Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Week

Family duties may interfere,but I am planning to UTUP Thursday 1st Dec and Saturday 3rd.

Don't forget the Thatch on Saturday evening.

Just A Little Run Around The World

No, I'm not planning to run around the world but for my last birthday my daughter bought me a copy of Rosie Swale Pope's book of her five year run across Europe, Siberia, North America, Greenland and Iceland to return to her home at Tenby in south Wales.
It puts my little stroll across the Pyrenees in perspective - a mere drop in the ocean (can't think of a better comparison but there must be).
I love warm weather so there is no way I could endure month on month of sub-zero temperatures.
I wholeheartedly recommend you to go out to your local bookshop and purchase a copy or it's available from Amazon.
Rosie has her site at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Winter Solstice "Do"

To confirm:-

Apologies to those who can't make it, but I'd had only one firm "regret" so I've confirmed Saturday 3rd Dec at the Thatch/Cherry Tree.

Usual drill, come when you want, bring who you want, eat what you want (own packed supper frowned upon) drinking compulsory.

All welcome.


Just five of us at the barn (in descending order of age) Matt, YJ, yours truly, CW and last (and by all means least!) TF.

Without any particular plan, we headed for the Pike, then Two Lads, where EYJ had said he might be, but wasn't, then the trig point. There YJ (recovering from injury), CW (no reason given) and TF (racing the following day [is orienteering racing?]) turned for home via the diagonal to the wooden bridge, whilst Matt and I headed for Hordern Stoops.

Minor find at GR 655 159 where there is a new stone celebrating the spot as the source of the River Yarrow. For those that don't know (and I didn't), the Yarrow flows down (obviously) and into the Yarrow Reservoir via Alance Bridge, then (map a bit vague at this point) re-emerges to pass behind the Black Horse at Limbrick. Thence flows south of Chorley, through Croston and is joined by the River Lostock shortly before being absorbed by the Douglas at GR 465 187. The Douglas eventually joins the Ribble estuary through Longton Marsh, not far from where YJ rests his (often weary) head. The stone was erected by FRY (Friends of the River Yarrow) in 2011 and has already been already been despoiled.

Matt and I then continued via Hempshaw's to the Bomber Memorial, where we pondered on the resurgence of interest in the Armistice Day Celebrations.

Then to Rivington Green and, feeling game for more, we headed up the broken road back to the Pike. Down to the Barn again where we met JTE, who seemed in good spirits, after "Doing the Climbs", good the see you John.

A grand morning out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Into the cross country season

Looks like I'll be missing the Saturday UTUPs whilst XC season is underway. Last week Heaton Park, next week Sefton Park which I believe is somewhere in Liverpool - never raced there before, despite probably running more XCs than most over the past 21 years living in the second best county.
Not run this week but had two sessions to fix my sciatiac nerve followed by a gentle walk yesterday, a little stroll lead by Alf Short at his leisurely pace, just 23.2 miles with 5570 ft of climb through the Forest of Bowland in eight and half hours, We even had time for the odd photo and food breaks. You always get your money's worth with Alf.

A Big Thank You

To all my fellow members of the UTUP squad.

I would like to say a big "Thank You" to you all for the support and friendship I have received on my return to running, without which I would not have achieved the Vets over 70's English Championship award for 2011.

Individually I would like to thank ETU and TF for their support, transport and recce of the Whittle Pike race route (TF's navigational skills were excellent). The effort made by both was exceptional and greatly appreciated.

Last, but by no means least, TIM who trained with me every Sunday morning. We ran between 10 and 13 miles on the footpaths and fells. This gave me excellent preparation for the fell championship races.

All this happened with a chance meeting at the Trespass Stone with ETU and fellow runners. What a journey it has been!

Thank you to you all,


Put Your Earplugs In!

I hope you are all well.

We will be up the weekend before Christmas (16th-19th) as it is Anne's mother's birthday, so hopefully we can meet up. I won't make the Thursday night run but should be ok for the Saturday.

At the minute I am frustrated by a sore Achilles tendon, so can't run. However, unlike my back, it doesn't stop me doing anything else so I am keeping (semi) fit by swimming.

The blog site always inspires me to get out, and the photos are wonderful.

Regards and best wishes to all the group.

TLoB (aka the Marf from the Sarf).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I shall be utuping on Saturday. As regards the Christmas "do" we're unavailable on the 10th and whilst there's a possibility we can make the 3rd, it's unlikely, so we're probably best left out of the equation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 24th and Saturday 26th.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Upcoming "Do" and the Teamstone

I have provisionally booked Saturday 3rd December for the Solstice do, can you let me know if you can't make that date, and I'll try to re-arrange if there'll be too many missing.

Thank you NLN for the Teamstone report.  Winter Hill Dave was aware of it and is prepared to admit some responsibility for the 2011 carving, as it only appeared after he published details on his web-book.

Can anybody connect the three earlier dates ~ 1805, 1912 and1922?

Also, NLN, thank you for the many photos from the 12th, but as indicated by my elder brother, please don't let the photography take over from your running, we need you out in front to show us the way.

Not So Dour Tour

Just a follow up to TF's report...

The atmospheric conditions for Saturday's Tour of Pendle were better than I can remember, although underfoot the conditions were expectedly seasonal.  No early start for sick, lame and lazies, but as she reported, TF got through the cut-off with 20 minutes to spare and I was 14 minutes safe.

Felt good all the way round, and started to take places (but not many) from CP 6 and onwards.

Final time 4:41, 18 minutes faster than last year ~ 6 due to better route choice (1 - 2), 6 due to better conditions and 6 due to not having to stand aside as the fast folk came through?

A bit more pleasing than some of my other runs this year, and certainly more enjoyable.

Very pleased for TF, taking 33 minutes off her 2009 time, that woman goes from strength to strength.

Foot Report ~ New Mudclaws left my toenails intact, but shredded my heels.

Yesterday (20th Nov)

Arrived at Lower Barn to say hello to YJ and TYC, who set off together towards Pike with TYC keen to take last week’s route as this was relatively new terrain.  I had decided on the way over, to do my own thing this morning.  The light was just too good to miss and I wanted to get a few pics from down near the reser, which I did.  I also needed to be back early as we went over to Kendal to the Mountain Film Festival in the afternoon.  Had a bit of a telling off (in the nicest possible way!) from YJ that my snapping is interfering with my running!  

Having got a few snaps with just gorgeous light, which you can see here here if you wish, I then went over the Pike, Two Lads, to the newly painted Trig Point before heading out to the Trespass Stone before returning over Burnt Edge to say hello to Two Lads again and then back to LB.  This gave me just over 10 and a half miles.   As I was changing shoes before driving off TYC ran into the car park and we had a pleasant exchange of routes etc before we both departed.  TYC got in just over 14 miles I believe.

Congratulations to JtE on his return to the fells and I look forward to seeing you back with the Squad soon.  Not out next Saturday as I have to WORK yes WORK – deeply depressing.   Still I suppose it’s the first time in over 20 years that I have been asked to do this on a Saturday and I won’t be volunteering again for another 20!   Things hotting up for Christmas, but possibility of being out Sat 3rd.  Any news on Solstice Supper?  We’re free on 10th, but not 17th.


Catching Up

Well a hectic week meant that I didn’t get a chance to get the photos from last weekend on the blog, so here they are.



The two above are taken from Dicconson Lane.  Just as I’m leaving to drive over to Rivi, the sun rises and gives a nice silhouette of the farms.  Promising to be a good day.


But getting to the Lower Barn there was quite a lot of mist about and this continued on and off for the whole of the morning.


It was a good turnout, but not many stuck it out to the end, due to injuries, poorliness and more important things to do!  Above is our Ed’s latest recruit, named I believe by Matt as That Young Chap, henceforth to be known as TYC.  He’s way too fast and strong to be running with our squad, especially as he has BG aspirations, but we’ll soon pass him on to FSS!







Soon we were down to three, me EtU and T’Y




Boys will be boys hahaha…


We followed posts from Shaley Dingle, which we though might have been put in as markers for the gamebird management and spotted this stone with four dates engraved.  EtU has made some enquiries, drawn a blank.   Anyone shed any light?  If Jake of Winter Hill reads this he and his dad might know something as they are immensely knowledgeable about our local moors.


Following the posts from the bridge shown above, the stone is two or three hundred yards on the right hand side if you wish to take a look.


As we climbed back up to Counting Hill, Belmont was bathed a a shaft of sunlight – very dramatic effect in the gloom.


Late Saturday afternoon we took a stroll up on to Harrock Hill to see the sun set.  Below is a snap looking back to Winter Hill, you can just make out the mast, but the camera was struggling in the diminishing light.  More of Harrock Hill sunset here.


ToP 16.8m/4830ft

I wasn't especially looking forward to this one as I was going into it the least prepared of all my ALs that I'd done this year. I'd only managed 2 proper weeks of training since Langdale so the hope of a sub 4hr finish went out the window. Disappointed, as I felt this race much suited me now that I'd got to wearing my Mudclaws for longer races. Hey ho, can't complain to much, still running though.

So then the process of deciding what was the new realistic target. Well definitely fitter than 2009 despite the lack of quality training recently, so felt I should be on for beating that years' time of 4:37. Only 7 mins from 4:30, a bit more of a round number and makes the maths easier. So 4:30 it was with 4:36 as a back up. I also researched times from 2010 and compared what people did for Langdale that year and T0P, times across the board appeared to be slower for ToP ranging from 10 to 20 mins, obviously there were the odd outlyers that ran T0P quicker, but few and far between.

Saturday dawned, looked out the window and sunshine and blue skies. Fantastic, no worries for route finding. Good chat with the usual crowd before the off, and you'd never guess who'd left their tags in the car! Living up to his moniker he managed to retrieve them whilst RO was completing his pre-race spiel. Off we went, only 4 mins late this year.

Can honestly say I enjoyed (nearly) every minute. Couldn't have asked for better conditions. Got a little stressed just before the drop down to CP 4 as I couldn't remember how long it took between 3 & 4, in the end cleared the cut-off in 1hr40mins. Having got that far with no ill-affects it was just being sensible, ward off any possible cramp and keep moving forward at a steady pace.

Was 'enjoying' that much that felt happy enough to strike off on my own along the top path whilst everyone else was taking the diagonal down to the bottom of the last climb. I don't think it cost me any places but was difficult to tell as the others had appeared to shuffle their order. Passed a few more on the last climb. It was only on this climb that I began to believe that a definite sub 4:30 was on. But a tired body does funny things to your ability to do sums on the move. Having a 30 min past the hour start didn't help. 2/3rds way up it finally dawned on me that 14:00pm in the afternoon meant 3:26 race time! In 2009 it'd taken me 30mins to get to finish line from the Trig. How close to 4hrs could I get?

Got to the Trig 3:38, brain was in gear now, motored to cp11 3:48. Knew sub 4hrs wasn't likely, but might get 4:10, 4:05 Langdale time 4:04:31 even. Feet were complaining, forgot there's a bit of up on that last track.

In the end 4:03:03, what a race. Even more determined to get under 4hrs now!

No final results up yet but winner was Carl Bell (Howgill Harriers) in 2:21 (he won Langdale this year in 2:09:13). By all accounts followed the 2nd place runner all the way round until just before last check point, then took 3mins less to get to finish line!

I'm sure EtU will fill you in on his race, only gave the game away a little to confirm he started on time, just!


Last Saturday

Managed a short outing from the Lower Barn to Rivington Pike and Two Lads. My first outing since the Harriers  relay race. On approaching the pike I could hear, from the terraced gardens, a voice in the distance. I thought, initially, that it might be someone sheep gathering on the moor. However, on gaining the pike summit there was what I assumed to be a Buddhist monk, or similar, dressed in a full white robe, and sitting on the edge of the plateau nearest to the pigeon tower. He was chanting at the top of his voice. On visiting Two Lads I was appalled to see the condition of the main cairn. Who would want to destroy such a fine structure? The smallest of the three cairns seemed to have gained in stature since I last saw it. Perhaps some of the material from the main cairn had been used in its well structured facade. I returned to the barn directly by the gardens and the monk was still at it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saturday 19th November

I shall be UTUPing for a couple of hours run.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 17th and Touring on Saturday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Morning's Run

Don't usually post details of my local solo training runs, but this morning's perhaps warrants a mention.

Bought new studs (Inov8 Mudclaw) for the Tour of Pendle and, fast running out of toenails, thought I should try and establish how safe the remaining eight were for next Saturday.  Drove to Wilderswood to do the climbs and was first of struck by the number of folk out, so lost a lot of time chatting ( I always say "Stick with what you're good at").

But the best find of the day way was EYJ walking (yes, walking!) down the last bit of the descent from Winter Hill on the diagonal to the wooden bridge. He confessed that he'd attended the FRA Awards Dinner the evening before and had taken excessive advantage of not needing to drive, having been chauffeured there by his son.  He went on to describe how there had been an unseemly tussle between him and Peter Covey (see p47 of the Autumn 2011 issue of the Fellrunner) before they decided who should take the English V70 trophy home. Apparently our man won!

Got home half an hour later than planned, but with a few minor blisters to indicate where I should apply the Vaseline on the 19th.

Expect an exciting announcement from NLN regarding an extraordinary find on Saturday's outing.
Wadsworth Half Trog 9.25m/1427ft

I did do a bit of a doubletake just before going to bed the night before having checked the 'paper' calendar and seen a 10am start listed and not the 12 noon I'd expected. So then had to switch the computer on to re-check the FRA website and the Club website so I could have a restful nights sleep. Remember having seen the revised start time which I think was to tie in with Calder Valley hosting the Annual FRA Dinner and End of Year presentations, an opportunity to work up a healthy appetite for the evenings food and drink.

My previous decision not to recce the section from CP2 to CP3 turned out to be a good one as an amendment to the route was made because of a clash with the local Land Estates 'shoot'. Bad enough that you might as an organizer lose a few runners because they got lost, but losing a few 'cos they become 'fair game' for the local shooting fraternity might be frowned upon. So instead of mud slide down to the reservoir and a tortuous climb back up through the heather we got an easy run on a good path alongside a drainage ditch. Personally I think I was a much better target to be shot at running along the top, definitely more visible in a bright red vest than when I disappear in the heather, but then a Land Owner with a gun is not to be argued with!

Race went without a hitch until I decided to appear at the last check point at 90 degrees to where the Marshalls were expecting me. A bit of a wrong trod error, should have taken the right fork not the left one and then carried on too far thinking that all trods would lead eventually to the trig. Well they did, but not as quickly as taking the 'right' one would have.

Trundled home in just over 2hrs, nearly an hour behind the leaders. Not a sparkling peformance but enough to indicate I've recovered sufficiently from my recent cold to turn up next week at ToP.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Saturday Nov 12th

I shall be UTUPing tomorrow on the same basis as last week, hoping to keep in touch a little longer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nearly back

Thanks EtU for the welcome back and those kind words. It was good to be out again with the Saturday group after such a lengthy absence. My only concern was that everyone left early prompting me to think "Is it me?" NLN had even volunteered to lead a Rucksack Club meet just to avoid me.

When EtU and I parted below the Pike he suggested I do another circuit of "the climbs", which I declined on the grounds of time. However having done the Pike and Noon Hill, noting the time and also the ease with which t'Yorkshireman and new Young Chap had climbed the hills I decided that I was in dire need of some climbing practice, and went on to complete the circuit. When I got below the Pike I'd had enough of Georges Lane for the day, in fact for the year, and took the inviting descent to the track above Riv. & Blackrod school to return only 10-15 mins. behind schedule. What an enjoyable morning.

By the way as EtU states, everytime we saw YJ he was running, which prompts me to wonder if this supposed injury is just an excuse to avoid us because we're too slow for him! I think he's waiting for NLN and TF to start turning out regularly, so he'll someone who can keep up with him.

Two or three issues have come up which mean that I'm unlikely to be out this Saturday but hopefully from thereon , in the words of Take That I'll be "Back for Good".


What! No Trespass Stone?

Perhaps you're saving that until next time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

What Amazing Weather

Last weekend was superb and we enjoyed the weather immensely.  Leading a Rucksack Club walk gave me the opportunity to show some friends the highlights of our Saturday running routes, most had never been on the Pike or Winter Hill.  But we did have a couple of locals on board in the form of Dennis Weir and Mary White.  Everyone enjoyed it, mainly because of the weather, oh and meeting a group of vagabonds along the way at Pike Cottage! 

You can see where we went here

Sunday was another cracker and we found ourselves on Parlick Fell for the sunset – spectacular or what!  Have a look – the sheep is my favourite?

Hoping to be out Saturday UTUP.


This Week

UTUPing Thursday 10th and Saturday 12th.
What ever next!

I think this event definitely comes under that panoply. An interesting concept with what appears to be 2 takers already!

Check out the fees!


Monday, November 07, 2011

Southern Section

It is a clear indicator of just how little running I have done recently, that last Saturday's Pine Ridge challenge was the longest (continuous) run I have managed since 2005: the stunning distance of 10k!!

Still it is all progress of a sort and as long as I only run a maximum of 3 times a week and as much off road as possible, the back can just about cope. The race itself was in effect a clover leaf shaped cross-country, and in places was very wet indeed. It was quite amusing to see all the road runners going to great lengths to avoid getting their feet wet! I was also pleased to finish in the top half 257/623 in a pw of 53.44 ( although difficult to make any comparisons as nearly all the other 10k races I have done have been on tarmac).

Changing the subject, I note that since EtU's bragging about Preston North End beating God's Chosen, they have slipped down the table and are now in the bottom half. Proof (if it were needed) that God is a Brentford supporter.

Saturday 5th Nov

The arm that delved into Saturday's luck dip tub must have been long indeed, because it reached right down to the bottom and unearthed an almost forgotten star!  Good to see you back on on the fell, Matt, and pleased that your appearance in the Super Geriatrics' relay squad had not discouraged you for another year.

Also emerging from the bran was t'Y, YJ (claiming to be there just to be sociable, but was always running on the several occasions that we saw him, although his hearing is obviously failing as he didn't hear our greeting called from Noon Hill when he passed below on George's Lane).

Making his inaugural appearance was young Andy, who had originally taken up running primarily to keep fit for his drumming (this week Andy, next week Charlie Watts?), but now has his sights set on a slightly more ambitious target. However, we may not see Andy again, as t'Y bent his ear for most of the outing, and if that didn't put him off, perhaps the many socialising stops that we made might have convinced him that he'd get a few more miles under his belt on his own rather than listening to us chewing the fat with old friends.

One of our longer stops was with the Rucksack Club, which included NLN, FSS, Scary Mary (the baby of the Supergeriatric Relay squad) and Ultra Man Dennis, who may soon be joining us on a Saturday UTUP.

No sign of my Born Again Christian recruit, perhaps he's been born again as something else.

T'Y and Andy went home first (dates respectively with Tesco and a bearded iguana) then me, leaving Matt to roam the fells alone, like a sort of Mattie Celeste.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Curious to know if the new recruits turned up yesterday? Having been laid low with a virus at the beginning of the week, running activities have been curtailed somewhat, even had to forgo Shepherds Skyline race yesterday.

Anyway decided that having rested all week, it meant I could have a go at the longest course on offer at the orienteering event at Tarn Hows (near Coniston). After spending over 10mins trying to locate the first control, I almost gave up there and then. Another 24 to find, and if I averaged 10 mins each that was 4hrs for 8k, not what I had in mind. I passed Albert and Mark on the way to the 4th and again at the 7th. There's was a joint effort, mine circuitous!

Beautiful afternoon in the sunshine, showing the autumn colours of the woodland at their best. The hardest course I done yet, determined not to have to report back early to the finish so kept soldiering on. Final time 3hrs13mins. Not good, but not last.

The next one's at the end of the month and is 10k, so I think I'll put my headtorch in my bumbag just incase.

No uutps for me this week.


Friday, November 04, 2011

Saturday Nov 4th

I shall be making a brief social appearance at UTUP tomorrow (Sat 5th Nov) before venturing off for another rehabilitation run. Yesterday I managed four half-mile runs during a four-mile outing and will hope to build on that today. At least I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Training with Attitude: In Conclusion

I have now received information from various team members thus allowing me to make a comprehensive report.

Leg 1. I ran this leg, uneventfully, in about 44 minutes and I was only just the last runner to arrive at the Waterman’s Cottage change over, sending Mary and Jan on their way.

Leg 2. This leg was run by Mary White and Jan Atkins. Mary says “I thoroughly enjoyed running the second leg with Jan and we were a well matched pair. We gained a few yards at the start by using our local knowledge and making use of the new bridal way which runs to White Coppice. With the wind more or less behind us we made good progress to Great Hill and Piccadilly. Having touched the stile we turned tail and set off back to Great Hill and a fine run along Spittlers Edge brought us to Hordern Stoops”.

Leg 3. This leg was run by EYJ. Matt, who provided transport to and from this point, tells me that EYJ was allowed to start from Horden Stoops before leg 2 members had arrived, all because of the cold weather. Teams were trusted to record leg times. EYJ tells me that he completed leg 3 in 81 minutes 34 seconds and saw hardly anyone else out on the moors. However one couple verbally admired his prowess in fell running. They could obviously recognize a gud un when they saw one.

Leg 4. This leg was run by Matt and Paul Murray, YJ having provided transport to and from the change over point. Matt says “Paul and I ran off into a strong wind which we were to encounter for a good part of our leg. Running into a strong wind whilst trying to keep up with Paul is just how every 73 year old dreams of spending their Sunday afternoon. I managed to stay with the pace for a while but eventually Paul’s superiority told, and he was left to drag a very red-faced, wheezy old geezer, home in 39 minutes 43 seconds”.

Crown Hotel Prize Giving. The team had won the combined age category prize with a total age of 416 years. All team members, apart from me, attended and prizes included tins of beans, spaghetti and larger, a couple of bottles of wine, a Christmas pudding and some energy drinks.


The Prize Giving. (Picture courtesy of Margaret Murray.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Don't Remember Going that Fast...

...seem to have both feet off the ground, perhaps I was about to fall over.

Muddy bit with about a mile to go at the end of the Snowdonia Marathon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 3rd and Saturday 5th - but don't expect fireworks!