Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Moving back

As many of you know, I retire on July 31st, and we have decided to try and move back north to the hills! We have actually been looking in Yorkshire (assuming they’d let a Lancashire Lass in!)
We are putting our house on the market to see what happens as we have seen a very nice house in Settle. How long this will take is anyone's guess, but hopefully before the end of 2014 we will back. It is about an hour from Horwich and is good running country.

Of course, there is a certain irony that Brentford FC finally get to play at a higher level and I won't be there to see them.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


I didn't see any posts on the blog the evening before but assumed that someone would turn up, unfortunately just me again on this occasion - not my best running partner but I suppose I would have to do.  So defaulting to my trad' ressy and hill I set off along the ressys' to White Coppice and bumped into SS going in the opposite direction by Yarrow ressy.  She kindly informed my of the reason for the absence of the pack leaders.  SS was the last human contact I had all the way to White Coppice, up to Great Hill along Spittlers edge and up the back of Winter Hill until I started my decent along the mast road.

Running head on into the wind and the boggy wet conditions on the top made for an uncomfortable stage.  There are usually other runners or walkers on route but not this day, was there something special on TV I had missed?  It was getting a bit spooky but the usual splendid views made up for that as the wind had blown the early misty wet conditions away.  Finishing on 2 Lads and the Pike I saw more MTBers than anybody else on the lower reaches, where were all the runners and walkers?

Even going down through the Japanese Gardens it was quiet and the only hubbub was at the Go-Ape centre!  So in all, a very quiet run.  The slight adjustment to my route meant I could finish exactly on 20km ( approx 12 miles).  A slow time of 2:40 explained away by the head wind on the tops and the slowing to take in the views.  In previous years I have been able to get round in 2.0 hours but I think those days are long gone.

I might be out to play next Saturday but only for a short one as there are big 'O' events in the Lakes on Sunday and Monday I want to have a crack at instead of just getting round.  The JK weekend in S.Wales over Easter has awoken my desire to do better at 'O-ing".  So may be see then.

Happy running - mid week day light running is here :)


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday Run

A short outing around our local farms this morning.  Lovely sunny morning a bit breezy with big skies – what you all been up to then?  More pics if it’s of interest : )

Local Run-19

As close as I got to our hills!

Local Run-48

Local Run-83

Friday, April 25, 2014

Saturday 26th April

Neither of the Swift bros is playing out tomorrow; perhaps someone who is, could post to that effect.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What... may ask, do an egg and a damaged tennis ball have to do with the usual posts you may expect to see on this blog?

Well, it's like this. When the three man Horwich OAPs B team reported to the Sun Inn in Haworth for the Bunny Run Relay yesterday, they knew that the relay batons were to be eggs, and had fondly imagined that they would be the Cadbury's Cream style, much favoured by the shouty organiser, Dave Woodhead.

However, this was not to be, they were actual raw (this was demonstrated) hen's eggs, and panic set in. All the local kiddywinks, who made up most of the other teams, were wise to this and had brought along various carrying aids - bags, socks, gloves etc. A quick search in the grass threw up this tennis ball, presumably pre-chewed by a dog. The egg was quickly and deftly inserted by one of our team, and we were ready for the off; and off they went, at a rapid rate of knots.

Pete went first and very soon found that, kiddywinks or not, they could run like the clappers. There were a few senior teams, many in fancy dress, a few hardy souls who ran all three legs solo, plus our main rivals, the Horwich OAPs A team. Pete ran bravely, but came in uncomfortably close to the back of the field. Alan ran our middle leg and ran our fastest time. I ran our last and slowest leg, and managed to lose two of the very few places remaining to be lost.

By the time we finished, most folk had gone back to the Sun, including the Horwich OAPs A. However there was soup left back at the pub, but all the rolls had been eaten and we had to make do with the soup (tomato or potato and leek) with cheesy breadsticks.

It was a sobering experience, especially as we left without getting any beer (yes, I am feeling my age) despite the venue. There's scope, I suppose, for lots of eggy puns here, well did you eggspect to eggscape without me cracking any yolks? Why did the chicken throw the egg across the road - because it was a chucky egg, and why did the chicken cross the road softly - because she couldn't walk hardly. Also it would have been good if John Coope could have been there.

Just a quick thank you to my two team mates for joining in the spirit of the evening, and keeping me company in one of our rare forrays into t'Y's homeland. Perhaps we'll enter a WFDBWGUA team next year. Please submit your plans for an egg carrier as soon as - don't all scramble at once.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good Friday on The Pike

Twas like Blackpool on our hills –  but look at that sky!   a few more people pics if it’s of interest – normal service will be resumed shortly : )


Good Friday-46


Good Friday-47

Pike Race Day

Started the day with 6 chilly miles taking in Two Lads, Winter Hill trig and then the Pike via the no longer wobbly bog. Christa had met me at the UTUP, but, coming back from a cold, decided that discretion was the better part of valour and turned for home when we hit the mast road. Hope there was no ill effect, Christa, although you did say you'd be officiating at the race and you were not apparent, so I fear the worst.

Although I've been generally scathing about United Utilities' attempts to improve the Winter Hill Massif, I must admit that the recent work done to partly drain the broad path from the mast to the Pike does make for better running.

Later in the day, there was the usual carnival atmosphere around the Pike Race start area, with too many old friends to greet them all properly. However, I was able to provide a final briefing to the other two members of the Horwich OAP B Team, who run in the Bunny Run Relay this evening, and to sow the seeds of an OAP A Team in the minds of suitable contenders - see tomorrow's exciting instalment. Good to see Dennis Weir, still threatening to report to a Saturday UTUP, and sporting the red vest as he toed the line.

Immediate family interest centred on a re-run of the 2013 contest between YJ, YJ's lad Eden, me, and my lass, Sporty Swift, now Merino, or Merno, as she appears in the results.

So far as I could see from my position at the back, after the usual settling in up Lever Park Avenue, there was no change in positions on the climb, with the order at the turn being Eden (18:30 est), SS (19:09), YJ (19:32) and self (20:55). The group concertinaed a little on the descent, with Eden down in 11:19, SS in 11:01, YJ in 12:06 and me in 11:14, with SS just 7 seconds behind Eden at the line. She reckons she would have passed him on the descent if she hadn't stumbled and swore, which alerted him to her proximity and spurred him on; but I'm not so sure. It just shows, Rachel, that no good comes of using bad language, and the way that the Lord works is not always so mysterious.

A good time (if not good times) seemed to be had by all, with YJ taking the first MV70 slot. Although slightly disappointed to retain my wooden spoon position, I was nevertheless pleased to take just over two and a half minutes off my 2013 time; good stuff these drugs! SS outshone me, taking over 5 minutes off her 2013 time - must be my coaching. Oh, and another thing, Rachel Merno, you must improve your writing on entry forms, last year you appeared in the results as Rahel Mario!

But this report would not be complete if no mention was made of the fact that t'Y beat us all, and - wait for it! - descended in a time of 10:17! Well done that Tyke!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Brilliant Pike Race Day

Maybe, NLN, we were all waiting for someone else to write a report. I'm sure we will get a family perspective at some time. For my part, I got my registration in early, so that's unusual, then headed off to marshall for the Junior Races, leaving my post at the gate on Georges Lane just before the final U16 runners came though on the descent, handing my bib to the capable hands of EYJ. Consequently the warm-up comprised jogging back down the hill and to my car parked near The Crown for a change of shoes and removal of outer garments. I did keep my gloves on as it was very chilly in the wind at Georges Lane. A quick warm-up, say hello to Ed, YJ, Rachel, Dennis Weir, Allan Blinkhorn and Pete Scott and then we are off. Followed one the Galloping Major's staff, thinking he would slow down but he didn't (well done Lawrence).
Due to the sheer numbers (over 350), missed the short cut at the bend going up but gradually made a little improvement as we headed up to Georges Lane, grateful to all those who cheered me on (sure it is the same for Ed - the number of people who know our name on the Pike race route is amazing).
On the descent, I used the line which I spotted Albert taking a few years back on the Downhill Race - I think it definitely helps then I could feel someone on my shoulder on that line - little surprised that it was Brent about to overtake me just after Georges Lane (or just before).  I was also greeted by Ed on his way up.
The dry conditions helped me as I didn't lose too much on the grassy slopes and was able to pick it up as the gradient eased slightly gaining up to half a minute on those around me at Georges Lane. I was pretty much spent by the time I hit Lever Park Avenue but managed to pull back to four seconds behind Lawrence and immediately behind the second V60, albeit seven V65s ahead of me!
So a best time for a while for me : 28:57 with YJ taking the V70 title in 31:41, his son Eden just pipping Rachel, 30:04 and 30:11 and Ed at 32:13, like me an improvement of over two minutes. Comparing results with last year, I would say the conditions improved times by typically 30 seconds, so I am very happy with my time, especially with the sparse training I have done recently.
Trevor Fishwick has posted a set of photos on facebook which capture at least Ed, Rachel and myself.
Full results here.
Well done to TLoB's lot. Hopefully this afternoon results will confirm a fixture with the twentieth century's greatest club side next season.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rivington Pike Race

Well I thought we would have had a race report by now!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Going up

The Lord of Brentford is pleased to announce that God's Chosen Football Team have won promotion, and that he is looking forward to matches against Bolton and Huddersfield next season. He also hopes that Preston win the playoffs and join BFC in the Championship.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Spring in Lakeland is a scenic 23.11 miles LDWA event from Ambleside via Loughrigg, Skelwith Bridge, Elterwater, Little Langdale, Tilberthwaite, Coniston, Tarn Hows, and back via Skelwith Bridge and Loughrigg to Ambleside.

I had been warned by T'Y that a cold may prevent him running and as he wasn't there for the start I guessed, obviously incorrectly, that he had not made it.  The two ladies with dogs he mentions caught me up just past Tilberthwaite and rapidly pulled away towards Copper Mines Valley never to be seen again, at least not by me.

With a relatively small field we soon got strung out and I  had no company for most of the way the only exception being two ladies, a married couple and a   single gentlemen all of whom were faster than me but kept reappearing after navigational errors or too much eating and greeting at the three checkpoints.

My time was 6hr 24min.

Saturday 19th April (Pike Race Day)

Despite the afternoon's event, I'll be looking for a gentle outing at the UTUP.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Loughrigg Fell Race

I took advantage of an afternoon off and some sunshine to head up to Ambleside for this special little race.

It's an out and back and the only downside to the fabulous weather was that the sun was in your eyes on the way out. It's a deceptive 2m as you keep thinking that summit with the trig will appear round the next corner. Trouble with long gaps between attempts (last done in '09) is your memory of the route plays tricks on you. Must have thought the summit was round the next corner at least 3 or 4 times!

Suffice to say the lead runner came hurtling past probably while I still had a mile to go, and probably back at the finish enjoying a cup of tea and flapjack before I'd even got to the summit.

Think I managed about 50mins. I had a fantastic battle back and forth with Anna from Helm Hill on the way up (see KWL posts) but got the edge on the way back. A trip to the chippy for post race refuelling.

I'm not out on Saturday (off to be spoilt rotten by ma & pa), so good luck to everyone doing the Pike race


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Declaration...

A few years back an idea was planted in my head, a few months later I bumped in to EtU and TF on the Mast Road and had a chat. An invite to the Saturday morning UTUP's saw me getting out more and meeting more of you involved in this blog and then others too. I was also steered in the direction of Horwich RMI and joined them, lost a fair bit of weight, built some speed and saw improved results in races. But back to that idea that had been planted and today it was still there and led me to press a button on a screen that said "Register". Shortly after that, I got this email (I realise it's not up to the usual standard of images on here)....

So there it is, now I have to try my best to get round.

Nerves, excitement, some trepidation and more than I expected of an internal monologue along these lines; "Am I fit enough? No..... or am I? Yes, yes I am! No, maybe... stop thinking, just keep training and go for it".

Anyway, there it is.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Tuesday Meander

As EtU put it, but just over 5m completed visiting the Pike, Winter Hill and Two Lads.  I trapped the sun here – but will it hold for the weekend?

Tues run-14


Tues run-17

Monday, April 14, 2014

Springing into Lakeland

Yesterday saw YJ and I up at Ambleside for this LDWA. YJ may not know I was there. Due to Canine issues, I arrived at 7:50 to find the car park full so had to find a space on Upper Loughrigg, registering as the masses, or rather 76, set off. Away about 10 minutes after them (Garmin shows 8:07, I then decided to move my car into a less risky spot further up the lane. John was running, but I had come down with a cold on Tuesday and was in no state to run : had it beenSaturday I don't think I would have even done the walk. I didn't have the honour of being last starter as two female runners with dogs were even later than me and passed me on the road up to Loughrigg. I caught the backmarkers by the chalets and walked with them through Skelwith Bridge, eventually catching a few more on the way to the Coniston Fells.
It was only at Coniston that I found out how few were in the event and that JW had passed through about 80 minutes earlier. This was definitely an event where you needed to refer to the route instructions and even then it was easy to veer off on different paths, eventually reaching your destination, notably the route to Tarn Hows.
I great day out and I'm glad I turned up. Garmin shows my distance as 23.6 miles in 8hrs 11 mins with 7149ft of climb : I'd be interested in what YJ's shows and his route choices.
A few photos of the day (the bird of prey looks very realistic but somewhat wooden):

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Run

A few pics from this morning’s outing – mostly with EtU and R.  I posted 13.2m be interesting to see the mileage from the others to see what the difference is.   Don’t miss the one of Rachael nicely framed heading up to Brinscall Moor Smile

Sat Run-15

Heading out to Healey Nab

Sat Run-21


Sat Run-45

Underground Stables

Sat Run-49

Brinscall Moor

Sat Run-51


Sat Run-62

Darwen Tower from Great Hill summit

Sat Run-72

From the path over to Round Loaf

Sat Run-80

Heading to Lead Mines Clough

Sat Run-83

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Howgills Howler! Saturday 5th April

A few pics to add to the write up and show the conditions – who’d have thought it was spring.  Oh yeah one guy had shorts on!




















Three maps, three navigators, three routes Smile


Cautley Spout




Heading in

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Howgills Deja Vue

I can report that the best of Saturday's weather was at approximately 9:45am. Even a brief trundle round the shops in Kendal later on wasn't a pleasant experience in that weather.

3 new hills ticked off for me. Lovely company whilst doing it.

Sat in the car on Sunday morning waiting for the Organisers to returned from flagging the course I began to think who was madder, me for climbing up a hill I'd done the day before or the racing cyclists passing me doing the 'Shap Spring Classic' (75 mile Cyclosportive).

Turned out we were on staggered starts of one minute intervals from 1pm at the top and not the mass start I'd thought it was. So I handed over some dosh for the charity box (free entry for the race) and set off following the summit marshall up to the top. The wind started to really pick up and having opted for the lightweight 'racing' gear I was soon doning my waterproof bottoms as well as my top. With plenty of little flags to follow the route finding was very easy and I arrived at the summit a bit quicker than the day before in 44mins. As I didn't fancy hanging around too long, I got the nod from the summit marshall for pre-1pm start and got back to the bottom in 12:01mins (by my watch). I got passed by one on the way down. There were 19 starters, so I made it in the top 20!

I enjoyed the downhill practice, not sure I'd drive up especially for a 12min effort but would certainly do it again if I could link it to something on the Saturday.


It Seems That All Roads Lead to...

...the Howgills:-

but this one will be (lots) more expensive than Saturday's.

Hallin Fell

A few pics from Hallin Fell – where a couple of weeks ago the weather was much better than this weekend : )

Buttermere Round-251


Buttermere Round-253


Buttermere Round-256


Buttermere Round-273


Buttermere Round-280

Summit cairn on Hallin Fell

Buttermere Round-287

Looking towards the Hellvellyn range

Buttermere Round-293


Buttermere Round-322


Buttermere Round-335

New church of St Peters

Buttermere Round-346