Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ninety Days In

Today saw the completion of three months of my Joss preparation. My feelings of well-being, however came to an abrupt halt when I reached home after the morning's run and, having taken my Inov8s off on the step (as per standing orders), I entered the house to find water cascading (dripping actually, but cascading sounds better) down from the hall ceiling. Further, and rapid, investigation disclosed that the boiler (central heating that is, not the Old Speckled Hen) had blown a gasket and drenched the contents of my wardrobe in the bedroom above. My blue suede shoes were wet through and the dye had wreaked weird chromatographic patterns up my pink shirt. Thankfully my cowboy boots were unharmed and the rest of my tramps' outfits (as my children describe my clothes) were only mildly damp. Currently we are without heating or hot water (can't get the parts at weekend, see, mate), but can have hot showers; but there is a limit to how many showers it is reasonable to have in a 24 hour period.

But back to the main subject. Being fairly conservative (my politics are right of "fairly") I got 18 miles for today, which gave me 161 miles for February, giving me the planned weekly average of 40 for the month. No weight loss, although TF tells me that a pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat (she didn't actually say that) so although I'm just as heavy, I'm actually lighter ~ but should muscle hang over my belt the way that the fat did?

Seriously though, it is coming together; I am running better and I'm sure that another month will see some more noticeable improvement.

Enjoyed this morning, got home with 10 minutes to spare (12:20), if I'd carried on to Great Hill, my cowboy boots may have been spoiled as well!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

End of an Era

The earliest mention that I can find in my training diaries, of a group Thursday evening run is an entry on 19th January 1989 which reads "A58 with Gary (Harold) and John (Coope) 7 miles".

My understanding is that the Saturday morning runs were developing at about the same time, but I didn't join those until later. Perhaps JtE can add something to the early history of the Saturday runs.

But back to Thursdays. The drive over to the UP has recently been less and less fruitful, with only the occasional meeting with Steve or the Galloping Major. Resort to Norman's sessions is not giving me the miles I am now seeking, so in future I will be running from home.

If anyone does fancy a Thursday UTUP run, please get in touch; perhaps there will be more interest after the clocks change.

Not checked the diaries that closely, but in that score of years, I've probably UTUPed approaching 900 times.

See you Saturday?


Early Birds

I think 8:30am is an early enough start for you all. From a purely altruistic standpoint, it means I get a bit of a lie-in and will have chance to read my paper and have a cup of coffee while I wait for your arrival at Slipperlowe, no rush!

I'll have an early enough start on Sunday to make up for it. Having seen the start details I've noticed that I'm the only female doing the 4.5hr score event solo all the others are paired up. (You could have chosen to do a 3.5hr option or a 'scoreless' one). So a bit worried now that they know something I don't.

This Saturday

I prefer the usual start from the Lower Barn. I'll be there at 8.30 unless I am instructed otherwise!
Missing till March 14th

Won't be out with you for the next couple of weeks. Going to a Bach Partita this Saturday morn. Sounds pretty gruesome when you think about it. He's been gone for over 250 years.

The Saturday after I'm doing the Half Tour of Pendle. This means that compared with the Full Tour, I only get half the opportunity to lose my; way, glasses, drink, hat, tags, teeth etc.

Enjoy your Saturday outings.

8.30 suits me better - not a morning person, I'm afraid.


Sorry for interfering, I'll do what I''m told, but suggest we stay with the 8:30 am start.
Its make your mind up time

We obviously need someone to organise us. Can I propose that we meet at the Lower Barn at the usual time (8.30) and proceed as described in the earlier posting. That would have us at the end of the track near Slipper Lowe at 10.00. On the other hand if EtU thinks we should be there by 9.30 I am happy to start at 8.00. Shall we have a show of hands?
Saturday 28th Feb

Does this mean we're meeting TF at GR 666 192 at about 9:30 or what?
Carnival Races Quiz Tonight (26/2)

Just noticed on the Harriers' site that tonight is the Carnival Quiz night. In the past I've been ably joined by the likes of Ed, Watters, and the Pres in a team. However, tonight I've a TT match so I'm going to have to miss it. Let me know how you get on - if you partake.
Running wise, February has been a dead loss for me. The shingles caused a reduction in acivity so I've not been getting in much mileage - did half an hour last night and although the time wasn't too bad, knees have started to feel it, no doubt due to restoring the 6 or 7 lbs that I'd lost last year.
I'll look to see whether I'm up to getting out on Saturday, other duties permitting but I think I've now run out of time to be in a fit state for t'hobble.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Saturday 28th Feb Run

Spot on with 90mins YJ to Slipperlowe (6m point), I managed 90mins on Sunday to the gate at the end of the track. Total time on Sunday was 3hr40, slow I know, but needed a bit of time on my feet. I'm sure the quicker ones could do 3hrs.

Following your suggested route YJ, very roughly measured it's about 13.5m back to Horden Stoops. Back to the Lower Barn retracing your steps makes 16m. If you go back via the Mast and 2 Lads that's 18m.

Anyone else utuping on Saturday? Or have we put you off? Short route option available for those with injuries/pressing engagements/lazyitis.

Julie's Jaunt

Perhaps the 21st. or 28th. then TF, subject to what anyone else might want to do.
Midweek run

My midweek run (Tuesday) was very much, to borrow a phrase from Richard Askwith, a case a feet in the clouds. Approaching Rivington the tops of the Pike and 2 Lads were shrouded in mist and clag and by the time I got there a strong cold wind was blowing down Coal Pits Lane, conditions which left very few people attracted onto the moors -- just one over optimistic walker with a pair of binns round his neck and a couple of workmen up near the mast.

Conditions did not put a dampener on performance with the average pace being 13mins 07sec compared with 14mins 31 secs the previous week and 13mins 51 secs two weeks earlier. So some progress there.

Plan for the new month is to move to a new midweek route (probably heading out towards the Nab) and up the mileage to 10 or 11. I am going to try to settle on Tuesday for the midweek run so if anyone wants to join me we can discuss start times.

Saturday's outing was a route decided by committee but was nevertheless interesting if covering familiar territory. Pace, for the benefit of those involved, was 13mins 20 secs per mile. And I just about managed to keep up.

TF's new route linking Roddlesworth with Great Hill is one I have had in mind for some time and in fact discussed with a walker in that area a couple of weeks ago and was waiting for an opportunity to try it out before inflicting on the squad. So having been pre-empted I'm happy to give it a go on Saturday.

Here's a suggested route: Lower Barn, Top Barn, Ammo Corner, allotments, Dog Bucket Farm,
Slipper Lowe, follow TF's guidance to Great Hill, Spittlers Edge, Horden Stoop and then, depending on time and energy either back by the outward route to the Lower Barn or up the diagonal ( for the climb) and then via 2 Lads and back to the Lower Barn . Would someone like to measure the distance(s)?

We should be able to make Slipper Lowe car park in 90 minutes from the Lower Barn.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


There's a good report on Norman's blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

March's Running Diary

I'll be out this weekend but only putting in a brief appearance as I've got a 4.5hr navigating event on Saddleworth Moor on Sunday. The 7th and 14th March are Black Coombe and Trollers Trot respectively. So that means 21st and 28th March are the next Saturdays when I'd be available for guiding the Watson's Farm - Wheelton section and doing the full route.

Alternatively, if any one fancies a crack at this route on Saturday, I could meet up with you all en-route at the end of the track on the Tockholes Road (GR 666192), and run with you to White Coppice (GR 627191) where I would then depart left up towards Great Hill and then back to the car park. This would give me about 7-8m, and about 1hr45, which would be the most I'd be looking for this Saturday.

Other permutations are possible, but depends on who's running and how much they want to do.

TF - Last Sunday

Sounds like a good outing for the gang TF. When are you taking us?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Gas Man Cometh...

but unfortunately with the wrong part. Not Tony's fault, I should hasten to add, as getting replacement parts for a 10yr old gas fire was always going to prove troublesome. The omens were there when none of the phone numbers on the instruction manual existed any longer. Might turn out to be a 'paper-clip' job.

Having consigned the long run to Sunday this week, I stuck with the plans. This gave me the chance to test out a new variation on a tried and tested route. YJ took a few of you on a circuit last year that went through Tockholes Wood to Abbey Village and then onto Wheelton Plantation. Having looked at the map I wondered if I could find a route that avoided the road section from Abbey Village. A green dashed line from Watson's Farm (GR SD656209) looked promising.

And so it proved. So setting off from Rivington Barn my route took me via Hordens Stoop, Belmont and Catherines Edge. At the little bridge (path junctions) in Tockholes Wood I headed straight up to the road and Watson's Farm. It was a bit 'sticky' in the first two fields after the farm, but when I turned left towards 'Stepping Stones' it became a nice runable trod all the way to Wheelton Plantation. At this point, rather than take the path through the woods I decide to follow the trod alongside the top edge of the wood to a stile (GR SD627203) and then beared very slightly uphill following the trod to the wall, it then contoured round the hill (along the wall) to the point where it met the path going down to White Coppice (GR SD627191). From there the usual route back to Rivi Barn. Not alot of climbs, but got it close to 15m on the map.

I have to say I really enjoyed this today. I'd wanted to pick a route that I could run at a nice steady continuous pace, and this certainly fitted the bill. A good route for a bad weather day when you don't want to be on the tops but still want a good run out with a minimal amount of tarmac.


The Saturday after....

Yesterday the depleted 'team' was NicO, YJ and me. An easy run was readily agreed upon at the start, bearing in mind the rigours if the previous Saturday. I think YJ and I were basically tired and NicO suffered a sore knee brought about by a downhill pounding in the company of NLN last week. The route was a reverse Coope's Dozen as far as White Coppice then Waterman's Cottage and continuing along the tarmac road and gravel path to the area of the bomber memorial. From there it was the forestry road and other paths to Ammunition Corner and the finish. YJ said it was 11 miles and that was good enough for NicO and me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Report from the Brother (Notso) Swift

Go on then, although I was hoping to be able to lick my (metaphorical) wounds alone.

I did it all wrong, didn't I. Moderate drinking on Friday night, and got me to the start on time. Not my usual preparation! Started off steady (with the ever present Matt), but we weren't together for very long. He soon realised that he was backing a loser and from the top of the Pike, off he went.

Having made a steady start, I had a steady middle, and an even steadier finish. Ran the middle section with Bowland Wayne, but I lost him on Darwen Moor when nature called and I found out that whilst damp sphagnum makes a quite acceptable replacement for toilet paper, frozen sphagnum is a quite different and much more uncomfortable matter. Suffice to say, Wayne got clean away and the next familiar face I saw (apart from the marshals) was Richard Longlands (of Horwich) when I passed him on the run in by Anglezarke quarries.

Arrived at the finish to see Wayne with an empty plate, having taken enough out of me to finish his lunch before I got back.

Pleased to see so many friends, happy with their outstanding runs. For me, a good, but not great morning out, but at least it was another 24 miles in the bank. I think the problem was that it was too soon after the previous weekend, what with three hours on Saturday and Winter Hill on Sunday ~ perhaps we could move to an eight day week to give more recovery time.

If it's clear on Saturday morning, look north to see me waving from the top of Gable.

TF ~ hope you don't suffer from the gasman position ~ where you stay in all day, but nobody comes.

And then there were four...

As if being run ragged every Saturday by our ladies was not enough I dared to venture out onto the fells with daughter Sally on Wednesday, she being much improved over the last 12 months and fresh from a 10-mile race last Sunday in about 93 minutes. We tackled the route I had done the previous midweek and she pressed me on all the early climbs, not falling back until the descent to the wooden bridge and the drop down the Sheep's Back.

Our time was about 10 minutes slower than mine of the previous midweek and probably reflected the fact that I was not fully recovered from the Amble.

And what about the Amble. Congratulations to all who finished ahead of me and commiserations to those who came in behind. My time was about a minute a mile slower than last year in spite of feeling good during a 24-mile chase of Matt who passed me on the descent of the Ramp and stayed elusively in sight until Darwen Moor. I had no idea of where the rest of the squad were as I had not seen anyone ahead of me over the first couple of miles. So Nico and NLN must have had a very fast start that put them right out of sight by the time I reached the Pike and they continued to remain so until the finish. In other words another typical Saturday performance. Well done.

As far as next Sturday is concerned I shall be UTUPing not sure what I shall be fit for but ready to bow to the concensus.

Track on Tuesday and 5 miles today. Some tiredness but no sign of injury. So, UTUP on Saturday.
So what about the Brothers Swift?

Reports from all except.. come on lads how was it for you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Couldn't let you all write and not say anything. First, a big thanks to NLN for being a great running partner and also for putting up with a lot of moaning about any descent on my sore knee, which is still sore. Enjoyed the time after chatting and having about 10 cups of tea and was VERY relieved to find both JTE and Matt arrived safely back. Woulds have liked to wait but needed carrots. New baby still not arrived. All being well I will be UTUPing on Saturday unless baby arrives and/or knee still too sore to run and/or any other excuse available. Nic'O
19th & 21st

No utup for me this week, having gas fire fixed Sat am, just in time for the warmer weather!

As you can gather I'm back on 'wfdbwgua' at work. They appear to be messing about with our access rights, first it was blogs, then games as well (couldn't do my fav jigsaw puzzle, so was limited to spider solitaire and minesweeper). Was waiting with baited breath for forums to disappear, but now we're back to full access? All very odd. No missives from the powers that be about all this either. If they manage to block Ebay, think they'd be a mass 'down-tools'!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I'm UTUPing Thursdays 19th and 26th Feb (more in hope than expectation) but will be at Santon on Saturday 21st.

The Anglezarke Shamble

I didn't have knackered knees. Knobbly, Yes. I didn't have scoliosis. I didn't run the course in bare feet. So I have no excuses. All was going well until the Strawbury Duck. Now my legs are used to taking me into it rather than past it, and from thereon threw a strop. They lost what little inclination they have to run, and had to be dragged around for the next 3 hours. YJ passed me as I re-fuelled at Slipper Lowe, and as I watched him run toward the Belmont road I reflected that I'd never actually seen him walk. It is my contention that as a toddler he skipped the walking stage, and went straight from crawling to running. And he hasn't stopped since!

The run-out in search of the JtE wasn't too bad. I'd had a couple of hours rest, with most of that time spent listening to NicO's entertaining stories, aided and abetted by the "Cheery one". So I set off in good spirits. Some walkers on their way in, regarded me with a mixture of amusement, and bemusement. The others recognised a simpleton when they saw one, and, seeing my gormless grin, decided that I looked happy enough and was best left to it.

When I reached White Coppice, not knowing JtE's number I issued a description; Old, knackered, crinkly, crumpled,doddery, decrepit and sad. " Yes, we can see that", said the Marshals, "but what about the guy who's missing?". Meanwhile JtE had obviously got wind of my plans to meet him. Being sound of mind if not of limb he decided that running the last stretch with me was a bridge too far, and opted for a lift back. I passed a few walkers on my run in, which must have been a bit confusing for them, having a runner around at that stage.

Now to clear a few things up. I can identify with mad, but image conscious? Hardly. Not someone who wears their hat Blackadder style(1st series). All I did was hang up my Helly Hansen, which had more creases in it than Mick Jagger.

The message relayed from White Coppice was; Message for John Coope. Your mate's standing here now. He says "'Don't wait". It's a good job there was only one pass of the message otherwise it could have ended up something like; " Message from the chickens in John's coop. Don't wait, your Easter eggs are standing here now".

Finally, this scoliosis. Iv'e been troubled by this all my life. People have always said I was unbalanced and was completely lacking in direction, but they didn't call it scoliosis. They called it stupidity. Are you quite sure that scoliosis is a medical term and not a Mafia Don?

Nico in the first stages of scoliosis

"Didn't they do well"

At long last I can raise a smile!

"I should be able to find that guy in front a pair of shoes"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

TF's alternative day out

Glad to hear you're all back safe and nearly sound. I'm also glad that my number found a new home in someone else's bumbag.

Whilst sat on a little Yorkshire Dales Bus departing Grassington later yesterday morning, I started to think 'this is the life' - get someone else to do the hard stuff while I play away in the snow. Having given up my place on the Amble, my task for the day was to do a walk/run recce of the 2nd part of the Trollers Trot. How apt, considering the previous weeks confinement.

Quite a big chunk of this section follows the course of the River Wharfe, so nice and gentle with a slight (4-5m) detour to go past (not through, so I took a peep) Trollers Gill. And so yes, before you ask, I did get off the bus, if only so I could go and build a snowman. Contingency plans were in place (little bus again) just in case I didn't feel up to the whole section, but I made it round.

I get to return in a month to do the full 24m. All thoughts of little buses will have to be banished by then!

It's Scoliosis (I think)

In my case temporary scoliosis. Spinal curvature caused by a ligament sprain in the spinal area. The result is that you cannot help leaning to one side and this causes extremely poor balance and lack of directional control. A bit like EtU on a Friday night (so he says). I''ll have to have a word with Noman, I think. What hurt most was having to travel from White Coppice to the finish in a marshall's car! I hated that aspect but there was little alternative.

Well done everyone else. Superb time by FSS and an excellent repeat performance by the girls. My brother in law I cannot thank enough for his concern about my absence. To run out to White Coppice and back in search of me is mind blowing.

Hope to more or less keep up with anyone turning out on Saturday.

Amble Antics

For the second year running, conditions for this flagship local LDWA event - the Anglezarke Amble - were nigh on perfect, although the semi-frozen ground did take its toll on the joints.  TF had a sick note, but was able to recoup her losses by donating her place to a keen Chorley runner.  Of the Saturday Squad, there was a full turnout, EtU, YJ, JTE, NLN and Nic’O.  Other Horwich RMI runners were FSS, Albert Sunter, Mary White and another female – name unknown.   Of the Horwich contingent, the club had  a 1, 2 finish, with Albert coming in first with a time of 3.54 and FSS with 3.59 – well done the lads.  Mary, just looking for a long recovery run after a bad dose of projectile vomiting was happy to knock it on the head after almost 18 miles at Slipper Lowe, whilst JtE conquered Great Hill but was very disappointed to have to retire injured at White Coppice with over 21 miles completed…  (see below)

The Dancing Duo

…of NLN and Nic’O decided to avoid putting themselves under any pressure (yeah right) to match last year’s sub-5 time, and that worked a treat, with Nic’O constantly calculating timings per mile, to such an extent as to induce a fit of dizziness.  NLN was so keen to get in and out of checkpoints that a Marshall was almost trampled to the ground at one point.   The dancing (complete with sound effects ooh, aargh, eee etc) occurred coming off Great Hill with two out of the four knees, – one each - inducing the most absurd lolloping and mincing gait ever demonstrated by two runners.  Once on the flat they were able to hobble along to the end, (I’d like to say sprinting to the finish but that would be a downright lie) to bag a sub-5 – just!  Time for last year was 4.54.54 with this year’s a little slower at 4.59.10

Mad Keen Matt’s extra Miles

Flushed with success from his exploits at WHFR, Matt appeared at the finish about ten minutes behind the Duo.   As time went on our man did seem a little agitated and after a while he made an excuse about running out to meet errant brother-in-law (EB-I-L) .  But there was no fooling those present, the truth is that this was just a ruse to get a few extra miles in before his next outing at the Half Tour of Pendle.

The word on the street is, that so image conscious has this man become that he’s taken to pressing his running kit and hanging it up overnight to avoid that ‘crumpled look’ – his mantra has become Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good – well it seems to be working. 

Not long after Matt’s departure said EB-I-L arrives back at base in the bodywagon having cadged a lift from White Coppice.  On approaching the marshall’s desk he’s totally confused by a relayed message from ‘some fool’ (how right you were EB-I-L) at White Coppice telling him ‘not to wait’.  This all proved just too confusing for words.   At this point NLN decided that accommodating as FSS might be, there might be questions in the house (No. 24) if a return home was not made imminently.   We look forward to a final update from the participating actors in this tragi-comedy as soon as…

Valentines Day Massacre

On this special day, tokens of love are exchanged and the old adage of beauty being in the eye of the beholder (bear this in mind when you see Christina’s piccies) also applies to the form in which these tokens and expressions are made.  The ‘Love Chick’ which some of you witnessed at the end, was one woman’s way of expressing her feelings for her husband who was running the event.  So having dressed up as a chicken the plan was that they would run back from White Coppice together.   Apparently, though, he ran a PB over this last leg, leaving said chicken trailing a good distance behind.  How ungrateful can you be.

On arrival back at the house NLN was presented by FSS with gifts representing much thought.  He said he witnessed lots of blokes wandering around with armfuls of roses and gorgeous boxes of chocolates, but he new that these would be of no interest whatsoever to NLN(?).  Instead the Guinness was chilling and the Kettle Chips were open along with a delivery note for a pair of Grivel Spider Crampons (for attaching to fell shoes) – what a lucky girl NLN is!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thursday 12th

I'm UTUPing.

The last man standing...

Certainly I was the last man running in the Winter Hill race on Sunday and managed to stay on my feet until timed out at checkpoint 7. From a slow start at the back of the field I watched as everyone of the 173 runners disappeared into the distance but was still going steady even on the run in to the top barn. Congratulations to EtU and Matt on their steady runs.

As pointed out elsewhere the conditions were better than the usual quagmire even though the surface at times was like running on rutted concrete. The wintry conditions were so enjoyable that I went back on Tuesday for a hair of the dog, or was it the fallen rider immediately getting back in the saddle before he loses his nerve? Anyway, in the meantime fresh snow had fallen making for another exciting outing, this time from the Lower Barn up through the gardens and along George's Lane to the Wilderswood gate and thence to the top of the quarries, the Trespass Stone, Winter Hill trig point and back via the Sheep's Back.

Interestingly, after spending most of Monday wondering whether YJ's fell racing days were numbered, Tuesday's time stood well in comparison with the two previous outings.

Saturdays pace (9.07 miles in 2hrs 23mins) was 15mins 51secs per mile; Sunday's (9.15 miles in 2hrs 37mins) 17mins 11secs; and Tuesday's (8.88 miles in 2hrs 3mins) 13mins 51secs. Which begs the question: where did the extra pace come from when I should have been still in recovery mode.

All thoughts are now directed to preparation for the Amble. I 'm still hoping for between 5hrs 30mins and 6 hrs. See you all there.
Thank you J and E for the times on Saturday. Thanks to you all for the great reports and photos. Almost wished I was there but like TF, feel it is really nicer from inside. Hope you are feeling better soon TF. See everyone on Saturday. NicO

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just like old times

I haven't done many Fell races over the past two years due in part to injury, but mainly through disorganization and indolence, which is criminal at my time of life. Prior to this absence, EtU and I used to have our own race at these events. This had a set format. He overtook me on the ascents. I overtook him on the descents. Then on the final ascent he called upon his old friend Will Power, someone with whom I have only a nodding acquaintance, and streaked away(No, he didn't take his clothes off! God forbid! Heaven forbid! And everybody-else forbid!) to open up a gap about the size of Scotland, thereby giving me no chance of catching him up on the run-in. So as you can see from his report of the Winter Hill Race it was"just like old times" on Sunday.

Although care had to be taken in places because of ice and compacted snow, the conditions underfoot were much preferable to the boggy and watery terrain I had previously encountered, when going over part of the course. It was a very enjoyable race spent for the most part in the company of EtU and Barry Allman, with the added bonus of the ever-cheery NLN popping up at intervals to take photos and give much-appreciated support.

YJ will be back, and with a vengeance.

Here are some pictures taken by Christina, my Number pinner-onner.

At the start with " Orange vest" keen to get on the photo.

Running? in at the finish.

A motley crew at the end having picked up a stray Watters.

Look forward to seeing you on Saturday morning, although to me it seems nearer to Friday night.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Wasdale 2009

I've had confirmation that I've been accepted. According to the FRA forum there were only 109 entries towards the end of January, so if anyone else fancies it, there's probably still places available.

EtU (Undaunted by previous DNF's, that is)
Winter Hill ~ a Report from the Blunt End

Not a lot to report really, just the best part of 3 hours of Matt passing me on the downhills and me passing him on the climbs. Every time I had a good climb and thought "That should have got rid of the old so-and-so" two minutes later he'd come skipping past again. And so it went on.

Lost YJ at the start and didn't know whether he was way behind or way out in front, until at the top of the Ramp NLN said he hadn't come though yet.

Bazza Allman was in attendance for most of the race, not seeming to take it very seriously, and finally dropping back after CP7. Matt and I reached CP8 together and then I moved in front on the climb up to the path at the back of the Pike. Matt skipped past again on the descent and got to CP9 about 30 yards ahead.

I caught him at the gate early on the climb back up to the gardens and gave it one long last effort to some encouraging words from Matt as I went past. Caught a couple of other runners near the top and then tried to keep a decent pace going on the run in.

That Matt didn't catch me on that last descent was probably due in part to my extra mileage beginning to show benefits, and for Matt, the recent interruptions to his training; oh, yes, and his 8 extra years may have played a part.

Well done Matt (the oldest finisher in the race) you gave me a hard time.

For all my efforts, I was just 33 seconds faster than my last Winter Hill in 2004!

And commiserations to YJ, I'm sure it will all come together again soon.

Thank you NLN, you managed to allow me to experience the true essence of the event without me having to move too far from a centrally heated radiator. Which is good, because although feeling better than last week, I'm still not back to 100%. Having survived for a couple of days on ginger nut biscuits (not just an old wives' tale, they do work) I'm only just back to what I would consider normal food.

So I've decided that with much regret, that I'm not going to do the Amble on Saturday. A 25m run in the current weather conditions is not what the Doctor would order for aiding recovery. I'm surmising this as I haven't seen him to ask, thought he'd have seen enough sick people this winter without me adding to the list. I will, however, still come down on Saturday to see you all off (again!).


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Darwen Tower

Thanks NLN. As if I need reminding!

Winter Hill Fell Race

Well done guys!  Great day for it, that’s if you were a spectator. Look forward to the comments from the sharp end.  A few pictures which I think capture the conditions pretty well.

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Now this is preparation!

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A hint of conditions on the hill – just below Top Barn

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Warming up for a PB of 2.08 after Kentmere Horse Shoe yesterday

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For a self confessed road runner Barry doesn’t half enjoy a fell race

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Approaching the stile at the top of the ramp

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Approaching the stile at the top of the ramp

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Approaching the stile at the top of the ramp

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Approaching the stile at the top of the ramp – Cool Dude in shades

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Approaching the stile at the top of the ramp

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Leaving checkpoint near Dangerous Corner

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Leaving checkpoint near Dangerous Corner

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Leaving checkpoint near Dangerous Corner – and he’s still enjoying himself!     2009-02-08_Winter_Hill_FR_ 031

And a reminder of where we’ll all be next Saturday – yes JtE your favourite spot!



Thanks for the pictures NLN. Kentmere, in my opinion, is one of the mosy underrated valleys in the Lake District and, of course, it's so accessible for us to the south. It looks magnificent in the snow.
Yes, the bird is a kestrel. They often hunt off wires to conserve the energy otherwise used in hovering. Kentmere is a good place for seeing raptors. I've seen peregrine falcons up there and there's always a slight chance of seeing the only Lakeland golden eagle resident in adjacent Riggindale.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Thanks for the mileage JtE and YJ.  Having left you all I wandered back to Top Barn and then retraced our earlier steps to Lower House CP before taking the heavily rutted track up to the Pigeon Tower.  I then turned left and took the wrong stile (too early) to Noon Hill.  I did actually realise immediately what I’d done, as there was no path, however I carried on in the general direction of Noon Hill and eventually came upon it.  Having admired again the great views we had all morning, I carried on up to Winter Hill.  This is a dreadful path usually, but today it was mostly frozen and so offered the best route to the trig point.  Back over Two Lads and then again taking the wrong path (too early again) immediately opposite Pike cottage I trotted about for a bit before regaining the right path that we usually run down which bring us back on the Pike Race route.  Not quite sure of the mileage but given the information provided, I’ll log 15.

Shame we didn’t have a camera we would have had some great piccies from this morning.  But hey, you might like these from the Kentmere Horse Shoe where Col and Ian were playing this morning.

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A bit of a white out on the Roman Road, near Thornthwaite Beacon

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Looking down at Kentmere Reservoir from Froswick

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Here’s one for you JtE – a Kestrel – honestly, click on image for full size


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And then…   amazingly they bump into our mate Keith, who coincidentally also decided to trot round the Kentmere Horse Shoe today.

Apart from tomorrow when I’ll pop up to the Trig Point on Winter Hill, I’ll probably not do many miles before the Amble, but will carry on with the usual weights and Kicking!  So good luck to YJ, EtU, TF and FSS for tomorrow, and see everyone else at the School next Saturday for the Amble.



YJ's reading was 6.59 miles rather than 5.19 as indicated below!
Wandering and Wondering

This morning's run was one of those when the route was chosen 'on the hoof' so to speak. It became Ammunition Corner, Hordern Stoops, Hempshaw's, forestry road, Holts Flat area, Pike Stones chambered long cairn, and to the north west corner of High Bullough Reservoir where YJ left us. His GPS device gave 5.19 miles to this point (checked with him subsequently). It was then Healey Nab and back to the Lower Barn for the rest of the team, 4.6 miles from the point where we left YJ acording to my 'wheel', giving a total of 11.19 miles. So you got your 11 miles NicO!
This Morning's Run

Using wheel technology I got 5.5 miles for the run to High Bullough and another 4.5 for the return via Healey Nab ~ do you think this is right?


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Is Your SAD Improving?

For those of you that are interested in such matters, during the month of February we will gain, on average, almost 2 minutes of daylight at each end of the day, 1 hour 48 minutes in total for the month ~ things are looking better.

Best we can hope for during any 31 day period looks like 2 hours 7 minutes from 7th March to 7th April.

I'll not (yet) depress you with details of the shortening days.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Saturday the 7th.Italic

NLN, NicO, YJ, EtU and I are confirmed staters, UPUT. As the forecast predicts the possibility of snow on Saturday perhaps we should have our mobiles open prior to the start time.
Mobile Phones

If anyone has changed their mobile number since the date of YJ's Joss Naylor (24.5.08) can they let me have their new one please.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I'll be UTUPing Thursday 5th and Saturday 7th. I was also UTUPing earlier this evening, and very invigorating it was too, but in this instance it stood for Up The Unlit Pike.

To be totally truthful, as I always intend to be, it wasn't entirely unlit as there was a half moon and a fair bit of reflective snow. I ran from home and the trip which I have done in 1 hour 11, took 1:43, with the descent taking just a few seconds longer than the ascent. Great fun, possibly do it again on Thursday if anyone's out, else it's Norman's session.

OK You Guys... heard the lady. She's not allowed to surf the net unless it's relevant to toothy pegs. With her current er, problem, this gives us a day or two to load some stuff up. This is my contribution:-

"Am Basteir is one of the most N peaks on the Black Cuillin Ridge with the very distinctive Bhasteir tooth next to it. The Cuillin are composed of gabbro rock which gives wonderful grip even when wet, but this is a serious climb. Ascent starts in Coire a' Bhasteir N of Sgurr nan Gillean on a path marked by cairns up a rocky slope to the base of the pinnacled ridge. From here the route bears W above scree but below the pinnacled ridge becoming steeper as it ascends towards the N face of the summit and on to Bealach a' Bhasteir. Scramble up E ridge to summit but note you may require use of a safety rope."

Well I never knew that!

Thanks EtU for the information about the 2004 Winter Hill race. I didn't know that I was 1st O/65. Mind you, my main ambition on Fell races is to ensure that I cross the same finishing line as everyone else. A somewhat limited goal but nevertheless a worthy one.

I thought JtE, that you were writing about me and you, until I noticed how you'd spelt "plane wrecks".

Congratulations to the ladies;

TF for coming well within her estimated time of 4+ hours(as expected).

NicO for running around in a vest when everyone else was dressed for Siberia. Summer should be interesting!

NLN for putting up with Gerry and the Atrics for a considerable time on Saturday, arguably the greatest of the tests. The only saving grace being that YJ was around to bring some semblence of order and coherence to the proceedings.

See the Winter Hillers on Sunday and the Amblers on the following Saturday, all being well.
Aircraft Wreck at SK073901.

Results for Kinder Trial are up at look at the number of 'pairs' I beat as well as incompletes. An improvement on my usual 3 from back!

I wont be out this week on Thursday or Saturday. I've joined EtU's weight loss programme this week as a nasty virus has decided that February's total of 4lbs should be obtained in 24hrs. So although off work today, this is the first time I've felt well enough to get out of bed - except to go to the bathroom.

A particularly mischievous bug this one, as when you got to the bathroom you had the tricky decision as to which way to face the toilet! So I think I should keep this one to myself where possible. Hopefully I'll be recovered in time for the Amble next week.

Plane Wrecks

Hope this third attempt works!

Thanks for website info TF. Incredible how many Peak District accidents have happened. Isn't the Peak District located on one of the approaches to Manchester Airport? I see that there are two Sabre Jets listed. Is Alsop Moor or Black Hill in the Kinder Scout area?

Hope our Ed. doesn't mind this non - running conversation.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Plane Wrecks

JtE, this was the website I came across


Not that Alien, she's got gloves on!


Had to happen sooner or later, we are now restricted from viewing 'social-networking' sites at work ie blogs or facebook (never been on that though). Although forums such as FRA are still accessible.

But, there was a button you could click that said 'CONTINUE' if for work purposes. So yes, I clicked it, obviously. Big Brother didn't appear but 'wfdbwgua' did. So what I need now is some 'dental-related' excuses for viewing 'wfdbwgua' whilst at work.

An Alien in our Midst

Have we an alien in our midst? See Norman's blog for a report on the ladies' run of the Mary Townley Relay.
Kinder Scout

Interesting to read about the plane wreckage TF. I used to walk that area in the fifties and, being youthful (and even dafter) at that time, collected and brought home a fuel valve. The aircraft was an American Sabre Jet. A 'cutting edge' fighter at that time.
Credit Where Credit's Due

On Saturday YJ asked me what sort of time I'd done recently for Winter Hill. Checking back, I found that my most recent outing was in 2004 when I finished perilously close to last in 2:44:14.

The race was won by Rob Hope in 1:33:38, but first over 65 was our very own Matt, in 2:32:26, 12 minutes ahead of me and less than a minute behind Icelandic Kev!

First over 70 in 2009 Matt?

News from the Hill

Looks like Two Lads has turned into 3 lads. There looks to be three cairns now, I'm sure it's for remediation purposes. And the mast road seems to have reopened.

Denis (Mason)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

JN Preparation ~ The Second Month

Steady progress, but apart from a general feeling of coping better with the long runs, no startling breakthrough. Exceeded the mileage target for the month, clocking an average of 36 miles per week against the planned 35. The 35 was achieved as we got to Darwen Tower on Saturday morning, then we had to run back to Belmont!

Despite the miles, very little progress with weight loss, BMI down to 24.2 against last month's 24.3; still not back down to November's 23.8 and a long way to go to get down to 22.5.

Raced two 10ks (I really want to put an apostrophe in that) with the second one, at 50:56, two seconds slower than the first, so no encouragement there.

Mileage target for February is 40 per week, which should be easy for the first two weeks with the Amble and Winter Hill, but perversely will be less easy when we go to Santon for the weekend of 21/22.

On a more general note, shame on us guys, with the only race reports for the weekend coming in from the ladies; well done girls. Score for the FRA challenge (see 2nd Jan) currently stands at TF 11 : EtU Nil.

The Mary Townley Loop

Not in the same class as TF, well done. All the same the wait for leg 3 runners to come in was absolutely FREEZING. Driving snow and wind. However once we set off the snow stopped and the coat was off. Despite Sue's protests that she was unfit and slow - let's face it, it's a matter of perspective - I had to work very hard to keep up. I met the comment "That was very easy" 50 mins and 5.5 miles later with a y...e...s... Then we ran back! And after it is all over and before the pain sets in I can honestly say I like the relays.
Was sorry to miss yesterday and did look across but did not see you. Did anyone see the amazing sunrise Sat am about 7ish? NicO
Kinder O Trial 11m (2000ft approx)

An easy kit check for the organizers as the ones who’d checked the weather forecast were wearing most of the requirement, some even had waterproof bottoms on as well. From some of the conversations I’d overheard it sounded like they’d got caught out at Edale 2 years ago and were obviously not taking any chances. There were the ‘odd’ one or two wearing shorts!

They let you have a look at the map for 2 mins before your start time and then shoved you out of the warmth of the Scout Hut into the bitter cold. 10 Check-points to find, in any order you liked. I’d already decided that I needed to get the high stuff out of the way first just in case the weather deteriorated earlier than expected. This dictated a clockwise route heading out onto Leygatehead Moor then a bit of ‘up’n’over’ Kinder, skirting round Kinderlow End and then tracking the River Sett back to the finish.

You won’t believe it, but there are at least three Holly bushes and one Rhododendron Bush out there on the moor. How they got where they were had me baffled, all solo and not too titchy. We also got to visit some plane wreckage too, a bit spooky that. Having done some research it turns out that it was an American RAF plane that crashed on 22/07/1954, Pilot and Co-Pilot both killed. It appears that some people make a hobby out of visiting crash sites. No weirder than running round looking for Holly bushes I suppose.

Despite a bit of duff route choice to the first CP (takes a while to ignore the faster ones) I got round in under 4hrs (3:47) and the winner managed under 2hrs (1:49). So slightly over double, but pleased with this as was expecting a 4hr+ outing.