Monday, August 31, 2009

Keswick to Barrow - ‘The Haute Route’


Friday night saw us travelling up to the Rucksack Club’s Lake District HQ in the Duddon Valley, High Moss where we met up with our Leader and fellow contenders for tomorrows expedition.  Two stalwarts of this kind of affair Paul and Wade were missing, the former attending a wedding in St Ives and the latter according to Geoff was ‘Losing the will to suffer’.  Need I say more!

A fitful night’s sleep was had listening to the howling wind and rain outside but the forecast promised a bit of a respite for tomorrow.  Rising at 4.15am for a 5.00am departure for Keswick gave us only a brief shower and we set off not long after 6.00am in dry conditions but with a concerning headwind.

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  Leaving High Moss 5.00am –ish – Geoff, Ros, NLN, Keith and FSS – Helen would join us at the Moot Hall

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Moot Hall, Keswick just after Six o’clock with Helen (Keith parking car)

On leaving Portinscale and approaching the suspension bridge we were surprised to be met by throngs of folk, breakfasting, messing about with canoes/bikes/running kit.  Apparently they were all engaged in a multi-sport Coast-to-Coast and had just paddled down Derwentwater and were readying themselves for the next leg on bikes – amazing what we all do for fun.

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Dramatic scenes over Derwentwater from Cat Bells heralded the first heavy rain.  But soon, having traversed High Stile etc we were dropping into Honister, where Rae had warm drinks and food ready for us.


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Support HQ manned by Rae Pritchard, with Meet leader Ros Murray and Helen

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Rainbow, leaving Honister2009-08-29_KB_ 029

Looking down Ennerdale with Buttermere and Crummock water to the right

Upwards and onwards to Sty Head over Grey Knotts, Brandreth and Green Gable then Bow Fell over the Crinkles to the three Shires Stone for extremely welcome hot soup and sandwiches.


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Glorious run off Green Gable

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The worst of the weather on this leg forced us below Swirral How, before traversing Brim Fell where horizontal hailstones and gale force winds buffeted us to the ground at some points.  Too dangerous to contemplate the summit of Dow Cragg, Ros guided us expertly along a rising traverse to Goats Water Hause and then White Pike to Broughton, where rice pudding awaited.  

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Dow Crag – click on full size to see the two climbers half way up one of the gullies towards the bottom on the right

From Broughton it was a simple matter of following the coast, over the sand dunes, through the marshes and along the beach to our destination at Barrow.  As our leader warned us, its longer than it looks.  I say simple because the five of us were just following Ros’s headtorch at this stage.  Five hours later we arrived at the Town Hall in Barrow, attracting quite a bit of attention, not being dressed in the manner of most of the Saturday night crowd on what the locals refer to as the ‘Gaza Strip’.  Geoff described the town centre scene as ‘Vibrant’  which rather captured it.

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Made it! – Barrow Town Hall just before 1.00am

Six started, six finished – Ros, Keith, Geoff, NLN, Helen and FSS

Total time 18hours 39mins, 10,000ft climbing, 46.6 miles covered.

Conditions – heavy showers (some hail), bright intervals, constant strong winds.  A great day in the hills.

Not out next Sat, doing Where Eagles Fly – see earlier post.


Intent to Dent

I went to Dent,
With energy unspent,
On the scent of a gent,
Whose superiority,
I went to dent.

Saturday was the last in the English Championship races for us wrinklies. Fred Gibbs of Bingley Harriers has been the M70's winner of the previous three by a country 1.6093 kms. He's streets, or in our case, hills ahead of the rest of us, and always shows us a dirty pair of heels. In the two races I've entered, both medium distance, Peter Norman of Wrexham has been second, myself third. On the first occasion he beat me by over 9 mins, but on the second by only 1min 13 secs, so at Dent it was "Race on".

It was Dent Gala day and the race started from a field near Church Bridge before going through the farm at Shoolbred. Billy the Bull is known to frequent these parts but I reasoned that by the time I got there he'd be bored of tupping people in red vests. From the farm it's a steep climb with two false peaks before turning east at the top to go about 600yds to Aye Gill Pike. Then the same route back.

I panted my way up the hill(one day I'll try climbing) and settled in behind a guy in a yellow vest, intending to get him on the way down. At the top, for some reason, probably to trip up 70 year olds, there was a tape across the bottom of an opening in the wall. It worked, and having picked both myself and my glasses up I proceeded a full 5 yards before falling flat in the bog, thus enabling Yellowvest to open up a gap. After another encounter with the bog on the return, I was asked to re-form the Black & White Minstrels! On the steep descent I'd hoped to pick up a few places, but there was too great a gap and I only passed a chap in a strange vest and one in a Stripey vest, but Yellowvest kept his distance and who can blame him.

After I'd stumbled to the finish, Stripeyvest came in 50 secs. later and immediately came over to shake my hand. It soon became apparent that he was none other than Peter Norman. Later I met Fred Gibbs and George Arnold a veteran of Championship races, for the first time. So, 2nd place apart, meeting these other ancients made it a good day out, though they may say "Well it was until ....".

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Looks like our man had a good one on Whernside. Come on Matt, spill!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today's Run

The team today was TF, Hazel, YJ, EtU and me. The route, to begin with, was Healey Nab, Brinscall Triangle and Great Hill. All but EtU started on this route whilst EtU, who was walking his daughter's dog first, was to join us in an anti clockwise direction. We met up just above Drinkwater's Farm, below Great Hill. On Great Hill it was decided to carry on to Hordern Stoops and at that point Hazel an TF decided to go in via Ammunition Corner whilst the rest of us took in Winter Hill via the wooden footbridge, then skirting Two Lads and going in via the gardens. The milages were 22 for YJ, who had done his Pike loop before the main run, 15 for me and, I expect, about 13 for the ladies. I'm not sure of EtU's distance.

The weather was chilly but bright and the bonus was the heather when the sun was out. More than usual Wheatears were along the wall on spittlers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going to attempt the Winter Hill road circuit tomorrow - so long as it's not raining!

This is where I got to on Saturday,
Same instructions as in the post on Weds 3rd June, but you need to drag the map quite a long way to the left before you get to see the route. I did course 'C' and finished 18/28 in the solos, there were people also doing it as 'pairs'. The finishing times are next to each name on the list. The only ones that have plotted their course are the ones with '*'.

This routegadget thing is quite good for practising a bit of 'armchair' navigating. Seclect a course, decided what route you would have taken and then click on the names of those who have plotted their routes and see if you agree.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This One's for TF!
This Thursday and Saturday

UTUP for me.
Forward Planning

I can manage a utup on Saturday this week. The following weekend plans will depend on how the ankle fares, being mindful of the LDMT (12m/5000ft straight lines) on the 12th. It did ok on Saturday just gone, but still a bit wary of it.

The 16m option could be a possibility for me on the event NLN has suggested, if it was looking like a group outing. If EtU has a 'whole day out' pass then it'd be a shame to not venture further afield. Perhaps EtU could provide some extra 'readies' just to make sure it's a very long shopping trip?


Ed’s Request for Ideas 5th September

Will miss out on Ed’s long day out on the 5th. Doing 'Where Eagles Fly' - why not make this a group outing?  Need to get entries in quick 'though.

26 miles from Burneside Cricket Club, Kendal out over Longsleddale, Mardale, Nan Bield, Kentmere Pike and back.  Route description below

Worth thinking about


Thursday 27th & Saturday 29th

I'm UTUPing.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

5th September ~ A Full Day's Pass

The Old Speckled Hen and the youngest daughter Meredith (the OSH reads a lot of romantic novels) are on a (shopping) marathon on 5th September, so lunch won't be on the table at 12:30 sharp.

So I'm looking for something a bit different (not from the OSH I hasten to add!). First thought is a Coope's/Baker's dozen, which is a regular CD plus Darwen Tower.

Any thoughts? Not particularly canvassing company for the whole round, or road support, but company up to Old Adam would be good.

Start UTUP.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Darwen Gala Fell Race
Julie, Prince (the current demander of food and walks) and missen made our way over to Darwen this afternoon. Julie and Prince availed themselves to the pleasures of the gala and ancilliary stalls whilst I made acquaintance with NicO, Mark S, Tony V and few more before the race was underway with a stiff climb out of the park. I held back - well my excuse, I was actually just slow - whilst Mark and NicO surged away although I did pass NicO and Jan Atkins between points A and G (see map below). Up to the tower and then the decent and the turn where Mr Sammon decided to walk so I duly passed him. He was obviously just having a recovery phase as he then proceeded to go past me on the long steady ascent to E where I was at the back of the group with a fair gap behind me. By point G, the gap was in front of me and Jan was breathing down my neck so I suggested my target was keep up with her on the rest of the descent. Everyone knows how rubbish my descending is but of course the descent from G to the finish is almost like a road race, the surface underfoot being so easy so I belted my way down well in front of my 40 minute estimate.
Looking at past results though there's not that many who take longer than 40 minutes so don't know whether I had a good run. NicO had a rare off day. Jan is usually in front of me. If I'm within 50% of James's winning time I shall be happy. From the numbers it looks like the race was much better supported than previous years and Horwich came away with good results for the juniors (it was in the Junior Championships) and James Kevan won the senior race (Suzanne may have been first lady but not seen results yet).
And most importantly my left adductor came out unscathed.
And Julie and Prince had found a bargain - torosaurus (I think) for Prince to look after.
Quarterly dooo - I'm a bit busy weekend of 18/19th so following would be better for me - probably not for the rest of you.
If the map lessens your viewing pleasure, I could replace it with a link to it on Darwen's site.
UPDATE - just looked on FRA forum and results are now available - yes many more runners - 122 finishers - usually less than 50. Suzanne was beaten by three fast U18s. James managed sub 23, and was the only over 18 in the first ten!
Also seen that I finished 8th man in the Darwen Summer series and ..... wait for it ........ there were more than 8 men completing series (11 to be precise). Suzanne won the ladies and NicO was third. As I didn't go to the presentation I shall be miffed if there were prizes for the first ten! In fact I was less than two minutes behind 6th and did beat the 6th and 7th place men today. Aggies was my downfall.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Further to t'Yorkshireman's post, he was at the rear of an interesting little spacing: Ted Orrell (1st V70) was 81st, YJ (1st V65) was 83rd, Mike Ogle (V60) 85th and t'Y (injured V50) 87th. Seems like the older they get, the faster they get. There's hope for us all!

Incidentally, Mike seems to be running very well at present, I can imagine that Chorley H are finding it dificult to find guides who can stay with him. He beat me to the top in the Pike race a couple of years ago. I passed him on the descent, but took no pride in this, considering his handicap.

I was hoping to do this last Jubilee of 2009, fate having conspired against me on three previous occasions, but it was not to be, and I went home for my supper, rather than watch so many folk eating midges for theirs.
Jubilee, Darwen, left - right?
YJ and I managed to make the start line on Wednesday night for the Jubilee 5 miler. I nearly didn't, having strained (or something - whatever, it hurt) my left adductor whilst warming up.
No matter, I started - not sure if YJ started - he said that everyone set off without him!
Unsure whether I would have my first retirement in a short road race, I took it steady then seemed to move through the field, going quite well up the hill past camera trigger-happy Norman. Onto the second lap and into the worst swarm of midges I've known in the 18 years or so that I've run in the Jubilee - just solid clouds of them on the Street. Half way along YJ passes me and I fade into oblivion finishing nearly two minutes behind him. Goodness knows why I run on the Jubilee course as I never enjoy it!
Obviously I'm in no shape to do Sedbergh (despite my quickest time of the year on the climbs on Sunday) so I may risk Darwen Gala. Went to Haigh Show last Sunday but most upset to find there was no fell race. Didn't have my kit with me anyway!
Ed, what's this about track efforts - I've never made an effort on the track and can't recall you doing so (hope Norman's not reading this haha) but it looks my left side is my weakness, along with all the others.
And well done JtE on your conquering Mt. Ambleness.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adding to the confusion

Firstly, I shall not be utuping for the next two Saturdays. Secondly, belated congratulations to JtE for his achievement last Saturday. The weather decided to join in by mimicking February for a spell in order to simulate the real thing. Bet you were pleased about that, JtE.

You should know better than ask me for meaningful information, NLN. After all I'm hardly the norm. Stop nodding your head so enthusiastically! Anyway, I am right-handed and as you'll have guessed, my problem knee is my left one. That said, apart from my knee and my frozen shoulder, all the injuries I have sustained over the years from physical activity, knocks apart, have been on my right side. I don't know what happened in my development but my right side(shoulder and chest) differs substantially from, and is not as well-formed, as my left. Perhaps that's true of my brain as well. So, does anyone know if the right side of the brain controls your powers of observation and retention? If they do, that would explain my stunning weakness in these areas.

As far as I'm concerned my left leg/foot is the dominant one. I think this is because it is longer than my right, enough for back specialists and physiotherapists to make a point of, during treatment. Haven't you noticed me hopping along on Saturday mornings?

So there you have it, more confusion. But at least you'll soon be nodding off, that's if you haven't done already!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Left Right!

When I was in my mid teens and started walking on the fells, the group I walked with adopted the old army chant of "Left, left, I had a good home and I left, right, left, I had a good home..." We used this when we were off the fells and on the, often long, walk back to a bus route. I sometimes mutter it to my self, even now to take my mind off the pain towards the end of a long run.

But to move on to TF's research. I think we must first be clear what we are talking about. TF talks of "landing" whilst NLN uses the word "dominant" (well she would, wouldn't she?). So you may have a dominant right leg, with which you push off, but you land on your left; so are you right or left footed? (Ignore religious connotations.)

I'm right handed. When I'm starting a track effort I toe the line with my left foot and contrary to a normal running action my first movement is forward with both my right arm and my right foot. This very soon corrects to a normal gait, so that opposing foot and arm move forward together.

For jumping both up onto something and down from something, I push off with my right leg and lead forward with my left. This may be in anticipation of falling down in that in leading with my left leg , I'm also leading with my right arm, which is stronger and therefore better able to absorb a fall ~ but does this mean I'm right or left footed?

Perhaps NLN and YJ are moving like camels, which I believe move both left legs forward at the same time, then move both right legs forward, or is it the other way round?

As ever, more questions than answers I'm afraid, and we may be as confused as ever, but I do like to think that we may be confused on a slightly higher plane than previously.

PS ~ UTUPing Thursday 20th and Saturday 22nd.
This Saturday

UTUP for me all being well.


TF raises an interesting subject right/left handed and footedness, to put it clumsily (as I would).  I am right handed and right footed naturally.  You can tell this by which foot you lead with when you run up a flight of stairs.  However, conscious of the strain this puts on my right knee and the problems I have had over the years, particularly in ultra events,  I started several years ago to consciously try to lead with my left foot and this has paid off to some degree in evening out the repetitive strain on my right side.   This, along with off the shelf orthotics to assist alignment has resulted in an easing off of the previous problems with my right leg.

However, this doesn’t come naturally and when tired or when instinct takes over, the dominant limb prevails – evidenced by my broken right arm which instinctively is used to break a fall – as it were.

Interesting to hear from Matt – is your bad knee your right one and are you right handed?

YJ had mirror images on Saturday morning of mine after his fall with damage to the left knee and left elbow – so is he left handed?

Jessica Ennis having sustained a triple fracture of her right foot which put her out of the Beijing Olympic games was trained to change to lead with her left foot for the long jump.  This took her a year to master but paid off handsomely at the weekend.

Your thoughts?

Cautiously UTUP-ing Sat all being well


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thurs utup - will have to give this a miss as ankle still a bit sore and want to make sure it's ok for my trip this weekend to the Cheviot Hills. Hopefully, back out again sometime next week.

Even the bike is resting as it's my twisting on/off foot that's sore. The other one stays clipped in for the duration and I don't wish to confuse things at this stage in the learning process.

Strange though that it's my left one that's sore, as my right foot is usually the side that I land on if it's going to be a one-footed/awkward landing, and hence the one that usually gets 'tweaked'. My right side being the more dominant. So do left-handers land with left foot first? Should we undertake a very unscientific poll. Left or Right or No preference?


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Well Done John!

Pleased to hear you've laid that ghost, John, you certainly seemed in fine form as you disappeared over the fields towards Entwistle.

From the top of Winter Hill we watched the first and probably the most severe squall as it blew towards you; we just caught the edge of it. Soon after, the wind abated slightly and less dramatic, but more persistent rain blew in. It can't have been much fun being out in it for several hours.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mission Accomplished

With the support of the gang, the purpose of today's outing was to lay the ghost, so to speak, of my disasterous February Amble when my back gave in by White Coppice and I had to be driven to the finish by a marshall. The idea today was, therefore, to complete the Amble route successfully.

We started UTUP with Nico, NLN and her friend Keith intending to support me for the full round and EtU, YJ and Matt for part of the round. All went well to the Turton and Entwistle reservoir car park where David met us with refreshments, Etu, YJ and Matt having left us by this time. Nico was suffering a migraine but decided to carry on. Shortly after the Strawberry Duck (now closed) the rain started accompanied by a strong wind and, soon, we were all soaked. We continued on to Darwen Moor and, not having anticipated these conditions, we were under dressed and it was therefore agreed that we should miss out Darwen Tower and drop off the moor to Slipper Lowe where FSS was waiting with his car. By this time Nico's migraine had become severe and she opted for a lift back to her car. The rest of us carried on over Great Hill and down to White Coppice and by this time Keith was suffering. Shortly after White Coppice it was agreed that NLN would stay with Keith and that I, trying to test my fitness, would leave them and see them at the finish.

Thanks to the superb help from all involved I am pleased to say that I finished strongly (by my standard of course) and I had plenty to spare. Further, there was not the slightest trouble from my back. This outing, therefore, has been an absolute success so far as I am concerned.

Many thanks to you all. I should be grateful if Nico and NLN would pass on my thanks to David and to FSS.

22.75 miles.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Very slow this week
Got back on Sunday evening from two weeks in a very hot Thassos (Greece) - 30+C every day and down to about 26 at night! Managed a couple of shortish early morning runs and one evening run and actually lost a few pounds despite the wine and beer. Did manage one early start (6:20) to walk to Potamia and then climb up Mt Ipsario which is a shade above 4000ft. Luckily above 1000ft there was a bit of a breeze, arriving at 9:30 to sign the book.
Did my first run for a week on Wednesday night and had not felt so slow since recovering from my little exploratory operation a few years ago. My legs felt like lead. No point doing UTUP last night so just went to ring road and back to see how much slower I am - about 2 minutes in 30!
Hopefully will get a decent run in this weekend but dj-ing commitments mean I shall probably be busy tomorrow morning.
On the Monday before Coope's Dozen I'd ordered a copy of Feet In the Clouds, hoping it would arrive in time to take on holiday. As I rushed out to head to the top barn, I noticed the postman passing me with book shaped package. Alas when I got back from my half-dozen, I found that the current dog, Onyx had got to it first. Julie immediately ordered a replacement copy and we also now have a replacement dog as well. This one's called Prince and is as well-behaved as Onyx was badly behaved.
Future races - Sedbergh (if fit), Darwen (if less fit), Rufford 10K?, Langdale Half?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marathon madness

Thursday saw the start of the marathon build up with a single lap of the old Bolton 40 circuit in 2 hr 8 min which was faster than any of my circuits during the whole of last year.

This could mean peaking too soon or is a good omen for the two races planned -- the Langdale and of course the Snowdonia

Saturday 15th August

I shall be UTUPing on Saturday but am not yet sure how long I can play out for.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Thurs ok, Sat will be subject to broken bones/in hiding if I've appeared on Youtube.

On Friday I pick up my new set of wheels. Only half the price of EtU's, 'cos there's only one wheel at the front and one at the back and more eco-friendly. It'll be my first go with clipless pedals!

This Week

Tuesday 11th ~ Track, subject to left Achilles behaving itself.

Thursday 13th ~ UTUP if anyone confirms, otherwise from home.

Saturday 15th ~ UTUP (unless given any other instruction) returning to the Top Barn for noon.

Spellchecker says use upper case "A" for Achilles, which will be right for that Greek chappie, but is it retained for the tendon?

He was actually held up by his heel, where the tendon inserts, rather by the tendon itself; or so we are led to believe.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Loch Garten Ospreys

The female adult is about to migrate to West Africa. The chicks will migrate before very long. There are instructions on the RSPB website that take you to a superb tracking system allowing you to follow the chicks on Google Earth. How they know that it is time to migrate is one of the great mysteries and it is by no means certain that they will be able to navigate to West Africa.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Memories Are Made of This

My brief two night stay at Santon was a busy, but not hectic, break. Wednesday's excellent morning on the Conistons was followed by an exhilarating drive over Wrynose and Hardnott for a light lunch at Dalegarth station near Boot, then finally to Bitt to start hacking back the undergrowth to unearth sleeping beauty's castle. Yes, the castle was still there, but no beauty, either sleeping or awake. In the Bridge for about 6:30, for the purpose of taking excessive measures to combat dehydration. Supped sensibly on poached salmon, but was still hungry so finished with the sticky toffee pudding. Made arrangements with David P-T for an outing on Friday morning.

Thursday was gardening again until noon when Hilary, (daughter no. 2) arrived with grandsons Alfie and Eddy, and more importantly lunch. Lunch was followed by football, badminton and rides in the new money pit. I was left alone and exhausted by late afternoon for more gardening. Then (you've guessed it!) pub, but no more healthy eating, just a fine Lamb Jennings.

On the fell by 9:30 Friday morning where we touched base with Joss as he gathered stone for Peter Ferris' building project. Then up the left side of Greendale Gill to contour Seatallan and on to the Pots of Ashness and start the climb up Haycock ~ see below. The figure to the right of centre is David, he wasn't really that far ahead, it just took me a long time to get the camera out! The central figure is probably a sheep.
Haycock summit is a fine view point; this one's looking north east to Scoat and Steeple. Then turning back to retrace our steps, this was taken soon after the summit plateau, when Seatallen and Middle fell came into view.

We returned by a similar but slightly lower route, which once again allowed David to demonstrate his descending skills. Another good outing, moving at a slightly faster pace than when I was last in those parts!

Finally, more gardening and then back home in time to walk to the TaT for more re-hydrating.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Saturday 8th Aug

I'll be UTUPing on Saturday with a warm up lap starting about 7 am.
Midweek - no crisis

EtU pulled in to the car park at Tilberthwaite in his mid life crisis with the hood down, soaking up the sunshine on Wednesday morning. This was the start of another magical day in the Lakeland mountains, this time with YJ in charge of not getting lost. After a couple of attempts at finding the way out of the car park we made our way above the Ghyll, past the mine workings and over into the Greenburn valley and up onto Wet Side Edge heading for Swirl How and Coniston Old Man. From there we dropped down into the valley and climbed up to pass between Yewdale fells and Weatherlam to return to the cars.

Total distance was 11.25 miles, ascent 4235 ft and a time of 4 hr 17 mins.

After a cool start the day got hotter and where better to see folk suffer than watching the trippers toil up Coniston Old Man with no cloud cover and no wind. We were variously described as "two fit guys", greeted by a teacher who said her young charges were "well impressed" and "mad" by a largish woman pausing to get her breath on the lower slopes of the Old Man.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I'll be Utuping on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Saturday the 8th.

UTUP for me on Saturday but not tomorrow. Family coming down from Carlisle.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Last Thursday

Thanks TF for distance / height info.
For EtU & JtE, last thurs utup was 6.5m using new website from NLN. The ft/climb was an (over)impressive 551m. A more rough guess just from an overall impression of the elevation graph would be nearer 350m, about 1000ft.

Monday, August 03, 2009

This Week

Away until Friday 7th, then UTUPing Saturday 8th.