with the navigation. However, with the job not fully completed, we will be going back - won't we?

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Upcoming Weakened Warrior Event - Walk or Run "Th'ole 'Ill"

 Being twelve named tops on the Winter Hill Massif.

It's about ten miles, starting from the Top Barn at 9:00 on Saturday 17th September. I'll be walking it (doctor's orders) but I'm hoping someone will lead a running posse, and set the inaugural record.

Email me on (at?) for brief details.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Checking In

 Hello from bonny Scotland! 

Just thought I'd check in and see how you're all doing?  How's the running going?  Mine isn't great due to still having foot problems but I'm just plodding around enjoying the scenery with my new dog, Geoff.  

Have to say, I'm missing the varied terrain of Horwich and surrounding areas, I tend to mostly run around Forestry Commission land up here and never seem to get very muddy.  I miss the mud! 

Trying to take up cycling and bought a lovely bike which is great for all the country lanes and fire roads but I'm struggling to take to it.  It's just not the same as running.  You have to go out for a LOT longer to feel the same burn.  

Open water swimming is fun though and there are so many places to go.  The loch I've been swimming in is almost black - you put your head in the water and can't see a thing.  Full of peat! There's also lots of sea swimming to be had around here too.  

Anyway, enough from me - I'd better get back to work!  

Stop by if you're ever in the area!  


Monday, June 20, 2022

White Bear Way Challenge

I realise that it is the morning after the quarterly do, but is anyone up for partaking in this excellent challenge event organised by Adlington Scout Group, and if the same as pre-pandemic, much of it by the Kaye family.

There's a choice of 21 miles which takes in Blackrod passing the hostelry we shall be at on the QD, then down to Liverpool Castle, via Tiger Clough to Georges Lane, over t'Pike to Horden Stoops, then Bomber Memorial, Healey Nab, Black Horse at Limerick, and back along the canal to Adlington.

Walk or run, and there is also a 10 mile option. Web page here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Black Combe

 YJ and I are planning an assault on Black Combe. As usual, it may not be easy to find a Saturday that suits all interested parties, but we'll try - so, anyone fancy it?

If you're not familiar with it, just look slightly west of north from the Pike or Winter Hill on a clear day; it's the roundish hill projecting furthest into the Irish Sea, and it's a little less than two hours drive away.