Thursday, October 31, 2013

Withins Skyline video now available

Twenty seven minute video now showing on your local youtube cinema. Not exactly starring TF and mi-sen but we do appear a couple of times.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Thank you to all who helped this non-teccie OAP with his blogging problem, which now appears to be sorted.  Reversion to my previous browser:- Windows Internet Explorer, seems to have done the trick.

Just a few snippets that I had given up on due to posting problems:-

Bowfell, taken in mid October from few hundred yards past Brotherelkeld Farm,  Eskdale:-

A sign on Seascale Golf Course:-

Do they go commando from here on?

I passed this sign on my way to the Greycroft stone circle, of which I had not heard until reading Tom Fletcher's 'The Ravenglass Eye'.

Saturday 26th October saw my eldest's first outing with the squad, when she, JTE, YJ and I visited the Pike, Two Lads and Winter Hill Trig Point, before those three returned to the barn, leaving me to cover a couple more miles to visit the Bomber Memorial and return over Alance Bridge. On the way I diverted further up Lead Mines Clough, to find a quite spectacular waterfall that is definitely worth a visit with a camera.

And finally, I'm UTUPing Thursday 31st (ghosts and ghouls permitting) and Saturday 2nd Nov.
A pre-UTUP for Sat 16th November

On Friday 15th Novemeber the Belmont Bull has Clive Gregeson playing live.

I'm guessing that most of you haven't heard of Clive. He is a renowned singer-song writer on the Folk circuit. Born and raised in Manchester but now living in the USA. He is currently on his UK tour and on a couple of evenings he's support for Jools Holland. In the past he has worked with Boo Hewerdine (The Bible) and Eddi Reader. More info on his website

I've contacted the Bull and they still have some tickets left. Cost is £10. I will definitely be going, if anyone else is interested can they let me know. I've put a reserve on 5 tickets for the moment but I'm sure if we don't leave it too last minute we'll be able to get some more.

The music is easy listening, tuneful, you can hear the words, foot tapping variety. So if you're up for an evening out with a difference come along, you won't be disappointed.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Passing Clouds (and expectations)

As mentioned in my last post, I showed a significant improvement at Saddleworth Edges and finished much further up the field that I normally do. I had a rule if thumb that most things up to 10 or so miles, I'd be around 50 to 60% of the way down the field and once over that point, it could slip back to around 80%. However recent training has been paying off it seems and at Saddleworth I ended up 30% of the way down (42nd of 139 finishers)

So the target for Passing Clouds which is slightly longer at 9.8 miles with 1800 ft (to Saddleworth's 8.1 miles with 1148 ft) was to maintain that level of performance and solidify that I am actually capable of it. I felt a long way back at the start but by half way round my increased miles and climb were paying dividends and I was overtaking people and pulling away on the uphills. A little over enthusiasm on a stretch of farm tracks and fields by a brook before the final big climb to the Roaches trig saw me over exert myself and take a tumble which was arrested by smacking my right quad on some rocks. That cost me four places while I got up and moving again but I thought I was doing well and I wasn't going to be giving in to the pain from the quad so I carried on. Not stopping to walk uphill and grinding it out even pressured a Congleton and a Buxton runner stop and step aside to surrender their places saying they had no uphill legs left in them and I regained all places lost plus around seven more across the length of the Roaches before a further four on the final drop off Hen Cloud and run in. It felt good to be able to put eyes on the next runner and pick them off one by one on the ups and the downs.

Looking back I can tell I'm not used to doing what I'd just achieved as I thought the lack of runners by the finish meant I was in fact much further back than normal and everyone had gone to get a coffee, get changed or warm up in cars (was a cold race with plenty of strong wind and rain). I was wrong as I had in fact pushed myself in to the top 20% of the race, coming in 34th of 198 finishers. I even overtook some strong runners I recognised from clubs like Pennine and Dark Peak, though admittedly one of them told me at Langdale that he is carrying some injured ribs at the moment. I've also gone from being 40 seconds being Ritzy on Saddleworth to being ahead of all the ladies on a race, another first for me. Anyway, the results;

Onwards and upwards (in the field)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Also reporting in ...

I know I made the equinox meal but I realise I've not run a UTUP since Sept 14th.

After the hamstring injury, I started my tentative comeback after a couple of weeks with a couple of miles around Two Lads, then slowly upped it until I took the risk of Withins Skyline on Oct 13th - see earlier report.

That was a tester to see if I would be able to cope with a leg of the FRA Relay should the need arise. And with no after effects I declared myself available, at least for the shortest and easiest leg, should the need arise. It did : but not content with using me for the less demanding leg 1, Ali decided that I should do leg 4 and Mark Birbeck run leg 1 as Mark was unsure of his ability to cope with leg 4 and I supposedly had more experience haha!

As Andy has reported, they had a bit of "weather" in Llanberis last Sunday : it was a bit wild on the exposed parts. I took over from Andy and Tim, or rather I set off with around 60 other runners on a "mini mass start"for leg 4 at 3pm with a mad dash up a 1 in 2 slope of slate before settling down, letting the majority pass me and then the hard work of climbing Moel Elio which made up the bulk of the 2000ft of ascent. Of course I was overtaken by a few on the descent and the final part was through a gully which had become a mudbath - perusing the various photos (Holmfirth Harriers on flickr has the most) shows quite a few ending face down in it. Every leg went through this stretch : Leg 1 went up it and the other three legs came down it. With 183 teams of 8 starting, over 1400 runs had preceded me through it. I did beat a few leg 4 runners and I also finished in front of some pairs still out on Andy's leg 3!
Here's a photo Mark took of me just after the start : can you find me?

More photos on Mark's blog -
A great day out - next year it's in my favourite running area of the Howgills so hopefully I'll be fitter and make a team on merit rather than because so many are unavailable.

Yesterday I made my season debut in cross-country. It was a nice surprise to find YJ also toe-ing the line. It was the first time I had run in Walsh PBs for a long while. I was going to run in spikes but much of the course lent itself to running on gravel so PBs were chosen and I thought PBs would be less of a strain on my hamstring. A short warm-up run then stretching and 5 minutes before the start, I re-tied my laces. Only problem was that the lace on the right shoe decided to break. The quality is not what it used to be. I managed to make a knot and re-tie. However, it did feel a bit loose all the way round so I was concerned that I could lose the shoe in the muddier parts. Got round though in 51:11 with 40 behind me so quite happy as the course was only 200m short of 10k.

I think YJ will be happy with 55:34 : I'm sure that a few months ago he could not envisage such a time for 10k XC. Christa performed well in the Ladies' race and was close to finishing in the top half of the 148 finishers.
Some shots from the race, taken by either Christa or me.

No XC next week so hope to be UTUPing : Christa is also keen to join us.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Reporting in

Just a small note on recent activities as I haven't been out for UTUP for a while but have recently seen EtU & NLN and sent some mail back and forth with KLM.... anyway, here are my excuses;

Three Shires
Very claggy but made it round despite a couple of falls and applying my head to a tree stump by Blea Tarn. Navigation mainly provided by an expert who runs for Clayton called Wendy.

Saddleworth Edges
A surprising jump from my usual 50 to 60% of the way down the field point to 30%, not bad at all, I'll have to try and repeat it.

Ian Hodgson Leg 2
Horrible weather for this, discovered my partner had been moved to another team at the end of Saddleworth Edges but was paired up with Ritzy so happy with that. The weather did it's work and we had one small nav error but nothing too major, lost the Leg Three team members and went out searching before finding them walking back from Brotherswater to Patterdale.

A decent start followed by a fall on a sore knee before Bowfell didn't really bode well for the rest of the race but thought as the weather was so good I'd trot round with my navigator from Three Shires and take in some views from the top of the Crinkles and Blisco. Once again further up the field than usual, maybe my training is starting to pay off!

Pentland Skyline
The day after Langdale, instead of returning home before heading to Scotland on the Sunday to attend a meeting earl on Monday, I thought I'd break up the journey by taking in the 16 miles, 6200 foot and about 17 peaks of the Pentlands. A great race, first half in awful weather and with the knee bad from the day before I nearly turned it in after 8.5 miles before a marshal and ex-Saddleworth runner told me "You're too far from home to give up Horwich, get round, off you go!"so being my normal suggestible self, I did and the second half cleared up when the clag lifted. Here's a pic from the way back in, the course heading from the left out and round to the right (please excuse the quality, one from the phone)

FRA Relays, LLanberis
Leg 3, the Nav Leg or the Get Your Map At The Start Leg. Another one in high winds and rain, paired with the recent BG completer Mr Roe this time and charging all over armed with a dibber and some route choices. 8.7 miles and around 2600 ft took 2:20 with plenty of traversing, waterlogged fields and a decent cut to the shin from some rusty barbed wire. Plenty of fun, wouldn't mind going back and having a go at some of the other legs actually.

Think that's it for now, I'm just starting to plan next year amongst other things, should be fun!

One final thing; sorry for blinding you with the torch last night EtU!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This Week

I'm UTUPing Thursday 24th Oct and Saturday 26th.

The Snowdonia Marathon will have to manage without me; losing two weeks training due to the rib injury, plus further days due to a cold would have resulted in an overlong, miserable trudge and my self esteem isn't ready for another PW.

Friday, October 18, 2013

No show

Due to a family visit I shall not be UTUPping tomorrow but instead hope to be  walking in the Lake District, so all is not lost.  I should be out the following week.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Not Quite Running

Anyone interested in wildlife should visit Martin Mere near Southport; a reserve belonging to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. They currently have on the mere and surrounding grassland in excess of 29,000 pink footed geese and some 400 whooper swans all having migrated from their arctic breeding grounds to winter there. Some 4000 whooper swans are expected. Yesterday I witnessed this spectacle and also saw hundreds of lapwings, a marsh harrier, a buzzard, a sparrow hawk and several species of duck. There are peregrine falcons around but I didn’t see one during my visit. To use modern parlance it is awesome.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Langdale Fell Race 2013

Better than the weather forecast for this classic Lakeland Fell Race – more here if it’s of interest : )


Langdale FR-10

Pike O’Stickle – catching the rays

Langdale FR-20

Leaving Angle Tarn

Langdale FR-57

Up to Ore Gap

Langdale FR-77

and on to Bow Fell Summit

Langdale FR-85


Langdale FR-91

Langdale FR-95

Marshalls on Bow Fell Summit

Langdale FR-100-Edit

Hanno on Bow Fell Summit

Langdale FR-125

Leaving Bow Fell

Langdale FR-129


Langdale FR-139

Langdale FR-162

Down to the coll  -  Three Tarns

Survived first race since August

I was a bit concerned at the conditions whilst getting ready for the race. It seemed much colder at Penistone Hill than even yesterday (easy 2.5 mile flat run with TLoB around Rivington). However, once the race started it seemed warm enough.

Withins Skyline is a very popular race. I didn't look at the results to see how many runners there were but the last htree years have all exceeded 300.  This had the advantage of making the gentle climb out towards Top Withins quite pedestrian - quite a bit of walking even though the runner in front of me may have been running!

Much of the out course was quite muddy with a few tumbles around me. Once the Pennine Way was reached, underfoot conditions became drier. Approaching Brontë Bridge I could swear I could hear TF breathing down my neck and about to pass me but the run-in from Brontë Bridge suited me so I had the rare occurrence of finishing ahead of our Salford-vested contributor. I felt that I'd left nothing for the finish when approaching the road crossing but was very pleased with my time of 71:11. I would have been even more pleased if that was for 7.5 miles as advertised but my garmin showed only 6.3 miles.

At the prize-giving Horwich did very well : Lindsey Brindle was second lady, Chris Farrell was third overall (I think he broke the course record which has stood for 8 years but so did reigning English champion, Simon Bailey, and he had to settle for second behind Tom Adams) so it was a very high calibre race at the front, Tony Hesketh won the V60 and even I won a prize - free entry to Auld Lang Syne.

Full results and photos/video when they are uploaded to the Woodentops site.

Tower of Terror 12. 10. 13.

Visited Darwen Tower in the company of KLM and Christa via the “direct” route. First visit, for me, for a long time and the longest fell run that Christa had ever undertaken. Fairly slow progress outgoing mainly because I had some difficulty in coping with the strong headwind. Darwen Moor was just about as bleak as ever. The weather was fairly cold and the ground generally heavy en route. 2 hours 10 minutes outgoing and 2 hours back. 13.55 miles. Many thanks to the other two for their good company and for doing some hanging around in waiting for me.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Quarterly 'Do'

We are booked into the Black Horse at Limbrick for Friday 11th October. SD 603 163 PR6 9EE. Assemble 7:30 (ish). Usual drill, arrive when you like, bring who you like (it would be silly to bring someone you didn't like) eat and/or drink what you like and leave when you like, or earlier if so requested.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Leg 4–JNLC

What a day to be on the high fells.  Out with Michael and Martin to have a look at leg 4 of the challenge – hope they get a day as good as this next summer : )   A few more here f it’s of interest.


Joss recce-2

Morning mist rolling over Scafells

Joss recce-6

Joss recce-13

Kirk Fell

Joss recce-21

Sty Head Tarn

Joss recce-33

Break in the cloudsJoss recce-40

Joss recce-74

Joss recce-81

Great Gable from Kirk Fell

Joss recce-87

Looking across to the Buttermere Fells

Joss recce-111

Seatallan in the clouds

Joss recce-123

Middle Fell

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Rab MM map

Told you it was a bit crumpled. A photo seemed a better idea. The scruffy numbers are the points. A tick meant active controls on Saturday and a cross meant active controls on Sunday (saving weight by only taking one marker pen!)

On day 1 the active controls were mostly below an 'imaginary' line drawn from the word 'Rab' in the top right corner diagonally across to the eastern shoreline of Crummock Water.

Day 2 had us to the most part above this line.

3 more Wainwrights for me, namely Fleetwith, Grasmoor and Outerside.


A Few Holiday Pictures



Gannets. Must be a hundred here.



A few more.



Swallow chicks soon to fly to Africa.



This locomotive “The Green Knight” belongs to David Shepherd, famous for his paintings of elephants.

This Week

I'm UTUPing Thursday 3rd and Saturday 5th.

Quarterly Meal

With the limited feedback I've had and a few unable to make this Friday, I think we should defer to October 11th. Regarding venue, although it would be a nice change to head to the Black Horse at Limbrick, I'm concerned that its location is putting a few off.
I would suggest a few conversations this weekend (or Thursday) to determine the preferred choice of venue. I'm easy either way, so await feedback. It would be nice to get a good turnout.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Tonight on Winter Hill

Light fading fast now, but an enjoyable seven miles with SN and JtE off road – probably have to be on the tarmac next week.  A couple of pics here if its of interest : )

Rab MM Sat 28th & Sun 29th Sept

An enjoyable time had by one and all. Results are available on for your perusal

Fabulous weather, with a great spot overlooking Crummock Water near Rannerdale Knotts for the mid way camp.

My map may be a bit crumpled to get a decent scan, but I'll have a go later in the week when I'll have a bit more time to experiment with the sizing. Being 40 x40cm it probably won't fit very well on the printer.