Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This Week ~ and Saturday in Particular

Didn't manage to get to Liver Hill last night, but still planning to UTUP Thursday ~ physio clinic Chorley Old Road 6:30.

Saturday, breaking with tradition and not Scafell Piking.  Planning to UTUP, unless someone comes up with something more adventurous, but must be back in time to register for the Pike Race.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Birthday Boy!

TaT (1 of 4) TaT (2 of 4) TaT (3 of 4) TaT (4 of 4)

Did he eat it?

March 2010 017

YJ says “I’ll bet he doesn’t”.

Erica says “Go on, eat it”.

Peter says “I’m very worried”.


March 2010 018

FSS says “If he does I’ll have a picture”.

Christina says “I daren’t look”.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Last Week Next Week

John, glad you enjoyed Friday, I'm sure we all did, apparently the Thatch is advertising for a new chef, was it something we said?

Apologies to new Ray who wasn't aware of the do, and thank-you to him for these photos of Saturdays run.

...when we visited Healey Nab:-

Then Great Hill

Then we decided not to visit the Tower of Terror.

Some of us visited the Bomber Memorial.

Before gradually dispersing as we neared home. An excellent morning.

Tuesday I'm doing Liver Hill from the Marlpits.

Thursday I'm doing my lonely UTUP from the physio clinic on Chorley Old Road at 6:30 and celebrating the first light Thursday evening of 2010.

Saturday, not sure yet.

John, did that bird carry that fish all the way from Africa?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The bird is back

The same female osprey has arrived back at Loch Garten for the eighth successive season, bang on time, and having flown probably from Senegal. Marvellous isn’t it?



Many thanks to all the members of our gang for making my 75th. such a memorable occasion. I was not very happy about my age as I woke up on Thursday but the efforts of everyone in the ensuing days made it more than bearable. Thanks EtU for organizing things at the T & T including the provision of the cake and the arrangements for the supplying of the candles. That was a scream! Thanks also to TLoB for that very eloquent blog posting. I am sure it was all undeserved.

Thanks to you all for dragging me along  and please remember that whilst I have passed this milestone I am still 21 in my head - so watch out!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just Your Luck EtU?

Now would I try a thing like that? Actually, since seeing your posting, I have tried very hard but have not come up with anything else worth publishing!

Birthday Greetings

I feel it would be remiss of me to let the occasion pass without saying a few words on JtE’s 75th birthday.

I have had the privilege of knowing JtE a long time and have spent many a happy hour in his company, whether it be running on the moors or sitting having a drink or enjoying a meal or just having a chat.

There is no doubt that JtE is one of life’s gentlemen. Unlike the rest of the Thursday night mob (historical note; my running days up north finished in 1999 and so all references refer to the 90s) his world does not revolve around beer, women and football (perm any combination you like) and he can be relied upon to try and raise the tone (probably easier now that I am down south).

His enthusiasm for running is just as strong as ever and there have been many occasions when JtE (and EtU) have nursed me back from a long back-induced lay-off, with both kindness and encouragement – something I am truly grateful for. His own comeback from serious illness is an example to us all.

So tonight please raise a glass in honour of JtE ~ Happy Birthday John.



Away Rucksacking at the weekend

Loved the anagrams JtE


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 25th and Saturday 27th.

Just My Luck

Just to spoil JtE's fun before he turns his anagrammatical talents in my direction, I have decided to come out and declare that I am, using my Sunday name, the "Widest Dwarf".


Mr. Beesley’s rudeness to our friend T’Y prompted me, some time ago, to look at a few other anagrams of a more kindly nature. I don’t know if T’Y had been in a band in his youth but, if so, they would have done rot song. If he does his mountain marathon it will be one strong do. If anyone reading this worries that they might occasionally jump a traffic light they shouldn’t because tons go on red. They say that T’Y was godfather to a boy who took up singing and became a tenor godson. Finally, the advice given by many a Yorkshireman, in his vernacular, is “Ner nod to dogs”.

T’Y, as many of you know, supports Huddersfield Town, also known as the Derided Woefuls: HTN.

Has Spring Sprung?

The (probably not so) old ditty goes:

Spring has sprung,
The Grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdy is.
The bird is on the wing;
But that's absurd,
The wing is on the bird.

Any more known?

But seriously (only slightly more so) when does spring actually begin?  My understanding is that it traditionally starts on the vernal equinox, which is on the 21st of March, although the popular press now seems to favour the 1st of March; perhaps that's just if there is a shortage of news or a surfeit of lambs to photograph - YJ will tell you how, as a cub reporter, he was the one sent out with the photographer to throw an unwilling lamb into the air to be pictured as if it were leaping, full of the joys of spring.

But checking (now he's starting a paragraph with a conjuntion!) on I now find that the equinox in Manchester was on 17th March (sun rose 6:18 set 18:17) so when did spring start?

Moving on, my spring starts when the clocks change and I can get onto the fells in the light after work.

Would anyone like to celebrate this with me by joining me UTUP on Maunday Thursday 1st April? I'll be there.

By the way, (or even, by the wayside) I saw my first trace of green on a hawthorn hedge this morning, perhaps that means that spring really has sprung.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Great Comeback

It was all the mother-in-law’s fault. If she hadn’t fallen off her broomstick and broken her hip, I would have spent my weekend in Bristol not Bolton. Anyway as a result of her accident we headed north on Friday, the M6 was its usual self so by the time we reached Bolton I was in need of beer. So I immediately thought of EtU and headed for the T&T. After recovering from the shock of getting change from a fiver for two pints, I said to EtU that I had been given the all clear to try a slow run after a 26 month lay-off. A run was duly arranged.

The next morning , (Saturday in case anyone is not paying attention), I parked up at the bottom of the rough track leading to the Pigeon Tower, and set off – walking. That track was steep enough when I could run and was used to the hills (geographical note; no such thing as hills in Berkshire), so in my present palsied state there was no way I was even going to attempt to run it. However, once I reached Georges Lane, I broke into a slow jog and managed to get as far as the Pike Race gate without walking, which, before anyone starts scoffing, was a great achievement considering how bad I was a year ago. By this time it had started raining, the clag was down and I was getting cold, so I started down the Pike Race route and soon saw three figures coming up the hill, EtU, JtE and a lady, and further off in the distance the unmistakeable figure of Rondest Goon. I was introduced to Pauline, and I was delighted to meet up again with JtE after almost five years. Such was my joy that I was equally glad to see Drongo Tones again, although of course this did not prevent me from insulting him. One of the great features of Thursday nights used to be Goon baiting, and I had a lot of catching up to do. It really isn’t anything personal, but I do like traditions and I feel it would have been remiss of me not to hurl a few (?) insults in the direction of the Strong No Ode.

 Of course, as soon as we started the ascent of the Pike, the insults had to stop – too knackered to talk. At the top we sheltered from the rain before setting off down. We headed up Georges Lane and then peeled off to Noon Hill. At was at this point I realised just how unfit I had become, and I decided to turn back along with EtU who had to be home by 11. An undignified clamber over a fence and a nice run across and down the slope soon brought me back to the car, tired and wet but happy.

Touch wood, the back stood up to it all ok, and I am very grateful to the others for their support. I look forward to the next time.

The Lord of Brentford

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ras Yr Aran (10m/2500ft) Saturday 20th March

Well I'm still none the wiser as to how it's pronounced, as I meant to ask but forgot. I'm equally none the wiser as to the view from the top as I didn't linger long and you could only see about 10m ahead. It was handy then that there was a fence to follow all the way up. Although I was getting a bit worried as to whether I should be on the left or the right.

Rightly too, as just before the final summit, the fence came to a 'T' junction. Not too critical this year as there was a snow drift allowing me to walk over the top of the last part, so technically I didn't 'climb' the fence. For reference (and not to upset the organiser/farmers) you need to be on the left side as you near the summit to gain access to the last ladder stile.

A runner ahead with local knowledge, helped me avoid the worst of the rocks on the way back down. Once we'd come out of the mist I could then finally enjoy the view coming down the lovely grassy descent. I think taking in the view was why I managed a spectacular cartwheel at one point. So eyes firmly fixed on the terrain ahead after that. I'd set myself a target of 3hrs, and think I managed about 2:52/2:53, no results published as yet.


Even More on the Two Crosses

Had a great morning. The Two Crosses was great fun. Managed to finish in 2 hours 53 minutes. Got a bit lost at the top with the mist.

Did the 18 miles which was really just short of 17 miles.

Great company as usual as you would expect at a fell run. The feeding stations were excellent with brandy and whiskey provided at the naughty corner.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

More on the Two Crosses

I staggered in even later than NicO - much later. I also started later, about thirty minutes later to allow last minute entries and late arrivals to set off. With fellow sweeper, we set off and were within about 20 yards of the back-markers where the two routes split (and they followed the 18 mile route). We continued on the full route but never actually caught the final 25 mile finishers due to a combination of their good speed, time spent at checkpoints checking over potential disappearances and me suffering from a blistered heal from about two hours in. I was also purposely carrying a fair sized pack of about 7kg for practice. BTW, we were walking not running and I shall be throwing the walking socks I wore into the bin as that was the diagnosis of the cause of my discomfort.
The weather varied from coldish fog early on to blazing sunshine in the early afternoon, finishing with a light shower in the final mile. Only 91 of the 214 who started actually took the full 25 mile route and I suspect a good proportion were runners.
Following two days of two hour (or more) runs, I found it a hard day out - much harder than last week's Hobble but it's all miles in the bank.
Changing the subject, Beesley was much better behaved in the evening as we ate at the Bay Horse where the food was quite good (although the menu a little limited) but the beer was unsurpassable.
Pre London Fleet Half Marathon

Only half successful at the Fleet Half Marathon in that I was unable to improve on my Blackpool time. Hugely rewarding was the win in the over 70 group with a time of 1hr 42 min 23 secs which came on a much more undulating course on a day approaching 15 degs, so different from the snow and ice of a month ago.

An initial short lap round Fleet reminded me why I don't like these big entry marathons as bunching made the first mile painfully slow a pace which later picked up to average 7 mins 39 secs per mile.

Roger was the star of the day with a time of 1 hr 25 mins but beaten for the over 60 prize by a couple of seconds, losing out to a man he had battled with over the last few miles

Sally managed 2 hr 11 mins, slightly slower than her target, finishing strongly and looking good for her London debut.

Overall positions will have to wait until publication of the official results.

Next up is the Brighton Marathon in four weeks time.

Two Crosses

Just staggered in from the Two Crosses LDWA event. We managed the 18mile route (which is 16.6miles really) in 3 hours 22. It really was a lovely event. The dog was great but looked absolutely shattered when we got back. New Ray passed us fairly early on looking strong.
NicO, Mr K and Rafe.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


NLN, T’Y and I started from the UP and ran to the Rivington and Blackrod School and then to the Pike. It was then back to the school and up the Pike again. The reason for this start was for me to consider the Pike Race seriously. On the second ascent of the Pike we met EtU who had started from home before visiting Two Lads and the Pike. Near the gate at George’s Lane we met Chris Beesley who greeted T’Y using his irreverent but long standing alternative name “Rondest Goon”,  an anagram of his real name. I suppose that  “T’Rondes Goon” might be another alternative Chris. I think T’Y is very tolerant. After visiting the Pike we all went to Noon Hill where EtU and Chris left for home and the rest of us went via Hordern Stoops to the Bomber Memorial area and then to Yarrow Reservoir, Rivington Green and to the barn.

A thoroughly wet morning with the clag down all the time, with George’s Lane awash and with frog spawn in virtually every large puddle. NLN’s Garmin device was not working. My map and wheel method gives 10 miles only.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Saturday 20th

Don't wait for me at the Barn, I'll look out for you on the Pike.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Old results

The mention of the old HH results (EtU and JtE in front of me! Must have been the Leeds bloke's fault - wouldn't have happened if YJ was partnering me) and the photo has spurred me to post this.
Just been tidying up some old results binders and have found the results for the 1982 Winter Hill Race. Don't know how I've got them : suspect somebody had a spare copy as I wasn't evening running then.
Well down the list in 210th place in 23:02 is a certain E Swift of Cambridge Harriers. I wonder who that could be? representing Northen Vets, 168th in 22:00 is a J. Swift - suspect only recently acquiring vet status. In between them is an A. Sweatman (200th in 22:42) and all these are in front of the current FRA Chairman 232nd in 23:53. There was also an R. Swift (U/A) listed.
Looking at the results I suspect the standard was a little higher with 89 breaking 20 minutes and 11 under 18 minutes (compared to last year when only 14 sneaked under 20 minutes and only Rob broke 18 minutes). However, the route may have been a little more direct back in 82 with less fencing to slow you down.
Below are the results:

Saturday the 20th.

UTUP for me.

It would be great to see Chris Beesley again Y’T if that’s who you are talking about.

Arrangements are that we will meet at the UTUP  and initially run to the starting point for the Pike race. From there it’s up the Pike, down to the school and up the Pike again. From the Pike it will be a longish run with EtU peeling of at some point. The longish run route is not yet agreed but perhaps out to Great Hill returning via White Coppice and possibly Brinscall. I hope you can arrange for Chris to fit in with this. The longish run idea can be adjusted.

Don’t we all cast insults in your direction?

Saturday UTUP, with possible interloper

All being well, I should be able to join at UTUP this Saturday. However, we may have an interloper in our midst, if allowed - but because he doesn't run much, he has asked for the route, and to join us for the final hour.
I know its trouble, but we have to excuse 'im, cos he's from darn sarf and has been known to cast insults in my direction. He is also known to be about 10% of the support for a funny little football club that plays in red and white stripes. Both he and said football club have connections with apiaries.
So if anyone has an idea of the route for Saturday (a first?), can you let me know, or should I say buzz off?
Collective clowns,sorry, nouns

Appropriate in view of our activity are;

A trip of wildfowl(EtU falls over)
A fall of woodcocks
A descent of woodpeckers
A run of poultry
A ballet of swans(trouble with balancing (JtE - and thats just getting out of bed)
A company of parrots(next Friday at the T&T)
A charm of hummingbirds(the ladies) - How sycophantic can you get?
A host of sparrows(referring to the lower appendages when Joss Naylor and I meet up)

There is no such thing as a magnificence of Swifts. There is, appropriately; a screaming frenzy of, or God forbid, a box of. My own noun, from experience, would be; A lot of.

Thursday 18th and Saturday 20th

UTUPing both days this week.

Collective Bird Names

A magnificence of swifts?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Collective Bird Names

Thanks EtU for Monday’s thoughts. Here are a few more collective names for various species of birds:

A bevy of quail

A bouquet or a nye of pheasants

A cast of hawks (presumably any type of hawk)

A covey of partridges

A flight of swallows

A gaggle or a skein of geese

A siege of herons

A trip of dotteral

A wisp of snipe

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saturday ~ Again

Pictures from NR

Two Lads, our first top.  Who is that guy with no strides?

Fourth top.  Not getting any warmer.  TF agreed to appear on this one.

Apologies to JtE and TF for not speaking when NR and I rushed past approaching the top barn.  NR was pushing me to a new PB on one of my timed descents (Wasdale training).

Monday, March 15, 2010


Saturday ~ During the run the conversation turned at one point to the collective names for various species of birds (in passing, what do sheep, deer and species have in common? Their plural is the same as their singular).  Couldn't remember the ones in question at the time, but reference to an old cutting, originally provided by JtE, revealed that a "flock" of rooks is more correctly a parliament, and ravens assemble in an unkindness; well they would, wouldn't they?  And for TF, who has been birdwatching, instead of pulling teeth, goldfinches assemble in a charm.  And for Matt, who has been watching teeth, instead of pulling...

The Quarterly "Do" ~ Thatch and Thistle, Friday 26th March; apologies to those who can't make it.

The Hobble ~ "Exactly one week before his 60th birthday, John Coope was Horwich RMI's first finisher in the 1995 Haworth Hobble event, now renamed the Wuthering Hike.
With the club's top team of Albert Sunter and Tony Varley retiring after 23 miles and the other pipped within two miles of the finish, John led his younger and wearier partner Ed Swift to finish one minute ahead of Gordon Stone and Peter Watson in 90th position of the 260 pairs that started the race at 8am on a cold blustery Saturday morning.
Their time of 6 hours 40 reflected the conditions which were cold, wet underfoot yet dry most of the day apart from the odd hail shower."
BEN March 1995

A Grand Day Out


Had a lovely day out on Saturday at the Haworth Hobble, fine conditions and with YJ shouldering the responsibility for navigation, I was able to trot round taking a few photos en route. 

Hobble (1 of 12)

The start – a last minute move from the community centre to Haworth Primary School

Hobble (3 of 12)

     Team 24…   plus some local yokel wearing a Horwich vest!

Hobble (8 of 12)

First climb of the day up to the moor

Hobble (2 of 12)

Hobble (4 of 12)

With a bottleneck at the stile up to Withins Heights

Hobble (5 of 12)

Hobble (6 of 12)

Hobble (7 of 12)

Great photo posted by JtE of the race in 1992 at Widdop Res, with our very own EtU and JtE (Ed’s still wearing that hat on our Saturday runs).   Those of you that have received your copy of the FRA mag will have seen another photo of the same place same year – well here’s a third one for you .

I know which one I prefer, hats off (especially EtU) to those who completied the ‘92 race – I would have stayed in bed!

Hobble (9 of 12)

First sight of Stoodley Pike (pronounced Studley by a Bingley runner) looks a long way off

YJ’s reputation as a route finder must have gone before him because descending into Todmorden before the climb up to Stoodley Pike he collected a following of about 15 runners who stuck like glue.  Being of a mischievous nature I suggested he stop to tie his shoe lace to see what they would do, but of course he’s far too much of a gent.  Anyway we unintentionally missed the first path up and of course so did everyone else!  However a Highland runner carrying, until then, an unused map shouted that there was a second path up.  John and I set off cross country and beat them all up to the monument, joining the second path about two thirds of the way up.  Quite pleasing really!

T’Y had given us plenty notice that he would be leaving us about half way round, so we girded our loins and hardened our hearts to this fact so that when it occurred we weren’t too downhearted!

Hobble (10 of 12)

Not long before we got to the top

Hobble (11 of 12)

Not far now…  Leeshaw Reser

 Hobble (12 of 12)

Hurrah – finished

Thanks for a great day out YJ.   Been floored by a shocking cold since getting back but hoping to recover by weekend, got a late entry for Two Crosses but will have to see how it goes. 


Saturday's Hobble

Just want to say a big thank you to YJ and NLN for being my pacesetters. I'm sure that if you'd not been there, I would have tried to do something stupid like try to keep Ian in sight early on and that would have resulted in me crawling the last 20 miles instead of the fun of gradually hauling in those in front of me and (until "Top of Stairs"- the summit of the hill after the final checkpoint) successfully overtaking those in front of me.
I've done a slightly more extended write-up on my Pyrenees training blog so rather then repeat, here's the link.
Hopefully NLN will post up some of the pics she took en route.
Well done to the intrepid Hobblers.

The home team on Saturday consisted of JtE, EtU, NicO, New Ray and TF. The plan was to do all the climbs, so we set off for 2 Lads, the Pike, Noon Stone (NicO and New Ray skipped this one - too busy chatting) and Winter Hill. TF took the easy option for the last one and didn't drop to Georges Lane.

From the trig we continued along the wall to Counting Hill where we said 'ta-ra' to NicO who headed for home and the remaining team members headed back to the lower barn via the track to the mast and 2 lads (+ the Pike again for EtU and New Ray).

JtE and TF's route was just over 11m and 3hrs. We were both glad to be back at the cars as the biting wind took its toll and were wise not to have attempted any further.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hobble 2010

As we were crossing Widdop Dam during Saturday's Hobble I remarked that we should ask EtU or JTE to publish the famous crossing in storm conditions on an earlier occasion. JtE must be a mind reader!

And so to Saturday's report. The weather, although cool, could not have been better and the ground after several rainless days was dryer than I can remember for that event. So why did it take me and team partner NLN 7 hrs 38 mins to complete the 32 miles? I have to hold my hand up and confess to being less fit than I thought and being the slow one in the later stages. The three miles added on by the changed start venue could not have helped (the organisers only credited it as two miles), especially as we had to pass the former finish on the run in.

T'Y kept us company for the first half before pulling away to a very impressive finishing time while we hoped to be in contention for the prize for mixed couples with a combined age of 120 years had the been one.

The miles were good training for both of us though probably not the best preparation for next Sunday's Pre London Fleet Half Marathon.

Hobble / 92

As some like a bit of nostalgia here is a picture taken on the Widdop Reservoir dam in 1992. As a word of explanation, I always looked old. I would be 56 and EtU, I think, 45.



Pubs Galore

Yes T’Y, I’ve worked in Halifax as well as in Brighouse, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, Sowerby Bridge, Riponden and more. It fact you name the place and I’ll have left my mark. In Halifax I didn’t come across the Allan Fold but I worked at the Horse and Jockey. I also altered the Old Cock where,on the first floor, there is a large room, like a concert room, and a meeting was once held there that marked the start of the Halifax Building Society. I’ll bet you didn’t know that.

As you will appreciate, it took a Lancashire man to knock your pubs into shape. About 50 in all. I had a glorious professional life EtU!

Friday, March 12, 2010

And no Holme Moss for me

I ought to do this one but as I'll be in the Pyrenees, will have to give it a miss. The reason I should do it is that one of its checkpoints is Crowden where I spent a couple of happy summers in my youth - in fact if I'd not been there, I'd not be here in Horwich - some of you know why, some of you don't but I'll leave you guessing.
Apologies accepted JtE -I presume your visa has been revoked as they must have found out what you used to get up to in the hostelries around t'Halifax such as t'Allan Fold and t'Horse 'n' t'Jockey :-)

Sorry T’Y

Very remiss of me. I wish you all the best in your native land!

So I don't need any luck?

Or are you wishing me something else, J?
Shame you and Ed aren't doing it?


I’ll be there UTUP.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stone me, no Holme Moss

Thanks TF for the offer of a recce of the Holme Moss route. Fortunately us really oldies don't have to do the long races in the championship so at the moment it is not in my plans. I'll let you know if there is a change.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Hobblers

All the best for Saturday NLN and YJ. It looks as though the weather is set fair. It’s a long way so don’t be dragged along at the start. Take your time and take on fuel whenever possible.

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th.

Had a chicken tarka masala last night.  It's like chiken tikka masala ~ but 'otter!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Walking Wounded

Thanks for the image JtE. It just about sums me up. Thin, looking rusty, and Walking.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Don't worry YJ, I'll be there on Saturday at the Lower Barn to make you all look like the super-elite athletes that you are. I'm currently doing an impression of the 'Tin Man' having done Black Combe (8m/3400ft) on Saturday and the re-arranged navigating event (3hr) at Macclesfield Forest on Sunday.

The marshalls remained at their posts (see last year's entry) long enough for me to make it round on Saturday in 2hrs and 16mins, a good hour and ten mins after the winner. Results can be found on the Black Combe website. Two of the runners finishing behind me (they were in front on the first half) were husband and wife. The wife having had an equally disappointing run last year having turned back at the 2nd CP as she wasn't confident of navigating in the mist. So there was at least two of us finishing with a grin!

My three hour 'recovery' run yesterday meant I'm not grinning today. But if I've got my sums right I could have finished top of the league for the LV40s, having tied on 195pts with the lady in 1st place yesterday who was ten minutes quicker then me. I'll have to wait and see when they publish the updated tables. (Results at


What’s all this?

Now YJ this sort of talk will not do! “Spoiling the party”? I don’t think you would know how to. “Holding everyone back”? Don’t we all have our off days? If I had run six miles before our group run I would have been on my knees. Everyone was heavy legged last Saturday. So, no more of this, and I am confident that all our friends share my sentiments!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Must improve!

Sorry for the poor performance on Saturday holding everyone back from a fast run. The trouble is I need the extra miles and a 7.00 am start gives me the best chance of a long run and so that will have to be my approach to the Saturday outings from now on.

If I continue to spoil the party for everyone else I shall have an alternative route ready for when you all run off into the distance. A more positive approach would be to say that I will improve and will be able to keep up. We shall see.

Saturday's run gave me 21.5 miles in 4 hours 52 minutes and I gain encouragement from the fact that after parting company I ran all the way back via the Belmont road, Black Dog, Hordern Stoop, and Amunition Corner - such is the restorative power of jelly babies and Lucozade caffeine boost. Total mileage for the week was 78.5 which could go some way to explaining the tiredness.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

To the Tower

The group today was NLN, NicO, YJ, EtU and me. YJ had run six miles before meeting the rest of us and NicO was, again, delivered by David with a view to making her own way home.

The decision was made to go via NLN’s route to Spitlers then to the Tockholes road turning to the tower near to Slipper Lowe car park. During the run in to the tower YJ became a bit weary and decided not to visit the tower, meeting the others again on their return. At the tower EtU immediately turned for home and the rest of us left  in a piecemeal manner and regrouped with YJ at the point of descent from Darwen Moor. At the Tockholes road YJ decided to go directly via Belmont Road to Belmont and back to the barn. The remaining three of us went via Catherine Edge and from a point above Dog Bucket Farm NicO carried on home directly and NLN and I went via the farm, Belmont Bleach Works and Hordern Stoops to the finish.

The environment at the tower was as cold and miserable as ever. As usual, we were glad to get away!

16.5 miles for NLN and me.

Friday, March 05, 2010

On the Matt

Thanks Matt, for your health update. Sorry that progress is slow but that is usually the case with an Achilles tendon injury. Hope you’ll be out with the gang before too long and I hope the physio’s attention works before he bankrupts you. When I responded to SN’s health update I gave her a picture of herself. In order that you might not feel neglected I repeat yours.

Walking Man                 

Can't Ach it

Noting that the other injured party had given an update on her progress I thought I should give an update on mine. You may have vague recollections of me. I used to turn out on a Saturday morning, admittedly on a rather inconsistant basis. I'm the extremely old chap with extremely thin legs and an extremely thin brain. Ah! Now you remember. As opposed to SN, I have dropped off the edge of the world, or to be more precise I was rather gleefully pushed off. Anyway I've clawed my way back on despite much stamping on fingers.

For me, there's been lots of iceing and plenty of stretching it out. But the Christmas cake is nearly finished now. My recovery from the Achilles is a series of plateaus. I tried a 30 minute run on the park last week but suffered an adverse reaction, and that was just from the walkers on the park. Anyway I moved back a plateau but have had another go this week. It wasn't as bad but it's still not right. I'll try a run round T&E res. this weekend. If it's not right I may have to give in to the voracious income demands of a Physio, which I've been desperately trying to avoid.

On my last run before injury I met t'Yorkshireman on Winter Hill. Since then I've been in decline whereas he's come on leaps and bounds, so to speak. So if you're on the moors and it's a choice of meeting up with him or me, it's a no-brainer.
Avoid both of us!

Well done to everyone for their personal achievements but in particular to YJ for his remarkable time in the half-marathon. There can be few better road runners in the Country, in his age category.


UTUP for me.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This Week

UTUPing Thursday 4th and Saturday 6th.

Last Saturday

Fabulous pictures NLN and EtU. One bonus in this exceptional winter has been the opportunity for some excellent photography. The picture of Burnmoor Tarn reminds me of a time when I was there and saw a family approaching the house obviously about to occupy it. I asked a lady, presumably the mother, how they had managed to arrange the occupancy. “We own it” was her tolerant reply!

Along the Coffin Route

The old Coffin Route from Wasdale Head to Boot should, for historical correctness, be traced in that direction, but logistics dictated that Dean and I travelled in the reverse direction on the morning of Saturday 27th Feb, with our local guide.

The day was bright and clear and apart from some frost underfoot, conditions were ideal.  Pausing on Bulatt Bridge for a photo stop produced the following:

The view over Burnmoor Tarn towards Miterdale, with the Lodge visible on the far bank.

Looking up Hardrigg Gill towards Scafell.

Then it was over the final brow and down into Wasdale.

Signs of spring towards Yewbarrow...

...but still very much winter on Scafell Crags.

As we passed through the car park near Brackenclose we chatted to the support team for one Ian Taylor, who could be seen descending Yewbarrow, seven and a half hours into his winter BG attempt ~ anything known?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Sunday from the Smithy

Having left Nic’O and JtE after Saturday morning’s run, I dashed home for a quick shower and a word with the bricky who was rebuilding the pillar knocked over a couple of weeks back and motored up to Lattrig.   By a stroke of luck R4 was replaying Othello with Lenny Henry in the title role – very emotional.  Anyway having got to the car park below Skiddaw, I missed FSS and Helen (BG Aspirant) on their return to the support vehicle manned by Rae (partner of Helen).  The tops were completely shrouded in dense white cloud, although Lattrig was clear as a bell.  I passed a pleasant time watching the folk descending and had a little stroll onto Lattrig.

On returning to the car I chatted to a few walkers and gave a lift to one solo walker who had become separated from his companions, a frightening experience in the whiteout conditions in which he found himself.  On arrival at the Smithy on the edge of Thirlmere, owned by the Gritstone climbing club, with whom the Rucksack Club have reciprocal rights, I placed another log on the fire and it wasn’t long before my three companions arrived. 

Hot drinks imbibed and tales of the day ensued and I have to say I wasn’t sorry to have missed the two-leg recce of the BG route endured by FSS and Helen.   There’s no doubt that Helen is well on the way to being in great form for her May attempt and it’s a bit of a shame that we’ll be in Scotland on that weekend.  Three big weekends ahead will give her and FSS plenty of bang for their bucks with the High Peak Marathon, Haworth Hobble and Edale Skyline in the offing

Excellent evening with good food and wine fuelled a relatively short Sunday outing from Little Town over the first leg (anti-clockwise) visiting Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head.  Much better conditions on Sunday with high cloud, but again bitterly cold with a biting north wind.   9 miles with 2,547ft climbing.Dale Head (1 of 6)

Rae (BG completer) pointing out route nuances to Helen

Dale Head (2 of 6)

Climbing to Dale Head (FSS)

Dale Head (3 of 6)

Dale Head Summit

Dale Head (4 of 6)

Rae and FSS – bit chilly for a dip

Dale Head (5 of 6) 

Definitely one to come back to in summer

Dale Head (6 of 6)

Looking back to Hindscarth from Little Town.

UTUP-ing Saturday



Difficult conditions for running with much more snow on Great Hill than anticipated.

Great Hill (5 of 6)

  Although bitter cold doesn’t bother some of our GangGreat Hill (2 of 6)


Great Hill (3 of 6)


Great Hill (4 of 6)

Ground truly saturated with Nic’O having to be extracted from the bog on one occasion.

Still pity the High Peak Marathoners, of whom FSS will be one, setting off this Friday at 10.00pm.  42 Miles over Kinder, Bleaklow and other bogs too numerous to mention – and when a ladies Rucksack Club team was mooted I ran like hell – in the opposite direction!

Well done YJ at Noonstone, it's a tough one especially the bit across Turley Holes Moor. If you're thinking of doing the series then Holme Moss in July is another good one. It's one of my favourites, I'll be missing it out this year because it's a championship race but would be happy to show you round the route (the bits that are allowed of course!). There are a couple of bits that are definitely worth reccying just to save some vital minutes.

I can manage a utup this thurs, but I'm off up Black Combe on Saturday.


Monday, March 01, 2010

YJ at Noon Stone

Looks hard work YJ!

Back to Back Races

Well maybe I should know better at my age but over the weekend I managed not one but two races. Luckily my commitment to competing in the English National Cross Country Championships stopped me from entering Noonstone. More later.

Ended up just me in the car going over to Leeds as Pete wanted watch the 11am race. I duly parked at former clubmates' house who live only five minutes away from the course. By that time I was not in a good mood as the Terriers had turned first half domination into only a 1-0 lead to be followed by then going 2-1 down to that lot from the city where I now was. No problems as they later recovered for yet another home draw - and retained the only unbeaten home record in the division.
Got over just in time to cheer on the U13 boys (we actually had three in the race!), met up with Pete, got my timing chip and had a little jog around and chatted to my friends from Abbey Runners. We nearly had 3 seniors but Gary was suffering from a cold so took the wise decision not to race and just support us.
3pm and were off. Had forgotten which pen number we were in so just set off at the back of the field : I needed to take it steady as the muscles behind the knee (semimembranosus?) were very tight. So took it steady with lots of unfamiliar vests and only Barry Chester who I recognised a little in front of me. Gradually moved up and found my level. Made ground on the descents and struggled on the hills a bit (always used to be the opposite). In the end managed a good sprint finish for a time of 61:34 to see Pete just ahead of me in the finishing funnel. Although I'd never seen him in the race, I finished only 37 seconds adrift. Looking back at the results of the last time it was held on the same course in Roundhay Park (2004), I had improved by 9 minutes so obviously very happy. I was also close to beating my old boss from 25 years ago (he is to blame for me running!), just 6 seconds adrift. With a drier course I may have ducked under the hour (saw a few come a cropper on the muddy descents).
I had been invited back to my old clubmates (Colin and Hetta) who were having a bit of a party so when I got there I got news from returnees from Noonstone (nice to meet you, Leeds Rhino and fjellrünner) and the lovely conditions that YJ had to endure. One of them also had to rescue a young lady up to her waist in the bog. Also chatted with Brendan Bolland's sister and enjoyed some great food.
The weather forecast had suggested that Sunday wouldn't be a good day for turning out in the Lostock 6 but when the morning arrived it seemed pleasant enough, so at half ten I jogged over to the registration and got my number. Again it had to be a steady run but I still managed my fastest time since 2003 despite being somewhat weary in the final two miles. Bazza was well in front.

Coope's Dozen
JtE - I think your suggestion that Paul Murray's V50 time is a big ask for me is the understatement of the century! It's only 17 minutes slower than Kev's course record and faster than Brent's time.
It would however be a good warm up for me en route for my challenge. I think I need a steady run on it followed by a blast once I don't have to think about route choice. I suspect my previous best time is in excess of 4hrs30.