Friday, April 25, 2008

The Week Ahead

Sat 26th ~ Bottom Barn 8:30 ~ Round and round and round we goes, where we'll get to nobody knows.

Weds 30th ~ Lever Park 10k Trail race 7.15 ~ see Norman's blog for further details

May Day ~ 6:45 outside Dave Massey's

Sat 3rd May ~ Bottom Barn 8:30 ~ ideas?


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Peakers

Best of luck to our two Three-Peakers, YJ & FSS. I'm sure it should be quite a novelty running a completely flagged AL!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NLN's Profile?

Pauline, as a registered contributor, are you going to post your profile for your readers?


Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Clockwork Dozen ~ Sunday 20th April

(Yes I know it should be "clockwise" but I like the Kubrickesque sound of this)

Due to various other commitments it was convenient to schedule this for the Sunday, rather than the Saturday, apologies to anyone that this excluded.

The trio met at the top barn at 8.00 sharp and set off from the designated start line about ten minutes later. The choice of direction was based on the anticipated wind direction on Spittlers and to get the long approach run over at the beginning.

Healey Nab was gained in 43 minutes, Round Loaf 51 minutes later and Great Hill 15 minutes after that (1:49 in total). Thereafter Spittlers Summit (if that's not too grand a name for it) in a total elapsed time of 2:12. At this point yours truly baled out leaving the two Mileage Monsters heading for Old Adam, directly into a rather unpleasant easterly wind.

TF reports that YJ and she made it to Old Adam and thence to Winter Hill Trig, at which point YJ, (definitely not) fresh from Barbondale, also baled out. TF continued to Counting Hill then (in her words) "incorporated two slight variations on the route; from Counting Hill I took the reverse of the route we did a fortnight ago heading north, north east downhill towards the ramp and then along the drainage ditch to Shaly Dingle and then to Egg Hillock, I also turned left via the pidgeon tower to use the grassy descent (shouldn't that be right, coming from Noon Hill? Ed). The section from the shooting hut to 2 lads wasn't as bad as I expected, made easier by the wind behind me.

I don't think the two variations altered the mileage much, but were both a bit easier running after all the tough stuff. The first one meant that I did manage it to the top of the Pike and didn't just wave at it from Georges Lane!

Completion time exactly 5 hours".

Sterling stuff, TF, just sorry you had to finish alone

Sounds like YJ would miss his weekly mileage target of 90 (yes 90!), TF presumably achieved her 60, and EtU managed 51.

Scary Moment Continued

Having taken advice I have limited the "Comment" facility to folk who are members of the blog.

Blogspot will not know to include you just because you turn up on a Saturday morning and don't mind getting your legs dirty, so I suppose the next step is for someone to advise us on the initiation ceremony ~ Ian?

In the meantime just email me your comments and I'll post them asap.


Sunday, April 20, 2008


Having heard the howling wind during the night, I thought I knew what awaited us – but it was much worse. Leaving the well appointed village hall at Barbon found us trotting up Barbondale in relative shelter before crossing the river and beginning the long ascent to Great Coum. This is when the full ferocity of the wind really kicked in. Heading straight into the onslaught made the going extremely difficult, this was borne out by comparison with last year’s time at the summit – a full 18 minutes slower! As expected YJ caught us (Ian obviously going at my pace) just before the summit and it will be interesting to hear how his times compare. Even the descent saw us buffeted by the elements, passing YJ at this stage brought back memories of the Amble.

The flat between the two big climbs saw YJ racing ahead, those miles in the legs really paying off. Checkpoints came and went and then the long, hard slog up to Calf Top. Unbelievably we were once again being hammered by the headwind before the path turns three quarters of the way up, but no respite, as we get buffeted from the right. YJ could be seen pulling away from us on the climb, but despite Ian’s encouragement I was finding it increasingly difficult in the conditions. The wind was so bad going up that it was hard to keep to the path and make progress. Gaining the wall gave a little shelter and spurred me on but I suspect I hadn’t eaten enough for the energy expended. Ian talking to a runner from Newcastle who said he felt he had run 20 miles already. The times tell it all - at Calf Top Summit we were 30 minutes down on last year’s time. It could have been worse… we could have been on checkpoint duty at the summit. These poor souls looked completely battered but were still encouraging us on.

Just as you think the climbing’s all over a brief descent before the final pull over the shoulder of a beautifully cairned little summit and then it really is all the way down to the village and finally, some respite from the wind in the shelter of the bulk of Calf Top. Trying desperately to make up lost time and incorporating the ‘windmill’ style of descending seemed to work. We finished 4 minutes up on last year – so a PB, which given the conditions I’m really pleased with – 5:18:18. Was hoping for a sub-5 but not a chance in those conditions, at least not for me. John about five minutes ahead of us, will I am sure confirm his time and thoughts.

Scary Moment

Urgent warning - when viewing comments left by an unknown author do not be tempted to take up the invitation to click 'here' link. That's what happened to me this morning on a comment left on my write up about Easter walking. The comment in question has now been removed - so it's safe to read Ed's kind words!


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Long time waiting

Been meaning to get these on the blog for ages - wouldn't have bothered now but the pictures justify a belated post.

Bank Holiday (Easter) Monday

Having planned an outing for Easter Sunday in the Lakes, the weather forced cancellation and found Ian and I back on Winter Hill doing a brisk round of ‘The Climbs’. However, things were looking up for a trip to the Dales on the Bank Holiday Monday. Approaching Ingleton for an 8.30 start there was a bit of a surprise at how much snow there actually was on the tops.

Ingleborough in all its splendour

An outing with our good friend Keith a winter munroist completer and out to test his 'speed work' as part of a build up to his 8th LDWA Hundred, which this year covers the Yorkshire Dales. Setting off in sunshine and sheltered from the wind was a relief after the conditions on the last three days. Friday in particular saw us battling against strong winds on the Caldervale 10 mile road race. Saturday -Scafell Pike cancelled - conditions on a winter round of Coopes’ Dozen with EtU and YJ saw FSS and me retreat two thirds of the way round.

Today, stunning views in every direction were the order of the day. However, the ascent onto Ingleborough was slowed by the amount of snow on the ground and we soon found out that the wind hadn’t dropped much. Exhileration on the summit sadly gave way to a sinking feeling as darker clouds rolled in from the north-east and a bitterly cold wind pursued us all along the ridge and into a snow storm. Unbelievably, the final descent was in bright sunshine and to top it all a train conveniently appeared to perfect the view to the Ribblehead viaduct.

A stop for sustenance taking advantage of the wall below the viaduct saw us ready to tackle the ascent of Whernside. More snow arriving for the final pull to the summit with the snow cover increasing with height and much of it blowing over the wall along the top. The 'cloud cover' turns out to be spindrift and produces some spectacular photographs. Path is pretty busy now with plenty of people stopping for lunch below the summit and enjoying the sunshine.

NLN in spindrift on Whernside summit

Long slow run off through snow made the decision to leave Gregareth for another day a good one. A grand day out measured at just short of 19 miles with just under 4,000ft of climbing.

Sunday 30 March – Foraging for a walk over Fairfield

Again, meeting Keith for a ‘speed and hill’ session. The plan - meet at Threlkeld to leave a car then drive back to Rydal to go over Fairfield, picking up the BG route from Seat Sandal, over Helvellyn dropping down to Threlkeld again.

The reality – Arriving in Threlkeld in the pouring rain it didn’t take long to persuade us all that morning coffee in the Horse and Farrier would be a good alternative to what was planned. 10.30 saw the rain still pouring and finding us in the outdoor shop at Windermere where Keith found a sleeping bag replacement. Finally we park up at Dunmail Rise where a descending runner tells of the white-out hell on Helvellyn and how Fairfield is probably unreachable so we decide to have a look at our options from Seat Sandal’s summit.

Looking over Dollywagon to a snow capped Helvellyn Summit and to the right Striding Edge with Catsye Cam beyond
FSS & NLN – normally a trickle, the effects of the morning’s heavy downpour on the waterfall at Hause Riggs on the Old County Tops Fell Race route?

The wind is really strong and cold as we reach the summit where we decide to make Dollywagon our next summit and then on to Fairfield now that the summit is visible and the cloud base lifts. Straight down to the waterfall at Hause Riggs which is spectacular in the driving wind. A steep climb back to the summit of Seat Sandal and back down the almost vertical descent to Dunmail. We made the best of the conditions which were bitterly cold even when the rain had stopped. Only 7.5 miles… but 4,650 feet of climbing – a good afternoon on the hill.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Joss Naylor Recce

Yesterday's outing went very well, with the added treat of a brief glimpse of a red squirrel as we approached Pooley Bridge.

The day was colder than the early clear blue sky suggested, cloud cover being almost 100% once we got north of Kendal. However, the ground was drier than we had seen locally of late, albeit with traces of ice above about 2,250 feet. There were also significant patches of snow which were trodden on just for the sake of it.

The aim was to cover the first 8 tops up to Rampsgill (Ramsgill?) Head against the 2:41 schedule and then return via Angle Tarn and Martindale. We were a full 30 minutes inside the schedule, despite YJ having to ease back a couple of times to allow me to keep up, so this bodes well for 24 May. Mind you, there was a trace of fade on the run-in, which will need addressing.

A good day out, but no sign of the start of the tan for Corfu, for which I was hoping.

Just out of interest, NLN and FSS, did you get permission to stray on to The Nab, as AW says you should, when you added it to your Wainright tally?


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weds/Thurs/Sat/Sun 16th/17th/19th/20th April '08

Weds ~ first part of Joss Naylor Traverse ~ contact YJ or EtU if interested

Thurs ~ outside Dave Massey's 6.45 p.m.

Sat ~ bottom barn 8.30 a.m.

Sun ~ top barn ~ Coope's Dozen 8.00 a.m.

Kinder Downfall 10m/2500ft

I was pleased to see YJ back on track last week. I, on the other hand, am continuing with some inconsistent running (mostly of my own making this week) as the wheels well and truly fell off the cart for this tour of some of the highlights of the Peak District. Luckily no physical injuries (cuts, scrapes, bruises) were sustained and the mud's scrubbed off; I live to run another run.

The next bit is the 'I could've told you so'. On reflection, too many miles this week between Monday and Thursday (47.5 to be precise) became my 'downfall' today. I'd completed my aim of 60m for the week, but in doing so meant that it was probably the major (certainly not only) factor in being about 8mins slower than last year.

Fortunately I still have a number of weeks to go before the 'big one', and the three fell races prior to this are all new to me, so they'll all be PB's! But in light of what I've learned from this week, some judicious tweaking of the training schedule is required.


All races are just training for the next one. Ed

Friday, April 11, 2008

YJ's Spring in Lakeland

At last a long run that did not bring disappointment. In almost, but not entirely, perfect conditions Spring in Lakeland provided an interesting and challenging route over Loughrigg and via Skelwith Bridge, Elterwater, Tilberthwaite, Copper Mines Valley, Coniston, Tarn Hows, Skelwith Fold and a return over Loughrigg.

Icy conditions early on were not a problem and the clear blue skies were a perfect backdrop to the snow covered high fells. By contrast brief blizzards were a feature of the later part of the day. There was plenty of climbing to be done in the 22 miles and plenty of rocky paths (don't I hate them). A sign of steady progress was that the same faces kept appearing, although a few were slowed to my pace by poor navigating.

When energy resources finally ran out at about 20 miles, the others ran off and I trailed in about 10 minutes later. The time of 5 hours 17 minutes was a little slower than was hoped for but definitely an improvement on Edale.


Sounds good. You'll see from FSS's own blog that he also is making progress. Could be some hard work ahead for the support crews. EtU

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Thursday/Saturday 10th/12th April

Tursday ~ Usual arrangements ~ climbs (all four this time!)

Saturday ~ Usual arrangements ~ the world is our oyster ~ and Mat is the grit that can result in a pearl!

Anyone for the Lakes?

YJ and I have got mid-week passes for a trip to the Lakes on Wednesday 16th April. We had considered booking a chara and sitting on the back seat with a crate of brown ale. However I managed to persuade John that this was not the best use of our freedom and we have decided to go running instead.

We're heading for Pooley Bridge and covering the first part of the Joss Naylor Traverse route, before hanging a right and heading back to the start. This should give us a decent distance and a fair amount of climbing. Haven't seen a forecast this far ahead, but unless the weather's really awful we'll probably not be put off.

Additional adventurers would be welcomed.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Swift Morning

Having failed to meet the 8.30 run-off time at the Lower Barn on Saturday (29th March), which was due entirely to being plonked down next to Watters on Friday night, and had absolutely nothing to do with any lack of discipline on my part, I set off on a run from home at about 9 (in the morning). These days there is an increasing propensity for people to have personalized number plates on their cars (well I suppose it’s better than having them on their heads), but sadly for them, I have to report that this is no longer trendy and in fact, rather old-fashioned.

I had only gone about 150 yards, or put another way, been running for about five minutes, when I saw a parked car bearing the title "SUZUKI SWIFT ED". It is good to see Suzuki honouring our leader by naming a car after him, and I’m impressed that they arranged his name in an order that signified to the doubters, and the unlearned, where his true talent lies(that’s apart from the Thatch and Thistle). Now if only they had the sense to drop Suzuki from the title they would soon see a swift increase in Swift sales.

After lumbering, in a most unswift-like manner, through a short stretch of parkland I came to the main road. Immediately coming down the road was a car bearing the number plate A5WFT. Obviously someone with an eye for becoming a swift, except that they didn’t or else they would be, if you see what I mean.

Soon after, I turned up Bradshaw Road on my way to the Jumbles, when suddenly a Tradesman’s van flew by with SWIFT emblazoned on the side. All of this happened within three-quarters of a mile of setting off! By now I was starting to become paranoid and half expected YJ Swift, all the way from Preston, to fly past me limbering up for the Edale Skyline. Soon after this however, I left the road to head for the moors and so brought my Swift encounter to a swift conclusion. No doubt I came across a few swifts in the countryside, but I wouldn’t recognize them with my glasses on, let alone with them off.

So there you have it. Forget about personalized number plates, they’re for yesterday's men ... and women. If you want to get a ed and be a high-flier, you need to have a car named after you. I’ve no doubt though, that someone out there has both. Some people just have to have it all.

By the way, understand that when Ed got his BMW he was also considering a Mitsubishi, but he couldn't spell Mitsubishi ... so he got the one he could spell!

Mat (Shticklegs)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Liver Hill 5m/800ft

Preparation for this one was not up to usual standards. I arrived at Marl Pits Leisure Centre with 15mins to spare (courtesy of M66 traffic) and no map. Well never mind I thought, not much hanging about trying to keep warm and the race shouldn't be a problem as I've done it before. It's straight out and back and flagged. So fell shoes on, jacket on (remember this bit) and a sprint to the registration to fill out my form.

On the way out the route was much as I remembered. Past the rugby pitches, up a tarmac track, along a tricky, slippy narrow path next to a barbed wire fence, and then out across the sheep fields negotiating bogs, some very rickety stiles and faster runners on their way back. I even made it to the top clean from the knees up, unlike last time when I fell flat on my face depth-testing one of the bogs. So far, so good.

It's at this point I'll have to admit that I switched off. The hard bit done, I settled down to keep my place in the procession back to the finish. Probably about half way back, I suddenly snapped out of my trance and stopped. I'd a vague feeling that we'd gone awry, didn't know why and therefore didn't shout at the other runners in front. As I looked about, I then became fairly certain I was on the wrong side of the fence, but with no map to cross-check I had to go with gut instinct. As I back-tracked a bit I found a stile we'd missed about 50yds back, the others in front were now long gone. Oops! I made my way back to the finish ready to let them know about a few lost runners. It's not often though that I feel relieved to be passed near the finish, but fortunately(!) two of them caught me up (faster runners who'd started late). So I breathed a big sigh of relief and scoffed my Cadburys Caramel Egg prize as I counted the others in.

Remember the jacket, well that stayed on until I got back to my car where I could remove my vest and number and preserve my anominity. However, I would like to point out that at least two of the runners who went astray were Rossendale Harriers (wearing club vests), so if they don't know the way back to their own club-house I can't really be blamed for that.

Despite the slight error and weary legs from Sunday, I managed nearly a three minute improvement on last time, but not quite under the hour with a time of 1hr 44secs. Winning time was 34mins (Darren Kay, Horwich)


Sounds fun. Obviously it's a mistake to switch off the navigation system even on a flagged course. They seem to do a lot of mud at Marl pits; is "marl" Rossendale speak for "mud"? Ed
Thur/Fri/Sat 3rd/4th/5th April

Thursday ~ said we'd review when the clocks change, but stay with 6.45 for now, outside Dave Massey's house with your fell shoes on. Climbs?

Friday ~ make your own drinking arrangements.

Saturday ~ 8.30 bottom barn, options open.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

YJ's Edale Report

Another race, another disappointment. Edale was to be an integral part of the Joss Naylor build-up. For TF it was mission accomplished but for me it has to be back to the drawing board.

The day was brilliantly clear but with a stiff breeze that became severely gusty in exposed places. I was already 1min 30ses down on schedule after the first climb. TF was hustling from behind along the rim path. Her nimble footwork on the descents took her well ahead as we started the climb to Whin Hill. A choice of routes put me ahead by the summit checkpoint but the watch told a sad tale -- now 7 mins down.

TF was ahead by a long way at the Hope checkpoint and the climb to Lose Hill again reversed the situation (now 14 mins down) and the same pattern was reflected on the next descent and climb to Mam Tor and the checkpoint at Mam Nick where a firm stand was being taken (and correctly so) on timing the stragglers out.

Schedules don't mean a lot on days like that but for the record by Mam Nick I was 17 minutes behind schedule and 10 mins after the cut off time. Other than that it was a pleasant outing marred only by a performance that wasn't good enough. The answer has to be an overall improvement in fitness so that even on off-days there's enough gas in the tank to keep the pace up.

The next test will be Spring in Lakeland on Saturday but before that I must have another outing on the moors! Congratulations to TF who ran strongly on the rough paths and achieved her objective.

Future Training ~ If anyone fancies a weekend run in the Lakes on May 3 or May 10 I am planning a recce of the first JN leg from Pooley Bridge and possibly a run from Grasmere to link up via Far Easedale with the JN route at the top of Wythburndale and follow it round to Rossett Pike. I am also free for mid-week outings to the Lakes most weeks.


John, sorry to hear that it didn't go to plan. Wonder whether you're concentrating too much on quantity of training rather than quality; although it always seems to have worked in the past. I'm suggesting to TF that the Lakeland A mediums are better preparation for the Lakes than long moorland runs and it may be that you'd both be forced to work on your different weaknesses by tackling the likes of Coniston, Fairfield, B/Sailbeck etc. Ed