Saturday, December 31, 2011

We saw them !

Yes a pair of Snow Buntings on the gravel just before the mast buildings on the run up to the trigpoint, and very sweet they were too.  Just checked for an image and found this one


and recognised them.   Well camouflaged against the stone and gravel.  This was the highlight of the morning really,  very very wet and grey.  Not particularly cold, but after a couple of hours I was beginning to feel it. 

Four turned out TF, IcedKev, YJ and me.  Pike, Two Lads, Trigpoint at which YJ left us to head down the diagonal.  The remaining three headed back down the ramp to the hole in the wall, along the road before turning to head back via allotments, Quarryman’s path, road to Dangerous Corner and back in via Little Houses car park.  Back at cars for 11.30 is with 9.3 miles covered.  YJ had also just got back to the cars having covered similar mileage over different ground.

Happy New Year to everyone and looking forward to seeing folk next year….


Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas on t’Fells 29th December

Having received an invite from Steve to join him and his mates for the above FSS and I eagerly accepted -  FSS then got a better offer!   I cast about for any likely participants to travel up with and SN and MW jumped on board.  In fact, SN had it on her family calendar as ‘My day out’ before you could shake a stick and apparently all other arrangements were worked around it.  MW then regrettably bailed as she had been out canoeing all day and felt she couldn’t get another pass due to family commitments.  That left me and SN watching the weather forecasts for 29th.  To be honest they were atrocious, but as SN had told me that she was so excited that she didn’t know whether she’d be able to sleep the night before it seemed we were going up anyway! 

At 6.20 yesterday morning I looked out of the window and wondered what on earth we were doing driving to Braithwaite to venture onto the felltops.  I then thought when SN gets here she’s going to say, “It’s too bad to go – yeah right!


So we parked near the school in Braithwaite village and met up with Steve, his brother Jason and Ali and Chris from Border Runners.  I thought I’d better get an early photo as the chances of me getting the camera out from the rucksack and two waterproof bags was unlikely. 

We set off down the road to pick up the footpath up to Causey Pike, from there across to Scar Crags and with a bit of shelter from the Pike I did manage to get the camera out and take a few snaps, which was a good job because it never saw the light of day again.


Looking down onto Outerside with Whinlatter forest and Bassenthwaite beyond.


The path up to Sail


Eel Crag beyond


Scamp – Steve’s dog posing for a picture above and below


Scamp had an extremely stressful outing – everything was wrong and he knew it.  Now Steve is a very fast runner and you only have to look at him to see this, but this was a social day and he was making sure everyone felt part of the day, but Scamp didn’t know this.   The pack should be led by Steve and nobody else, so he spent his day trying to round everyone up, keep them together and let whoever was in front know that this wasn’t their place.

To top it all on Eel Crag where the gusting winds and horizontal ice was so strong that SN decided to just sit down!  Scamp literally got flipped over by a gust of wind.


Setting off up to Sail 

Shortly after this Ali and Chris bailed and headed down, a wise move as it turned out as the conditions deteriorated rapidly.  We carried on over Crag Hill and Eel Crag which I am very glad has a broad and flat summit plateau.   Having re-grouped we made our way carefully off and down to the old mine where even on the main path we were still being knocked about.   Finally, all that was left was an easy trot back to the cars. Quick sort out and into the Royal Oak in the village for hot coffee and a bite to eat - a grand day out and thanks to Steve for organising it.  I think SN is going to put up a few words after her New Year guests have departed.  Both so glad we headed north!

Looks like TF is out tomorrow – me too, probably slow and short-ish!  Anyone else?

I'm planning a Utup tomorrow. Let me know if to expect anyone else.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

See You Next Year

Going up to Santon today, back on 1/1/12.

Be good!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve

I'll be at the bottom barn for 8:30.

See you there?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Come All Ye Faithful

It's the RMI hospital run this Thursday, and whilst I feel that I really ought to do this, I realise that there would be little support from the diverse group that falls down but gets up again.

Accordingly, I suggest that we turn out as strong a squad as possible at our Thursday UTUP and head for the trig point.  If anyone feels that we will be in need of a drink after, then why not?

It would be good to see a few of the old faces again (and some of the younger ones too, ladies).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday 17 Dec

Good to see Matt out on the hill again, just EtU, YJ and me making up a four.  Up and over Pike, Two Lads, Quarry path on the Burnt Edge in driving wind and blizzard for parts.  Didn’t bother with Trespass Stone as icy conditions on tarmac were to be avoided.  EtU suffering from cold and my feet frozen solid meant an early bath.  Back over Two Lads and down.  On returning from the changing facilities I found JtE getting changed and we had a very pleasant hot chocolate in the Barn.  Our contingent covered a measly 7.14 miles and JtE did a similar mileage over similar terrain on his solo run.  YJ still trying to return to fitness departed from us at Pike Cottage.

Some photos from the morning’s outing can be found here.

Apologies for the non appearance for Utup yesterday.

Icy conditions near home put paid to an early start. Bit of a clue how bad things were from the previous evening when preparing to go to bed only to look out the window to find that the car had slid 6ft down the drive. Another 2ft, and the back wheels would have been off the pavement and on the road!

So had to nip out to prevent further slipage using some block paving sand and two bricks lodged behind the back wheels. A line drawn on the ice acted as a marker for the front wheel, so I could check at regular intervals for further movement. Thankfully it stayed put, not sure what else I would have done had it kept moving though. So Saturday morning was spent clearing the drive of ice and a walk to the garden centre on the main road to collect some grit. It only came in one bag size (large) so it was a slow walk back, lots of huffing and puffing.

If the neighbours haven't already knicknamed me as the 'batty old spinster' from no 55, then they will now.

All the prep work meant I was able to venture out for some orienteering later in the day, one in the afternoon and back again for a night 'o' at the same venue. Caused some hilarity with the regular orientereers on my return to the finish at the end of the afternoon event, when I told them that for the section in the 'maze' where on my map it said 'use the maze map' I thought it meant memorize the map on the board at the entrance. I hadn't seen that there was a copy of the maze map printed on my paper map. The maze was constructed using a series of 6ft high mesh fences with a sparse hedge. You could see the controls, but couldn't get to them.

Fared worse in the evening using the printed map in the maze, this despite new batteries in the headtorch. None of the other controls were in the same place this time, I know 'cos I checked the list of control descriptions with the afternoons' map before setting off. So despite new batteries, and having a general idea of the layout of the course I still contrived to finish last again.

Fortunate for the organizers that I can't do any of the remaining 3 events, think I should stick to daylight ones for now until I can learn to use my compass better.

I should be out (weather permitting) for a utup on Thurs and possibly Saturday.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Saturday 17th December

I will be UTUPing on Saturday for the last time before heading south for Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Sadly we will not be up before Christmas after all. However, we are aiming to visit between Christmas and New Year, so hopefully we will see you then.
In the meantime have a holy and happy Christmas, and may your God go with you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 15th and Saturday 17th.

Have held back from reporting on the puddings as Matt has photos and said he would post. Suffice to say that a good time was had by all, but some had better times than others.
The Three Puddings

Apologies for the delay EtU. I wrote the draft report 2 days ago but have been waiting for the results to be published. They're not on the usual sites but eventually I've tracked them down to the Northernrunningguide website. Apologies also, for any superfluous line spacing. The editor doesn't seem to take kindly to draft reports where the images have been moved around. Anyway here it is.

Last Sunday EtU and I ran(that may be an exaggeration) in the Longridge 7 Mile race. There's a lot of uphill involved, at least 4 miles, all at the beginning, with the rest of the course a mix of flat and downhill. Because of the climbing, an unpleasant sensation, I'm totally unsuited to the race, but I do have an affinity with Christmas Pud. We get on well.

The race starts from Longridge Civic Hall where after about 300 yards(I've not turned metric yet, but I will do for the sake of the youngsters in the group)you climb up out of Longridge before starting the long ascent of Jeffrey hill. Fairly soon Jeffrey was taking it's toll on me and I was being passed by everything on two legs. Runners, mothers with prams, old ladies with walking sticks, old men with zimmer frames, two-legged dogs, even one-legged cats! In short, anything that moved. After a couple of miles there was a short stretch of descent and I started overtaking. This is a novel experience for me and in the euphoria that followed I began overtaking on the climb! Should a National Holiday be declared? Eventually I caught up with EtU who, when we got to the top of Jeff announced his intention to attend to toilet duties, in that cultured manner that we have come to know and (love?).

For quite a while he had been running alongside one of his many aquaintances(oohma) who, once we hit the level, opened up a considerable gap on me. However I managed to reduce this when we started on the descent. "Come on, only a mile to go and all downhill", cried an encouraging marshal. So naturally, we immediately hit a flat stretch of about 548.64 metres, passing the 9.656km marker about halfway along it. I'd given up hope of catching oohma but on a short piece of descent I produced a lightening burst of speed(about 4mph - back to imperial) to stagger past him, and managed to hold him off on the level run-in to the finish.

There were 233 runners and Andy Norman of Altrincham won the race in 37.50. Glyn Kay of Horwich was 2nd in 41.21. I was 174th in 1.03.34 beating oohma by 2 seconds. EtU was 182nd in 1.04.42.

So having beaten his companion would I have beaten EtU had he not had a pit-stop? I don't think so. The time difference was too small apart from which, he can dig as deep as anybody. Had he not been an Accountant he would undoubtably have been a miner.

Here are a few piccies.

Will the weather hold?

No sweat for EtU

Me with one Pudding

And as EtU wittily observes; Me with two Puddings

But on reflection it should be captioned; The Three Puddings - Fruit, Plump, and Dumb

It's currently snowing here but I shall be Utuping tomorrow providing it doesn't get any worse.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is this post-race musings, 'cos that's very philosophical for a Tuesday, usually it's a Thursday Utup discussion.

I've not looked for the results yet (not wishing to spoil the report), but may have to give in to temptation soon just to find out which xmas pudding won if we have to wait any longer!



I'm sure you're all familiar, to a greater or lesser extent, with Rudyard Kipling's "If...", but like me you may not be aware that the full poem incorporates an exhortation to do speedwork. I quote the final verse here:-

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

I'm sure it also applies to ladies.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Twitcher Am I

A twitcher is someone who will travel specifically to add a new bird to his or her list. I am now a twitcher but an unsuccessful one in that I went up Winter Hill today in the hope of seeing a snow bunting but to no avail. Just seven miles in total from the Lower Barn and I finished weary. Don’t know where it’s all gone.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

As EtU stated, a select few yesterday morning. My appearance, brief in the morning as a prelude to my evening entertainment - night orienteering.

Now I'd been doing ok on the street league 'night-o', well except from being a bit late back on Thurs night, losing the points for the extra control I'd thought I'd just manage to get and all the ones for the previous one too. That will teach me! One other thing I'd noticed was that when I'd switched my headtorch on it did a flash on/off a couple of times before staying on. Wondered what it meant and fully intended on checking the instructions.

Come Saturday evening did the same again, of course I'd forgot to check. Anyway seemed bright enough for me to manage to tie my shoelaces. So off I went. About an hour in, and my third go at trying to locate one particular control, it was coming apparent that yes it was indeed a low battery warning. So tactics changed from actively locating controls (especially in the wooded areas), to getting in the vicinity and waiting for someone else to turn up, and following their lights.

So all in all I was out for an hour and 38 mins, the winner zoomed round in 47mins. The plus side to all my fumbling about in the dark was that I managed to locate a few extra controls that I wasn't meant to.

Back I went this morning to see if I could do any better in the daylight. Amazing what a difference being able to see where you're going makes. Obviously the course setter had us doing different routes, but some of the controls were ones I'd visited the night before and managed to avoid making the same mistakes. So on a course that was almost double the length of the previous night, I only took an extra 12mins.

I've got another go next saturday evening, I think new batteries are in order. Not impressed with the length of time they're lasting though. Instructions are suggesting 50 hours on the maximum setting, and there's no way I've used the head torch that much as I've only had it since August and done a couple of Thursday Utups and a couple of hour long night-o's up to last night. Going to get a dear-do if I have to keep replacing the bateries for each event.

So assuming the length of time taken was purely down to lack of visibilty, I should be able to be out for a longer utup next saturday morning.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

This Morning

Just three of us toed the line this morning, TF, YJ and yours truly.

With a view to preserving her energy for an evening orienteering event, TF dropped off after the Pike leaving the Swift Bros heading for Two Lads. Soon after the dog kennels we were joined by Dennis W and his Bernese Mountain dog, Murphy. Dennis turned for home on the way down, leaving us to head for the mast.

Slight concern approaching the building as we saw a man lying in the  road, and wondered why his companions were ignoring him. On closer inspection it turned out that they were all birders, watching another snow bunting, whilst the guy in the road was photographing it.

Then the trig point, wooden bridge, down through the gardens, a wide loop through the park (to make sure we clocked a full eight miles) and back to the barn.  A gentle outing, which got YJ back in time for his 12:15 cross country marshalling duties on Astley Park.

Friday, December 09, 2011

I'm Not That Fat!

Cheeky blighter, Matt! Christmas pudding indeed!

I will not be Utuping tomorrow but will be chasing around after a Christmas Pud on Sunday in Longridge.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Music of the mountains

At 1100 on Friday 16th December on BBC Radio 4 there will be a broadcast entitled The Bob Graham Round: "Italian composer Maurizio Malagnini tries to write an orchestral piece of music inspired by the gruelling Bob Graham Round - a fell-running challenge in which athletes cover 70 miles and 42 peaks in the Lake District......."

"......Participants share their thoughts about the run, interspersed with extracts of Malagnini's melodies"

If anyone has the expertise to put a podcast on the blog it could be inspirational for those who have to work on Fridays.

PS: I will be utupping on Saturday

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 8th and Saturday 10th, then Longridge 7 (Christmas Pudding) on Sunday.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Snow Bunting

This bird is mentioned in several reports posted by members of the Manchester Birding Forum in their Horwich Moors section. I was just about to blog this fact when I saw the posting by EtU. I had taken a picture of the web for inclusion but the picture posted by EtU is far superior. I see that there is a posting by the Forum stating that Ken Haydock saw the bird at 10.17am on Saturday the 3rd. Posted elsewhere it says that the bird can be disturbed by joggers. Interesting reading!

More from Saturday

Right outside the mast building I spoke briefly to a birder called Ken M of Horwich. He pointed out this snow bunting and very kindly sent me this picture which he'd taken as it foraged just across the road. I'm told it's a male in his winter finery.

A fine picture of a special sighting, thank you Ken. Just sorry we inadvertanly put him to flight, hope he returned.

3rd Dec 2011

T' Y offered to write up Saturday's run, so watch this space, but in the meantime enjoy this double rainbow taken by TYC:-

Only found out this morning that the colours are reveresd on a double rainbow, so the red appears on the inside, and the violet apperas on the outside, think you can just make that out.  As Michael Caine would say, "Not a lot of people know that".

There was a full bow at one point, and folk were suggesting that they needed to be further away to get it all in their viewfinder; not sure that the laws of refraction work that way. Photograhic challenge:- who can be the first to to submit their own picture of a full rainbow?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Saturday’s other run

Good to see that the main group braved the moors in that miserable weather. I whimped out and took a lower route via ammunition corner, bomber memorial area and High Bollough and Anglezarke reservoirs. I saw the same rainbow approx NNW as I passed the car park above the top barn. Interesting that the stats for the main run were 7.78 miles at 3.4 mph. Mine were 7.67 miles at 3.4 mph. Perhaps I’ll soon be out with the gang again. Do I hear cries of anguish?

Saturday's run

As I write this after returning from a walk in Horrocks Woods with a couple of lively dogs, just managing to avoid the hailstones but with a temperature of 2°C, I think we got away with very good conditions yesterday.
Shame that hat one or two were suffering but I think everyone got a good workout. NLN, CW and I managed 7.8 miles and just under 2000ft of climb with YJ, EtU & TYC probably similar in the end. We certainly had a much quicker average pace than on my last Saturday morning run (4.4mph v 3.4 mph)
Looks like we must have run through the end of the rainbow on our way up to Two Lads.