Thursday, September 29, 2011

Must Have Been a Poor Quality Field!

On Saturday, wearing my new lightweight Brooks racing pumps I toed the line for my first attempt at the Langdale half marathon.  The day was mild and very wet, and I was surprised that the route, starting from the New Dungeon Gill, set off up the valley. Now as everyone knows, there is only one road route out of the top of the Langdale Valley and that is the one that turns south and heads over the pass by Blea Tarn. So only one mile into the race and I was walking. Once over the brow I was able to run again and was able to enjoy the views, made quite spectacular as all the high stuff disappeared into the clouds.

The route descends to Little Langdale, heads towards the Drunken Duck, hits the main road again at Skelwith Bridge, then takes the high road towards Grasmere (walked again) and then descends towards Elterwater Village before returning to the start via Chapel Stile.

Lost quite a few places just before the ten mile point due to an enforced pit stop, but was so cross at this, that the resultant adrenalin helped me to retake them all, and more, before the finish.

A PW of 2:11:27 for this distance, but was nevertheless the first OAP home (out of 3 V65s and 2 V70s).

However this was small consolation when I checked back in my archives to find that I had run 3:43 for the full marathon placing 11th out of 53 in 1993 and was 24th out of 97 in 3:24 in 1994; two laps of the same course in the other direction. Father Time, you are a cruel man.

Charlie Pass of Wesham won in 1:19:15, Paul Muller was 3rd and firstV50 in 1:23:53 and first lady was Mairi Crawford of Heaton in 1:37:39.

Steven Prentice of N.E. Marathon club won the full distance race in 3:04:47.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Week

Thursday 29th UTUP ~ probably off-road 'til the light goes then picking up the mast road, but a head torch would be sensible.

Saturday 1st Oct ~ Chipping at 9:00 a.m for a 27 mile hilly road run ~ hopefully a head torch won't be needed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Few Holiday Pics.


Sunset at the farm.



Flamborough Head.



Robin Hood’s Bay: A sting in the tail.




The notice says it all. (Please don’t get any ideas YJ!)



One for TF.



One for FSS.

Butser Hill Challenge

It is in the FRA fixture list as a cat B race, which I have to say had me puzzled until I got there. How could a 4.5 mile race on the South Downs be a cat B? Easy, they make you climb it from bottom to top 3 times! Still its all part of the great comeback, even though on the third climb I doubted my sanity. The winner did 33 something, our Rebecca 46 and I took 54, which means I have cut the gap between us!
A final thought: there are some very bad descenders down here . I was never any good at descending when I was fit and I cant have improved, but I still managed to overtake several runners on the descents. Very unusual indeed.

Swinton 10M

1hour 32 mins to complete the above, I'm calling it a pb as it's the first 10 mile race I've ever done!
More importantly I was first (and only) Horwich RMI lady and acquired 30 points. This puts me on 117 points with one race to go. My nearest rival has 89 points so I need to complete the Gin Pit 5M next Sunday just in case B of B turns up to do it and ends up with 119 points.Hope that makes sense.
Hoping to utup Tues but various parents' evenings make me unavailable for Thursday's outing with the male trio.
Just need to make sure I don't break any ribs before next Sunday!

Fast Ladies

Looks like TF had a successful weekend over the border, sounds good!

SN was telling me that her overall success in the Horwich road championship hinged on whether the Brunette from Blackrod showed up for the final race. The B from B wasn't on the Swinton 10 finishers' list, so did you crack it, SN.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rab Mountain Marathon 24/25th Sep 2011

Just returned from North Wales. Absolutely fabulous weekend. Results here

I was on the standard course, unbelievably lying 2nd FV40 'team' overnight, but the 3rd and 4th placed FV40's (also both doing it solo) pulled the stops out on Day 2, leaving me a creditable 4th FV40, one place improvement from last year. The best bit was being 55th (out of 292) overall, last year 133/268.

A few pictures from the overnight campsite

On Day 2 you had a choice of climbing to the top of this hill for your first control

or climbing to the corner of the felled forrest seen in the picture below

Both only worth 10 points, I opted for the later, will have to analyse the split times to see if I made the right decision!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Monday Downhill ~ Thursday Uphills and Downhills

Monday evening's assembled throng. Results on Harriers' website. The reason I was last was that because of my hi-viz I was called upon to direct traffic and empty a couple of wheelie bins on my way through Horwich ~ wheelie.

Good to see SN out again on Thursday evening, together with the GM and Botters.  Just Burnt Edge, Two Lads and the Pike at a fairly leisurely pace, most enjoyable.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An away day

Don't look for me on Saturday UTUP as I shall be spending the day in York and the following week I shall be assisting EtU and TF on their run around the Trough of Bowland. By then I hope the injury will have made sufficient progress to allow some proper running.
Fingers crossed.
Three Shires Results

Slower than I thought, but 29 behind so not bad, that's a definite improvement on 2007.

By my calculation it's earned me 30 pts for the Lakeland Classic Trophy, my best result yet this year. A link to the website can be found at the bottom of the championship page of - website not working at moment for a direct link

No utup tonight or Saturday


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Week & Saturdays

Planning to UTUP this Thursday 22nd (second day of Autumn). Should be able to get an hour in before we lose the light.

Won't be out on a Saturday for some time. 24th it's the Langdale Half Marathon, 1st October a road training run around the Trough of Bowland, 8th October Langdale Horseshoe, 15th October weekend away at Santon, 22nd October maybe a final long road run before Snowdonia Marathon on the 29th ~ see you in November!

Can someone indicate each week whether they'll be out on the Saturday, then occasional attendees know whether to expect company.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday’s Outing

Too wet for camera Saturday, so thought I’d post a few from Sunday’s run with FSS when the weather was considerably kinder to us.


Ed's 65 (2 of 8)

Smithills Res

Ed's 65 (3 of 8)

FSS running towards Whimberry Hill and Egg Hillock with Holcombe Tower below the skyline

Ed's 65 (4 of 8)

Shaly Dingle above and below – very impressive with all the water from yesterdays heavy rain

Ed's 65 (5 of 8)


Ed's 65 (6 of 8)

From the ramp looking to summit of WH – two walkers can be seen if you click on the image to make it larger

Ed's 65 (7 of 8)

A couple of practice shots on reflections – needs a bit of work!!   But proof of the blue skies, albeit patchy


Ed's 65 (8 of 8)

Not out Sat - Rucksack event at High Moss in Duddon – have fun all

Rolling on the floor laughing


Belated Birthday Snaps

A few piccies from Friday night’s Solstice gathering/Ed’s Birthday celebrations.  Quality a bit ropey, not used to taking indoor shots!

Ed's 65 (1 of 5)

Surprise birthday cake arrives

Ed's 65 (2 of 5)

Now how did they know it was me?


Ed's 65 (3 of 5)

Personalised treatment – flipped this upside down in case you were wondering, to see the picture


Ed's 65 (4 of 5)

bit of a speech

Ed's 65 (5 of 5)

the perfect gift

Confused smile

Our Trip to the (wet) North

The Lord of Brentford and his Good Lady, would like to thank the good folk of Horwich and Blackrod for a very enjoyable weekend.

Thursday found EtU celebrating being an OAP! Five of us set off from Stocks Park for a short run on a lovely evening. After a gentle jog up Two Lads, we descended to Pike Cottage and then to the bottom of the Pike,where EtU said "lets have a pursuit". After the usual debates as to who should go when, Steve set off protesting that he was taking no part in this madness. However, he still got to the top first just beating "that Southerner" by a fraction. After that we all repaired to the Bridge to toast Ed's health. It was nice to see that in this ever changing world, t'Y's ability to lead with his chin, has remained as good as ever.

Friday I went for a longish walk on the moors with a friend of mine from down here who was in St Helens doing up his father-in-law's flat. A round tour taking in the reservoirs, White Coppice, Great Hill (what are they doing to the summit? its a mess!), Spittlers, Winter Hill and the Pike, was a good way to spend the day. I certainly worked up a good appetite (and thirst) for the do on Friday night which was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends.

Saturday was wet! Five of us set off and going up Two Lads, EtU told me to look behind at the very large and very black cloud coming our way. When it struck, it was like being hit by a cosmic machine gun. At that point KLM and I peeled off as we had to get back and I can say that it was just as wet but not as cold lower down. as for Saturday's football, revenge will be mine in February.

So thanks again to all concerned. Please keep posting the phots so that I don't forget what a hill looks like.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Friday Night, Saturday Morning and Saturday Afternoon

Friday Night was good, thanks folks. Nice to see one or two new faces. Interesting that although 18 showed for the pub session, only five showed for the run; good to see that you've got your priorities right.

Saturday Morning was wet, very. Five of us toed the starting line and although birthday boyYJ, still nursing his sciatica, dropped back very early on, he still managed to catch up the main group on both the Pike and Two Lads. KLM and TLoB had other fish to fry and dropped off early, leaving yours truly to struggle on like a lone drenched rat behind the pied piper (aka NLN or Relentless of Aspull). We managed 13 and a bit waterlogged miles, nevertheless deemed it a good morning out. I dread to think what a bad morning out would be like.

In the meantime TF was giving the Three Shires a seeing to, well done, as you said, just Ennerdale next year and you've got the full set!

Saturday Afternoon ~ Also being given a seeing to, was Brentford Town, beaten 3:1 at home by PNE. Most, if not all, of the Swift clan were born less than a mile from Deepdale, so even though we're not generally avid supporters, it's difficult not to enjoy TLoB's discomfort.

Finally, and just because the weekend was generally devoid of colour, here's a bit of sunshine:-

My sunflowers, backed by next door's crab apples and shed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Three Shires 13m/4000ft Sat 17th Sept 2011

Thought I'd post ahead of the full results as a busy day tomorrow helping out with our club's 10k. No I'm lying, I've got my tax return to do and I've run out of other household chores to delay the inevitable.

A rather 'taxing' drive up to Little Langdale, motorway conditions appalling but thankfully only light traffic. Race parking (as blogged earlier in week) was some distance from the start which meant sorting the necessary dry clothes and waterproof bag to store them in for changing after the race. Thought I'd time my arrival so that I'd not have more than 30 mins to hang about getting cold. Seemed like everyone else had the same idea and the queue for registration stretched all the way round the pub.

After a few minor hiccups with the PA system (at one point it fell over and bashed someone's car, ouch!) we were reassured by the organizer that the race wouldn't start before everyone had registered. A very healthy turn out considering the forecast. This included one runner from Black Coombe who was getting married latter in the afternoon. The organizer made a request that we look out for him and make sure he didn't stray from the route so that he'd make it to the altar on time. Not one of nature's natural navigators, apparently!

Eventually after a final kit check we were off, nearly 30 mins after the scheduled start. A tactical error in the first 500m saw me one of the last 10 to cross the first bridge. I'd already decided it was a day for taking it easy, no risky stuff, but avoiding getting my knees wet was stretching this a bit. After that, it was a bit of catch up. I passed Mark S about 2/3rds of the way up Wetherlam, and then got within shouting distance of Tony V at Swirl How but once on the descent he increased the gap. By this time the rain had stopped and the sun was out (briefly), but all the rain made for very slippy conditions so I was glad to be trying out my Inov8 Mudclaws for the first time on a long race. It'd taken a lot of trial & error to get them to this point. I'd previously limited their outings to hour long races as I was worried that they weren't as secure a fit on my feet as my other Inov8's, with the result that they had the potential to create blisters.

Closer than shouting distance with Tony V at Pike 'O' Blisco, he passed me on his exit from the summit. Didn't see him again until I passed him within 50m of the summit of Lingmoor when commented that he didn't remember it being this steep. Forgot to ask how many times he'd done the race! His superior downhill/flat speed soon had him back in front.

At a guess my race time was about 3:22. I may have gained 10 more places after the first river crossing, maybe more. The time would be about a 10 min improvement on my last time from 2007, not a lot, but conditions were more tricky underfoot this year. The Mudclaws performed really well, more confident grip on the descents and certainly my feet no sorer than with the other Inov8s. The dilema now is, do I try them again next week for a 2 day (11hrs on feet) event? A lot could depend on the weather.

I'll post a link to the results when available.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc (French) or Monte Bianco (Italian), meaning "White Mountain", is the highest mountain in the Alps, Western Europe and the European Union. It rises 4,810.45 m (15,782 ft) above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence. It is also sometimes known as La Dame blanche (French for "the White Lady") or Il Bianco (Italian for "the White One").

The mountain lies between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Haute-Savoie, France and the location of the summit is on the watershed line between the valleys of Ferret and Veny in Italy and the Arve Valley in France.

The two most famous towns near Mont Blanc are Courmayeur in Aosta Valley, Italy, and Chamonix in Haute-Savoie, France—the site of the first Winter Olympics. A cable car ascends and crosses the mountain from Courmayeur to Chamonix.

Begun in 1957 and completed in 1965, the 11.6 km (7¼ mi) Mont Blanc Tunnel runs beneath the mountain between these two countries and is one of the major trans-Alpine transport routes.

Imagine piccy here----->

This is Peter F and David P-T on top of it just over a week ago. Thought you might like to know that they get up bigger stuff than Middle Fell.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eds Photo

EtU asked me to upload this picci, so I’m sure he will enlighten us as to its significance.


For anyone else planning on doing Three Shires on Saturday - info re parking from the organizer

Three Shires Race - Saturday 17th September 2011
PARKING Please note that due to the recent very wet weather we shall be using the Hodge Close Quarry GR316 017 for all competitor parking.

Parking can only be accessed via the Ambleside-Coniston road at GR 313 998. Parking will be signed and marshalled from Little Langdale road end. Do not try to find informal parking in Little Langdale as this will jeopardise the future of the race. Anyone found doing so will banned from entry in the future.

Please allow 30 minutes extra time for the 2k walk in. There will be a tent at race assembly for bags.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Funnily enough my namesake started 2mins in front of me, thought John's brother Edwin (at least I think it was him) coped very well on the microphone introducing us both. I didn't see her again until the start of the climb from the Bowscale Tarn check point (no 3), she'd obviously picked the optimum route on leg 1!

My route is now on the route gadget thing. I got cold on the climb up to the Knott (lots of wind and heavy rain) so decided to drop down along Grainsgill Beck to get running again and out of the wind so I could get a bit warmer. Worked really well until I got a dunking in the Caldew!

Got 9th fastest time on the climb from the 3rd to 4th CP, Mars Bar worked a treat.

Well done

Well done at the Lakeland Mountain Trial, TF. You gained some notable scalps including another lady with a very similar name. Must have confused the organisers.

The success of other members of the squad make my own slow progress even harder to endure. After a week's holiday in Hampshire and Cornwall with no attempt at running, and an eleven hour drive back on the Friday I wasn't hopeful of a good outing on Saturday. I made an early start (7 15 am) from the main drive and was intending to stretch previous outings to two laps. In the event I made it slowly round one lap and then added a second ascent of the Pike. The pace was around 19 minutes per mile/

The next outing will hopefully show if there has been any progress in getting rid of the sciatica problems.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

LDMT Sun 11th Sept

Results and all the other bits and pieces here

The route gadget bit will show you the maps of the courses. With the state of the weather all the courses were shortened, the maps show the shortened course. The short course, skipped one control which brought the straight line distance down to 9m from 11m.

I was pleased with where I finished (16/49), but on the whole felt I could have done a little bit better. Need to work to my strengths - short and steep, so kicking myself for not picking the optimum route for the first leg, glad to manage to pull back a bit of time on the last climb. Having said that it was good to have a go with a Harveys Map, good practise for 2 weeks time for my Mountain Marathon in Wales.

Speaking of Wales, I spent the previous week honing my mountain skills on a 'Mountain Leader' training course. By the end of the week the instructors thought I was reasonably safe to take a group out walking the hills. Mind you if they'd seen my attempts to put river crossings into practice today, they'd have been doing a bit of tut-tutting as I nearly went for a long swim down the Caldew at one point. Only a conveniently located boulder halted my progress further downstream where I'd have been able to use the bridge!

Will be out on Friday evening for the meal , but off up to the lakes to do Three Shires on Saturday.


A Superbly Silly Saturday on’t Moors

Four of us set off from UP at UT, with one straggler left to don his shoes and catch us up  en route.


Blackrod Beast Back Behind Bars (Instead of leaning on them)

Celtic Cross (2 of 10)

On the loose from his native territory, the Beast of Blackrod is briefly contained before running amok over the bogs of the Winter Hill Massif

Celtic Cross (1 of 10)

On the way up to Two Lads

Celtic Cross (3 of 10)

The Straggler has not only caught up but overtaken some by Two Lads, but no stamina as he departs soon after!

This was my blip for yesterday, if you click on the comments you can see that one viewer suggested that the image would have been improved if the two ‘loiterers’ at the summit cairn were removed!

Celtic Cross (4 of 10)

Two of the many abandoned farmsteads looking at the map I think the one above is Simms and below, Old Rachel’s

Celtic Cross (5 of 10)

After the Bomber Memorial, EtU and JtE headed home to fulfil pressing engagements, leaving IceKev and me to a tour of some of the ancient burial mounds in the area. 

Celtic Cross (6 of 10)

On the way to Pikestones, we witnessed the extensive fire damage caused by the moorland fires earlier in the year.

Celtic Cross (7 of 10)

Celtic Cross (9 of 10)

The Pikestones is one of only two known Neolithic burial monuments in Lancashire (the other being a long barrow on Skelmore Heads near Ulverston).  According to the notice board the Pikestones’ cairn was originally roughly 45 metres long by 15 metres wide and orientated north-south. A single chamber was located under the higher end to the north.

We decided it was a morning to visit the other Bronze Age burial chamber of 'Round Loaf' on Anglezarke Moor.  Apparently, it’s the largest of its type in the North West of England, dating back 3500 years, and I don’t know why I didn’t get a photo of it, except that it was a fairly tussocky direct approach we took!   This Round Barrow probably contains the cremated remains of the leader of a tribe which once made this lonely spot their home, but hasn’t been excavated to date.

Celtic Cross (8 of 10)

Pikestones - Well you have to, don’t you?


Celtic Cross (10 of 10)

On the way back to the cars, we found a very useful path which took us from the fire road at a point where we joined it from the path we sometimes take on a diagonal to the stile, by the trees when heading to the Bomber Memorial (opp direction).  This path was well marked and cuts out the long curve back towards Dangerous Corner.  The path goes directly across low ground and then up to the road at DC. 

Above is a very nicely appointed marker post provided by the Peak and Northern Footpath Society, which I have never heard of, but I’m sure is very googleable, when time permits.  Looking on the map this is pointing to Higher Hempshaw – so one of them has got it wrong.  There’s also a Lower Hempshaw, this must be right as you can clearly see Spitler’s Edge making it easy to locate on the map.  The directional arrows on the other sides were to Simms, and Moses Cocker and I can’t remember the other, but the crossroads is again clearly identifiable on the OS map.  We took the direction of Moses Cocker.

All in all, the remaining two completed 12.5m and 2012ft of climbing in warm humid conditions and no rain – a joy to be out Rolling on the floor laughing


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Looks like I'm entered for Langdale

Noted that my cheque has been cashed so I presume that I have made the entry list for Langdale Horseshoe where I shall join FSS, TF, Ed, along with Tony V, Albert and Mick Green.
Had thought about the Yorkshireman on Saturday but think I'll give it a miss so may well be at UTUP, bon't don't wait as the alarm clock is switch off at weekends.
Following week is Garstang Half Marathon on the Sunday and Swinton 10 the following Sunday so will be missing then.

Talking of Albert, there's some excellent photos from his Grand Raid des Pyrénées adventure on his facebook page. It's from the same area where I was around on days 18 to 21 of my GR10 walk.

Anyone fancy doing it next year (or the 80k event which would be long enough)?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tuesday’s Run

Managed to avoid the torrential downpour by arriving back at the cars at 7.20pm having got our 7m in.  The sky was superb, so a few snaps below.


Clouds just beginning to gather


Very, very windy and rain all around


My companions for the evening




Fiddler’s Ferry with ‘the Old Man’ of Frodsham behind


Unbelievably on the way home there was almost an alpenglow from the setting sun along with heavy rain and as I got to the college this was the view – Brakes on, camera out.  Wonder if JtE and SN saw this on their way home?

By the way I’ve put a link on the right hand side under followers to my Blipfoto journal.  It’s a kind of challenge that quite a few of our followers as well as FSS are engaged in.  Why not have a go, sort of photo diary where you upload an image each day – or each day that you can find one!  Great fun, but beware it is addictive.  If you use the arrow to the left you can scroll back to a picture from the Ben Nevis race last weekend and there’s a few more here.  Clicking on the image takes you to the full size, and once there, you can click right or left on the image to move to the next day.

Hope to be  UTUPing on Saturday.    As per comment left on EtUs initial mention of Solstice Do, we are OK for 16th.


The Autumn Equinox "Do"

I have firmed up with the Thatch/Cherry Tree that we will be with them on the evening of Friday 16th September.

Also, if anyone fancies a warm-up the evening before, I'll be buying the drinks in the Bridge Inn after UTUPing on Thursday 15th September. I'll be financing these from my Age Old Pension, to which I become entitled on that day (assuming no last minute change from DWP).

This Week

Planning to UTUP Thursday 8th and Saturday 10th although Saturday will be an earlier finish than usual, due to having to go to the pub.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Feeling Tyred?

Forsook my usual Sunday morning run up the Pike for a jog round Blackrod to watch the "Blackrod Challenge". A new event that involves an eight mile circuit of Blackod, including climbs up and down Tanners Brow, up and down the three footpaths that go up into the village from the A6 and then up Dark Lane back to the start.  The full event consists of three laps carrying a car tyre.

This is James, who we met on Thursday evening, on his first lap:-

...and this is Sarah,

...nearing the end of her first lap.  They went on to complete two circuits, finishing together.

Looked like a tough outing.

Friday, September 02, 2011

1st September...

...and whatever folk tell you, it's still summer until 21st (or is it 22nd) September.

A bigger Thursday group than usual, with debutantes Sarah (an ex triathlete and current work colleague) and James (her squeeze), TF and Bob Graham aspirants TIM and the Gallopping Major.  TF who was looking for a few quick miles and an early departure, said "Hello", ran to Gingham Brow with us, then carried on up COR.

With Tim and the GM obviously the fittest of the group, they were sent on an indirect route to Two Lads, whilst the rest of us opted for a direct assault.  Despite our short cut, the fit lads summitted first, then both turned for home.  Sorry about all the delays, hope they didn't spoil your outing too much.

Then it was the Pike, where Sarah and James turned for home, and I carried on to finish the climbs, Noon and Winter Hills.

Sunset was scheduled for 8:00.  I came off the fell about 8:20, just as the last of the light disappeared.

Once again, we have TIM to thank for the piccies.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

This Saturday

UTUP for me. I’ll see how I go on.