Tuesday, March 31, 2009

121 Days In

After 121 days my Joss Naylor campaign continues almost without faltering. I say "almost" to indicate that all has not gone completely to plan.

Scheduled miles for March, to give me my 45 per week, were 200. Tonight, part way down Liver Hill I achieved that mileage and on reaching the finish line I had completed 201. A few minor niggles during the month have all but disappeared, but the periformis pain has worsened slightly and I have been resorting to Ibuprofen a couple of times a week.

Weight loss remains at nil! But as previously suggested, the power/weight ratio is improving as fat is replaced by muscle (honest!).

Liver Hill, tonight, was good, although it's more like a cross country with a stiff climb at the start and the corresponding descent near the finish, on this out and back course. Finishing time was winner plus 55.6%, which is much better than I've been achieving for some time, although the worth of this measure is obviously very much dependent on the quality of the winner ~ Jordan Beard, anything known, other than that he's U18?

During the race I'd managed to take a dive, catching my foot in some wire, and finding it rather amusing at the time. On finishing I noticed there was some blood and now find that it's quite sore. Fortunately the cut is vertical, rather than horizontal, so it doesn't tend to open as the knee bends; I'm holding the edges together with Elastoplast; just hope it doesn't interfere with training.

Not far behind me when I finished was the ever smiling TF, having run approximately the same time as last year ~ correction: TF ran almost 2 minutes faster than last year.

The weekly mileage goes up to 50 for April, then a heavy first week in May followed by a fortnight's taper. First sortie to the lakes is Easter Saturday for Scafell Pike, followed by the Pike Race in the afternoon.

Bob on JtE!

Yes indeedy! I climbed Suilven in the June of 2002 and found it possibly the most exhilarating expedition of my life.

Wikipedia (sorry) describes it as follows "Suilven is one of the most distinctive mountains in Scotland. Lying in a remote area in the far northwest of Sutherland, it rises almost vertically from a wilderness landscape of moorland, bogs and lochans known as Inverpolly. The mountain forms a steep-sided ridge some 2 km in length. The highest point, known as Caisteal Liath 731 m (2,389 ft), lies at the northwest end of this ridge. There are two other summits: Meall Meadhonach at the central point of the ridge is 723 m high, whilst Meall Beag lies at the southeastern end."

This view is from the west, I ascended from the far side and hit the ridge at the low point, centre picture. Thence I climbed north (left as we look at it) to reach the summit. Descent was by the same route. Although Caisteal Liath is the highest point, the dramatic south top (pointy one on the right) is far more scary, but possessing neither climbing equipment, climbing skill nor courage, I left it for another day.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Have a good'un tomorrow

The Liver Hill race sounds very attractive and if I didn't have my penultimate TT match of the season I would be there and but as a couple of decent wins will secure the team's 3rd place in the league and I might just stay in the top ten individual wins, I shall spend the evening in Walkden. As I've got the day off, I shall just have to get in some running on the fells during the daytime. Marl Pit and beyond must be so much better when the weather is dry. Almost did an off-road race in the Lakes yesterday but as they were not taking entries on the day I just had to support Diane in her longest race to date - the Grizedale Forest Trail 10. Maybe next year. At least I managed to get a decent training run in. I should be a able to make use of a free Thursday and join you UTUP.
Goodbye Edale

A disappointing, but not unexpected ending to the Edale Skyline race on Sunday, brought to an end an association with the event dating back to 1995 with a best time in 1998 of 4hrs 16 mins and including one age group win.

It was a glorious day on which to bow out of the event, but after being timed out on the last three occasions enough was enough and I shall have to find an alternative challenge. As TF will agree it is a tough route with a tough cut-off time at Mam Nick and with nearly half the route along the southern edge of Kinder there is a lot of peaty bog and a fair amount of gritstone to sap the strength.

The cut-off time requires a pace of 13 minutes per mile; my time to that point was 2 hrs 41 mins at a pace of 14 mins per mile, requiring a minute per mile improvement over the first 11 miles just to beat the cut-off. Not much chance of that.

So its back to the drawing board for future plans. The only super long races left are Duddon, probably, Borrowdale, maybe, and Pendle, still worth a try. As I wasn't last and didn't get timed out in last summer's 30-mile Downland Challenge that event is still pencilled in for this year.

LDWA events now start of look even more attractive as their non-competitive nature is more suited to the older fell runner. Next Sunday is Spring in Lakeland and may affect my Saturday plans. At the moment I am planning a brief appearance starting at the UTUP.
Birthday Card

This picture, understandably called "Fell Runners", is taken from a card recently received. It is by the Lake District artist Jonathan Trotman. He shares a studio with Alison Critchlow, also an artist, and samples of their work can be seen at http://www.blencathraart.co.uk/. I prefer the work of Alison, Jonathan's style generally being too severe for me. There are some pictures of particular interest to EtU following his wanderings in Scotland.

I hope that the posted picture is the right size for the blog.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

11 + 5.9 + 5 = 21.9

Liver Hill

Watch this, FF to 3 mins 15 secs if in a hurry:

Where Are We Up To?

TF, my recollection is that the score was 11 miles each until your recent races. What's your tally to date?

Haggis Eating ~ By Numbers?

It was the final of the all Scotland haggis eating championship. The aim was to eat as many haggis (what is the plural) as possible, without throwing up.

Competitors had been whittled down to a manageable number, but the two main contenders were Angus Ree, representing Fife, and Hamish Sefton, representing Aberdeen. Time had not been kind to Angus, who had won the competition on many previous occasions; competitive eating had taken its toll on his teeth, and he was left with only one. To compensate, he softened the haggis with copious pints of "heavy" (FSS will demonstrate correct pronunciation). Unfortunately this proved to be his downfall and after eating eight haggis Angus threw up and Hamish went on to eat one more and take the gold medal.

The rather cryptic, but admirably brief report in the local paper read as follows ~ Result of Haggis Eating Competition ~ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9. An out-of-towner asked what this meant and was told "One Tooth Ree for Fife sick, Sefton ate nine.

Kentmere Horseshoe

Setting off from High Lane above Kentmere village at 9.30 this morning gave us picture postcard views of the route ahead.  The vicious wind of yesterday was n’o’but a memory as the sun shone and the laverocks sang aplenty over our heads.


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Approaching Garburn Road

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Never cast a clout ‘til May is out

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Lamb chops for supper anyone?

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Before the melting

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Click to enlarge and you’ll see the Beacon at Thornthwaite Crag with High Street beyond

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Lingmell End with Nan Bield Pass in the middle and Harter Fell on the right

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Reaching the Beacon and still not a cloud in the sky

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High Street

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and finally…  looking back at Mardale Ill Bell from Harter Fell on the way back

A superb day on the hills – covering 11.88 miles and 3,556ft  back to car in 3.50 a leisurely round taking lots of time to marvel at the views and take lots of photos.  Hope you enjoy this small selection.

Good luck EtU and TF for Tues.


Midgely Moor Fell Race 5m/1250ft (Sat 28th March)

The disclaimer on the entry form was as follows

" I am running this race for the pure joy and

excitement it will give me. I will feel no pain.

If I follow anyone in a Calder Valley vest I do

so entirely at my own risk "

So I followed someone in Todmorden vest instead, who was inturn following someone in a green top, who was following someone in a red jacket and so on. A whipping from burnt-off heather and two bouts of hailstones tested us out on our pain threshold. As for joy and excitement, there was some sunshine and a couple of nice fast downhill bits.

Post-race discussion was mainly centred on which was the best route between the 5th and 6th CP - up and over the heather or on path round the side. Jury's still out I think. (I did up and over).

Results-wise, I finished a bit worse than last week 102/104 in a time of 74:25. Winner managed 37:49 (M Speake of P&B)

This week

Tues 30th - I shall be joining EtU at Liver Hill (traffic permitting). If you click on this link http://www.johnmayall.btinternet.co.uk/liverhill2006.htm it'll show you what we have to do. Interesting that the profile is not a mirror image even though it's an out'n'back route.

Thurs 2nd - UTUP

Sat 4th - Askham Fell Race

Bird Report

Neither laverock nor Laverock was to be seen or heard at 10:35 (BST) this morning on the Pike.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This Morning (2)

Thanks NLN for the latest map. Fascinating isn't it? Below is an Oystercatcher, a group of which were on the bank of the Belmont Reservoir, near to the south east corner.

So far as the Meadow Pipits are concerned EtU, what greater merit is there than to die for the cause?!!

I'm up for Easter Saturday morning NLN. I'm glad that you will have tired legs and I hope that NicO will be similarly afflicted.

Thanks to all today's team for a good morning out.


First of all, thanks folks for a good morning out, yes, NLN, it was a bit breezy on Great Hill.

My non electronic measuring system gave me just over 21 miles; that seems about right as I reckon it's about seven for the round trip up the Pike from home; 15 and a bit plus seven makes 22 and a bit, less about a mile for not reporting back to the barn sounds like 21.

Back to the birds ~ reckon we've got to cry fowl (sorry) on JtE's inclusion of the meadow pipit. It's not right to include a poor little thing, just because it makes a good meal for his raptors. All the others were chosen on their inherent merit.


This Morning

Downloaded as 15.42M – 2001ft - probably gives EtU his 20M.

Good outing had by JtE, Nic’O, NLN with EtU appearing at UTUP fresh from his exploits on the Pike.  A route that was supposed to minimise the impact of the bitterly strong north wind – well that worked didn’t it!  Out to Horderns, Belmont, DogBucket farm, Hollins(?) Hall, Great Hill, Brinscall Triangle, White Coppice and back usual route.



Not out next Sat, attempting unsupported Cumbrian Traverse, with FSS, Keith and Gary (Ambleside AC) as recommended by Paul Murray (EEK!).  More details if interested here www.gofar.eclipse.co.uk/cumbrian%20traverse.html

A really good website – on the left you can see the routes of most of the big challenges, including JNT – click on for the route.  Also the Big 3 Record holders, will Billy Bland’s 13.52 BG ever be matched?  I think the Dark Peak 15 Trigs might be a bit ambitious for a Saturday run!  Keen ‘though we are on our trigs.

Next out Easter Saturday morning if anyone about – although legs will be EXTREMELY tired after Caldervale 10M on Good Friday – might not be up to much – no change there then!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Just got a minute to read blog, absolutely lovely. My favourite is the curlew because of the distinctive evocative cry. Heard first one at home a couple of weeks ago. UTUP Saturday, see you then. NicO

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

Or as it is archaically known, north of the border, the laverock!

Described by the RSPB as a small (NLN please note) brown bird, you will see that with its feet on the ground it is indeed an unremarkable looking streaky brown creature with a small crest.

However during the spring and summer the males will soar as high as 100 metres (about 110 yards in old money) singing as they go. This is what makes them truly remarkable, as although the song can be instantly heard, it can take some time to locate such a small bird at such a distance.

Although not migratory in the sense of the swallow, wheatear, or even the curlew, the moorland skylarks (quite sensibly) move to lower ground in the winter, returning to the moors to breed in early spring. As with the waders recently described, these are also ground nesters, mind how you go.

And it’s not just me that finds these tiny birds quite exhilarating, whoever coined the collective noun for a group of skylarks ~ an “exaltation” ~ was obviously similarly moved.


PS I use the phrase “moorland skylark” not to indicate a separate species, or even a sub-species, merely to indicate that some of these birds enjoy the fells in the same way that we do, whilst others of the same species are quite happy at lower altitudes.
Saturday the 28th.

I'll be there, UTUP. Thanks EtU for the picture.
Origin of Lads Leap

Could this be where a certain Yorkshireman set eyes on a certain Lancashire lass? Probably not.

Non UTUP - Managed to re-arrange TT match tonight but not re-arrange having to open up at the Hilton so will have to do my own thing, ensuring my route goes along Mason Street at around 7p.m. Only one more potential Thursday match so should start getting Thursday runs in again - and the clocks go forward this weekend, nest pa?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

'ere tis, sat on a wall, just as John predicted.

Previously classified as a member of the thrush family, but recently re-classified with the flycatchers.

(Skylark tomorrow ~ work permitting)


Moorland Birds

We've already touched on my favourite moorland bird. It's the Curlew. That haunting call, to me, is the call of a truly wild creature and it certainly does something for me. All of this, together with the "dive bombing" experience, often in the Spittlers area, places it top of my list.

Second in the list is the Wheatear. This bird, at present on its way from West Africa, is just a bit larger than a Sparrow, and is easily identified by its white rump, often clearly seen during its undulating flight as it bobs along stone walls, such as that on Spittlers, just keeping ahead as you run along. The male bird is strikingly coloured with a grey crown and back and with a black face mask and wings. Its underside is a creamy buff colour. The female is similarly coloured but in a subdued manner. Wheatears arrive in this country usually about mid-April, along with the Swallows.

Somewhere in my list must be the Meadow Pipit, which, together with its chicks, is everyone's dinner. It attracts, for this reason, Sparrow Hawks and the much rarer Merlin and Short Eared Owl, both of which I have seen over our moors.

Others that should be listed are, of course, the Lapwing and the Skylark.

EtU, please show us a Wheatear.
Just for Info...

...I'm UTUPing on Saturday 28th, racing Liver Hill from Marl Pits (6.45 pm start) on Tuesday 31st and then UTUPing on Thursday 2nd April, in the hope/expectation that the extra hour of light may tempt the odd (Matt?) lapsed member into having an outing for old times' sake.

Only concern now is that I won't have done 195 miles before Tuesday's gun and I'll have to go round twice (or more) to get my 200 in for March.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


This, Numenius arquata, is the UK's biggest wader and is particularly special to lovers of the moors, due to the combination of its habit of overwintering on the coastal mudflats and its haunting "curlee" warble when it returns to the moors as a harbinger of spring.

Although its large size, distinctive beak and plaintive cry make it difficult to miss, it usually steers clear of human intruders onto its territory. However if you stray too close to its nest, you will be "dive bombed", and at such a time its long, curved beak takes on a menacing appearance.

I will wait until JtE has given us his account of his particular favourite summer visitor to our high country, before I move on to the skylark.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Bird Post

Great Lapwing posting EtU. Can you do us a Curlew please.
How Delightful

Made my day... and it's not a skylark then!


...lapwing, green plover, or if you want to get really formal, Vanellus vanellus, but call it what you may, it's a lovely bird, with which we share the moors.

It's ground nesting, so is one of the reasons we should be careful where we tread in the spring and summer, best to stay on paths if we can.


Kinder Downfall Recce

Sounds good TF. Happy to sacrifice pub stop for more time on the hill, extended route, but will go with the flow.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lads Leap Fell Race 5.9m/1700ft

Well I tried my best. To be last that is, but circumstances were against me. Basic route is S/F Crowden campsite (just off Woodhead Pass), cross Pennine Way and follow orange-dashed line (1:25 map OL1) to Lad's Leap and then to fence. Continue along fence-line following it downhill to the first track, turn onto track and follow back up to fence to return along the outward route.

On the word 'go' everyone sprinted off from the campsite except me, so a sizeable gap appeared from the off. That was until 400m later when rounding the corner of the Youth Hostel they were forming an orderly queue at the first stile. So back in shouting distance! Didn't last long though, and off they went again.

I managed to reach the fence (see above) just as the lead runner was climbing back over it. I said 'well-done' to the fast one, 'hello' to the marshal, and confirmed there was no-one behind me. So uneventful up to the point where the route then turned downhill. Then it got interesting. From my right appeared 2 female runners, and in front a male runner making a very 'careful' descent. So that was two who'd done a bit 'extra' and one who didn't like steep descents. So this was where circumstances intervened to prevent me from being last. By the time I said hello to the marshal again I wasn't last, the two ladies had caught me up on the track but didn't get too far ahead. I passed them as well as two others on the final descent. So 81/86 in a time of 83:38mins (winner Simon Harding 49:32mins)

Kinder Downfall Recce (10m/2500ft)

I was planning a recce of this route after Easter. NicO, YJ and NLN expressed an interest on Saturday and we hit upon Wedsnesday 15th April as a suitable date. YJ offered to drive so we'll need to arrange a suitable meeting point and time. There are a couple of pubs doing food in Hayfield so we could combine the run with a spot of lunch, what does everyone else think? Anyone else want to join us, if there's more than one car-load we could always arrange to rendevous at Hayfield.

If I can find what I've done with it, I'll post the route map nearer the time.

Spring is Sprung

Yesterday the first day of Spring was greeted by the moorland birds returning to their breeding grounds. A singing Skylark near Great Hill, wheeling Lapwings (Peewits or Plovers) between Spittlers Edge and Old Adam Hill and a glimps of a Curlew near Counting Hill.

The party that set out on the Zod Sepooc were NLN, Nico, TF, YJ, EtU and me. As usual, NLN and Nico were soon well in the lead taking the wrong turning at avery available oppertunity. I must get that shepherd's whistle to keep them under control. Approaching Healey Nab EtU took NLN and Nico on an alternative route to the summit. I stayed with the proper navigators, TF and YJ. As we approached the summit the pace noticably quickened. It was obviously 'game on' to reach the top before EtU's team, and this we did. Then it was White Coppice and the climb to Round Loaf during which we entered the clag, never to get out of it until the area of the Pike.

At Round Loaf TF, who wanted to be at her car by 10.30. navigated herself away from us into the mist, but only after setting us on the correct path for Great Hill! After some deviation Great Hill appeared and at the summit it was picnic time. Various routes were then taken to Spittlers Edge summit, me following Nico over the flags at a barely managable pace. At Spittlers EtU left us to take a direct route over Winter Hill and back home. (He had run from home).

The rest of us took in Old Adam Hill and Winter Hill. At Winter Hill the other three decided not to go to Whimberry Hill and Egg Hillock and this encouraged me to stay with them. So, out and back to Counting Hill we went, returning against an unexpected head wind. YJ navigated us round the back of the mast after which Two Lads was the objective. That achieved we reached the base of the Pike and it was decided that enough was enough and we turned down the Pike race route to the back of the school and along that long straight interminable lane leading to the barn area. YJ and I just about hung on to the girls until, about quarter of a mile from the finish where their conversation turned to their flasks of coffee awaiting them. This caused them to leave us for dead. We followed them into the barn car park shortly afterwards.

16.39 miles. a great morning out.

Thanks NLN for the map. I say again, I must have one of those Garmin things.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Zod Sepooc (part) Route

16.37M  2,300ft climb

Report from the man himself to follow.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Track Sessions

Crikey, sounds like you now need 'A' Level Maths to do Norman's track session. How did he he keep 'track' on how many laps every one was doing?

Anyway, something less taxing for you all to have a go at. Firstly, I've been contacted by a lady called Paula Wren who's doing some research into improving athletic clothing for endurance running (x-country/trails etc). She's produced a questionnaire, it's not quite perfect, if you answer 'no' to a question you still have to type in a response but have a go anyway, it's anonymous. I'll email her to let her know about the glitch.


Secondly, a bit harder this one. See if you can work out the answer to the following, kept everyone quiet at work for a while!

There are 7 girls in a bus. Each girl has 7 backpacks. In each backpack, there are 7 big cats. For every big cat there are 7 little cats.

Question: How many legs are there in the bus?

This Saturday

I'll be there UTUP to do what I'm told.
Tuesday Track Session

For those interested, Norman introduced a new session last Tuesday. Basically we were split into four groups, A to D, as follows:

A 8 laps at 5 mins per mile pace approx.

B 7 laps at 6 mins per mile pace approx.

C 6 laps at 7 mins per mile pace approx.

D 5 laps at 8 mins per mile pace approx.

All four groups would finish their run in about ten minutes.

The full session was three of these units with a 90 seconds interval in between. Of course, I was in group D and found it barely possible to do eight minute miling. Where has it all gone? I think the girls might have managed group C but, of course, they would have to have done one lap and 80 meters for every lap of mine. Perhaps a big ask. I did a total of 5.5 miles including warm up and warm down. Quite a lot for a track session. One thing I know for sure - it was hard work.

Went for a 7.5 mile run locally today taking in TF's Trig point at Cow Lane. Perhaps, during the summer, we could arrange to do this run, one evening, from our place.

See you all tomoz.
Saturday 21st & Thursday 19th

Not sure I can get a pass for the full Zod, as I'll already have used up this weekend's on Friday evening, but I'm up for starting and seeing how far I get.

Suggest we start from the Bottom Barn at 8:30 (Zods and Dozs tend to start at the Top Barn at 9:00) in case anyone turns up there on spec.

Also, in response to popular request (one) I'm UTUPing this evening.

Zod Sepooc-ing?

Soundz Doog?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Heatwave in Hants

The Fleet Pre London Half Marathon was run in unseasonably warm conditions by a somewhat depleted Team Swift. Son Eden hadn't been able to do serious training and Milton's other granddad was likewise sidelined.

Roger, however, did turn out despite having not run for 10 days due to post Barcelona Marathon chest problems and was still the best of the bunch with a time of 1 hr 37 mins. YJ was next in 1hr 44 mins 15 secs being placed just outside the top third and daughter Sally produced a PB of 2hr 6 mins about three-quarters of the way down the field.

What's all this to do with fell running? None, but it does explain my absence last weekend.

Saturday 21st

This coming weekend marks the first anniversary of our initial Zod Sepooc squad run (a Coopes Doz in reverse). Does anyone fancy a repeat on Saturday? We can miss out the race up the Pike that EtU and YJ did in the afternoon. Alternatively we could do a Zod S... or even an ...epooc.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dirty Legs

I have it on good authority that there are 2 pairs of Salford Harriers' finest dirty legs on the front cover of the latest edition of Fellrunner Mag. My copy has yet to arrive.

The smilely Bloke in the picture that you refer to EtU is Phil West. It could be very likely that it was him you bumped into, especially if he spoke with a bit of a Wigan accent. I know Phil does some training over Winter Hill on occasions.


Sorry EtU, just trying to be helpful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Not very incredible JtE, in that we were talking about last week's programme in which we were told that Monty was to do this race.

It's 4.5 miles with 2,500 ft of climbing, current record 44:41 held by Mark Rigby. This year's race is on 18th July (if anyone's interested).



Salford Was a Vet!

It was interesting to hear from TF that Salford Harriers recently celebrated their 125th anniversary. This prompted me to refer to Ian Campbell's "History of the Horwich RMI Harriers" which tells us that our local club was formed in 1924, just 85 years ago; so when Horwich was formed, Salford was already a vet!

Chatting to a couple of guys on the Pike this morning, it turned out that they were (or at least on of them was) Salford Harriers. I said that it was unusual to see members of their club with dirty legs. Looking at TF's photo, the one doing the talking looked like it was the smiley guy with his arms folded in front of the girl in pink far left ~ would it be him TF?

Isle of Skye Fell Race

Whilst we were out yesterday EtU and NLN discussed a fell race held on the Isle of Skye from Sligachan. Incredibly the race has just been shown on tele. The BBC2 programme, "Monty Halls' Great Escape" started at 9.00 pm and the race featured about 35 to 40 minutes in. I think it will be available on BBC iPlayer.
Nico's Route (2)

A good alternative for the Saturday run Nico. Thanks for that. Thanks NLN for the map off your Garmin 'thing'. It's incredible how precise it is in the small detail. It's even picked up the small dead end at the stone terraced cottages where we were turned back by a polite resident. All very interesting. Must have one!

14 + 7 for EtU. Very impressive. I agree, things are looking good.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Trollers Trot Sat 14th March

At the third weekend of trying I've finally managed to complete an event without serious mishap. So full route today, 2nd half was recced last month, 24.8m/3064ft completed in 5hr29mins, half an hour inside my guestimate due to good underfoot conditions.

I think my approach regarding these events (to enjoy them) is paying dividends. Recce the 2nd half as a minimum and leave a certain amount for an element of surprise. On both this and The Hebden I was able to run the 2nd half without having to refer to the map or the instructions and today it really helped as the last 6 miles was full-on into the headwind. It meant I could concentrate on just doing the running without having to wonder where I was.

I had planned on doing the Barbondale Round on Sat 18th April, but am giving this a miss now as I won't have time to do a recce. In its place will be the Coledale Horseshoe Fell Race which will hopefully mean I'll be able to see FSS on his Joss Naylor, at the very least watch him cross the finish line!


Nico’s Route

A mixture of cross country and fell gave us a novel route this morning with just four of the Squad present EtU, JtE, Nic’O and NLN.  I don’t know where we were most of the time but here’s the trace.  When downloaded this gave us 14.12 miles but it felt hard in the very strong headwind which at times threatened to knock us over.


Ed’s training really paying off now with a 20-mile morning including his out and back and a run up to the Pike before starting out with the Squad this morning.  Looking good for May! (Don’t forget the book on Friday).


Friday, March 13, 2009

125 years of Salford Harriers
Amazing that we've been going that long. The club had its first run on the 8th March 1884 having been founded on the 5th March 1884. So to celebrate this we organised another run from our clubhouse last Sunday. So the picture is taken just before we all set off for a trot round Moston. We returned to the pub next to the clubhouse for a hotpot/curry lunch.

(The original run was from Kersal, Salford. I'm not sure at what point the base was moved to North Manchester)


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pendle & all that

Thanks EtU for the information, apart from the Gaynor Higson bit. I looked for her result and couldn't find it. Not too surprising as she didn't run. I thought at first that I'd petrified her and she was still at Barley. I thought it was Geraldine, but had no idea of the others. I liked the captions. My suggestion, "Yes I do intend to race looking like this".

Bad news for me is that my old knee(interpret that as you may) problem has reappeared. Annoyingly, it's thru' laying a carpet last Sunday. Too much kneeling, not laying the carpet, but pleading for forgiveness for the end result. I've taken the knee out a couple of times, but it moans at the slightest of ascents/descents. Unlikely to be out on Saturday as a few miles on the flat is the best I can hope for and maybe not even that. So I'll see you next at the T & T. Enjoy Saturday everyone.
Saturday the 14th.

I'll be there UTUP. Hope I'm not such a drag this week!
Blonde on blonde, Mr Dylan

James's dad - I did but didn't wish to be unkind - and surely a blonde incredulous lady!
In Celebration..

..of our new found closeness, Gordon and I are UTUPing tonight. Anyone else?

t'Yorkshireman 1 : EtU 0

Fair cop Gordy, I'm getting too good at thinking inside the box!

But you didn't spot my mis-spelling of "Kevan".

Can anyone spot my third mistake?

Who's Who at Pendle?

Is Gaynor saying "Does his mother know he's out?"?
More likely Gaynor would be saying "What am I doing at a fell race?" Is this the Gaynor that is even more wonderful at descending than I am. I think that EtU is imagining things if he thinks Gaynor has started doing fell races with particularly challenging descents.

I think it is a young lady who used to speed past us on the track at Wigan many years ago - Lindsey - who I note beat her dad in the race

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Who's Who at Pendle

Matt, tiny laughing lady far right is Geraldine Walkington. Blond incredulous lady between Geraldine and Suzanne is Gaynor Higson. Guy just to your left (also incredulous) is Peter Kevin. Horwich guy rear centre-ish with grey Tshirt under red vest with number ending in "7" is Mick Crook and guy in grey baseball cap far distance centre left is Graham Schofield.

Is there scope here for a caption competition?

Is Gaynor saying "Does his mother know he's out?"?

Is Matt saying "If you think I look funny like this, you ought to see me in shorts!"?

Well run, Matt.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Free to Good Home

We would be delighted to offer good home to the prints EtU

Free to Good Home/s

I have a number of matching framed pen and ink/watercolour limited edition prints of local scenes, for which we no longer have room. They are by Terence Haynes and the frames measure about 24 inches x 18.

Subjects are:- Houghton Tower, Chorley Parish Church, Top Lock at Withnell, Cavendish Arms at Brindle, Astley Hall and Anglezarke Reservoir with Waterman's Cottage (and possibly one other).

It would be good to keep them as a set, but will split if no taker for the lot. If in doubt come and view.

I also still have several years of Peak Performance, again free to good home, or available on loan if you just want to browse.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Norman Conquest

Having strayed from the paths of righteousness and racing, I decided this winter to do nothing about the former but something about the latter. Accordingly I've been doing more races but have been the only O/70 in the two fell races I've entered. Saturday's Half Tour of Pendle, being relatively local and also a English Championship race, gave me the opportunity to see how I'd fare against others in my category, especially as they'd no doubt be serious about this running lark. Would I be good, bad, or indifferent? As indifference deposited itself upon me in my early youth and as remained attached ever since, I had an idea what the answer would be.

On the way up Pendle Hill I was joined by Jan Atkins and we remained together until, between checkpoints 1 and 2(Nick o'Pendle), I jumped into a bog for no discernible reason other than I'm me. By the time I'd parted company with the bog and re-connected with my right shoe Jan was in the distance catching up on a lady in pink. The route up to Spence Moor after checkpoint 3 differed from the full tour, in that we had to go along the wall before doing the steep climb. By this time I was back with Jan and "Lady in Pink". As we rejoined the main path a marshal near the top cheerfully told us that only Ian Holmes had run all the way up. That this was humanly possible was all we wanted to hear as we puffed, panted and cursed our way up to the top. I managed to literally slip away from Jan and LIP on the nasty descent to checkpoint 4 in Ogden Clough.

From here the route had a cheeky variation from the T of P in that we had a testing climb by the side of the wall up to Buttock. At this stage of the race this was a pain in the bum and I was glad to get off the Buttock and down to the bottom.

The race was won by Ian Holmes(1:03:08) of Bingley Harriers who, judging by the results, have some talent and steep hills at their disposal. Darren Kay was 1st RMI in 9th place(1:05:44). Suzanne Budgett was 1st F45(1:27:16). Geraldine Walkington was 1st F50(1:31:48). Jan Atkins was 1st F60(1:57:50).

!st O/70 was Fred Gibbs of, yes, Bingley Harriers, in an awesome time of 1:38:41. He was placed 306 out of 384 runners! His was the Norman Conquest, beating last years O/70 champion Peter Norman(1:47:20). I was next(1:56:52) in 369th(indifferent) place.

I've published this picture of a batch of RMI runners as apart from Suzanne and the odd guy with the bob hat, I don't know who the others are. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Just for your information NLN, when FSS who you might know, ran with the group, he emailed some of us with the info regarding the Winter Hill scrapbook.

Alan Jones

NLN, if it was the Alan Jones that I remember (now in his sixties, with a, probably greying, full ginger beard ~ but may have shaved by now), he was my first Horwich "coach".

He was an ultra distance runner and for a while ran the Tuesday night sessions back in the eighties. He had a sports shop on the corner of Brownlow Road (became a greengrocer's at one point, not sure what it is now, will look on my way home ~ not that anyone'll be interested). He'd make (or have made) shoes for you, measuring by tracing round your foot.

Hadn't seen him for about 20 years, but bumped into him last year and had a bit of a chat.

On the other hand, it may not have been that Alan Jones.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Apologies from Black Combe

I've now been contacted by the Race Organiser who was extremely apologetic and confirmed that the Marshalls had left earlier than stated, leaving 8 of us unable to access the control.

It was nice of him to take the trouble to follow this up.


Winter Hill Scrap Book

Don’t bother emailing me as the file is too big to forward.  Just go to


where you can access the book for yourself.



Featured objective - to get a bit of climbing in, which we did, just over 2000ft, but at the expense of miles.  A useful and thoroughly enjoyable morning saw JtE, Nic’O, NLN and EtU start off UTUP.  Out to Two Lads, Trespass Stone and up to Winter Hill where JtE decided to enjoy the run off back to Lower Barn.  Remaining three carried on to Hordens Stoop taking the diagonal to the ‘Fire Road’ where EtU carried on round and back to LB.  Nic’O and NLN struck out for the Bomber Memorial thereupon meeting a delightful couple Margaret and Alan (Jones?) the lady being a former member of Bolton and the gentleman a former Horwich RMI runner.  They both new all the usual suspects at Horwich and we spent a very pleasant quarter of an hour chatting with the pair before trotting back to LB.  12.59 miles in total.  Anticipating a very low mileage this week as a fairly weary FSS combining with poor weather today will probably result in an ‘enforced’ visit to the pub rather than a run out – shame I hear you all say.

FSS completed the High Peak Marathon(http://www.highpeakclub.union.shef.ac.uk). as member of the ‘Rucksack Club Youngsters’ – the team also included a guest appearance by Albert Sunter.  They acquitted themselves well,  starting at 11.30pm Friday and completing in 12hrs 40 mins (42 miles in the dark over Kinder etc) finishing half way down a quality field which included the current Vasque team and several others with all the local gen from Dark Peak, Macc Harriers, etc.   FSS’s comment ‘One of the hardest things I’ve ever done – including 2 BG’s.‘   Will he do it again ‘Probably’!  Is he ‘Barking’, ‘Certainly’.   Full commentary to be posted at fss55at55.blogspot.com.

Looks like we can look forward to some exciting new images from JtE.  Well done to Matt 3rd V70 at Pendle and commiserations to TF foiled by early retirement of the Marshalls I’d say – don’t be discouraged TF.

I was reminded by EtU’s offer of a loan of a booklet on local terrain (which I’d like to take up) that I am in possession of an electronic version of a compilation by Dave Lane entitled ‘Winter Hill Scrapbook’.  This is a fascinating 160 page analysis of – yes you guessed it – Winter Hill and surrounding area.  This includes geological data, social and industrial historical information – in fact everything you ever wanted to know on the subject of – Winter Hill.  If anyone is interested in receiving a copy drop me an email and I will forward it to you.

Below are a couple of extracts from the book:


“Near to the bleachworks (believed to have been just downstream from it below the footbridge) and owned by the works owner, there was an alehouse managed at onetime by a Mr Brindle. This seems to have been no ordinary alehouse for it was not only unlicensed but sold mainly illegally brewed alcoholic drinks (it was known
locally as a “hush shop”). Mr Brindle was obviously not afraid of offending the authorities, for he commissioned a local artist to paint a sign for the drinking establishment and this sign was decorated with the heads of two tigers. This is believed to be why the clough is locally referred to as Tigers clough and not by its “official” name of Shaw’s clough!”

Could this have been the forebear of Brent and Wilf?


“On the modern day maps there is little marked on the chart but on earlier maps Shaly Dingle lies at the confluence of three streams, the water being channelled into Springs Reservoir which lies on the other side of Belmont Road. In this small area, there are wells, an old coal mine and a quarry.”

You’d never have guessed it yesterday!


One to take to the trig point

Have a good week – look forward to seeing fellow UTUP-ers next Saturday.


As Proposed...

...I've firmed up on Friday 20th at the TaT. Usual drill, come when you want, bring whom you want etc etc.

Sounds like you got a raw deal at Black Combe, TF, with a bad case of dereliction of duty by the marshal. I'll not further upset you by telling you what a fun run we had locally, yesterday, ticking off the odd trig point and other local landmarks.

I've done both the Bootle Black Combe, which doesn't seem to be held any more, but was traditionally the day after Wasdale, and the Silecroft race. The Bootle race was on a lovely day, but for the Silecroft visibility was similarly bad to yours, but I managed to stay with a few others who seemed to know the route and we finally emerged from the clag at about 750 ft for a fine run in.

Once, having walked up Black Combe sans compass, on what had started off as a clear day, I lost my bearings on the summit and couldn't find my route down. This was eventually located by descending in a spiral until I crossed the path ~ not recommended.

Hocus Pocus, He's Posted a Crocus!

Just Testing........

Please bear with me whilst I try out my new toy.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Black Combe Sat 7th March

I had to retire from this race today as I was unable to locate the Marshall at the 4th check-point. My navigating not good enough to make up for my lack of speed. Visibilty was poor, confidence low and wondering ruefully on the start line about having not recced the route. I didn't need to look behind me to know that I was in last position on the start of the climb to the first check-point, as the loud clang of the fell gate being shut soon after was enough to confirm this. So 118 at CP1. Three places were gained part way up the path to the 2nd check-point so by now 115.

On my own now, no-one else in sight. I navigated perfectly in the clag to CP 3. How perfect, well I had gained a further 7 places. Now lying in 108th postition. Even more telling was the fact that for the section between CP2 and CP3 I was 89th fastest.

So why did I then go wrong? I don't really know, unless I was looking for someone who was already on their way back to the Village Hall for their pie and peas. I was still using the compass, having set it on a bearing. This was checked a couple of times. I was quite happy I'd arrived at the area where the Marshall should be, but wasn't. I then spent a further 30-40mins scouring the immediate area to confirm my location. Enough features were present to do this. So then finally, and very reluctantly, I had to admit defeat. I dropped down to the valley and headed to the next CP (5) to inform them I was retiring. No Marshall there either, but that was hardly surprising. To add injury to insult, not being able to inform anyone I was retiring, I was then forced into a 2 mile road run to get back quickly enough to stop them from instructing MRT to go looking for me.

On returning my dibber, I asked what did CP4 (a fodder rack) look like. The only man-made feature I found was a wooden post with some bits of wood scattered on the ground around it. Answer - yes, that's it! Well I'd been using this man-made feature as my relocating point whilst criss-crossing the area in search of the check-point and locating features. I was assured that the Marshall was still in place at the time I would have been in the vicinity and told I must have been 'having a bad day, we all have them'. Well I'm having them every weekend at the moment, not looking forward to next Saturday when I've got 24 miles to try to navigate and not 8.

For anyone curious enough to see the route click here

Results here http://www.bcrunners.org.uk/results/blackcombesplits09.html

I hope Ray had a better day at the Tour of Pendle today.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Robin Park

Sorry t'Yorkshireman, you certainly were one of the founder track session members. Yes, we did one lap reps consitently at 1.20 pace and that was after half an hour of gym type work. Where has it all gone? So, you've put on several pounds weight. You always did like to round off your lunch with a big pud!

I'll be there, Ed must need more climbing in his legs, surely!!

Saturday 7th March

Me too. I'm needing at least 12 miles (plus my runs to and from the barn).

Saturday the 7th.

I'll be there UTUP.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

End of An Era, Bodyclocks

Just catching up on the blog. I certainly have been lapsed of late as far as Thursday night runs go, although reading earlier reports, maybe I've never been really doing them, being a relative newcomer of only 18 years standing - but I also seem to remember the mad rush to get from the train at Lostock to Robin Park on Tuesday nights all those years ago. Am I imaging that we did full sets of 400 reps in around 1:20 per lap?
My running has now reduced to a weekend run and one midweek run - and this week maybe not even the midweek run. Last Saturday's run comprised  a 10 mile run back from Higher Wheelton via White Coppice after shopping for a new waterproof jacket for Julie at the outdoor shop in Blackburn. On Sunday we went for a short walk up and down Great Hill from White Coppice. By the evening I felt like I had done the Hobble and Borrowdale on consecutive days - I seem to have no stamina at the moment and have ended up gaining 5 or 6 pounds. I'm not sure if I've fully recovered from my having shingles. I've a match tomorrow but may make the effort next week.
I had planned on joining you all on the Saturday morning run but Julie put me off, referring to this Horizon programme on bodyclocks which suggests you are at greater risk running in the morning so I ended up running in the afternoon. I watching the programme now on iPlayer. It also advises its better to drink alcohol later in the day - I'll drink to that.
It's clear that I will have to miss the Hobble this year - two weeks is not sufficient to get me back on track. Don't know what to aim for now. Still toying with the idea of the GR10 but the weakness of the £ against the euro has increased the cost by 30% so a delay of one year makes sense. Have put the equinox do on the calendar.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sunday’s JNT Recce – Leg 1


Just a few of images to add to YJ’s account of our day, what he doesn’t say is that I was the one holding the two of them back, not just because of my embryonic navigation attempts but I was also feeling ‘heavy legged’ after Saturday’s jaunt.  A great day out in which we saw four seasons worth of weather conditions.

Below is a copy of what you get when you download your Garmin into Sportracks software.





2009-03-01_Pooley_Bridge_ 011_A

Two of the Saturday Squad on Kidsty Pike


2009-03-01_Pooley_Bridge_ 008 Sunshine and showers looking across to High Street from Kidsty Pike2009-03-01_Pooley_Bridge_ 019

The old church at Martindale below Hallin Fell

2009-03-01_Pooley_Bridge_ 025

No Spitting Chaps!

2009-03-01_Pooley_Bridge_ 023

Hello Granny

Just to add my congratulations to those of the other bloggers. At least I think that's what someone termed them. You'll have even more stories to tell on Saturday mornings, NicO. Should we meet at 6.30 in future? Oops! Shouldn't have said that. YJ will take me up on it. Well done YJ on Sunday's effort coming after a Saturday run. It is EtU who's doing the JN isn't it?
Any pics yet?
Best wishes to the new grandparents. Please send my congratulations to Steph & partner

If EtU isn't happy with the veracity of my route choice, maybe the straight line distance between controls on Sunday would be more acceptable? This was 11.05k or 6.851m. (My "u" was 1m). I'll bring a ruler & a copy of the results on the 20th!

TF (first post from mobile phone)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Good news...

Very pleased for you both NicO and Dave. Glad that all is well.

... and some good running

Sunday's run was a great test of stamina after Saturday's 16.5 miles and as if keeping up with NLN was not bad enough teamed up with both NLN and FSS for the Pooley Bridge to Pooley Bridge circuit was another hard day's running. The weather was worse than expected ranging from drizzle to rain and then snow and hailstones with the blue patches of sky always over another part of the Lakes. The views, as ever were stunning, and the climbs just as steep!

NLN was in charge of the route finding for the first half and didn't get us lost. Well done.

The return route, as EtU and Matt will recall, has a long grassy run down into Martindale and with FSS disappearing fast into the distance the ensuing chase left us exhausted at the bottom and from then on the trundle back was a tiring experience. When the option to miss the last climb presented itself one of the party was more ready than the others to take the easy way out. I won't say who but you'd have liked that JTE.

You'd all have enjoyed the sight of us struggling to find the path through bog and gorse and eventually making a big detour before finding a way back to civilisation. The climb would have been a quicker, if more tiring alternative.

Without doubt it was another glorious day's Lakeland running. Thanks NLN and FSS.

PS: For the record we covered 20 miles in 5 hrs 22 mins. The first leg along the Joss Naylor route was inside an 18 hour schedule.
New Baby / New Grandmother

Good news NicO. Glad that all is well.
Fell Miles and the Do

Not sure about TF generating her own mileage from these "O" events; can she just wander round in circles (or in "U"s) and claim them all? If I get lost in a proper fell race can I claim the extra miles? This needs some proper debate.

So at least we'll have something to talk about at the Equinox do. I'll check that the TaT can take us and if they can, and no-one's cried "foul" I'll book us in for the 20th; speak now or forever hold your peace.

Suggest we give further consideration to the Black Horse for the Summer Solstice (unless we meet up at the new granny's druid circle) when it will be lighter for driving on the country lanes.


To the new grandparents Nicole and David on the birth of their new grandson - what a whopper!


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hi everyone. Well baby arrived, very quickly in the end, by emergency caesarian, about 10 past 8 this am. Baby was a whopping 8lb 15oz and although it was all muscle and little fat, he still looked pretty big to have been inside Steph, who isn't (big.) I'll try and get a pic to show you because he is a very good looking baby - and it's not that I am biased because all my babies were pretty ugly at birth. (Is that an oxymoron?) Suffering from lack of sleep so liable to be confused here. May be out on Saturday, will let you know. N icO ps Saturday was good, thanks everyone.
Next Solstice Do.

I know it's really an equinox!

I suggest the 20th. March and I will bring my wheel TF. Perhaps the Thatch would be a better venue for those travelling some distance. What say you EtU?
New Chew Sunday 1st March 2009

Not one of my better days with the map and compass. I didn't make a good route choice after finding the 2nd control and after the 5th one I managed to nearly do a full circle on the moor in clear visibility! Well it would have been a full circle had I not finally realised my error. So perhaps more of a 'U' shape, but bad enough. I was only just over 2hrs at this point so I can't blame tiredness, just stupidness.

After finally getting back on track, I manage to find 3 more controls, to total 8 out of a possible 25. I arrived back with 25mins to spare, so I could have made an attempt for a ninth but had decided to call it day. It was only worth 10pts, and you were deducted 3pts for every minute you were late back.

As it turned out, my best decision for the day. Much to my surprise I didn't finish last, but 23/26. The pair behind were on equal pts (110) but slower, the person in front had 130pts. So I couldn't have improved my finishing position, but I could have made it worse.

When I measured the route I got it to 17.5K, or 10.85m (that included my 'u' moment). So EtU, as the New Chew is listed in the calender, am I allowed 10m or 10.5m as part of the challenge? I can bring the map to the next solstice 'do' for independent verification, if JtE brings his wheel.

Speaking of which, are we back at the T&T or are we giving the New Landlord at the Black Horse in Limbrick the benefit of our culinary critique? I can make most Fridays in March, but would need to leave early on the 13th as I have a very early departure to Grassington the following morning.

End of an Era? I hope not.

When and how did it all start? To answer these questions I will have to give some of my running background. I know I run the risk of creating mass boredom and so I will try to be careful.

I started road running in 1983 and after being unattached for a couple of years I joined Bolton United Harriers. In about 1986 I came to my senses and started fell running. I joined Horwich RMI Harriers in 1988. I went out on my own on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During my outings I kept seeing another runner on the moors who turned out to be Roy Edwards. We eventually did our runs jointly and this is when the Thursday run started. As Roy lived next door to Gary Harold (both in Snowden Drive, higher up than Norman's) he soon joined us. The three of us started running on a Saturday morning in about 1987. This is the Saturday run that we still do. As Gary worked with Steve Botrill Steve started to come with us and eventually on Thursdays also. EtU, who came to know Gary through the Harriers joined us, as he says, in 1989, though I would have guessed earlier.

Whilst outlining all of this, it's perhaps worth mentioning that in the early to mid 90s Etu and I took up the idea of track running with Norman. (EtU might be able to put a date on it.) The Tuesday night session was started at Robin Park in Wigan and continued there until the area was demolished to provide the site for the JJB Stadium. In those days EtU, YJ, Norman's son Nathan, Wilf Brindle and I used to attend. After Robin Park it was sometimes Whitton Park, Blackburn and sometimes the playing field in front of Rivington and Blackrod School, and then, of course, the Arena.

I've gone on for far too long.