Sunday, August 31, 2008

Three ~ Two ~ One ~ Zero!

Although we knew, as Ian descended from Yewbarrow into Wasdale, that he was behind his schedule, we were heartened to see that his spirits were high (see below) and he was raring to continue across the high fells towards, eventually, the Moot Hall. He had been supported from Honister by the lone Dave Bateson, who had to contend with carrying all the kit and food, navigating and the awful slippy conditions on the rocks around Gable.

After refuelling on bananas and rice pudding, Ian set off up Scafell with Albert, Karl and Bill of CFRA. He was followed by small group consisting of TF and Yours Truly (see later).

We next saw Ian from Dunmail Raise as he descended Steel Fell, wearier but still in good spirits. Before he arrived we had been entertained by two Americans who were convinced that they had found a body, sown into a body-bag in a nearby ditch. Pauline took command and sent me off to investigate. The body turned out to be non-existant and the bag turned out to be one of the rock sacks that are used to chopper up stone for rebuilding eroded paths.

On arrival Ian further refuelled and set off up Seat Sandal with Suzanne, Phil and Rae (?).

I'll leave Pauline to post details of the rest of the day.

Back to Scafell ~ The following group took in Scafell and Scafell Pike before returning to Wasdale, despite the party leader's sterling efforts to get completely lost, which included failure to recognise Foxes Tarn (where should the apostrophe go?), a diversion off Scafell Pike down the Borrowdale route to the top of Piers Gill and more toilet stops than you could shake a stick at. However considered map reading by TF recovered the situation on both occasions and the car park was finally regained after about four and a half hours.

Not sure whether the following smile is of relief, amusement or just pure amazement that we finally reached the top of England.

And if you hadn't realised, the title of this post refers to the height of Scafell Pike in feet.


PS ~ Dave Powell-Thompson, going for a standard BG on the same day, had baled out at Dunmail before we got there, having lost too much time on the slippy conditions.

PPS ~ Is "earnt" a word?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How I earnt my cream tea

Mondays (very easy paced) run set off from the Black Dog, Belmont at 11.30am. Passing the church I noticed a sign saying ‘Cream Teas being served 2-4pm, Mon 25 Aug’. So that was just what I'd need when I got back, making sure though that I was back in time before they ran out of cakes.

So off I went to Horden’s Stoop, Spittlers (very boggy, but found a new stile we haven’t used), Great Hill. Into Tockholes Wood at Calf Hey Bridge and out to join path that heads due east to Earnsdale Res. Then up to Darwen Tower (now 1.30pm). At this point I’d estimated, at the most, 1hr back to Belmont. Took the path that heads SE and followed to Duckshaw Brook. There’s a good track that then heads onto Darwen Moor, and then divides, the right one’s not bad so tried the left. Think the right may be better.

At the gate (675191) on Witton Weavers Way is where it went horribly wrong. I could have carried on down the path and followed it back to Belmont, but decided to try a more direct route. On encountering the first tussocks, I should have turned back. But, thinking things would improve, soldiered on. They just got bigger and bigger. Eventually I managed to get down to the path (but not as far along as I’d hoped) and back to Belmont at 2:45pm.

Thankfully the parishioners had overwhelmed the church with supplies of scones, so I was able to have my cream tea after all. Checking the distances later, I found I’d saved myself about a third of a mile over going round the path. It’d probably cost me 20-30mins, lesson learnt!
Mobile Plus

Thanks TF. A map and a compass are logical additions to the kit.
Monday, Off-Road, Cream Team?

Tell us more, TF!

Safety Issues

Taking the logical next step, should we have a map with us so we could give MRT a grid reference?

When running on my own off-road I always take a mobile, map and compass. Unfortunately the danger of having a map can mean testing new routes which you wished you hadn't. This was the case on Monday this week, but the cream tea at Belmont's Parish church was worth it when I finished.


I'm afraid I can't make it tonight, but will be out again next thurs all being well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For those who do.......

carry a mobile phone on the fells.

In these days when you attempt to speak to a local organization only to be put through to some distant central office I have been somewhat concerned that in the case of an emergency on our local moors it might be difficult to describe an exact location to someone unfamiliar with the terrain. I have visited the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team website for advice and this is what they say:

"In an emergency, always dial 999 or 112 and request Mountain Rescue via the Police, Ambulance or Fire control rooms"

Sorry if I seem to be a bit over the top in regard to safety but being the Elder I have a natural instinct to look after the kids!
Thursday the 28th.

EtU is "doing" the Downhill Race tomorrow evening but I'll be there as usual.

Karate world championships.

My absence on Saturday was, as most of you know, due to my distraction by Sally’s appearance in the world Karate championships at Manchester Velodrome, an event far removed from fell running but worth a mention as Sally has actually run on the fells.

Saturday’s events were devoted to katas ( non-combative movements reflecting blocking and attacking moves) in which competitors performed set moves in pairs before judges. Sally got no further than the first round in the individual competition nor in the team katas, a sort of synchronised mayhem for teams of three.

Sunday, which we did not see, having returned home, produced better results, Sally winning a bronze medal in the team fighting (there were only three teams in her category) but her major success came in the individual fighting where she came fourth out of nine, suffering no worse than a blow on the nose with not even any blood to show for it.

In all there were 600 competitors from many countries around the world and a lot of scary people wandering about.

Future training plans

As usual at this time of year the emphasis for some of us turns briefly to road running in preparation for the Snowdonia marathon at the end of October. With this in mind my Saturday morning training runs will take me round the old Bolton 40 course with variations and loops added on to increase distance where necessary. One lap is 13+ miles with the two Belmont triangles taking it up to 16 miles. Hopefully by the beginning of October the runs will have stretched to two laps. This hilly course is ideal training for the very hilly Snowdonia. If I can entice any of the squad away from the fells for all or any of this time I shall be grateful of the company as solo running does not have the same appeal as the social element provided by our normal Saturdays outings.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Downhill Race Televised?

Was the trailer for "The Cup" filmed on Green Lane playing field, which is on most folks' route for the Downhill Race ~ it's next Thursday by the way, and if my sciatica isn't as bad as it's been today, following a stumble coming down through the gardens this morning, I'll be doing it, along, I understand, with the Galloping Major.


26th Sep?


Sorry, can't manage the 19th but could manage the 26th.

Is It That Time Again?

Friday 19th September looks favourite for the Autumnal Equinox 'do'.

Any views?


JtE asks about the use of mobiles.

I see it as a personal choice, but would be aggrieved if I was put under pressure to carry one (and have it switched on).

FBDNS ~ Weasdale '08

After two DNFs this month, I ended up failing to make the startline for the Weasdale (hence Finished But Did Not Start!). A busy morning followed by an even busier motorway between M65 and M55 meant the race was just setting off as we approached the field. A car containing a couple of Dark Peak runners followed us in so we decided to do the course as a training run as registration had disappeared.

I notice from last year's results that Nick'O and Ed ran it and you would probably agree that it is a great course - at least for me with good climbs and long reasonably gentle descents.

We did manage to catch the back marker although it was quite near the finish that I passed him (no over 2 hour runners this year). I completed in 1:34:43 - whether I would have been quicker had I warmed up, stretched and started with the others is hard to tell - I supposed I did have to have a pit stop including properly tying shoes. At least no injury and I finished well within my target of 1:40.

Looking at last years, there were 299 finishers - of course it was a championship race - I suspect there were less than a 100 runner this year. I don't know if there were any other Horwich runners this year as we had get off straight away.

Leg 2 Runner

FSS has advertised on the FRA forum for an extra runner for leg 2 of his 55@55. So far there’s been a very meagre response. Having been to Wasdale now, how could you not want to be there! Admittedly it means a bit of an early start, but the views…

Perhaps it’s a bit ‘been there, done it’ for some people. So maybe the promise of a cooked breakfast, ok - bacon buttie (it’s only a small frying pan) and homemade cake could tempt them. What do you reckon?

There is, of course, the optional extra of a chauffeur driven, open-top (weather permitting) ride back to Honister. Unfortunately the leggy blonde lined up as chauffeur has failed to achieve the required driving standards, so they’ll have to make do with a short, stumpy brunette.


Ps If we’re inundated with replies, potential candidates will need to be vetted for suitability, a photo will be required.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Stress Of It All

Thanks EtU for a good summary of the morning's events. Does this reinforce my case for mobile phones to be switched on whilst we're out?

Not Just His Glasses!

Anyone who has run with Mat (Shticklegs) will be aware of his propensity for losing his glasses. Well, this morning he didn't lose his glasses, but the rest of the crew lost his glasses ~ and Mat himself as well!

Soon after Hordern Stoops (after a brief stop to admire Paul Murray's allotment) as we headed for the Bomber Memorial, he decided that he had to be home early and he stuck of left on a route indicated by TF, back to the barn. We carried on to the Memorial, where we admired the view and refreshed ourselves, and then returned to base at a leisurely pace. On arrival we were a little surprised and not a little concerned to find Mat's car just where we (and he) had left it. It was already his due time for departure and JtE (frightened of what his sister would do to him if he'd lost her husband) was already picturing him lying concussed in a pool of blood, Mat that is, not John after Christina had finished with him.

Anyway, the beauty of not being able to decide quickly what to do, is that the problem is often resolved before a decision is made, and so it was. Mat duly appeared and we told him how worried we had been (but didn't say that we were worried about what Christina would do to JtE, rather than about Mat's fate). He explained that he had got back earlier than expected and jogged off for a couple of extra miles. This of course had made him late, so he might as well have stayed with the rest of us for the run in.

As they say (who are they?) all's well that ends well ~ not often said by folk who've spent time in an NHS hospital.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Whittle Pike 4.5m/1400ft

Did anyone else venture out last night for a run other than me and JtE? In Rawtenstall it was proper snorkel and flippers weather!

I know it’s only 4.5m but it still amazes me when you ask for a sight of the course map you get told ‘Don’t worry it’s flagged and there’s marshals out there. We’re expecting about 160 runners’.

So optimistically that was 155 for me to follow then! I know full well that despite this and even on a short course such as this one, gaps emerge. If you’re the type of person that likes to wander about aimlessly, then this would be ok. The weather had worsened on my drive up. The windmills on top of Whittle Pike which were clearly visible from the M66, would now, as the rain was bouncing down, only be visible when in touching distance. A bit of an idea of the route might prove crucial, especially if I didn’t want to finish at 160.

So grateful then, when a sketch map of the course route appeared on the wall of the village hall. What a cracking route it turned out to be, packing in three tough little climbs and an extremely dicey stream crossing. I think Rossendale Harriers were definitely trying to play home advantage though. The flags did peter out at one point, so did any sight of any runners in front and the trod. It was still a bit of a relief when I realised I had picked the right way and came across the next marshall.

I got pipped to the post in the last 5m by one runner, but was pleased that there was at least 5 finishing behind me as I left. A very enjoyable 75mins run, and definitely one to recommend.

I'm Sure You All Knew...

...but in case you didn't ~ if you're playing with and have done a search and got a list of adjacent trig points; if you click on the little world icon next to your chosen one, it brings up the map. Much easier than tracking it on your own map, and definitely much easier than going out to get one if you haven't already got it.

August Jubilee 5

Turned out last night for a soggy run. Stop watch time was 45.10 clipping 55 seconds off the o70 course record set up by me last year. Unfortunately Dennis Weir turned out. He's now 70 and he vanished into the distance probably clipping about five or six minutes off!

I'm not turning out tonight but I'll be there on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Following my 10.54.2 pace on Sunday, I'm making the most of my rest week and racing on wednesday. This means I'll be in wrong time & place thurs (ie too cream-crackered to run), but in right time & place on Saturday. Forecast for the BH w/e is looking better. It couldn't get much worse than at the moment, could it?


Monday, August 18, 2008

No Dave P-T BG This Weekend

Dave has not been able to assemble a support team for the 23rd Aug and may be going on the 30th. Unfortunately this clashes with FSS's outing. If Dave can't get mobile for the 30th he will be able to help Ian. Watch this space.

Thyme ~ Plaice

All together now ~ "It's the wrong time and the wrong place..."

Belper Rugby Rover.

While I sat eating my porridge on Sunday morning, after a restless night, I contemplated packing away a soggy tent in the rain and then going for 30k run in it. I had a few doubts at the wisdom of attempting this race.

By the time the washing-up was done, the sun was out and prospects were looking brighter. Being optimistic that it’d last, I slapped on a load of SPF30 and made my way to the pre-race briefing. I have to say this was one of the clearest that I’d attended. Firstly, I could hear it and secondly, we were shown an example of all the different arrows and tape to look out for, advised not to touch the electric fence (MRT on standby) and told not to frighten any livestock (as if).

Here’s the route profile.

A nice easy route to follow with lots of varied terrain, not too boggy despite the overnight rain and the views made up for the tarmac bits. Good clearance was given to anything remotely electrified and the only livestock we came across was a large herd of mostly placid cows and an irate woman farmer yelling at us to stop running, as it was frightening the cows. I think her yelling and flapping her arms about and the farmhand on the quad-bike were doing a better job of this than us!

I was a little worried that having reached the half-way point at a shade shy of 2hrs that I’d make it to the finish in under 4hrs. The last bit of ouchie tarmac ensured I managed to complete the course in just under 11min/mile pace. How much under will be verified when I get a sight of the results.


Borrowdale - Very Late Postscript

YJ and FSS, being the type of chaps who are very keen on statistics regarding races etc, have recently exchanged split times for the Borrowdale Fell Race. YJ's being his PB of eleven years ago and FSS's PB this year. Given that the finishing times were extremely close, and at the time of each race, the contenders were of the same age category, it is not suprising that the split times were also very close, reflecting individual strengths on ascents/ descents. What's worth blogging about that I hear you say - well not much. But the astounding fact is that Simon Booth of Borrowdale Fellrunners was the winner 11 years ago and he's won every Borrowdale race since, including this year. Now that is worth a mention!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Third Time Lucky

I don't usually frequent the TaT three evenings in succession, but we were there again last night, this time for an aperitif with Rachel, our eldest and Jorge, her boyfriend.

And it's arrived; Bank Top Flat Cap; and do you know, it's not quite as good as I remember it. Still better than Cains, but in danger of losing its place in my top three.

Will have another sampling next Thursday when Watters and I meet Mark Davies. All welcome.

I'm seeing more of Watters than usual at the moment, as his new squeeze is away for a fortnight and she has asked me to help him cope with his loneliness. My contibution to this is very definitely limited to taking him to the pub.


Friday, August 15, 2008

TaT ~ What Next?

Bank Top, that's what's next. Watters and I tried our best, but it seems that the Cains will not run out until tomorrow, then it's Bank Top ~ Old Slapper or Flat Cap (quite similar, these two).

Only one more sleep and then we're there.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

No DP-T BG this Weekend

Just for info, the UTUPers will have my and (most probably) YJ's company to enjoy this coming Saturday ~ sorry to spoil your day, JtE.

No particular connection, but Watters and I are out to the TaT tonight (after having UTUPed) to sus out prices ~ relax John, that's only for the beer, not the freehold!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why do we keep running:

The gentleman with the two dogs we passed at Anglezarke reservoir on Saturday may have been a trifle disdainful about our ages - he obviously hadn't seen this report from America on the need to keep active as the years roll on.
Is Trouble Brewing?

In the report to which NLN refers it is mentioned that there have been enquiries for the purchase of individual pubs. EtU please tell us that you are not involved!
Marvelous Marstons to Secure Swift's Sanctuary

Read all about it...

Thursday the 14th.

I''ll be there uput. I understand that EtU will be there.

Saturday the 16th

I'll be there uput if anyone else is turning out. I understand that NLN might be there. Would anyone intending to be there please let me know.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Is It Me?

For our early doors outing today (Sunday) we thought we'd have a look at the Black Horse at Limbrick, but it was closed!

Nearest convenient was the Bay Horse at Adlington. Asked a couple of locals what was known about the Black Horse and we were told that the proprietors had "done a runner".

Coming to a pub near you, if you want it closed!


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ahead of the Trend

...with reference to skorts. I can only say that I feel fully vindicated in the wearing of this apparel. See cover of September issue of Runners World! Granted the colour sported by the model would be rather unsuitable for fellrunning.

Cains not Able... make a profit, and have gone into liquidation. What then, will the future hold for the Thatch and Thistle?

Best scenario:- the company is bought by a national company, which closes the brewery and the TaT sells a variety of beers.

Next best:- the brewery is kept open, continues to brew, but to a different recipe.

Worser:- the brewery continues to brew to the same recipe ~ but why?

Worst:- no-one wants the TaT and it it closes down and becomes a sun bed parlour.

As of last night the pub was open, the staff were subdued, customers were asking when they were starting to sell Flat Cap, and Pete (the landlord, not their second best customer) was not available for comment.

Although not (as you may have guessed) a fan of Cains, I have enjoyed having a pub so close to home, indeed it was a factor in our choice of house, but although I have done my bit to keep their turnover at a good level, I cannot, try as I might, support the whole of the north west brewing industry on my own.

If I hear that there's to be a closing down sale, I'll let you know

Don't Ask...

...about NLN's shirt/sport/skout or whatever.

Miffy (!) Commits Heinous Crime

My Old Speckled Hen acquired her third cat yesterday and we've fallen out. Me and the kitten that is. It's only young (as kittens tend to be) and it must have been using a litter tray lined with newspaper at its previous home. We came to this conclusion after it climbed onto the bed this morning and relieved itself on my Daily Mail, which I was reading with my morning cuppa. Cat lovers amongst you will be pleased (and perhaps surprised) to hear that it is still alive.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Chorley 4 and Sedbergh

I know I'm not much good at turning out on a Thursday but as I'm working from home today thought I might give it a go. If only I'd not picked up an injury last night - just a calf strain that kicked in just after 3 miles final mile was a bit painful, and it was chucking it down.

It will teach not to do a warm up lap - then didn't have time to stretch enough. Saturday took a bit out of me so it was my slowest of the year but not by much - 40 seconds down on last month and 69 seconds down on my best in May.

I expected YJ to come storming past - after all he was fresh as he's not run all day, but alas he even trailed Christine by nearly a minute and a half.

Looks like it will be shopping on Saturday morning. Hopefully I'll get a run in on Sunday.

Anyone doing Sedbergh?

Thanks for the Outing

The minute I wrote that I wondered about the terminology 'outing' these days having a range of connotations. In this context the 'outing' was a jolly pleasant trot out to the Two Lads, Winter Hill, Noon Hill and return to the Usual Place, setting off of course at the Usual Time. The opportunity to join the regulars came about as a result of disruption to the usual weekly schedule due to a combination of sister on holiday and dog walking responsibilities - don't ask!

Having requested the details of the run I felt I had to turn up, but at 5 o'clock on the A6 at Westhoughton and looking across to Winter Hill, all that could be seen was a complete wall of blackness. The evidence of this torrent was everywhere to be seen a couple of hours later. Even in winter conditions I can't remember seeing so much running water, with much of the ground having been washed away in lots of places. Joining Georges Road from the descent of WH was like running through a river - in over ankles for long stretches. So much so, that having summitted Noon Hill, we decided to look for the path above the track (big mistake - suggested by EtU and foolishly adopted by our senior man!). A desparate clambering to eventually get back on track ensued, with a final sprint through Walsuches and the perennial little sting in the tail at the end of Gingham Brow. Thanks lads most enjoyable.

By the way, a very good picture of JTE's brother captured with FSS at Borrowdale - which one's having the better time of it?

Well done TF sounds like you had a good run.

See you Saturday

Sale 5K

Interesting how being tired can affect my performance in a race. EtU’s prediction of 24:59 was a little out. I think the extra miles and harder sessions prior to the race this week certainly made a difference.

That said, I ran a much more even paced race. Party because this time I didn’t set off like Zebedee, much more like Brian (Magic Roundabout©). And partly due to realising (following a bit of research) that the 2k marker is in the wrong place. It should be tied to a tree about 100m further along the route.

The result, 9 secs faster than last time (25:41). First Salford LV from a healthy turn-out on the night. All in all, well worth the effort and certainly wasn't what I'd have predicted either.


Thursday, August 07, 2008


Get organised you lot! We cannot have this lack of standardisation. This phrase is derived from that well known song which starts "It's the wrong time and the wrong place..." so it's got to be UTUP. Please adhere to this convention. Offenders will be disenfranchised.

Messages to TF

Please keep out of the rain until we have seen you without curls. Post a picture if poor forecast.

Time for your 5k? 24:59.


NLN - the meeting point for thurs run is on Chorley Old Road at 6.45pm, parking car anywhere you can between Mill lane and Stocks Park Drive (Physio Clinic on corner). We're usually back by 8.45pm at the latest. Trail shoes at moment best.


Could anyone provide confirmation of usual time, usual place for Thursday's run? Hoping to join you for a leg stretch. Road or Trail shoes?


Should this warning about not finishing Borrowdale also include following someone wearing a Horwich Vest?

Plenty of us haven't been on Scafell Pike. This oversight will be rectified at some point, better to be on it intentionally than unintentionally!

The results for 2006 are on results page of FRA Forum, can find Ray but no Swifts.


I won't.

Doing 2 laps of Wythenshawe Park tonight. Perhaps we should have a 'predict a race time' competition. Answers on a blog-post before 8pm, I think I'll be finished by then?!

Saturday - I'm having the curly locks straightened, have to make 'em work for the money. If it rains, it'll last as long as it takes me to get back to the car.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Wearing a Horwich vest can seriously damage your chances of finishing Borrowdale.

Horwich provided just 2.4% of the finishers, but an unhealthy 9.8% of the DNF's.

And yes, John, I'll be there Thursday and again on Saturday. YJ is also turning out on Saturday.

Thursday the 7th.

I'll be there u.p.u.t. I understand that Mat will be there.

Saturday the 9th.

I'll be there u.p.u.t. I understand that NLN will be there.

Anyone else turning out?

Borrowdale 2008 and the Hidden Jam Butties

(Sounds like a Rupert Bear adventure)

Just a few comparative times, now that the results are available:

2007 was a short course, Scoffer having taken Mountain Rescue advice and taken Scafell Pike out of the course due to "adverse weather conditions".

Couldn't find 2006 results, either at home (probably because I didn't do it) or on the Borrowdale site, because they have the 2007 results repeated when you tab the 2006 results.

2005 then. Winner in 2005 was Simon Booth in 2:46 as he was this year in 2:49. FSS took a healthy 31 minutes off his 2005 5:09 to clock 4:38 this year. Staffers (aka Mat) (DNE 2008) ran 5:15 in 2005, just seconds behind Yours Truly (DNF 2008) who also ran 5:15 in 2005 ~ Good grief! I didn't even get to Honister in that time this year!

Colin Waterworth made his debut both in the race (5:36) and on Scafell Pike ~ never having been there before! On the way home he said it was a horrid race and that he would never do it again. However in an email (trying to trace his mobi) a couple of days later, he had relented and is planning (perhaps that's a bit too strong) to do it again next year.

And the hidden Butties? Having (been) retired at Honister, I had headed straight to the butty shack when I got back to Rosthwaite, and then remembered that I had to check in at the finish. Not wanting the organisers to see just what my priority had been on return, I hid my jam butties up my jumper, reported in, then ate them when I was safely out of sight again.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Laverock How? Laverock Where?

NY 067 064

Laverock = Skylark = Alauda arvensis, but I think "Tooth Fairy" has a better ring, but ... to a swift, "skylark" does have a certain allure.


Skylarks and Laverocks

Well I never, how poetic - I bet everyone else knew that a Laverock was a skylark.

To get to the images of Laverock How go to Ann Bowker's website click on the link with the 'Hot' icon, then scroll down to the bottom of the page where you'll find .... other recent pictures. The fell you desire is 'Ponsonby Fell' and there you will find Laverock How on the walk from Gosforth Church. This is a fantastic website and keeps me going through the long week in Wigan, until we can get to the Lakes at the weekend. I can look at any of the summits in the Lakes, anytime and swoon over their loveliness.... anyway think I'm getting a bit carried away now, but you know what I mean.

Another fascinating link is for anyone who is interested in the origin of the name of their favourite fell. For instance did you know that Causey Pike is the peak above the causeway. The reference is probably to the Roman road which ran across the low-lying land between Crosthwaite and Braithwaite and which appears in 1280 as 'le chaucey', the causeway.O.E. plc (O.N. pik). And as for your qery about Swirl How ... A Norwegian dialect word 'svirle', to swirl or whirl around, suggests that there may have been an O.N. word of similar meaning. This fell could appropriately be described as 'the hill where the wind swirls round'. How = O.N. haugr. So there you are.

Family connections

Didn’t think I had any in the lakes. Unfortunately the picture of Laverock How has disappeared from the web site, and no amount of googling will bring it up again. It did get me thinking on the origin of the place name however. The ‘How’ bit is apparently derived from the Old Norse word ‘Haugr’ which means mound or little hill. Laverock is an old Scottish word for a ‘Skylark’ as in “Now laverocks wake the merry morn, Aloft on dewy wing” (Burns). So could it be we have evidence for early bird-spotters.

Gets a bit tricky though when you start to think how Swirl How got its name. Maybe the locals set off on a naming expedition and got to the top and found it a bit windy and a cairn, someone had got there before them. ‘Cos it’d have to be a bit claggy for them not to realise they were on top of a big hill.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

How many words constitutes a marathon in Blogging? I think T'Yorkshireman must have come pretty close. Hard lines lads for Borrowdale.

I have to report that I didn't fair much better on Saturday. Although I managed to complete my 18 mile road circuit, I was out long enough for the Shell Garage (near my house) to have dropped it's price for a litre of unleaded by 2 pence by the time I got back!

Really looking forward to the next outing which will be extended to include a detour up Smithills Dean Road ( part of Burnden 10k route). Anyone got a headtorch they can lend me?

Dear Gordon,

Your application to become a wfdbwgua contributor has been considered, but I regret to inform you that on this occasion you have failed to reach required standard of succinctness.

You are free to make a further application after the autumn equinox.

EtU (on behalf of the committee)
Borrowdale '08

It has been a very busy week. Julie & I got back from holiday on Sunday afternoon and Julie was working at Guide Dogs in the evening and then would go to Bradford to collect Joanne who had decided that she could no longer continue with the course at Bradford University and find a job - associated with bringing back 3 years worth of belongings. We'd also decided that her bedroom needed redecorating. So a busy week was ahead - three weeks lawn growth to deal with for a start. My mobile had effectively been switched off for two weeks so when I powered up the battery I found a few messages, one of which was to ring one of the daughters of an mate/ex-colleague. I phoned early evening to sadly invite me to his funeral on Tuesday - that put my grumpiness of going back to work into perspective. Steve was quite a regular at our midsummer barbecues so some of you will have met him.

By Wednesday evening I managed my first run of the week (up to Two Lads) and it was only by Thursday that I thought of going up to Borrowdale at the last minute (although I'd always planned to go up an get a hard training run in).

On Thursday I had look on the FRA Forum and noticed there were a few messages from runners who were unable to fulfil their entry at Borrowdale. By Friday night I'd got a number sorted (subject to acceptance at the tent) and sorted transport arrangements with Ed and JTY.
As everyone knows I'm always last minute but I did manage to get to PW's Stately House Car Park approximately on time, slightly delayed as I'd picked up a Gruniad en route. I even remembered to pack a gross of egg boxes for t'other Yorkshireman.

Everything then went to plan to get to Rosthwaite, well almost to plan - Ed did have to sweet-talk a well tanned lady (Sri-Linkan I would guess) into using her facilities and we could have done with not arriving on the Grange bus route just behind the bus.

Amazingly they accepted my entry and I started to wonder if I was doing the right thing.
I knew that when I started and knew that it would challenging for me to make the Honister cut-off but I have done it before so why not.

Although my fitness has improved this year over the last couple, it was soon obvious that I was going to struggle. I normally make good progress up Bessyboot and on the more runnable stretches towards Esk Hause. When I realised that I was finding it hard work where I ought have some speed, I decided I would make a decision at Esk Hause. It got there in about 2hrs 5, a time I would hope to be at reaching Scafell Pike if I had any chance of making the cut-off.

A certain gentleman told me that he had never be timed out at Borrowdale in 12 starts whereas I think my success rate is either two or three times from between six and eight starts, had just passed me on the stretch and I began to realise it made no sense to keep marshals and MRT out longer than necessary so made the decision to retire at Esk Hause despite marshals and JTY trying to convince me to go on.

I knew what lie ahead - the wet rocks en route to Scafell Pike - and having run across them in the race at least half a dozen times in the past I had no desire to do so again unless I was going to have a decent end result. I wanted to live to fight another day.

So retire I did, joined up with John and we headed down to Sty Head to support the many runners both from Horwich and others. Eventually Ed came through and although he had no chance of reaching Honister in time he continued up Gable whilst we took the shorter route to Windy Gap where Matt (Stichlegs) was awaiting us and then cheered the fellow back of field runners through and ran with Ed to Honister and back to the field.

I got my good run out in the Lakes but doubt I will ever run the Borrowdale Race again (unless the mooted alternative shortened route is brought in for vets). It's not a course that I enjoy - I'm not suited to it - but it is something I am drawn to. I would have to return to the fitness of 10 to 15 years ago - and there's about as much chance of that as my beloved Huddersfield Town adding to their three League Championship titles.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Laverock How?

Well, perhaps TF could tell us if there's a connection?

Just looking at Ann Bowker’s website with piccies of a walk on 20th July from Gosforth Church over Ponsonby Fell via yes you guessed it Laverock How. Enjoy the lovely images at

Looks like a nice little route for EtU from his northern base. Although I have to say some of it looks highly prone to tick infestation.

Ticks and All That

How timely of Ed to provide us with a useful and informative post on ticks just before many of us will be in the Lake District, running or supporting those running at Borrowdale. The high bracken and vegetation make the chances of being targetted by the little blighters very probable.

I have to say that in all of our outings, Scotland, Lakes or local FSS and I have not yet hosted one of the wee beasties. I'm touching wood as I say this as I realise I am now dangerously tempting fate. I can only conclude that EtU must taste particularly good, attracting five in one outing! I wonder why that is?

Anyway back to EtU's useful advice. Uncannily, immediately after reading the post I had a look at the Great Outdoors website and yes there it was another informative and useful article on ticks. Except this one specifically identifies the 'myths' surrounding the removal of ticks (advocated by EtU of course..) using hairspray and vaseline. The Grough article provides a link to a downloadable leaflet which you may find useful.

Enjoy your weekend whatever you're doing.