Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Two Lads, Winter Hill, Noon Hill, Pike – Tuesday

Just under seven miles in lovely conditions with JtE.  A couple of nice ones of the Pike here

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On Noon Hill

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Now who’s this lady then?

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Not quite Paris...

Well, a grey day in Manchester wasn't exactly as inspiring as Paris to run round but the novelty of running around on roads I normally drive on and going trough red lights kept me amused for most of the Manchester Marathon.

I didn't honestly think I'd get round having retired in quite some pain from the TwA but it seems a week of icing and rest paid off as while the foot still hurt all the way round, I finished it. I also made a couple of friends in the form of two runners from Trentham RC and I've also a club to train with during the week round Stoke now rather than sitting in traffic on the M6.

Despite the injury I managed to get round in 3:25:56 so 5 mins and 4 secs faster than Paris. I was quite surprised and pleased with that but on hearing this news TF set the challenge of a 3:20 in Edinburgh, I'll have a go but not promise!

A quick link to the stats;

Apologies for the road talk, back to the fells everyone!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blencathra and Skiddaw – Saturday 27th April

Fantastic conditions on the summits – great day out – more pics here Winking smile

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Rain/snow just clearing out as we arrived in Threlkeld – Scales Fell, Doddic an Hallsfell Ridge

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Ian approaching Hallsfell Top on Blencathra

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Looking down Hallsfell Ridge with the A66 beyond

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Skiddaw House YH  Back o’Skiddaw

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On Skiddaw

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Ian running off Jenking Hill

OCT part Recce

The unintentional lonely trek out round the mid and back end sections of the OCT ended up being a very pleasant day out.  The weather did not start off too kindly from Langdale up to Stake Pass but once up to the snow line below Esk Hause it brightened up and produced some magnificent vistas.  Although not a heavy coating of snow some early slips and falls between rocks slowed me down to a snails pace (being slow to to start with the with the new pace I was almost going backwards!).

Some interesting snow and wind features stopped me in my tracks not having seen such fine detail since leaving the frozen rock in the north Atlantic.  On top of Sca Fell Pike it was bitterly cold with the wind blowing down from the north I had a chat with some other OCT contenders.  There is more meat on a sparrow's knee cap than is on these kids.  Feeling very overweight and old I set of for the elusive short way down from the summit to "Middle Earth".  The snow and loose boulders made for an interesting descent; whether or not it is quicker than back-tracking and going down the recommended route I couldn't say.

Jogging on to Cockley Beck was the usual boggy chore, then decision time, do I go up or turn for home?  If I go up, do I turn at the col below Grey Friar or continue on?  The decision to go on to the Old Man was a good one in hindsight as the views were stunning in the bright sunshine and I have never seen the Isle of Man stand out so clearly on the horizon before now.  On the return I made a conscious decision to go back slowly and take in all the views before reaching the boundary stone.  Finishing back at the New Dungeon Ghyll it looked and felt like Summer with people drinking outside, kids playing and a clear blue sky above.  I took far longer than I wanted to but what a fantastic day it turned out to be.

Snow and wind formation forming little ice fingers on rock below Sca Fell Pike

More ice fingers on a Cairn

The Old Man

Saturday, April 27, 2013

3 Peaks

Well what can I say other than it was a 'dig deep' day and I had to dig extremely deep for this one.

Forecast was spot on with showers (some snow) and NE winds - no help there then!

Legs and brain did not appear to be working in tandem going up Pen y Gent and I reached the summit in 51:59. Not looking good. Today was a first look at the new path over Whitber, it cut a bit of a corner but not much, but it'd be any ones guess as to how many minutes it might save. Just enough as it turned out, reached Ribblehead in 2:09:10. Onwards and upwards!

Whernside was very boggy lower down, calves were twitchy due to the previous 'flat out' effort, so pushed up as hard as I could. Reached the top with 30 mins and 2 seconds to get off and down to Hill Inn!

Whoever designed those new steps off wants shooting. Who in their right mind selects stones for the risers that stick up a good 2-3 inches proud of the tread bit. They must have had the plans upside down! Suffice to say, getting off was a tough mental challenge, especially with the clock ticking.

Made it to Hill Inn in a time of 3:28:47, so 1min13sec to spare.

Return to Horton fairly uneventful if a bit slow, final finish time 5:17:11. 28mins slower than 2011, but a finish all the same. Winner today was Joe Symmonds 2:54. I still hadn't made it to Whernside by then and he was back having a cup of tea. Apparently his dad Peter won it 3 times too. Must be in the genes to run that fast.

A quick analysis of the results showed me to be the slowest (probably ever) at Pen y Gent to clear the cut off at Ribblehead. I was also the slowest at Ribblehead to clear the cut off at Hill Inn. I did pass a few on the way to each check point though.

For each of the three climbs I was a good 5 mins slower than 2011. So much for my climbing feeling good this year! A bit of work required for the two AL's in June then. Will count today as a step in the right direction.

Helping marshall the Manchester Marathon tomorrow for a bit of a rest. It is billed as the UK's flattest marathon, 3 Peaks is billed as a 'Marathon with mountains'. Even if my finish time might be quicker for the 26m one, I'd still chose to do 3 Peaks over it any day!


Ps Results were on the Sportident website, but as of 8:20pm the web page has crashed. Try later or tomorrow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anyone for an early start?

It looks as though many of us are otherwise engaged on Saturday so if no one indicates UTUPing and I am going to be on my own I will probably make an earlier start  (8 am) from the usual  place. I need to improve on last week's distance of 9 miles   - and the pace of 18 mins per mile.

Next Two Saturdays

UTUPing tonight then out of town, returning to our Dark Satanic Hills p.m Saturday 4th May.

I Was There...

...and so was YJ, in 1981 when John Wilde set his still extant Pike Race record of 15:53. I was in Cambridge Harriers colours and finished in 24:30.  There were two J Swifts, one running for Northern Vets in a time of 23:36 and one unattached in 23:51; not sure which one was my bro.

This was all before the fence between the Pike and George's Lane was built, and it's now said that the small diversion that this introduced means that Wilde's record is now out of reach. It's also said that Wilde was the ultimate descender 'he'd just leap off and his feet rarely touched the ground'. However, reference to Ian Campbell's 'History of the Horwich RMI Harriers' tells me that Wilde went up in 9:48 and came down in 6:05. That is, his down is 62.1% of his up; good in absolute terms, but not indicative of an exceptional descender.

Additional information now to hand (courtesy of TYC) via http://www.hillyclothing.co.uk/news/march-2013-blog tells us that this year Ron Hill climbed in 22:27 and came down in 12:27 giving a percentage of 55.5; better descending, in relative terms than Wilde's. Interesting to find that he saw me worthy of a mention on his blog!

Just to clarify, the use we can all make of our personal ratio is to astablish our weakest aspect and to work on improving it; although most of us know already where the effort is needed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saturday Trundle out to Langdales

As part of my prep for the OCT I'm going up to the Langdales for the day if anyone wants to share a lift.  I hope to leave between 07:15 & 07:30 and I am willing to make a small detour or two to collect willing bodies en route.
My plan is to be out for up to 8 hours maybe a little longer and my route will be taking in Stake Pass, Angle Tarn, Esk Hause, Scafell Pike, Cockley Beck, back of Grey Friar and time permitting Coniston Old Man before heading back.  Alternatively you can do your own thing and we meet back at the car.

Any takers just drop me a line to kevan.latham@sky.com or ring me on 07806 746947.

KLM 24-04-2013

Anniversary Waltz/Teenager with Altitude 2013

Great weather for this classic Lakeland Fell Race.  Found myself marshalling with a very jolly set.  Some pics of a few runners including JtE’s nephew in a Bowland shirt (does his dad know?).  The marshalls were having a good time too!   Other scenic views at Out and About.  So what did you lot get up to then?


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Heading up to High Spy from Stair – Hindscarth on the right

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Old mine shaft

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Looking back to Causey Pike

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Newlands Fells

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Cat Bells, Derwentwater with Skiddaw and Blencathra in the distance

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Skiddaw from Black crag

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Dale Head from High Spy summit

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Waiting for the runners

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Hindscarth with Newlands Beck below

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Cat Bells from Stair

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Turbine Tangle Recce

The Rossendale club has come up with a challenge for September known as the 'Turbine Tangle'. Essentially navigate yourself round all 26 (no, I couldn't believe there were that many either) on Scout Moor in 3 hours, starting and finishing at Cowpe. Details on their website and facebook page www.rossendaleharriers.co.uk and go to the race diary page.

I should point out that it's as many as you can get in the 3hrs, but did wonder if us lesser mortals with a bit of navigating nous could manage 26 and not just the racing snakes. So is it possible? I spent the evening looking at the map to work out what I thought would be the optimum route around the various sections.


I parked up in Cowpe, outside the Sunday School (Race HQ) and my route onto the moor followed the ROW via the Pennine Bridleway (there may be a more direct flagged route on race day) to my first turbine no 20, I finished with no 25 and went back down to Cowpe to the east of the reservoirs and back to the car. That's about as much detail of my route as I'm going to divulge on a public website! It took me 1hr48 from touching the first one to the last, and just over 3hrs in total. The tracks (blue on site plan) are very wide and smooth and good 'fast' running, I made a very huge assumption that it was 'ok' to traverse the moor (it is access land) between the various sections. This meant there was only a small 50m section of the track that I did 'out'n'back'.

A little bit of fine tuning may be required, but overall happy that my computer navigating matched up well with what I found on the day. At best guess I reckon I did about 11m and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Today's pace was very comfortable, so a sub 3hrs is well within my reach, I just need to see what further details appear on the race website. I certainly don't think I'd be bothering if you had to just stick to the tracks and ROW's, that'd make it a lot more time consuming.

Any way you don't need to do the race to give yourself a challenge, just print off the maps and away you go.


Wi Gon Wum t’Winter Hill

Recalling NLN's post of the poem found by TIM, TF produced a map with points of interest from the poem. JtE, YJ, TF, Ed and myself at the start but JtE must have though he was too fast for us so decided to do his own thing. The rest of us set off through the Chinese Gardens and up to the Pike, where a young lady passed us and sped down onto Georges Lane. I ran on for an effort to find that she had moved into the area from Shropshire and would be a definite asset to a local club - so gave her info of Steve Pearson's Thursday Hill Sessions.
Another effort up to Two Lads for us all, I think, certainly TF and I were working hard to get there, where a natter with Rob Green meant that soon JtE rejoined us and decided to continue with us onto Brunt Edge as it is stated in the poem, passing what we thought may have been the site of the bungalow. A quick look in the book, Underground Above Horwich, suggests it may not be, as there is a site of five houses at a location where we would normally join the mast road if running from Two Lads to the mast. I may investigate further/ We then headed to Burnt (or Brunt) Edge passing Slack House Farm. JtE then took the direct root to Holden's Farm whilst the rest of us went via Matchmoor Lane. Then it got complicated. JtE, YJ and TF returned for a shorter run, whilst Ed an I headed for the reservoir and Whimberry Hill before the climb up to Winter Hill, down to George's Lane and back to the barn. This was of course interrupted by meeting with various other runners : EYJ walking his dog, Andy Staveley, Richard Longlands and others who we didn't know be name.
Altogether it was a good long morning's run with about half an hour's stops. I  managed to clock 11.3 miles and think I need to increase that to 15 miles in reasonable comfort before I can start to tackle some decent long events again.
In the absence of NLN, I took a few piccies.
Ed and TF discussing the various points of interest on the map
Slack House Farm - rarely run past it, despite hundreds of runs along Burnt Edge

Stream on the run towards Holden's Farm

Anniversary Waltz Winner

of the V70 prize goes to someone we all know well – congratulations Paul!  Great day to be on the fells running or in my case, marshalling on top of High Spy.   Pleased to see quite a few Horwich vests out as well as Bowland – more pics of the marshalls and runners enjoying the day Rolling on the floor laughing

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A Trick of the Light?

I spotted this water sprite whilst researching my River Douglas project a couple of weeks ago:-

Grasmere Fells, Tarns and Gingerbread

Mark Sammon and I travelled up to Grasmere for our second outing on this lovely LDWA event put on by Morecambe Bay & Bowland LDWA.  TF initially expressed some interest in coming but the lure of a Saturday UTUP with all the usual persiflage must have been more tempting!  This year we got a lie-in as the organisers requested that the runners start at 09:30 instead of the usual 08:30 mass start.

The route starts (and finishes) on the village sports field in Grasmere and heads up to Great Rigg via Alcocks tarn, followed by an about turn to go back down to Stone Arthur then down again before crossing the road to the first feed station at a farm below Helm crag. The usual fayre of drinks and food were provided, which is what makes these LDWA special and exceptional value for money.  I'm impressed with Mark's view on the refreshment's provided in which he attempts to consume more than his entryfee's worth, which he fell short of by a long way! Next was a trudge up a miserable track along Greenburn Bottom before turning south west up to the ridge that took us back along a path to Helm Crag (Lion and Lamb).  As with Great Rigg the control is not manned and as it is a challenge event rather than a competition it is up to the entrants to be honest enough to go to the check points before doubling back in this case to pick the route out to Easedale Tarn, another check point and some much needed Bassets Jelly Babies  (only Bassets are good enough for fell events).  From here the route takes us to the back of Blea Crag to pick up the ridge path along to Silver Howe, then onto Chapel Stile (another food and drink station) before the final grunt up Loughrigg Fell.  With the clear weather and warm sun the views offered all the way round were just stunning especially on Loughrigg.

Up to the final descent from Loughrigg down to the lakeside my legs were heavy and tired all the way round due to the lack of climbing descending practice and too much road running.  However, once on the road, I was happy to increase the pace to trot into the finish.  I have to thank Mark for hanging back for me to encourage me onwards all round the route, which meant that I came in 32 seconds quicker than last year having done a slightly longer correct route this year rather than the shorter error route through Grasmere I did last year.

A shower, albeit a couple of degrees above hypothermic level, followed by pie and beans then trifle to finish the event off just makes for a splendid day out.  The additional bonus of receiving a piece of the locally produced ginger bread gives it that unique touch, however, both Mark and I are of the opinion that there are easier ways of obtaining gingerbread in Grasmere.

I'm hoping to go up to the Langdales next Saturday for a recce of the mid and maybe the back end section of the OCT, weather permitting if anyone wants to join me.  I am even considering camping over on Saturday night to do another recce of the section round High Raise on Sunday before heading home.

KLM 21-04-2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Saturday 19th

I shall be UTUPping tomorrow and will be hoping to go a little further than last week.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Joe Barber Herod Farm Weds 17th April 4.8k/335m

I'd not done this one before but was quite familiar with the hilly bits. So thought it'd be good for a bit of a last minute attempt to inject a bit of speed.

The top edge of the map just finishes south of Glossop just so you can locate the general area.

I think the fast ones were on for a crack at the race record as they'd started to mill about quite a long way up the track from the start line. Called to order by the RO. At least there was no doubt as to which direction we'd be running this week unlike at Coledale when all of us we're facing the wrong way!

Unfortunately the gate was open at Herod Farm, as I was hoping for a bit of a breather whilst waiting for the queue to climb the stile, next to last at this point.

One runner passed on the track through the heather on the drop down to Simmondley, a further 4 passed on the climb back up to Whitely Nab and 2 more on the run in to the finish. So expecting to see 8 names behind mine on the results when they're published.

Finish time for me was about 39mins (certainly under 40) so quite pleased with that, if I'd have run last year with that time I would have had 12 behind me. Be interesting to see how the % stats work out for this year with position in race and time compared to winner.

I should be out for a utup on Saturday. Still pondering shoe choice for the week after, especially as someone's posted this picture of the climb up Ingleborough on their facebook page from last Saturday https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=503045703091405&set=pb.241025282626783.-2207520000.1365957058&type=3&theater

(for those not registered with facebook - think 'snow, iceaxe, crampons' and it'll give you a pretty good picture in your mind of the conditions).


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fielden Cup - Thursday, April 18th

Whether you are a member of Horwich or not, you are welcome to turn up for the Fielden Cup tomorrow night. The only difference is that only members are eligible to win the magnificent trophy.

Prizes bought (some quality stuff), handicaps worked out (will have to do guests on the night) and everything ready, registration 6.15 to 6.55 at Jolly Crofters (back room). With the tragedy in Boston on Monday, our little race takes on an extra significance - it was first run in the same year as the first Boston Marathon, 1897.
Hopefully I've got Ed's handicap as accurate as possible, but I can't start him off in front of people who he has beaten in recent races, so it has to be scientific based on known results.

Best of luck to TYC at the TWA (along with AS and TV who I see are also entered).

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tri Winter Hill - Needs to Warm Up a Bit

The twins, Mary and Margaret, completed the Clitheroe Triathlon today and Mary contacted me to say that she was glad that it was a pool swim, especially when she looked forward to our 'Tri Winter Hill' scheduled for Saturday 6th July (is it in your diary?) which incorporates an open water swim:-

Smashing pics, Mary, thank you.

Wi Gooin Wum t’Winter Hill

Ray TIM put this on his FB page a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to put it on the blog for those of you who may not have seen it.  I’ve never seen any signs of the bungalow, but maybe we could have a look next time we’re up there.  EtU knew the name when I mentioned it on Saturday.  Ray’s post is below.

“A friend sent this poem about Winter Hill, that his aunt wrote. You oldies from Bolton should have no trouble reading it.  His maternal grandparents, James & Mary Wood, lived at Hole Bottom Bungalow on Winter Hill from the late twenties until 1939. It nestled in a hollow about 100 yards from the summit of Winter Hill and the cast-iron column of Scotchman’s Stump. That was erected to commemorate the murder there of a Scottish traveller, (James Henderson if I recall). As a result of the depression, Jim was out of work and the tenancy of the Bungalow carried with it some gamekeeping on the moors (property of Liverpool Corporation from the gift of Lord Leverhulme).  There wasn’t any electricity or gas, nor any mains water, but there was a spring nearby.  Annie, his sister, lived there until she married in 1937. During the week she lodged with his family and went home to Winter Hill at weekends.
Today, there is no evidence of the bungalow, it being demolished sometime during the ‘60s.”

Wi Gooin Wum t’Winter Hill

Ann Fleetwood, August 1982

When aw lived up Winter Hill,
Mun a bin fifty yar back,
We used to goo bi Georges Loan
Or else bi t’Brunt Edge track.
Fro Georges Loan, thro’ Ramwell’s farm,
Pass t’pit and t’quarry too,
Reawnd a corner – stop for breath;
Eeh! What a lovely view.
Then, on past t’Butts and up thro’ t’cut
Th’owd brick kiln comes in seight,
Deawn t’track we goo , thro’ t’garden gate
At last we’re wum for t’neight.
“Hole Bottoms” was the name o’ t’place
At t’top o’ t’rough yewn track
It tuk us half an heawr t’get up
Only twenty minutes back!

Neaw t’other road we’d tak somedays
Wi’ t’weather feign an wearm,
Thro’ Barrow Bridge, then up yon steps
To Walker Fowt bi t’farm
Across the road an’ ower t’style
(We never oppent gate)
Along t’Brunt Edge and deawn to t’bruck,
Crossed even when in spate.
Past Sugar Loaf an’ up thro’ t’glen
An then another style,
The little stream to cross agen;
We’re wum fer t’rest awhile.

On other days we’d ‘ave a change,
Instead of gooin up t’steps
We’d goo up t’road that crossed t’Golf Links
To t’farm that Morrises kept.
“Hole Hill” t’was named, as I recall
Then along t’top road bi t’wall
Past t’place they cawd “Slack Hall”
Deawn t’hill agen to t’babblin brook
(Crossed wi a bit o’ luck)
The rest o’ t’ way we’en bin befooer
Back wum agen once mooer.

There’s mony a tale I ‘ave to tell
About yon Smithills Mooer
Of grouse and Germans, Whinberry Pie,
Aye pages scooer on scooer.
It would take me quite a spell
An awm seventy now, what’s mooer
So, I’d better get it down reight quick

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Winter Hill and Great Hill

Good outing this morning, great to see YJ and Colin getting back to it.  KLM was firing on all cylinders after his little outing in Paris – good effort.  Three of us completed just under fourteen miles, which after last week’s mooch was very satisfying.  More pics here along with some information about the underground byres.

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Mist clearing from Georges Lane

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Still plenty snow on top

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Heading to the trig

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T’Y and YJ

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Great Hill

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Track to Brinscall

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KLM inspecting the underground byres – more info

Just back before the rain arrived – good outing thanks guys Smile