Friday, December 31, 2010

Today and Tomorrow

All very daring TF, but who/what were you meant to be?

Hoping to UTUP tomorrow, and to be out a bit longer than yesterday.
Auld Lang Syne 31st Dec 2010

Well I braved the elements in my fancy dress 'costume' - here I am

Didn't manage to break 70 mins (which I'd hoped for) but I had to take it gently to prevent any 'wardrobe' malfunctions. There is a fairly indecent shot of me taken near the trig point (turning back point) which I'm not providing a link for, should have remembered it's windy near the top. If you want to see it, I'm sure the resourceful among you will be able to seek it out (not for those of a sensitive nature). Most photographers advertize their wares via the fellrunner forum, I unfortunately have appreared to do the same!!


More of the same...

I shall be UTUPing tomorrow (Saturday) hoping for a bit further than the 8 miles we did yesterday. While I think we were all a bit short of energy for one reason or another it was a bonus day on the fells at this time of the year and the good company made up for the lack of distance.

EtU and TF made it as far as the Pike, for different reasons, and the rest carried on via Two Lads, the Quarries where we had to brave a herd of cattle grazing on and around the path and then, the route to the RoW stone being deemed too icy, we shortcutted to the trig point, down the diagonal and the Sheep's Back to the Lower barn in a time of 2 hrs 16 mins.

A happy New Year to all who don't turn out tomorrow - and good running to those who do.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peak 'O' Trial, Tues 28th Dec

Always prepared for a bit of an adventure at one of Des's races, I turned up thinking I'd get away with the short 4m (as advertised) option. It was first day out in the car for 11 days and I needed to get to the shops before I missed out on all the bargains.

Des had other ideas. It's hour and a half course he says, I've not planned a short one, you can always miss a couple out. He waved the map briefly in front of me just so I had a general idea of distance involved. Miss a couple out, that was like a 'red rag to a bull', no never!

Well after an hour and a half had elapsed I'd got to the point of 'where there's no sense, there's no feeling' or in my case no feeling, no sense. How numb can your feet get? Very, if you tramp around the Peak District looking for little orange and white flags while there's snow on the ground. Should have called it quits, but soldiered on and was back at the pub in 3hrs17. Even Des's 'an hour and a half' was a bit optimistic, winner (Julien Minshull, local runner) managed 1hr:47 I believe, and he knows the area as well as Des. Not sure if I was the slowest, but at least I was back in less than 2x winner's time.

I'll be out for a brief run tomorrow, so will see a few of you at 8.30am

Thursday 30th Dec

I plan to be at the Lower Barn at the usual time tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thursday 30th Dec

There is some interest in a run over Winter Hill on Thursday. Start at 8:30 a.m at the Bottom Barn.

Be good to have a substantial turn-out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Clitheroe 10K

SN has just alerted me to the fact that it's CANCELLED!

Must have heard that their star athlete was laid up with man flu. Although I do think organizing (from his sick bed) for a Milk Lorry to get stuck on the route was a deliberate attempt to slow everyone up! All entries valid for a new date (TBC), Fellrunner forum is suggesting sometime in March for a re-staging, so hoping it's not the 27th as that clashes with Edale. Mindful of any other delaying tactics that EtU might have in mind!!

I'd looked at the possibility of doing Trafford 10k on the 13th, so I don't think the organizers will go for that date due to the elite wanting to be at both.

Anyway that's enough talk of road running. Hoping to get out to the Peak District tomorrow to do a bit of navigating. Three days stuck inside with a paintbrush and a roller is enough for anyone to take to the hills. 4 rooms done, 1 to go.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ribble Valley 10k

A full week of flu (man/lady/swine?) has left me feeling a bit grim, and even now it's on the wane, it's left me with debilitating cough, that means I'm having to give tomorrow's race a miss.

Hope anyone that does toe the line has a good run, possible with two under the 50 minutes?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Have a great time whatever you're up to.  Be careful, it's slippy.....


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Southern Section

Seasons greetings to you all in the frozen North. Its not that warm down here come to that but we haven't had much snow since the weekend. Sadly my running has had another setback with firstly a recurrence of my back trouble followed by a bad cold so I haven't been out since October. But never mind, I am used to it by now so a new start will be made in the new year. Keep up the great posts as it is well interesting to read and the photos are especially welcome as there are no hills round here.

See you in 2011


Hospital Run Postponed

For anyone thinking of doing the Harriers' annual pre-Christmas "Hospital Run" (tonight), it has been postponed on safety grounds due to the weather.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Only a short run - the start of a wonderful day

I couldn't be with you on Saturday, even if plan A or plan B had come to fruition (see YJ post). I did however manage to achieve a short run on the fells. After breakfast I escaped from the Devonshire Fell hotel in Burnsall, clod in yaktrax, ran up the road a bit before turning off into Harden Woods with a demanding little climb up through the virgin snow before carefully making my way back down. I was only allowed 20 minutes or so, as I was required to greet guests from about 11.30 a.m. who would be turning up for my daughter's wedding.
All apart from four made it - they gave up trying to get out of Horwich after 90 minutes on Saturday morning. We even managed to persuade everyone to leave the confines of the hotel for a few outside photographs.
There's a small collage of photographs on the photographer's blog for those who would like to see what Diane and Neal got up to on their only rest weekend in their Ironman training schedule.

Not Quite So Young EYJ

Not just sure of the exact date, but I think that EYJ has just turned 70, it might have been 17th Dec.

So, sorry, John for missing this landmark birthday. Hope the day went well (if it has already went), and here's to the next decade.

We now boast four septuagenarians; good grief, there's more of them than there is of us!

Who's next? Could it be me?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's no joke

"It never snows in Longton" is a phrase I often trot out when surrounding areas are being blizzard swept. This smug attitude came home to roost with a vengeance on Friday night when an eight-hour snowfall started as I finished my second run of the day.

A couple of hours later it was deep enough to warrant a call to EtU to formulate plan B if conditions worsened further overnight. And worsen they did. Plan B involved a check with EtU just after 6 30 and the word was that the Grimeford area was nearly as bad as Longton and a decision was taken that to travel would be foolhardy.

That was where Plan C came in which involved setting off for a run from home and soon, when running in the virgin snow was impossible (the depth was eight to nine inches with some even deeper patches) .Plan D took me home to an early breakfast.

Since then conditions have not improved much, restricting this morning's run to an energy sapping four miles in a time which being kept a closely guarded secret.

Apologies.. anyone who managed the UTUP this morning. Due to the snow I managed the UP, but significantly later than even my tardy UT.

Running from home, I found that studs gave good grip on compacted snow, and decided that progress was good enough to make the trig point an appropriate target. But it was not to be. Having passed through the UP, (no cars at all) I passed the Top Barn, found myself on virgin snow, vergin' (ow!) on a foot deep, and progress was reduced to a slow walk. Change of plan; the absence of footprints indicated that I could be the first up the Pike, something I'd never achieved before (racing or training), so that would be my notable achievement for the day.

But that was also not to be. Coming in from the right, part way through the gardens was a set of footprints, which I followed to the top of the Pike, although at times they were obliterated by the blown snow (spindrift seemed a suitable word for this, but my dictionary only relates it to blown sea spray).

On top, conditions were quite horrid, and taking off my gloves for a brief photographic break left my hands painfully cold.

You can just see the Pigeon Tower, slightly left of centre, near the top.

You can also see how strong the wind was, I thought I was standing upright!

My return route was virtually the same as my outgoing, except for a detour over Anderton footbridge (GR 614 135) where I took this, looking northwards up the M61.

As you can see, two and a bit northbound lanes clear, nearly two southbound.

Pb for this run 1:11, par 1:20, previous PW 1:40, this morning 2:40, oh well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ribble Valley 10k

After initially baulking at the £12 entry fee, I grasped both the nettle and my credit card and entered this race, which is run on Monday 27th Dec, not far from last Sunday's 7.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday 18th Dec

I Shall be UTUPing on Saturday 18th Dec.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do squirrels hibernate?

At the first sign of ice my feet refused to leave the comfort of my slippers and I've been in hibernation ever since!
Need to make an effort soon as I signed up for the Clitheroe 10k in a moment of madness.
Sorry to miss everyone last Saturday night, we were at a wedding in Nottingham. Unfortunately in another moment of madness I decided to walk the 2 miles between venues in high heels and now have several large blisters. Still it gives me another reason to stay in hibernation.

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Whilst we were enjoying the festive fayre at the Cherry Tree FSS was up in the Lakes to help Mark Smith on his Winter BG attempt.  Mark has done a regular round and last year completed a Winter Round albeit in 24hrs and 20 minutes.   This was his final attempt to get round in a sub 24 hour time before life changes forever on the arrival of his first child.   You can read FSS's account and Mark's write up respectively.  EtU asked what constitutes a winter round and apparently it is 14 days either side of the shortest day of the year.

Having been up most of the night FSS was still keen to accompany me on the South Lancs Christmas event, which he did.  Mark Sammon also had a run round having been orienteering the day before.  A great route from Wigan amateur rugby union club, along the canal to Arley Golf Club.  From there a good route crossing the river Douglas and around Worthington Lakes before heading across the fields to Blackrod.  Footpaths eventually lead back to Haigh Hall and back to the rugby club.  All the better for the semi-frozen conditions underfoot.  Total miles 12.05 with 1275ft climbed in 2hrs 11mins.

Hoping to do the Fairfield Horseshoe Saturday, provided roads clear enough to get to Ambleside.


3 brothers swift and a tooth fairy

ps my thurs utup could be very brief depending on when we get the snow

This Week

Thursday 16th ~ UTUP
Saturday 18th ~ UTUP

Monday, December 13, 2010

The squad run

Saturday's outing was a great contrast to the previous week, all but traces of the thick snow blanket having gone to leave a few treacherous patches of ice which on at least one occasion had the Tooth Fairy dancing more like the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The squad of TF, NLN, T'Y, EtU, and myself followed much the same course out as last week, up through the Chinese Garden, Two Lads, Quarries, Right of Way Stone, all reached appreciably faster than last week, and on the way we met EYJ by prior arrangement. Coal Pit Lane took us up to the Mast and then down the diagonal to Georges Lane.

By this time T'Y had left us to return to the Lower Barn and EYJ had turned for home. From Georges Lane EtU and TF followed the Winter Hill route to Ammunition Corner while NLN and I took the easier, if slower, route down the Sheep's Back. From there we cut across to Lead Mine Valley with NLN and EtU opting to cross the fields while once again I took the easier track with TF who left at the bridge to return solo to the Lower Barn.

Minutes later NLN and EtU arrived and we all agreed that time was running out and followed TF back to the cars.

With the second detour NLN clocked 12.5 miles compared to 12.11 on my Garmin which recorded a total time of 2hrs 51mins 51secs at 14mins 12secs per mile with a total climb of 2146ft.

All this was a good prelude to the Longridge Christmas pudding race where TF gave me a much harder race than I had wanted. Our exploits are well chronicled elsewhere, suffice to say that in order to catch TF (who had pulled well away from me on the earlier slippery ascent) I had to complete the sixth mile in 6mins 54secs with seventh in 7mins 1 sec to lead by a very narrow margin. It can only be a matter of time before she show us all the way home on the roads.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Longridge Seven

The day was fine and bright, but the early morning frost meant that the organisers found it necessary to delay the start until the sun and additional gritting made the course safer. Initially announced as 30 minutes, the delay was subsequently reduced to just 15 minutes.

Despite these measures, the first half of this seven mile road race sported many icy patches, such that in places runners resorted to using the rough grass verges, rather than the tarmac.

TF had placed herself further forward at the start than the three Swift brothers, setting herself up as both a target and a pacemaker for the rest of us. YJ passed me early on in determined pursuit, but I soon realised that the gap between me and the lady in red was not going to reduce, and I saw it (not too) gradually extend until she was lost to view. Jan Atkins also passed me, and she too opened a significant gap.

The course undulates for the first three miles, but a significant amount of net height is gained. The fourth mile includes a fairly stiff climb, with the highest point reached a little way into the fifth mile. Thereafter, the course is predominantly downhill, giving runners the chance to improve their overall average pace.

At the finish I was met by YJ and TF, both clutching their Christmas puddings, having finished in that order, YJ having finally caught the lady at about the six mile mark, managing to open a gap of only 8 seconds before the finish.

The race was won by Alasdair Russell of Kendal in 38:37, Lucie Custance of Clapham Chasers was first lady in 45:17. YJ, 137th in 58:26 had to make do with 2nd V70 out of 9. TF was 141st in 58:34, 5th LV40 out of 11. I clocked 65:35, 9th V60 out of 11 and BLB (Big Little Brother) Bob recorded 68:27,  215th out of 245 finishers.

TF's pace was 8:22 per mile; not quite the sub 8 she was looking for, but taking account of the hills, the ice and the longer distance than the 10k she is targetting, I'm sure it will convert to a sub 50 minute 10k sometime soon. 

And if you're interested, no, it wasn't a good idea to make a large hole in a litre bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label, in the wee small hours of race day, in the company of a guy whose early athletic achievements include an outright win in the Horwich Beer Race.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hoping for UTUP tomorrow

It will be my first run for nearly three weeks but as no Calderdale and no XC, will try to get up and go. Can't make solstice due to prior engagement (parteeeeeeee!)

I shall be UTUPing tomorrow and will be at the Cherry Tree tomorrow night.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Livin’ up to it’s Name

Sitting in my car on Saturday morning, the Usual Time came and went and I considered returning home for a run through the woods and over the golf course to Haigh Hall.  The rain was persistent and the prospect of a solo run in thick clag over a very white Winter Hill didn’t seem that inviting.  However just as I was about to leave two cars arrived simultaneously which were recognisable as YJ’s and EYJ’s,  and from another car which I hadn’t recognised TA appeared.  A few minutes later and EtU joined us.  The roads were more treacherous  than the hills and some of our gang had considerable difficulty in reaching the start.

Route choices considered, we set off for……  the Trespass stone and here it is in all its glory

snowy WH (2 of 5)

With not much height gained the rain turned to snow giving spectacular winter views from the Trespass Stone above, with a little embelishment by EYJ!

snowy WH (5 of 5)

From the Stone looking over the valley with an hint of an inversion, across to Burnt Edge

snowy WH (1 of 5)Gilligant’s Farm

snowy WH (3 of 5)

and above and below couple of snaps from the stone

snowy WH (4 of 5)

It wasn’t a day for hanging about and so no further piccies taken.  Our route took us from the Lower Barn, through the gardens and along our usual diagonal route to Two Lads, above the quarry to Burnt Edge and out to the Trespass Stone.  We were following a lone set of fellshoes which I suspected were those of FSS (which was correct).  From TS up past the shooting hut to WH trigpoint and then down to cross the track down to Lower Houses and back to LB.  FSS caught us as we ran down from the trigpoint and you can see more piccies here of places you’ll recognise.  Great morning out.

All in all we covered 9 miles, but fairly hard and slow going in the conditions with height gained just over 1500ft.  Looking forward to more this Sat UTUP, followed by evening at the Cherry Tree.  Thanks to EtU for arrangements.


Winter Solstice Do

Just a reminder that the Cherry Tree at Blackrod is expecting us on the evening of Saturday 11th December.

This Week

Thursday ~ UTUP
Saturday a.m ~ UTUP
Saturday p.m ~ Cherry Tree at Blackrod
Sunday ~ Longridge Christmas Pudding 7

Friday, December 03, 2010

Last Night

Only Botters and me braved the heights of Winter Hill. You know how cold it was at street level; it was bitter on top.

I was planning a brief appearance on Saturday, but as I need to be at Boggart Hole Clough on cross country duties later on and I'm planning on using Public Transport to get there, I'll not manage this week. Should hopefully be ok for next Saturday morning all being well.

Speaking of public transport, so far this week I've been charged varying amounts on the bus home from Bolton. I have 2 options, either bus down Deane Rd (540, quarter past/ quarter to hour) or St Helens Rd (582, on the hour/half past hour), both similar distances and same bus company. Tues it was £1.80, Weds £2.60, Thurs £2.10. I await with interest what tonights charge will be. I should point out that I'm giving the name of bus stop, road junction and a good discription of where the stop is in relation to shops/garages etc!!


Thursday, December 02, 2010

This Week

Planning to UTUP today, Thursday 2nd.  In view of the snow, the mast road to the trig point in studs could be fun.

UTUPing Saturday.

No plan to do the Calderdale Way, t'Y, and thanks, but no thanks for the LDWA do invite on Friday, but I need to keep hungry and thirsty for our works (should that have an apostrophe?) do at the barn on Saturday.

Christmas Do's

Sorry that I've not seen anyone recently, or even posted. Came down with a cold over a week ago and just about clearing up now so I've not run since Monday of last week.
If anyone fancies going to the LDWA Christmas Do tomorrow night, phone or txt me on 07787 948671 as I have a couple of spare tickets. It's the East Lancs do but I'm sure they'll let West Lancs people in!
Is anyone down for a leg of the Calderdale Way Relay (provided the snow clears sufficiently by 12th)? I've offered my services should the vets team become sufficiently depleted to get down to my level.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Fantastic weather forecast saw us heading up to the Lakes to make the most of the conditions – a real bonus to have snow this early in the season.  What a surprise to see the lack of winter in the Wasdale region.  Still sounds like TF and SN witnessed a bit of eye candy in the West Pennines!

 helvellyn (1 of 9)

Just had to stop below Helm Crag above Grasmere to get this wonderful early sunshine on the hills – quite alpine.  Parking at Dunmail we set off up Seat Sandal and were rewarded by stunning views.

helvellyn (2 of 9)

Looking across at Gable and Pillar from the summit of Seat Sandal with Steel Fell in the foreground

helvellyn (3 of 9)

and in the other direction over Dollywagon and Helvellyn

helvellyn (5 of 9)

The summit cairn on Seat Sandal again looking at Gable (centre) with Steel Fell again in the mid-ground

helvellyn (6 of 9)

Grisedale Tarn, with Fairfield just catching the cloud and St Sunday Crag beyond

helvellyn (7 of 9)

Me, climbing up to the main path to Dollywagon with Seat Sandal behindhelvellyn (9 of 9)

Looking up at Nethermost Pike

helvellyn (8 of 9)

A break through the cloud revealing Thirlmere in the distance from the summit of Nethermost Pike

Whilst on the ridge we spotted two skiers in the distance.  Since found out it was Ros Murray and friend.  Strange, as we saw Ros last year on Christmas day at the trigpoint on Winter Hill – and yes she was on skies then.

Hoping for more of the same this weekend – fantastic for Novemeber


Monday, November 29, 2010

Autumn Break at Santon

A bracing few days up in Jennings country.

Up on the Screes on Friday morning in very cold conditions. My slowest ever time for this round ~ 3:57 compared with a best of 3:11 in 2006 when I was dragged around by the brother-in-law.

Gable and Scafell with their heads in the clouds, Lingmell just about clear, Scafell Pike mostly obscured by cloud and Scafell; from Illgill Head.

Then on Sunday, proof that curlews really do take their winter breaks on the coast.

This was at Saltcoats, just across the Mite estuary from Ravenglass; spotted by the OSH. One of ours? More likely one of Joss's.
Saturday Dec 4th

A disappointing run at Sefton Park mid Lancs cross country fixture in arctic conditions had me 5 mins slower than last year which is about where I have been for the last few weeks.

I will be out UTUPing on Saturday but may drop the solo midweek run for safety reasons if the weather doesn't warm up. I don't fancy being stuck on Spittlers Edge in sub zero conditions with a twisted ankle, or whatever, waiting for the rescue squad!
Winter Hill Run Sat 27th Nov

Just me and SN for this one. I'd left the car at the car park near R&B School given the icy conditions and run to the lower barn. SN was there waiting for me and was happy with an 11:00am finish so we set off, heading for the track to the Pidgeon Tower as the initial starting point for our run. At the top barn we came across a bunch of about 20 fine looking specimens (missed a treat NLN) just setting off on their run. We both made the assumption that the (rugby) match had been cancelled due to a frozen pitch.

You'll all be proud of me and SN as we beat them to them Pidgeon Tower, us two emerging from the north, them from the south. I think our superior local knowledge won the day. We waved them off from the top of the Pike and headed our separate ways. So off we went to 2 Lads, took a bit of a short cut across country to the path down to the shooting hut (higher up to avoid wet feet). On up to Burnt Edge and back to 2 Lads via the top of the Quarries. We avoided a second visit to the Pike and instead turned downhill to the school, where we parted company to return to our respective cars. About 10 miles for us both if you include the sections we did on our own.

I completed Saturday's running with a 30 min orienteering event in Leverhulme Park. Finished 2nd, although it was a low turn out, but beat a couple notable faster runners on their first orienteering event. i wonder how long it'll take them to get the hang of it. If you wish to know who they were have a look here

An early start on Sunday saw me line up for the Women's 5.25m race round Swinton. This is one lap of the 2 lap course that EtU ran as the Swinton 10m in September. Bitterly cold, took 2 miles for my hands to warm up. Pleased to report that I managed my first sub 8min/m for a 5m race, 41:46.

Could be a minor hiccup in the training this week with the wintry conditions forecast, but I suppose that's why they invented gyms and treadmills.


Friday, November 26, 2010


Chance of a run with FSS from Clough Head and over the Dodds - I'll probably resist Fairfield to allow us both to finish together.   Just too good an opportunity to miss - perfect conditions forecast for the Lakes tomorrow.  Winter Hill will just have to wait for a grey day - of which there will be plenty over the Winter I'm sure.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Amble

I think you're right there JtE. Turn left onto the track that heads towards Catherine's edge and then on to Slipper Lowe, instead of crossing straight over the track and heading into the tussocky bit which the long course does.

T'Ys your man, because I remember him saying he did the short course one year. Unfortunately you're only allowed to walk this one, no runners on the short course.

The Hebden

I've entered this LDWA event on 22nd Jan. Lovely route from Hebden Bridge. Doing the long course this year. Food on route is absolutely fabulous. Details here . A 22 mile route and a 14 mile route, runners allowed on both.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Amble

I am trying to determine the route of the 16 mile Amble. The LDWA website describes the 24 mile route but not the 16. I imagine that the 24 mile route is taken as a basis with a shortcut perhaps linking checkpoint GR681159, or the tall marker post 235 a bit beyond, to Slipper Lowe via Catherine Edge. Can anyone enlighten me please?

Next year’s Amble is on Saturday the 12th. February.

Top ToPing

EtU's ToP results posting has sorted me out. I was a bit peeved at missing this year's race but seeing the results I was better out of it, otherwise I'd have been shown to be an imposter. The V70 winner's time was remarkable. Last year I didn't get announced at the presentation. Now I can see why. Kieran obviously knew what was coming. Well done to our new ToP stars. Also to TF who continues to improve, though judging by one of her recent posts she has probably not "figured" it out yet.

EtU has a strong case for painting me as a Lowry but I have to brush it aside. The trouble with Lowry as far as I'm concerned is that he had a tendency to flesh out his characters too much. For authentic Matchstick man see photo below.

Beyond Lowry

I'm not sure if EtU is implying that like Salford folk I can't read or write, but it does strike close to home. I've had close encounters with these subjects but not really had much contact with them. The proof is in front of you, unless your eyes are not in the standard location.

I'm back running now after a couple of months off with unhappy back, received as a result of a failed attempt at flying. I had a slight set-back on my second outing when I attempted to assault a large and formidable step with my knee. In the face of this unprovoked and vicious attack the step remained unmoved, which is more than can be said for my patella. Next time I'll use my head. Similar density. Anyway since then I've been running for a couple of weeks(not continuously), which for me, these days, represents a sustained spell. My objectives are no longer to increase the speed and length of my runs, rather the duration between injuries. I have the somewhat ludicrous ambition of seeing the year out without further mishap. One can only dream. And One does!

I have not yet taken to the hills but when I do, who knows, our paths may yet cross. Just as long as our eyes dont. See you on the 11th. You can't say thats not fair warning.

Monday, November 22, 2010

This Week

No UTUPs for me this week, travelling up to Santon Thursday 25th, back on Monday ~ will we see snow?
Re : ToP Results

It's curious that the early start didn't just attract the slower runner. The first 'early bird' back across the line was only a couple of minutes behind the race winner! I wonder if the intention was to try to be back before the winner? No wonder they had bother with the results!

Rossendale XC

Well that was hard, forgot how tough running on flat mud is when you've got short legs, and it was 'quality' mud. Have a look at some photos here Gained a few places on the steep hill at the back end of the course, but lost 'em all on the flat run in to the finish. 2 mins quicker than 2006 so can't be too bad. Roll on Witton Park on the 18th December.


I'll be out for a run on Saturday this week. I'll need to be back at the car for about 11am as I want to have a go at the orienteering event that SELOC are putting on in Leverhulme Park. It'll cater for all abilities if any one else fancies having a go.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tour Results

Guess the complication of collating in the early starters delayed the publication of the Tour of Pendle results, but they are now available on the Clayton website. James Logue, formerly of Horwich, and now with Calder VFR, won in 2:27 and Lynne Clough of Chorley H was first lady in 3:07.

Kieran Carr, the organiser, and first V65 in 3:20, declared the run of the day being that of Malcom Coles of Valley Striders, first V70 in 3:38!

All our squad were behind that man, EYJ in an excellent 4:01, TIM/NR 4:19, yours truly 4:59 and YJ 5:09.

It had been an interesting race, with a disapearing marshall, fairly grim weather, and the added excitement of seeing the later runners stream past in ever increasing numbers, especially between checkpoints 3 and 4. It'll be interesting to see whether Kieran repeats the arrangment next year, and whether any other race organisers adopt this approach.

My own race involved passing and being passed by Bowland (Oil Rig) Wayne several times, before being outsprinted and finishing just three seconds behind him.
And then there were two....

The Saturday squad was down to EtU and myself for the 20th and so we headed for the familiar territory of Healey Nab, White Coppice, Brinscal triangle, Great Hill, Spittlers Edge, Hordern Stoops, Ammunition Corner and back to the Lower Barn.

We gave everyone nearly 10 minutes before setting off to enjoy the unbroken sunshine at a steady pace which saw us back at the cars in 3hr 9min 6secs, having covered 13.29 miles at a pace of 14min 14secs per miles. Total climb was 1941 feet.

It was hardly the best preparation for Sunday's Preston 10 mile road race which also enjoyed unbroken sunshine. What I have always considered to be a flat course did have 670 ft of climb. For the first time there was a category for O70 in which I was beaten by about two minutes, which was only to be expected in view of the preparation but was very useful as a fast training run. I finished in just over 80 minutes giving a pace of about 8 minute miles which was the object of the exercise.

I won't be out next Saturday as I will be heading for the cross country at Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Instead I plan to have a run from the Lower Barn on Wednesday if anyone is interested.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Plans for 2011

Thanks TF, for the warnings on fell race entries. I will have to make some quick decisions such as whether I can get round to Mam Nick before the cutoff time and whether the Duddon race will be too soon after my Pennine Way run.

I probably won't run the Three Peaks, not having finished in recent outings, and as there is a date clash with the Barbondale Round it would make sense to be sure of 24 miles in the LDWA event rather than get timed out on the Three Peaks and miss out on a long run.

I shall be UTUPing tomorrow, Saturday 20th, but on the performance of last Saturday, and not wanting to hold up you faster guys, I may have to form a slow squad.
Entries for Long Races

The entries for Edale Skyline (March 27th 2011) opened yesterday (mine's in the post already!). This year's race was full by January and there's no waiting list or substitutions allowed. Entry form can be downloaded from the Dark Peak website or if this works try this . Need to provide relevant experience.

The entries for Three Peaks (April 30th 2011) open on 10th January 2011. This is an online entry and you need to provide evidence of at least 2 AL's or 2 AM's or a road marathon with a time under 3:30 !!

The entries for Duddon (June 4th 2011) open on the 1st March 2011, again from a form downloaded from the race website. This race is a long counter in the English Championship so will likely to be over- subscribed and there is a race limit of 500. I'll post a reminder nearer the time.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

More from Darwen

We have received the following contribution:-

"Every morning as I make the first cuppa of the day my eyes are transfixed by the view of our beloved Daren Tower across the valley. On Friday 12th November I made the tea as usual. I took in the Tower after the GALES (80mph) of the previous night BUT it was only the visit of the farrier at 11:00 a.m that prompted me to exclaim that someone had stolen the glass & lead dome!!  It was Mother Nature that had taken the top of our Rocket and placed it just by the side of the Tower. By midday a tractor & trailer had arrived to move it to safer pastures. The whole of Tockholes and Darwen waits with bated breath for the restoration of our beloved landmark astride the moors...a target for trekkers from afar and for runners who dare tackle the Tower of Terror!! Let it be soon returning."

Our contributor lives under the very shadow of the ToT (nice how he's got into the vernacular) and rides under the name of "The Lawman".

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 18th and Saturday 20th.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Solstice "Do"

Unless anyone protests very loudly in the meantime, I'll book us into the the TaT (more recently The Cherry Tree at Blackrod) for the evening of Saturday 11th December when I stroll down for my aperitif this Thursday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thought the squad might be interested in this example of what Southern off-road runners wear as a fashionable cagoule on a Saturday morning, modelled by Jane who joined Sally, Eden and myself for a recent outing on the South Downs.
Mist over Pendle

Drawing a veil over my performance at Pendle (32 minutes slower than last year and second from the last) congratulations are due to the other members of the squad who performed well (exceedingly so) in rather mixed and at times cold conditions.

EtU caught me on the last climb and was going strongly enough to disappear into the distance despite a minor diversion before the last checkpoint. The others had gone flying past much earlier, despite their later start. Well done.

Christmas Solstice Do

Saturday the11th December is ok to me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We Have a New Star...

...but no details until the results are published; for now, just enjoy the pics and the anticipation...

The Start

The middle

and not too far from the finish.

Good to hear that TF is making serious progress, but a pity to hear that all this cruising has resulted in NLN acquiring an injury; perhaps a race or two might toughen you up.

Christmas Do

I now hear that Friday 10th Dec is a "party night" at the Cherry tree, shall I book, or might a more sedate Saturday night be preferable?

Need to act soon whilst there are still places.

..and speaking of Salford folk not being able to read or write, it all makes sense now, Matt isn't a real person at all, he's a Lowry.
Dunnerdale Fell Race

After last weeks run I wasn't holding out much hope of beating my previous best of 70 mins on this race in 2006. Dunnerdale was my first Lakeland Fell Race (that I finished) way back in 2005, so it holds a special memory. It was also the race that set me on my quest to become a better map reader and navigator. So an absence of four years, meant it was long overdue for a return visit.

With half the assembled field sheltering against the pub wall from the hailstones, it meant I got off to a bit of a 'flyer' at the start, so much so that I still had Wendy D in sight before we stepped off the tarmac. Views etc are a given, but I thought I'd give the non-racing wfdbwgua members a bit of a flavour of the 'friendly' banter that is part and parcel of a fell race

On the climb up The Knott
'Are those shorts from the 70's'
'Come on Dave, stop slowing everyone up', reply 'I waiting for all the oldies to come past'
Ambleside runner to Pennine support crew after hearing 'Come on Pennine' ' How about come on Ambleside, or is that too hard to read'

(The quick-witted will note that my club name (unlike some) is not written on my vest. Two reasons - 1) we're so famous and 2) can't read/write in Salford only paint pictures!)

On the steep climb up to Stickle Pike
Fellrunner chat-up line!
Male runner to female runner 'Hold my hand and you can pull me up the hill'
It didn't work!

Great Stickle
Fell runner chat up line! 'Show us your chest'

Result for the marshal - number under jacket!

Must have been a bit oxygen starved when I crossed the finish line as my initial sums had my race time as 75mins (on a par with the previous week). However as I watched the following runners cross the line it began to dawn on me that I had some notable people behind me. Walking back to the car I began to realise that they can't all have been having a bad day, so revisited the sums. Start time 12.02pm, finish time 12.07pm - what a 'dopey mare' it was 65 mins not 75mins. Raced back to Village Hall to see it in 'black&white', there it was 65.43

Copeland Chase

A 3hr run on the medium length course (15k straight line dist) with map and compass round the fells from Dockray. Despite waterproof socks it was a bit chilly for the tootsies with a bit of white stuff lying on higher ground, splendid views when I remembered to look up from the map! No results as yet.


Winter Hill Saturday

Now as you know, I generally don’t do enough training to get injured.  So imagine my disappointment, when having done even less that usual over a hectic social season, to find that I seem to have sustained a pulled adductor!   Don’t know how, but it sure is giving me some gyp when I try to run.  This said, plans for a long outing with FSS on Saturday came to naught and I found myself shuffling slowly up to Two Lads, Winter Hill and even more slowly jogging the same way down.  All told, a mere 7.8 measly miles with not an awful lot of climbing, but leg didn’t feel any worse at the end.   Kendal Mountain Film Festival luckily next weekend so no pressure to run.  I can barely remember how to do so!

However, it was a lovely morning and gave me the opportunity to stop and admire the autumn colourscapes and take a few snaps.    The storms and heavy rain produced some dramatic water features with the ground being completely saturated, but hey I probably don’t need to tell you guys that!

  mallorca 10 (2 of 9)

Just below the Pike

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This was enough to get me back up to the Pike

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Closer, but will it still be there when I arrive?

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Back through the Chinese Gardens to see some of Lord Leverhulme’s water features at their best

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Mere shadows of what they would have looked like before the vegetation took over

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Lots of fallen branches along the way

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But lovely autumn colours with the sun on the ferns looking particularly fetching having been washed clean by the rainwater

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FSS took a run out to see Thursday’s storm damage inflicted the ToT and you can see some of his pics here, along with a video capturing the cascade in full flow.  Not something we see very often, even in winter.

Look forward to reading about all your exploits.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Top Blown off Tower of Terrors

Looks like EtU's perceptions of the weather on Thursday were right.  Our favourite spot has had it hat knocked off!!    Read all about it


Christmas Do

Yes, I’m ok for the 10th. I good date not too near Christmas.

Christmas Do

Friday 10th December at the Cherry Tree for the Christmas meal?

Thursday UTUPs...

...don't usually warrant a special mention, but tonight's did. It was special for two reasons.

First, I believe that tonight was SN's first Thursday night appearance, good to have you aboard.

Second, it was probably the wildest night that I had ever experienced on top of Winter Hill. The wind was savage. It never actually blew either of us over, but it did seriously impact on any attempt to run in a straight line. We ran to the very end of the tarmac on the mast road, and then turned and visited the trig point, before returning to slightly (only slightly) calmer conditions down in the town.

Wild and exhilarating!

Definitely a night to remember.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Just to wish everyone good luck on Saturday at the ToP and hope the weather is fine. Wish I was joining you.

Belated congratulatiions to YJ on his Snowdonia achievement. The preamble about number 9 was never going to fool anyone YJ. We knew from the start there was only one winner.

Encouraging also to see TF continue her deserved improvement.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Spin Class

This is an indoor group cycling class using a sationary bike like this.

The bike has a lever to adjust the tension of the pedals but no brake. It will normally have a small display panel which tells you how far you've pedalled, how many calories burned, what RPM you're doing and what 'gear' (tension on pedals) you're in. Most have clips to keep your feet in place when going really fast.

The difference to a normal exercise bike is that they are more mobile and can be moved in and out of the exercise studio, or more importantly moved into positition under the AC vent if you get to the class early enough. The class instructor shouts (over load music) the 'gear' and 'rpm' you need to be going at. Most classes last for 45mins - 1hr.

In affect this is my winter training for summer cycling. I'm not very good at the very fast stuff, but definitely feeling the benefits of the resistance work when you stand up on pedals, hence the reason why I feel it helps my hill climbing. I'm using it as an adjunct to my running sessions. So Monday evenings now involve 3m run (with 3 x 1K reps) to warm up, 45 min spin class, followed by 1hr circuit training. Did the circuit training for the first time last night and really enjoyed it (probably 'cos I was on the easy options when instructor wasn't looking!), so will be back for more. I also do another spin class on Friday evening which is a 'rest' day from running along with some weights in the gym.



Good luck to our racing fraternity on the fells and x-c.  I will be travelling further afield for a little outing on Saturday and so will not be UTUP-ing


Monday, November 08, 2010

Response to this coming week

With a bit of luck I shall be down at the track tomorrow.
Saturday is cross-country so I expect to be at Witton Park in the afternoon rather than a second consecutive UTUP.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Coming Week

Tuesday 9th ~ track

Thursday 11th ~ UTUP (Horwich Stocks 6:30 p.m)

Saturday 13th ~ Tour of Pendle

Note that NLN is planning to turn out on Saturday. With at least three regulars over at Barley, and another at Dunnerdale, Saturday could be a bit lean.  Can someone let her know whether she'll have company, or will she be unlucky?

What's a spin class?
Shepherds Skyline (6m/1150) Saturday 6th Nov 2010

Well an improvement on last years' time but not as much as I'd hoped, disappointingly finished with more in front and less behind. Climbing well (spin classes definitely doing the job) but losing places on the flat stuff. Downhills, well they're just ... downhill.

Results and photos here (TF on p8 & p20).

As for further training requirements, draw the line at one track session a week, so have found the XC spikes and will be making an (un)welcome return to flat mud (at least until xmas) so that I can chase the elusive sub - 50 min 10k. I'd already planned a trip to the lakes next weekend for Dunnerdale on Saturday and Copeland Chase on Sunday, so guest appearance in the Red Rose League the week after, can't wait!!


Saturday Morning

Left my Brownie at home in the expectation that we would have a more experienced cameraman with us, but he failed to show, so no photos from the fell. I had taken one from home in the rearly morning sun, but it didn't turn out as well as expected. However, as I flicked through my collection I came across this one which I hope you don't mind me sharing with you.

It's a comma, taken this summer on my developing Buddleia hedge. Quite a fine little chap(ess?) I thought.

Enough of that. EYJ and I met at the Top Barn soon after the appointed hour and set off to do the climbs. We were blessed with a fine, if chilly, morning and on the descent from Two Lads towards Pike Cottage we met t'Y who was chatting up a novice lady runner, trying to impress her with his tales of derring do. We advised her to ignore him and the three of us continued on to the Pike, Noon Hill and thence via George's Lane to the trig point.

Not wanting to interfere with my recovery between Snowdonia and the Tour of Pendle, I suggested that we just do the Pike again before calling it a day. We climbed the Pike in pursuit mode with me having a sustantial start, followed by t'Y then EYJ. The later starters had been too generous with their suggested handicaps and we topped out in our starting order.

On the top we met Tony V and chatted for a while before doing one final short effort on the Pike steps, back up to the top. When we arrived back at the Barn EYJ and I had been on our feet for 2 hours 59, t'Y presumably a little less. It must be acknowledged that much of this time had been spent chatting, admiring the view and generally dawdling. Total distance, nine and a bit miles, height climbed not known ~ quite a lot?

A good morning out.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Well done YJ. The training paid off.

Better Conditions on Winter Hill...

...than in Snowdonia.  Pictorial evidence of TF's, EYJ's and TIM's Winter Hill recce on Saturday 30th:-

Think you can just see Black Coombe on this one.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Snowdonia 2011

Continuing on from YJ's write-up on the Swift Family Runningson's exploits in Wales and examining the burden now placed upon me, knocking a few minutes off my 4:43 to get below the rather poor standard of this year's MV65 winner should be easily do-able. However, to have any credibility at all, I'd also need to beat the MV70 winner, a far more formidable task! But I'll give it a go, game on.

To further this aim, more road racing is called for. SN has already expressed an interest in a bit of this, and now we have the fleet footed TF to chase, there's scope for a bit of internal competition ~ anyone fancy the Longridge 7 on Sunday 12th December? All finishers get a Christmas pud ~ but then, weight loss is a part of my improvement programme, ho hum.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Soller 2010

 mallorca 10 (1 of 25)

Just arrived, lunch in Andratx in the south of the island and then a gentle drive up the coast to Soller

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Our digs the Hotel Eden

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Sunset from the balcony above and belowmallorca 10 (3 of 25)

Historic public washing facilities at Biniraix

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yeah this was steeper than it looks

mallorca 10 (6 of 25)

but worth it for the view down to the port from the ridge

mallorca 10 (7 of 25)

In the distance the highest peak – Puig Major, off limits due to the military installation, and a close up, below showing the military road to the summitmallorca 10 (8 of 25) mallorca 10 (9 of 25)

Lots of these chaps about

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Lots of scrambling opportunities

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Tuesday was a day of spectacular storms – more dramatic photos here

mallorca 10 (13 of 25)

The gorge of the Torrent de Pareis which leads to Sa Colabra.   A special place, below and on FSS’s blog (earlier link)mallorca 10 (14 of 25) mallorca 10 (15 of 25) mallorca 10 (16 of 25)

Above – road down to Sa Colabra

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The signature trams of Soller and below – doing what come’s naturally, shopping

mallorca 10 (18 of 25) mallorca 10 (19 of 25) mallorca 10 (20 of 25) mallorca 10 (21 of 25)Summit of Al Fabia  mallorca 10 (23 of 25)

Looking up at the Al Fabia ridge where we’d been earlier in the day from the bar at the harbour.

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Not alone in summiting the island’s second highest peak, Masanalla, with the big one in the distance behind.

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Final day, final summit for a stroll up to the mirador at Bunyola before a rather nice lunch in this little market town before dropping the car off at the airport.  Well back to reality this week with a couple of runs anticipated with Brucie before leading a Rucksack club walk on Saturday.

Well done the Swift family Snowdonians and TF on her PB 10K at the weekend.