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 cafĂ© 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 edswift@btinternet.com.

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.

Unrivalled!

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:-

http://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2018/01/25/parkrun-profile-watergrove/

...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 http://www.cvsrt.org.uk/incidents/redirect/itemlist/date/2018/01?catid=4

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

TF