Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two New Ironmen to join Ray/TIM

A long day out supporting daughter Diane and hubby Neal on their Ironman debut - even longer for Julie as she drove them to the Reebok at 3.30 in the morning.
After watching (missing Neal) along Chorley New Road we zoomed over to Belmont where we missed them both on their first circuit. They were obviously ahead of schedule. We did however witness a nice little bike crash on the corner and a number of near misses. Luckily the cyclist was able to get back on his bike and continue. The second lap came round and we calculated that Diane was pacing herself exactly to her schedule. Back to Horwich to watch the run along Chorley New Road. Again we missed Neal but did catch Diane who, in the early stage of the run was a bit bothered by the heat. The loops between Bolton and Beaumont Road meant we had ample opportunity to cheer them on along with Ray and Harriers Colin Wood and Ian Hamer. The atmosphere outside Bolton School/Lionof Vienna was very raucous, including a live band
Diane rallied as her marathon debut progressed to finish 50 minutes ahead of target in 15:40 whilst Neal finished in a superb 12:58. Ray finished in 15:13, Ian in 11:54 and Colin in 12:04.
Back home now after picking the bikes up from Rivi School and enjoying champagne to celebrate.
One day I may get them out on a Saturday run.

Coope’s Dozen 30th. July 2011

or in my case Coope’s Ten.

The starting lineup was as follows:

Fast Group: Albert Sunter, Tony Varley, Paul Boardman, Mark Sammon and T’ Yorkshireman.

Slow Group: EtU, TF and me.

By the time the depleted slow team had finished the fast team were long gone and, therefore, I have no information on their time out. Perhaps T’Y could post a report. The slow team made steady progress and I, being the slowest, governed the pace. TF and EtU otherwise would have romped away. The first five summits were passed without much difficulty but then came the grind up to Counting Hill. The tussocks and the bracken seemed to be higher than I had remember them to be and these, coupled with the heat, made for an energy sapping 20 minutes or so. At the summit of Winter Hill TF left the group, returning to her car, visiting Noon Hill for the second time in the day. She was racing on the following day. The depleted group of two carried on to Hordern Stoops where YJ met us. We were fed and watered here mainly from provisions previously hidden. At this point, in order to avoid being out all day, I went directly to Spittlers Edge and Great Hill while EtU took in Old Adam Hill as well. We met up again at Great Hill and continued together via Round Loaf to White Coppice where we parted company again, EtU taking in Healey Nab while I made directly for the finish taking further nourishment hidden near to Waterman’s Cottage. EtU arrived at the finish only six minutes behind me. A great finish EtU.


Mark, Paul, Tony and Albert at the start.


TF, Me, EtU and T’Y also at the start.


EtU and TF leaving Two Lads.


Examining the cairn on Whimberry Hill.


At Egg Hillock.


Where others went before. Track clearly left in the grass as the fast group left Egg Hillock for Counting Hill.


At Winter Hill Trig Point.


At Hordern Stoops.


Devastation at Great Hill shelter. Paving taken up and put down again!


More devastation.


Round Loaf summit.

This, for me, was a great day out; 17.16 miles and by far the longest since injury.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

UK Ironman tomorrow

If you happen to be out watching the event, give a cheer for my daughter Diane (No 1235) and her husband Neal (No 344). It's a debut for both of them on the Ironman and their target is to complete it within the 17 hours allowed. Any more would be a bonus.
Ray (TIM) is also competing but I don't know his number.

A View From The Front

Not a heading you would expect from me.
I was last to turn up at the top barn for the start of this year's Coope's Dozen - as expected - and then I was encouraged to go off with the quick(er) group : Tony asked me not to call it the fast group! The group comprised Albert, Tony V, Paul Boardman and Mark Sammon. I'd run a few races at similar to pace as Mark but ALbert, Tony and Paul have always been significantly quicker than me.
The run up to Noon Hill was pretty straightforward but I lost ground going across the rough stuff on the direct route to the Pike. The good running on Georges Lane meant that by the climb to Two Lads I was back with the group and enjoying the run. The reservoir soon arrived and then the tricky narrow path across to Egg Hillock. The next section across to Counting Hill was very difficult across the tussocks and ferns. We then regrouped and went across to pay respects at Steve Barlow's plaque. I then pushed it to the trig point so I could get ahead and not hold them back too much on the descent to Horden Stoops. YJ met us with some refreshments and Paul bade his farewell, having completed his morning's run.
The next section was difficult for me but they waited for me at Old Adam's. Across to Spittlers and once we'd dropped down to the flags I was in my element and happy to make some effort up to Great Hill. A direct line off in the direction of Black Hill Upper took us to a good surface before the the descent off Round Loaf was the final one on a challenging surface. Regrouping just above Gamekeeper's Cottage, I knew the hard bit was over provided the stamina held up. The road descent and then the climb up to Healey Nab were very enjoyable passing a very attractive large yellow mushroom, which none of us risked tasting. The most direct path to Heapey Fold Lane included a bit of ducking under the trees and avoiding the thistles but it was all plian sailing back to the car park for a finishing time of 4hrs 50. I had been concerned about my stamina but was very happy that I was able to run up the steps from the stream towards Rivington Green and keep up a good pace to the finish.
Big thanks to the group for waiting for me at Counting Hill and Old Adam's.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dark and White Mini MM Hathersage/Longshaw Estate

I tend to bruise easily. So when I find a 50p size bruise I don't always remember how I've done it. I've got one the size of two £50 notes on my right thigh from last night and I definitely remember how I got it and can't believe having spotted the boulder jutting out in the way of the path, I still managed to run smack into it at full pelt. Ouch!

Anyway the sign of a good navigating event (but not necessarily a sign of how good my navigating is) is how many cuts, scrapes and bruises I return home with. I'll have a few to show off on Saturday.

Last night's event started from the National Trust's Longshaw Estate near Hathersage and had us up as far as Higger Tor in the north and Nether Padley in the south. I know the area reasonably well due to a few race routes criss-crossing the area. But you can still make mistakes trying to be too clever, as I did for one control last night, resulting in a bit of a 'red-faced' climb back up a fence line.

I did wonder why the organizers had chosen to place one control in an area which they then had to leave red/white tape for us to follow to get to it! Slightly defeats the object of the exercise. But it was easy for me to find as I'd been following the 'Exterminator' race route. A bit harder for those coming the opposite direction. Come to think of it, the previous three controls were on this route, as was the one I headed to next. Bet I'd find one of the organizers names in the results from previous years!

I plotted my route as just over 9m in 1hr 55. Full results now available on the Dark and White website

So after two events I've got a 1st and 2nd in my age category. All to play for on the final event on the 10th Aug, setting off from near Bakewell.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Coope's Dozen ~ This Saturday

Saturday 30th July 2011 that is, 9:00 at Rivington Top Barn.

By the way, if you Google "Coope's Dozen" it finds a few of our other recent posts, plus a rather good write-up from FSS's "Just us..." blog from 2009. Also, you don't need to scroll down very far to get advice on how to build a chicken coop!

As numbers may be a bit lower than in earlier years, you are all tasked with bringing along a clubmate, relative, guy you met in the pub, social worker, perfect stranger, cuddly toy, imaginary friend or whatever, to swell the numbers.  Folk doing Whittle Pike in the afternoon are not expected to do all twelve tops.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What on Earth...

...are they doing to the top of Great Hill? Or perhaps more importantly, who is doing what to the top of Great Hill?

I'd seen the damage last week on my usual Wednesday evening outing, but it had been a long day and I'd forgotten all about it by the time I got home. There had been a digger and a tracked truck full of surface scrapings.

On Saturday JtE and I saw that the vehicles had gone, but the "work" was incomplete. Most of the flagging from around the shelter had been taken up, although it seemed to be being replaced in a very similar style to how it had been before. Also the path on the White Coppice side had been scraped out and stones placed nearby, as though to pave it.

One really wonders who decided that this was necessary, and whose money is being used. United Utilities? Perhaps they could have spent the money on improving water supplies to delay the forthcoming hosepipe ban, or if they really wanted to do something for the environment, they could clear the rash of rhododendrons (had to look that one up) that has sprung up round about GR 671 147 on Winter Hill.

Anything known?

We'll have a group viewing on Saturday, can someone bring a camera?

PS ~ Well done SN, as they say, "You've got to be in it, to win it".

Mission Accomplished!

Oops. If at first you don't succeed...

If anyone is thinking of doing the last of the Horwich Jubilee Races on 17 Aug, 43;16 is the time to beat. It was worth the effort as I now stand TOP of the ladies road championship leaderboard for 2011. I know this is because nobody else has turned up and that by next Wednesday I will have been overtaken again, but I am just enjoying my moment of glory this week.

My other half has now recovered sufficiently to have been placed on the waiting list to have the other knee done in about 3 months time so I am hoping to make the most of the Summer months. It will be my last Tues utup tomorrow before heading off to the Lakes but if anyone is planning a trip up to the Lakes to run or reccy and wants some company I will be glad to oblige!

I haven't seen many of you for a while but always enjoy following what you've been up to. I have been kept up to date by my Tues running partner whilst learning to identify wheatears and stonechats. Well done TF on all your recent achievements and good luck on Saturday EYJ.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yeh, she's not bad for an old bird. Had an even older bird pacing her round the track session on Tues, so I think I'll take some credit for her result!

I could just about make it to the 400m mark before she got to 500m. Didn't quite manage a sub 1:30 for 400m, but was getting close. The fastuns were doing an alternating 400m/600m session, and I had a rest on the 400m lap and joined in the 600m (well 2/3rd of it). But they don't half faff about these fastuns getting ready to do a session, I'd done 4 x 400 before they'd even started, the next 10 were quicker by about 10/15s so it does help not having to do the sessions on your own.


They're Ganging Up On Me!

Moonraker 10k, Sunday 24th July ~ 1st Man, Tarus Elly, Salford 32:37 ~ 1st Lady Bev Jemkins Salford (V40! eat your heart out TF) 11th overall in 37:48 ~ 148th Yours Truly 53:07. 185 finished.
Turnslack Sat 23rd July 8m/2000

My first go at this race. This year was it's 33rd time of running. A bit of sunshine had brought quite a few runners out, including 'TY.

The first section along the Pennine Bridleway I knew, but we soon turned off onto unfamiliar territory. The organizer had done a good job of flagging the course but it was still 'follow-my-leader' round all the boggy bits. 'TY had set up a healthy lead until the turn at the half-way point at Freeholds Top trig point. Then we got to the good bit of the race, the steep downhill sections!

The first one was down to Ramsden Clough reservoir where if you weren't careful you nearly finished the race minus one foot crossing it's inlet, due to a cleverly hidden piece of barbed-wire amongst the reed-bed. A stiff climb over the top of Ramsden Hill and down the other side on a contouring slope to Cranberry Dam. Final stiff climb up to Noon Hill (can't believe there's two of them) and a bit of boggy running on the top until the final descent with a tricky 10ft wall to get over and then back onto the Bridleway and home.

Definitely felt longer than 8m, partly due to all the running I had to do. Not used to that having spent lots of time in the lakes recently. But it was a good blast. Winning time was 65.44 (Tom Addison, Helm Hill) I was 80th and managed 103.51 and 'TY was 88th and 110.19. There was 97 runners in total, so a good turn out. Fantastic Tea, Sandwiches and Cake all laid on (for a small fee) at the end. I'll definitely give it another go, a nice tough race for the summer.

John Mayall who runs for Rochdale has his own website which he details lots of the local races. It's a fabulous resource and includes GPS traces and OS map routes, and a bit of a write up on each race. Web address is and it's where I found the info I needed for this race


Friday, July 22, 2011

Whittle Pike Recce

Well it's all down to EYJ now. We got him round the route last night, picking up some of the better lines and missing some others. Always a bit disconcerting when you've trudged across loads of tussocky stuff to reach the summit cairn and then turn round to see that there was a perfect trod winding it's way up the hill about 50m to the left!

Good training though. It packs a lot in for under 5m, as the 1200ft climb would suggest. So wish EJY all the best for the race. Enjoy!

I'm not out on Saturday as I'm planning on doing Turnslack Fell Race. It's an afternoon race so my first lie-in on a Saturday morning since I don't know when!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Lingmell Beck Bridge

May be of interest:-

Whittle Pike Recce

To increase EYJ's chances of shaking off the other 70 year old who may share the gold medal with him, TF is showing him the Whittle Pike race route this Thursday, 21st July and I'll be tagging along.  We're meeting in Cowpe at 6:45, running at 7:00.  I'm happy to give a lift to anyone who fancies coming along.
Wasdale Results

Was getting very impatient and about to email the organizer, but finally they've appeared online Doesn't show the DNF's of which there were about 20-odd I believe. Will probably need to await the report on CFR's website to see the full picture.

When I look back to when I first started doing fell races, I would regularly be finishing 4 or 5 from the back on a 5 mile race, or even last on some occasions! One of my very first forays into the fell-running world was the Great Hill Race which I ran in 2005, finishing 55/60 in a time of just over an hour

Just goes to show how far I've come in the intervening years. Just a small matter of completing Borrowdale and Ennerdale (have to be 2012) now and I'll have done the full set of Lakeland Clasics.


Coope's Dozen 30th July

Looks like there'll be a few of us.  I'll get it put on the RMI site and if anyone wants to publicise it elsewhere, please do. I'm happy to be be the contact if anyone wants further details.

Start 9:00 a.m at the Top Barn.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wasdale Outing Sat 16th July

What a difference a week makes, distinctly wet yesterday. Half the usual utup (EtU, YJ and me)team had decided on a day trip to Wasdale to help me find the last piece of the jigsaw for the Borrowdale Fell race, aka the 'corridor route'. Had heard about this route many times, but never done it. It's amongst many on the 'tick list' of things to do.

Our arrival at Brackenclose coincided with lots of support teams for BG's, one being Fred's run which you find more about here
and view a youtube clip here One team had been there long enough to have the bacon sizzling in the pan. Smelt delicious, but hunger pangs were not what you needed just before setting off on a good hike (ooops, sorry meant run!) At EtU's insistence we ran out of the car park to the cattle grid, (a good 20m or so!) just so he could log it as running miles.

By the time we got to the last fell gate, I was rapidly getting the hint that the 'tourist' route was not going to be optimum route choice for making it to Scafell Pike. Tales of woe from descending walkers about the depth of Lingmell Gill were becoming more exaggerated one by one. By the time it was nearing chest depth, plan B swung into action. We 'swung' left up onto Lingmell Fell and followed the path (reverse of Wasdale Fell Race) to Lingmell Col and up to the bend of the path up to Scafell Pike.

On the way up I'd discussed the option of carrying straight on and avoiding the scree run down from Scafell Pike. Maybe I was wimping out a bit, but felt it was better being left to a day when the adrenaline rush had already kicked in. I also needed to keep my two guides able-bodied for the key purpose of the recce. So after a further group discussion and relieved that they weren't too disappointed on missing the summit, I navigated them (expertly done, apparently) to the top of Piers Gill. At which point it was 'over to you boys'!

Not sure why, but I'd always imagined that the 'corridor route' would be narrow, indistinct rocky path which you'd really needed to keep your wits about you so you didn't go 'off piste' as I'd done the other week coming off Great Gable. So pleasantly supprised to see it was a veritable motorway of a path compared to what I'd already conjured up in my mind. There was only one section, which had already been eluded to as the 'rock climbing bit' on the previous Saturday's run discussions, which wits were required.

As we neared the end of the route, we were getting brief clearances in the misty conditions to help nail a more grassy and direct route across Sty Head towards the location of the race check-point at the Stretcher Box. One of the reasons why I tend to do a lot of race recces on my own is I like to do a bit of 'faffing about' finding the best lines. It needs a lot of patience (and time) going back and forth over a route even over a small area. YJ is equally afflicted with this trait, EtU less so but generously played along to humour me and YJ.

It took us 3hrs or so to get to Sty Head, so we weren't going to win any prizes but despite some weariness EtU's competetive mode was still there he challenged two 'likely lads' to a dash up Great Gable. The challenge was to get to the top in 30 mins. We let them set off and then turned to head down the valley. His reasoning being that he'd already done it numerous times and at their age it should be a doddle. I think the 'likely lads' will need to put in a bit more training, as EtU bumped into them down at the campsite and it'd taken them 32mins. Will need to see what I can do in three weeks time.

It's a long drive for an 8 mile route (YJ will be able to give a more accurate report regarding distance/climb) but I'm indebted to both YJ and EtU (driver) for accompanying me on this last part of my preparation for placing myself on the start line of the Borrowdale Fell Race. Training begins in earnest again on Monday having eased off a little this week.


Friday, July 15, 2011

A tour of a dozen

Hopefully I'll be able to make the Coope's Dozen on the 30th. However it is the day before the Ironman. Although I'm not particapating I suspect it will be a long day supporting Diane and Neal.
The Dozen is a sort of tour and there's another one going on with a couple of hundred cyclists pootling around France. Tomorrow's stage of the Tour de France finishes at the Plateau de Beille - this was one of locations to die for on last year's walk - almost exactly a year ago when I was there (July 18th to be precise). Some photos below. The first one was the view from outside the bar/cafe. It had been a fairly early finish, about 3pm so just a wonderful place to relax in the sunshine. The place looks quite empty - it's normally a Nordic Ski centre so it's peak time will be January to April but I suspect it will be rather crowded tomorrow afternoon. ITV4 has live coverage from 2pm day (correction - it starts at 11am for this stage) and I guess the winner will finish at around 4.30 BST.

No more cakes

We should all be grateful to JtE and more importantly to his good lady who over the years have offered such good support for the Coope's Doz, It won't be the same without Joan and her bootload of goodies but we must move with the times and acknowledge the commitment shown in all weathers. Thanks to you both.

I too am up for a running of Coope's Doz (or even a Zod Sepooc) and July 30th will allow plenty of recovery before the Chernobyl 10k on Aug 14th.

Coope’s Dozen

I am sorry to say that I am no longer able to provide the hospitality for this event as I have done over the years. Nevertheless, if the run can take place without my support then why not? I am up for it on the 30th. July or on some other date.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday night entertainment

Last night's run was from the posh bit of Cheshire, Mobberley. A navigating event organized by the Manchester orienteering club. As with the previous two events I'd done, you got a choice of being out for 60mins or 90mins. I thought 60mins of running would suffice. The organizer promised that it wouldn't be as 'hilly' as normal but there was a good network of paths and tracks and plenty of choice of controls to visit. Just what the Doctor ordered then for post-Wasdale recovery.

A long briefing session before the off, which boiled down to 'don't upset the locals, as we won't be invited back!' I'd already recce'd the start/finish area and decided that the field behind the pub was a 'no-go' area due to presence of cows with calves. The map is a version of the 1:25 OS map, scaled up to approx 1:16. We got given a minute to look at the map to plan our route and then off we went. A definite lack of contour lines evident, the controls seemed quite spread out and there was lots of fields with the potential for livestock.

Was doing ok up to 30mins, then I made a bit of a duff choice to go to one control, which I abandoned as I couldn't find a way through a load of brambles and hedgerow for the ROW/footpath. This meant a change of route which ultimately lead to (yes, you've guessed it) a field of cows. Big and little black and white ones, about 30 of them all standing on the footpath halfway down the field. The footpath ran along the edge of the field so I tried to make a wide sweep to avoid them, but they started to charge towards me. So I turned round and sprinted back to the gate (painful). When safely behind the metal, I turned round to find they'd disappeared! Unbeknown to me they'd cut through the hedge, into the neighbouring field having been 'spooked' by a runner coming the opposite way across the field. He said they were friendly, and a bit playful. Didn't look exactly playful when they were charging at me!

Well the 'playful' bit cost me a point, as all this toing-froing meant I arrived back late to the finish. Will await the results to see how every one else coped, I certainly didn't manage to visit as many controls as the previous two events, at least I've got Wasdale as an excuse + the 'friendly' cows.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coope's Dozen

Not many years back we had settled on the Saturday before Borrowdale for our annual group tour of this round. Last year, due to what we thought might be a poor turnout, we didn't do it, although I was later to learn that Tony Alexander had toed the line alone, sorry Tony.

Any interest this year in the30th July (which coincides with Whittle Pike), or some other date?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My new toy

Basking in my success, I thought I'd treat myself. I now have a new watch (Suunto) that not only tells the time, but can tell me my direction and altitude. Currently I'm sat in my office at work at 11.45am, facing south and at -37m (office on first floor of building). Me thinks I need to read the instructions again!

I'm hoping to get a bit of practice in, especially with the altimeter to help with Mountain Marathons. So will be bringing the OS map on Thurs to test it out. Expect lots of stop & starts!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Winning ways

After pleading tiredness from the Penine Way run to account for my poor training performances of late I am embarrassed to report a better than expected time for the Catforth 10k on Sunday. Finishing in 47mins 53secs I took the prize for the first Over 70 (I was the only over 70) and quickly converted my winners voucher into a pair of shorts.

It is a very fast and flat two lap course with no hills save those over canal bridges. The second placed runner was from Salford club who had ridden in the Manchester to Blackpool cycle event, stopped off in Catforth, done the 10K race and then continued with the ride to Blackpool.

Don't we know of another Salford runner who did rather well at the weekend? Well done TF - Wasdale is one of the toughest races in the Calendar.

Wivlesfield Wobbler

Yesterday after a gap of six and a half years, I pinned a number to my vest and entered a race! My middle daughter Rebecca (who some of you will remember) has been living on the South coast for several years and now runs for Worthing Harriers. This club is part of a group who compete in the West Sussex Running League and the Wivlesfield Wobbler is one of the events. Rebecca was running and suggested that since it wasn't far (4.5 miles) and mainly off road, that I should try it. So there I was at 11am yesterday lined up near the back of the field with just two ambitions; to run all the way and not to be last! I am pleased to say that I succeeded in both ambitions although the last half mile was a struggle, as much due to the heat as anything else (or that's my excuse). It was nice to compete again as I had forgotten what a race was like, however, however pleased I was with my efforts, they pale into insignificance compared with TF's wonderful achievement at Wasdale - well done indeed.
Just for the record it took me just over 43 mins (a pw) - Rebecca beat me by 10 minutes!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wasdale 2011

First of all lots of thank yous. To all the wfdbwgua members for all your support and encouragement, to Rhys Findlay-Robinson for taking on the mantle of stand-in organizer, the team of marshals and helpers that make one of the toughest fell races happen and finally the weather-gods for providing near perfect conditions.

Race plan was the same as Duddon, set off at a pace and keep it going for as long as possible. Cut-offs were as follows, Whin Rigg 1hr, Seatallan 2hr 25, Pillar 3hr 25, Great Gable 4hr 30.

Whin Rigg in 51:27 so good solid start.
Seatallan in 2:11:48 - was chuffed with this as it really gave me a good cushion for later.
Pillar in 3:17:48 - not the 10mins clear I was hoping for, but not a disaster.

So nearly there. Got to Black Sail pass with 52 mins to go, Beck Head with 24 mins to go, getting stressed and worried about the touch of cramp I kept getting in left thigh. Kept checking my watch on the way up and finally

Great Gable in 4:27:36 - what a relief!! Had a 20p fudge bar to celebrate, whilst I talked to the marshals and had a look round at the view. Third time I'd been on the summit and the first time I could see more than twenty feet ahead!

Got myself safely off Gable and onto the next stage of the race, completion. Now the stressful bit was over just had to concentrate on moving forward (without falling over) and enjoy it! Being able to ease off the pace helped a bit as the dreaded cramp never returned. As you can see from NLN's photos the weather from here onwards was glorious. I passed on my regards to Dave P-T at Esk Hause and due to a bit of a conversation I'd over heard between two of the other runners, realised that the CFR runner I'd had in sight most of the way round was Peter Ferris, who'd helped on a couple of JN. He was accompanied by his dog on the route who seemed to be as good at navigating as his owner, although occasionally decided that his owner should throw in an extra summit, as if the 5 main ones weren't enough!

Got to Esk Hause in 5:20:59, Scafell Pike 6:01:48 and Lingmell Nose 6:30:04.

Finish time 6:36:57. My friend Ruth (runs for Salford H too) had decided to come up to Wasdale for the day, bringing her Mum for a trip out and was there to see me into the finish. She thinks I'm mad. Drove me to the Wasdale Inn for a pint to celebrate. I think I'd earnt it.

(all being well I'll be out for a run on thurs, and trip back to Wasdale on Saturday if the weather looks favourable)

Saturday at Wasdale


What a stunning day in the Lakes yesterday at the Wasdale FR.  Albert was the only Horwich runners at the start, but sadly retired.   However there were a bunch of Bowland lads and lasses, along with a lone (?) Salford lady whom sadly I missed getting a picture of.  The reason for this being that said lady advised me that if I wished to use the facilities on the campsite I needed to rush across before they closed for cleaning!  So sorry TF, but looking forward to the race report. 

Mark Sammon and his mate Chris Green were up for the weekend and Mark and I joined forces for a trot round some of the high spots from a spectator’s view that is.  Our route taking us over Black Sail Pass following the race route to Beck Head, up and over Great Gable and down to Sty Head on the route, before taking the corridor route to rejoin the runners down the nose of Lingmell this gave us just under ten miles and just over 4,248 ft climbed.

More action shots on FSS’s blog here.

Saturday's Route

Spectator’s route!


It’s those last minute adjustments that make all the difference before the race Smile



Bill and Chris.  We would see them both again, not looking quite so fresh.  We came across Bill reeling in agony amongst the rocks below Beck Head  suffering from severe cramp, we stopped to respond to his agonised cries for - of all things …..  DIORALYTE…..  and believe it or not Mark had a couple of sachets about his person.   Best thing apparently for rehydration and preventing (if taken soon enough) muscle cramps.  A quick and vigorous calf massage and Bill was on his way.  Our good deeds of the day!


RO Rhys Findlay-Robinson who heroically stepped in to save this year’s race when the original organiser found himself unable to continue.








… and they’re off


Water stop on way from Black Sail Pass to Beck Head


Click for larger version above, to see the  runners making their way up Gable, and below the big picture with the summit – both from Beck Head



The clouds breaking up to reveal the view across to the Langdales from the summit of Great Gable


From Sty Head looking down to Wasdale Head


FSS leading a small group out of Sty Head to tackle Scafell et al.  Mark and I took the corridor route and then re-joined the race route with perfect timing to catch them again as they came down to the last descent to the race field.


Here he is - FSS on the last descent – concentrate now, remember what your wife said about not falling over a week before our trek in the Turkish mountains Smile


Here comes Chris


Bill looking a whole lot happier than the last time we saw him Smile


The Scafells and Mickledore from Lingmell – and below.  Now in the sunshine, a bit late for the runners earlier.



My excellent companion for the day Mr Mark Sammon


Looking back at Ling Mell with some runners still descending

See you all after the Turkish mountains and hopefully a successful ascent of the big one – Mt Arrarat, no doubt there will be souvenirs from the Ark available in the bazaars!


Saturday, July 09, 2011

The boy didn’t do Too Bad Either

Well done TF.  Pleased to report that FSS received his first fell race prize by coming in 2nd V55, he did say to mention that there was a Championship race on in Wales!  Photos to follow.


The Girl Done Good

I am reliably informed by our northern correspondent (ONC) that TF successfully completed the Wasdale fell race today in 6:36, well done that lady.

Any news on FSS?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Whittle Pike Recce

Thursday 14 July is the only date I can manage but as I am struggling to return to fitness I am not making any definite plans.

I will be UTUPing on Saturday 9th and how well I run will determine whether I turn out for the Corridor Route recce the following week.


Hoopoe 2

Yes EtU, you are quite likely to have seen the exotic upupa epops on Menorca. About the size of a mistle thrush. They are summer breeding visitors to Central and Southern Europe having travelled from their wintering grounds south of the Sahara. Very occasionally they overshoot to Southern England on their journey north and rarely further north still. This year one has been seen at Beetham, Cumbria.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Most of you will know that I'm recently back from a fortnight on Menorca, and I thought you may be interested in coming round to my house to see my holiday photographs ~ only joking!  No, I thought you may be interested in a brief resume of the island from a runner's (?!) viewpoint.

Like many Mediterranean areas, Menorca consists of fairly rough terrain, mostly covered in scrub, and not generally easy going if you stray from defined paths. Most of the land is undeveloped and sparsely populated. Although rough and undulating, there is no real mountain terrain, the highest point being Mount Toro, at 352 - 358 metres (about 1,160 ft) depending on which guidebook you read. Sitting on the top, as with Winter Hill, are a number of communication masts, but also a chapel, a cafe bar and gift shop and a large car park; quite crowded really. Due again to the scrub cover, there is no apparent route up, other than by road, and I ran up this, from the nearest car park in an adjacent town in 28 minutes.

This was taken from the summit car park, facing in a northerly direction.

The island benefits from the Cami de Cavalls,which is an ancient bridle path, currently being re-established after possibly centuries of neglect. The path is well marked and generally follows the coast. Whilst it would make a wonderful circular route, but with its meanderings and given that Menorca is about 30 miles long, it probably offers a 150 mile circuit, so you'd be doing well to cover it in less than several days. This means that it's not ideal for running, unless you have road support, as the roads all seem to radiate from the centre, so it generally only offers out and back routes. On the first day when I ran along it from our base at Es Canutells, I was met by a mountain bike event involving several hundred riders that severely impeded my progress. All wall crossings are similarly marked with the type of rustic gate and stoops shown below, and in between, the route is marked with the short posts that can be seen just through it.

The island seems to be largely made up of limestone with large stretches of the coast consisting of severely eroded limestone pavements, giving rise to spectacular cliffs and sea caves.

The bird life was a little disappointing, mostly house sparrows, herring gulls and collared doves, although I did get a couple of glimpses of what I thought were hoopoes: perhaps JtE could say whether that is likely.

We did see several of the wild tortoises, although on one of my wearier runs, I found it difficult to catch up and pass a particularly lively specimen on the road. Apparently now naturalised, they are not indigenous, but were introduced by the Moors. Not sure if that's Mr and Mrs Moor, or some ancient Mediterranean people. This one was helping to keep the grass down in the garden of our villa:-

On a different note, for anyone wanting to develop their all over tan, there is a very relaxed attitude to nudity on the beaches, although gentlemen are expected to cover their chests when purchasing drinks at a bar.

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 7th and Saturday 9th.
Whittle Pike Recce

Looks like it's narrowed down to

Thurs 14th July
Mon 18th July
Thurs 21st July
Mon 25th July
Thurs 28th July

(favouring the middle three myself, 28th July could be a bit close to the event, I discounted Mon 11th as could be a bit short notice for notifying people)

I'll be out for a brief utup this week, last run before Wasdale. Probably looking for no more than 45mins and a slow pace so won't get very far. Let me know if anyone else will be out so I know whether to wait.

Wishing TIM/Ray a speedy recovery.


TIM/New Ray

New, but now slightly shop soiled, Ray has just had another set back to his comeback. EYJ tells me that he has been knocked off his bike, and whilst not hospitalised, he has injured ribs and is severely knocked about.

Tough luck, Ray, hope you're soon in the saddle again.


Whittle Pike ~ Bumped into EYJ and Peter R (one of John's many coaches) on the Pike last night. John says he can do any evening. Peter expressed an interest and said there was only the Jubilee date, 20th July, that he can't do. I can do any Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs, but would prefer to avoid Tuesdays as that's track night. I should be able to be in Cowpe before 7:00 as having EYJ on board shouldn't slow me down too much.

Borrowdale ~ 16th sounds good, I've got an all day pass!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Whittle Pike Recce
Just to make sure EYJ finishes undisputed champion, we thought a recce of the Whittle Pike course should be organized. Discussions on Saturday favoured an evening mid-week outing, arranging to meet up at Cowpe.

The evenings I can't do are Weds 13th July and Weds 27th July. I'm free-ish though for other evenings from Mon 11th July. I would be driving from work (Manchester) and would hope to be in Cowpe sometime between 6.30 & 7.00pm.

I'm assuming anyone coming from Bolton area would be able to make a similar time, but it would be helpful if others could post their availability and possible ETA, then we could come to some consensus.

Borrowdale Recce
An outing is planned (weather permitting) for Saturday 16th July to recce the corridor route of the Borrowdale Fell Race. Plan would be to start from Brackenclose (Wasdale) and head up to Scafell Pike and follow the route to Styhead, a trip up Great Gable to find a grassy way off to Windy Gap may also be on the cards too, depending on whether the first-aider has enough plasters left! Interested parties should also post so we can organize transport etc.


V70 Fell Championship

Those of you who are even slightly more switched on than me will have realised that my painstaking and detailed assessment of the various possible outcomes of the fell championship was basically flawed, in that only an individual's three best positions count, rather than the four which I had used.

As I believe had already been stated, EYJ is assured of at least a half share in the gold medal, and if he gains any points at Whittle Pike he will be the undisputed V70 champion.

Apologies for any confusion, dismay or suicide attempts I may have caused.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Hope Wakes Fell Race 5.9m/1480ft

I had a couple of choices for Wednesday night racing, but opted for this one. I'd enjoyed it in 2009 when I was in my proverbial 'kid in a sweet shop' mode having been released onto the racing scene following the fairly barren year before (training for the marathon 2008).

So a welcome return. In 2009 I'd managed 77mins, so was hoping for a sub 70min effort. The route takes you from the playing fields in Hope Village and up onto Win Hill. It then drops into the forest along the banks of the Ladybower reservoir, which you run parallel to, until the second climb back up onto Win Hill, this time to the summit. The descent from there is the same (for those that know it) as the one in the Edale Skyline. The beauty of it this time round, is that you can go 'hell for leather' knowing you haven't got Lose Hill, Mam Tor, Lords Seat etc to follow.

The race is now into it's 65th year, one of the oldest races still going in Derbyshire/Peak District area. A very decent turn-out of runners, probably 200+, were sent on our way by the winner of the very first race in 1946, a Mr Bob Randles. Having done a track session the night before I decided to see if it'd have any beneficial affect. Lasted about 200m before a load came streaming past! So with my recent Lakeland training I thought I'd see how many I could pull back on the steeper bits. I pushed myself hard on these climbs, trying to run as much as possible. Although, narrow tracks and single file lines of 'runners' held me back a bit, I was pleased with the places I gained, with a few appreciative comments from the runners I passed.

I returned to the finish field for my celebratory orange squash and flapjack (provided by race organizers) and my own homemade sultana scone. Lovely. Time, I think about 65mins. So quite an improvement on 2009, with a reasonable number of runners behind me too.

An easy run last night, but it's usually 2 days after when I normally suffer. So tonights run will see how much affect 'going for it' on the last downhill stretch has had! All easy-paced runs, and definitely no racing now until Wasdale on the 9th July.