Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I intend to try doing Coope's Dozen later this year but since it is 15 years since I last did it I had forgotten the route. So at 8.35 on Saturday EtU, TF, Colin, The Iceman and my good self were just about to set off on a recce of the first seven tops, when t'Y drives up. Despite EtU's exhortations, we weren't quick enough to escape, so now we were six. ( A day is always improved by my learning something I didn't know and on Saturday I discovered that whilst the rest of the country is on GMT, t'Y is on YT which is five minutes behind. This explains a lot).
Now one of the penalties for being an effete southerner is that I have no hills to train on and I really struggled on the ascent of Noon Hill and also on the rough stuff to the Pike. I have a question here: what is the best route from Noon Hill to the Pike? Colin, TF and the Iceman went along the wet path to the stream junction and then up, t'Y went back to Georges Lane, whilst EtU and I tried to avoid losing height but I struggled in the tussocks.
It was nice to see record holder Kevin Gaskell at the Pike and I enjoyed the descent and the run along Georges Lane. At Pike Cottage we were joined by JtE and all seven of us stopped at Two Lads for a photo shoot. However, I cant find the lead to download the pictures from my mobile so you will have to wait to see the pictures. Sorry!
Then came the parting of the ways. Colin went back, JtE dropped down to the Tresspasser's Stone whilst the rest of us folowed the Winter Hill route to the shooting huts and then to the reservoir. At this point the Iceman and TF went straight for the mast muttering something about not fancying that slog, thus leaving t'Y, EtU and I to continue with our recce. A very pleasant run to Whinberry Hill and Egg Hillock was followed by 'that slog'. TF was so right; the will to live was fast evaporating as EtU and I just took the direct route whilst t'Y went on the scenic route. To be fair to Gordon he did arrive at Counting Hill first but he is the youngest! An easy run up to the mast was followed by a quick descent to Georges Lane and then back the way we came. According to t'Y we did 10.6 miles and he has downloaded the route if anyone wants to follow it.
My thanks to everyone for a very enjoyable morning and I will see you all again next time I am 'up north'.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
The arrival of curlews on the moor is always a sign that spring is round the corner. Today two flew over Holdens Farm making that wild cry of theirs. Something to be enjoyed until they retreat to the coast at the end of their breeding season.
Good to bump into the gang today on their outing on the first half of Coope’sDozen. I went via the Trespass Stone to Winter Hill where TF and Iceman joined me as I was finding a single snow bunting. Went with them to the Lower Barn.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The nostalgic picture taken in Keswick is indeed at the end of YJ’s Bob Graham. For ease of comparison I post the picture again together with a picture taken as we were finishing the run. The clothing is identical and we were more or less clean.
As a result, I am therefore pleased to announce that yesterday, being two full months after the Winter Solstice, can be seen as the end of the darkest third of the year. So we have eight months of increased light, and hopefully temperatures, ahead of us. Enjoy!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Reston Golden Pearl Race. They had kept quiet about the route beforehand, turned out to be a two laps of what I suppose is the short AS Reston Scar Scamper race in July. I've never come across a two lap fell race before and in the Lake District of all places. Still, it was a glorious still clear sunny day and it still looked good second time round. Bit distressing to find that the second 3 mile lap was 8 minutes slower though, I'll use that to spur me on.
The ground was a variety of good runnable stuff, couple of decent walking climbs (150m and 100m), some grassy bits across the top, a short mental descent and some narrow slippery trod stuff - so a good mix of terrain. Race headquarters is in the Hawkshead brewery in Staveley, so it has to survive - if it does it will be a good early season loosener or training race for the bigger stuff later on.
Even TF can have a bad day at the office so to speak. Leaving the car at home necessitates careful thought to logistics, but given the trials earlier in the week I'd decided not to venture too far from civilisation.
B&B Landlady gave a glimmer of hope for Saturdays forecast, and by the time I'd set off a bit of blue sky was evident. Ultimate target had been scaled down to a run from Keswick along the west side of the lake using the path on the lower flank of Catbells to Seatoller, where I would return using the bus. Obviously not the open-topped one that runs in the summer, but the hourly winter service.
By the time I got to the path alongside Catbells there was blue sky and sunshine and guess what it was too much of a temptation not to go to the summit! A bit blowy on the top so one Wainwright had to suffice. At the gate where the Borrowdale race heads for the finish, mulled over whether I should carry on south to Seatoller or head south-east-ish to Rosthwaite. There's a cafe at both. Seatoller it was, as that was the original aim. On the final approach I could see the 12.55pm bus at the turning circle. No rush I thought, I'll have a drink and something to eat and get the next one.
This is where planning started to go slightly awry. Cafe closed. So plan B, on to Rosthwaite. Cafe and a pub so one of them had to be open. Planning further awry, began to hailstone on the way to Rosthwaite and get to the delightful 'Flock-in' (which was open) to find that loads of people had done just that and not a spare seat to be had inside. So off I went to the Scafell pub to console myself with an Irish coffee.
Set off for the bus stop in plenty of time for the 2pm bus. Well I would have been, if there'd been one. However many times I read the timetable I couldn't make it appear, 1pm and 3pm were there but no 2pm. So I had another hour to kill. The Irish coffee had depleted the loose change and couldn't dare go back for another. Waiting in the 'Flock-in' would end up with me eating too many cakes, they had looked nice. So nothing else for it but to start running back, making the assumption that the further I ran the less I'd have to pay on the bus.
Back in Keswick before the bus and just in time to make it into George Fisher before the next set of hailstones. 15m in total, double what I'd planned. Just need to throw in a few more hills and I'll be back on schedule.
Sorry, JtE, I can't help identify the pic taken in Keswick. As I recall, yourself and brother were not at the start but guided me to the finish (remember the run through Fitz Park at the end) and I am not sure where Colin fits in. I certainly don't look like I have just completed 72 gruelling miles either from my physical condition or the state of our clothing. If you can date the pic it would give us a clue.
Friday, February 17, 2012
On a mission for Mark Birbeck to take some video footage of the race along with a few others, I turned up at CP 3 at the bottom of the Ramp. A couple of MR types but no marshalls. The three of us began to wonder if there’d been a change of plan due to the conditions. However, a couple of minutes later TF appeared, shortly followed by Colin.
hobbled walked a little way up the ramp and started to get MB’s fancy video camera out and mine when the front runners appeared, so missed them. Got few others, but very poor with mist and low light. Anyway there’s a couple of very poor quality pics here, this one being the best of the bunch.
Not quite sure what TF’s got in that rucksack, but she seems pretty pleased about it
Loved the colours here and the BUDS, spring maybe just around the corner
Busy, busy week been meaning to put a few pics up from the weekend. The word on the street, well via Nic’O, via a physio in Horwich is that there were a total of 15 broken limbs on this event. We were aware of four broken arms to that doesn’t surprise me. Glad none of our crew were directly involved in the carnage, but sounds like JtE had a lucky escape from the write up.
Anyway I had a jolly pleasant little amble from the LB along Lower Rivington Res to the castle and its environs. Lovely morning, if a little cold, but nothing untoward on the paths on this side of Winter Hill. Few pics from the morning and more here if it’s of interest.
Met this guy as I was leaving the car park – didn’t have much to say for himself
Lower Rivington Reservoir
A few more fun guys… sorry
More physio this week has resulted in considerable improvement in mobility, but I ‘m not sure if I’m capably of running yet – certainly not in company. I’ll see what the morning brings, but may see you around and about, probably walking.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
We all look clean and therefore probably before YJ’s Bob Graham. Colin Jones, YJ, my brother Edwin and me. Can you clarify YJ?
In the days when the Harriers were well represented at fell races. This was before one of the Borrowdale races. Rupert Leggot, Julie Harold, me, Norman Matthews, Edwin Coope and Paul Murray.
I made three mistakes on Sunday. I’d taken my micro-spikes but seeing no-one else was wearing them including such luminaries as Paul Murray, I didn’t use them. Mistake 1.
After crossing the tarmac road to head for the Shooting Hut I realized that no-one was taking the optimum route. Having already had a few slips I decided to opt for safety in numbers, but after 50 yards or so I saw a solitary figure taking the best path, so I cut across to join him. It turned out to be Kev Latham and we stayed together until the Knoll, both with the main ambition of getting round safely. I especially had one eye on my Tenerife holiday on Friday. From the Knoll down to Georges Lane I gradually drew away from Kev who I think of as Rik now(Re-installed Icelandic Kev). I was amongst a group of runners and having gone through the farmer’s field and up the bank at the other side of the dip we couldn’t, in the mist, find the path to the checkpoint. Mistake 2. When we eventually did, the time it had cost led to us being timed out by 4 minutes. Kev meantime was 4 minutes within the cut-off time. Adhering to the request not to recce the course , it being a farmer’s field I didn’t, which in hindsight, not having been there since last doing the race 3 years ago was mistake 3. As the title says, I should have stayed with Kev.
Well done to Kev for completing the course, and to EYJ for such a good time under treacherous conditions. Also to FSS for the feat of doing the Amblezarke Amble and the Winter Hill on successive days, and the feet of staying on them for such a distance on such hazardous territory. Black marks to EtU or TBT(too busy talking) as I think he should be known nowadays, and myself, mistake-ridden Matt.
So apart from getting lost, getting a lump on my head as a result of one of my many falls, knocking a lens out of my glasses, getting my footwear wrong, running the descents like a Big Jessie, getting timed-out, being too casual with my reccying, I had a pretty successful outing! Roll on next year.
It was good to see and chat to NLN at the end. Every cloud has a silver lining. By the way, good piccies of your Lakes weekend.
My own training suffered a further set back this week with another nasty little 24hr bug taking over the system, resulting in me being sent home from work yesterday. On the plus side I'm now 3lbs lighter than Sunday morning so not all bad news. Hoping to have recovered sufficiently for my orienteering event on Thursday evening, although I may need to drop down to the 40 minute event from the 1 hour one, again!
Not out Saturday this weekend either as I'm up to Keswick for what was supposed to be a recce for the extended Anniversary Waltz race. Tons of snow and illness has probably curtailed it to a run round the lake now or a gentle trot up Latrigg. Hoping to be out on the 25th Feb, depending on the next doom and gloom ailment.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Suffice to say "well done" to all completers on what were the worst underfoot conditions I've ever experienced on Winter Hill - things can only get better. A shame for EYJ, now that Paul M has turned 70, at least it was good whilst it lasted. That's the trouble, there's always up and coming youngsters entering the fray.
Any report from KLM or Matt would be welcome. Special mention for FSS who had completed the Amble on Saturday; two days in succession on that stuff warrants a medal (or a straitjacket).
Ritzy's guy Colin took this one, but I'm not sure why the bloke on the left is in it, as he didn't have much involvement in anything. Well done to Ritzy and Neil, the former returning to the fells after a long lay-off, and the latter in, I believe, his first ever fell race - what a one to start with!
Monday, February 13, 2012
Colin and I headed for Two Lads and then the Pike, at which point he turned for home for a date with a delivery man. I continued, to complete the climbs.
As we ran, we marvelled at the unusual ice formations which encrusted every available surface:-
Smashing photos, Colin. There won't be many shots like these about, because by Sunday the surface frost had all gone.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
The alarm went at 6.30 ( much to the annoyance of SWINW) and I was in the car by 7, lulled into a false sense of security because I didn't have to scrape ice off the windscreen. Parked and registered before 7.30, JtE and I started to right the world's wrongs, occasionally stopping to see if there was anyone we knew. At 7.55 we went outside and bumped into t'Y who was on his way in. My polite comment about his time keeping elicited the response "I don't believe in hanging around", "you don't believe in buying a round either" came the reply: he does lead with the chin! Then we were off.
The climb up through the Chinese gardens was uneventful, apart from having to negotiate odd patches of ice. Up the Pike, a jog down and along Georges Lane to Pike Cottage and up to the Mast. At the top the road was very icy and the first real sign that the day was going to be hard work. We had planned to jog all the downhills, but on the ramp that would have been madness; despite our care, Jt did come a cropper but fortunately no harm was done. The path through the small plantation was lethal but short, and no further alarms were met before check point 2, where the marshalls warned us to beware of the ice for the next 2 miles! They weren't kidding.
Catherine's Edge looks simple on the map and we thought we would be able to jog it in less than 30 mins. It took us well over an hour and the first half mile took nearly 30 mins- it was lethal. A lady just in front of us took a particularly nasty tumble and we saw countless stumbles and managed a few of our own. Eventually it eased and we reached the Tockholes road. The route here is meant to go on a path to the east of the road but the gate was frozen shut. We decided that the road was the best bet so we jogged along it to the checkpoint at Slipper Lowe.
Now I have dined at the Savoy but I swear that the food provided by the wonderful marshals at Slipper Lowe was the best food I have ever eaten. Revived we walked/skidded our way to the road at Piccadilly, and so on to the ascent of Great Hill. It was still very icy underfoot and unfortunately JtE had a nasty fall and hurt his back. However, despite his discomfort he said he was fine and since the conditions underfoot had finally improved we were able to reach White Coppice without further mishap.
A short break and some stretching seemed to repair the damage and we were able to enjoy the last few miles back to Rivington and tuck into the hotpot and tea. 15 mins after we arrived, t'Y appeared having completed the long course in a very respectable 6hrs 45: well done Gordon! Typically he then managed to sit down in a seat that a young lady had just left whilst she got a cup of tea. John and I could not decide if the look on her face when she returned was annoyance at losing her seat or disbelief that anyone could look like Gordon.
My thanks to JtE for the pleasure of his company and for showing me the route beyond Belmont. My final comment is to recommend this event to anyone who does not know it. It's a nice route, well organised and well marshalled, and very good value for money - it's a pity race organizers in the south don't follow suit.
Friday, February 10, 2012
So this morning got a call from EYJ. Neither of us fancied a run but both of us had dogs that needed walking so we met up at Wilderswood taking Cleo and Vye with us through the woods and up to Two Lads. Luckily I'd chosen to take my new yaktrax with me and I'm glad I did as the frozen ground was a real challenge for EYJ's footwear. I'll definitely be wearing them tomorrow for the Amble, assuming it goes ahead. No lying snow but yet the photo looks like it was a total whiteout, such was the severity of the frost.
Hope to see NLN & TLOB at the start of the Amble tomorrow (JtE, YJ, anyone else?) and will give a cheer to all those who reach CP9 on Sunday. Glad my new gloves have arrived!
Thursday, February 09, 2012
I've swopped racing duties at WH on Sunday in return for Marshalling duties at the bottom of the ramp with CW. So if I don't see you at the start, I'll give you a shout at the bottom of the ramp even if it's just a 'show us your number' and checking that you touch the fence!
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Thoughts now turning to silly games we can play in the warmer weather and the recent article in Fellrunner about a Lakeland triathlon challenge route prompted me to come up with this far more modest local route:-
Dump the bike at the big new car park at Horrocks Fold on Walker Fold Road, and using the entrance to the car park as your start line, run up Coalpit Road and pick up the footpath to Smithills Res. Then this is the bit where you need support; swim the length of the res from the Winter Hill End to the Smithills end. You need the support to carry your kit, and especially your shoes, to the other end. The alternatives are to first run along the bank in bare feet, or to swim with your shoes on (other kit optional).
Then back to the car park, collect the bike and cycle round Winter Hill on the road, via Belmont and Rivington.
Dump the bike back at the car park, then it's back up Coalpit Road, onto the track at (yes, you've guessed it) the Trespass Stone, through to the summit trig point and back to the car park.
Should take about 30 mins + 1 hour 15 mins + 1 hour = 2:45, say 3 including transitions.
When shall we go for it?
Monday, February 06, 2012
Not sure whether it's the hopeless romantic, or the werewolf, within me that makes me feel that a full moon, coupled with a clear sky, deserves some form of celebration.
And so it was, that at about 8:05 this evening that I found myself atop the Pike. I was amused to find later, that despite being encumbered by camera, headtorch, mobile phone and hi-viz jacket, I had reached the top from chez nous in 51 minutes and 14 seconds, compared with 53 minutes 45 seconds (a PW) in broad daylight, the morning after TLoB's bash; read what you want into that.
I had expected there to be a residual covering of snow that, coupled with the moonlight, would aid visibility. There was, however very little snow, but nevertheless I was able to complete the whole trip without recourse to the headtorch, save to check the camera and the watch on reaching the tower.
An exhilarating outing, spoiled only by the quality of the photographs; this is the best of a bad lot:-
If it's not obvious, the bright thing is the moon, and the stoney thing is the Pike tower.
NLN, good to see that you've come across more of these, they are very photogenic aren't they. I remember FSS posting a piccy on one of his blogs some months ago. I think the grid reference that he gave me indicated that those were over in the Ormskirk direction.
We first starting looking out for these when we holiday'd on the Isle of Whithorn (like the Isle of Dogs, it's not an island, although it was, many years ago, but there the similarity ends). Only saw a couple in Dumfries and Galloway, but now seeing more and more in the Lakes.
There are also brown ones (probably got a posh name for these), picture anyone?
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Well it was that time of year again, crackers, turkey, pud and all that – yes it’ err… February, it’s Staveley, it’s the Eagle and Child. Well to be honest it’s so congested in December that a tradition started some years ago for the W&NL Christmas Do to be put back to a time when we could all enjoy it after the excesses of December. Jim, as usual, planned a nice little walk up and around Kentmere before the very obliging landlady at the E&C did us proud with a festive lunch. Great to see our old mucker Keith out and about after his heart bypass and a chance to catch up with walking friends not seen for some time.
Glorious conditions throughout as you can see below.
Two days ago I wouldn’t have believed I could have walked these eight or nine miles as my lower back had gone into a major spasm due to a problem with a disc. A pretty full on physio session on Thursday afternoon brought things to a head on Friday morning, but since then things have been getting better.
Can’t imagine that I’ll be up to the full Amble next Saturday but may tackle the short route if the improvement continues. Another bout with the physio scheduled for tomorrow night, so who knows what Wed will bring. Have fun all. Hopefully see some of you on Sunday at the WHFR.
Respecting the RO's instruction not to recce the course, we viewed as much of it as possible from various vantage points, picking up t'Yorkshireman and EYJ on Two Lads and losing TF and Colin at the same time. It was a bitterly cold day and the ground was hard, but we made a wide circuit of the hill, visiting Belmont and then climbing back up to Hordern Stoops and thence back to the Barn via Georges Lane and Ammunition corner.
Covered about 10 miles and got back to the car park after 3hours, just a few minutes after the start of the predicted snowfall.
It will be interesting to see how many of this band of ten will actually toe the line on the 12th.
Had an excellent morning out with TLoB yesterday. He wanted to run/walk which suited me ideally. We started from the Lower Barn (saw that EtU, YJ and Matt were already out) and went via the gardens to Rivington Pike then to Two Lads and Winter Hill where it was bitterly cold to the extent that TLoB declined a search for snow buntings. At the trig point FSS appeared. He had been doing some recce work around Counting Hill as part of the Coope’s Dozen round. Before leaving us he took the second picture published below using my camera. It was then down over the wooden bridge, Hordern Stoops, the bridleway leading beneath the bomber memorial, Yarrow Reservoir and back to the barn.
On Two Lads. (Why do that to the cairn?)
On Winter Hill. The body language suggests how cold it was.
Friday, February 03, 2012
Last Saturday saw EYJ give me yet another thrashing as we competed in the Northern XC Championships at Pontefract. However, I did manage to stay with him for the first lap and three minutes adrift him was an improvement as the course was only a few yards short of 8 miles. Our youngest septuagenerian had such a cracking race that he was bearing down on young Mr Ramsdale at the finish, only 28 seconds behind him. I suppose I should be relatively happy with 67:02 for the the 8 miles. For a flat course it accrued over 800ft of climb. We may find EYJ wandering around Two Lads in the morning.
The previous Saturday I came across JtE whilst advising a couple of fellas who weren't reccying Winter Hill route but were looking for checkpoint 3. On the slope between Two Lads and Pike Cottage they were obviously somewhat off-line. A bit pointless looking at the first 4 miles anyway - just follow the the line in front.
If I don't make UTUP, I'll see those celebrating TLOB's diamond jubilee.
If anyone watched The One Show this evening, didn't that young lad have a great dressing-gown - wonderful badge on it!
Got a slight cold but unless it worsens overnight I'll be Utuping. I'd like to at least recce that bit from the tarmac road to Smithills Shooting Hut. No doubt we'll decide on the day. Sorry to hear of your injury YJ. Sounds to me as though the niggle was the difference between 1st and 2nd place.
Thank you Matt for your report of the Chernobyl 10k and you gracious remarks about my second place. Up to 2 miles I was ahead of the eventual over 70 winner and kept in touch for most of the remaining distance to be be beaten by a strong finisher and a flagging pace on my part.
To put the time in perspective in last year's Power of Ten rankings I was 43 rd over 70 in the country with a time of 47.53 achieved at Catforth while still recovering from the Pennine Way challenge. Sunday's victor, John Riley of Northern Vets, and myself have a lot of work to do if we are to challenge runners higher up the rankings.
Sadly after starting the race with a niggling knee injury the race aggravated the damage and I have not been able to run since. I will however be UTUPing and will endeavour to complete a short hobble or even better if the rest has proved a cure. At worst I hope to manage a walk if the predicted heavy snow allows.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
RO might be reading and requested on the FRA forum that there are no recces of race route. So we won't be doing the Winter Hill route will we, as being proper fell runners we would never dare put a race in jeopardy.
We just have to decide on Saturday how proper we are. If we're not proper fell runners then who knows what we might do......
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Managed to leap over the first two hurdles to ensure my place next to ( or rather behind) the three wise(?!) men for the Chernobyl 10k but unfortunately could not overcome the third.
Shame as my time for this race last year was 53;33!
On Sunday I met EtU at the back of the starters for the Chernobyl 10k race. I could tell he was up for it from the start. This was confirmed by the fact that he concentrated on his running rather than employing his normal tactic of talking throughout the race to anyone who would listen. It was a flattish course made for fast times. For the first 4 miles EtU and I were neck and neck and as he has a thicker neck than me, not to mention legs, he was winning. From thereon he gradually got away and there was no burst of lightening pace from me, but then there never has been, at the end of the race to catch him up. When I got in, there waiting was YJ who I hadn’t realised was racing. I think he’d showered by then.
YJ’s time was a superb 48:47 and astonishingly he was only 2nd M70. There were 551 runners and he came 221st. Not bad for an over 70. EtU was 366th in a time of 53:54, whilst I had a disappointing run coming 378th in 54:.30. That was 1:33 slower than my Garstang time and that’s a tougher course with much more hillwork. YJ’s time by contrast was 2:18 better than at Garstang. Anyway having moaned about my performance here are a couple of piccies.
..well after he stopped running