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.

1 comment:

Ed the Unready said...

Also now with extra stuff from Matt.