Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Season's Greetings

Anne and I would like to wish all our friends in WFDBWGUA a very happy Christmas and New Year. Once again, we are not sending cards but are making a donation to charity instead, which this year is the Yorkshire Cancer Centre.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas (well, nearly) "Do"

After some consultation, I have booked a table at the Black Horse, Limbrick, for the evening of Friday 7th December.  I'd be grateful for numbers.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A PyG of a day

In the end there were just two of us, the TF and my good self. The original plan had been to go to the Lakes but the strong winds meant that we opted for a (mainly) low level route in the Dales instead.
The day started gently with an easy trot alongside the Ribble to Stainforth and then we started on the only real climb of the day, the 4 mile and 1600ft ascent of Pen y Ghent. For those unfamiliar with the route, it is a long steady ascent for 3.5 miles followed by a scramble up some rocks just before the summit, which we reached about 2 hours after setting off.

The rocks had been very slippery so we decided to descend via the Pennine Way to Horton and then follow the river to Helwith Bridge and then to the excellent cafe at Knight Stainforth. At this point, the TF who was suffering with a head cold, sensibly decided to call it a day, so I fortified by tea and buns jogged the last three miles back to the car and then returned for her. In all it was just over 17 miles and 2000+ ft of climbing. Thanks to the TF for driving up to Settle and for the pleasure of her company.
Pen y Ghent

Sunday, November 18, 2018

To Be or Knott To Be

The Knott in this case being Arnside Knott which was the venue of an excellent fell race earlier today. It was 6 miles and about 1000ft of climbing, well marked and well marshalled, and at times offering some stunning views of the Lakes. And there was an interesting sting in the tail at the end.
It was my first race since June (Two Lads) and I found the start and the first hill quite tough. However, I eventually found my rhythm and had an enjoyable battle with two other runners, one from CLM who beat me and one from Howgills runners who didn't.
No results out yet so I don't know how near the back I was, but to be honest I don't care. It was a grand day out: good race, lovely weather and a pub lunch to finish off. Happy days.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A couple of 50s

I've not yet had time to write up about my trip to the GRP in the Pyrenees, but thought I would do a quick reflection after getting home from being the event co-ordiantor for the Red Rose 50.
Grand Raid Pyrenees Tour des Lacs 82km, 51 miles
First 10 miles, 4500 feet of climb completed in 3 hours - average 18 minutes per mile.
Next 11 miles to the checkpoint at La Mongie, a further 3500 feet of climbing but over 4 climbs from starting altitude of around 7000ft above sea level. Toughest terrain  (boulder fields) used in event. Result - took 6 hrs 30, one mile took over an hour. Had difficulty breathing so had to keep stopping on climbs. Lost 150 places and timed out. Fellow English competitors in GRP80, Bob Nash ran the last few k with me being timed out  by approx 45 minutes. Abigail and Michelle Sunter, made the checkpoint in time but retired there. Winning time was an hour and a half slower than my previous run in 2014. In all 160 of 1160 starters retired at the CP. In the Ultra 160km which started with same route, Albert completed in about 45 hours,  about 7 hours slower than he expected. Karen Nash was third lady overall (21 started, 7 finished) in about 42 hours which is six and a half hours slower than her time of three years ago. Of the near 400 men, 41% retired.
Red Rose 50 this weekend
Not got the full results to hand yet but Karen Nash finished 2nd overall (not 2nd lady but overall) in 10 hrs 30. Albert was about an hour later.  Bob Nash (who is 74) and Abigail both completed in about 15 hrs 30.
The Red Rose 50 has half the climb of the GRP80k but that is still over 7,500ft. We had 13 retirements from 141 starters, a mix of walkers and runners.
It just puts my "failure" at the GRP into perspective.
I will up update with some photos - and exact times later in the week.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Quarterly 'Do' - Friday 21st Septmber

I have booked a table at the Black Horse at Limbrick for our Autumn gathering.

Hope you can make it, grateful for numbers in advance.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Settle Seven Summits

A few weeks ago, the running of Coope's Dozen was in serious doubt because of access issues after the Winter Hill fire. I suggested a possible alternative (see Blog July 15th) and today the TF and I went out to reconnoitre it.

We went round clockwise taking in Giggleswick Scar, Pot Scar and Smearsett Scar and stopped for tea and buns at the café in Knight's Stainforth, where we were joined by SWINW. After this we detoured via Catrigg Force which was pretty spectacular after all the recent rain. and decided to add an extra summit to the original list, one that is known locally as Tit Hill (for reasons that are obvious when you see it). It is actually fairly insignificant, but we thought that EtU might appreciate it's inclusion.

We finished off by doing Warrendale Knotts, Sugar Loaf and High Hill, before returning to Settle for more tea. The total distance was exactly 14 miles with over 2500ft of ascent. It was a really good day out and I would like to add it to Coope's Dozen as an annual run for the WFDBWGUA group. My thanks to the TF for driving up here to keep me company.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Coope's Eleven

Shock, horror! It transpires that nobody completed Coope's Dozen last Saturday, as we missed the true summit of Old Adam's Hill. Despite the dreadful weather this morning, EtU, TF and I reached the true summit, marked by a small cairn, which we missed last week by about 20 metres as we didn't cross the fence that runs along the summit ridge. The irony is that last Saturday the visibility was perfect and this morning the clag was right down - but of course this morning we had the TF who is a brilliant navigator.
Anyone for a re-run?

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The Magnificent Seven

(For future reference, please note that the 'gentleman' second right, sports a small plaster on his left shin)

Well “magnificent” might be a bit of a misnomer but seven good men and true assembled at the Upper Barn last Saturday for the annual running of Coope’s Dozen. The assembled multitude were Young Stevie (at 61 he was by some way the youngest), Older Stevie, YJ, t’Y, TLoB (main author), Mat Shsticklegs and EtU (illustrations and other minor additions).

We all set off together, reached George’s Lane and it was there I had my first sight of the devastation the fire had caused earlier this summer. Vast areas of burned out vegetation, some new growth and wide fire breaks had turned a familiar area into one I didn’t recognise. However, we hadn’t time to dwell too long on it as we had a long way to go. After Noon Hill (1) we split into two parties with myself, Steve, Ray and t’Y forming the “faster” group. Another misnomer;-no-one watching our progress would have described it as fast!

The Pike(2) and Two Lads(3) were soon reached, followed by an enjoyable route past the reservoir followed by Whinberry Hill(4) and Egg Hillock(5). Then came the first of two unpleasant sections: the descent and climb up to Counting Hill(6), which might have been ok in winter, but the bracken made it a tough climb. t’Y went a different way but gained nothing, so we concluded that there is no good way on that section. Winter Hill(7) and the trig point soon followed and I enjoyed the descent to Hordern Stoops.

We set off up the flag stones which Ray enjoyed so much he decided to inspect them closely – with his forehead – and as a result spent the rest of the day dripping blood on his shoes.

Old Adam’s(8) proved to be a problem, both in terms of navigation and terrain, and was very time consuming. On regaining the ridge, we had to double back to avoid missing Spitler’s Edge(9) but then had an easy run to Great Hill(10) and Round Loaf(11). We then had a debate as to the best route. Having ruled out White Coppice, we went south of Hurst Hill (why was this left off the original list?) but somehow managed to add over two miles to our journey by coming off the moor at Jepson’s Gate.

This meant a horrid road section before the climb up to our final summit, Healey Nab(12). Here we met a group of ramblers from Merseyside who took pity on Ray’s bloody forehead and administered some first aid along with lashings of sympathy that he had singularly failed to receive from his fellow runners.                                                                                                                                                   
Matt's (Ray's) account of the incident:-

Close Encounters of the Unkind  

It’s a number of years since I did Coope’s Dozen due to a succession of injuries, holidays or a fitness level that rendered me capable only of doing Coope’s One. Then last year I noticed in the blog write-up that people were dropping out at different points. This never happened in my day when men were men, women were women and Gays were neither. (better not put that in). I remember people dropping-off but never dropping out. Armed with this attractive alternative I thought I’d give it a go this year. 

I was doing okay with the Foxtrot Group(slow, slow, quick, quick, slow) and was just behind the others when I had a close encounter with the paving stones a few hundred yards before our, not the,  turn-off to Adams Hill. It’s not the best way of practicing your heading. Going over to Great Hill I trIpped again on the flags but managed to keep upright this time. I think my studs were the problem. At Healey Nab we came across a walking group from Maghull Baptist Church mainly consisting of women. On seeing this frail old chap with bird-like legs, well they  called me a Great Tit anyway, sporting a damaged head(if they only knew about the inside)  they insisted on treating the wound, despite my protestations that I’d run a good few miles with the injury. Bolton Royal would have envied the  volume of  wipes and dressings that the good ladies produced. An ex-nurse then proceeded to clean and dress the wound. At long-last my fellow runners were starting to show some real concern. Firstly, that I was turning into a big softie and damaging the reputation of the fell-running fraternity and secondly, I was delaying progress. They had a point because having made a head of it up to that point, I struggled after being molly-coddled. At the end of Anglezarke reservoir I told them to press ahead as long as it wasn’t mine, but realizing they had a wimp on their hands they stuck with me.

Thanks to t’Yorkshireman for keeping contact with me on the run-in and to TLoB and Steve for hanging back. Would they have beaten 6 hours if unencumbered by the headcase?

On examining my face at home I understood why the Maghull ladies were keen to help. Apart from the cut above my eye I had one rather close to it at the side, a thick lip and also some abrasions, which made things look much worse than they actually were. They must have thought that my face looked a mess, not realising that it starts off with a big advantage in that direction! 
All that remained was to jog back to the Barn where we were surprised to meet EtU andYJ. They had wisely decided to miss out Old Adam’s and Healey Nab and so had beaten us back. My thanks to my companions for the day- it was nice to have a long run on my old stamping grounds with good company. In all we covered 19.4 miles with just over 2500ft of climbing. It took us just over 6 hours – as I said “fast” was not the right word.

A few words from the (very) slow group:- Yes, we plodded round and tried YJ's 'escape' from Egg Hillock - It seems all roads do lead to Hell. One day someone will come up with a solution; whether that will be before or after there is a solution to the Irish hard/soft border issue, who knows?

Slightly ashamed for missing the two outlying tops, we decided to make amends by putting in a bit of speed work on the short up stretch immediately after Alance Bridge. Here we met a jolly band from the 1,000 mile club (is this a bit like the Mile High Club)

and one of their number (Susan - back right) photographed not only the start of our effort,:-

 but also caught us proceeding at a slightly slower pace, a few minutes later:-

Anyway, we soldiered on to finish our 15 mile epic in just over 6 hours, to be joined only slightly later by the 'big boys':-

Note that the 'gentleman' who previously had sported only a small plaster on his leg, now sports a much larger one on his head - will he be allowed out to play with the big boys again?

It would seem that a good time was had by (nearly?) all.

Main write-up by tLoB, with minor editing by Ed and  an extra bit of rubbish from Matt.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Not completing the hardest race I have ever attempted

Four years ago I completed the Grand Raid Pyrenees 80km in 20 hrs 39 minutes. It was tough but I was always well inside every checkpoint cut-off time. I didn't even think about cut-off times.
This year was different. I had recce'd the finishing 8k and found it much more to my liking than the 2014 route. The route to Pic du Midi was also different, going via La Mongie instead of Artigues. The 16km to the first checkpoint at Merlans Restaurant was no problem. My target was three hours to arrive there at 8am. The first 2km is quite flat so I just ran along with the rest at about 10 minutes per mile pace. Then the climb begins. The next 14km has 1500m (5000ft) of climb : you mostly walk it. I arrived at the checkpoint in just inside three hours. However, I did have to stop for a couple of short pauses on the final climb to Col de Portet but it was no cause for concern as I was holding my position. The next couple of miles were fine, just go with the flow, 13 miles or a quarter of the race completed in about 4 hrs 22. By 12 miles in, we were at a height of around 7,500 ft above sea level, heading for four climbs to take you over cols at above 8000ft. I was struggling to breathe on these climbs. I had to stop to recover for a minute or two. The stops became more frequent and longer. I was gradually being overtaken by most of the 200 or so who were behind me. I am well known for my lack of descending prowess and much of the flat parts had their difficulties being over boulder fields. I reached the final col at Pas de la Crabe. I had already decided much earlier that I would retire either at La Mongie or, try my luck at climbing and descending Pic du Midi which I enjoyed last time, then retiring at Tornaboup which is 51km (33 miles). At Pas de la Crabe I  knew I would not make the 1.45pm cut-off at La Mongie. One of the few other British runners, Bob Nash, overtook me whilst I recovered at Pas de la Crabe. He went way from me on the tricky descent before I caught him at the ski station. We then ran together, often with a French guy, to make the checkpoint at 2.30. Even if that had been the cut-off time, there is no why I would have continued. Eventually the few runners still behind us arrived and at 4pm a coach took us back on a 90 minute mystery tour to Vieille Aure.
The race was won in 10 hrs 54. The 2014 race was won in 9 hrs 33. In 2014, I reached the checkpoint at Artigues at noon : this year at La Mongie it was 2.30pm. Bob was one of only three V70s in the race but none completed. Of the 1163 starters, 147 retired at La Mongie, with another 90 retiring after. I know I am not as fit as in 2014 but not by a massive amount. The officials at La Mongie concurred that it was hard this year. Albert completed the 160km version but many hours down on what he targeted. Bob Nash's wife Karen also completed the 160km some 4 to 5 hours down on what she expected - yet she still finished 3rd woman.
It didn't seem to take a lot out of me for nine and a half hours and 8000ft of climb - just a shame I couldn't have put the effort in to reach the CP in say 8 hours.
I will post some photos of the area when I find suitable.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Coope's Dozen 2018

Now confirmed as Saturday 1st September, start at Top Barn 9:00 a.m. Entirely un-official, un-marked and un-supported. Background and route from (aka Grimeford Ed).

Friday, August 10, 2018

Saturday UTUP

Now Winter Hill has been re-opened I suggest we revert to the Lower Barn as our 'Usual Place'. However, I won't be there for at least a couple of weeks:- tomorrow 11th August (sorry for short notice) I'm doing the Howgills Triathlon - 18th August I'll be driving over to Anglesey - 25th August, put me down as a 'definite maybe'.

Then 1st September Coope's Doozen?

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Winter Hill Has Been Re-Opened!

I spoke to the police lady who was taking down the 'Closed' signs last night, and she confirmed that we can go out to play again.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Read, Learn and Inwardly Digest

I bumped into one of our number this morning on the western flank of Great Hill. They were muttering about many things, but I took exception to one complaint in particular which was that 'there was no one at the UTUP'.
As avid readers of this blog will know, my post of 12th July notified the temporary UP shift from the Bottom Barn to Hordern Stoops. Apparently the person in question (no name/no pack drill) had seen this but had 'forgotten'! Words almost, but obviously, not quite, fail me.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Coope's doz

The new date sounds ok to me.

Would it be too much to hope that the tussocks on the way to Old Adam have suffered fire damage?

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Coope's Dozen

With the access ban on Winter Hill extended for a further three weeks, shall we pencil in Saturday 1st September for our annual celebration of this route - subject, of course, to there being no further extension of the ban?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Settle Six Saunter

EtU has asked for suggestions as to what we do about Coope's Dozen. Here is a possible run.
Start:- Settle Market Square
Peak 1 Giggleswick Scar 805656 (not named on OS map but a very distinct summit with a large cairn)
then down into Feizor (tea shop), up to Feizor Nick then
Peak 2 Pot Scar 795679
Peak 3 Smearsett Scar 802678
then down to Knight's Stainforth (excellent café run by a runner) then Stainforth up to Catrigg Force then
Peak 4 Warrendale Knotts 834643
Peak5 Sugar Loaf 837636
Peak 6 High Hill 833635
then back to Settle
about 14 miles and 2000 ft of climbing

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Saturday UTUP

Until we are allowed back onto/up Winter Hill again, I will be reporting to Hordern Stoops (SD 655 158) each Saturday morning at 08:30 hrs and setting off to run in a generally northerly or north westerly direction.

I will post any variation from this plan.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Coope's Dozen - 2018 - ???

The date for our annual 'mob' running of Coope's Dozen has, for a number of years now, been accepted as the Saturday one week before the Borrowdale Race. This year this gives us Saturday 28th July.

This post is merely to point out that access to that part of the route to he south of Hordern Stoops, that is, most of it, may still be prohibited, and to ask for suggestions as to what we do.

Some possibilities are could be:-

Forget about it for this year.

Wait until we are allowed access to the full route.

Just do the top five.

Do the top five plus Darwen Tower.

Grateful for suggestions.

Monday, July 02, 2018


Given the dreadful fire on WinterHill, it may be some weeks before UTUPing can resume on a Saturday. In the interim, if anyone fancies running in the Dales instead, you are most welcome. I can offer tea, coffee, showers, and if anyone wants to stop on a Friday night, we have spare beds. If not, it is one hour from Jn 6 on the M61 to my house.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A (very) Few More Passes - Saturday 23rd June '18

The planned outing started to unfold with our arrival at the New Dungeon Ghyll at the due time of 08:00. The party was smaller than originally expected, just YJ, Stevie B (he didn't like his originally given name) and yours truly, but despite this this compact nature it was still another 40 minutes before we left for Stool End Farm.
Progress was slow, as it was all day, due to my lack of fitness.
We reached Three Tarns then descended to Upper Eskdale and Lingcove Bridge, where our shy and retiring companion posed for this:-


This seemed to be a venue for the now popular activity of Ghyll scrambling and amidst the throng we felt decidedly underdressed without wet suits.

Then it was down to the valley bottom and a brief call in at the Woolpack for soft drinks.

We discovered later, that the Iceman had aimed to meet us along this stretch but we had managed to miss each other, and he had continued up to the valley head, to take in Scafell and Scafell Pike.

We passed through Boot village, over the Burnmoor Corpse Road and down to Wasdale Head.The view below is an old picture of Bulatt Bridge over which we had hoped to pass en route. Unfortunately, by the 23rd June it had been destroyed and we had to paddle across the Whillan Beck which it had previously spanned.

See the source image

By the time we got to Wasdale Head we (yet again) realised that we were not going to complete our planned route, which would have taken us over Black Sail Pass and we opted for Sty Head, Esk Hause and down Rossett Gill

Here the less flamboyant members of the party were photographed as we prepared ourselves for the awkward descent by the Gill:-


Then an even slower trudge back to the NDG. Over twelve hours on our feet and not back to Bolton until the pubs had closed!!!

Thank you to YJ for providing the transport and thank you to both for your company.

We had hoped to put the route to bed this time, but we still have unfinished business with Black Sail and the Loft Beck descent into Ennerdale - maybe in another two years time?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Last to first and back to last

Sadly the answer to the question I posed at the end of my last blog is a new left knee! An ongoing slight niggle has turned into something altogether more serious 😤

Monday, June 18, 2018

Last to First

I don't do many races these days but last Thursday I went back to Horwich to do the Two Lads fell race for the first time this century. I had tried to do it three years ago but someone had set light to the moor and the race was cancelled. Given the dry conditions, I did anxiously scan the moor for signs of smoke, but fortunately there weren't any.
Race HQ is now The Ale House (which I remember as The Brown Cow) and registration gave me the chance to catch up with some old friends and inspect the very impressive range of beers. The start of the race is fairly brutal; straight up Factory Hill, through Wilderswood and then up the moor to the pumping station. We then turned right and did a loop round past the top of the quarry and approached Two Lads from the back. I was struggling to see at this point - a combination of the low sun, sweat and contact lenses not being a good mixture. However, past the summit things improved, and I enjoyed the rest of the race despite some abuse from Mark Davies who was marshalling at the dog hotel, and then some more from Albert as I was catching Michelle just before the finish.
Back to the pub and time to sample the ales. I was then delighted and surprised to discover that I was 1st V65 and got a bottle of wine and a Walsh's voucher. Given that two races ago (Hodgson Brothers relay), I had been the slowest runner on my leg, this was unexpected. So a good race, a prize and ale at £2.40 a pint; what more could a man desire?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tour Of the Lakeland Valleys via the Passes - 23rd June 2018

Ok folks, it's nearly time.

For those making their own way to the start point at the NT car park at the New Dungeon Ghyll, please aim to be ready to roll at 8:00 a.m. - not the ungodly hour of 6:00 as originally suggested.

YJ has offered to chauffeur a number of us (four if we have little bottoms, or just three if we tend to be of a more comfortable build) from the Hob Inn at Bamber Bridge at 6:00 up to the NDG. I am available to get folk from Bolton up to Bamber Bridge. Please get in touch with me (phone, text or email) if you wish to avail yourself of either service.

Not seen a forecast yet, let's hope the sun shines on the righteous.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

LakeLand Valleys - 23rd June 2018

A Second Tour of the Central and Western Lakeland Valleys

(or more correctly – A Second Attempt at a Tour of the Central and Western Lakeland Valleys – like the first but backwards)

Planned date:- 23rd June 2018

Start in Great Langdale at the NT car park across the road from the New Dungeon Ghyll at 06:00 a.m – or is this too early?

Three Tarns – Via Stool End Farm, then up the Band to Three Tarns and then down into Upper Eskdale to Lingcove Bridge and thence to Brotherilkeld Farm and Boot – three pubs and the café at the station to choose from.

Burnmoor Corpse Road – From the packhorse bridge in the centre of the village, we follow this ancient bridle path up to Burnmoor Tarn, which we pass on our left and then down to Wasdale head.

Black Sail – Over the packhorse bridge behind the Inn and up the pass and down to Black Sail Hut.

Loft Beck – From the hut, upstream alongside the beck to our next high point at the Loft Beck Crossing.

Honister – From the Loft Beck Crossing we head in a north-easterly direction to descend to the Slate Mine. It was along this section, approached then from Honister, that we decided to cut our 2016 outing short and head for home via Windy Gap, Styhead Tarn and Esk Hause. Refreshments are usually available at the mine. We then descend on the bridle path alongside the motor road to Rosthwaite.

Greenup Edge – Approached via Stonethwaite and Greenup Gill. Thence down to Grasmere via Easedale for gingerbread, Peter Rabbit etc.

Silver Howe – Tackled from the north-west side of the lake. This pass does not seem to have a formal name, I’ve just taken the name of a small top that we pass just south of.

Then it’s back down into Great Langdale for refreshments and preparation for our journeys home.

We can leave our travel arrangements until nearer the time, although it would seem sensible not to pack the cars too tightly, to give us the flexibility to split into different groups for the return journey.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Saturday 12th May

YJ is planning a long road run tomorrow, but is likely to report UTUP to start, if you want to say 'good morning'.

I will also be UTUPing and would welcome company for a meander over the fells.

Friday, April 27, 2018

A Date for Your Diary - Saturday 23rd June 2018 - The Rest of the Passes and Valleys

After due consultation, it has been decided (use of the passive tense avoids allocation of blame) that this outing will be on the 23rd June.

Start will be earlyish (?) from the New Dungeon Ghyll.

Thence to Three Tarns and Down to Boot, over the Corpse Road to Wasdale Head, then Black Sail...

Anyone who wants details of the full route can email me on

Saturday 28th April 2018

YJ and I plan to UTUP tomorrow, and we may have a blast from the past. You will need to attend the UTUP to find out who the mystery runner is.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Happy Anniversaty

If it hadn’t been the last one I would have left it because six weeks out with the Aussie flu bug meant that my longest run since January had been less than 6 miles – hardly the ideal preparation for an 11.5 mile race in the Lakes with 3500 feet of climbing. However, it was the last one, Newlands is my favourite part of the Lakes and the weather forecast was good – too good as it turned out.

So at 6.45 on Saturday the alarm went off, which wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t been at a Dinner Dance in Blackburn the night before! Roger picked me up at 7.30 and we collected Tom five minutes later. They were both doing the Teenager with Altitude which started an hour before the AW but I needed a lift as SWINW wanted the car. We arrived at registration at about 9.15, I collected my number and went to find what little shade there was and read a book until it was time to go.

The first three miles were straightforward enough but then the climb up Robinson began. I picked a good line but the valley head had turned into a furnace which made it a relief to reach the summit ridge. Once there, I performed my good deed for the day. A lady runner had got crag fast on the Robinson Step and so I gallantly helped her – it was a good excuse for a rest!! I enjoyed the rest of the climb to the first check point on Robinson summit but went for a pearler coming down having caught my foot on a rock. The only damage was a nasty cut on my left hand and slightly shaken confidence.

 Hindscarth and Dale Head (with choir!) were soon passed, but then the very steep descent to Dale Head tarn began. Now my descending skills have improved no end on the grassy slopes of the Dales, but this was a different league altogether, both steeper and rockier. However, I made it down without mishap but on the climb up to High Spy I realised that my legs had gone so I was reduced to a slow shuffle- I wouldn’t call it running – for most of the rest of the race. By the time I reached the summit, NLN and Ian had both run out of film and so the only thing they took was the micky!

My shuffle towards Catbells and the finish continued. By this time I was cooked. The temperature was into the 20s and despite lashing on the sun cream, I could feel my neck burning. Finally I reached Cat Bells but took a bad line off it and ended up in some rocks whilst other runners were on grass either side of me. I managed to extricate myself and got down the steep grass to the road ok, but the last half mile on the road, although down hill was a killer. At the finish I couldn’t walk in a straight line and the first aiders grabbed me and made me drink lots of water. However, there was free beer available and I decided that I was better off re-hydrating with that instead!

It is a great race in a stunning part of the world and very well organised. However, I learnt the hard way that to do these events justice, more training and a recce are necessary, an d so preferably is cooler weather. Whoever said that with age comes wisdom?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

No Golden Mile(s)

Thanks to NLN for her pic of me at about 18 miles of the Blackpool Marathon.  Sadly, the result was not what I would have wanted as the wheels had already fallen off the trolley.

After a brisk half marathon completed in around 2 hours leg pains which had surfaced during the first few miles worsened  and coupled with a drop in energy levels it was difficult to keep the pace going, To avoid serious damage I decided on the easier option of retiring at about  mile 21.

So it is back to the drawing board with the intention of being in better shape for the Lancaster Marathon in September.  To this end there will be more 10Ks and half marathons and more training miles as it is obvious that 30-40 miles per week is not enough.

Never Mind London

Blackers is where it's at!  Well done Mr Swift and hats off to Mr B (LoB) for completing the final Anniversary Waltz - you were too quick for me to get a snap on the summit of High Spy, apologies.  But with 750-ish runners, getting the numbers down required a bit of concentration.  Fab few days in the Lakes visiting a variety of summits, returning via Blackpool after the rain arrived to see if we could spot this gent.  Look forward to reading all about it YJ.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Saturday 21st April 2018

Neither YJ nor I will be UTUPing this coming Saturday, John will be nearing the end of his taper for the Blackpool Marathon, and I may be Parkrunning in Derby.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Second Tour of (some of) the Central and Western Lakeland Valleys

If your refer to my post of 27th June 2016, you will see that we were left with unfinished business. Wind on almost 22 months:-

Over a recent couple of  beers, Steve (B) (he doesn't answer to his allotted blog name) told me that it was time to put this one to bed; apparently he and YJ had decided this at a previous drinking session. After some discussion, we decided that we should use the original plan (see 27/6/16), but in reverse order, so that we mop up the missed passes and can go home any time after we hit our route of two years ago.

We're looking at the second half of June, either a Saturday or a Wednesday - a Saturday would no doubt suit those of us that still have an attendance clause attached to their monthly pay cheque. Comments please from interested parties - I can email you full details of the original plan if you wish.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Saturday 14th April

Sorry for the late notification, but YJ and I will be UTUPing on the 14th.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

'Do' on Friday 6th

Further to my post of March 16th, I have booked a table for 7:30 for tomorrow evening, at the Black Horse, Limbrick.

Hope to see lots of you there.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Pike Race 2018

Where to start? - Same as every year, at the bus turnround on Lever Park Avenue! Well that's not quite what I meant, so let's go back a bit further.

I knew this year was going to be harder than last - one year older (no escaping  that) - a few pounds heavier (mea culpa, although the OSP is trying to put weight back on by increasing portion sizes - for both of us! So not all my fault) - and averaging only 24 miles a week compared with 31 last year. So, as ever; hoping for a good run, expecting a bad one - blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.

The Pike Race has always been special to me, it was my first fell race, and I was then running in Notts AC colours. It was 1979 and Pete Ravald won, just 3 seconds in front of (ever the bridesmaid) Shorty. A quick scan down the (now yellowing) results for that day suggests that only Albert, George Arnold and I are still racing on the local scene. The numbers have increased since then, 220 in '79, 354 last Saturday.

Anyway, as they say, nostalgia ain't what it used to be so let's move on half a lifetime.

Fewer old faces on the start line, a lot of new ones in Horwich vests. Mostly unknown to me; for many years we got to know all the recent additions over a beer or two in the RMI after Tuesday training, but no more - stoppit, I said no more nostalgia!

Particular targets for me were to beat my older brother John, and Ray, a friend of one of my daughters who I had said should give it a go. Cut to the chase, or rather to the end of the chase; John beat me by over 5 minutes, Ray by almost 5. We were all beaten by Tony Hesketh,Tony Varley, John Parker and many, many more, whilst t'Y managed to finish behind Ray, but in front of me.

But Horwich as a club had a good race - first open men's team, first vets men's team and fifth ladies' team. Incidentally and unusually, TF's club - Salford - had two finishers (wow!) and although placing 5th and 6th had insufficient runners to complete a team.

Good to see the ever cheerful, six times Pike Race winner Paul Dugdale in the Crown later, but sad to hear the he is awaiting joint surgery for osteoarthritis.  Hope they sort you out soon, Paul, guys like you always make me feel guilty, you wear yourselves out with superb results, whilst I have never gone fast enough to do myself any damage, but just keep crawling along  - oh for that 16 minutes of glory (that's about how long it would take to pull off a win).

I will leave you with this picture of Ray approaching the finish, of special note because he had both feet off the ground, something neither of the bros has aspired to in recent years:-

Hope to see you all next year.


There is a group of three hills near the north coast of the Lleyn Peninsula known collectively as Yr Eifl. Our Welsh neighbours take great delight in hearing us misinterpret this as meaning 'The Rivals', when anyone with even the faintest grasp of their language knows that this means 'the forks'. I had been aware of their commanding appearance since holidaying on the peninsula over 30 years ago, but had never got round to climbing them. So when I came across a holiday cottage on the internet, several months ago, which was less than a mile from the most easterly peak it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so Saturday 24th March saw me setting off from that cottage to make good this gap in my 'mountaineering' experiences.

Tre'r Ceiri, or Town of the Giants, stands just 1,591 ft high and is the site of Wales' biggest and best preserved Iron Age fort. It was occupied before the Roman invasion, and from what I can gather, remained in indigenous hands throughout the Latin occupation. The remains of over one hundred stone huts can still be seen as can a large part of the perimeter wall:-

Although it will be obvious from the above that visibility was poor on the day, navigation was not a problem due to the compact nature of the 'rivals'.

From there,it was barely a mile to the highest point, Garn Ganol (also the highest point on the whole peninsula) at 1,841 ft, which was the site of a trig point incorporating some unusual ironwork, in memory of an unconsummated love affair:-

Picture half inched from the 'Trigpointing UK' website.

The low cloud obscured all views from there, but this photograph, taken from the third top shows most of Garn Ganol, with Tre'r Ceiri in the left background:-

The third top, Garn For, is the lowest of the three at 1,457 ft, but, perched so close to the sea, is perhaps the most dramatic:-

From there I descended seawards to the Welsh Language Centre at Nant Gwrtheyrn for bara brith and coffee, then stopping off for a pint of something stronger in Llithfaen before returning to my accommodation. Not a lot of miles, but some rough ground, a fair bit of climbing and a long delayed outing finally completed, all without any transport, other than my Salomons.

I took this shot the following day from the coastal path near Morfa Nefyn, about 4 miles west, which is the  view that had stayed with me all those years:-

Yes, 'The Rivals' are definitely worth a visit if you're ever in that area - just don't ask me to pronounce any of the placenames!

Monday, March 26, 2018

An excellent walk in the Yorkshire Dales with a nice brew to finish with

I thought for a change I would partake in one of  East Lancs LDWA group walks so, with an hour's less sleep due to the clock springing forward into Summer, I headed over to meet up with the rest of the group (15 of us in all) at the car park near TLOB's abode. The weather at last was good, plenty of sunshine and dry all day, albeit somewhat frosty at the start. The pace was good : over 18 miles including an ascent of Fountains Fell to give around 2600ft of climb in total, completed in under 7 hours including lunch stops etc. Alas, the brew failed to materialise as on returning to Settle and phoning him, the Lord of Brentford had failed to remember that he and his ladyship had a function to attend in Preston. I did managed to get a quick chat and photo as they set off in the finery to see their subjects. But no sign of their butler? Photo at the end.

A glorious lunchtime view of Pen-y-ghent 
Still plenty of now around - there was particularly tricky bit descending from Fountains Fell

Stainforth Scar
Clouds look ominous yet no drop of rain all day and plenty of sunshine
The Lord and Lady of Brentford looking resplendent on their way to mixing with the elite.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A couple of long'uns on next to nowt training

Probably like many others, the first quarter of this year has been somewhat of a dead loss. A combination of various ailments (flu bugs, viruses, throat infections, whatever you like to call them) and inhospitable weather has led a distinct lack of regular running.
I managed to complete the Anglezarke Amble, mostly in the company of YJ. I must have been already carrying one of the viruses that have been going the rounds as within a few hours, I was suffering which put paid to the next two weeks.

In my relative youth when I first completed the Haworth Hobble, my daughter, Diane, said she would like to run with me at some time in the future - when she was old enough as she was only 13 or 14 at the time.
At the time she ran cross-country races, but not the age group races with a limit of 2.5km to 3km but she ran with the seniors in the Today's Runner League, 5 or 6 miles and loved it. It has taken awhile for her to finally run the Hobble with me, but this year, she said she wanted to do it. She is now a FV40! It would be the longest run she had completed, if not the longest event, having a UK Ironman finisher's medal from 2011 to show. However, now the proud mum of a five year-old, she has less time for training.
We managed to meet up for a 17 mile training run covering most of the start and finish miles at the end of January and planned for another run a couple of weeks before the event, only for that to be the victim of the snow (more to do with getting there than the actual running) and I managed a 14 miler along the Calderdale Way and Hebden Bridge sections three days before the event.
On the day, I let Diane manage the pace : this after all was for her to complete her first ultra, and neither of us had been able to input the training mileage we had expected. Over the first ten miles we took it easy although there were a few behind us. By the time we reached Long Causeway car park (14 miles) we realised the sweeper was approaching the CP as we left. However, we were still on target for 9 hours and Diane's target was to finish within the 11 hour time limit. We caught and passed a group as we went through Mankinholes and stayed ahead through Stoodley and kept pushing onwards through to Heptonstall and Hardcastle Crags. I was hoping the steady pacing might allow us to move a bit quicker after that, especially as we had previously run the section from Heptonstall but now into ultra-marathon territory, it was a totally new experience for Diane.
The section over Stairs Lane was quite sapping as the snow had remained quite thick and we lost about ten places from there to the finish but we finished before darkness in 9:56 with four behind us. The winner took 4:33, indicating how difficult the terrain was this year, probably the wettest I have ever known it, and more than 20 minutes slower than his 2017 time. On a positive note, it was reasonably mild so I was able to run in shorts and we even saw a glimpse of the sun trying to break through the clouds for about 5 minutes. If you want an even longer report, Diane has published one on her fitbee website  - but totally ignore the last bit.
taken by Eileen Woodhead - I then stopped for a chat with her

View from the Pennine Way en route from Stoodley Pike to Hebden Bridge

With only a week's recovery it was the Two Crosses Circuit. I had been suffering from a cold all week and ran a whole two miles on the Tuesday. As you may recollect, last weekend was the Beast From The East Mark 2, and it was debatable that event would go ahead. I also help with the car parking prior to the event. I had decided that I would walk not run and was geared up for the "feels like -13°" predicted. After checking with event co-ordinator at 6am, I drove off from Horwich. The last part of the journey to Tottington was a bit scary on untreated roads. The decision was made at 7.45 that the event would go ahead but only using the short course of 17 miles. Nobody of the 91 starters complained (there were over 180 pre-entries and 18 entered on the day, at least one who was due to run the cancelled Wigan Half Marathon). Seventeen miles was challenging. There were many familiar faces: Kev, Albert, Jimmy Leyland, Mark Sammon, Josie. I walked most of the way with TM until she slipped off at speed at one checkpoint whilst I was getting my poles out and having a pit stop. We had built up a bit of a group due to those in front of us being unsure of the way and then encountering a wall of snow which we had to clamber through.
Link to Dave McDonald's video of us negotiating the drift which blocked the route
I had to work hard to get back to this group as there was no way I wished to be isolated going over Wet Moss. I caught them up but TM had gone and by the time we reached The Naughty Corner checkpoint was some six minutes ahead. The next section was also hard work with the biting easterly 50mph wind ripping to your face as you headed for Pilgrim's Cross and Peel Tower. After that, it felt tropical and I took a leisurely place, although I managed to slip going down int Reddisher Woods, causing a calf muscle pull which was agony and for a few seconds I thought my Two Crosses was over and the best I would be able to do would be hobbling to the next checkpoint a couple of miles away. I had a lovely chat with Nicole who was manning the next checkpoint and then pushed on with the occasional jog for the finish. For footwear I had made a last minute decision to wear my which had only had two previous outings, each of about three miles. For the most part they were the perfect choice for gripping the ice and snow with the exception of the muddy descent in Reddisher Woods. It was a hard day but well worth it. Hopefully next year, the weather will be kinder.
Selfie of TM and T'Y and Batridge Car Park Checkpoint (taken by TM)

Pike Race next Saturday where Diane will have the opportunity to beat me with her descending skills.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Saturday UTUPs

I will be at the Lower Barn at 8:30 this coming Saturday, 17th March, but will not be there on the 24th, when I'll be roaming round the Lleyn Peninsula, or on the 31st when I'll taking it easy before the afternoon Pike Race. So far as I'm aware, just YJ and I have declared our intent to contend, but I am hopeful, whilst not necessarily expectant, that there will be others from our little group.

Friday 6th April is looking suitable for our next quarterly gathering. Any thoughts from anyone else?

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Saturday 10th March

I will be UTUPing this Saturday.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Saturday 3rd March

I will be UTUPing (Bottom Barn 8:30) this Saturday morning.

Apparently, today is the meteorologists' first day of spring; why do they need their own? What's wrong with the one the rest of us use? Perhaps, by the 21st, the weather will be more spring-like.

Friday, February 23, 2018

On the park 

EtU was quite right, I shall be Park running tomorrow.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Saturday 24th February '18

I'll be on Anglesey on the 24th so not UTUPing. If my memory serves me well, YJ is planning a Parkrun, but perhaps he will confirm.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Saturday 17th February '18

I'll be UTUPing, anyone else?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Kind of Parkrun (perhaps?)

OK, who's up for this:-

...must be worth a look.

Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 targets

A Happy New Year to you all. I see there is not much banter about targets for this year except that TF will no doubt effortlessly complete her 50 miler.
I have also decided to participate in probably my final 50 miler and head back to the Pyrenees for the Grand Raid Pyrenees, or specifically the Tour de Lacs which is almost the same route as in 2014 albeit in the reverse direction. I think I had better get my entry in before the initial Jan 31st deadline.
At the moment my training for it is negligible : I only completed 12 miles in December and Saturday's 6 mile XC at Burnley was my longest run since mid November.
My entry for the Amble is in and accepted so that is the next build up for t'Hobble. I keep saying it will be my last Hobble but this year I shall be running it in a pair. When she was about 13 or 14, Diane said she wanted to do it but at that time she was too young and by the time she was old enough, it didn't happen. This year it will happen and I realise she will be 10 years older than I was the first time I ran it. We were hoping for a recce of part of the route this weekend but the weather forecast does not look very favourable. We shall see.
I have finally semi-retired from work so have reduced my workload to about two days per week. However, to keep me off the streets I have "volunteered" to be event co-ordinator for the Red Rose 50 - one way of avoiding doing it. The route is being revised so it will not be quite as challenging as last year and surely the weather cannot be worse. So, if you are up for it, enter (will soon be on SIEntries). If not, we don't turn away volunteers.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Saturday 13th January

Hi y'all,

Just letting you know that neither of us bros will be UTUPing this coming Saturday.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

A bit of a different run today

So today I decided to pack all my textbooks away (metaphorically, as they're all online these days) and head to the hills to enjoy a bit of sunshine.

I thought I'd go and reccie a bit of Leg 2 of the Calderdale Way in preparation of my 50m Ultra in the summer. The route starts from Cragg Vale and heads past Withens Clough Reservoir and then down towards Mankinholes.

As on the previous reccies I'd decided to use my 20L OMM rucksack, seemed a bit 'over-kill' today for a planned 6m run, and given the frosty conditions and running alone I thought 'you never know'.

Well today was the 'you never know' day. On the drop down towards Mankinholes, I came across a group of 4 people, 2 sat down. It was quickly established that the 'casualty' had slipped on the icy path and gone over on her ankle. Her friend was sat down with her trying to keep her warm. Her mum had rung 999, but had found it difficult to describe where exactly they were other than 'up the hill from the pub' in Mankinholes.

So my emergency bivvy bag got to see the light of day for the first time since acquiring it 7-8yrs ago. It's one of these, and just about fits in the palm of your hand (5cm x 7cm), weighs nowt!

999 was phoned again to provide grid reference (964231), casualty got some Ibruprofen and general reassurance.

I was pretty relieved to hear the first set of sirens. I'd been there 45 mins at this point. It was chilly, but not as chilly as if you're lying immobilised on the ground.  From my advantage point on the hill I could see the first MRT vehicle pull up on the road at the start of the Calderdale Way path.

They arrived in separate groups and the final team on the hill consisted of 13 of them, plus 1 dog.

Real 'chuffed' to be told my GR was 'spot on'. I've always worried I'd get it wrong under pressure.

Bit of a report form CVSRT here

I've had word back from the casualty's Mum, the hospital confirmed she has a fractured ankle and is now awaiting an op.