Saturday, February 27, 2010

SN Update

Thanks SN for your recent health update. You are wise in leaving running alone for the time being. Even today there was a considerable amount of snow creating the potential to slip and fall. It’s not worth taking the risk at the moment and, after all, Spring is on the way!

Squirrel Nutkin



Every five years I get a rush of blood to the head that tells me the time is right to try and score some points in the English fell championship and this was my motivation for entering the Noonstone Fell Race on Saturday, never before having achieved any score.

A look at the results will show that while I may have registered points for the first time it was foolish to think that I might be competitive. I was fifth out of six over 70s and half an hour behind the leader.

That leaves me with a dilemma - whether to try again at Coniston on May 1st or whether to say "I know my place" and give up trying, though I do rather fancy having a go at Coniston.

One thing is clear, the sort of training we do on a Saturday morning is no preparation for a race like Noonstone where there are three major climbs and a long trek of about three miles across boggy heather. The nearest we come to these quagmire conditions is the run from the mast road across to the shooting hut.

Conditions for the race were cold but little wind and on the highest ground visibility was much reduced and about this time, roughly half way round the nine mile route, snow set in and began to whiten the route trampled by the faster runners. Across this desolate tract of moorland I came upon a runner trapped up to his thighs in deep bog. Two other runners were unsuccessful in extricating him as I arrived and with my extra assistance we managed to pull him free. What would have happened if he had this experience while on a solo training run or had inadvertently strayed from the route? I doesn't bear thinking about.

There was a fair amount of snow lying from previous falls and at the highest point of the route permafrost was about six inches below the surface. All in all it was not an easy surface to run on and the final steep descent began with a large snow patch that was almost impossible to keep upright on. I for one went down but did not leave the longest of slide marks.

Three and a Dog

Today’s team was NicO, NLN, Rafe and me. NicO was delivered to the start by David because of transport problems.

The route was devised bearing in mind that NLN wanted to be home by about 12.30 and that NicO and Rafe would leave us at some point and head for home. We started by visiting Healy Nab and then it was White Coppice, the Brinscall triangle, Great Hill and to Hordern Stoops where NicO and Rafe left us. NLN and I continued to Ammunition Corner, the Top Barn and in.

On the track above Drinkwaters a group of runners came in the opposite direction. In the group was Mark Davies and two people who worked with NicO 16 years ago and she had not seen them since. Mark was well and in fine form. At about that time we started to encounter snow underfoot and by the time we reached Great Hill it was at least 10cm deep. These conditions continued over Spitlers where the flags were mainly hidden. Shortly before Hordern Stoops NicO’s feet went through the snow into knee deep mud and she was thoroughly stuck! I dragged her out wondering whether or not I was doing David a favour.

Yet again NLN, bring on the pictures.

13.2 miles, NicO 15.5.

Friday, February 26, 2010

1 x 12

A solo Coope’s Dozen, that is.

The table below shows the current situation in regard to times for solo runs.


Outright:                 Kev Gaskell            2.25

Junior                     Ros. Murray           3.53

Women’s V40         Carolyn Wright        3.33

Men’s V40               Rupert Leggott        2.32

                               Brent Brindle           2.52

Men’s V50               Paul Murray            2.42

Men’s V60               Paul Murray            3.08

                               John Coope             3.58

As you see, there is an opportunity for NLN and NicO to establish Women’s V50 times, for YJ and Matt to establish Men’s V70 times and for me to establish a Men’s V75 time. So far as EtU is concerned, perhaps Paul Murray’s Men’s V60 time might be a big ask but there is a good opportunity to better my time. For T’Y, Paul Murray’s Men’s V50 time might also be a big ask, and for TF and SN, Carolyn Wright’s time might be a bit formidable. However, for all those a bit up against it there is no harm in doing a run anyway.

For anyone who is familiar with the route for the July Group Social Run only, there are routes that are shorter and probably involve less climbing and are therefore potentially quicker.

My thought behind all of this is that there is an opportunity for doing something a bit different at local level on a Saturday, either supporting or recceing.

Any comments?!


Apologies for absence

I won't be UTUPing tomorrow as I will be at the Noonstone fell race, weather permitting.

The following Saturday I shall be out with you all looking for about 20 miles, again weather permitting.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

UTUP Saturday

Look forward to seeing whoever's about


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Up in Santon for a long weekend so not UTUPing this Thursday (25th) or Saturday (27th).


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Injury Update

Just to let you know that I haven't disappeared ( or indeed fallen!) off the face of the earth and the sole reason for not utuping is the ongoing rib injury.
I was told 3-6 weeks before I could run again, but as I approach 6 weeks I can't see the pain vanishing before Saturday.
Nevertheless I have been following everyone else's exploits and achievements with amusement, admiration and of course a touch of envy.
Well done!
Hope to see you all at some point in the future...
A very unfit and feeling fat


NR took these on last Saturday's outing:

Now you see him... you don't!

Not sure just where this is, suggestions on a postcard...

No mistaking "The Wall".  Was the mast crooked, or the photographer?

And if you haven't noticed, look at the colour of that sky!

Monday, February 22, 2010

By Lake Ridge & Wainwright Accommodation

I quite fancy this one but with a start time of 8.30 it would mean a very early start to drive from Horwich. Looking round for accommodation but it seems the local camping barn is fully booked, probably too cold to camp, which leaves hotel/B&B as the only option. any recommendations to get reasonable value out of £40 for a night? Or possibly somewhere within half an hours drive?

Congratulations YJ (2)

Well done YJ. A great run. I was doing that sort of time in my late fifties!

Cogratulations YJ

Good job - hope I can keep up with you on the Hobble!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

On the Prom

Knowing that YJ is not one to blow his own trumpet (actually it's a clarinet that he blows, it's our even older brother who blows a trumpet), I though I'd provide the details of his placing at Blackpool.

There was no MV70 category, but he was first over 65 by a massive 17 minute margin and 342 places.  Finishing 281st out of 881 finishers he beat a David Spicer of Northern Vets into second place in that category.

Well done!
This should make you smile and why my Mum's the best Mum

The usually efficient TF had to ring the parents about an hour ago trying not to sound too panicky and say 'I haven't turned the whole house upside down yet, but I can't find my passport'.

There then followed about ten minutes of careful quizzing from my Dad with 'when did you last have it, what bag, what coat etc' questions all of which I'd checked. Then sounds in the background and my mum had awoken and wanted to know what was up and why the late phone call. So my Dad just summarized 'She can't find her passport'.

All she said was

'Well you had it 2 weeks ago when your Dad asked you to send a copy of it so we could book tickets for the ferry, so it must be in the house somewhere'

One passport located under the lid of the scanner. One very grateful daughter.

Off the pace

The target of sub 1hr 40 mins for the Great North West Half marathon at Blackpool on Sunday was tantalisingly close for most of the time as mile after mile slipped by until the last three miles when the legs cried enough and and pace dropped from around 7.30 per mile to 8.00 per mile.

Even so my finishing time of 1hr 40 mins 36 secs was ample reward for the effort needed to average 7.44 per mile. No results were immediately available and will be published on the internet later in the week.

Conditions early on were slushy and very cold but by the second lap we were running on wet tarmac or concrete.

Knott Haloo

Knott Haloo (1 of 13)

Looks promising, stopping off at Bowness briefly for a photo

Sometimes you just have to go there!  The minute I read the name of this little summit I wanted to be there.  It just sounds perfect and now having been there I can tell you it is.  Of course, some folks won’t need to be told that this little fell is just above Threlkeld and is joined to the main ridge of Blenthathra by a short arĂȘte to the summit of Gategill Fell.  It once boasted it’s own fell race which I believe was won at least once by Horwich’s very own Colin ‘Mad Man’ Jones. 

Knott Haloo (2 of 13)

From St John’s in the Vale - Knott Haloo is in the centre, the triangular buttress with the summit shown in relief about the beginning of the snowline on the Blencathra massif

Conditions were perfect with not a cloud in the sky, for FSS and me the first climb from the car, parked at Threlkeld, took us directly up to the summit of Knott Haloo.  Hard to believe that anyone could run on such a gradient and I’m sure most of them didn’t.  But what a descent , nerves of steel and knees of iron would be required.  

Knott Haloo (4 of 13)

Approaching the summit of Knott Haloo

Knott Haloo (3 of 13)

FSS on the Knott with Blencathra beyond

Knott Haloo (5 of 13)

Beyond Knott Haloo – doesn’t look too bad at this stage!

Knott Haloo (7 of 13)

We came round this bit!

Knott Haloo (8 of 13)

Beginning to get a bit concerned!

Knott Haloo (9 of 13)

Not a problem!

I can tell you it was a bit of a shock to the calves to be back on the high fells after some considerable absence.  I was just lovin’ it until the short ridge onto Blencathra and then it became a bit of an ordeal for me, even with ice axes and FSS cutting steps and breaking through the cornice onto the main ridge of Blencathra’s mighty summit, I was still a bit of a wreck – no head for exposure I’m afraid. 

Knott Haloo (10 of 13)

Safe at last!  A welcome respite and a bar on Blencathra

Knott Haloo (11 of 13)

Looking back at our route from the safety of  the Blencathra Ridge  

Knott Haloo (6 of 13)

….and across to Hall Fell Summit

Anyway that out of the way, the day continued in splendid form with a fantastic run down to the ‘summit’ of Mungrisedale Common.   We first visited this spot some ten years ago when we were walking the Wainrights, no thoughts of running at that time.  Today there’s a fine cairn, but back then the ‘summit’ was marked by a single flat stone.

Our route took us southerly down to the Glenderaterra Beck and sharply up over Jenkin Hill before taking the main track up to the summit of Skiddaw.  Lots of ice and snow tempted us to don Kahtoolahs (FSS) and my newly (that morning in Ambleside, and highly commended) acquired ‘Pavement Crampons’.  These proved fantastic for running in the conditions, fitted in seconds and extremely lightweight to carry.  (Also be good for the car park at work.) 

Pavement Crampons


In the shadow of Little and Lower Man the temperature dropped considerably and the clouds rolled in with sunshine streaming through onto Derwentwater, giving spectacular views from the summit.  More layers gained before a thrilling descent down the tourist track pasing the car park below Latrigg before heading easterly to pick up the old railway line back to Threlkeld.  Meeting on our way our friend Tony Bland out for a walk with his two lurchers. 

Knott Haloo (13 of 13)             Knott Haloo (12 of 13)

Dramatic weather above a semi-frozen Derwentwater

Fantastic day on the fells amounting to 14.3m and 4,775ft of climbing.  Just out of interest the Garmin recorded 4.679ft climbed but the former figure is measured from the map this morning (thanks FSS).  Just puts paid to the rumour about Garmins overestimating height gained.  Last week’s run of 24.5m ten miles longer than yesterday, only gave 3,629ft of climbing, but the combination of both must be good for the legs, although I’m not sure they would agree today!


By Lake Ridge and Wainright - Sun 11 April 2010

A quick heads up on this superb LDWA event as there’s an entry limit of 200 and it’s already grabbing attention on the FRA forum.  A tough challenge of 23.5 miles with 7,300 foot of ascent to test the training of some of you for your own Lakeland challenges this year, or just have an amazing day out in the best setting in England.  The route takes you over High Spy, Newlands Valley, Hindscarth, Robinson, Buttermere Valley, Haystacks, Honister Hause and Dale Head.  Usual fab support at checkpoints.  Entry form here.

This is our group and this event hasn’t been put on for a few years last time we were persuaded to marshall on it, but really it’s just too good to miss. 

Fantastic conditions in Lakes yesterday, definitely the day to go up – report and piccies to follow.  Sounds like perfect conditions on our local hills as well thanks JtE


Rab Mini-Mountain Marathon - the ongoing saga

Looked out of the window at 6am this morning to find the car snuggled in the now customary white blanket. So that put paid to any attempt I was going to make to get to Macclesfield. I went back to bed to contemplate a plan B and wonder if anyone else would attempt to get there.

The organizers quite 'wisely' (yessssssssssss!) called it off at 7:40am (confirmed with 2 text msg and an email), so all I have to do now is wait and see when it will be re-scheduled.

Plan B - a rerun of the xmas day route but in reverse, just for a bit of variety. Hoping for a few warmer runs in Tenerife this week, if I get there!


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Today the team was TF (for half an hour or so only), T’Y, EtU, NR and me. At my request, thinking about doing the Pike race, we went via the Rivington and Blackrod School to the Pike. It was just as hard as expected perhaps telling me not to do the race. TF left us on the Pike and the rest of us went via Two Lads to Burnt Edge, Smithills Reservoir and “The Wall” to Winter Hill trig point. At this point EtU, who had run from home, wished to return home and NR decided that he would return with him to the Lower Barn. I suggested extending the run, with T’Y, to the bomber memorial area but as he also preferred to finish, we all made off over the wooden bridge adjacent to George’s Lane, down the Sheep’s Back and via the Top Barn to the finish.

The atmospherics were superb throughout with large inversion layers and, new to us all, we twice witnessed a phenomenon in the shape of a rainbow but formed in dense mist against a backdrop of thin mist. There must be a name for this. Anyone know what it is?

10.5 miles (more for EtU).

There will be some pictures.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Last Night

Although the Thursday evening run up to the end of the Winter Hill tarmac, past the trig point, was almost becoming the norm last winter, don't seem to have done it much recently.  So last night Steve, Tilly and I decided to give it a spin. We set off on wet roads in falling sleet, passing "Norman's" assembling hill group at the bottom of Foxholes.

As we climbed, the precipitation gradually hardened until by the first cattle grid it was stinging our faces.  Near the trig point there was a complete, new covering of snow, making the footing slightly awkward, depending on whether there was tarmac, or last month's residual drifts underneath.

By the end of the tarmac road, in virtually arctic (do they say "antarctic" in the Southern Hemishere?) conditions it was difficult to believe the wet scenes we had left down in the town.

Descending back the way we had come needed a little more care than the ascent, but we returned to the cars without incident and deemed it more of an expedition than some of our lower Thursday routes.

Saturday - Again

No sooner had I posted intentions for UTUP-ing than a change of plan emerged. Weather looking much more favourable Sat than Sun and so taking advantage of good conditions in North Lakes, that's where we're heading. Legs in need of climbing miles!




Looking forward to a run out Sat will be at UTUP. Been great reading everyone's perceptions of last weekend here's more if you're interested.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rare turn-up for Saturday UTUP

If all goes to plan, I'll join you UTUP on Saturday (groans all round). Had thought about doing Beacon Bash but would have had to beg the organiser if not full as CD for entries was Monday. As I have musical duties on Saturday night, an early Sunday start might not be a good idea so so hope to be at UTUP.
Apologies to JtE for not awaiting his finish but I had to rush back as the dog had been on his own from 11ish.
Looking forward to a good 16 to 20.

From The Bent One

Physically sometimes, but psychologically never, I hope you agree.

Belatedly, Amble congratulations to FSS on that mind blowing performance, and to T’Y, NicO, NLN and YJ on those very impressive times. By comparison my lowly time was 6.20 but it was a considerable improvement on the last two years. Unfortunately Temporary Scoliosis kicked in again but this time only about two miles from the finish. I must do something more about it. Many thanks to the girls and to YJ for hanging around for me at the finish and for putting up with me in my ridiculously bent condition. It was good to see you all there.

UTUPing Saturday.( I have straightened up).


I can't manage tonight, should be ok for Saturday but keeping a careful eye on the weather.

On Sunday, I get to do(?) the third one of my navigating events (postponned from January). I hope the others have got rear-wheel drive cars too, I'd hate to think I'd lose out on first place in a running event because I've got a car that doesn't go anywhere when it snows!

Well done to all the Amblers; can't believe that EtU still hasn't got the hang of the route for the Winter Hill race. How many times have you done it now?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thursday 18th & Saturday 20th

UTUPing Thursday and Saturday this week.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Amble/Winter Hill Weekend

Ran to Rivington on Saturday morning, but set off later than planned and able only to catch up some of the Amble strollers before hitting the Belmont road, at which point I turned towards Bolton. Back onto the hill just before the quarries to cross Horrocks Moor, climbed to pick up the Dozen route above Winberry Hill then via Smithills Res, Holden's, Burnt Edge, Matchmoor and finally down to Lostock to pick up the car from Hilary's where we had left it after one of her curry nights ~ 14 miles.

Defying my nom-de-plume I got to the barn in good time on Sunday. Had a slow steady race despite some confusion over the route and the cut-off arrangements. Surfaces not to my liking, due to the ground having been glazed in many places by earlier runners. Ran much of it with Tony Alexander, who has turned out with us on the CD on at least one occasion.  Good to see NLN and YJ turning out to spectate/support. 2:58:07 ~ more than double the Hope Brothers' times and yet another PW!

Well done to all our Amblers and in particular to FSS for a fine double outing.
Congratulations to WH team and us Amblers. As usual I suffered from extreme nerves before the event and in the end it was ok, great company, great weather and I finished and didn't get lost. What more could I ask for?

Great photos again, NLN, love the one of Bazza grinning and the one of EtU without shorts, I see he was given some for the later pics.

The dog was a bit miffed he wasn't allowed to participate but is looking forward to the 2xx where he can show he is up to the distance, and also his appreciation of the feeding stations.
R-Ambling on again

For someone who has aspirations to do three ultra runs this year the past week did not bode well for my Amble prospects. A good start to the week was followed by a long drive back from the south coast and a period of jet lag (these Toyotas really fly when the accelerator pedal sticks). By Thursday I had to turn back after running half a mile and Friday was equally disappointing with a very slow four miles.

So arrival at Rivington was tinged with more than a little concern as to whether I would finish. Fortunately as so often happens we have an ability to raise the game when necessary and my performance was a steady run only 10 minutes slower than last year. After early contact with T'Y, Nico and NLN I was left very much on my own until rescuing a runner with a Midlands accent from a wrong turn on Darwen Moor who provided welcome company until he dropped back on the approach to Slipper Lowe.

Well done to the aformention trio who all had good runs and especially to FSS for finishing fourth and JtE who must now surely have laid his Darwen Tower ghost to rest.

The decision not to do the double as FSS did and tackle the Winter Hill race the next day proved wise as following EtU down the diagonal from the trig point I was left woefully behind. Nevertheless the Sunday outing as a spectator was enjoyable if cold, partly in the company of NLN.

The next task is to change the fell legs for road legs in preparation for Sunday's Blackpool half marathon where the target will be to reduce the Amble average pace of over 13 minute miles to between 7.30 and 8 minute miles.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last to finish on Winter Hill

Ed, I see you failed in your battle to be the final finisher on today's Winter Hill and even passed another runner.
Even so I finished much later, 2.40p.m. to be precise when we were finally notified that the runner who had gone AWOL between CP7 and CP8 was located safely tucked in watching the rugby (or whatever) at home. Don't you just love'em!

Looking back at the Amble

Ed, you may wish to merge with comments from NicO, NLN, YJ and JtE as they arrive. (posted it on my blog last night in error).
Got there in good time (by my standards). Got my tallycard, dumped my holdall, tightened my shoelaces and headed outside with the clock showing two minutes to eight. There were still a few in the hall. To my surprise everyone had already been allowed to start. So had to navigate my way through the throngs of walkers for the first half mile or so. Eventually caught up with JtE somewhere near the start of the Chinese Gardens and then YJ, NLN and NicO just before Georges Lane.
With my renowned descending ability (lack of), thought it wise to push on a little towards the mast and NiCo duly passed me on the descent. Thought NLN was also there but apparently not. We regrouped on the road although YJ had yet to arrive.
So the rest of the race was spent running with a couple a foxy ladies who I kept inviting to the restaurants en route but for the some reason they spurned the offers and kept zooming off into the distance after each refreshment point. I kept catching them up, going ahead, only to be overtaken at each refreshment stop. White Coppice seemed to take an age both in the clippering and the refreshments but I think it was wise to take in as much as possible. They seemed to be miles away but eventually caught up with them approaching Anglezarke Reservoir. Suggested we should blast it to get inside 5 hours but they were wise enough to know it wasn't on (I had an extra two minutes to play with). Didn't make it but quite happy with 5:05, especially as I still felt quite tired after my high mileage earlier in the week. With a bit slicker "transitions" at the refreshment points, I might have sneaked it.
No chances of taking any photos but it was a very fine day for the event, although there was one hairy descent between Belmont and Strawbury Duck on which no grip was possible due to the ice.
Big thanks to NicO and NLN for ensuring I didn't blow up - there were points in the first half where I could have pushed on but I know I would have paid for it later.

Anglezarle Amble/Winter Hill FR

AA - done for the year…    Well done Team.  I think given the rather icy conditions everyone was reasonably happy with their times.  Nic’O and I battled it out with T’Yorkshireman ‘til the end when he pipped us at the post by one minute.  I was expecting to get round in about 5.30, so 5.08 was a bit of a bonus.  Interesting to note that FSS was also a little slower than last year but still coming in over an hour ahead of me.

With tired legs, this morning, I travelled over to the Top Barn to spectate at the Winter Hill FR with FSS participating.  Not really dressed for running, YJ dragged me up to the Pike and then on to Winter Hill where we watched the race and I took a few snaps (below).  We then trotted to the Trig point where after I consumed my flask of coffee (YJ declining) we parted company.  YJ traversed down to the stream crossing and I jogged back via 2 Lads, Pike Cottage and then up to the little hillock to see the runners, before dropping off down he track and through the gardens to the finish.  I am now going to lie in front of the TV and watch some serious athletes on ice in Canada!

BTW rumour has it EtU had some interesting lines today.  Look forward to hearing all about it.

Winter Hill Fell Race pics:

 Winter Hill Fell Race (1 of 9)

Great day for it – as long as you’re not racing that is!

Winter Hill Fell Race (2 of 9)

Retiring FRA  President Tony Varley presiding over his final WH FR as organiser – he wants to run it next year, how mad is that?

Winter Hill Fell Race (3 of 9)

Race winner Rob Hope Pudsey, sets new course record

Winter Hill Fell Race (4 of 9)

FSS – on a recovery run after yesterday’s Amble.  Quite pleased with 2.18

Winter Hill Fell Race (5 of 9)

Bazza – ecstatic at the approach to the stile at top of ramp Winter Hill Fell Race (6 of 9)

A late start for EtU?

Winter Hill Fell Race (7 of 9)

Top of Ramp

Winter Hill Fell Race (9 of 9)


Winter Hill Fell Race (8 of 9)

A bit more subdued at the end!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Looking forward to my first full AA

Now in my 20th year of running around these hills, this is my debut for the full Amble. In the past, I've left it too late to enter except last time (2 years ago) when I decided to walk the shorter route and run Winter Hill the following day. I've not run since Tuesday when I did 20 but did walk 12 (some are claiming 14) on the LDWA Fish, Chips and Peas walk on Wednesday. Hopefully I shall be rested and will take up EtU's offer to accompany the slower participants for the first few miles. If I feel like trying to accelerate later, well great, but no great ambition. It's about getting the mileage and ascent this month.
Not sure what the total climb is but if everything goes to plan I shall be significantly ahead of target before the mid-point of the month.
Missed out on the chance to join the Saturday UTUP last weekend. Until late morning I expected to be running in the cross-country at Lilford Park. It was only because I texted TH to offer a lift that I discovered it had been put back until tomorrow, so I shall have to miss my chance to of completing sufficient races in the SELL to be in with a chance of prizes in the O/50. Come to think of it, there is another qualification that I don't meet - not fast enough and never will be! Too many clashes as tomorrow is also the Mid-Lancs League as well as the AA. At least I didn't just watch the rugby but managed to get 11 in the sunshine of last Saturday afternoon.

Good luck to everyone tomorrow on the Anglezarke Amble. If the weather continues in this vein(vane), you'll have a splendid day out. Good luck to EtU and anyone else doing the Winter Hill race. I'm sorry to miss my usual battle with EtU, as whilst I've got the swelling down on my injury it's still sore and not yet right for running. To miss one of the events is bad enough. To miss both is a pain.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Saturday 13th Feb

With a number of the squad participating in the Anglezarke Amble and at least one other resting up for the Winter Hill race on Sunday, it looks like the UTUP will not be populated.

Although not officially "Ambling", I am planning to be at the start at Rivington Village Hall for 8:00 a.m. to accompany the slower participants for the first few miles, before turning back on the approach to the reed beds.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blog Heading Picture

Is it possible to change the blog heading picture from time to time? If so I suggest the last picture (of the pike) that NLN posted on 06.02.10

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sunrise & Sunset

If you want to do your own sums regarding daylight hours, this is a nice simple website that even I can understand ~

Monday, February 08, 2010

Half Trog and Thursday 11th

Half Trog ~ Well done, TF! I see there were two LV40s amongst the DNFs, so you didn't win by default.

Thursday 11th ~ Not able to UTUP this week.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Wadsworth Half Trog Sat 6th Feb

Amazing what a difference 30 miles and the other side of the hill can make. Unfortunately I had no room for my camera (smaller bumbag today), but there wasn't a lot you could see anyway. So no stopping for 'Kodak Moments'.

It's been a long wait to finally do this race. I was thwarted by a bit of snow the previous time I'd entered in 2007 and the race got cancelled. All the snow this year meant I couldn't manage a recce and was therefore relying on my memory and a bit of good luck. This came in the form of the 'fortuitous' weather conditions leading to some interesting route choices by a few runners. You now need to read the following very carefully, even read it a couple of times to make sure you've read it correctly

I finished 3rd Lady and 1st Lady Vet 40!

Ok, 40th out of 46 finishers, five of whom were female but a win's a win. There were 9 DNFs, quite a high percentage for such a small field of runners.

If you're still not certain check out the results at

NLN - if you can suggest a few dates for your guided tour of The Hidden Valley, I'd be interested too


The Hidden Valley

Nic’O and JtE expressed some vague interest in joining me in my recce of a walk that I’ve agreed to lead for the Rucksack Club in November.  If anyone else is keen we can sort out a suitable date for an alternative Saturday run out.  Obviously it will be a slightly longer jaunt than our usual weekly exploits and so will not be of interest to everyone.  The distance is 21 miles starting at the car park on the A671 near Whalley at GR SD 741361. 

It’s a very pleasant route along the ridge, over Clerk Hill, Wiswell Moor, Ratten Clough, Sabden Fold up to Blacko at the head of the Hidden Valley.  Unfortunately the Tower at Blacko (SD 856422) is on private land but it is possible to arrange access for a visit.  At this point we return along the ridge over Rough Lee aiming for the telecommunications mast and passing the delightfully named ‘Noggarth End Road Shop’ which is the former toll house.  We finally drop into Sabden with only the final obstacle of Clerk Hill between us and the car park.

FSS and I did this as a two day walk when we first started our foraging into the great outdoors, we took lodgings at a pleasant hostelry at the valley head and walked back the second day! Since then we’ve led a group of LDWA members and we’ve also run it together, but I’ve never navigated it single handed, so I do need to do this some time before November.

Perhaps those interested could consult their diaries and we could make this a subject for discussion over the next few Saturdays.

Enjoyed the last of our Christmas lunches today at the Eagle and Child, Stavely after a short walk in the morning of about eight miles – very civilised!

Looking forward to Ambling (literally) on Saturday, see you there.


Snowdrop with Dad - Do I look like him?
What? Where?
Proud parents, foster mum, dad and chick.
Foster mum and baby.

As requseted, pics of the latest arrival, born 22.12.09.

Thanks NLN for photos of run - as usual stunning.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Thanks NLN…

for another superb set of pictures. I didn’t know that all of these had been taken but, of this quality, the more the merrier is what I say!

Well here they are JtE

I’m sure we’ll go for weeks and weeks when it won’t be worth getting the camera out of the rucksack, but for now Saturday after Saturday of unbelievably blue skies and sunshine are worth recording.  I think we were all feeling a bit leaden legged this morning but nevertheless a superb morning on the fells and here’s the evidence.


 Amble Recce (1 of 11)

Nic’O, JtE and EtU, about to drop down to the wooden bridge before the climb out to Dangerous/Ammunition Corner – and the bridge, below, complete with EtU.  Some of you will be visiting this as a checkpoint in the Winter Hill Fell Race next Sunday

Amble Recce (2 of 11)

The scene of many RTAs on (the very aptly named) Dangerous Corner

Amble Recce (3 of 11)

..and you can see why below – icy conditions yet again with Nic’O Rafe and JtE

Amble Recce (4 of 11)

Holcombe Tower – we must have a mission over there one Saturday.  View from Catherine’s Edge, with the inversion in the valley

Amble Recce (5 of 11) Amble Recce (6 of 11)

Welcome refreshments at the turn off for the ToT for EtU while JtE stashes his drinks for next week’s Amble

Amble Recce (7 of 11)

Same place as last week but with the eerie finger of cloud coming in across the valley between Catherine’s Edge and Great Hill

Amble Recce (8 of 11)

..and then looking back from Great Hill to the ToT across the inversion above and below

Amble Recce (9 of 11)


-Amble Recce (10 of 11)

Signpost on Great Hill

Amble Recce (11 of 11)

and finally looking across to the Pike from Great Hill



Today’s team was NicO, NLN, EtU and me. At my request we went, first of all, to Darwen Moor via NLN’s route to Spitlers and the Tockholes road. The purpose was to deliver my provisions for next week’s Amble. We then returned to the Tockholes road where EtU left us for home. The rest of us went via Piccadilly to Great Hill and then followed the Amble route in. The purpose was to recce the route just beyond Drinkwaters.

Some fabulous atmospheric inversions on what was a warm sunny morning. Bring on the pictures NLN.

13.75 miles.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bit late this. I'm utup tomorrow if the car will start, playing up all week. Will ring if not coming. Fab photos NLN, many thanks. Can't believe we missed your birthday - how could you not tell us? Happy Birthday anyway. I'm in if we are all in for the BB challenge, it's the nearest I'll ever get to a BG.

Saturday 6th & BBC & Daylight Hours

Saturday 6th ~ I'm UTUPing NLN, so see you there. No special preference as to route, so long as we don't go anywhere near that god-forsaken reedbed!

BBC ~ Just a moment's thought would have told me that a BG on a bank holiday weekend in May would obviously be better on the later weekend, when there is over an hour and half's extra daylight. Is there any interest?

For information, at this time of the year we're gaining exactly two minutes extra light per day, at both ends; best part of half an hour extra daylight per week.


All quiet - anyone out Sat? I'll be UTUP-ing hope to see some of you there.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Limping Man

Not currently JtE, if it's me you're referring to, but I'm pleased you think my legs are as thick as his. It's given me quite a boost!

Running Man


Walking Man

Giacometti’s “Walking Man”.  Don’t we have a running version in our gang?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The 31 steps

Firstly,a belated thanks to t'Yorkshireman for the link. When I get a moment, which could be sometime next year based upon current demands, I'll study it's contents. I can't remember asking for any route finding help as I'd already successfully done my reccying when I met you. Because you're a Yorkshireman doesn't mean you have to act like one. You're in a proper county now.

I have to say I envy you all with your various weekend exploits, which sounded very successful. On reflection my Achilees problem started at the beginning of last week and was exacerbated by a couple of hard runs. I could see and feel it's determined presence by Friday, the day of the big move. I spent ten-and-a -half hours moving my daughter's chattel's to her new (not new) flat. This involved many trips up 31 steps having brought them down nearly as many. Not the best treatment for the injury. Since then I've never been off my feet(slight exaggeration as I sleep lying down). So despite ice treatment there hasn't been much progress. The race is now on to get it right for the Winter Hill race.

Okay. That's the wimpish whingeing over. Hope you all enjoy your weekend runs(written with more than a touch of jealousy) and look forward to seeing you sooner rather than later.

To slightly paraphrase the ending of Strictly Come Dancing;
Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep running.

And then there were three.

I visited Sweatshop yesterday and as sponsors of the Jubilee 5 road race series they told me that this year the August event is to be eliminated because of previous lack of adequate participation. The venue for the remaining three will be the Rivington village school hall (the Amble venue) rather than Rivington Bowling Club.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


If you're not already aware, you may be interested to know that New Ray is an Ironman completer. We could call him "TIM".

Billy Bland Challenge

The BBC sounds as though it could be a good outing, and we should be able to field half a squad from our regular group with another five from like minded friends.  Two May Bank Hols, which?

Can't commit just yet, but definitely interested.
Pennine Bridleway Relays

Well done to Horwich's A team who pipped our Lads to top spot. Our B team (mixed) managed a creditable 44/87, although we'd have to persuade a few of the faster girls to run next year if we want to challenge for first mixed team. The fact that one of them (who did run) spent an evening in A&E having her knee sewn back together is unlikely to help recruitment.

Unlike T'Y, our hand over pair were ready and waiting. So eager were they, they'd rung us 3 times during our run to check on our progress. If we'd stopped to answer the calls then T'Y might have caught us.


I'll be at utup this thursday, but will be doing the reps on Chorley Old Road if any one wants to join me.

I'll be absent on Saturday as I'm doing Half of Wadsworth Trog.

A belated Happy Birthday to NLN


ps Spotted this when looking through the calendar. Something for May Bank Holiday Weekend?

Saturday Pictures

Superb pictures NLN. Thanks very much.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Saturday’s Outing

Another fine Saturday morning, must be one of the best winters ever for clear blue skies and lots of sunshine.  The runners setting out from Belmont were NLN, TF, JtE, Nic’O and NR (New Ray).  This week starting at Black Dog, Belmont (BD) in cold icy conditions but gloriously sunny skies. 

  Darwen (1 of 11)

Parish church at Belmont positively glowing in the early morning sunshine as we set off on the Amble route with Nic’O and Raife (is that how you spell it or is it Ralph?) setting a blistering pace.  (Don’t wait for me on the day Nic’O).

Darwen (2 of 11)

Looking back across the valley to the church looking rather more austere from here.  TF, saving herself for the following day’s Pennine Bridleway made her way back from here.

 Darwen (3 of 11) 

A pincer manoeuvre to suss out the best way across the reed bed – conclusion… there isn’t one, and it’ll be every man for himself on the day!

Darwen (5 of 11)

Entwistle Reser at its best with NR, JtE, Raife and Nic’O crossing the dam(n) wall below.



Darwen (6 of 11)

To keep the waterside views we took the ‘Old Amble’ route back along the Reser to the Blackburn road where NR turned for home.  JtE being a purist wasn’t so keen on the heron, but I think he’s a bit of hoot. 

Votes for and against?


Darwen (7 of 11)

…and then it was the long haul up to the path off to the TofTs on which Nic’O and JtE can be seen below


 Darwen (9 of 11)

It’s that man again waving to camera!

Darwen (10 of 11)

The view from the top (below) -  how pleasing

Darwen (11 of 11)

Ice was the order of the day and despite the amazing skies the temperature never felt above freezing making for pretty careful footwork all the way round.  Well that’s what we told ourselves when we looked at the timings. 

Darwen (8 of 11)

Looking across at Great Hill – our next port of call, from a very icy path above Catherine’s Edge.  From Great Hill back over Spitler’s Edge and then along the footpath back to the cars.

Excellent morning, giving completers 18.5 miles and leaving us hoping for clear conditions on the day to get across the dreaded reed bed.  Light refreshments taken at BD by JtE, NLN and Nic’O.