Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good Preparation Paid no Dividend

Recognising the value that some folk put on good preparation, before my holiday I searched my personal library for information on Oban. The only reference I could find was in the 2008 CAMRA good beer guide, which pointed me to the Oban Inn in Stafford Street. Should be easy to find with a name like that, I thought.

On Monday 22nd, my first full day in the area, I cycled into town to get my (the bike's) gears fixed and whilst they were being seen to, I went in search of the Oban Inn. On the way I saw a town map which indicated that Stafford Street was not only home to the town's eponymous Inn, but also housed the Oban Whisky Distillery. Good gracious! I thought, Staffers would be proud of this.

But no! When I got to said street, the distillery was, sure enough, alive and well, but the Inn was not only closed down but to add to its degradation there was a notice declaring that "All items of value have been removed". Sounds about right; one out of two ain't bad.

Wonder if they also removed the beer Matts?

EtU (Unquenched)

Monday, June 29, 2009


The preliminary results record a couple of unidentified runners round about where Nic'O may really have finished. I'm sure the organisers would be glad to hear from anyone who can help with identification.
Where did NicO get that finishing speed from?
Just myself and NicO from the group at Aggie's Staircase last Thursday with heat replacing last year's downpour. Plenty of familiar faces - Tony V, Albert, Colin W, the Smiths, Suzanne, Paul M etc. Took it steady on the initial climb, passing Smith the younger near to the tower with NicO some 10 yards ahead. Aforementioned Smith soon passed me on the first descent as did his elder brother who I managed to pass again just before starting the second climb with NicO a little further ahead. By the time we had returned to the ridge, NicO was maybe a minute ahead and I was trying to do my best to catch up. Smith the elder went past just as we turned off the main track down from the tower. Of course I lost many places as we headed through the mud and rocks just before the finish.
Looking at the results, NicO beat me by over seven minutes, about 5 minutes in front of Smith the younger (a good descender) and had gone ahead of Colin W and Paul M and was only a good two minutes from winning the women's trophy (Suzanne finished second by 3 seconds!)
So where did that descending prowess come from?
I also failed to be the final Horwich man, just staying ahead of Mark S fro the first time in 3 races.
Results at http://www.dashers.org.uk/results/aggies09.htm

Early morning training
Although I have failed to make the Saturday UTUP repeatedly, I did manage an 8am run on Saturday alongside the River Tyne on one of Diane's regular training routes followed by 45 mins on the Coastal Path north of Sunderland, even earlier on Sunday morning whilst she and her mates went for a 45 minute dip in the North Sea. Tockholes Gala race next Saturday if anyone fancies something after their 3 hour UTUP.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Short Week in Oban

I'll not bore you with tales of playing mid-wife to the cat, conflict in a chip shop, cross-country mountain bike rides to the pub, being crag fast (twice) on a Munroe, or multiple tastings of the local malt, but you may like to see these shots of the high point (literally) of my week just south of Oban.

The far top is Ben Cruacan (3,694 ft) taken from Stob Diamh (3,274 ft) during my circuit of the Dalmally Horseshoe. The top in the middle distance is Drochaid Ghlas. This shot, again of Ben Cruachan, taken after traversing Drochaid Ghlas, shows residual snow, two days after midsummer's day!

Apart from the crag fast incidents, another slightly dodgy moment was when I started to feel a bit strange just before the final top, and realised that at 6:00 pm, I'd only had one banana and an energy drink since the previous night's malts. I sat down for a while and had my remaining drink, and then bagged the final of the six tops and trudged wearily back to the car ~ and, no, my mother didn't know I was out!


Summer Solstice "Do"

In the absence of any "regrets" and with only one venue preference stated (T&T), I have booked us in at said tavern for Friday 3rd July.

Hope to see you all there.

Where Have I Been? PS

Thanks NLN. I hadn't seen your entry at the time I commented on YJ's. Nearly, but not quite, and seven minutes behind YJ! The pictures have been taken over a period of several weeks.

Where Have I Been? - The Answers

Well done YJ. You get 8 out of 8 and a bottle of red.

Where has JtE Been

I’ll give it a go!

    1. Top Barn outside main entrance
    2. Running off Great Hill towards White Coppice at the turn off from the Brinscall path
    3. Path from Rivington village to Lower Barn
    4. Great Hill Summit
    5. Not sure about this one JtE, is it on the Brinscall path
    6. Stile from the riverside path approaching White Coppice
    7. Is this in the vicinity of Drinkwaters and Joe’s cup?
    8. Gate on path below High Bullough Res.

Looks like you had a lovely day for it JtE.  Was it the Saturday Run?

We too had a good weekend, seeing Iain Kelly and Karl Taylor on their BGs on Hindscarth and having a little trot out with each team as they came through.  We then returned to Honister to drive back to Keswick to welcome Karl back to the Moot Hall. 

Both men got round with time to spare.  Iain having a bit of an epic on the night section, visiting Great Dodd three times before finding the path off.  Cloud cover was pretty dense by all accounts.  Both looked strong when we saw them.   No precise time for Iain but we think about 21 hours.

Karl also lost an hour on the night section but got round in a splendid 22.48 and still going strong at the end.  Weather very hot and humid in the afternoon.

Staying at Glen Ridding gave us the opportunity to trot out to Catstye Cam, Helvellyn over towards the Dodds but cutting back over Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd to give us an early retreat down the motorway to avoid the worst of the traffic later in the day. 

Enjoying the lovely summer weather - NLN

Photo comp

1.Outside Rivington Top Barn

2.Alternative route to White Coppice on descent to Brinscall from Gt Hill.

3. Track from Rivington Green towards former Jubilee race start.

4. This one's a guess. Looking down from Catherine's Edge where the current Amble route turns right towards Darwen Tower.

5.Bridge between Rivington Green and Lower Barn.

6.Stile at White Coppice

7. On the way up to Great Hill from Brinscall looking to the right of the track just before Joe's Cup

8. The gate on the tarmac road past Bullough reservoir.
Great Lakes Run 13m/7000ft

I got as far as Scafell Pike. I lost sight of the other runners in front about 2/3rds the way up 'The Band'. So from there onwards it was just me, map & compass. I made it to Scafell Pike in 2hrs38mins, and decided I didn't feel there was sufficient time for me to make the 3hr cut-off time at the foot of the gully to Foxes Tarn. My times at the other summits were Bowfell 1hr 13mins, Esk Pike 1hr 38mins, Great End 2hrs 5mins. So as you can see I was only just about making JN/BG pace.

In my progress along the route it was becoming apparent that the runners immediately ahead of me (position-wise) were informing the marshals that they were last. The marshals on Bowfell and Great End had stayed a bit longer just in case, but the one from Esk Pike I passed on the path up to the summit and the one on Scafell Pike had disappeared completely. I did however speak to a nice man with a clipboard from the National Trust, who can vouch for the fact that I made it to the top along with the hoards of other visitors. So 5.5m and 4500ft into the route I turned round and headed back to Esk Hause and took the path to Angle Tarn and headed down Rossett Gill back to Stool End Farm.

So tried my best. But having recced most of the first half now and with a few important changes to my pre-race preparation, I'm sure I can do better. I'll certainly be back again for the post-race hog roast and beer. Getting a bit of a taste for it now, this time a strong Pale Ale from the Coniston Brewery. So I'm off now to go and try the other bottle of TT Landlords just for comparison!

Working on the photo competition, can do 3 definites so far.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where Have I Been?

The first person to list on the blog, in numerical order, the correct locations of all the places shown in the pictures below gets a bottle of red.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't Give it to the Slugs!

Having only very very recently returned from north of the border and very quickly having scanned the blog, just two thoughts:-

1. Sounds like I've missed a lot of fun, and...

2. NO! don't give the the TT Landlord to the gastropods! Serve at room temperature or chilled, whatever you fancy, or give it to the wfdbwgua slug (Swift Loves Unrequired Grog).


Thursday, June 25, 2009


UTUP for me.

Aggie tonight
Rare for me to join UTUP in Summer - tonight I shall be heading over to Darwen for a 7.15 start for a good little race with lots of goodies at the end. Ed did it last year so would be nice to see others. Hopefully I can run the race in fellshoes tonight - last year wellies were more appropriate.

UTUP-ing – Tonight, Thursday

In the absence of EtU I wondered if anyone else is planning to be out tonight.  If so, would they confirm UT, I’m familiar with UP.  Unless anything posted, I’ll carry one with usual Thursday routine.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TF missing again

Sorry to say but I'll be absent again on Saturday. That's the day I get to see if all the racing I've done this month has had any beneficial effect.

I'm going to attempt the Great Lakes Run. This is a 13m/7000ft route starting from Stool End Farm near Old Dungeon Ghyll and takes in the following summits Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End, Scafell Pike, Scafell, Slight Side and Pike of Blisco. The half-way point is the foot of the gully to Foxes Tarn and the only check-point with a cut off time, this being 3hrs.

I haven't had a chance to recce this route, so have no idea as to whether the 3hr time limit is do-able, but I can only try. The winning time last year was Simon Booth in 2hrs46mins, the slowest 5hrs51mins. Helpful indicators as to the length of time between some of the early summits are on FSS's and EtU's Josh Naylor schedules and any clockwise BG schedules. Big question is, can I cover this ground at that pace?

At the end of the day even if I only get as far as Great End, I will have visited 3 summits that I haven't been to before and will be pleased to have given it my best shot.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Darwen Fell Series (& Two Lads)

Very embarrassing, looking at your 20 mile excursions at the weekend as my mileage was a big fat zero. And we shall be away in Newcastle this weekend, so that will also limit the running although at least Diane may drag me out for a training run - hope I can keep up with her.

Just noticed there has been no report on Thursday's Two Lads Fell Race. I would have thought there would have been a full turnout of the Thursday night gang but alas only Ed and myself were there at the start line. Had my second battle in a week with Mark Sammon who just shaded me by a few seconds on the run in. Meanwhile my real battle was to stay ahead of another runner in the Civil Service North West Fell Champs, which according to the results I acheived by one second! This resulted in me not only counting in the gold medal winning team but also winning the individual bronze medal. Okay not many taking part this year but you can only beat who's there on the day. Chatting with Mary W's husband after the race, I find he is also a CSSC member but didn't run this year!
Ed was much improved over Henderson's End, closing on me like a good descender does.

How about having a wfdbwgua presence at the Darwen fell Series this year? First one is Aggie's Staircase this Thursday then Tockholes Gala on July 4th (think I may have to skip Rossendale Relay LDWA event due to having to go to a wedding previous day which may not be good preparation for a 5.30am start). Series is completed with Darwen Gala Race on Aug 22nd. Or are these races much too short?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Midsummer Madness

Well what was I up to while you were all clocking up the miles? Clocking up a few more races! This weekend was Calder Valley Fell Runners version of a Midsummer Madness, a series of three fell races over three days. I'd done the middle of the three races a few times before with varying success, so this year was the first time of attempting the series.

The first on Friday night was a short 3m blast straight up & down Whicken Hill from Mytholmroyd. The second was a 7 mile navigational challenge and the third a gentle(!) 4m trundle to finish. My flag following and navigating proved to be exemplary, just a pity I can't get the little legs to go any quicker.

In the series I finished 4th lady overall (results here http://www.cvfr.co.uk) the middle race producing my best result and came away with an engraved glass as a memento, a t-shirt and 2 bottles of Timothy Taylors 'Landlords' strong pale ale.

A couple of questions for the connoisseurs regarding the alcohol. a) Is it best drunk cold or room temperature? b) How good is it compared to others of it's ilk? In otherwords should I drink it, or should I leave it out for the Slugs?!

Mileage madness

Thanks gang for Saturday's long run which I am sure did us all good as well as being most enjoyable. Is it too much to hope for something equally testing next Saturday. I will be there.

The afternoon's marshaling added another 5.5 miles to the day, at a slightly slower pace than the morning, due to tiredness (surprise, surprise), carrying a heavy pack and having to collect flags on the way down. My running time of 77 minutes would have put me in last place but I would have been first over 65.


OOps - Karl is 26 not 16 years younger than FSS – I’m sure you spotted that!  Are apologies due to Karl or FSS? 


So Good I did it twice!

I know, JtE you won’t believe it, but I enjoyed our dash out to Darwen so much I went back with FSS to do it again!   And here’s the proof.

2009-06-21_Darwin_ 002


On the way, near Aggie’s Staircase, but we did go to the Tower and then off the far side and round to the visitor centre, back through Roddlesworth and the car which we parked at Slipper Lowe.  So only a short outing of 7 miles, as we wanted to get back to Horwich to see the finale of the Tour. 

We took the field glasses and camera with us in the hope of spotting the Owl (thanks for piccie JtE) and were rewarded by seeing the pair in flight as we approached.  Stayed and watched for a while but camera couldn’t pick them out clearly enough to post a picture.   But really lovely, and a privilege to see them in the wild.

Speaking of the Tour, Michelle Sunter picked up three prizes, 1st L45 today and for the Tour and something else which I’m not sure of, but will no doubt appear on Norman’s Blog in due course.   Daughter Abigail picked up Junior Lady Prize.  So only Albert went home empty handed.

Recognising our wide ranging blog, I thought you might like to see a picture of Karl Taylor whose 30th Birthday we enjoyed celebrating last night (which incidentally he shares with FSS, only 16 years later).  Bit of a surprise for him!  Here’s wife Gemma presenting him with a very appropriate cake.

2009-06-20_Karl_ 022

As many of you know Karl’s celebrating his birthday by doing a BG next weekend, so hoping all goes well for him.  We’re planning to see him and Iain Kelly on the hill and at the end in Keswick, where no doubt a few celebratory drinks will be enjoyed.  

Not out for the next few Saturdays due to other Hilly commitments.  Keep the miles up!


A Wide Ranging Blog

It's become obvious recently, considering the posting subjects recently, that there is more to life than just running.

Thanks for the pictures Nico. You have a great little grandson. I know you are proud of him and rightly so. A good picture of the nest also. I reckon the birds are Swallows.

More thanks, this time to all who were out yesterday. 20 miles! A superb morning out and the bonus of a pretty rare Short Eared Owl. How lucky we met the guy with the telescope. Thanks for hanging about girls, in the latter stages of the run.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thanks for great run, all 20 miles of it! Hoping I manage a picture of the housemartins nesting in the stable block, and Ted.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Darwen Day NLN?

YJ Looking for a Long(-ish) Run

Could it be a Darwen Day?

The Ladder

The ladder is placed there before the ospreys arrive and its purpose is to 'tag' the chicks with a leg ring shortly before they fledge. This year, as last year, they will be fitted with transmittters which will allow us to follow their migration route on Google Earth, hopefully to West Africa. The transmitters are designed to fall off the birds after about three years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saturday 20th June.

I will be UTUPing on Saturday hoping I have the stamina for a longish run. As I am down to marshal in the Great Hill race in the afternoon I shall probably make a quick dash home for lunch or kill extra time on the fells.
JtE - this is a bit of a silly question, but what's the ladder for?

Osprey PS

If you enlarge the picture you can see the male bird in the tree, towards the left hand side.

For those of you who are following the Loch Garten Osprey webcam the picture below might be of some interest. Just left of centre, half way down the picture but against the blue background there is a bulky structure on top of a tree. That is the nest. To the right of the nest there is a tree without foliage and immediately to its right is a thin pylon. This is surmounted by the camera which takes the pictures that you watch. The male bird often perches on the tree after delivering a fish.


UTUP - looking forward to catching up with Scottish news etc, oh and a run as well!


UTUP for me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

James's Thorn Fell Race 5m/1610ft

I hadn't planned to post a report for this race as it wasn't in the original FRA calendar, only in the updates section and therefore wouldn't count in the EtU challenge. But had to post this as I thought it would amuse you all.

Pre-race instructions at T - 1min were as follows, mumble mumble clockwise mumble red mumble mumble yellow flags. From this I gathered that we were to follow the outward route until the loop at the top where we would follow the red flags in a clockwise direction, say 'Hello' to the marshall at the summit check-point and return following the yellow flags. Clever eh? I had a map with the plan of the route, what could possibly go wrong? Winning time, has been in the region of 33-35mins so I'd guesstimated about 60mins for me (+5-7 mins for % error), so working on a 60/40 split about 45mins to the summit

So like last Wednesday's race set off last, but tonights field was a lot smaller and the gaps larger. I reached the part of the race where I started to get passed by the leaders on their descent and finally got to the point where the loop started and the beginning of the flags, well actually about 4 red flags all in one spot. At this point I also had a good view of the returning part of the loop and the yellow flags. So beared left following the trod and studmarks, the runner in front had disappeared into the clag by now. Continued for about a further 200m uphill until reaching a plateau. The clag cleared and it was at this point I would have expected to see another red flag, but nothing, no sign of a marshall either. So map out and a scan round to decide if this was near enough the furthest point of the race. A quick check of the watch, decided I'd done enough uphill and it was time for a bit of downhill. So ran along the edge of the plateau, past a very flat cairn and a small stone pillar, dropped off the edge and headed back towards the way I'd come eventually picking up a line of yellow flags.

So a bit of a 'Black Combe' moment all over again. But this time not only had the check-point marshall up-sticks (literally, with all the red flags) he'd also locked all the gates on the way back as well, further slowing me up. I returned to base in 1hr9mins.

So what, you might say, what's so funny about that. Well here's the rub, the check-point marshall was one of my Salford Harrier team-mates, knows what I look like, knew I was running and as there were only 45 runners in the race, 4 of us female, you'd have thought he'd have known if I'd have gone past him at the summit!

We all had a good laugh about it at the end, got a nice bit of free curry for my tea and a won a Ronhill tee-shirt for being 4th Lady.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This Week

Wednesday 17th ~ Jubilee

Thursday 18th ~ Two Lads

Friday19th ~ Thatch and Thistle ~ which reminds me that we need to set a date for the Summer Solstice Do ~ 3rd July? ~ TaT or Black Horse at Limbrick?

Saturday 20th ~ Travel to Oban for a week of running and walking and also hoping to find a little time for drinking.


Monday, June 15, 2009


I can only echo JtE's sentiments, FSS. Was certain it was in the 'bag' this time with all the training seeming to go to plan. So even if you feel it might have been the last chance for this particular challenge, I for one hope that you have a few others up your sleeve that you need support for. The wfdbwgua gang need their regular fix of grand days out!

I'll be attempting to increase my race quota this week so no utup for me.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Catching up with you all

Sorry FSS about the news I've just picked up. You can't win 'em all as they say. From all accounts you all had a great day out anyway and, of course, there's always another time. Sorry I couldn't be there.

Scotland was mainly very cold and the weather mixed. Below is a picture of Ben Macdui, at 4317 feet, second only to Ben Nevis. It's taken from Cairn Gorm, at 4150 feet, the fourth highest.

Ian’s 55 – Photos (selected)

Despite retiring at Dunmail Ian provided us all with a grand day out, with good friends old and new.  A few images of the day some much more professional than others!

First up Rhiannan’s – leaving Wasdale and up on the Scafell Massif

Click on image to enlarge – a couple of these are truly amazing images


IMG_5786 IMG_5766IMG_5765  IMG_5770 (2)  









..and then my snaps!


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 2009-06-13_55at55_ 013 2009-06-13_55at55_ 017 2009-06-13_55at55_ 022 

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Albert and The Lion

Missed out on UTUP last night as I had to drop off the motor for new brakes to be done today then set off on a run via the Bolton League TT AGM - just really wanted to proffer an excuse but ended up staying for the duration but avoided being commandeered on t'commitee (by the skin of my teeth) so only managed a 30 minute run on the roads. Got home and managed to get a copy of the results of last Thursday's Hndersons End Fell Race from Mr Smith. I've posted them up on my site temporarily - they will be officially published in the next few days http://www.soulfulhorwich.org.uk/Hendersons%20End%202009%20Senior%20Results.pdf
I was certianly quicker as I was racing Mark on the run in so wasn't that far behind him!

Matt - just looked at the entries for Tebay - you look in illustrious comapany - will you keep up with PW?

Albert and the lion? Ah well, no running in the Howgills or on Winter Hill for me this weekend - Ju is taking me to Longleat to feed me to the lions :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Holcombe Two Towers 4m/1300ft

An invite to a ladies charity luncheon today meant an attempt to do a transformation from TF to DD (Delectable Diva) to FF (Fearless Fellrunner) all in the space of 6 hours. A tall order.

Quite a novel experience for me to turn up to a race with full ‘slap’ on (in Rochdale this do), only having had enough time to change outfits from the DD to FF. Given the weather conditions we were to run in, I was about make one further transformation, this time to CC (Coco Clown). My time pre-race would have been better spent removing the cosmetics but retaining the DD footwear. The heels would have given me a better purchase going downhill and the strappy design would have reduced any waterlogging tendency.

But I digress, back to the nitty gritty, I started last and finished last. Time – I didn’t ask, winner – someone fast, likely to be male.

I’ve decided to have a run from the gym tomorrow so I can get home a bit earlier. No utup for me on Saturday either.

Saturday 13th June.

I shall not be UTUPing this Saturday as I am away for a family weekend but hope to be out the following Saturday.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

This Week

Wednesday 10th ~ Two Towers from Holcombe ~ did it last year and my training diary describes it as "a contrived course, but OK".

Thursday 11th ~ UTUPing if anyone else is, otherwise I'll run from home ~ I'll watch for a matching post.


Monday, June 08, 2009

A day in the Dales

The weather forecast during the week was terrible and with each update on the red button the situation seemed to get worse as the weekend approached. So the attractions of a trundle round the Wharfedale off-road marathon on Saturday began to fade.

However, although the day broke wet and windy and the start from Threshfield Rugby Club demanded sensible wet weather gear the day got steadily better, and drier, although the strong wind persisted throughout. The course was splendid. Plenty of close cropped grassy running among the limestone pavements and some delightful scenery from start to finish made for a most enjoyable event.

Being at the tail end of a small field on a long race can be lonely, with fellow travelers few and far between. It is an event that combines 25 mile and 13 mile events for both walkers and runners and also carries the alternative title of Rugger Ramble.

It is a well organised event and well worth considering for the future. The main aim, apart from the need for a long training run, was to complete a long fell race in order to gain qualification for events that require experience to be detailed on entry forms.

This was accomplished with a finish time of 5hr 21 mins but very close the back of the field, running comfortably.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Smithills Serpent 5 Mile Trail Race

First time running for this 3 lap on the footpaths and bridleways of  Horrocks Woods today organised by Bunden Road Runners. Weather forecast meant there was a chance of a soaking but it was quite sunny with a bit of headwind on the west to east climbs. Felt rubbish before the race but got into my stride halfway through the first lap. Would have been nice to catch Bazza but at least I was much closer than Wednesday. A good little race to do - definitely more enjoyable than the Burnden 10k on the roads.

Back to Winter

Wintry conditions accompanied this week’s Saturday Squad of EtU, Nic’O, TF, NLN and H?  Healey Nab had everyone confused as to the path back to White Coppice, with NLN even failing to follow a road sign to the village from the tarmac!  A very pleasant stop at the cricket pavilion for sustenance, hot drinks and other refreshments available but sadly nobody had any money!   We were entertained by a bunch of cricket officials wrestling with the tarpaulin covering the wicket during our stay.

An  extremely cold and blustery wind accompanied by constant rain meant no takers for Great Hill, so a jog back to Rivington village.  With only 8.75 miles run and the clock at 10.45 a poor outing for the Squad.  However, most had legitimate reasons for curtailing the run.   But I did not, I hadn’t had a wisdom tooth extracted, I hadn’t raced the night before, I hadn’t got a gangrenous big toe, I had got full winter kit on and I was acclimatised by much worse conditions in Scotland last week.  Visibility was good and although still raining it did seem to be getting brighter.  So from the village I trotted up to Lower Houses car park, from there to the Pigeon Tower, the Pike and Two Lads with the intention of coming back over Winter Hill.  But after heading into the wind all the way I decided that was enough and made my way back to the lower barn.  This gave me 14.75m so a jaunt around the arboretum and a time watching the Go-Apers meant that on returning to the car for the second time, the milometer had gone over the fifteen barrier.

Hoping for better weather next weekend (but not exactly confident).  Emails to participants to follow.  A phone call from Phil Dewhurst informed us that on supporting a BG outing last night snowdrifts were encountered on Helvellyn!  Are we really in June?


Friday, June 05, 2009

Only One Race...

...and not a good one one at that. Five excuses:- the toe, the hayfever, Tuesday's track session, the bowels and (how long can I use this one?) the Joss.

Didn't feel too bad early on, the toe only hurts going downhill or when stubbed (just once on this outing) just a bit stiff from the track. About 12 or 15 folk behind me on George's Lane (George of "end" fame you will recall) ~ Gordon was well in front by then, when I was taken short. When I finally emerged from the tussocks (not a lot of cover at that point) I was well and truly last.

Still last at Two Lads when some of the guys, who hadn't turned right around the mast detour but had carried on down the wall eventually to the Shooting Hut, rejoined the main race. They soon disappeared leaving me last again. Passed three tail enders going up the Pike and managed to stay in front of them until the end.

Spoke to Albert Sunter back at the Barn. He knew the route (may have cheated by staying on the tarmac past the mast ~ like you do) so didn't go wrong and frightened himself by realising that he was in the lead after the front runners went to Smithills. Being a bit of a descender, he hung on to his lead and was outright winner ~ there's local knowledge for you!

See you Saturday.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Two Races

I think I've not competed in races for  a month so I thought why not do two on consecutive nights (I managed to remove he idea of three consecutive by talking myself out of Paddy's Pole on Tuesday).
I'd already pre-entered this month's (and next month's) Chorley 4.4 Trail Race so could really not do it. My right hip had been playing up all day so I applied the ibrufen gel only to spend the race in pain - on my left leg!. It should be an enjoyable race in Astley Park. It wasn't last month and probably even worse this month. At least I did improve by a minute, proving the old adage - no pain no gain! I guess most bettered their times with the benefit of a dry course and lack of heat of previous days.
So it was with trepidation that I turned up at just about the last minute for tonight's Henderson's End Fell Race. A quick chat with a few people before Ed appeared finally at the start line - I'd seen him earlier but not had chance to talk - I presume he'd shot off to do a specialist warm up session away from prying eyes. I fully expected him to beat me this year but he muttered something about a toe.
Anyway off we went, I was well at the back at the start and eventually caught and passed Ed before walking up (ok a bit of running) to the Pigeon Tower where all hell was going on with runners being made to reach the marshal rather than short cutting up the banking with remarks like "I've always gone this way!" Again walked up the back of Winter Hill until the climb became less steep and yet again, like last year, I managed to do that climb over a minute quicker than when I run it as part of a training run. As usual lost a bit but only one place from Winter Hill via 2 Lads to Pike Cottage then surprised to find I was overtaken along Georges Lane just before the climb to the Pike - even more surprised in that I think it was Nick Leigh who I'd assumed had set off late - I do believe a few had taken headed over to the reservoir - another quickie then came past.
In the end just got overtaken by a fellow RMI runner on the final descent, retook him on the little bend/climb before he got me on the final run in. Didn't stop my watch correctly I believe my time was between 60 and 62 minutes after speaking to a mate from Burnden who I was a little in front of. Finished quite happy as he beat me by 5 minutes the previous night.
Apologies to Ed for not hanging around to chat but I was getting bitten t'death.
I'll update with time when I see results.

Come to Scotland with me.

One of the places I intend to visit is the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, about 10 miles north of Aviemore on the edge of the Cairngorm mountains. These birds, the next largest raptor to the Golden Eagle, fly from the Senegal area of West Africa to breed each year. Go to "The RSPB Birds of prey Loch Garten osprey nest". Scroll down the right hand side until "Blog" is reached. Click on the wording to the latest blog then scroll down to the heading "Links". From here click on to "Loch Garten live streaming video" Here you will see live, the Osprey nest, with three chicks and usually the adult female present. They are constantly fed on fish brought in by the male. Thought at least the girls might like this!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How unfit can you get?

Having just completed my first mid-week race of the year (Calver Peak) I was completely appalled by the shocking amount of walking I had to do on 900ft of climb in 5m. So appalled in fact that I'm off back to the lovely Hope Valley on friday night for another bite of the bullet. Might take the gun with me this time!

So I'll give Hendersons End a miss, save the hassle for the organizers of having to rename the race next year.

Saturday 6th

EtU have a look at this.


This is the orienteering map for the 'White Coppice' area. It's a 1:7500 map with much more detail than the OS map (may take a little while to load). To see more of the map place the mouse arrow over the map, hold down the left button on the mouse and move the mouse. The map should move, revealing different areas. What this programme does is allow orienteerers to show each other what route they took on their course. Mine's on there, select 'night orange' course from drop down menu, click on my name and then click on 'view route'. My course was contained within the wooded area, so you need to be viewing top left section of map. If you select a few names, they need to be the ones preceeded by '*', you can compare routes.

I have a printed version of this map which I'll bring on Saturday. The section I have covers the wooded area that we normally run through. Obviously this is a lot more detailed than you probably need, but as you can see from the map there are lots more paths than the one we use. Hopefully you might find it useful to locate some potential noticeable features to use for your event. I'll let you borrow it if you need it to produce your own (more simplified) map.

Saturday 6th June

I have been "volunteered" to organise a simple orienteering event from White Coppice on Friday 12th June. Although Steve is calling it orienteering, I think he has something more like a treasure hunt in mind.

So this Saturday it would be good if we could head in that direction and look for a few features that we could use; no need to waste too much time, perhaps just 15 minutes or so; if it's going to take any longer, you can leave me to it.


Scotland and Belated Congrats to EtR

It was great to share the experience, if not the pain, of your Joss Ed.  Thanks for a great day out.  Having breakfasted like kings at the Bridge  FSS and I left Ed to nurse his big toe to motor north to Scotland, breaking our journey to Glen Coe for lunch with father in law.  The inclement weather stayed with us until Friday when we had a glorious two days before travelling home Sunday. 

We were actually in blizzard conditions on Tuesday on the tops.   Bagged a measly eight Munros, covering just over 40 (hard) miles in sometimes deeply debilitating conditions.  However the last two days made up for it all.   The following show why we keep going back despite the weather and err… the midges:


2009-05-26_Glen Coe_005

The Pap of Glen Coe


Glen Etive resident – very friendly


Looking across at ‘Big Ben’ from the Mamores


The marvelous Mamores


One of three ‘bagged’ out of Glen Etive


The view from the front door


Sunset from the front door


..and the front door of Craigallan, the Rucksack Club ‘Hut’

Hope to see anyone out UTUP this Saturday



Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome on Saturday.
I really enjoyed it and can't wait to do it again soon, despite falling on the way back down.
( I even got polite laughter for cracking the usual " that's why they call it fell running" joke!)


( no nickname yet though J - not the supermarket one - did suggest the squirrel.
Something to do with my nuts apparently!)

Maintaining the hazelnut/squirrel theme, how about SN, for Squirrel Nutkin? For info, Hazel had originally sent me this post earlier in the week, using my email connection on the blog, but it never arrived. I've since tested the connection and it worked for me, could someone else give it a try.


Monday, June 01, 2009

By George! That Henderson!

Just glad I got the family good looks, rather than the brains.

The other Scotsman (not Flying)

Was Henderson not the Scotsman who came to a sticky end near the buildings at the top of the mast road and whose demise was marked by the post known as Scotsman's Stump? That would no doubt be the End of him.
Thursday 4th June ~ Henderson's End

Not sure how this race got its name; is it a place, or does it refer to something unfortunate happening to Henderson, or is it a reference to some part of said person's anatomy, and if so, why?

Regardless of its origins, it starts from the Top Barn, this Thursday at 7:30, courtesy of Lostock AC, so I'm not UTUPing after all, but racing. Anyone else fancy it?