Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Friday – Revision

Table put back to 7.45 on advice of EtU.  Good outing tonight of 7.3m for SN and me.  Managed to hook up with EtU for last 500M as Auditors delayed play!  Venue is Waggon and Horses, Chorley Rd nr Wingates, A6 -  not to be confused with the hostelry of the same name at Adlington once visited by the Squad.


A Non-Running Birthday Weekend

When your birthday is in January you need to be forward thinking, and so it was that last weekend I took my four best boys (three nephews and FSS) to Go Ape in Grizedale Forest to celebrate my big birthday.  My sister chose to be the photographer and thought the five of us were mad to put ourselves through this.  It was fantastic as you can see from the snaps below.


Smiling for the camera – not!  L to R Harry, Rory and Niall


I can’t believe my youngest boy is taller than me


Lovin the zip wires – sister Julie below centre taking photopblog-028

Makin it look easy



Harry can’t believe my elegant landings!


Got the hang of it now!


Stopped to photo these gorgeous babies!   As Rory said – made you wish you’d passed on that bacon barm!

A pint at the Brittannia in Elterwater went down very nicely after the exertions, where Niall was able to re-visit the scene of his famous fling from a scooter in front of the crowds from a few years back.  A night at the Youthie at Coniston with a slap up meal at the Yewdale Hotel Saturday night, just left us with a meander along Coniston Water on Sunday morning.

Great weekend to add to my Big Birthday year – lots more to come.


Monday, June 28, 2010

I did it!

Finally took the plunge on Saturday and entered ( on the day) the South Lakes Half Marathon.
Managed to get round the first 10 miles in an hour and forty but then slowed at the end to finish in 2 hours 16. Really pleased to have finally done one, and pleased with time considering heat and hills. Slightly frustrated at passing "runners" on the hills, only to watch them sprint past me on the flat bits - don't they get disqualified for walking the hills?!
At the caravan at the weekend so can't make do unfortunately.

Friday - Solstice Supper

Table for 10 booked from 7.00pm onwards.  Two for One deals available on main courses, varied menu.  Those confirmed are: EtU, YJ +1, JtE +1, Nico +1, me = 8   I've added a couple more places as this doesn't include other 'usuals'.  Can EtU pursue enquiries perhaps?  I've emailed TF.  We can probably add to this if anyone else would you like to join.  Please advise either here or by email.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lots to Talk About...

... but for the time being ~ UTUP Tuesday 29th, possibly Eddie's Revenge Weds, UTUP Thursday, "DO" Friday and UTUP Saturday.

Isn't it a busy life.

Mitten hunt failed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pennine Wayfaring

Thanks for all the commiserations following my failed 70 at 70 up the Pennine Way last Saturday. Having trained hard it was disappointing not to complete the full intended route from Edale to Gargrave but as we all know, if the weather is not kind these long challenges become a severe test of body and mind.

Leaving Edale with four layers of clothing, I felt overdressed for the day before the summer solstice and as Eden and I began the first leg along the valley bottom to the climb up onto Kinder, neither of us guessed what we were in for. Within an hour we were up on high ground and battling into a strong pre-dawn wind that met us head on for the rest of the run over Shelf Moor and Bleaklow reducing temperatures to a hand numbing coldness. Kinder had been rough, very rough in places, and flagging across some of the moors was a welcome respite, although at times somewhat boring and monotonous.

The first feeding point was at Crowden following a rough traverse along Torside Clough with an almost perpendicular drop into the valley. Not very comfortable and a very slow section.

At Crowden, after 17 miles, Sally took over from Eden as we encountered slow climbing followed by more rough terrain navigation went haywire as we missed a turning and ended up at a drought hit reservoir and no PW signposts. It was obvious something was wrong and fortunately hitech Sally produced her I phone with Google maps and a short correction took us back to the Pennine Way.

By now the wind was becoming more of a problem and the cold and a badly swollen right hand was causing some concern. The strength of the headwind was now making breathing difficult and it was obvious we were losing time big time. We had started the section half an hour down and this was now approaching two hours.

We went through Wessenden and back up onto the moors where there was a brief respite from the wind, the sun cam out for the first time and the rolling grass moors suddenly looked more friendly. At this point Sally took a phone call from JtE and in a better frame of mind I resolved to keep going to the bitter end.

We were soon back in the wind and not making good time. Having strayed from the Way once we were constantly checking the route book and this was losing us further time. By the time we got to the next feeding point on Bleakedgate Moor we were a good three hours behind schedule and discovered that Eden and Sheila who were with the car had had an equally testing time both finding the meeting point and coping with the wind. Eden's post run breakfast took an hour and a half to prepare as he battled the wind with a small camping stove.

It was here that the decision to abandon the run after 35 miles was made and I sensed that the support team were more than happy to retire to a less hostile environment. My calculation was that with the prospect of further slowing in the pace it would take close to 24 hours to complete even if I managed to run the full 70.

So, it was not a successful run but it contributed to a challenging and enjoyable weekend especially for those of us who saw the moors from close quarters. It all made for a good family weekend that might have had a better conclusion if the weather had been kinder.

From comments on the blog it would seem that a second attempt is expected, a prospect that at first I did not contemplate. However, with the right support, more preparation and a slightly slower, more realistic schedule a re-run might have a chance of success.

Before a plan is even contemplated I have a longstanding problem of plantar faciitis to resolve. A slow recovery run showed no sign of problems following Saturday's outing but today, with no prior warning the problem flared up and for the first time in thirty years I had to walk the last few hundred yards of a training run.

Until this issue is resolved I cannot even make plans for my next training run and will review the situation on a day by day basis.

Thanks once again to all who helped in my training and offered support on day. Any views on how a re-run could be supported will be well received.

Saturday the 26th.

UTUP for me.


Monday, June 21, 2010


Sounded like a gallant effort made by YJ to battle against the beastly Northerlies blowing along the Pennines. With a linear route you haven't got the luxury of a better 2nd half with the wind on your back. But then YJ doesn't do things by 'halves' and I'm sure will be back to triumph on the full 70 miles.

Great Lakes Run

I on the other hand could only contemplate less than a half of a half of the mileage planned by YJ on Saturday. My challenge was a circular-ish route known as the 'Great Lakes Run' (13m/7000ft) organized by the Lakesrunner shop and Ambleside AC. Having failed to complete the race last year, I was back for another go.

This year I was in luck, the weather was kinder (not as hot) and I had trained better, including some very useful recceing assisted by YJ. So chuffed to bits to say I got round, comfortably clearing the cut-off time at the half-way point much to my relief. Total time 5hr 33mins 09secs. Full results are on
www.lakesrunner.com on the events calendar section (sorry couldn't get direct link to work).

What I hadn't realised when I set off, having been too nervy to do a head count, was how few women had turned up to run. So imagine my shock when crossing the finishing line to be told I was first LV40 (5th lady) and had won a prize. Wildest dreams would never have come close to imagining that!


(hoping to be out for a UTUP on Saturday this week)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Very sorry about the abandonment of your run yesterday YJ. In these circumstances it really is the luck of the draw so far as the weather is concerned. A strong headwind and low temperatures are both debilitating features on a long run, or on any type of run, as we all know only too well. Have a good rest whilst you consider the next attempt!

The intended support team, Nic’O, NLN and me, assembled at Nic’O’s by mid afternoon  and ran 13.5 or so miles to Darwen Tower via Cranshaw’s and Darwen Moor and back via Catherine Edge. As usual, the girls ran ahead, waiting for me from time to time. Towards the end of Catherine Edge we saw a concentration of  a dozen or so Curlews at close quarters, swooping around and calling to their young. They were, I think, anxious that Rafe was around! On our return to Nic’O’s we sat in glorious sunshine,  with those marvellous views, eating flapjacks and, some of us, drinking David’s wine. A superb afternoon / evening out.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Best of Luck YJ for tomorrow. I'll try and make it across after my race if I'm able, blisters, cramp etc permitting.


Going Missing

Good luck to YJ and all his support team on the Pennine Way, I'm sure it will be a fine outing, with the weather probably more suitable than it has been for the last couple of days.

Good luck also to TF on the high Lakeland fells, that heavy week up there should now have consolidated into super-fitness.

All that work on the descent from Two Lads to the dog kennels on Tuesdays didn't pay off quite as planned.  On race day I was two seconds slower from TL cairn to the finish; but 22 seconds faster on the ascent, with the net effect of being 20 seconds faster than last year overall.

Leaving in the morning on a week long mitten hunt ~ don't ask!
Gone missing

We can't make the Solstice do as we'll be in the Lake District where I'll have taken to the hills(any), for the first time since the end of January. Still, as NLN points out, I have done a recce of the venue.

Good luck YJ on your 70 at 70, whatever that entails. I would have volunteered for driving duties had I not been dragging my caravan up to Braithwaite for my daughter and her husband. I'm impressed by your weekly mileage of 90 miles, you just seem to be getting better with age. I suppose if you reach the age of 100 you'll run down to Buckingham Palace to collect your tribute from the Queen, who no doubt will still be around!

T'Y, I've not been following your exploits too closely but it seems like quite an undertaking and you seem to be doing fine. So, well done. I'll make a contribution to BHF and you'll be able to hold me to it now I've put it on the Blog!

YJ's 70@70

Good luck for Saturday - lookin forward to seeing you in Yorkshire!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our Pyrenees Man

Well done T’Y. Keep it up and post further reports if you can. The weather forecast shows an improvement in your area.

Scotland – A Few More Pictures


Ben Nevis from the our cottage.


The signpost says it all.

Scotland June 2010 022

Job done.


The start of the Caledonian Canal near Fort William.



5 days in Pyrenees

Just arrived after a good walk over from St Etienne de B.
Quick update from office de tourisme as they only allow 10 mins at a time.
Weather has been horrendous. Hadly seen the sun. Worn thermals for past 2 days. Despite this, times are now quicker than schedule. Did today in 5hrs against book schedule of 6:20 probably because it was too cold to stop on the tops in 90mph wind.

Best of luck to YJ in his Pennine Way adventure - not sure when I'll next have access. Looks like weather is still poor for a few more days. In a hotel tonight so will catch the meteo. Hear it's crackin t'flags back home.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Solstice Do

Thanks NLN. 2nd. July ok for us. Waggon and Horses sounds good.

Solstice Supper

We are OK for July 2nd and anywhere is OK as long as I can get chips.

Pennine wayfaring

Many thanks to the squad's indulgence for last Saturday's final serious training session ahead of my Pennine Way adventure. After my warm-up lap and then taking in the Right of Way Stone, Coal Pit Lane, the Trig, Georges Lane and Spittlers Edge we parted company on Great Hill and I returned via White Coppice, the bridle way and the Yew Tree.

Total distance was 22.63 miles, total time 4hr 53mins 41sec giving an average pace of 12min 56secs; and total ascent of 3582 ft, 158ft per mile compared to the 147 ft per mile of the Pennine Way.

Preparation went well last week with three runs in excess of 20 miles and a total for the week of just short of 90 miles and feeling stronger as the week went on. From now until Wednesday there will be only short runs and then two days of rest.

Solstice Supper - Friday 2nd July?

Venue suggestion - Waggon and Horses, A6, Wingates.   Seem to have offers available.  Closer for JtE, TF, same distance from Motorway Junction for YJ - but in opposite direction,   Matt's so keen he ended up there on a previous 'Do' when the rest of us were in the W&H's at Chorley.  If folk are available and can't come up with anything better, I'll make enquiries. 

Please Post


Last Week - This Week - Next Week - The Week After That

Hope last week went well JtE. Looks like you achieved at least one of your objectives (the Ben, not the pub), hope it's a bit clearer for my assault next week.

An action packed three days this week:- Two Lads reps on Tuesday, Jubilee on Wednesday and Two Lads Race on Thursday ~ hope I'm not alone for all of these.

Off to Oban on Saturday 19th for a week, so my next local public appearance after a post-race drink in the Bridge on Thursday will be Two Lads reps on Tuesday 29th June.

Are we "doing" on Friday 2nd July, and if so, where?  TaT currently a bit grim. Perhaps someone could do a bit of organising in my absence.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Can’t beat NLN’s pictures but here are a few anyway.


The highest trig point in the UK. (Ben Nevis.)



The remotest pub in the UK. (At Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula, only accessed by boat. No road access.)

White Tailed Eagle

The largest bird in the UK. (The White Tailed or Sea Eagle having a wing span of over seven feet.) No Golden Eagles this time but this was a first for me. Picture from the internet.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm on my way

In about ten minutes I shall be heading for the train. Tomorrow night in Hendaye (watching England v USA) then the walk starts on Sunday morning.
The pack is currently much heavier than I would like at 15.9Kg but I shall be eating my way through some of that today.

This ain't no fun run

So please if you've any affinity to the help that either Guide Dogs or British Heat Foundation do, please make a small donation to one of the charities. The target will be reached - both are well on the way and I'm know there is additional to come in.

Guide Dogs For the Blind
Britsih Heart Foundation

See you in August.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This Week

UTUPing Thursday and Saturday.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Duddon dibbings

Having missed the last two checkpoints dibbing the final dibber should have shown me as a non finisher. Next year I plan to win the race without visiting a single checkpoint - in a record time!

Who's a Naughty Boy?

And shouldn't have dibbed his dibber?

See the last man in the Duddon results.

Also, well done TF with your Dow to finish time!

In Praise of t'Y

No it is not a misprint, I really do want to say something nice about Gordon - after all there is a first time for everything!!

To do what he is doing is a great undertaking on a physical level alone. Add the problems of language, solitude and the potential for mishaps, and it becomes something wholly praiseworthy in my opinion.

So good luck Gordon, I hope it goes well and that you raise a lot of money for your two charities. May your God go with you.


ps:- normal service will resume on your return

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Finally completed my unpacking to find the piece of paper with my split times for Saturday (results are up on website - http://www.duddonvalleyfellrace.co.uk/ )
Caw .......................22:08 (22:08)
White Pike ............44:11 (22:03)
Wall Corner ........1:07:03 (22:52)
Dow Crag ...........1:33:20 (26:17)
White Pike ..........1:54:32 (21:12)
Caw ....................2:27:37 (33:05)
Finish .................2:41:20 (13:43)

Final time of 2:41:20 was a little disappointing as I'd managed 2:29 in 2007. But I don't recall it being as warm, I won't have done 13000ft of climb the week before and I was likely to have been 7lbs lighter (under NM's tutelage). Excuses, excuses!

YJ - The way you bounded up Pike 'O' Blisco last wednesday I felt sure you'd have had a good'un on Saturday. I'm sure the long Duddon is still well within your esteemed capabilities, but may require a bit of a longer taper. If you still need an AL this year for any entry qualifications do consider Holme Moss on the 18th July - I usually get round in about 5hrs, there's no cut off's and plenty of water stations on route.

EtU - Well done, especially impressed with the strong finish from Dow.

T'Y - Best of luck in the Pyrenees. Think you've got the training done for the up's, any chance the downs are all good tracks?

Having a go at the Boars Head Fell Race tomorrow from Poynton, but still intending on being out on Thurs.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Just Thought I'd Mention...

...in response to your comment, Gordon,  that I'd taken nearly six hours to complete the Men's Duddon Race, that my time from Dow to the finish, after having already climbed Harter, Hardnott, Little Stand and Swirl, was an hour and seventeen minutes, whilst yours was an hour eighteen!

But every credit, you did beat me by a good ten minutes at Henderson's end on Thursday, well done!

And most importantly of all, I hope your epic adventure goes well.  You've certainly done the work, let's hope you have that little bit of luck that will help you bring it all to fruition, God speed.


My First Little Duddon

It seems like everyone has been nagging me to have a go at Duddon for years so this year I thought I'd taste (test?) the water and do the short race to give me a feel for the event. Having been at the Crofters the evening before, I did manage to rise in time to have a reasonably unhurried journey to Seathwaite (allowing that the short race allows an extra 20 minutes for the start line).
Noticed EtU and YJ as I arrived and said hello to TF before heading to register. I was a bit concerned that I'd not thought to bring lots of liquid with me but managed to down what I had and get my 500ml bottle replenished.
Only 44 at the start line so set off gently along with Tf on what is one of the most awful surfaces for the start of a race, making Georges Lane seem a joy. Once we reached a more safely runnable stretch I decided to move through a little and by the time we hit the first climb was getting into the swing of things, passing a few.
Took the wrong line for the first checkpoint, resulting in a short run back along the track to dib my dibber - think it is only the second time I've used a dibber - sure it's something that JtE would be looking at.
Think I was up into the top 20 or 25 by the time I'd reached the Dow Crag checkpoint but then lost a load of places by following the wrong ones on the ridge run : I think we were heading for a non-existent checkpoint at White Maiden. From Caw I seemed to take about 2 hours, ok 23 minutes - nearly twice as long as TF who came storming in just 3 minutes after me.
Took some photos of the long race as they descended towards the finish but by the time EtU was coming down, I had returned to the field for the presentation.
Had a great time in the pub chatting to Lee & Pauline Warburton and Pete Booth and listening to an excellent blues band.
Had a bit of a walk on Sunday but decided I didn't have time to walk the long course which had taken Ed almost six hours to run, especially as I wasn't packed and ready to go till 10 and it is a 2 hour drive home. The forecast of thunderstorms also persuaded me - I'll have enough of them in the Pyrenees.
So may be back next year - we shall see.
Splits were:
Caw Quarry 19:56
White Pike Quarry 18:53 (38:49)
Wall Corner 19:09 (57:58)
Dow Crag 21:22 (79:20)
White Pike 22:58 (102:18)
Caw 32:09 (134:27)
Finish 23:49 (2:38:16)
Just in time to watch Simon Booth complete the long course!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Continuing Saga of the Do

26th June not now looking so good. 2nd July?

Thank You NLN for Sharing Your Holiday Snaps With Us

Your photos are superb, I am envious of your outings.

Looking for some pace work before I go to Oban, Two Lads on Tuesday will be a good start. Two Towers on Wednesday anybody?

Goodbye Classics

In contrast to EtU's Duddon (long) experience my own race probably marks the end of any hopes of continuing a race programme based around the Lakeland Classics.

From the start my pace was not enough to keep in touch with the rest of the field, although strong climbing of the early ascents brought me back into contact with other tailenders.

Stamina and motivation was never in question but by Swirl Howe I was outside the cut off by four minutes and the well meaning marshals were happy for me to carry on. By Dow, however, I had fallen another five minutes behind and while the marshals tried to persuade me to continue I retired in consideration of the marshals on White Pike and returned via the Walna Scar road. I had done 17 miles in six hours and estimated that to complete the 18 mile race would have taken me about 6 and a half hours. So now it's time to take stock and consider a new approach to racing.

Training on the fells will continue and there will still be some long races where cut off times are more lax. I must look on it as a change of emphasis rather than the end of an era.
A weeks rest....

Well not quite, whilst I was away I managed the following

Sunday 30th May......Helvellyn Fell Race.................11m/4500ft 2hrs54mins
Tues 1st June...........Two Riggs Fell Race...............6.5m/1350ft 1hr16mins
Weds 2nd June........Run with YJ...............................11.5m/4500ft 5hrs08mins
Thurs 3rd June.........Scafell Pike...............................4.5m/3000ft 3hrs
Fri 4th June...............Holker Hall Garden Festival....1m/0ft (approx) 4hrs
Sat 5th June.............Short Duddon Fell Race...........9.5m/3000ft 2hrs41mins

So a grand total of 44m and 16350ft. Think that's the most ft/climb I've done in a week. Hopefully a good week of training to see me round the Great Lakes Fell Race in a fortnight.

I can manage a UTUP thurs this week.


Scotland’s Got it All















Rattling good ridges


Proper Peaks


Interesting routes




Good looking men


Cold looking women


Highest mountain in Britain







Not so wildlife





Cracking trip 14,000ft climbed, sadly only three days in the mountains due to other commitments.  Out on Tues UTUP as long as weather not too bad.  Not out Saturday - weekend in Lakes with FSS doing Ennerdale and Saturday night in Buttermere – the Fish hotel beckons!

Loving reading what you’re all up to – have fun.


Duddon ~ A Short Report on a Long Race

It was hot, very hot, for the first hour, then bearable after Harter.

Carried, found and begged enough water to wash down the energy gels which kept me going and enabled me to finish strongly, even leaving for dead on the final descent the four guys with whom I'd been to-ing and fro-ing since the Three Shires Stone.

Three of the four had passed me as I filled my water bottle at a tiny spring ~ more of a trickle than a spring ~ on Goat's Hause, but the extra water was definitely needed and probably helped with the stamina.

Final result was yet another PW in 5:53 (doesn't bode well for Wasd'le) but an enjoyable day out and not a total disaster.

Slightly disheartened to hear that Bowland Wayne, with whom I trade insults, and who beat me once again, works on oil rigs and generally goes long periods unable to train, other than by running on the spot!

Reports awaited from TF and t'Y (short course) and YJ (long course).

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Henderson's End Start Time - 7.30p.m.

EtU is correct (as is Mark) - the calendar is incorrect.
Lostock website confirms.
Another hot day at the office

Blissfully unaware of the drama that was unfolding downstream, TF and myself looked briefly down on the waters of Lingmell Beck as it flowed down to the Esk valley before turning our attention to our second big climb of the day in our recce of TF's race in a fortnight's time.

We had started from the NT car park above Blea Tarn using the stony track to the foot of Wrynose Pass. From there we climbed up Wetside Edge (a good recce for Saturday' Duddon race) and then to the col below Greyfriars. By now the early morning mist had mostly burnt off and the day was getting warm. We reached the road at Cockley Beck and then made our way up Mosedale to the watershed before turning and climbing the steep flank of the valley to the col north of Little Stand.

Our next objective was Pike o' Blisco and easy running on the dry grassy terrain brought us to Red Tarn and the final ascent of the outing. From Blisco we made the long descent to Blea tarn and back to the car park.

We had been out for 5 hrs 8 mins, covered 11.57 miles at an average pace of 26 mins 42 secs and climbed a total of 4,500ft. Although the pace was not fast it was a hard outing in anybody's book and the steep unrelenting climbs were good training for what is to come later in the month.

It was not until driving home that I heard on the radio of the tragic events of the Cumbrian shootings and was glad the incident was terminated at Boot and not a few miles further along the road at Cockley Beck.

Henderson's End ~ Later Start???

Mark Sammon tells me that H's End starts at 7:30 not 7:00, so drinks closer to 9:00 than to 8:30.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Henderson's End but Hopefully Not Gordon's

The evening of Thursday 3rd June sees the annual running of this local fell race.  It's very much a local's race, to the extent that last year there was a shortage of marshalls and as a number of non-locals left Winter Hill Trig along the tarmac they didn't know to turn right towards Scotsman's Stump and carried on along our wall until they reached Smithill's Res and realised something was wrong.  Some say "Good old Lostock..."

Anyway, the start's at 7:00, entry £3.00 and we're having a farewell drink with t'Y in the Bay Horse at the top of Babylon Lane after (about 8:30 ish) to see him off.