Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead. 

My recovery from surgery has had a minor setback, but making good progress considering – more details at Outandabout.  Getting out every day and feeling stronger some pics from this week. Looking forward to seeing you all soon Smile

Enjoying the snow on Saturday Pre-fracture!











and then after the slip!






Monday, December 29, 2014

Rubik's Cube

Nothing to do with running, other than I'm currently having to find less energetic ways of spending my time, but one of the girls passed me a cube recently saying "Here Dad, you can do this, can't you." - I can't.

But, did you know that there are world records for completing it one handed!, with your feet!! and blindfold!!! (not all at the same time) I'll not bore you with the details, Google it if you're interested - or if you're recovering from surgery, or from alcohol abuse.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Season's Greetings

The Lord of Brentford would like to wish all his fiends at WFDBWGUA a very happy and holy Christmas, and he hopes to see you in Settle in 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Can Anybody...

...bring a copy of 'Tubthumping' (aka 'I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again') on CD to the pub on Friday night.

A Christmas Walk

If anyone fancies a change from the normal Saturday routine a walk has been arranged. SN, Nico and I are to meet this coming Saturday at 9 o’clock at the lower end of the drive that leads from the Lower Barn area to the Top Barn. The plan is to have about two hours either on the fells or at a lower level finishing with refreshments in the Lower Barn. SN says that Santa hats are optional but I won’t bother with that as, I am sure some would agree, I look daft enough anyway.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Good News... that my recovery from surgery is progressing well; in fact, significantly faster than I had been led to believe. I was able to abandon pain relief after day two, and today, after practising several static 'emergency stops' I was given the all clear to drive by my insurers. The next step, as soon as the wound heals, is swimming - reminds me of the old toupee joke - you'll be able to swim and ride a bike wearing it - that's great, I've been trying to learn to swim for years!

The bad news is that the blood test results for magnesium levels came back 'normal', so no quick fix for my loss of form there. Further research on my part is required.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

One For the Ladies!

Come on guys, we can't be having this:-

I've never seen a mixed race with such a high proportion of women - any thoughts?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Moving to Triathlon

You'll probably be aware that I have toyed with triathlon and plan to continue to dabble.

In my January (already!) copy of 'Triathlon' magazine there is an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses that athletes approaching from each of the three disciplines bring with them. This is a distillation of their view on the runner, with my added comments:-

Cardiovascular - VO2max highest of the three.

Thermoregulation - being light and lean, runners have the best thermoregulation. I'm not convinced by this conclusion; surely swimming in cold water or cycling in cold air and possibly rain, requires the athlete to be able to keep warm, rather than merely be able to shed heat.

Technique - if good, good. If poor, not good! Nothing very positive here then.

Calf Muscles - Should be good, but long term runners may have already 'squished' them with over-use - is this a technical term?

Upper Body Strength - Not good.

Flexibility - Not good and in particular the hunched position that many runners fall into doesn't lend itself to the slightly concave back recommended for freestyle swimming.

Perception - Runners perceive a greater level of discomfort compared with cyclists when exercising at submaximal workload. - I protest, they must not have taken fell runners into account!

Although from the above, it would seem that runners are not particularly suited to triathlon, the conclusion in the article is that swimmers carry too much upper body weight, have too little leg strength and, due to the non-impact nature of their specialism, too little resilience. Cyclists have little upper body strength and similar to the swimmers, too little resilience. So runners rule, OK!

Just another thought that I've always propounded, because the cycle tends to be the longest time duration in any triathlon, a cyclist who is 10% faster than a runner over the bike ride, who is 10% faster in his discipline, will gain more absolute time and will cross the line in front.

Perhaps the final decider will always be that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Don't make me laugh

Just a brief note (brief because I don't want to pull out any stitches typing) to report that the operation to correct the deformity to my right shoulder has been completed and I am now home after two nights in hospital.  Apart from a few minor set-backs I feel I am making progress and hope to be back running in January.

Best wishes to the  other two victims of the surgeon's knife.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Nine Outa' Thirteen Ain't Bad...'s terrible, but at least we didn't need the headtorches!

A small, select group set off on this expedition, with TK (Tungsten Knees), KLM and Jim having declared that they were not planning to stay the full course and TM saying she'd see how it went. KLM left us after Two Lads, saving himself for a night-time orienteering event

All was going well until the approach to Whimberry Hill, when the support team showed their inexperience by allowing me to choose my own route - you need to understand, folks, that the first rule of an EtU support is that you don't let me loose on my own, I need close supervision at all times - ask YJ.  Anyway, some time was lost, but not so much as to constitute a disaster.

We managed not to get lost between Whimberry Hill and Egg Hillock and thence we chose the Shaly Dingle route to Counting Hill.  A messy climb back up to the ridge took us some distance to the south of the top. When I'm out and about again I'll try it following a bearing of 260 degs from the bottom and see if that keeps me clear of the bracken. I'll also try it in reverse, from our 'cairn' down to the Dingle. Approaching the ridge, Jim and TK disappeared into the mist whilst TM held back and kept me company. There was no sign of the leading pair at the trig point, so we assumed they had headed for home. We descended to Hordern Stoops, reached in 2 hours 59 minutes to find that some small animal had interfered with the 'stash', leaving it mostly, however undamaged.

As soon as we set off again I suggested to TM that we abandon the Darwen Tower plan and she agreed. This was soon followed, as the weather got wetter, windier and colder, by my proposal to omit Old Adam Hill, also agreed by my companion. Conditions worsened further as we approached Great Hill, so we grabbed the stash and headed down without sampling it. The decision then was to head directly for home via White Coppice without passing go or collecting £200 or anything.

Conditions subsequently improved and we had a pleasant run in, finishing in 5 hours 34 minutes and clocking up all but a whisker of 16 1/2 miles.

What went wrong? Mostly a combination of poor conditions, both atmospheric and underfoot coupled with a lack of vigour on my part.

Thanks go to all my companions, especially to TM for staying the distance and seeing me safely back to the barn.

Monday, December 01, 2014

In anticipation of being 'Out of Action'

There are three of the squad awaiting surgery; mine is scheduled for Monday 8th December and, I am told, will sideline me for several weeks.

In anticipation of this, and in an attempt to delay the onset of endorphin withdrawal symptoms, I am planning to 'run' the Baker's Dozen, this Saturday 6th December. As you may know, this particular round is simply a Coope's with a trek out to Darwen Tower and back thrown in between Spitler's and Great Hill.  It's a good (!) 24 miles.

I'm going to do the UTUP and then transfer to the Top Barn for a 9:00 start. In June this year TM and YJ were kind enough to keep me company for the duration of 8 hours and one minute - so if you think you've seen me run slowly, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Grateful for company for all or part.

I will leave the other two waiting-listers to update you on their dealings with the medical profession. Saturdays may be a bit lean for the next few weeks, but I'm sure you will keep the ball rolling. 

Also, any more for the 'do' on the 19th?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Out of Action!

Suffering from a severe bout of cholelithiasis – should have had the op last Friday but cancelled on arrival.  Hoping this will take place very soon.  In the meantime reduced to the odd stroll when able, with fitness levels plummeting by the day.  A brief foray today to avoid the stir craziness and snatch a few snaps. 

Winter Hill-8-1

Winter Hill-9-1

Winter Hill-10-1

Winter Hill-16-1-3

Winter Hill-27-1

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday 27th November - Tonight

For inforation:- Botters and I are meeting at Horwich Stocks (UP) at 7:00 p.m (not the UT), for (most probably) a run up the mast road to the end of the tarmac/the trig point.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Loneliness of the Ultra-Distance Runner

YJ approaching the second highest point on the route (617 ft) near the 19 mile mark.

Parlick from the 26.5 mile point.

Finished! Then a quick right, right into the cafe.

Well done that man, 19 minutes inside my 2011 mark, set when I was 10 years younger than him - ok, who's going to be our 2015 contender?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The trough was  tough 

Wednesday's Tour of the Trough had been three years in the making.  Initially the idea had been for EtU and myself to tackle the Trough of Bowland together but a bout of   piriformis had put me out of serious running for most of that year and my task on the day had been road support for EtU.

On Wednesday he returned the favour by supporting me on my  lone attempt.

The weather could hardly have been better for the time of year, with very  little wind initially, low but not freezing temperatures, and no rain forecast.

Once having left  the start line at Chipping the countryside was quieter than expected and with to nothing but startled pheasants for company I made good time to the first meeting point approaching the Hodder Bridge. The plan was for EtU to park up every five miles and run back to meet me and then escort me back to the car and the energy stash in the boot.

It was an arrangement that worked extremely well with regular inputs of energy, a mix of Lucozade sport, energy gels and jelly babies, a format that I have found to work well in the past.

From the bridge rendezvous the route went to Dunsop Bridge and on to the Trough road with the steep and long climb up to the county boundary for another support meeting.  The road from there is nearly three miles downhill to the next turn at roughly halfway.

Two more meetings with EtU (15 and 20 miles) took me past Calder Vale and brought Parlick, looking down on Chipping, back into view. By now the climbing was beginning to take its toll and the pace was dropping, but at least I knew I was going to make it to the finish.

Both EtU three year earlier and myself had underestimated the amount of climbing in the second half of the run,  nothing too high but mostly steep and the hills coming unrelentingly  one after the other. So it was with great relief that the tower of Chipping Parish  Church came into view and I crossed the finish line in 5hrs 4mins  14secs.  with a grueling 27.5 miles behind me.  The pace averaged out at 11min 8secs per mile.

I am tempted to claim to be oldest person to have completed the circuit in the hope that someone will be challenged to prove me wrong, though  I don't expect a long queue to be formed.

The run would have been even harder unsupported so I express my gratitude to EtU for his practical and moral support on the day and his encouragement during the preparation.  We need a challenger for next year.  Any offers.

Do on Friday 19th December

Very few takers so far; any more?

Saturday 22nd Nov

I'm UTUPing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the cause of Science

In late October I was perusing the Ultrarunning Community group on facebook and I came across a request for participants in a nutritional trial. The pre-requisites were that you were current running and had experience of running an ultra. You needed to be able to run for up to 16 hours.
Probably against my better judgement I made further enquiries thinking I would be too old and decrepit to be of any use but I'm afraid I was lassoed into the grips of the trial.
At the time of expressing my interest I was also not working full-time so did have a little more time on my hands.
By the time of the trial I had of course gone back into full-time work plus my extras, and travelling to Salford's Media City every day.  I had been selected for one of three groups - the nutrition for my group would be a combination of High Five drink from powder, gels and energy bars with a target of consuming between 40g and 60g per hour. We had all been delivered stocks to test out in advance so the Sunday of the preceding weekend, I took a combination with me on an 18 mile there and back run from Wilderswood to Darwen Tower via Winter Hill, Belmont and Catherine Edge.
Thus after work on Friday and a quick tea, finishing my packing including mattress, sleeping bag and a load of kit, I set off at about 8.30 to drive up to Stair near Keswick.
Arriving at about 10.30, I got very little sleep on the floor of the village hall before arising at 4.15 to make some porridge and await our induction at 5a.m.
After explanations regarding the testing process and then our first set of tests (blood samples, weighing and recording various state of health/feeling, the dozen participants were ready to embark on our first lap at about 5.50a.m.. On agreeing to take part, I was not the oldest participant, however, by the day,  that honour had passed on to me.
Off we went in the dark with fully charged head torches, taking care in the dark. Before long our head torches were glowing up the slope of Causey Pike. I've never previously ascended Causey Pike and it was fine for me although near the top it was getting quite challenging. The final bit, however, took a great deal of care in the dark and on wet rock as it was no longer running but scrambling with a rather precipitous drop. There were four of us in a group at the back and once we started descend on the other side I drifted to the back. Route finding was no problem as the route was very well marked.
The second half of the route was reasonably flat but much of the track was muddy on a strong camber so it was often easier to run on the rough ground. It was all very wet underfoot. The route was clockwise on the map with a run out and back to Stair.

My garmin had been on charge all day but still decided to pack in after an hour so I only have an estimate of my time at the moment of about 2hrs 55 - somewhere I have a print from the dibber but I'll get the full data when all the data has been analysed.
After my testing and a brew I was away on my second run, which was much quicker at 2hrs 27 (from my stopwatch, leaving my garmin to recharge. the day was brightening up and walkers were getting out on the hills.
On the third lap I decided it would be my last. I had plenty of stamina but decided it was far too great a risk to scramble up onto Causey Pike and risk serious injury. Having recharged my garmin, I completed in 2hrs 34 including some relatively fast pace towards the end.
Overall including breaks, My trial lasted for nearly 9 hours with over 8 hours of running and my 3 laps totalling 22 miles with 5,700ft of ascent will give useful data. I realised that I don't like gels, especially the feel of the foil : I only used one on my first lap and stuck to the drink and energy bars for the rest of the time. I was glad to have some other food at the finish.
It was very worthwhile. The drive back was tiring and would have been even more so had I completed the 16 hours - probably would have stayed over. I see that I had a represntative in the area of the UTUP last Stauday morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday 15th November

Summit bagging in the Northern Fells a couple more here : )




Bowscale Fell


Sunset over Keswick

Running Down

Now I know that I only occasionally manage to turn out on a Saturday morning, so I am probably not in the best position to comment, but I have to say that the world as we know it was turned on it's axis yesterday. We started off downhill!!!!

It was Jim's idea, and it was a good one, to do a loop of lower Rivington via the castle, so that we were properly warmed up by the time we started climbing. There were just four takers yesterday, Jim (does he have a moniker yet?), YJ, EtU and my good self. Somehow we even managed to get separated before we reached the Devil's Steps (Jim and I were chatting and hadn't noticed that the others were not behind us (our excuse was that it was the first time this century we had seen each other so we had a lot of catching up to do!) We split at this point with the brothers Swift going directly to the Pike whilst Jim and I went via Wilderswood. At the Pike we saw several sturdy souls taking part in 5 marathons in 5 days.

On the descent, we had the pleasure of meeting JtE and we stopped for a chat. Suitably inspired we went to Two Lads and then the mast. Here Jim turned for home and EtU suggested a timed descent from the trig pillar to the wooden bridge on George's Lane. TM's record is still intact as I managed 7.07 with both EtU and YJ showing more sense in the conditions (it was very misty and very wet underfoot) and taking a more cautious approach.

We then went to Noon hill but had problems locating the path towards the Pike (as I said, it was very misty). Eventually we found it and followed the new(to me) and drier (??) route which takes the higher ground and leads directly to the stile below the Pike. Up the Pike again and back to the Lower Barn . En our way down we met Mrs t'Y and stopped for another chat (it seems t'Y was being force fed nutrition bars - I await his report with both interest and trepidation).  At the barn I was collected by SWINW and for once I was in her good books for being on time.

An excellent morning out with a bit over 10 miles to put in the diary. Thanks to Jim, John and Ed for the pleasure of their company, and I will look forward to seeing you all again in December

Friday, November 14, 2014


I will be UTUPing tomorrow, Saturday, and will be back on the fells having satisfactorily completed two 18 miles runs in preparation for next Wednesday's attempt at the Tour of the Trough. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"No doubt there will be photographs"...

...but not as you know them.

With no other takers and NLN sidelined after a visit to one of TF's fellow practitioners, it was left to SN and me to fly the flag on the Pike this evening. It was SN's first headtorch outing but she took to it like a duck to water and was soon skipping round the puddles on George's Lane like a good 'un.

As we approached the target we could see that the projection took up all the south facing wall, powered by a similar arrangement of generators as had been used for the floodlighting last winter.

Unfortunately, without our regular photographer, the quality of my shots was not up to standard (I wondered later if the light from my headtorch had confused my camera), here, for what it's worth is the best from a very poor portfolio:-

The display will be there until the 14th, so perhaps someone could improve on this - how were the shots on your phone, SN?

After coming back down onto George's Lane SN was in a 'I'm not ready to go home yet' mood, so we went up Two Lads, enjoyed the breeze and the view for a short while then returned to the Stocks.

An exhilarating little outing, the only downside being the poor quality of the photographic evidence - get well soon NLN!

Mallorca 2014

A few random pics with details of our trip at Out and About Smile


Port Andratx


Puig Major – highest point on the island


Soller Tram


On the Barranc de Biaraitx


MTB Mallorcan style


In the Placa


On the hill


Looking down to Deia – yesterday’s lunch spot - highest peak in the mid distance to the right


At the top




Well at Castel d’Alaro


Farmland in the valley


Evening at the Port


Monday, November 10, 2014

Tuesday 11th November

With no interest having been shown in a head-torch run to the Bomber Memorial, I am joining two of our ladies at the Horwich Stocks to set off for the Pike at 5:30 p.m, assisted by head-torches.

We are planning to view the poppy projected on the Pike Tower, no doubt there will be photographs. All welcome.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Words for Yesterday

Thank you, NLN, for your excellent (as usual) photos (see later for captions), long may you continue.

Just a small group, NLN Jim and self, with YJ meeting and greeting before he set off on his 18 mile road run.

We set off for the Bomber Memorial, agreeing that it 'seemed appropriate'. I dropped off the back fairly soon, but managed to overtake the leading pair with a different route choice, so that we all arrived at the memorial at the same time.

Jim expressed an interest in ancient local history, which prompted our photographer to demonstrate her knowledge of the route to the Pike Stones - no, they're not near the Pike. Then, finding a good trod, we were at Jepson's Gate in no time. Down the tarmac to Manor Farm and then footpath to join the lower route to Waterman's Cottage. Thence to Healey Nab, bumping into the Lostock Hopes on the way.

On leaving the Nab we made the mistake of allowing the ever loquacious Jim (ELJ?) to choose the route and about 5 minutes later he asked if either of us knew the way back to the Barn, as he hadn't a clue! A passing dog walker gave us some very vague guidance and we were soon on the 'usual' path home.

I'd dropped back again by the time the leaders reached the Barn, but I'm told that Jim kept on moving, returning to Horwich on foot.

According to my non-electronic measure we'd clocked up a very enjoyable 7.5 miles in about 2 hours 30; probably closer to 8 miles, as my wheel cuts corners - yes, all on its own.

Picture no. 3 - I think you might have got into a bit of a rut.

Picture no. 4 - That's where I had a d**p last week.

Picture no. 5 - Why do I look so little compared with Jim, when you can clearly see, by the way my left hand is positioned, that I am nearer to the camera than he is? Perhaps I am that little.

Was FSS pleased with his rugby result?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Saturday 8th November – Back to Reality!

After the glorious sunshine of Mallorca Healey Nab was a bit of a shock the system – still the company was good and a trot out to the Bomber Memorial seemed appropriate.  The ancient burial tumulus at Pike Stones featured en route – EtU will post the stats, my guess is seven or eight miles.  An early finish which given the conditions was welcome.  A bonus bump into JtE called for a hot choc in the Barn, a few more here Smile


The wisdom of the ancients….   in building their burial mound – Pike Stones


Magic Mushrooms


Captions anyone!




Thursday, November 06, 2014

Bomber Memorial

Any interest in an evening headtorch run to the Bomber Memorial on Tuesday 11th November?

Time to suit interested parties. Departure point open to suggestions, possibly assemble somewhere with decent parking and then drive a bit closer in one vehicle.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Wild Camping - Surely Not!

TM talks of 'wild camping' in her newly acquired VW camper van - parked in a lay-by! Surely that can't be wild camping, how about 'vamping'?

Down and Up the Ramp - Saturday 1st November '14

To add a bit of variety to our Saturday morning outing we revisited the old First Tuesday Time Trial aka Down and Up the Ramp that I used to organise back in 1999 and 2000.  This consists of starting from the gate at the top of the Ramp, haring down the Ramp, taking recording your time as you touch the woodwork above the forestry and then racing back up to the top.

Assuming that you don't fall over (no-one did, so far as I know) this can achieve several things:- a measure of your descending ability, a measure of your ascending ability, a comparison of these two (perhaps indicating where extra work is needed) and, most probably, sore quads.

The plot was to have a staggered start (to match the staggering at the finish) so that we'd all finish reasonably close together, but due in part to me inhaling toilet paper (no it hadn't been soaked in LSD - more details can be provided if required), folk had set off before I got there, so the start was a bit a bit (only a bit?) of a shambles.

Self recorded times (down, up, total and down/up %age):-

TM 8:21 15:50 24:11 52.7%

KLM 8:46 16:05 24:51 54.5%

Jim 10:01 14:59 25:00 66.9%

EtU 10:57 16:07 27:04 67.9%

YJ 15:29 16:03 31:32 94.7%

What does this tell us? Christa is the fastest descender and the fastest overall. Kev is nowhere near as slow on the descent as he reckons. Jim's a mean climber. I'm a bad all rounder and John needs to brush up on his descending skills. No-one managed sub 50% for their down/up ratio - but this can easily be achieved by going for it downhill, and then strolling casually up - but no-one would do this on purpose, would they?

Folks' electronic kit tells us the one way distance is 1.05 miles, so even downhill, only Christa managed a sub 8 minute mile.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Yorkshire Two Peaks

If anybody is interested, here's a link to my blog post from Wednesday.  I still think Ed will do a much better write up than me though, mine is very dull and pretty short really.

P.S. I'll be UTUPing tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Winter Solstice 'Do'

There didn't seem very much interest in an evening do for the Autumn Equinox, so I didn't organise anything.

The best day for a winter do would, for me, be Friday 19th December; if you fancy that can you let me know and I'll try and book us in somewhere, probably the Black Horse at Limbrick.  We could even call it our Christmas 'Do' and have party hats and everything...

...or perhaps not.  Your call.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Toughing it out on the Trough

If training goes well and recovery from the Langdale marathon continues I am planning a road  run round the Trough of Bowland on Weds 19th Nov,  a distance of about 26 miles.

EtU took on this challenge on a very hot day about three years ago, a run I was due to do with him but from which  I had to back out due to injury.  Since then it has been planned that I would tackle the run  with  his time of 5hr 20mins (approx) as a target and with his support from a following car to provide food and drink.

I realise road running  is not everyone's favourite pastime but if anyone wishes to join us for all or part of this venture they are most welcome. If  there is sufficient interest it may be possible to change the date to a weekend. 

As ever at the moment all plans are subject to the scheduled operation on my shoulder.  As yet there is no hint of a date.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Coniston Outlyers and Wasdale Wander – Sat/Sun 18/19 October

A Saturday bagging summits, a variety of Wainright’s outlyers, Birketts and Marilyns followed by the Joss Naylor Dinner a The Bridge and a Wander around Wasdale on Sunday morning led by the man himself.  Very enjoyable : )  Few more here


Joss Weekend-509-1

Sunshine on Morcambe Bay from Coniston Fells

Joss Weekend-515-2


Joss Weekend-559-3


Joss Weekend-7-1

Wasdale residents

Joss Weekend-14-2


Joss Weekend-67-1

Boat house on Wastwater