Thursday, September 03, 2020

Tri Winter Hill - 29th August 2020

 A larger than usual entry this year, probably a record; and, for the first time, including a relay team.

From the left - Liz, John K, Ed, Paul, Mary, Izzy, Martyn, John S and Bob. John S and Bob are my brothers and formed the relay team. John did all the running and Bob swam and cycled.

The morning was bright and a bit chilly.

We set off remarkably close to the planned start time, with Bob driving close to the swim site, having been banned from running, due to a new hip. Mary had probably been banned from running, having two new knees!

I very soon assumed my rightful position - way behind everyone else - which made it a bit difficult to put a comprehensive report together, but here goes:-

Martyn seems to have been first out of the water and started back to the main transition just 37 minutes after the gun. Then it was Paul, Izzy and Mary. However, Mary had lost sight of John and lost time peering into the distance for him, and then, with great relief, dragged him out of the water as he completed his return swim!

Then I think it was Liz, followed by (no wetsuit) Bob. Arriving res-side as most of the field was emerging from the water, I was already beginning to lose heart, and then, stripped for action I got both feet wet and, I'm ashamed to say, decided that enough was enough and awarded myself the white feather!

 I saw nothing after that, but Martyn's bike time of just over 44 minutes was probably the fastest of the day.

I've received lots of photos, too many to use in fact, so apologies if I haven't included your best one/s. Most are from the finish, but here's Paul, in full flight, 

John K soon after leaving Winter Hill Trig:-

John reports that the water temperature was 11 degrees, which according to BTA regs requires the wearing of wet suits, and is on the very margin of allowing the swim to take place at all!

And here's Paul (in best selfie mode) with the other two podium occupants - well done to all three, in fact to everybody, except me.

All the ladies seem to have enjoyed the event, or perhaps just enjoyed finishing:-

Liz - do you think she's happy?

Izzy - also happy!

And Mary, preparing for for a Riverdance audition!

We don't seem to have any piccies of the relay team, but this seems to be John S wondering where his cyclist has got to:-

Final times, as submitted:-

Martyn - 2:35

Paul - 2:45

Izzy - 2:52

Liz - 3:09

Mary - 3:12 (ish)

John K - 3:14

John S & Bob - 3:36

Ed - DNF

Well done everyone, and thank you for your support.

Just for completeness, the distant hill in the midst of the wind turbines was (and I suppose still is) Knowl Hill:-

Monday, August 24, 2020

Spooky Start to the Northern Five

It must have been four weeks to the minute since we lined up at the Top Barn to attempt the full Dozen when we lined up for this, the Northern 'Half'' and the heavens once again opened up in an identical downpour - does someone up there disapprove?

There were just eight of us this time, numbers depleted by holidays and at least one of our number saving herself for today's Horwich (no swim) Tri - is that still a Tri?

After waiting some time for the rain to abate - it didn't - we set off; Martyn and Izzy leading, Paul and his mates, Simon and No Kag Chris in hot pursuit with Gordon, Jim and yours truly trailing in their wake. Gordon and Jim had offered to keep me company at the rear and generously did so until we reached Spitlers Edge when I finally persuaded them to abandon me so Gordon could keep his appointment for a haircut, which he had optimistically made for 1:30.

I met them again at the stile below Great Hill as they headed for Round Loaf and I continued with my ascent.

No further news beyond that, other than to report that the M & I duo returned to the Barn in 2 hours 40, shortly followed by the P,S,C trio.

Gordon and Jim had to give Healey Nab a miss (hair appointment) but I staggered round the full set to arrive home just in time for tea. I was probably the only one who managed to finish in full sunshine - so the sun does shine on the righteous.

I'm told that rather than approach Old Adam's Hill in a north easterly direction, M & I carried on along Spitler's and then went due east - worth a try, as that should avoid what seems like several miles of knee high tussocks - we used to call them Turks' heads, but we're not allowed to any more.

A few piccies from Gordon:-

Great pictures Gordon, can't exactly place the two with Jim and me on, but Belmont reservoir is particularly good and from a viewpoint that few (apart from CDers) will have visited.

Thank you all - what next? - Tri Winter Hill next Saturday, email me on for details.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Half(ish) Coope's Dozen

 YJ and I (and possibly a few others) will set off from the Top Barn at 8:30 on Saturday 22nd August to visit the northern five of this round.

All welcome!

Tri Winter Hill

 This year's event will be held on Saturday 29th August, starting at 9:00 a.m from Horrocks Fold car park on Scout Road.

Email me on for details.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Monday, July 27, 2020

...and Then The Rain Came Down

...which unfortunately get into TLoB's phone and wrecked the photo of the assembled throng, so we have no 'start' photo, but please see Gordon's post, below for some shots taken en route.

There were 14 of us not photographed at the start, and TLoB (Chris - aka the Failed Photographer) and his wife Anne were also there, Chris had hoped to run, but a recurring health problem had kicked in overnight which put him hors de combat.

So the 14 of us set off and as per usual we split into loose groups, according to our aspirations. I think we all made it to Noon Hill reasonably straightforwardly - then most everybody got lost. This is the view that I had hoped we would see:-


I'd taken this a few weeks earlier, when the cotton grass was at its finest.

Crossing this stretch with Young John on Saturday we could hear voices from almost all four points of the compass (compass? Yes, that would have been a good idea) so even that early on it was obvious that most of us were experiencing difficulty. I think we all reached the Pike and went on to climb Two Lads, but from there on folk started to drop out.

Twelve of us got as far as Winter Hill trig, and most turned for home soon after, only Izzy, Martyn and Gordon crossed onto the northern section. Gordon missed a couple of tops after that - see his report, but managed ten of the dozen - 10 outa 12 ain't bad.

Stars of the day were Izzy and Martyn who completed the full round in 4 hours 31 minutes, but thanks to everybody for turning out and making this a day to remember - or perhaps a day to forget. If there's any interest we could organise an attack on just the northern five, for those folk who've never got that far.

Sunday saw me completing my walk/run of shame as I climbed Great Hill from Piccadilly to retrieve my stash of provisions which I had so optimistically hidden on Friday.

Apologies for any errors or omissions, please let me know about them on

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Wet Coope's Dozen

Hopefully we'll get some reports from others who took part in this year's Coope's Dozen.
Arriving at the Top Barn car park quite early for me, only there was only YJ waiting. We wondered if it would be a low turnout but gradually more and more turned up. This included TLOB who I surmised didn't look appropriately dressed for the the day's activities. Alas, he had not taken the correct dietary preparation, and so didn't want to risk. However, it meant that we had someone (either TLOB or her ladyship) to take the group photo (hopefully uploaded soon).
Then the heavens opened so we were somewhat delayed before it sufficiently eased. Naturally we departed in suitably socially distanced groups with a quicker group stringing out and the slower group of YJ, Ed and myself distancing at the back before I seemed to move away and be in a group of one.
As I had done very little running over the past 18 months, my plan was to get round in about 8 hours max, a mix of walking and jogging with expected pace of 2.5mph. I also thought it wise to omit Old Adam and Round Loaf.
I noticed the quick group continued heading towards ammunition corner whilst I took our usual diagonal route up to Georges Lane. I thought I may have seen them in the vicinity of Noon Hill but none were to be seen. I don't enjoy the direct rout to Rivington Pike so I returned to Georges Lane, exchanging pleasantries with YJ and Ed who were about to start the climb to Noon Hill.
Heading for the Pike I realised I could revise my target pace from 2.5mph to 3mph, 20 minutes per mile.
Rivington Pike and Two Lads passed without seeing anyone and I headed towards Whimberry Hill via Holden's Farm and the Trespass Stone. One thing that has puzzled me for a few years is that we have the opportunity to add Adam Hill and White Brow to the dozen.
Reaching Egg Hillock, it was a case of retracing steps to Whimberry rather than the direct route or via Shaly Dingle, both of which I am sure would have been quite challenging with the recent weather. To my surprise, as I mounted Whimberry Hill for the second time, a group of runners came heading towards me : it was Ian, Mary, Hilary and the others from the quicker group. Four of them caught me up over Counting Hill and they were still in sight approaching Winter Hill.
Looking north from Egg Hillock (apologies for not wiping the lens first)
Looking south from Egg Hillock

Five of the quicker group on the left side of Winter Hill trig point
After that it was a slow descent off Winter Hill to Hordern Stoops. I was surprised that the rest of the quicker group did not catch me up. After taking a break to eat some fruit loaf and a banana, I then headed directly for Spittlers' Edge and Great Hill. By now the weather was improving but it the path was as waterlogged as I have ever seen. Taking the quarry route to White Coppice I stopped for a couple of photos.
Dean Black Brook - the weather much improved

Towards White Coppice with Dean Black Brook on the left
I chose the route past the White Coppice cricket ground (café now open) and up the road past Morris Farm. It is a few years since I have been on this route and I was unsure if the footpath signpost was the correct one so I had to refer to OSMaps on my phone. It was but was not a great choice - it must be rarely used as it was so overgrown. Eventually I reached the vantage point on Healey Nab so it was now just a matter of the usual route back to the top barn, arriving just inside 6 hours. What I did notice was how horrendous was the traffic on Sheephouse Lane. I arrived to find no sign of anyone still out. Isaline, Martin and Suzanne must have been well ahead of me all the time as I didn't see them at Whimberry and the rest may have completed shortened circuits. I recorded on my Garmin but yesterday evening found that Garmin's servers have been inaccessible since Thursday.
A colourful display on the roadside on Charnock Back Lane, opposite Waring's Farm
Strava link for my route - 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

A hole in the head

A hole in the head

It was the day I hit the ground running and the day I realised that fell running is a contact sport - such as my head hitting the ground....very hard.

Ironically it was also the time when the government deemed it safe to travel to a place away from home to take exercise.  At any other time I would have opted to run  with EtU on a route we have graced many times.

As it turned out I was true to form and, embodying the falling down bit in  the title of this blog, I stubbed my toe on the roughest bit of the bridle path round the back of Healy Nab and ended up  (or rather down) on the ground.

And I got up again!

Instantly I could feel blood running down the side of my face, a sensation that has accompanied other falls and so I knew, or thought I knew, that the flow would be staunched and dry up, hopefully by the time I reached the road.

It was not to be and the blood kept flowing, attracting the attention of  of a kind lady dog walker who advised that an ambulance was needed. Of course I knew better and she was persuaded to call out EtU  who duly arrived at  what was quickly becoming a major trauma centre on  Back Lane.

Local residents emerged to offer comfort and support and it was soon obvious, as it should have been to me earlier, that an ambulance was needed.  So I ended up in A&E at Preston where I had excellent treatment, as I did from all NHS staff that day.

It turned  out that I had severed an artery, broken  two ribs and suffered multiple lacerations, not to mention that I had lost a lot of blood. Also I had put EtU and one of our other brothers to a lot of worry and inconvenience and I am grateful to both of them.

Lessons to be learnt.....No more running off road on my own, listen to the advice of people who know better than     the the casualty  and PICK MY FEET UP