Monday, August 31, 2015

SBU35 - Saturday 29th August

Although its title suggests this event is 35 miles, folk with fancy electronics all seem to agree that it's in excess of 36.

The route starts near the osprey viewing point above Bassenthwaite Lake and moves generally south, down Borrowdale to the first checkpoint at Rosthwaite. Then it's up the old drovers' road alongside the Honister motor road to the slate mine, then left to the Loft Beck crossing at an altitude of 1,900ft and down into Ennerdale, past the Black Sail hut to CP2 at Low Gillerthwaite. Then along to Ennerdale Bridge to pick up Nannycatch Beck, thence to, and over, Dent Fell and into Cleator for CP3. then another 4.5 miles to the finish at St Bees.

On the day the weather was generally fair, although we suffered two severe squalls before Ennerdale.

I escaped all the cut-offs and managed to finish 106th out of 109 finishers (with 8 dnfs) and appear to be the oldest finisher, but I was disappointed with my time of 11:45, which was almost half an hour slower than 2014. First man home was Howard Seal in 5:41, first ladies were Susan Clapham and Kirsty-Jane Birch (=22nd overall) in 7:03.

This was taken from the Loft Beck crossing, the peak, centre distance, is probably High Stile, with Buttermere and then Crummock Water in the far distance.

Just been prescribed an antibiotic for an infected and badly eroded blister on my right heel - on finishing I realised why several people during the event had asked me if I knew I was oozing blood over the top of my Inov8. I'll spare you the photo.

Saturday UTUPs

Saturday sessions have been a little 'lean' of late and will be short of the Bros for at least the next two weeks as follows:-

5th September - YJ will be on the road in preparation for two forthcoming marathons and I will be doing the Bolton Park Run - good preparation for the 12th?

12th September - YJ will be doing the Langdale Marathon and I will be doing the Half.

19th September - I'm planning to UTUP.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Borrowdale Weekend 14/16 August

Belated pics from an atmospheric Birkett-bagging, Borrowdale shindig – details here : )


Looking down to Watendlath


at the tea shop – Watendlath


Gateway to Borrowdale from Kings Howe

Friday, August 21, 2015

Saturday 22nd August

I will be UTUPing, as, I believe, may be a few others. For newer readers, UTUP stands for 'usual time usual place', which on a Saturday is 8:30 a.m at the lower Rivington barn - that's the one near 'Go Ape'.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


It is few years since I last ran Sedbergh Hills. As it was in this year's club championship, I thought I would give it a go. Not a big field, and could only see Rudolf and Lawrence from the club at the start. Also had a  nice chat with James Logue. Eventually we were away and the long climb to Arant Haw was underway. I ran much of that with Lawrence close by and reached CP1 with a few behind me. The descent to the stream crossing brought my usual lack of expertise and by then I think was solid last. I overtook a couple on the climb to CP2 but one took a better line han me on the way to CP3 as I followed the next runner in the distance. 
By the time I reached CP3 I was 22 minutes over the cutoff but the marshals used their discretion to let me continue as I was feeling fine, had full body cover as well as the route on my phone, which was also tracking me. CP3 to CP4 was horrendous as I was so far adrift that I had to constantly check the route. The GPX track was particularly useful as that stretch is generally devoid of paths but it did add a fair bit of time. I reached CP4 in 3 hrs 24 having run 9 miles : in my younger days I would have been on my final descent after that time.
At last I could put my phone away as the route was now straightforward to CP5 and CP6. It is just a long  gradual climb to CP5 but although you can see a long way up the route, I could see nobody ahead. It was just case of head down and keep going. I reached CP5 and asked how far ahead the next runners were, expecting a response of 10 or 20 minutes. I was a bit gobsmacked to get the answer that my clubmate was about 100 yards ahead. Within a few seconds I could see Lawrence so I obviously increased my effort. On the next climb I caught him and he was obviously struggling a little. I was now enjoying my running and powered onto Winder but aware that anyone could catch me on the descent. Although I didn't take the best route which meant that Lawrence could have overtaken me without my knowledge, I managed to get to the finish for a PW (ignoring one retirement) of 4hrs 54. At lease i had done the last 6 miles in 90 minutes for which I was quite happy. Lawrence had not finished. I waited for him and he arrived some 8 minutes later after which we were plied with tea and cakes. Results not yet published but I know we were the last two, although I believe a couple behind me were still due at CP3 assumedly retired.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tri Winter Hill 2015

As awareness of this challenge grows within the local athletic community, so does its entry list, unfortunately, in inverse proportion. In 2014 6 of us started and finished - the corresponding figure yesterday was was four - where are all you brave people?

This was the 2015 line-up:-

From the left:- Paul, yours truly, Margaret and Mary.

We set off just five minutes before the scheduled start time, apologies to anyone who turned up late - Josie?

As the athletes disappeared over the horizon before we left Walker Fold Road and I hadn't a clue what was happening, most of the following account was provided by Paul. Paul reached the water first, but the ladies, more experienced in slipping into their wetsuits, were afloat before him.

Caption contest:-

The ladies were out of the water and away and Paul didn't make contact again until he passed Margaret on the bike near Holy Trinity on COR.

He pushed hard to catch Mary on the run, but she finished just about one minute ahead in a total time of 2:51. Margaret followed him in in 3:02. I was much (much) later.

I think a good time was had by all. Best wishes to Mary in Poland next week when she defends her age group world quadrathlon title.

I may save up to buy a wetsuit for 2016.

Thank you to Liz (Mrs Paul) for the photos and for supervising the swim.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two Go Running in the Duddon Valley

As planned, YJ and I travelled up to Seathwaite on Saturday.

YJ was scheduled to run what we have dubbed the Harter Triangle, and set off for this soon after we arrived. This is a road run, heading north to Cockley Beck, then west over Hardknott to the King George IV at Eskdale Green, then south over the Birker Fell road to Ulpha, thence north up the Duddon Valley and back to Seathwaite - wow! Just a few yards short of 20 miles, a training run in preparation for his two hilly autumn marathons.

I targetted the Turner Landscape and found a collection of old friends either preparing to run, or supporting this well organised race. I spoke to the RO and explained that I may not beat the cut-offs and asked what the marshalls would be expecting me to do in this eventuality. Mike said that as the day was fine, and providing I didn't keep folk out on the fells too long past their scheduled time, I was welcome to trundle round the course, although I should consider bypassing Coniston Old Man if I was well off the pace.

I made Grey Friar spot on the cut-off and accompanied by a friendly marshall reached Swirl How with a few minutes to spare. With only about 20 minutes before I was due on the Old Man, I took Mike's advice and gave it a miss, and headed straight for Dow where I was pleased to see Ian and Pauline. I think that they were also pleased to see me, in that as the last 'runner' on the course, they had been kind enough to wait for me. Ian ran most of the way to White Pike with me,  just leaving me behind when two of his clubmates, Emma and Yannis, the COM marshalls, caught us up. I was chided by said pair for not visiting their summit and then we all made our way back from the last summit. Some confusion on the run in when I tried to follow the final flagged section, as the flags had by then been gathered in. Undeterred, I zig-zagged down to the finish to be met by a round of applause and to record yet another DNF. Some mickey taking from the Bowland ladies, who seemed keen to inspect my nether regions (this was not allowed), but a very good natured end to a great day out.

YJ had been back for some time, and reported that although he had found the Harter Triangle hard, he had completed it comfortably under four hours and thus put another useful collection of miles under his belt.

Another good day out - I plan to compete again next next year, and this time to appear in the results.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Three Go Walking in the Langdales

Seeing that it’s summer SN, Nic’O and myself took ourselves off to Langdale for a spot of fun in the sun, well fun we had, but only fleeting glimpses of the sun!  Nevertheless a good time was had by all and I’m sure it won’t be too long before a further adventure is planned :-)  A few more pics here


crossing Stickle Ghyll


Fleeting glimpses of sunshine at Stickle Tarn




Descending Pike o’Stickle

Turner Landscape-209

Back up to Duddon at the weekend to marshall on the Turner Landscale fell race.  Whilst on Dow Crag this splendid view was enjoyed.  I’m sure you all know that skyline. left to right – Scafell, with the little bump of Symond’s Knott, Mickledore, Scafell Pike, Little Narrow Cove, Broad Crag and Ill Crag followed by Great End, Esk Hause, Esk Pike in th shadow, then Ore Gap which we traversed on Wednesday and the pointy summit of Bow Fell.   Very pleasing to see it from here so soon : )

Friday, August 07, 2015

Tri Winter Hill 2015 - Saturday 15th August

Date now confirmed - start 09:00 on Horrocks Fold car park - further details from 

Julie's little expedition

As some of you may know, my better half has been building up to her own little challenge, a Macchu Picchu trek. The distances are not massive but becuse of the altitude (around 14,000ft above sea level) it was very demanding. I am glad to say that she has completed it and returned safely. Over the past few days, she has completed an equally demanding challenge - that of getting all the photos uploaded. She has now uploaded a day by day account on facebook which includes a few hundred photos - those of of you on fb may wish to see them. I'm not sure of how widely visible they are, so you may need to send a friend request to Julie.
Best of luck with the Lakes trip tomorrow - we are delivering furniture to my daughter's new house. On Sunday, I am leading an LDWA walk, so if you are still looking for more exercise, the walk starts at 9am from the road up to the top barn. It will be about 17 miles.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

A bit of rambling on the GR36

I arrived home on Tuesday from a bit of walking in Normandy.
The first day was a bit horrendous as I'd not are fully analysed the exact distance the GR36 takes to my first night's stopover. First 15km from the ferry to Caen were fine then the heavens opened. By mid afternoon, after seeing a sign showing 22.5km still to go, I decided to hitch a lift. I had walked 31km.
Ouistreham - the walk begins
At 4km, Pegasus Bridge - the subject of the film, The Longest Day 

Two night's camping in the wet at Thury-Harcourt with gradually improving weather, I retraced the GR36 back north on the second day, returning by bus.
 Near Thury-Harcourt, an alternative to the GR36 is the Voie Verte, a wide cycleway on a disused railway track
Day 2 - mostly a dry day
On Tuesday I followed the GRP de Suisse Normandie to arrive in Clecy, staying at a lovely hotel in the picturesque village, staying two nights and using Wednesday to take the GR36 back to Thury, nicely timed for 40 minutes in a bar before the bus arrived to return to the hotel.
Day 3 - The River Orne flanked by challenging climbs

With nothing booked for Thursday, I followed the GR36 to Pont d'Ouilly for lunch and then continued with no idea of what accommodation there would be. I eventually found a gite de ferme which gave me a wonderful night with the family, making new friends.
As it was the first weekend of August, I thought it prudent to book the hotel at Putanges for Friday night (they even have wifi in the middle of nowhere!). Amazingly I was the only person staying in the hotel although the restaurant, not full but at least had around ten people in it. I also planned my route for the remaining days, booking hotels in Écouché and Argentan.
Saturday was an easy day, just 24.4km to Écouché, although it was now starting to get quite warm.
Again I was the only person staying in the hotel on the first Saturday in August.
My final day's walking on the GR36 was to be Sunday - it was just a case of deciding where to turn off and head for Argentan, where I could get the train back to Caen. My plan was a village called Francheville. As I got near it, I realised it was not on the GR36, just slightly off, but I still headed there - it may have had a bar serving food. No bar a but a nice village and bench with a view to eat my backup lunch.
Future bacon sandwiches 
A very shiny plaque at Francheville showing that it was liberated only 6 days after D-Day
The view attracted me to return to the GR36 and continue. I decided on a turn round point at 2.30 p.m. but I could also see a hill so I continued to reach the summit. However there was no view as it was more of a plateau in a forest. I had completed 21Km at a fair pace so needed to work out my route to Argentan. Luckily viewranger on my phone showed plenty of paths to head in the right direction once I had left the GR36. However, not all the paths were completely navigable : one in particular was more like a jungle with fallen trees blocking the path at one point. Luckily, previous walkers had made a cut into an adjacent cornfield which  did return to wider path. The last 6km into Argentan was a challenge, being along a busy road. I eventually arrived at Argentan at 7pm, having walked 41km with a pack of over 16Kg. A thermometer was showing 27°C (at 7pm). I was somewhat exhausted and quite dehydrated.
 A couple of examples of architecture in Argentan - the second is the very smart railway station
The final day was spent with a leisurely stroll around the few shops that were open in Argentan before catching the train to Caen, lunch in a nice bar (Café Newport) and back to Ouistreham.

If anyone tells you Normandy is not hilly, thery are wrong. In eight days of walking I covered 197Km which included 3600 metres of climb (12,000 feet in old money)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Winter Hill etc

A few pics from a trot out over Winter Hill, Pike, Two Lads etc – lovely colours appearing on the moors a few more here : )






Squad Outing - Saturday 8th August 2015

YJ and I are travelling up to the Dunnerdale Seathwaite next Saturday morning. One of us plans to compete in the Turner Landscape, whilst the other (guess who) is planning a near 20 mile road run, to include the ascent of Hardnott Pass. There are two spare places in my car. First come, first served.