Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Michele’s Joss

Michele got round her JNLC on her 55th birthday on Saturday.  A grand day out with a bit too much drama at the end – full set of pics and story in the usual place Smile


Don’t think Michele stopped smiling all day!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

White Bear Way - walk before you run

Just had an enjoyable day doing the 21 mile White Bear Way along with YJ, TM, EtU and Kev. A great event with loads of food and an excellent course. Brilliant value for money (only £10 or £12 on the day - and you know the profits are going to a good cause).
Because of my recent injury I dare not do it as a run so did it as a walk but happy with 21.65 miles (and I didn't go astray) in 6hrs 13.
Suprised not to see Kev pass me en route, after insinuating I was a wimp at registration. Hope you had a good excuse, and weren't just wimping out to do the 10 miler. Okay I think you called me a drama queen rather than a wimp.
Thought YJ had a cracking run, pulling back my 53 minute lead due to my earlier start time by Hordern Stoops. I did manage to finish while YJ and TM were still tucking into their hotpot etc.
Having not done any running and only a little walking in the past three weeks, I can certainly feel my lack of fitness now but at least I seem to have got away with not making the leg worse. Hopefully I can try a run by the middle of the week.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Great Lakes Race

Had I known at 7.00am that the predicted break in the clag wasn't going to arrive until 3pm then I'd have opted for a more social run on Winter Hill. As it was, with the exception of Roger A's company up the first climb to Bowfell, I was on my own until passed by a group of 4 faster runners on the drop to the bottom of Foxes Gully. This was the first indication that at least someone else was having a worse race then me.

A navigational faux pas meant me missing the racing line up to the summit of Bowfell, so probably adding an extra 5-10 mins by following the tourist route. I found Ore Gap, Esk Pike and Esk Hause without too much difficulty by not wandering too far from the main path. It was slow going though. The position of the Marshals on Great End didn't seem familiar to previous years, but what the heck I'd found them and despite the slow pace was on track time-wise to meet the 3hr mid-way cut-off, so wasn't too worried.

I checked the bearing and headed off to rejoin the path to Scafell Pike. Now in the past, there's been a series of cairns showing the way. No cairns, but I reached a path with people on it. First bit of doubt creeping in, I did a bearing check again and all seemed ok for heading to Scafell Pike. Not much after this point seemed familiar. When I think back, it's probably been 4 years since I'd last been this way to Scafell Pike. I avoid it as I don't like the boulders, so wet, slippy boulders in poor visibility is my worse nightmare. 

After what seemed an eternity (in reality only 30mins since Great End) I reached the highest point in England. Now to get off in the right direction! I'd resisted the urge to hug the Marshals on the summit, but it took an even bigger amount of willpower to resist the urge to hug and kiss the stretcher box on Mickledore. Now that would have definitely got me some strange looks!!

Remember those 4 faster runners I'd mentioned? They'd had a trip down towards Wasdale. But despite all this, we all cleared through the cut-off. I much preferred the grassy route by-passing the 2nd part of Foxes Gully, but it'd been taped in the previous years races and I wasn't going to try and replicate this given the conditions, so stuck with the more well worn route. I'd messed up in 2011 coming down off Scafell (taking a few others with me!), so concentrated like mad to stick to the main path. On my approach to Slightside the clag lifted and the first patches of blue sky appeared. At the checkpoint were a set of different runners, a mum and daughter, looking as harassed as I felt. The trip across the Moasdale valley was uneventful, they chose to head up Stonesty Gill, I chose Swinsty Gill. Swinsty Gill won, I reached Red Tarn ahead of them. The sun was out now cracking the flags, flipping typical the only bit I'd bothered to recce!!

Even with a incredibly slow time of 6hrs (my slowest by nearly 30mins) I still had 5 finish behind me, with a further 9 DNF's. Not my happiest day of racing, but I survived. Some definite tales of woe recounted, with much group efforts. My thanks to the RO and all the Marshals for re-instating this race. A proper test of one's mountaincraft. Winner was Simon Booth in a time of 2:48. Provisional results can be found via the thread on the fellrunner forum (or via Ambleside AC facebook page).


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

African Ladies on Winter Hill

During last night's weekly outing we saw several rather faded and travel weary butterflies on Noon Hill and the Pike. This reminded me of an article that I had seen in my Daily Mail a couple of days ago:- 


Although obviously not at their best, they appeared to be in better condition than was I, despite their journey from Africa. Keep your eyes open, it sounds like there's more to come!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Pat on the Back...

...for the best usable caption that doesn't include the word 'motion':-

Seen parked at Ravenglass.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Buttermere Horseshoe - the shorter one

This race was reinstated as the Darren Holloway Memorial Race in memory of the Pennine runner who sadly died during the Ian Hodgson relays a few years ago. This year an option to do a shorter version was available (as well as doing a 3 person relay of the longer race). This was still a fairly tough option of 12.9m and 5000ft, allowing it to be classified as an 'AL'.

A clash with a British Champ race and another 'AL' in the Lakes meant that the field would be down to a select few. So select that the short race had only 6 starters! The pre-race briefing reminded the runners of the long course not to follow the wrong person off Whiteless (where the 2 routes split), the 'wrong' ones were those wearing a number below 100, 71-76 to be precise.

It became quite apparent early on (within 100m of start) that there would be no danger of anyone in the long course following me down into Buttermere, worryingly it was looking like no-body in the short race would be doing it either, until I remedied that on the first climb and got ahead of 2 Keighley and Craven runners. This was my first visit up onto Whiteside and Hopegill Head. An impressive technical ridge run and just grateful it was dry underfoot as I imagine it would be quite treacherous in the wet.  The next two CPs of Grassmoor (comfortably under the 2hr15 cut-off) and Whiteless were more familiar, as was the lovely descent into Buttermere.

The valley temperature had risen a bit since setting off and conditions were a bit humid. I was seriously tempted by an ice cream, but decided that would just be a bit too 'cheeky' so opted for purchasing a fruit juice with my bus fare instead. Had to get back under my own steam now though!

The final summit of Melbreak at only 512m may not seem much, but it's a definite sting in the tail. The approach from the path along the lake leads you to a steep grassy climb up a fence line until you meet the main path and the gradient then eases somewhat. At Easter I'd reccied this part as far as the drop off the west side. I hadn't carried on as I could see where the path went (or so I thought!) so returned to Buttermere by contouring back round to the main path.

Well I definitely rued that decision on race day. The 'obvious' path petered out into a titchy contouring trod that looked like it was heading back uphill, leaving the option of a dry stream bed or a heather & bracken route downhill. The stream bed did looked promising as it was quite grassy but the sides became more vertical the further down you went and there was a large tree blocking the way half way down the hill. So I opted for the heather/bracken route. Not the efficient route off I was expecting. Given that none of the lead runners of the long race had reached the last CP before me, I decided it would be prudent to run the last 'un-reccied' 2.5k section with map in hand.

Felt like royalty when heading into the village hall for my well earned post-race cuppa. The array of food was staggering. It was lovely to be waited on. Even managed to take a 'goody' bag back to the campsite for later on.

The results are on CFR's website. Winner in the short race finished in 3:19, I finished 4th in 4:09 and third lady (1st LV45) - not often I'll get to write that for a non-navigating race! Lead runner on the long race (Simon Booth) finish just behind me in 4:13.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Update on mi Woodin Leg

Things didn't improve. A further visit to A&E on Wednesday where they put me on additional antibiotics and told me to return on Friday unless I had recovered. I had not so on Friday they did a scan to reveal further woody material somewhere under the skin. I was then given the option of my leg being opened up with no guarantee that the offending matter would be found (notoriously difficult to locate). I wanted a quicker recovery (the option was to leave it in and the body˚s system eventually sorts it out) so had the surgeon hunt for it under local anaesthetic (me not him). He found three shards and I now have them as a souvenir .... and a very sore leg so it will be a while before I am running again. Stitches are removed on the 22nd so my procrastination  in entering White Bear Way Challenge may have been wise.
Thanks to EtU for your concern and hopefully I shall be at quarterly doo in Friday (just me this time).

Friday, June 12, 2015

One out of Three Ain't Good

One of my ambitions on moving back North was to do the three Horwich fell races, Winter Hill, The Pike and Two Lads. The Water Board scuppered  the first, I did the Pike and so turned up at the Bridge last night hoping to do Two Lads.

Unfortunately, fire had broken out on Winter Hill and so the race was cancelled. Lots of disappointed runners then decided to run the route anyway, and I set off with EtU, KLM and Botters. EtU stopped to talk with somebody on Factory Hill and the next time we saw him was in the pub. The rest of us carried on and ran most of the course with a slight diversion on the advice of the fire fighters. It turned out to be quite a pleasant run and a good tester for my injured knee. With immaculate timing, I got back to the Bridge just as SWINW appeared with the car. A pleasant chat and a (not so pleasant) pint with EtU and Botters rounded off the evening.

Spare a thought for the organizer Colin Jones; all that hard work for nothing. However disappointed we felt, it must be much worse for him. I did hear a rumour about a possible new date in early July, so perhaps there will be a happy ending.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Good Packing by the Squad at Henderson's End

This local evening BS fell race was held this year on 4th June. The FRA calendar reports it as 9.4k (5.9 miles) but I'm fairly sure that refers to the old route, which has not been used for several years and it's now a full 7 miles. The weather was fine and the ground conditions, whilst wetter than usual, were not too slippy, due to effect of the drying wind.on the surface.

The race was won by Gary Priestley of Salford (yes Salford!) in a time of 45:23, with Horwich men placing second and third. Lindsey Brindle was first lady, 12th overall in a time of 53:16.

TYC, obviously well recovered from his long day out in the Lakes, was 17th in a time of 55:26.

EYJ was 1st V70 in 72:45.

"What happened to the good packing" do I hear you ask - wait for it!

Back in 99th was Botters in 83:43, then Colin, 100th in 85:30, with yours truly 101st in 86.56 - now that's good packing.

104 finished.

The evening was rounded off with beer in the Bowling Club, also enjoyed by the L & LoB.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

t'Y And His Amazing Woodin Leg

Yesterday's squad consisted of KLM, t'Y and self. KLM, presumably as part of his return from injury, fancied doing the Winter Hill Race route and so we set off with that aim, following the route as closely as we could. The always faint, but now virtually invisible, route over to the Shooting Hut was traced, although we had to share the more used section that goes up to the mast with runners taking part in the Winter Hill Marathon.

We stuck to the race route all the way to The Knoll, although t'Y and I lost sight of our navigator down from near to the trig point and approached the Knoll by a less than optimum route.

It was soon after that, that t'Y managed to injure his right lower leg by making contact with something hiding in the undergrowth. We were all running out of time by then, so we turned for home, with t'Y in some pain. We got back to the Barn without completing the race route, but with about ten and a half miles having been covered.

Later in the day I rang the injured man who told me that there was a foreign (even more foreign than being from Yorkshire) body in his wound which his better half could not remove and he was on the point of being rushed to A&E.

Later on he texted me to report that a one cm length of twig had been removed and he was now recovering at home.

That's the first time I've heard of anyone being injured by a Twiglet!

Friday, June 05, 2015

Calf Sleeves

My V60 prize from the Horwich Tri was a pair of calf sleeves - no they aren't leg warmers for a young bovine, they are support socks for athletes (who? me?).

They're white (I'd ordered coloured), so highly suitable for the fells - not.

As you may have realised, I'm not a great one for kit, and these don't specially grab me. I was planning to give them a try, but the OSH said I wasn't allowed out, looking like my legs are bandaged - so they are up for exchange for two bottles of strong (anything over 5% abv) beer.

They fit a calf circumference of between 32 and 38 cm and offer:- "optimum performance, maximum muscle stabilization and improved coordination of movement".

See:- http://www.cepsports.co.uk/shop/calf-sleeves-2-0.html

Please form an orderly queue.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Solstice Supper

I have booked the Black Horse at Limbrick for the evening of Friday 19th June.

I'd be grateful (as would the landlord) for an indication of numbers.

Turner Landscape 8th August

I fancy having a go at this:- http://fellrunner.org.uk/races.php?id=3783

Any interest?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Duddon Results

The results are up on the website with splits for your perusal



For some unknown reason EtU doesn't appear. Those with older website browsers may find the pages don't load.

13:44 down from Caw does look pretty impressive compared with my 'peers', and not far off my 2011 time of 13:03. Likelihood is that the Bowland Lady had no one in sight as she turned left down the first re-entrant (gully) and then drew the others with her. I saw the last of the group follow and carried on to the 2nd re-entrant before turning left off the path.

This one guides you better onto the trod downhill and is always useful to know for a misty day. I then had a fantastically clear run down, no runners in sight until I climbed over the wall. Absolutely perfect, bet they're all kicking themselves now for getting ahead of me on the way to Caw!


Monday, June 01, 2015

Long (but not for long) Duddon

Subtitled:- Hope Springs Eternal

I last completed the long race in 2010 and was timed out in both 2011 and 2014, completing the short race (with a little help from my friends) in 2012 and 2013 - so why on earth I saw fit to enter the long race this year, your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, enter I did, more in hope than expectation, and in due course, toed the line with about 350 others.

TF remained in view for at least the first 15 minutes. By the top of Grassguards she was long gone and I was last, although I was subsequently passed, at intervals, by three separate runners, presumably they had all missed the start. Harter was reached in 1:15 and Hardknott in 2:08. The Hardknott marshals told me that although I was outside the 2 hour cut-off, I could continue if I wished; but they went on to say that I was already 25 minutes behind the penultimate runner. With that information on board, I agreed that it would be unfair to keep the Little Stand marshals out for what would be at least another half hour to see through a 'runner' who would no doubt be compulsorily retired at the The Shire Stone.

I retraced my steps to Hardknott Pass and turned down the road for a couple of hundred yards before taking a bridle path on the right which passed through Black Hall (farm) on it's way to the river, thus bypassing Cockley Beck. The route became a pleasant riverside path and I eventually joined the road a couple of miles outside Seathwaite.

So, a disappointing, if not unexpected, result, but happily sandwiched within a very enjoyable days outing. Good to see TF finishing the long race in a very respectable time, YJ picking up his reward for being the oldest short course finisher and Botters acquitting himself admirably in his first Lakeland race; well done all three!

I was stood near to Rob Hope just before the prizegiving and asked him how he had got on. 'I won.' was his brief reply - nuff said.

TF, did you really descend from Caw in 13 minutes?

Munro Bagging from Aviemore

Couple of pics from our trip up North to winter and more here if you fancy it :)  Those of you that had become accustomed to using Livewriter to create posts will have noticed it isn't working any more, so more of a chore to post stuff sadly.

The infamous cornices on the east ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn the scene of many fatalities 

Enjoying the views