Thursday, June 30, 2011


EYJ tells me that his computer will be out of action for about a week.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vets' Fell Championships - Possible Outcomes

First, may I also offer my congratulations to our rising star for his fine win over Loughrigg-Silverhowe. John has asked me to pass on his thanks to us all for our company and encouragement over recent months. He says that we've not only provided help ourselves, but we've also put him in touch with other groups (Peter R et al), who have ensured that he's barely had a day without coaching of some sort.

But...the fat lady hasn't sung yet. With just one race to go in the V70 championship, John is a clear leader with 33 points. In second place is Ray Brown, with 25 points. If John doesn't score at least five points at Whittle Pike, Ray could pip him at the post if he secured first place.  Alternatively, if John doesn't run and Peter Covey places first, John's gets = first. Worst case scenario:- Peter Covey wins and moves up alongside John, and Ray brown places second and with those nine points moves into first place, leaving John as equal second. There is no other contender.

John, you need to run and to place at least sixth to be sure of the gold.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Looks like he's done it again our star performing V70. Results from the mens championship race at Loughrigg-Silverhowe

Just need EYJ to write a report now!

Next one is at Whittle Pike.


Monday, June 27, 2011

This Week

Abandonning Tuesday fells and returning to the track on an ongoing basis.

Thursday 30th, UTUPing.

Saturday UTUPing, but not for usual duration, probably just two hours.
Reccies done, well sort of....

The second time I've been on the top of Great Gable and still haven't benefited from the climb for the panoramic view!

Weather-wise it was worse than last week, proper drizzle and 20m visibility. Borrowdale route was slow going from Bessy Boot to Esk Hause, in most parts there is a well worn trod but it occasionally fades in and out so required lots of concentration. Decided to skip Scafell Pike completely and turned right for Styhead. At this point, passed walkers on their way to Scafell Pike, I know 'cos I was asked 'Is this the way to..'. I did debate with myself if I should have pointed out that they were heading to Esk Hause and had to turn right for Scafell Pike, but thought that would be stating the obvious?

Coming off Great Gable and heading for Windy Gap managed to go slightly 'off piste' having lost the route of the path and nearly found a quicker way off, well it would have been if I'd packed a 25m rope with me. Anyway, back up a bit to regain the proper route. Did ok with the contouring route off Green Gable, but really messed up the one round Brandreth. Given the amount of time I wasted here it would have been quicker to just go straight over the top. Relieved to eventually find the right fence and stile to climb over. Wimped out a bit after that and followed the fence line until I dropped out of the mist. Back down to Seatoller to say hello to the Man from the NT again. He'd remembered the car, now proudly displaying it's money-saving sticker.

Sunday's forecast had sounded a bit better with the potential for the tops to clear. So headed round to Wasdale for one final chance of a recce of the Scoat Fell-Pillar-Black Sail Pass section. Thought that by the time I'd climbed up to Dore Head and over Red Pike it may be clear. No such luck. Despite the mist, I managed to find a couple of the better lines, so pronounced my self satisfied with this.

Back on home turf this Saturday for a change!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Darwen Tower via the scenic route

Having forewarned YJ that I may turn up at UTUP, for once I did, At the start the weather seemed not as bad as expected, dry enough for me to pack the waterproof into the bum bag. Two Lads and then Winter Hill by which time YJ was struggling a bit so he sent us on our way as he felt the destination of Darwen Tower was not a good idea but gallantly wanted NLN to achieve her target for the morning. I had no idea whether I would keep up as on Tuesday I couldn't even complete my regular circuit of the climbs. Due to choice of footwear, we chose to head down to the bridge and then along Georges Lane to Horden Stoops before heading up Spittlers at which time the cag was needed as it started raining. Looking for the diagonal path to Piccadilly, we went off too early and explored the moors before retracing our steps and eventually picking up the correct path. The route across to Piccadilly was particularly wet. Then it was straightforward to continue up to Darwen Tower, en route chatting to FSS who was descending the hill. We left the tower at 11.10, knowing that it would be quicker going back taking a more direct route. But first we didn't want come down from Darwen Tower by the same route so our alternative route also through up its challenges but eventually we were on our way, I did manage to find a nice deep hole just before Spittlers before we took the direct path to Drinkwaters then Ammunition Corner to complete a good 4 hrs 10 minutes on the fells on a typical summer's day - wet and misty all morning.


Again the sole representative from the group for this very muddy fell race from Darwen around the moors surrounding Darwen Tower. I managed to stay upright despite some awkward footing on the climb through the ferns to finish some ten seconds slower than two years ago which I suppose is acceptable.

Two Lads and a TLoB

Apart from a young engaged couple doing the timekeeping at the finish, I was the sole representative of the group at the Two Lads Race. Having marshalled the previous evening at the Jubilee Road race where EYJ put in a fine performance, good enough for him to count for the Horwich senior team (that says more than one thing) with a poor turnout of just over 80 runners, the registration at the Bridge was teeming with runners. Eventually we got away and as usual I lost plenty of places on the descent to finish 159th of 220 finishers with a time within seconds of two years ago so could be better, could be worse.
TLoB had arrived late Thursday night so came over on Friday for a run from Anglezarke car Park around the reservoir, taking in Healey Nab from where the photo was taken.

As a glutton for punishment, he then wanted more and returned on Saturday for a route from Wilderswood, up the side of Two Lads, across to the shooting hut and then over to Winter Hill whereupon he offered me the choice of the longer route down to Georges Lane whilst he found plenty of mud on the more direct route via Noon Hill and stream junction to meet up again at the Pike.
A rare three days consecutive running for me and TLoB managed to run most of the way so must be happy with his visit up north.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Up for an Outing

I'll keep you company YJ - UTUP - how about ToT via 2Lds, WH, Hordens, Spitlers and then JtE and I found a direct trod to Piccadilly before Amble reverse straight to Tower!  Should give us a good 15.

Fingers crossed for clement conditions - forecast not great :( 

Summer Mini MM - Round 1 Tegg's Nose/Macclesfield Forrest

Weather hadn't looked too promising earlier in the day, but cleared up nicely in time for the start. Usual format with controls of differing point scores varying from 10 to 25.

Normal tactics, which I've now honed to a fine art, is to pick a route that heads out to the highest scoring control, aiming to be there by half the time allowed, and then wind my way back. With only 2hrs to play with this time instead of the usual 3, I decided to be a little cautious and stick with the 20's and miss out the 25's. With this being the first of a new evening series event, I wasn't sure whether the course planner would gauge it right either.

Having run round the area a few times now I'm finding I'm getting the feel for which tracks to use, and trying them in reverse directions. All in all a good nights running. 170 points bagged and 8.8m and 1800ft. Felt the planner judged it right with placement of controls for the time allowed. No one managed them all on the night, but a couple of runners came close. Might be tempted by one of the 25's next time

Results here
overall -

splits -

Saturday 25th June

I will again be UTUPing tomorrow (Saturday) and hoping for a better turnout than last week when I had to plan my own route, find my own way and single-handedly fight off (that means run away from) aggressive horned beasties on the path across the fields from Ammunition Corner.

I even went on Two Lads only to find I was the only 'lad' there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


No utups for me again this week. If this keeps carrying on I'll end up having to post a photo as well just in case you forget what I look like.

Tomorrow I'm off for a navigating race from Tegg's Nose Country Park. One of the 'Dark & White' organized events. I might be cheeky and ask where my prize is for third place in the last series, as it definitely stated on the entry form that there would be one. Just 2hrs running for this event rather than the usual 3. Still plenty time to go wrong though!

On Saturday I'll be recceing the Borrowdale Race Route from the start to Honister. The weather forecast looks no worse than last week so taking my chances, last weekend of steep stuff before the wind down to Wasdale. I sneaked a look at the descent to the 'corridor route' whilst racing last Saturday and looking forward to see how I cope with that!

I've now joined the National Trust, NLN had suggested it a while ago but I never got around to doing it until now. It's 2 months free for new members at the moment. Shame the bloke in the Landrover wasn't there before I parked up at Seatoller rather than when I returned (£5.50 for 4hrs parking, still not quite as expensive as Kendals in Manchester!). So if we plan any little group jaunts and we intend stopping at a NT site, remind me to bring the sticker for the car window with me. Now planning to see how many big houses I can go and have a nosey round, after I've run round the gardens, of course! Need to remember to take some clean shoes and avoid the cafe on the way out.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Great Lakes Race 13m/7000ft

This could definitely end as a 'woe is me' tale if I lose sight of the fact that I managed a 10min improvement on last years' time. It wasn't as much as I'd hoped by a long way, but given the lack of preparation specifically aimed at this race (recce, taper & weight), I think I'll have to accept what I got.

By half-way I was about 15 mins up on last year despite the conditions. Then came a navigational error off Scafell. Found it hard stopping myself from nutting the rocks without both hands free. So ended up drifting off west instead of south (with a few others I'd collected on the way). A traverse back onto the intended route south and then a bit of uming and ahing to check we hadn't over-shot the next check-point.

Some minor quibbles with myself over not quite hitting optimum route choices past Little Stand and off Pike 'O' Blisco, but the others with me seemed satisfied enough. I can't say that I really pushed myself hard on the stretch from Slight Side to the finish, having got a bit disheartened by my errors, so was a little surprised to finish inside last years' time.

Sunday's recovery route was a walk up Dale Head from Seatoller to check out that part of the Borrowdale race route. At least I managed that without any hiccups, but it's easy when you've got a fence to follow and no time pressure! Prospects for Wasdale not looking so good given my performance yesterday, but I won't know unless I try.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Up North

JtE, I am up North this weekend, and would love to join you on Saturday. I too am very unfit as my back prevents me from doing any sustained running. However, it does not prevent me from making the odd comment about t'Y, so no change there!
Kettleshulme Fell Race 6m/1100ft

The final race in a series of three as part of the Lyme Park Fell Series. A bit stressful getting there due to the traffic in south Manchester. But having sat in lectures all day at a conference I was all geared up for a run in the fresh air, that apart from the number of biccies I'd scoffed.

Memories of the stressful journey evaporate on being presented with a bottle of Happy Valley Beer at registration for attending the three races. Nearly cracked it open there and then, but thought I'd better save it for later so that I'd have more time to saviour it.

More cross-country than fell, but none the less enjoyable and you still needed to keep your wits about you due to all the twist and turns. Despite that it still managed to include one steep section reducing us to a walk. Must have taken the organizer most of the afternoon to mark out the course with tape, and there must have been at least 12-13 marshals at various points along the route. So a pat on the back for her for the organizing.

Finish time was 62:54, so almost comparable with the first race. It'll be interesting to see how everyone else did when the results are publish.

I'm not out on Saturday as I'm off to the Lakes again for Great Lakes Fell Race.

Saturday 18th June

I shall be UTUPing on Saturday. Is anyone else planning to be there? I don 't know how far I shall be running because recovery is proving to be slow but I hope to last for a couple of hours.

I managed a few miles whilst on a family visit to the south, including six miles on the South Downs where the clag was as bad as it ever gets on the West Pennine Moors.

Monday, June 13, 2011

More 70 at 70 Pictures : Leg 3 Recce.

It has been suggested that I should publish pictures taken on the Leg 3 recce taken on the 7th. May. As they were taken at road points they are much the same as those taken during the actual run. Here are a selection:

1. A672

Preparing to start at the A672

2. A640

At the A640

4. A62-2

At the A62

6. A635-2

At the A635

7. B6105

Finishing at the B6105

As the pictures indicate, the weather for the recce was somewhat better than it was on the day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

better late than never

My excuse is I forgot my password, that, and an invasion of family and belongings when the wedding was off, ( it's on again now.)
Anyway a big congratulations to John on his 70@70. Also a massive thanks to him for letting me join in the fun - well it was fun for all the runners not doing 70. It has also showed me how much I miss the group and I am looking forward to getting back to running Saturdays when I have recovered from the op on my ankle. This was fine on the event and then broke down a week later on a 2 mile run, ok again for now. It seems something catches and is painful for a few days until it sorts itself out. Hoping to be out Tuesday night this week. Thanks to J the E and NLN for the photos. NicO
PS Lots of swallows but no buzzards or twites yet.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Not going to be able to make it tomorrow. Too many errands to run before heading in to Manchester for the Take That concert.

Bet none of you had me down as a 'teeny-bopper' but I'm guessing the average age of the crowd will be about 40. When I agreed to go (before xmas) I did assume we'd be indoors and sat down. No such luck, the concert's at Man City's ground and we're on cheap tickets so in the standing up area (£60, dread to think how much it was for a seat).

Will be taking my fell running 'full body cover' because although the forecast suggests it may be dry, don't fancy getting drenched in beer either. Came across this nifty device the other day for beating the queue for loo, thought I'd post a link as EtU and Steve couldn't quite picture it as I described it on our run last night .


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Packing it all in- as it were!

Having helped on John’s 70@70, we had a week of extreme weather ranging from heavy snow on the Ben, albeit we were in the Ben Nevis Inn at the time, to blistering heat at Ennerdale.   We learned later that on Sunday a young French hillwalker perished on the tourist track on Ben Nevis in the appalling conditions.  Although well equipped he was suffering from hypothermia and despite being evacuated off the hill, efforts to revive him on reaching hospital were unsuccessful.

Anyway our week’s adventures started in the Dales at Gargrave at 3.00am on Sunday morning when FSS set off to accompany YJ on the first of his 23 miles of 70 in not great conditions.  I met them at a couple of road crossings, but with the car being blown all over the place, I was glad I wasn’t out on the moor overnight.

JS 70 at 70 039

Ready for the off

JS 70 at 70 007

End of second leg just over M61 bridge “So where’s my coffee…     and your trousers are?”

It was great to run the second leg with YJ and TF even ‘though the driving wind and bitterly cold temperatures coupled with squally showers made for heavy going.  I was glad to climb into dry clothes and a warm car for the journey to Scotland.

JS 70 at 70 010

It’s tough doing support you know

Whit Week 057

Looking down Loch Leven with the Pap of Glen Coe on the left

As you can see dramatic weather North of the border – and this was the good day.  Plenty of extreme water events.


Whit Week 072

Our plan was to travel back to the Lakes on Friday, but the forecast for Wed and Thurs was appalling and there seemed little point in mooching about and then travelling on the only decent day on the horizon.  So having packed up we spent Wed heading back to Keswick and a little light shopping before heading to High Moss in the Duddon Valley.  Great move as Thurs and Fri were great days.


Whit Week 008

Lank Rigg, above Ennerdale before the cloud cleared to brilliant sunshine.

Whit Week 041

FSS and new club mate Sarah finishing 4th lady at Ennerdale

Two lady Horwich runners (Rachel and Geraldine) at Ennerdale, no chaps but a heap of Bowland fellrunners and three hardy Lostock Lads made it round the course.   Bit of a do Sat night at High Moss to celebrate two Rucksack friends wedding.  

Fantastic week of hills and wonderful and varied company – what it’s all about.  Leaving High Moss early Sunday morning we followed a rather familiar car sneaking out of the Duddon Valley before taking the road to Wasdale – you’ll be glad the race is back on after all that reccying TF Smile


I shall be "up North" next weekend - June 18th. Is anyone UTUPing on the Saturday?
Boars Head Fell Race 8m/1322ft

Found this a bit tough last night. Not sure if it was due to the orienteering event the night before or still having a bit of Duddon in my legs. Probably set off a bit too quick and really struggled up the first gentle hill, loads seem to stream pass me.

Could've done with the dog that one of the lead ladies had earlier, pulling her up the hill on her warm-up. A 'lurcher-type' , and various comments of 'that's cheating', 'have you paid his entry' etc got me thinking, as one of my nurses has taken on a retired greyhound as a pet and this could be Blaze's chance to make a come-back. Don't think he won many races, but now could be his chance to shine. I wonder if he'll fancy a trot round Winter Hill on Saturday morning as a bit of a trial!

Anyway back to the race, about 2m in and we reached the same climb that was in the Vanessa Chappell race a fortnight before. Still didn't manage to run most of it and it's no steeper than the trod up to Winter Hill Trig. Later in the race I nicked a few places by opting to climb a steep bank rather than use a track and came back to the finish probably about 5 mins quicker than last year (no results to confirm as yet). So not too bad, but I reckon I was beat by a few from the race a fortnight before. The third race in the series is next week, so will rest up a bit on Tuesday night this time!

Turner Landscape Fell Race 10/09/2011 (11m/3000ft) - I'll be in the lakes that weekend as it's the Mountain Trial on the 11th, although I haven't decided yet whether to do the short or the medium course. The website listing doesn't give much info except that all proceeds will be going to charity (so no prizes). Sounds good to me. We might even persuade our non-racing fraternity to come out to play for the day.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Looking Forward to the Conistons

There's a new race on 10th September starting from the Newfield Inn in the Duddon Valley and taking in most of the Coniston range. Could make a good team outing.

This Week

Thursday 9th June ~ UTUPing if I get out of work on time.

Saturday 11th ~ I'll be packing my running kit and anything else I'm told to include before heading off for warmer climes (climbs?). EYJ is planning to be on Two Lads at 9:15 and will welcome company.

Who Had a Good'n at Duddon?

Obviously not me. I was third from last on Harter, closely followed by a guy who left me for dead on the descent, and also by a lady who had already declared that she was retiring as soon as she hit the next road; so once the climb to Hardknott was commenced I was bringing up the rear.

Approaching the summit I was surprised to meet Colin W, my travelling (and as it turned out, my retiring) companion, retracing his steps back to the road, not to get a better run at the ascent, but to find the shortest route back to the Newfield Inn. I soldiered on and got quite close to the quick descender (all things are relative) on the climb up Little Stand, but he was well out of sight by the time I slumped down near the Three Shires Stone.  Being only seconds inside the cut-off and knowing that the allowed times reduce along the route, I opted for the coward's way out and retired voluntarily. Jogged down towards Cockley Beck and then accepted a lift back from the marshalls when they enquired after my health.

Met up again with Colin on the field, waited to watch the finsh for a while, and then set off for home shortly after he had captured the following:-

TF was obviously, and quite rightly so, delighted with her run, as we were for her (but not as delighted as we would have been had we finished as well). Well done TF ~ note to self, must show this race more respect next year.

For the record, I won't even be a starter at Wasd'le. (this year).

Snowdonia training starts on 26th June.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Summer Solstice "Do"

I'm away from 11th June to 25th. I'd be grateful if someone could organise the summer do. Unfortunately I'm spoken for for the weekend of 2nd July, so some time after that would be good. Any takers?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Well done

Congratulations to TF on a great Duddon run. Very impressive.
Duddon Valley Fell Race

Well I've finally laid the ghost to rest. Weather-wise the the early conditions were similar to 2008, very hot before you got the first delightful hint of a breeze going through the gate on the climb up to Harter Fell. CW had passed me but I caught him up again before the summit. 58 mins to the top and a little behind on my predicated split for a 5hr finish.

I managed a smile for the camera on the climb up Hardknott - the sign the photographer had left out told you to! Thence onto my nemesis Little 'Sit Down' as I affectionally called it in 2008. Well not anymore, it can now revert back to Little Stand, a very determined effort to climb without any rests and I made it. Down to 3 Shires Stone and I was nearly back on track, 3 mins off the 2hr30 for the split.

Despite being a championship race and the number entered (although not all turned up) I was surprised to see how gaps between runners appeared and as I approached the point where you bear off right to contour round Great Carrs there was a huddle of 4 runners in front looking intently at the map. They admitted to being too busy talking to watch where the ones ahead had gone. TF to the rescue, taking them on the grassy route instead of the rocky one! Ran round with the same group of runners all the way to Caw, pointing out the summits we were due to go to, just in case they fancied running ahead, none seem too inclined, I wonder why?!

It wasn't until I was halfway to Caw that I thought a 5hr finish was really on. A dicey moment trying to take too big a step at one point, eliciting the first twitch of cramp in my left thigh. Had to decide, do I lead with left leg only so only get cramp in one leg, or go for right leg and risk cramp in both. Decisions, decisions. Fortunately no more big steps to clamber up before the summit, leaving me with 25 mins to get to the finish. Made it in 13, phew! EtU and CW were there to greet me, I'll let them explain how they got back before me.

Final time 4:46:23, 227/268


ps Wasdale is now back on, it's official. No rest for the wicked!

Belated Congrats to YJ from NLN and FSS

Just arrived back from week in Scotland and Lakes and great to be able to add to the messages of congratulations for your 70@70 YJ.  Tremendous effort in the conditions on the day.  As always in these challenges you provided the opportunity for a great day out on the hills and supporting your effort.  Joss sends his best from Ennerdale yesterday.

Great pics from JtE, really capture the day - will put some on from the start and earlier legs soon as unpacking sorted.


Friday, June 03, 2011


Looking a bit doubtful

But the campaigns up and running, one of the elite runners from Dark Peak has already offered his services as sub. So EtU doesn't get away that easily! I'll still be intending to run the route on the 9th July whatever transpires.


May I add my belated congratulations to YJ for his tremendous 70@70 and for such a worthy cause as well. It's clear from reading his account and from JtE's photos that the weather was determined to make it as difficult as possible. It's not the thunderous-looking clouds that give the clue but the fact that EtU had his legs covered and Nico was wearing something over her vest! That's got to be seriously bad weather.

Whilst I'm on one of my infrequent posts, a well-done to EYJ for his sterling performances in the English Fell Championship, with the Gold Medal glistening seductively, and also a well-done to TF for her continuing improvement.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hoping I'm not counting my chickens, but....

the Borrowdale entry has just gone in the post (entry form now available on their website). It asked for (within the last 2 years) evidence of relevant experience and it was very satisfying being able to write down the 3 Peaks and Edale results. The first time I've been able to use them in this way as I don't recall Wasdale requiring proof of suitability, you just had to sign that you were competent. Curious the different approaches RO's have for these tough races.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

YJ's 70@70

Well done to YJ for your successful day out. It was a pleasure to assist. Just in case you have plans for any more night-time outings, I'll be investing in a new head torch. The 15 quid one from Argos did the job, but only just!

YJ's write-up on the days' events can be found on his blog. Click on the link further down this web page (on RHS)

I'm racing in the Duddon Valley this weekend so won't be out for a utup. I'll be taking some cake with me this time for post-race grub for hungry runners and supporters. Apologies for not supplying any last weekend but 4-5hrs in a car on my own with a supply of cake would have been too much of a temptation. I only have so much will-power!!