Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bleasdale Circle Fell Race – Saturday 23rd February 2013

Good day out on the Bowland Fells marshalling at the Bleasdale Circle – more pics and write up at Out and About.

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Parlick from the track up to Blindhurst Farm

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Fair Snape Fell – above and below

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Looking across at the path to Fair Snape Fell from the summit of Parlick

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Very glad of that little shelter

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Snow heading our way

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Fellow marshall Andy

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Impressive horned beasties at Blindhurst farm Surprised smile

Monday, February 25, 2013

Black Combe

TYC and I are travelling up for Black Combe on Saturday 2nd March. Seats available.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

High Cup Nick 23rd Feb '13

Travelled up to Dufton with TF, and arrived for the race in good time. Brief discussion on the wisdom of wearing the Orocs, but on the basis of the longish tarmac and concrete approach to the fell, we both opted for Mudclaws. Conditions underfoot were not great, but manageable. TF soon disappeared over the horizon and I settled in, uncomfortably close to the back of the field.

The last few feet of the concave incline that took us to the Nick itself were a bit tricky, with ice on the rock surfaces. A lady Dasher immediately behind me had an attack of nerves and after some verbal encouragement from me was physically hauled up the worst stretch by one of the marshalls.

At the top there was a fair covering of frozen snow where the Orocs would have come into their own. From there it was a longish run in to the finish in a total time of 2:06.

Surprisingly, given the conditions, the winner ran 1:01:??, which must have been within seconds of the record of 1:1:11.

TF was disappointed with her 1:49 (17 minutes in front of me) on the basis that this was very close to her 2008 time, and travelled home determined to make appropriate adjustments to her training regime.

The following link shows the conditions we met on the day:-

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ovenden Fell Race Sat 16th Feb 13km/366m

I'd toyed with the idea of heading Parbold way again on Saturday, but the thought of those long stretches of tarmac and the small matter of the race being full, meant I had to take my chances on the wrong side of the county boundary.

I have headed this way before but it was for a night navigating event. Heading into Yorkshire under the cover of darkness was a lot easier prospect for a Lancashire Lass than the bright sunshine we got on Saturday. My course then consisted of one lap of the path round Ogden reservoir. On announcing to the start team that I was a bit of a novice and had they got any advice/tips, the reply I got was 'if you get your feet wet you've gone wrong'.

Saturday's pre-race advice to us all was 'do your racing on the fells, not the finish funnel'. Then on the word 'go', off we went.

Saturday's route as you can see took us out onto the moor. There was a couple of short steep climbs allowing me to gain 4/5 places on each, only to lose a few later on the flatter bits. A little disappointed with not making it back in 1hr30, probably nearer 1hr40. Results not published yet.

Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathon Sun 17th - Chinley

So for my encore this weekend I headed across another county border, this time south east to Derbyshire. With the location of the start/finish area in the village of Chinley, it was reasonable to expect we'd be heading out onto Cracken Edge and probably Mt Famine and South Head. So not that surprised to receive this map (see below) to race with. I went for an anti-clockwise route heading for the 30pt control on the right hand side of the map. Returning via the 25pt one (centre map). Results here http://www.darkandwhite.co.uk/results-cross-country-fell-races.asp

Clashes with Edale/3 Peaks has meant that this was the only one of the spring series of races I could do. But due to my runner's up position in the winter series, I learnt on Sunday that I've earned a free entry into the 2-day Mountain Marathon in September, which more than makes up for it!

I'm joining EtU on Saturday for a trip to re-visit High Cup Nick. It really is a spectacular example of a 'U' shape valley. The race route from the village of Dufton takes you along the valley floor to the climb up the rock face at the far end to the top, and then runs back along the top edge. For the aficionados, this definitely is a 'must-do' fell race.


Far Eastern Fells – Sunday 17th February

Magnificent conditions  in the Lakes on Sunday – bagged four Wainwrights from Hartsop – route here.  OROCS worked a treat, not just on the ice but on the steep downhills – well chuffed!

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Have you worn yours yet?

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Outflow from Hayeswater

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The Knott

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High Raise

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Helvellyn and the Dodds (R) – Fairfield (L)

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A semi frozen Angle Tarn

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Descending to Hartsop

Monday, February 18, 2013

High Cup Nick - Saturday 23rd Feb

I'm planning to do High Cup Nick next Saturday:-



It's a 2:00 p.m start and I'm planning to set off from Grimeford Lane at about 11:00.

Lift/s offered to interested parties.

Even if you're not interested in a trip out, follow the Visit Cumbria link, the scenery is quite spectacular.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Healey Nab

Couple of pics to go with EtU’s write up – few more at Out and About

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Rivington Reservoir

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Botany Bay and Mormon Temple from Healey Nab

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EtU exploring old mine workings adjacent to Dean Black Brook

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15 seconds!

A bag of mini eggs for the winner - what greater incentive could there be going into today's 5k at Leverhulme Park. Not for the overall winner of course but the winner of the more important sub race between myself and the man I have only ever beaten once in 7 years of racing against him. That was a 5k last year when I ran 27;00 and he 31;19.
The lure of chocolate obviously increased his motivation and he finished today's race in 27;01 - a whole 15 seconds ahead of me. All we need to do now is dangle the same carrot ( chocolate of course) when he runs next year's Amble!
Well done EtU a superb race in glorious conditions with lots of fellow RMI Harriers whose names I won't mention coz they all finished ahead of me!
Until the next time...

Suggestions on a Postcard...

Finishers at today's Bolton 5k were all presented with one of these:-

An incontinence bag? One of those she/pee/wee things? A saline drip pouch to go on a stand by your hospital bed?

Yesterday Morning

We (NLN and I) were a little late setting off from the UP, having chewed the fat with three elderly (please define) birders - JtE and two others - before setting off to run. During the conversation we had been advised of a heronry, currently undergoing renovation by its owners, at the far end of The Street. JtE declined to run with us, having decided to on his own comeback routine; hope it went well John.

We're not sure that we located the heronry, but we did see what appeared to be two likely nests close to the advised site.

From there we proceeded to Healey Nab, White Coppice, Great Hill, Round Loaf, the Bomber Memorial, Alance Bridge and thence back to the barn.

A smashing morning out, just less than 12 miles - photos to follow?

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Borrowdales

In response to a recent reminder from TF that 2013 marks the 50th running of the Borrowdale race, and Scoffer's suggestion of something extra for folk who've clocked up 25 finishes, I delved into my archives.

In 1990 I'd already completed Wasdale at my second attempt and, prompted by JtE, I entered my first Borrowdale and finished in 5:05. In those days the ascent of Bessy Boot was via Stonethwaite and the north east flank, a dangerous wooded, steep , mossy slope, live with loose stone, and it was not unusual to see one or two early retirements due to injuries caused by falling rocks.

I completed the race for a further 15 years, making 16 in a row, achieving a PB of 4:26 in 1994, my BG year.

The first 13 of those used the "fun" route but in 2003 the route was changed so that Bessy Boot was attacked from her more benign westerly flank.

I didn't enter in 2006, but returned in 2007, when the route was shortened to omit Scafell Pike due to the adverse weather, making 17 finishes in total.

In 2008 I was timed out at Honnister and decided that it was time to move on.
Fellrunning and Art

Didn't know that the two juxtaposed? Well they do and a discussion thread on the fellrunning forum about a local exhibition piqued my interest

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As no suitable suitors had arrived to whisk me off for a candlelight dinner I took myself off to Hayfield for an evening of culture following my rep session round the streets of Cheadle.

Of the Artists exhibiting were

Rod Holt www.rodholt.co.uk 3 pictures were 'Narrative of a Fell Race' 'Overexposed' & 'Winter Rocks'

Claire Parker, a local Hayfield artist who was exhibiting some of her work in relation to the Kinder Trespass http://kindertrespass.com/index.asp?ID=132 and the two local fell races - Kinder Downfall and Lantern Pike

Ali Hargreaves www.alisart.co.uk 3 oil paintings of winter climbing scenes, not on her website yet but the 'The Great Outdoors' section gives you a flavour of her work.

Mick Wren http://www.mickwren.com/index_files/events.htm direct link to three paintings he was exhibiting

Geoff Read - couldn't find a website but is art included a pencil drawing of Kenny Stuart. His recent work has been in Japan where he was living at the time of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear accident some of which can be seen here http://strongchildrenjapan.blogspot.co.uk/

Vincent Booth http://www.vincentbooth.co.uk/ As I arrived early I got a chance to speak to the artist whilst he was setting up, even as far as guessing which name tags should go with which paintings. Of all the exhibitors I think I was most taken with his paintings, especially as they were done from memory and not relying on photographs. He'd brought along a selection from 'Athletes' and 'Landscapes'

Finally a loaner painting (forgot which art gallery) by Rolf Harris. This depicted a scene of runners with an accompanying book open on the page describing how the painting was undertaken. Very illuminating, more deft strokes evident than I remember from watching on the telly years ago with the massive canvas and the paperpaste size brushes.

Not out for Utup as racing again this weekend.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This Week

Wednesday 13th - if the roads aren't fit for my usual trip to Preston, I may have a chance to try the OROCS in the snow.

Thursday 14th - as yet unsure, will definitely UTUP if there's to be any company, otherwise probably running from home.

Saturday 16th  - UTUP

Sunday 17th - Bolton 5k - grudge match with SN! I feel that last Saturday was my lowest ebb and I've turned the corner - I fancy my chances!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Anglezarke Amble - Saturday 9th February 2013

In response to EtU’s search for any successes on Saturday’s outing I’m afraid I can’t really oblige, although given the conditions and my current state of fitness I feel I had as good an outing as I could have asked for – details at  Out and About

Great to see YJ at the end who seems to be making progress at last in his recovery.  Great to almost stumble into Nic’O and SN on the descent from Great Hill.  I was having a particularly bad patch when they asked how I was – apologies for the response!

My camera only came out once to snap these three ladies who seemed to be going at about my pace.  Given the rather nasty conditions I decided to try to stick with them as a safety in numbers strategy and their red jackets proved rather useful in some instances.  This worked well all the way round to Slipper Low and familiar territory.  I was happy to relax at this point and tried to stretch out the back and hamstring take in some liquid and let them go ahead – in the event, we finished more or less together.

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My (unknowing) Pacers climbing Winter Hill

Sunday was atrocious weather for the Winter Hill FR and my plan to stroll up to the top of the ramp was abandoned in preference to reading the paper in the car before appearing with an umbrella at the finish.  Well done to FSS and Albert in successfully completing the Double!

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RO Colin Jones with his lovely assistant Mr Sunter – the face on the right says it all!

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Alistair Murray with the Norman Mathews Trophy – first Horwich RMI runner home

Results here

Commiserations to our own TYC who succumbed to a knee problem on the day, and to KLM who gamely started out on the Amble only to realise that his return to full fitness was incomplete and sensibly turned back to the start from Winter Hill.

Huge thanks to organisers and marshalls who had really tough times on both events last weekend!

Anyone out Saturday?  Disappointed smile

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Anglezarke Amble

Sorry to hear that JtE couldn't make the start, hope you're soon back on form.

Sorry to see KLM heading for home, so soon after the start.

Disappointed to finish the long course in 7:47 behind lots of walkers.

Can we have reports of some successes please?

Good to hear of TF's continuing development of her long distance racing - where will this lead to? If she's around for TYC's BG, perhaps she may be inspired by his exploits - all roads do eventually lead to the Moot Hall.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Wadsworth Trog Sat 9th Feb 32.2km/1220m

Please bear with me whilst I tell you about my history with the Wadsworth Trog races put on by Calder Valley Fell Runners. There's the full and the half.

I need to take you back to Feb 2007. At this point in time I was just making my foray into slightly longer fell races, upping the distance from about 5-6miles to 9-10miles. Calder Valley FR put both races on the same day a few years ago, and the 'half' race fit the bill. I'd done a couple of recces and felt it would be a good test of my improving ability. Unfortunately the race got cancelled the night before due to snow and it wasn't until 2010 when I finally got my chance to run the 'half' race. A momentous day it was too, I finish 3rd Lady and won a prize! (results here for 2010http://www.cvfr.co.uk/races/wadsworth-half-trog/) Not long to wait before the winner of the Full race arrived though, but it did give me time to dream of competing in the longer race.

Roll forward to 9.59am today and there I was on the start line. Calder Valley have separated the two races to different dates (the half is now on in November), to allow a larger entry to each race. Cut-off times were applied to CP 3 (1hr30) and CP 11 (3hr45).

Conditions under foot varied from very firm, slushy (bit of snow overnight) and 'will the ice hold my weight' - definitely not on a couple of occasions. The eagle-eyed amongst you might recognize that the run up to CP5 and CP6 to CP7 are on the Haworth Hobble route too. I ran all the way up that tarmac hill, doubt I'll be doing that in a months time.

A bit of a stressful push up the hill to CP11 and I cleared the limit by 2mins. Needn't have worried as it appears that the marshals were being generous, and letting all the following runners through. All that remained for me was to complete the remaining 5 miles to the finish. Crossing the line was a proud moment. No prizes today, but what an incredible journey over the past 6 years and my association with the Wadsworth Trog.

A very efficient results team have got the provisional results up on their website already http://www.cvfr.co.uk/races/wadsworth-trog/

Hope you all had a good day out on the Amble and best of luck to those doing the Winter Hill race tomorrow, especially those doing the double. I'm having a 'rest' manning the desk at the XC, thankfully we're in the clubhouse for this last one and not braving the elements in the tent.


Here I am just reaching the Top'O'Stairs (cp5)


and again just after CP11 with a piece of well-earned Malt Loaf to celebrate (photos courtesy of Dave and Eileen Woodhead, for further photos have a look here http://www.woodentops.org.uk/index.php?topic=home&subtopic=morephotos)

(updated with photos 11/2/13)

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Mickleden Straddle Sunday 3rd Feb 23K/741m

What a difference a day makes! A lovely trot out with the gang yesterday giving the new Orocs a thorough testing over all sorts of terrain, well satisfied with the 4hrs+ straight from the box.

Switched back to the trusty Mudclaws for todays run.

Course Map http://denbydaletravellers.org.uk/ESW/Files/map_of_course.pdf

Just to help you locate, the top red road is the Woodhead Pass, the Start/Finish area was on the road heading towards Stocksbridge & Sheffield. The top road carries on towards the M1 (jcn37)

This was unfamiliar running territory, but I wasn't unfamiliar with the drive there as 20 odd years ago I regularly travelled this route between my first ever job (working at the Sheffield Dental Hospital) and my home in Manchester. That was until I realised the Snake Pass route was quicker (and more exciting). I oftened wondered what was behind the trees of Langsett Wood, now I know!

A biting head wind on the way out, on some typical Peak District paths, some rocky, some peaty but a good mix. CP1 seemed to take a long time to get to, but once there we were rewarded with a nice smooth trail (out of the wind) heading towards the tip of the reservoir, looked a lovely spot for a picnic. The climb out from CP2 to CP3 and onwards to CP4 was on a good trod, a bit muddy/boggy in parts but nothing more than ankle deep if you were careful. Back to the finish on the outward path, where there were supplies of soup, butties and cake waiting (all included in the race fee).

Winner managed 1:39, I was about 3:08. Top marks to Denby Dale, even with the out'n'back section there was enough varied terrain and views to keep your interest. A special big thanks to all the Marshalls for standing out in some challenging weather, the Jelly Babies at CP4 were most welcome. Definitely on my list of ones to do again, only 1 hour travelling time from Bolton and mostly runnable if you were trying hard. Some nice miles in the bank!

(updated with photo courtesy of Adrian Ashworth. Full set of photos here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.599702270046189.148602.100000192648894&type=1)
Fun in the sun

After the disappointment of knee injury problems in 2012  which severely limited training  over the  last 12 months it is good to get out and achieve some longer excursions.

Since being bitten by the running bug at the age of 40 following much  sibling encouragement my yearly mileage had never dropped below 2000 making a conservative estimate of a total distance of over 60,000 miles,  the equivalent of more than twice around the equator and accounting for many, many pairs of trainers. I make no apologies for being   deeply disappointed at injury bringing to an end  this long-running record.

The knee problem is still there,  but does not prevent plodding on even ground and eventually I hope the continuing, though slow, improvement will put me back with the main group on Saturday mornings. 

It was good to see NicO  out again and to see so many taking advantage of the sunshine.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Amble Reccy

Great to see Nic’O out with the Saturday lot this morning.  Stunning conditions, Oh that we should be so lucky next Saturday!   TF, EtU and I mooched about in the bog between Belmont and Egerton before turning back, with EtU heading home and TF and I heading to Piccadilly and Great Hill which gave us a good 16 mile morning.  Some pics in the usual place with some of the gang below.

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Bird on a wire – Aspull

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Lower Houses car park

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To the woods

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Name the stile climbers!

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Heading to the sunshine

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Heading to that cloud

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Ice, ice baby!

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Belmont Sailing Club

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Clouds gather back in Aspull

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