Sunday, January 31, 2010

A "Gorgeous" Saturday and a Better Sunday

Saturday - A weary run from home through the UP and then the climbs and home again, 14 and a bit miles. As I started through the gardens I remembered Watters telling me recently, over a glass of red, that he had recently strayed further south into a part of the gardens that he had not seen before and discovered a quite dramatic gorge that seems to take the outflow from the Japanese Lagoon, so I decided to explore this. It lies at about GR 637 138 and further research on my part suggests it's called the Great Ravine. Parts of it are fenced off, but these posed no real barrier to an intrepid accountant in fell shoes. Definitely worth a look.

Sunday - Better than last Sunday, in fact over 3 and a half minutes better. Unfortunately no Matt, who's nursing a sore Achilles, partly due to bumping into t'Yorkshireman on Winter Hill and partly due to carrying his daughter's three piece suite up several flights of stairs into her new flat. Tough luck, Ray the First, hope you're soon back in your studs.

A Half Century! - Surely not, NLN. A belated happy birthday.

Look Who’s 50


Coope's Dozen July  2008 007 (2)

On the 20th. January. Congratulations and best wishes NLN. You should have told us!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You never know who you bump into on Winter Hill

Went for a nice quiet run this morning - over Winter Hill to Belmont and back via the Blue Lagoon and up by the mast I was just trying to get a shift on to make my target at the junction when out of the mist appears Matt Stitchlegs, wandering around asking me if I know a good route on Winter Hill, one which might follow the race route. Didn't have the heart to tell him that you weren't supposed to recce the route (bit of anomaly as most of it is open access land which the Countryside Rangers encourage you to use).
Whilst we were up there, he was also after some technical consultancy - so here goes - take yourself to htmlgoodies and you should find some nice little tutorials which may fit the bill. I think such consultancy is worth at least a £1 donation to Guide Dogs, Matt, so here's your link.
Today's run means that I have achieved my target for the month as far as ascent goes and am just 5 miles short for mileage. As I shall be on leg 4 of the Pennine Bridleway Relay on Sunday, that will give me twice 5.5 miles and an additional 1200ft. This should address some of the shortfall from December. Full detals for those who like being bored are on my blog gordonsgr10. I'll try to add a something a bit more interesting to it.

Sorry, EtU, JtE and NicO, I didn't get chance to chat more on Tuesday as I was getting to know my partner for Sunday's relay, having only briefly met him before at the Fielden Cup, on which subject, have I been awarded it in perpetuity? Also, there was no chance of any respite between reps! I was quite surprised at the times I was achieving - sure I used to be at least 5 seconds slower.

YJ, best of luck at That's Lyth. I would have entered and been racing you were I not on the Relay.
I should have said that I was intending on turning up to the Black Dog at 8.30am on Saturday.
Wishing SN a speedy recovery. I remember falling on my side/chest last May and remember how painful it was and I didn't break anything. I fell uphill though, rather than downhill, and probably the extra padding saved me from the broken bones part?

I can manage a brief appearance on Saturday. I'll need to be back at my car for 10:00am, as I'm on 'offical' duty at the XC later that morning.

See you Saturday.

Thursday, Saturday & Acronyms

UTUPing this Thursday 28th.

Also UTUPing Saturday 30th. With need to avoid Matt showing me a clean pair of heels on our third consecutive outing ~ Garstang 10k on Sunday, 20 miles from Belmont doesn't tick many boxes for me, so I'll be going out from the Bottom Barn at 8:30 (UTUP).

With regard to acronyms, there was a guy who used to sit at the end of the bar in the TaT who insisted that the word "book" was derived from a "Bank of Orderly Organised Knowledge", but I'm not so sure. However, I do believe that "ale" was derived from "Alcohol that Loosens Everything".

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


In response to NLN's challenge I forgot to put these on my previous post;

Laser - light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation

and more mundane and probably known by everyone,

Naafi - Navy,Army, and Air force Institutes
Chernobyl or; D'yu know Bill?

EtU exaggerates when he says I whupped him. If you note his times, apart from the "pit stop miles", he was doing just under eight-and-a half minute miles. Whereas my rather disappointing 54mins 7sec time was on the wrong side of eight-and-half minute mileing. Without the stops he'd have beaten me by a couple of minutes. But there you are, he will go drinking murky beer against his better half's advice. If you put a bucket of mud in front of him he'd drink it, as long as it had some alcohol content.

My consolation is that I was only 39 secs behind the M70 winner. So as the school report used to say with monotonous regularity, "must try harder". Well I'd tried everybody else so why should he escape.

I won't be joining the long distance Amblers because on Friday and Saturday I'm helping my daughter to move flats and decorate her new abode. Three flights of stairs in both flats so that should keep me fit. I should really be helping on Sunday but I shall be taking EtU on in the Garstang 10k instead. Providing that on Saturday he doesn't drink too much beer, or a bucket of 5% proof mud, he should get his revenge.

We have lift-off - about 2 inches of lift-off

Where ARE those damned toilets?

EtU sympathetically agrees to have photo with blind runner


Sorry to hear of the extent of your injuries SN. No wonder it hurts. Yes, the last thing you want now is a  cold. It would be hell to have to sneeze.

I think you’ll bounce back quickly although, perhaps, that’s not the best way to put it under the circumstances.

Saturday 30. 01. 10

With the Amble only just over two weeks away NicO, NLN and I must get the miles in. We have arranged to meet at 8.30am at The Black Dog at Belmont for 20 miles plus taking in as much of the Amble route as possible and including Turton and Entwistle reservoir, Darwen Tower and Great Hill. We hope that anyone interested will join us. Please post any such intention.


My splits were 8:19, 9:35, 8:23, 10:05, 8:29, 8:32, 1:38, the 1:38 being for the last 350 yards, or whatever the extra over 6 miles that 10k comes to. Only high point was overtaking the turnip wagon on a narrow track on the banks of the River Ribble (try saying that Chinese style, where you swop the "r"s for "l"s and vice versa). Low points were miles 2 and 4 which involved unplanned stops. Suffice to say, Matt whupped me once again.

Over to you Matt.

PS to SN, the obvious thing is that you must only do "enter on the day" races, and try not to fall ill or fall over between picking up your number and toeing the line.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Deepest Sympathy

Really sorry to hear you’re out of action SN – sounds awful.  Could be worse, my colleague broke BOTH wrists Sunday before Christmas and can’t open a door yet!   The lengths some folk will go to, to avoid marking.

So Matt what happened at Chernobyl?


Thanks for the empathy.

Thanks for the empathy, particularly with regard to sleepless nights. Someone has obviously been there and got the T shirt. Apparently the pain peaks at 10 days so I am, as I write, peaking!
Official diagnosis was 2 broken and 3 cracked, should be ok in 3-6 weeks. No treatment, just lots and lots of painkillers and try not to catch a cold!
As far as running goes for me it is all about pleasure and enjoyment, although a large part of that comes from the sense of achievement. My target for this year was to do more of it, hence applications to the Garstang 10k in January and the Amble in February, both now completely out of the question.
On the back of contracting septicaemia following an application last September to do a half marathon I have decided not to enter any more races as I seem to be jinxed.
Hope to join you on the fells at some point in the future, hubby is determined I use my Christmas presents and my OMM jacket doesn't really look right with a LBD!

A not so chirpy SN

To Hazel

Nic'O tells me that SN is very sore with suspected broken ribs and is unhappy that her return to the fells, after her previous problem, was so short lived.

There seem to be two general sorts of injuries that runners get ~ a niggle that you think you might be able to run through, but know you shouldn't, in case it delays the healing process (most of us have something like this lurking in the background a fair proportion of the time) ~ and then there's the big one that stops you running altogether.

Although not being able to run is frustrating, at least in this situation you know you've just got to grin (just grin, don't laugh, that really hurts) and bear it. Deciding when to return to training is fairly straightforward with ribs; when you can bear the pain, go for it, but do try not to fall over again too soon, that really, really hurts.

In the meantime, catch up with sleep (although this isn't easy, if every time you turn over you wake up with the pain), television, films, research and even eating ~ putting on weight when inactive can be a problem for many of us, but I guess that doesn't apply in your case.

Perhaps most usefully, you can use the time to dwell on what you most want to get out of running. Do you just want to cruise the fells and enjoy being out and all that goes with it, or are you a competitive animal that needs to race and achieve defined targets? If it's the latter, start setting those targets, and draw up a list with your due dates.

Let's hear from you soon SN, what feats can we drive you on to achieve?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Last Post(ing)

Call my attitude Victorian if you will, but I find its content to be disgusting.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Clag and all that....

An equally crisp morning over near Hebden Bridge, the mist lifting by 9.30am to return by 11.00am. I need to put a note in my diary to make more of an effort to arrive in plenty of time for this one, although I can't blame the queue in the little girls room this time but rather the icy road conditions down from the White House pub to Cragg Vale.

The superb provisions at the check points made for a very gentle trot out managing 14m in just under 3.5hrs. It's a good job I kept out of the canal because I might have sank like a stone, the two chunky pieces of Stollen at the last check point wouldn't have helped.

I only managed 3 lengths on Friday before spluttering to a stop. I can't believe it's because I'm swimming fast enough to get out of breath, so there must be some sort of knack to it. Will keep practising!


So that’s where I read it!

TF’s October reference.  Deja vue or what?


Saturday’s Pics

A bit disappointing really – a case of you had to be there!   That’s the images rather than the outing, which although hard on the legs was what was needed in preparation for the Amble.  As usual, excellent craic and company.

The differential in temperatures when climbing out of the clag was considerable and on returning to the lower ground around Rivington we smugly remarked that anyone not gaining higher ground would have had a rather miserable and cold day.

BTW  I recently read somewhere that the word clag was coined in the early days of aviation as an acronym of Clouds Low Aircraft Grounded.  Has anyone else come across this derivation and can you enlighten us with any other commonly used phrases of unusual/interesting origin.  Now there’s a challenge for the week guys! 


Darwen (1 of 4) Darwen (2 of 4)

Above, looking back across the inversion to Turton Moor in sunshine, with a little residual snow still remaining

Darwen (3 of 4)

JtE about to enter into the warmth of the sunshine heading towards Turton and Entwistle Reser.  Conditions underfoot pretty bad on this section of the route, and will make for slow times on the day unless the ground drains considerable.

Darwen (4 of 4)

FSS was much more fortunate capturing a ‘Brocken Spectre’ on Winter Hill – yes that’s a Brocken Spectre.  You can literally go a lifetime without seeing one of these.  Not available as yet, but coming some time soon on:



The group was NLN, NicO, EtU, YJ, New Ray and me. As planned, we joined the Amble route at the Top Barn. Except for EtU and New Ray, who turned for home in the Stake Moss area, we followed the Amble route as far as Darwen Moor and from there it was Higher Pastures Barn Farm, Belmont Road, Spitlers, NLN’s way to Ammunition Corner and down to the finish.

The main feature of the day was the atmospheric conditions: cold in the mist, springlike at higher levels and with vistas opening and closing as the mist shifted. (Please show the pictures NLN).

19.3 miles.

Midweek daytime run?

I need to recce Leg 4 of the Pennine Bridleway for next Sunday's event.
My partner was unable to make today so thought I may as well do it the week so if anyone would like to join me, please let me know asap. Not fixed for which day - think visibility isn't too good for tomorrow so Tuesday or Wednesday would be better. Route description is here. It's about 5.5 miles so 11 miles there and back plus travel to get over there. Interested YJ, JtE or anyone else available during the day?

Northern XC and t'Hobble

Competed in the Northern's yesterday afternoon and appear to be the only one of the group doing so - no YJ or TF, presumably doing your Amble Recce. Bought some new 15mm spikes and fitted them for my first spikes run since my ill-fated Boggle Hole debacle many months ago. Changed my mind after looking at the worst of the mud and was about to don mudclaws, then was persuaded by Geraldine that I'd get much more traction with my spikes - just needed to take it steady early on. So decided to risk the spikes and hope I could complete the race without any mishap.
Started off gently running alongside Bazza for the first 3/400m then found my marker, Ted Orrell of Clayton, so thought let's stay behind him - no Mister Murray to make me hurry today! A four lap course with not only the saucer each lap but also the teaspoon but no brew at the top of them - most unfair. It seemed tough all the way round and having look on the map reveals that the 11.5k had about 1500ft of climb in it. If it were a fell race, it would be a B medium! One thing I forgot was my watch so when the results were posted, I found I was 6 minutes slower than last year's race at St. Helens. But as the winner was 5 minutes slower, I'll take that. The ones I was battling with, who ran last year, were between 5 and 12 minutes in front of me last year, so I can't argue with that! We even completed a team, for which I was the final counter. Plenty of support around the course with Geraldine, Suzanne, Alan & Christine (retired from the harriers but still supporting) and many more.

Well it looks like I've been deserted by Hobble partner of recent times. The last couple of years, he's avoided me by doing a race darn sarf and now he's found a new partner in NLN! What shall I do? Run solo or look for a new partner? Last year I ran solo and totally blew it, being on target for sub 6:30 after 11 miles and finished just inside 8 hours. The benefit of YJ was that he ensured I had a more conservative pace early on which paid dividends later in the race. I suppose I'm fitter and lighter than I have been for many years but still need to ensure I get it right. We'll see what happens.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Times and Routes

In response to YJ’s comment on time I would agree optimistic if taking in Winter Hill (which I think we should).  Looking at last year’s times on Sportracks this is what we did:


03/01/09      13.53m          3.08         Gt Hil  Brnscl  Wht Cpce  Hly Nab

23/01/09      16.5m            3.47         Dwn Twr via Amble Route

31/01.09       16.98            3.57         Amble Route frm Blmnt

14/02/09       24.68            4.58         THE ANGLEZARKE AMBLE

Some of us love THE TOWER


Tomorrow ~ For Further Avoidance of Doubt

Yes, the time and venue are as stated, but 18.5 miles in anything up to four hours? I doubt it!

No utup for me

I've been out this morning testing myself on the hills for the first time this year. I was pretty poor and bearing in mind that the Winter Hill race is only three weeks off, I know where I need to concentrate my efforts. So with the Chernobyl 10k on Sunday in mind, I'll leave you long distance Amblers to enjoy yourselves and see EtU and YJ? on Sunday.

Saturday 23rd ~ For the Avoidance of Doubt

Just to be entirely clear, for the benefit of any others like me who are followers, rather than leaders or decision makers, we turn up at the bottom Rivington Barn car park for 8:30 am (UTUP), and we will be led over a muddy route for anything up to four hours and then we will be allowed to go home.

Tomorrow ~ Decision Time

I see from YJ’s posting that I am to assume executive powers for the third Saturday in succession. I  must say, at this stage, that being so unused to having any authority I am finding the situation difficult to cope with. However here goes:

YJ’s suggestion is that we should go from UP taking the Amble route as far as Darwen Moor and from there, Tockholes Road, Spitlers and in by NLN’s Route. According to my map and wheel this would give us about 18.5 miles. If, on the day, this seems a bit daunting, Turton and Entwistle reservoir could be missed out saving 2.5 miles. There seems to be a good mileage opportunity in this whilst missing out the much loathed Darwen Tower. It also facilitates a recce of that much reeded area before the Darwen Road. If it’s to be left to me, then I say that we go for it.

Final Arrangement: UTUP

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tradition dictates

My diary for 2008 shows that we did an Amble recce for the equivalent coming Saturday; last year we were a week later. With that in mind I shall welcome the chance of a long run and will seek an extended pass.

My own preference is for a Lower Barn start following the Amble route as far as Picadilly and then returning via Spitlers Edge, Hordern Stoop etc. After all we never have any trouble finding Darwen Tower and the run from Great Hill back to Rivington via White Coppice is one we have done many times.

However, I shall bow to the authority of he has executive powers and await instructions.
No utup for me this week.

I'm out doing 'The Hebden' on saturday but for various reasons I've had to drop down to the short course. Something to do with only having short legs and 5ft snow drifts. I'm hoping all the ice has gone from the towpath along the canal otherwise I could be practising my 'freestyle' in readiness for EtU's challenge later in the year.

I've measured Smithalls Res on the map and it came up as 342m (longest straight line, but not a diagonal). So that means I'd need to be able to do 14 lengths of the swimming pool without stopping. I might have a go on Friday, I'll let you know how I get on.


Thursday 21st

I'm UTUPing; anyone else?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Recce for Amble would be very welcome.  Purely by coincidence I came upon JtEs suggestions dated December 9th 2007

“In preparation for the Amble I need some distance training and perhaps the committee might consider any of the following for a (fine gale free) Saturday morning.
DARWEN TOWER: 16 miles.
Out directly and back via Great Hill and Spittlers.
CADSHAW AREA: 17 miles.
Winter Hill, ramp, Egerton Road (GR 681157), Belmont (GR 677163), Blackburn Road (GR 699172), Cadshaw Area (GR 703181), Higher Pasture Barn Farm (GR 671189), then Catherine Edge to Belmont, Horden Stoops and finish.
Out directly to Belmont, over Belmont Reservoir dam then to Blackburn Road (GR 699172). Around Turton and Entwistle Reservoir to Cadshaw Area (GR 703181) then all as the Cadshaw Area route back to the finish.”

Distance preferred, happy to start either UP or Belmont.  UT now that conditions on the ground back to normal?


Amble Recce

Bearing in mind that the Amble will be three weeks away this coming Saturday, perhaps it would be useful to meet at the Black Dog at Belmont and have a long run incorporating some of the Amble route. Has anyone any views? Obviously, at this late stage, we need to make our minds up fairly quickly.

Sorry for this EtU, having confirmed UTUP with you last night.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Five Degrees?

The concept that we are all only six steps away from any other person on earth was shown to be surprisingly true, if slightly overstated, last night.

Whilst not wanting to make light of a tragic occurance, you may have seen in the press recently that a Zimbabwean tourist was taken by a shark, assumed to be a great white, off Cape Town just a few days ago.

On the way to last night's hill session, Stewart Westhead (1 step) told me that his daughter (2 steps) heard from her distraught neighbour (3 steps) that her mother's (4 steps) boyfriend (5 steps) was that guy!

It really is a small world.

A Real Tonic

The tonic wine made by the Benedictine monks of Buckfast Abbey, Devon is currently coming in for some rather bad press.  Apparently at 15% ABV, £5 a bottle and laced with caffeine, it is very popular with young Scottish drinkers and is implicated in a large proportion of crime in certain parts of Scotland.

Two little plays on words that I rather like are one of its street names ~ "commotion lotion" and the rather cynical observation that it's "made by monks for drunks".

Monday, January 18, 2010

Last Saturday

Just a point of detail, I was with the squad until we crossed the all R&BHS all-weather pitch, at which point I turned right along Dryfield Lane. Just before reaching the main road the Sweatmans stopped and we had a brief chat during which Alan told me that both he and Christine had retired from the Harriers.

My wheel and map method indicated almost 15 miles, just booked 14.

S'pose with all that falling over, the task for those of us who managed to stay on our feet, was to ppppppick up a penguin!

YJ's trip to Blackpool on Saurday afternoon appears to have been worthwhile, he was a counter in at least two of the Chorley AC teams.

Last Saturday

The team was SN, NicO, TF, Matt, YJ, EtU, a new Ray, and me. I thought of calling new Ray “Matt 2” but as he didn’t have thin legs the name would not have been appropriate. EtU had invited him along.

We started, again, from the Jolly Crofters end of George’s Lane, except for EtU who had run from home to join us. The route, initially, was as the previous week: Montcliffe Quarries, Burnt Edge and Two Lads. From there it was Rivington Pike, bungalow grounds, Top Barn, Rivington Green and Yarrow Reservoir overflow, there turning back to Rivington Bowling Club where EtU left us for home. The rest of us went via the castle to the side of Rivington and Blackrod Grammar taking the path via the back of Alan Sweatman’s house and on to Chorley Old Road. It was then a final slog up to the start point (which NLN, who can’t get enough road running, would have enjoyed immensely).

The main feature during the run was ice and this persuaded us, eventually, to take to the lower ground. There were many falls of various degrees of seriousness but the major stars, in terms of heavy falls, were SN, Matt and new Ray (2). SN takes the prize for the most serious fall as her blog posting suggests.

We all survived to run another day.

11.25 miles.

Where's the Write-up

Tantalising snippets - sounded like fun. Where's the write-up?


Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's a knockout!

I remember laughing till my sides hurt at the "penguins" trying to stay upright on ice during an episode of It's a Knockout. Unfortunately after Saturday's run I now know that those "penguins' " sides ( hope that's correct use of apostrophe Ed!) must have been even sorer. I am a lovely shade of purple from my shoulder to my knee, and it hurts every time I cough, sneeze or laugh!
Hope you're not expecting me to describe the route as I still haven't mastered the technology to do so, but for those who did not partake it was just like an episode of It's a Knockout involving some penguins and some ice.....

A very sore SN

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One lesson learnt!

Thank you everyone for your forbearance today with my late arrival. An even bigger thank you to the lovely AA man for his prompt appearance which meant I could attend todays run.

I now realise that testing the car would start last night meant that it wouldn't start this morning, so much for trying to be organised! His advice was to leave the engine running for at least 10mins (obviously not leaving it unattended) to make sure the battery charges up enough if you're not intending on taking it round the block for a spin.

A final thank you to EtU for providing the competition (or lack of) which means I'm now enjoying a glass of red wine whilst my tea is cooking.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Ta for the offer Matt, but it looks as though the big thaw has just come at the right time and I should manage it in the car tomorrow. Just been out to make sure that it starts ok.

See you all tomorrow.

Georges Lane is fine by me as it knocks quite a bit off my journey. It should be fine by EtU as well because he could have his Friday night booze-up at the Jolly Crofters, and then roll straight out to meet us at 8.30. I don't know how TF is getting there but whilst I usually come via Crompton Way-Moss Bank Way, I can divert into town if necessary. Ring me on 306030 TF, if I can be of any assistance.

Tomorrow ~ An Executive Decision

I am not sure if I am appointed to make an executive decision in regard to venue and time for tomorrow’s outing but here goes:

In view of what TF and YJ say, the venue is The Jolly Crofters end of George’s Lane and the time is 8.30am.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Time please!

I am ok for Saturday, anywhere but would prefer an 8.30 start as I have rotten cross country again in the afternoon and will need to be driving away by noon.

If the snow clears, as has largely happened in Longton, we should hopefully be able to add a few miles to our progress of late. It was good to get out for a decent training run today with only a limited amount of ice and slush to contend with. Having feared that the slow progress through the snow was going to take the edge off our speed it was encouraging to manage a faster pace than recent averages.

A trailer for next Monday's Inside Out programme (BBC 1, 7.30) referred to a runner attempting to complete 72 miles and 42 peaks in the Lake District. Sounds like a BG to me.

I'm still relying on public transport at the moment so I'm afraid I can't manage a UTUP today as I'll have already done my 6m quota for the day.

I hadn't planned a UTUP on Saturday, but the event I'd entered on Sunday has been cancelled so I should be able to attend, so long as I can leave some dry stuff in someone's car. I'm ok to meet at Jolly Crofters.

Just as a by-the-by, the event that has been cancelled on Sunday is the third of a series of navigating events. I thought I'd just post a link to something you won't see very often. You need to scroll down the the LV40 category. It works as the best 2 out of 3, so I'm hoping that the rearranged date falls on a day I can attend and that the others can't!!

League scores are calculated by awarding the winner of each event in each class a 1000 points and the remainder of finishers in that class get a percentage of the 1000 points based on their actual score against the winners.

Results for the actual events 1/11/09 and 6/12/09 can be found on the darkandwhite website


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sedbergh 3 Peaks

This is the same course as the British and English Championship race on the 26th June, so could be quite well supported as folk do a recce for the big one.

I'm interested, but wouldn't want to commit until close to the day. EOD so no problem with a late decision.


No fun in the sun this Sat, family birthday celebrations north of the border beckon.  Have a good one, back following week.


First Midweek Evening Race of The Summer?

Yes I know the snow is still a foot deep and as I write, and as I look out of the window, it is still snowing but I've just been having a scan through the freshly arrived calendar and spotted this:
Tuesday, March 2nd, Sedbergh 3 Peaks, 3.6m, 1515ft. 4.30pm start.
FREE entry but alas no free beer at the finish. Can't expect everything.
For those who are available, all day, could do a warm up run in the Howgills first or you could knock off work a bit early.

Any takers? Maybe nearer the date?

BTW, Anyone else partaking of the Pennine Bridleway Relay at the end of the month?

Thursday 14th

I'm up for UTUP, or possibly from the Crofters end of George's lane if anyone is interested, otherwise I'll run from home.

Two Crosses Circuit postponed till March 21st

I know that NicO and David had entered and there may be more. Great shame as I was looking forward to getting in 25 miles to my schedule this Sunday.

The first suitable date (subject to logistics of rebooking etc) is Sunday, March 21st. All entries will be valid for that date. Full information will be posted on the LDWA site in the next couple of days.

Nine of us did a marshals walk last Sunday. We only did the 18 mile route but that took us 7 hours despite a good speed where possible, 5 hours being the expected time in previous years. Speed certainly wasn't possible on White Moss which although enjoyable in a perverse sort of way, would pose too great a risk (especially if the wind speed is anything like yesterday on Winter Hill).

Personal Targets - I set mine last year and so far this year, all 12 days of it, I'm on schedule. To yesterday I've done 61 miles and 7450ft of ascent. The I'm trying to do a fairly frequent run over Winter Hill down to Belmont then back via the Blue Lagoon but the last wto attempts have been beaten back by the weather, firstly turning back at the mast but yesterday I managed to go down to the Wrights Arms but had decided the climb up the Belmont Winter Hill route may not be sensible so ran back via Scout Road. If anyone wants to join me on the run, you are always welcome. When the snow clears, I think the time out of 2hrs30 ought to come down to 2 hours.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Saturday the 16th.

Are we up for a repeat of last Saturday’s arrangements or shall we make a decision on Friday?

Plans for 2010

No-one seems to have responded to my suggestion that we all share our personal challenges for the new year, so I thought I'd set the ball in motion.

2010 really is going to be my last attempt at finishing the Wasdale race; if it doesn't happen this year, I've got to accept that it won't ever again.

On the way I'm going to be doing a few more fell races (but no silly challenges), building up my miles to a maximum of 55 a week in June, and taking in the Duddon race on the way (but not Ennerdale ~ definitely not Ennerdale).

By way of diversion, and to break the monotony of the mileage build-up I'm also targetting the Horwich Triathlon on 2nd May ( I'm also hoping that, in preparing for that event, I'll develop my crawl (the one I'm hoping to do in the water, not the one I'll probably be doing towards the end of the  Wasdale race, or on the way home from the TaT) sufficiently not to disgrace myself in the Smithills Res Challenge (SRC).

Company and encouragement welcomed for preparation for all of these.

With regard to the SRC, late August or early September would seem appropriate; should we set a date now, or wait until nearer the time?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bon soir mon amis. It was just as chilly in Paris, (but not as much snow), had to keep going in shops just to keep warm. On the times I did venture outdoors, some unusual sights I spotted.

A bit of a modern take on xmas decorations and an inventive form of recycling (all lit up at night).

I wondered if this one would fare any better getting up my estate at the moment.

How the Parisiennes deal with 'la neige''


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Who's Next?

First it was NLN and FSS, then it was the Grimeford Gang. Whose central heating will fail next? Think we're in a slightly better position than our Aspull friends, as the shower is electric, so shouldn't smell any more than usual.

As to EDZ sitting on Georges Lane, it was not for a run. I was strolling with Daughter no. 3 and Grandson no. 5. My, aren't those bacon butties at Curley's great!

Winter Hill Weekend

Great run in the sun yesterday morning with the finale back up to Georges Lane via the steep track from Lower Houses CP thanks guys.  Made for better piccies at the Pigeon Tower!  Just didn’t want to go down!

  Witner Hill (1 of 10)

Above Montcliffe Quarry

Witner Hill (2 of 10)

and the view to Winter Hill

Witner Hill (3 of 10)

All present and correct at Two Lads

Witner Hill (4 of 10)

Now who’s been cairn building – first one to find out!

Witner Hill (5 of 10)

Descending from the summit of WH

Witner Hill (6 of 10)

Ruins at Old Rachels

Witner Hill (7 of 10)

and just beyond where we veered right

Witner Hill (8 of 10)

Now if only you could buy these tree decorations (click for close-up)

Witner Hill (9 of 10)

SN or is it HN?

 Witner Hill (10 of 10)

 YJ and JtE

Today saw me and FSS out, but without the sun it felt much colder with flurries of snow as we returned to the car.  On arrival we spotted EtU’s car, but didn’t see him on the hill.  Where did you get to EtU?  We did however see Mr Sammon on Two Lads and were offered a cup of tea by the same.  Now that’s what I call organised!  That lad can skitter down hill.

Two Lads (1 of 1)


Funny how FSS can pull an epic out of the most innocuous terrain of the WH massif, as we went ‘off piste’ at the start through the lower quarries below Georges Lane.   The conditions on Georges Lane were markedly different to yesterday, with snow having been blown off the hill and onto the Lane making it much harder work.  Happy with a fairly hard 7 miles to add to yesterday’s total.  Conditions again precluded a visit to Counting Hill.


The Big Sleep

I slept for eleven( yes, that's 11), hours yesterday, and even then I was muzzy-headed for the rest of the day. I was going to say I didn't feel quite with it, but that would be inviting ridicule and I don't need to invite it where you lot are concerned.
Apologies to Hazel for unaccountably calling her Heather in my previous blog.

If this is how I'm affected by a cough/cold what's going to happen if I get Flu? I'll probably sleep for a week and refer to Hazel as Erica.

Finally, am I in danger of being known as Rip rather than Matt from hereon?

Yesterday's Outing

Not much to add.  I reached home twenty minutes late at 12:20, 3 hours 59 minutes after leaving. The map and wheel (who needs a Garmin?) indicated 13.5 miles.

An exceedingly good outing.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Today’s Outing

Having been advised that the UP was fairly unusable because of the snow we met at the Jolly Crofters end of George’s Lane. NLN, SN, YJ and I arrived by car and EtU on foot from home. NicO could not turn out because of a migraine and, I understand, Matt was still fast asleep in bed at 10.30, coping with a slight cough and a sniffle!

We set off via the Montcliffe Quarries to the western end of Burnt Edge, turning then towards Two Lads, and eventually to its summit. It was then Winter Hill and down to the wooden footbridge on George’s Lane. Going down to the bridge in deep snow felt like a cross between scree running and skiing. Then to the Rivington/Belmont motor road and after starting towards Spittlers’ Edge we turned to the northern end of Lead Mines Clough and then roughly south to the bomber memorial. Shortly after the memorial EtU left us, turning for home. The rest of us then started to think of how to get back to the cars. We went by the tarmac road, thick in snow, to the car park above the Top Barn and then via the Winter Hill Race route as far as the foot of the Pike but afterwards keeping on George’s Lane to the cars.

Only 11.4 miles but, to me at least, pretty tiring. The heavy snow made for some quite spectacular scenes. NLN promises some pictures.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Don't fence me in

I hadn't realised the fencing was so bad until I saw it on the photo JtE. It usually has bushes hiding most of it. Its unevenness and higgledy-piggledy appearance is down to Bob the dog. In common with the rest of the family he showed a marked but understandable reluctance to share his abode with me. Consequently he regularly jumped the fence in a bid for freedom only to return a couple of hours later in a show of sympathy with the girls, who were unable,try as they may, and they did, to match his athleticism. So I had to build the fence up in some areas. The fact that he's been gone some seven or eight years but the fence still retains its unkempt appearance is your fault for introducing me to running. This hobby(?) is fatal to good husbandry, as Christina, Joan, Sheila, and Ann will confirm.

As you know JtE, the ladies have rearranged the Dinner party and that is fortuitous, because on Wednesday I started with a cough and cold which has reacted negatively to outdoor activities(clearing snow) and is set to "Full steam ahead". Joan is naturally coming to the rearranged dinner, but your name has not been mentioned, but then again, it rarely is.

I'll have to see if I improve for tomorrow but if I'm not there by 9.00 I won't be coming. By the way does Heather runner teach at St Catherines Primary in Horwich? If so, she was in yesterdays Bolton News.

Tomorrow ~ The Final Decision!

I have contacted the Lower Barn and am advised that access to the car park is restricted and that there are only a few car parking spaces available. FSS and NLN comfortably parked last Sunday on George’s Lane at the Jolly Crofters end. NLN has kindly been there again today to check that conditions haven’t altered. She confirms that things are just the same. The venue is therefore the Jolly Crofters end of George’s Lane and bearing in mind the predicted icy roads first thing, the start time is 9.00am.

A cautionary word for YJ: I think the Brazaley (is that how you spell it?) access to the Jolly Crofters is best avoided.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

News From the Drey

Finally got chance to wish everyone a Happy New Year as I am off work today. Unfortunately the children are off school too but hey, you can't have everything!

New years resolution was to enter more races this year, so on 1st January I sent off my application for the Garstang 10k feeling very pleased with myself. Was just wondering this morning whether to wear fell shoes or tennis raquets on my feet when the call came to say it had been cancelled.

Hoping to make Saturday's run, If only to see whether Mr K does eventually run out of steam or if he has been having me on all this time!

Can't remember whether I'm a squirrel or a nut or a combination but hopefully you'll know who I mean!

SN (Warning ~ may contain nuts)


Thanks EtU. I will make all relevant enquiries and post a decision regarding time and venue asap tomorrow.

Not so fast

I seem to have missed the fact you have had a birthday, NicO, so belated many happy returns.

As to Saturday, not knowing how bad conditions are I cannot join in the debate on where to park. There does seem to have been more snow in Horwich than Longton so I will probable use the motorway as far as the Reebok stadium and then meet wherever as instructed. I'm not too bothered about a later start as we shall probable make slow progress and will need to be out as long as possible if we are to get any distance.

Locally we have had about 3 inches of snow and this has now packed down and today has been getting a touch shiny which made my lunchtime run interesting. With safety in mind all outings this week have been very slow. I will be out again first thing in the morning before the sun has chance to put a further shine on the ice and when the roads are relatively quiet.
Thurs UTUP

Hoping to keep my appointment in Horwich tonight, but then going straight home to dig the car out of it's now not very strategic spot. So won't be at utup.

Found the plastic garden rake very effective at clearing snow off the drive, had the car been on it I would have had less work to do!


Saturday 9th UTUP???

In this case the "U"s stand for unusual.

I'm not too keen on a later start, but if we are to shift, I'd vote for 9:00, rather than 9:30.

With regard to place, bear in mind that parking will be difficult in most areas, due to piled up snow and folk leaving their cars on the road, either having dumped them, or just not putting them on their drives to avoid digging them out. Perhaps a retired member could enquire whether our usual car park will be open and cleared - do a recce even, on a sunny afternoon.

But as ever, I'll go with the flow. Suggest that JtE assesses responses and takes an executive decision.

Thursday 7th UTUP???

Snowploughs have piled up snow on the east side of Chorley Old Road on the "rep strip" so any road work would need to be done in the road. Also, unmoved cars and the piles of snow would seem to make parking difficult in most places.

However, if anyone is interested, it might be exhilarating to go off-road as the snow, half moon and clear skies could make for good visibilty.

Any takers? If not, I'll run from home, or just stay home and shovel snow.
Does this remind anyone of Narnia? It's in Edgeworth on the way to Stephanie's.

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes. Made it to work on Monday but we have been closed since then. Just as well as the car is marooned half way down our undriveable drive.
Fabulous photos, here are ours from Tuesday afternoon's "run."

This Saturday

Regardless of where we meet on Saturday, and in consideration of those who have some distance to travel, how about a 9.00 or even 9.30 start?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What is it?

Great picture of the back garden Matt but what is that tumbledown structure that occupies the rear boundary of your site? Does it purport to be a fence by any chance? Oh, and is Christina intending to hang some washing out?

Am I still invited to dinner on Saturday evening?

Our Saturday Venue


Is there any point, at this stage, in agreeing a venue for this Saturday that might be more accessible and have easier parking than UP, for example, the entrance to Lever Park Avenue or The Jolly Crofters on Chorley Old Road? What think you anyone?

Pizza snow

Deep Pan Crisp and Even.
It took me nearly half-an-hour to get out of our Crescent on Monday, before the snowfall. I've not been out in the car since, so I'm hoping things improve before Saturday. Happy Birthday NicO whenever it is(was). Wasn't that the name of a TV program?
Here are a couple of pictures from our house.

The trees look nice now, but in summer they're much more effective than Factor 50 or a Factor 250 if there was one, and in Autumn we have lots of leaving parties(me and Christina comprise the party).

It's a Eucalyptus.
Happy Birthday Nic'O

Lots of love from

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Amble and Things

Great pictures on the fell NLN. I like the Counting Hill one and, yes the Hole in the Wall is recognizable.

Glad the heating is back on.

Yes, Saturday runs now need to be 15 miles at least, preferably incorporating bits of the Amble route.



Life in the Lowlands.

College Closed Tomorrow


TF 2 ~ EtU 0

1. Congratulations to TF for her well earned victory in the (my) FRA challenge, her racing mileage of 229.6 puts my meagre 41.85 to shame.

2. Also for making it into work today, I returned home after three hours on the road!

No Work Today – College Closed

Bad luck TF – always give it time!  How about you Nic’O, EtU?

No cars moving from Mill Lane

Today's Snow (1 of 7)

Well it’s not a partridge or a pear tree but well…

Today's Snow (2 of 7) Today's Snow (3 of 7)

Short walk into Borsdane Wood revealing a true winter wonderland.

Today's Snow (7 of 7)

Today's Snow (4 of 7) Today's Snow (5 of 7) Today's Snow (6 of 7)


Did they say they'd be back NLN? Looks like fun.

Anyone else make it in to work today, except those retired persons (obviously)? I arrived at 8:32am (only 2 mins late) to find our manager had cancelled the Manchester Community Dental Service today. That'll teach me for not letting them have my mobile number!

Looked absolutely magical this morning when I looked out the window, can't remember anything like this since I was 10yrs old. When I got to the main road, there was all sorts of chaos going on. Mountain Rescue were out, and a very nice man offered me a lift (and 2 others) down Beaumont Road. All credit to the Rail Service for getting me here, fingers crossed that they manage to get me back. I do know a short cut of about 13.5m though!

I think it's unlikely that I'll be out for a UTUP on thurs. I'm not out on Saturday as I've a booked trip to Paris for a couple of days (possibly?). Will keep you posted on further developments.


(edited by TF 16:54 reason : grammar)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Let There be Heat!

Just checked thermostat in hallway and we’re up to 7 degrees – Hurrah!  Another hour and it could be warm enough to risk a shower.  Went out yesterday to escape the ice house and get warm catching the sunset on Winter Hill, and as I said, you never know who or what you’re gonna come across.  Check out these guys having fun in the sun.

  WH January 2010 (2 of 6) WH January 2010 (3 of 6)

Apparently they had been airborne earlier, but the wind had dropped and they were having trouble finding the thermals – I did mention we had several pairs on the go at home but we seemed to be at cross purposes somewhat.

WH January 2010 (4 of 6)

Looking towards Counting Hill

WH January 2010 (5 of 6)

Sunshine on broken wall  Click on image above, light is amazing

WH January 2010 (6 of 6)

Afterglow of setting sun

WH January 2010 (1 of 6)

This look familiar Nic’O and JtE?

Hope you’re soon able to tunnel your way out Nic’O and MrK but that you’re snug and warm in the meantime. 

Some good suggestions JtE for Saturday.  Given the forecast for the next week may be safer to meet UP rather than risk trying to get to Belmont en masse.  Good idea about practising the route Back’O’ Belmont ‘though.  I’m sure we could incorporate that section without committing ourselves to the Tower of Terror!  15 minimum wouldn’t you say?


Amble Recce

Firstly, thanks for the photos NLN. A good record of a superb morning out. Also, I hope that the heating is now sorted.

Turning to the Amble, I always have difficulty in negotiating the heavily reeded area after the check point at GR 687167. Perhaps YJ or TF might have the right line. I would appreciate a recce of this area, perhaps incorporated into a long run. Other than that as many long runs as possible, ideally taking in sections of the Amble, would suit me. If appropriate, an occasional start could be made from the Black Dog at Belmont.

Has anyone got any ideas?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Fab photos NLN. My total miles for 2009 is 1222. Totally marooned here, no mail, no cars - hill is a sheet of ice. Water all frozen up outside. It's like living in the old days! Hope heating soon on NLN.

First Outing of the Year

A big turnout for our first run of the year.  Resolutions made (some broken already!) saw the Squad out in force in a bid to gain fitness for 2010 goals.   Lovely to welcome MrK aboard for his first outing with the SS, looking for a short 8-miler but not wanting to miss out on the fun in the blizzard on Great Hill meant that he carried on for the full 11.88 miles and 1700ft climbed.  Not bad for the conditions, but with everyone committed to the Amble in Feb upping the ante over the next few weeks will need to be the order of the day.  Still this won’t be a problem for Nic’O and MrK as the Two Crosses beckons in a couple of weeks time providing a very good opportunity for a longer run.

GH WH January 2010 (1 of 7)

Hordern Stoops – where TF generously shared her winnings

GH WH January 2010 (2 of 7)  GH WH January 2010 (4 of 7)  Looking back to Winter Hill over Spitlers Edge

GH WH January 2010 (3 of 7)

The stile below Great Hill

GH WH January 2010 (5 of 7)

GH WH January 2010 (6 of 7)

Great Hill in the blizzard

Running off on the Brinscall Triangle we encountered a falconer with a Harris Hawk (Parabuteo Unicinctus) of which Nic’O, MrK and myself had never heard of.  Not sure about our other members.  Research completed I can tell you that this rather splendid beast is recognised by its dark brown feathers with rust-coloured patches and a white-tipped tail.  As you can see below.

GH WH January 2010 (7 of 7)

Although natives of Central America they are now bred in captivity over here largely because of the Harris Hawk's unusually agreeable nature towards humans.  Apparently this makes them relatively easy to train for falconry.

You just never know who you’re going to bump into on the hill.