Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Saturday 15th June

Just for the occasional Saturday morning participant, I will be at the Bottom Barn at 8:30 a.m (or very soon after) this coming Saturday; hope to have company.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Calderdale Way Ultra Sat 1st June

Back in 2017 I thought I'd set myself the challenge of doing a 50 mile race to celebrate my 50th in 2018. The Calderdale Way Ultra fitted the bill, it was 50m and I knew the route. Life intervened, and a lack of training meant the project got shelved.

Xmas 2018 and thoughts of 'can I do it' resurfaced, returning to the website I found the race had grown an extra 2 miles longer! The official stats were now 52.8m and 2128m of climb (approx 7000ft)

6 months later and I was on the start line. If I was to complete, it'd be the furthest and longest I'd be on my feet in one go. A total of 16 hrs allowed, starting at 6am and finishing by 10pm. In training I'd struggled to meet the required pace for leg 2, so this was going to be the critical leg.

Pacing schedule from the organisers was as follows

Start to CP1 11.90m   cut off  09:15am 16.4 mins per mile    time allowed for leg 3hrs15mins
CP1 to CP2 11.32m    cut off 12:30pm 17.2 mins per mile     time allowed for leg 3hrs15mins
CP2 to CP3 10.76m    cut off 15:45pm 18.1 mins per mile     time allowed for leg 3hrs15mins
CP3 to CP4 6.88m      cut off 17:45pm 19.6 mins per mile     time allowed for leg 2hrs
CP4 to CP5 6.83m      cut off 20:00pm 17.5 mins per mile     time allowed for leg 2hrs15mins
CP5 to finish 5.49m    cut off 22:00pm 21.9 mins per mile     time allowed for leg 2hrs

Well I won't keep you in suspense any longer this is what I managed.

I DID IT!!!!

These are my split times

Julie Laverock
Female Vet 50

Finish Time: 15:43:10
T-Rank: 43
MF-Rank: 9
AG-Rank: 4


A bit of time gained for 1st leg, allowed a bit of slippage for leg 2, but I had 10 mins in hand for leg3, a bit of a stop at 30m point to change over my innersoles and take an opportunity to buy a drink. Leg 4 starts with a long road descent and barring one small climb is mainly flat, I was feeling good and was able to keep up a good run/walk strategy and got into the CP with 10 mins in hand. I'd done leg 5 in 2 hrs in training (very easy pace) and had 2.5 hrs.

I knew I had to be at the pub (Hinchcliffe Arms, Cragg Vale for 7.30pm to stand any chance of getting to the reservoir at the top in time for the cut off. I was there at 7.30pm and powered up in 15mins. We had to call in at the feed station before we were allowed to cross the timing mat for the next leg, so essential arrived with 15mins in hand.

Would I recommend it, yes but for this race you really do need to know the route like the back of your hand if you run at my pace. I helped a number of people stay on route, met one poor girl who'd been going round in circles for 40mins on leg 2! The longest run I'd done in training was 29m, but I had also done a number of 8-10hr days with lots of climbing.

Finally the trekking poles. I started with them at 4m mark on the first steep climb, and kept them in my hands until the finish.

(me at 3m, other photos available here

My next challenge, running a 5k in 1 week as part of a nhs team for the NHS triathlon. Start & Finish at the Leisure Centre in Bromley Cross.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Something to CRO about

Last Saturday was the annual CRO (Cave Rescue Organisation) challenge. there is a choice of two routes, a 12 miler or a marathon. As I am looking to get some long runs in, I signed up for the marathon, and so at 9.30 I was on the start line outside Clapham church.
The route starts off by going through two tunnels and up a long very stony path. However, after a couple of miles we were on the open fell and the running became much more enjoyable. The "we" being myself, Helen (one of my Thursday girls) and Rachel (who I hadn't met before and who is Helen's friend). After 6 miles we reached the summit of Ingleborough (2372ft)
and then came the bit I had been most worried about. Those of you familiar with the 3 Peaks route will be aware that just below the summit of Ingleborough there is a very steep climb: this was our way down!

Fortunately, I have got a lot better at descending and it wasn't too bad. The next bit was very enjoyable, going round the edge of Simon's Fell and Park Fell, past Alum Pot to road at Selside. The route then turned north again to meet up with the Pennine way near High Birkwith, before going down the PW to Horton in Ribblesdale. It was on this section that we were met by SWINW who had brought food but forgotten the tea! Never mind, we were going well and soon reached Horton.

The short road section seemed to affect us all and we found the climb up out of Horton quite tough, but were soon rewarded by a great descent through Thieves' Moss to Wharfe.

Now whoever selected the route must have a nasty streak in them, as we now had to descend to Austwick and then we faced a steep climb (at 25 miles) up to Norber. It really was a killer! However, from there it was down hill to the finish and some much needed tea and cake. Thanks to helen and Rachel for their company over what turned out to be 27+ miles and almost 4000ft of climbing.
Next year anyone?

Monday, May 13, 2019

This Is Not the End... is not even the beginning of the end; it is only the end of the beginning. Not, as you may be thinking, of my 'running' career, but of the ongoing - Saga of the Passes.

In 2017 we attempted all seven, but only managed four. In 2018 we ticked off a couple more, and last Saturday we mopped up the final two. So all that remains to do is the whole lot in one fell (good word) swoop.

Back to Saturday. Five of us:- TF, SN, YJ (not as originally posted), Steve and yours truly set off from Seatoller at the south end of Borrowdale aiming for Wasdale Head via Styhead. En route we passed through Seathwaite, soon after which this shot was taken clearly showing TF making good progress with her recently acquired walking poles:-

Then here we are on Stockley Bridge (minus photographer Steve):-

Then down to Wasdale Head:-

...where the suggestion that we call in at the Inn for refreshments fell on deaf ears, and we set about the long haul over Black Sail Pass and down to the head of the Ennerdale Valley, just upstream from the hut.

From there it was onto the rough plateau between Ennerdale and Honister via the Loft Beck Crossing, from where this picture may have been taken - is that the bulk of Pillar making up most of the background?

Then, as we start to lose height, Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere come into view. 

Then a gentle saunter down towards to slate mines:- admire the new sculptures:-

Then down the old drovers' road along the motor road back to Seatoller.

Apparently a good tough14 miles with over 3,000ft of climbing:-

Thank you John for chaufering the entire party, and to you all for your company, for bearing with me at my ever slowing rate of progress and for the various pictorial compilations included above.

June 21st 2020 sounds like a sensible date to take on the full seven - anybody?

Friday, May 10, 2019

My little do last night

A quick thank you to those who could come to my little do last night and apologies to those who I didn't invite. It was especially wonderful to see JTE and Joan who I had not seen for many months. I have chosen Bolton Mountain Rescue as one of my mayoral charities so would hope that during the coming year there will be an event that will attract you.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Great Lakeland 3 Day 2019

This was the deferred entry from last year. It was use it or lose it.

The start location was Pooley Bridge. Well fancy that! No coincidence that when TLoB wanted company for a recce of his JNC a month or so back TF was more than happy to oblige!

I should point out that there are no prizes at stake for the GL3D, just the opportunity of 3 linear routes round the Lakes, with someone carting the the heavy stuff round for you. You have 3 routes of difficulty, Expert, Wainwright or Cafe.

First glance at the map on the Friday night and the first shocker, the overnight camp for day 1 and day 2 was in the same place. Apparently this had happened the previous year for the 20th anniversary event and had proved very popular.

2nd shocker, the Cafe class looked a little short compared to what I'd been doing recently, especially as having recently acquired pair of secret weapons. Yep, I've gone all European and got these

Distance FLZ Trekking Poles - Women'sDistance FLZ Trekking Poles - Women's
Purchased with my ultra event in mind (1st June 2019), I've had them since just before Easter. I've definitely got the hang of them on the ups, some downs they're a bit more of a hindrance, but on the whole I'm quite taken with them.

So back to which course to do. Expert - way to long, Cafe too short unless you added extra summits, so Wainwright it was.

Day 1
Start Pooley Bridge with a route that took you to the following summits Kidsty Pike, Stoney Cove Pike, Red Screes, Hart Crag and down into Patterdale with a finish in the Grisedale Valley 23.7m /5800ft 8:23hrs

Day 2

Start Patterdale and visits to the following summits Gavel Pike, Helvellyn, Stybarrow Dodd, Hart Side, Gowbarrow and Glenridding Dodd and back to Patterdale. 22.4m / 6500ft 8:42hrs

Day 3

Start Patterdale and visits to Place Fell, Brock Crag, Beda Head, Hallin Fell, Bonscale and back to Pooley Bridge 16.7m /4500ft 6:08hrs

It was a bit chilly, but fabulously clear views all three days. A couple of new paths (to me) discovered, in particular the descent down to Grisdale Tarn from St Sunday Crag, the run along Watermillock Common, and the trod to Brock Crag along west side of Angle Tarn. A couple I don't intend to repeat again any time soon, - Glenridding Dodd from the A592, or Bonscale fell from Howtown, proper sting in the tails!

First back on Wainwright did, 5:15hrs, 5:22hrs and 3:43hrs, last back did 10:03hrs, 11:41hrs and 7:29hrs all results can be found here


Thursday, May 02, 2019

The 'Seventh' Pass - 11th May '19

We now have four takers for this outing so, a car load. However, we can squeeze in a fifth participant providing they qualify as a 'little one'.

It would be good if a second car load could be recruited, we'd just need to agree a rendezvous in Borrowdale.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


...and went on to finish Sunday's Blackpool Marathon.

But this was no ordinary fall, this was an M&S fall. (M&S = mutilation and scarring)

 Yes, with less than 10k to go, YJ took one of his signature falls and was soon surrounded by sympathetic bystanders. The paramedic estate car was summoned and he was assessed to decide his fitness to continue. Despite a gash to his forehead, which he was told "will need a stitch" and on the proviso that after finishing he went straight to A&E, he was indeed allowed to continue.

He subsequently did finish, after losing 15 minutes for this roadside assistance. He was a little further down the field than he had hoped, placing 419th out of 493 finishers, in a time of 5:10. He was the oldest finisher.

The race was 'won' in a time of 2:44 by wheelchair athlete Steve Hughes with the first conventionally powered runner, Ugis Datavs of Wesham second in a time of 2:48. First lady was Sally Wallace in a time of 3:18.

Image may contain: 1 person

Ugis Datavs - yes, that's his real name.

YJ subsequently reported back to his nearest and dearest and then to A&E at Preston Royal, where his head wound was mended, not with vinegar and brown paper, but with the modern equivalent - superglue, and his pinkie was splinted using his index finger.

The following day, Monday 29th April, he reports that he is feeling a little bit sore, but nothing that a few days rest (you must be joking) can't put right.

Well done, John, your exploits compare well with those of Hayley Carruthers.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Pike performance

Yes, well done Matt on your Over 80 achievement at Rivington on
Saturday. You put many younger runners in their place.

Congratulations are also due to EtU who was rewarded for his 40 appearances at the Pike race with a special presentation.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

World Beater

You'll be pleased to hear that our very own Ray (Mat Sticklegs) Stafford set a new Horwich and all comers Vet 80 record of 36:28 at Saturday's Pike race, obliterating the previous record by 3 minutes.

As an 'all comers' record on a unique course, this is therefore a world record. Well done that man!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

The Seventh Pass - Saturday 11th May '19

Actually, it's the sixth and seventh passes, but I thought this was a punchier title.

During our two attempts at the seven we never descended into Ennerdale, so we have just Black Sail and the Loft Beck Crossing outstanding.  You can refer to earlier posts dated 27th June '16 and 26th June '18 to see just what we did do. YJ has devised the following to complete the job:-

The planned route starts at the southern end of Borrowdale; we'll need to settle on a suitable place to park and meet.

Then we climb to Sty Head and descend into Wasdale on the path adjacent to Lingmell Beck, thereby avoiding the more rocky tourist route below Great Gable and Kirk Fell.

From Wasdale Head we go up Mosedale and then using Black Sail we pass over into Ennerdale, descending close to the Black Sail hut.

Then it's up to the Loft Beck crossing, down to Honister and then down the drovers' route to the north of the motor road, and thereby back into Borrowdale. It's about twelve miles, so not a lot of distance, but a fair bit of climbing and, given reasonable visibility, we should see a decent amount of country.

As it stands, we have three takers, one more would make a car load, but the more the merrier!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Joss recce

I have been talking about doing a Joss Naylor Challenge for a couple of years and the TF decided it was high time I stopped talking and started running. So she very kindly offered me a choice of three Saturdays to recce leg 1, and so last Saturday I got out of bed at 5.45 in order to be ready to leave at 6.30. The TF had offered to drive and we made good progress to arrive in Pooley Bridge and be ready to run well before 9.

The start was fairly easy, if somewhat damp, and we reached our first summit, Arthur's Pike in about an hour. I then decided to "bag" Bonscale Pike as well whilst the TF sensibly kept to the JN route. We met up just below the summit of Loadpot Hill, and then had an easy if somewhat tedious run along the ridge to Wether Hill, Red Crag (the summit cairn of which was on the other side of a fence so we didn't bother touching it), Raven Howe and finally High Raise. Now the run might have been a bit tedious but the views were superb, and at High Raise we stopped to refuel and take in the scenery.

 We soon picked up Kidsty Pike, Rampsgill Head, High Street and Thornthwaite Beacon. At this point with only about 3 miles to go, life suddenly became much harder. There is a steep nasty 600ft drop into Threshthwaite Mouth followed by an equally horrible climb up to Caudale Moor. However it was soon over, and our spirits were lifted by the sight of EtU who had very kindly driven up to the Kirkstone Pass to save us the problem of getting back to Pooley Bridge. You may not be surprised to learn that EtU had acquired some company at this stage: I won't say too much, other than that they were young, blonde and pretty!

The final descent had a sting in the tail with a sharp little climb up to Pike Howe and we then followed the advice of Guru Ian and dropped off the ridge, through a boulder field and so to the Kirkstone Pub for a welcome drink. EtU then drove us back to Pooley Bridge and then it was back to Bolton.

We were blessed with good weather, great views and the very generous help of EtU who drove all that way in order to help us out - thanks Ed, it is greatly appreciated. My thanks too to the TF for organising it all and doing the driving. A great day out altogether.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Little Smartie attends first event

For those not already in the know, I made an addition to my transport arrangements at the end of November 2018

Little Smartie is a pure electric car and was purchased with my Mon-Fri trundle into Manchester in mind. She lives in the garage and has a dedicated home charger. 

After 3 months of ownership I thought it was about time she attended her first 'event'. So which one to choose? Not only do I now have to contend with 'cut-off' anxiety, I now have to think about if I can get to the event and back again on one charge - otherwise know as 'range-anxiety' in EV parlance.

Fortunately the Two Crosses event organised by the East Lancs branch of LDWA fitted the bill. A 22m return drive, with a 25m run in between. The drive was well within the capabilities of Little Smartie (65m range in Winter), but there was a bit of a question mark over the runners capabilities as it's been a long time since this sort of distance has been undertaken.

Event day arrived and the first wobble of the day, looking out the bedroom window to see a covering of hailstones. Little Smartie is rear-wheel drive. A quick check of google maps to see if I can avoid the minor roads without too much of a detour. Reassured this was the case, and off we set. Arriving at Event HQ it was a breeze negotiating the school playground and all the obstacles.

4 Seasons worth of weather and 6hrs50mins later, I returned to Little Smartie. Only now did I realised that I hadn't properly given much thought to the dilemma of keeping Little Smartie's interior spotlessly clean (yes, really!!) as befits a 'city' car.

Aside from the clean car bit, the event was a success. My pace was slow, but training dictates that I also need to spend time on my feet if I'm going to succeed at the Calderdale Way Ultra in June. A big thank you to East Lancs LDWA for fabulous event, food was great and good to see so many familiar faces.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spring Equinox 'Do'

I have booked a biggish table at the Black Horse for the 22nd.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Spring Equinox 'Do'

2019 Vernal Equinox is Wednesday 20th March, so a 'do' on Friday 22nd is indicated.

Any takers?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Saturday 23rd Feb 2019

UTUP tomorrow is the Black Dog, Belmont at 8:30. Apologies for late notification.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

TF and TLofB Winter Epic

Sat 2nd Feb was set aside for second attempt at our first JN recce, the first attempt last November being abandoned due to weather conditions.

Well the two of us were determined that the weather gods were not going to get the better of us this time. The starting point was Dunmail Raise and the finish Grasmere. We had plan A, B, C......

Plan A was starting well when I spotted a trail of snowy footprints heading up the Fell. Whoever the early bird was, had big feet and was clearly used to winter conditions making a zig-zag trail up the Fell. I was soon making good progress, TLoB however was finding it tougher going as you can see from the picture, it’s not often that TF gains that much on him up a hill!

We finally made it to the fence line after well over 50 minutes of b(****)y hard work. Once on the gentler slopping stuff, TLoB recovered his mojo and was soon zooming ahead to the first summit.

It was here that Plan B was put into action. Surveying the route ahead we could at least see the fenceline to follow, but could predict that progress would be slow. So it was a day for taking in the views and enjoying the experience of the wintery conditions. Our next target was the top of the Easdale valley where we would make our descent back to Grasmere.

After a couple of little detours to check out the views, we duly arrived at the head of the valley after a further one hour of effort.

So in all, 7.75m (on my Garmin) 1370ft and just over 4hrs. Was it worth it - yes!

Monday, January 28, 2019

TAB to Bowland - The event

There was 4 in total for this little adventure into the Bowland Fells, YJ, EtU SN and yours truly. Weather was not looking the best but we hoped we'd be off the fell by the time it turned a bit 'yucky'

We headed off up the Langden Valley with the promise of a guided tour round Langden Castle. Both SN and myself were a little disappointed to find it was only a glorified cow shed, but we agreed to the obligatory piccies. The guided tour was brief to say the least.

From here we headed further up the valley to ascend towards Fiendsdale Head, negotiating a crossing of the Langden Brook. Wet feet for all.

Visibilty on the top wasn't great, so it was useful to have fence to follow, visiting the Trig Point on Fair Snape was left for another day. 

Navigating up to this point had be going 'swimmingly' well especially due to the number of boggy bits, but the lure of a waymarked trod down out of the mist had the only person able to read the map without glasses, making a spectacular parallel error into the wrong valley.

The map reader only realized their error once Langden Castle came back into view - ooops!! All we had to do now was find a safe way to cross back over Langden Brook, given that we were further downstream. Wet feet were a given this time. 

The gps trace reveals the true scale of the error! Thought they were in one valley to the right

All thanks to EtU for suggesting the outing. All felt it was worth another visit but perhaps in the summer months and to see if we can do the original planned route!


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

TAB to Bowland

TAB is my newly discovered word. I'd heard it several times over recent years, but only in the last few days discovered its derivation. It stands for Tactical Advance to Battle, or in this instance, Tactical Advance to Bowland.
We (as in wfdbwgua) are planning a TAB on Saturday 26th January, commencing from GR SD 632 513, near Dunsop Bridge, at a time yet to be agreed.
We will proceed up the Langden Valley to Langden Castle (Google it). thence to Fairsnape Fell:-

Note:- it may not be this sunny on the 26th and the paint on the trig pillar might have faded.

From there we will turn south and then east to return to our start point. Total distance about 10.5 miles, starting on track and then rough fell. Forecast is dry, but cloudy.
I can forward a map to anyone who is interested.