Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekends running (from TF's point of view)

We (TF, EYJ and TIM) completed our first full recce of WHFR, including some nearly complete submersion's by all three of us. Some small sections still need a bit of work but EYJ and myself pronounced ourselves very satisfied with a good mornings work. Total time 3hrs 40mins.

Just to prove that there's still 'life in the old bird' yet, I put myself on the start line of the Accrington 10k at 10am on the following morning. Mad or what? After 8 mins and 25 secs had elapsed for the first mile and with a couple of Salford Harriers still in sight I decided that I'd be certifiable if I carried on at that pace and up it to 7min/m by the 2nd mile. Mind you, we had started a steep downhill section.

Sense prevailed and by mile 3 and the bottom of hill (23:35) was beginning to wonder which wheel would drop off first. Starting to see stars at mile 4 (32:something, vision a bit blurry) and starting to count down the miles (all 2.2 of them) and negligible ft of climb compared to what I normally do. At this point joined by male runner from Northern Vets. At mile 5 (41: something, didn't dare look again just in case it was 47:something), found out courtesy of one of his fan club that he was 76 yrs young and still going strong, too flipping strong if you ask me.

At this point considered that Runnersworld has a lot to answer for. Last week had put in my times for 300m in it's pace calculator and it'd pinged up 54:51 for a 10k. So unless disaster struck.... whoah ...Northern Vet runner decided at that precise moment to veer dangerously right across my path...not wanting the RO to lose his H&S certificate decide to get out of harms way. Northern Vet runner complemented me on my pacemaking as I edged slightly ahead again.

Turned the last corner and managed to cross the finish line in 51:17, life times best for a 10k, beating previous best of 52:17 (Radcliffe 10K, 2006). Bacon Buttie and cup of coffee to celebrate!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another "DO"

Mary W has emailed me to remind everyone of her invitation to you all to celebrate her and her twin sister's 60th birthday on Saturday 30th October.

I'm off to Wales on Thursday but I'll have my mobile with me together with Mary's phone number, so anyone who doesn't know how to contact her can give me a ring.

XC season is back

Last Saturday I started my winter of cross-country races. As I've been more concerned with 1) my course and 2) getting my GR10 story written, I'd not even entered in advance but left it till Saturday to enter the Red Rose league. Forgetting that the traditional 2.30 start had been brought forward, I arrived at Clayton at around 2.10 and leisurely made my way from where I'd parked thinking I was leaving it a little fine but not enough to rush. When I arrived everyone seemed just about ready and Paul M told they were due off in five minutes. I found the registration desk but the entries officer told me that I already had a number (with Pete R) and just to run without number and sort it out after. A very quick strip of my outer garments and change into spikes was all I had time to do before I joined the multitude awaiting the gun. Last year at Boggart Hole, I came a cropper after two laps running in spikes without a warm up so I ensured that I started slowly and kept near the back for the first lap at least. I did so but found I was running alongside Paul who always paces his races well to move through in the second half. Paul took a tumble, with what appeared to be a good roll then back up again, seeming little troubled (but later I heard he'd knocked a tooth out). After a lap or so I caught up with Barry Chester, who I've battled against in recent seasons and with Mark Swindells. For some reason I had plenty of energy and gradually moved through a group until there was a big gap between me and the next group of runners. On the third lap (I worked out that it was the final lap as none of the fast blokes came through to lap me), I decided to make an effort to catch this group and with half a mile to go had caught the back of them. There was one Horwich vest leading the group. Normally, I would have guessed at Peter R, but as I got to him realised it was Carl Balshaw. We raced each other over the final 300 metres but he had enough in reserve to fend me off by a couple of seconds.
I've three days off so this afternoon I shall do the Great Hill route
Heaton Park this Saturday (is this a race that TF runs or helps with?) - but I shall take it easy again.
Hope everyone at Snowdonia has a rewarding run.

Andventures on the GR10

It's taken longer than the actual walk but today I finish writing my first draft of my story of my adventure on the GR10 At over 25,000 words, it will take a while to review and to choose photos to include. Even if I include only two per day that's 100.
Once I've done that I'll be looking for anyone to give me feedback on it so let me know if you fancy a bit of a read - suspect it will take to add the photos.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Best wishes to the wfdbwgua 'away team' at Snowdonia this weekend.

I'll be turning out on Saturday as part of the wfdbwgua 'home team' looking to complete more of the winter hill route than was managed last week, it should be safe to venture down to the knoll now as I'll be taller than the bracken! I'll keep a eye on the weather for Saturday. Given the amount of rain promised for this week I think waterproof socks may be required.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Last Saturday

Only one guy really doing the business this last Saturday; YJ completing his last long run before Snowdonia. TF had run from the far end of Lever Park Avenue to meet him at the Barn where EYJ and yours truly met with them briefly before heading off to ~ you've guessed it! ~ recce the Winter Hill Race route.

The road runners completed the short Anglezarke loop (original Jubillee route in reverse?) before setting off to do a lap of the Bolton 40 course. TF executed her planned drop-out near the Chorley/Bolton border to return at her car on Lever Park Ave, leaving YJ to soldier on up CoR and eventually round to Belmont.

EYJ and I, meanwhile, unsuitably clad for the rather unpleasant wet and windy conditions, wimped out at the Shooting Hut and returned home via a low level route, pausing briefly to pay homage to NLN's revered Trespass Stone. Below Two Lads we met two older lads, namely Keith Booth and Gary Flitcroft and we chatted to them until any warming benefit of our lower route had been thoroughly wiped out then shivered back to the Barn ~ more on Keith and Gary at  later date.

From the Barn, EYJ returned home to try to get some feeling back into his hands, whilst I, feeling something of a failure, tried to redeem myself by driving up to Hordern Stoops, and running down to intercept the main man on his climb up to the top.  Met him just after half way down (I was neither up nor down) and returned to my car under slightly more pressure than I was on the descent.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

End in sight

Saturday will be the last of my long road runs in preparation for this year's Snowdonia Marathon and any help will be much appreciated on what is planned to be an 18-mile outing, taking in a short loop round Anglezarke reservoir to Sheephouses and then the Bolton 40 lap, a repetition of today's midweek run which I completed in 3hrs 5mins, the best so far in the current series with a average of 10mins 5secs per mile.

Incidently the climb to Hordern Stoop took nearly 15 minutes - so much slower than last Saturday - but the overall pace was faster. I will be at the UTUP on Saturday looking for company. Pace will be of secondary importance as the 'speed work' will not start until Sunday. Can I do speed work and taper at the same time?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

JNC Weekend

Great weekend at the Bridge to celebrate with Joss completers new and old.  FSS and I made the most of the clear weather to travel to Buttermere on Saturday to visit a few Wainright summits.  Clear and dry but mighty cold on the tops.  Most of the piccies below were taken by FSS as I left my camera in the car Doh!joss weekend (1 of 14)

Looking across Buttermere to Fleetwith Pike from the path climbing Red up to Red Pikejoss weekend (2 of 14)

and to the north with Crummock water in the distance and the Solway Firth beyond.  Having visited the summits of Red Pike, Starling Dodd, Great Bourne and Gavel Fell we returned to the car and made our way out to the coast road.   On a whim visiting St Bees it was a delight to see how clear the views were.

joss weekend (3 of 14)

Great photo by FSS of a Labrador and family on the beach at St Bees with the Isle of Man clearly outlined beyond.

joss weekend (4 of 14)

This year’s crop of JNC completers with our mate Gordon in the centre at the back with grey shirt.  A great evening spent in the company of good friends with a shared love of the mountains

joss weekend (5 of 14)

  A pleasant stroll up to Buckbarrow on Sunday morning completed the weekendjoss weekend (7 of 14) joss weekend (8 of 14)

Joss and Monica in one of Pete Ferris’s sheepfolds

joss weekend (9 of 14)

A gathering on the summit

joss weekend (10 of 14)

Spy looking adoringly up at Joss

joss weekend (11 of 14)

.. with Kev

joss weekend (12 of 14)

Gordon saved his final wainright – Buckbarrow to finish this weekend.  Champers out of his newly presented tankard

joss weekend (13 of 14)


joss weekend (14 of 14)

and finally…


Won’t be able to make it on Thursday – nephew Harry’s 16th Birthday  -  Nando’s calls.  Looking forward to the warmth of the Tramuntana Mountains next week.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Pushed to the limit

Saturday's road outing was a case where I shouldn't have counted my chickens... When EtU joined me I felt that following on from his disappointment at the Langdale Horseshoe race I would be in for an easier time than TA had given me on the previous two Saturdays. Alas, it was not to be as the early pace was lively and I began to regret mention of a time-trial head to head up to Hordern Stoop.

On an initial short lap of the Anglezarke reservoir (the very old Jubilee route in reverse) we briefly picked up the company of Derek Kay who was out for a shortish run. He left us just after the Millstone and that left just the two of us to enjoy a brisk pace in almost perfect conditions.

By the Black Dog I was feeling decidedly tired and as we tackled the initial climb by the church EtU was edging ahead and would have left me in his wake were it not for the sibling rivalry that found me an extra gear. I made it to the top in a 'season's best' of 12mins 16 secs with EtU not far behind.

A recovery run from the top had us back at the Green where we parted company, EtU returning to the Lower Barn and myself setting off on a repeat of the opening lap round Anglezarke. The body was not responding to instructions, however, and the lap was cut short by a return along the Street. Distance was 21.66 miles in 3hrs 50mins, averaging 10mins 38 secs per mile. Climbing was 2544ft.

Nostalgia corner

In response to JtE's question regarding the photo of himself, his brother Edwin and yours truly, the occasion was my Bob Graham run on 25/26 May 1996. The attempt started at 9 am on the Saturday and the photo was taken just before 7 40 the following morning after a storming dash down from Skiddaw. Those supporters who had assembled in Fitz Park to run in with us were a little surprised by the pace and as I crossed the finishing line to touch the Moot Hall we had left most of the support behind, leaving only a few bemused early morning holidaymakers wondering what was going on.

It was a great 22-plus hours with a lot of great friends. I don't know who took the photo.



YJ in Keswick about 100m from the end of his Bob Graham. It was early morning and chilly. When was it YJ?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More From Tuesday

Whilst I was trying to get artistic with this:-

The squad were waiting for me in the red glow of the setting sun on Two Lads:-

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tuesday Night on Winter Hill

Glorious evening, can’t be many more left now.  EtU, SN, EYJ and a lovely surprise to welcome Nic’O back out on the hills.  Six miles covered in total.

View from car park at Wilderswood at 5.45.WH 12 oct (1 of 8)

Looking up to Two Lads in the glow of the low evening sunshine  

WH 12 oct (2 of 8) WH 12 oct (3 of 8)

Climbing up from Pike cottage a motorised paraglider came into view

WH 12 oct (4 of 8)

and almost met us at the cairn

WH 12 oct (5 of 8)

Last sight of the setting sun from the path from the quarries to Burnt Edge EtU and I got dropped by the rest, but worth it to get these picciesWH 12 oct (6 of 8)

From the trig point sun now well and truly set but here comes the moon – amazing light on the summit

WH 12 oct (7 of 8)

But not much light for the run back to the cars and of course nobody had a torch!

WH 12 oct (8 of 8)


Norman Matthews Memorial Run. Thursday 21st. October.

I have thought, for some time, that it would be appropriate to arrange a run in remembrance of Norman, on a similar basis to that arranged in remembrance of Steve Barlow. EtU and I have discussed this and we mentioned the idea to Pete Ramsdale, now Chairman of the Harriers. From thereon the Harriers Committee took charge and at the AGM yesterday it was announced that the run would take place as an extension to the Harriers’ Thursday evening hill session culminating in a visit to Scotsman’s Stump at 7.45. EtU and I agree that it is appropriate that the club start the run in this way as Norman, of course, arranged the hill session for many years but we feel that Two Lads would have been a better place for a few words to have been spoken.

We suggest that our group meet at the usual place and time for the Thursday run and that we, as a group, do our own run perhaps visiting Two Lads and then joining the Harriers at Scotsman’s Stump. If the whole of our group were to turn out it would, of course, be a wonderful tribute to Norman.

On a personal note I will be even slower than usual having been laid up for so long. I hope you’ll all put up with this.


TF's Langdale

FSS has sent the following:-

"Good Show TF!

I thought you were overly gloomy about your prospects."

I'm sure we all share that sentiment.

The Great Eskapade

Recent family holidays have involved yours truly dragging Young Dean up a local mountain, the most recent of which was our climb up Ben Nevis in June ~ see post dated 1st July 2010.

However for our most recent outing we opted to go ever so slightly down, rather than up, in that we explored the tidal ford of the River Esk near Ravenglass, in the Western Lakes. Reference to tide tables indicated that there would be a low tide at approximately noon on Saturday 2nd October, so at 11:30 a.m. we assembled at GR SD 087 943 where the ford was clearly signed. 
Then, with some trepidation, we entered the water and set off northwards for the far bank. Unsurprisingly, in view of the amount of recent rain, the water was cold. Surprisingly, however, the muddy bank gave way to a clear sandy bottom, and we waded easily across the river, in never more than a foot of clear, but peaty water.

At this point we were about half way across, just leaving a mid-stream sandbank.

Having reached the far bank, we turned and retraced our steps. An interesting, if unremarkable, outing.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, taken on a cheapo Nokia from Tesco.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No utups for me this week. I'm taking the opportunity that while my students are off on a 'sports day' on Friday to have a weekend away. Off to the SW to have a bit of a run with a map and compass on the Quantock Hills.

Hope I do a lot better than I did on Sunday in Tockholes Wood as whilst having a spectacularly bad 'headless chicken moment' compounded things by becoming separated from one inov-8 on a particularly boggy section. Lost further minutes locating said footwear and reattaching, yuck. Particular location now earmarked for 'giggle' potential on unsuspecting victims!

Off to the track at Sports City this evening to see how slow I can do 300m reps. Edale - five and half months to go.


This Week

Planning to:

UTUP Tuesday, bringing camera for sunset shots.

Horwich RMI AGM Weds.

UTUP Thursday.

UTUP Saturday, but staying on the road as a gesture to Snowdonia training ~ 20 miles with YJ et al?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend in Langdale

A leisurely start to Saturday saw us motoring up to the start of the Langdale Horseshoe fell race where a number of familiar faces were about at the start.  A few of which can be seen below. 

hazel (1 of 9)  hazel (2 of 9) hazel (3 of 9)

Having seen the racing fraternity off, I had a delightful outing up over the Band, up to Bowfell summit, across Ore Gap and along the race route before making my way back via Angle Tarn, down Rosset Gyll and back to the ODG.  What a grand day out it was for everyone.  However, we were surprised to learn from Dave Bateson, who was  also staying at the Achille Ratti hut on Saturday night, that the weather on the Kentmere Horseshoe was horrendous.  Dave and his wife did the horseshoe and suffered from 50mph winds that almost blew them over, visibility was down to 5ft and although not raining, the cloud base was so wet that his glasses never cleared for the duration of the outing.  No-one could believe it was the same day!

Meanwhile back in Langdale it was a shorts day….

hazel (4 of 9)

Looking across at Pike O’Stickle from the Band – couldn’t have been better

hazel (5 of 9)

Some random dog enjoying the day

hazel (6 of 9)

Looking over to Three Tarns from the path up to Bowfell

hazel (7 of 9)

FSS approaching Bowfell

hazel (8 of 9)

TF approaching Ore gap.  Great to spend time with TF after the race and catch up as our Saturday commitments haven’t seen us out running on the same weekends for quite a while! I hung about a bit to see EtU through, but finally concluded that he wouldn’t be arriving and so trotted down to Angle Tarn (below).

hazel (9 of 9)

A fantastic day – you can see my route off to the right down Rosset Ghyll to take me back to the race finish.  Getting more confident with the old map and compass, but need more practice in adverse conditions.


hazel (1 of 2)

Another wonderful morning dawned on Sunday - the view from the breakfast table

hazel (2 of 2)

The breakfast table

After breakfast we drove up to Threlkeld to check out the descent off Clough Head  for Mark's winter BG for which FSS is navigating leg 4 (anti-clockwise).   This was a huge success with FSS locating a route he had used previously which avoids all the rough stuff between the track (Hauswell Brow) and Newsham farm. 

Hope to be out Tuesday UTUP.   No free Saturdays now until 13th November.


Further, faster, higher

Out on the road again with TA last Saturday, we stepped up the distance to 20.5 miles, with 2,377 ft of climbing, in 3hr 35 mins, averaging 10mins 27 secs per mile, a marginal improvement on last week's shorter distance. The obligatory time trial past the Blue Lagoon to Horden Stoop was the best in the current series at just over 14 mins despite stopping at the Black Dog to speak to an injured fell runner.

Congratulations to TF on an excellent Langdale outing. It looks like Rip Van Winkle of Ambleside won the over 70 prize. I hope he doesn't plan to run the Snowdonia marathon!

If anyone is interested in a midweek road run I shall be leaving the Lower Barn at 1.00 pm on Wednesday for a repeat of Saturday morning. If parking is tight I will park on the main drive and walk down to the Usual Place for 1.00 pm.

Solstice Supper

hazel (1 of 1)

A good time was had by all at the Cherry Tree on Friday night, too good for some apparently!   Great to see everyone runners and non-runners, and to help SN celebrate her birthday (photo by FSS).


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Landgale ~ Well Done TF!

Lovely day, terrible run. Blame it on the trots, the beer and maybe a lack of training, but overall, just the usual person to blame ~ mea culpa.

After Thunacar Knott I couldn'see anybody. Took an interesting route over Rosset, struggled up to Esk Hause, then came home with an Irishman from Sheffield ~ not all the way home, just to the ODG.

Did a short bike ride this morning.
Langdale 2010

Lovely day for it.

Race plan was to try and stick to Mandy G like glue for as long as possible. She could have hummed 'me and my shadow' on the climb up to Stickle Tarn. But by the first CP the glue came a bit unstuck and we were only 40mins into the race. Having concentrated that hard on keeping up with the 'Human GPS' I'd lost track of where EtU was, but assumed he was way ahead.

Reached Thunacar Knott on the hour, so 50mins to Esk Hause, mmmh. Crossing Martcrag Moor the familar Tod vest came into view, I drew level and said hello. She said she'd had a bad 'un at 3 Shires the fortnight before, having not run since Fairfield due to injury. Thought it would be bad form to enquire whether we were on target to make the cut off at Esk Hause. We reached the col near Rosset Crag with Mandy slightly ahead, 1hr 30mins elasped, 20 mins to make it to Esk Hause, mmmmmh. With a bit of a spurt I'd caught her back up at the start of the last rocky steps up to Esk Hause. Me and my shadow up the steps, if I was being timed out so was she!

Avoided looking the marshals in the eye, deliberately didn't look at my watch so as not to hint to them to check theirs and carried on and no one shouted me back. Oh eck! Only knew the bit from Pike 'O' Blisco and 'Bad Step' was looming. Struggled a bit on the traverse to Ore Gap, the last climb had taken a lot, but was pleased to met NLN (and had my photo taken) on her way back from Bowfell, who informed me that she hadn't seen EtU come through yet.

By the time I got to Bowfell, my GPS was well on her way and I was now in a group of six, with no one admitting to knowing their way over Crinkle Crags. Well we managed to find the right hand traverse, found the summit and got down 'Bad Step' (was that it!!) feeling a bit happier that I was now on my way to Pike 'O' Blisco and onto familiar territory. At the point where the 3 Shires route separates off, I could see my car (I've got good eyesight), not long now I thought. Blimey, the drop down to the cattle grid (last cp) seemed to take forever. I'd recced the last section through the campsite earlier in the day not fully believing I'd need to know it for this year but was grateful that I had and made my way to the finish line to cross it 4hr13mins after I'd set off (and only 5mins behind Mandy).

Feel sure that EtU must of been having an extreme 'off day' not to be in the lead of us tail-enders. Dinner table conversation on Friday evening had alluded (me and Steve not requesting to much detail) to a recent stomach upset and guessing that it's this that may well have affected his usually consistant performance on one of the Lakeland Classics.

Results here


Thursday, October 07, 2010

This Week

UTUPing tonight (Thursday 7th). With the sun setting shortly after 6:30 there should be about half an hour's light to go off road before it's tarmac or headtorches.

Doing the Langdale Horshoe race on Saturday, so don't buy me too much beer Friday night ~ is there such a thing as too much beer?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

You Can't Please All of the People...

After much consultation it seems that even though the Black Horse at Limbrick may just have the edge in the food stakes (steaks?), folk generally prefer the shorter journey to the Cherry Tree at Blackrod (formerly the Thatch and Thistle) so I've booked us in there. Tables booked from 7:30 on Friday 8th October.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Dark and White team have now put the split results from last weeks MM (and links to Routegadget to view the maps) on their results page. Having analysed the results I feel I made the right decision to change my route after my third control.

I'll bring the big map on Friday to <... venue.....> for those with impaired vision and you can have a go at choosing a route.

Entered in Langdale Fell Race on Saturday and having now found the discussion from last year on the fellrunner forum regarding cut-off times and route choices, beginning to think 1:45hrs to Esk Hause is not on the cards. Fancy a different way back than Rossett Gill though, did that last year for Great Lakes Run.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Saturday, October 2nd

Did a UTUP on Saturday and thought I was the only member of the squad there until Tony turned up and decided to join me on the road circuit. His presence kept me moving and we did 18.4 miles, first doing a reverse lap of the old Jubilee course of four miles before tackling the Bolton 40 course to make up the difference.

The weather couldn't have been better and as we descended down Sheephouse Lane to Rivington Green we got involved with some of the midfield runners in the Salomon trail race for a few yards before taking the track back to the Lower Barn.

The run took 3hrs 13 mins at an average pace of 10.30 mins per mile with a total ascent of 2176ft.

The plan for next week is to extend the initial smaller lap by 2-3 miles, aiming for a minimum of 20 miles.

Friday, October 01, 2010

No UTUP for me tomorrow, off to see & support the speed merchants in road relays.                                                                                                                         
Saturday run

Well done TF, sounds like a great adventure and a great achievement. A more modest outing on Saturday took me over the South Downs accompanied by son and daughter who opted for four-wheeled transport for the first four and last four of my 14 miles
. It was a good outing with some good views but very breezy and cold.

Tomorrow I shall be leaving from the lower barn at the usual time (8.30) for a road run if anyone cares to join me for what will be a slowish outing as I recover from lack a miles whilst on holiday and the usual jetlag from the long drive back. Company will be most welcome.