Friday, July 30, 2010

Gordon's GR10 - One Day to Go In The Pyrenees

From being one day behind after two nights at Gary and Debbie's near Ax-les-Thermes, I have since done five days in three so will now arrive in Banyuls tomorrow. The final part is so much easier especially if you have five kilos less on your back.

I did do a shortcut though - instead of taking the GR10 around Canigou, I took the short rout straight over the top so my earlier statement that I'd done my highest point has been superceded by 2744m about 9000 foot.

By the way I had 15 kilos on my back and was doing two days in one!

Weather has been quite favourable at times with a cool wind although this afternoon and Wednesday had hot climbs to the gite d'etapes.
Also more opportunity to eat food with lunchtime stops on Wednesday and today at Arles Sur Tech and Le Perthus.
So it's all systems go for the final descent tomorrow to Banyuls and see you all sometime after Wednesday.

Hope to get a run fairly soon after I get back. As I've not run for nearly two months, I may be a bit slow. On the other hand, you may say I've lost a bit of weight! I've now got four nights to put it back on in Banyuls and Paris.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The swallow nests are failing because the parents keep disappearing. Once one of the adults goes the other deserts the nest and the young fail. However there are 2 nests with very noisy chicks in and very devoted parents, so fingers crossed.

Hope the twites are not endangered because the cats killed quite a few before we put the bells on them and have even got a couple since. They do seem a bit easy to carch.

The buzzards were soaring this morning and make a strange sound, any ideas why? They seemed to be searching for food. The swallows get very agitated when they are around.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


A twitcher is defined in my dictionary as a bird watcher who tries to spot as many rare varieties as possible. Postings on this blog that relate to birds can hardly be categorized as twitching. They are simply the comments of people who have interests in addition to that of running and like to share them with their friends. However, point noted!

This Week

Aiming to UTUP Tues, Thurs & Sat ~ but not for long on Saturday as I have a daughter to marry off.

Apologies to anyone who turned out last Tuesday (20th) I was held up at work.

Twite Watch

Whilst generally deploring the various efforts to turn this blog into some sort of twitchers website, I must admit to showing some interest at the mention of the twite.  I recently had lunch with a couple old friends who had taken part in a twite survey. Can't remember whether this was primarily to help the twite population in its own right, or whether the twite is seen as an indicator of local conditions, a sort of canary of the fells.

Perhaps if you read this, Chris and Joyce, you could get in touch to remind me of the exact purpose.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saturday morn

Just a thanks to EtU and NLN for nursing me through my return on Saturday, though the climb up the ramp exposed my lack of climbing fitness. TF lasted till Two Lads before she'd had enough of me. Sorry you couldn't come along because of your BP problems NicO. Hasn't the US had some of those? JtE was missing, rumour has it, because of a knee problem. Sounds like a lame excuse to me.

Good luck to t'Yorkshireman. Keep going, and here's hoping YJ makes a quick recovery from his injury.

Hope to see you all after my return from Austria.

Blog Heading Picture

I like the new blog heading picture. I imagine it is the work of our transatlantic friends.

Buzzards and Swallows

It must be wonderful to have Buzzards around. To me, like Curlews, they are evocative of the wild. (EtU would say that I like them because they are big and they kill!) They are ground feeding, taking animals, birds (such as nestlings) and carrion. Whilst they would take a Swallow in this way I don’t think they would be capable of visiting the nest because of their size. A bird that would take them on the wing is the Sparrowhawk and I know that you hill people have them up there. I don’t know if they would be inclined to visit a nest in that restricted area but a bird that would is the Magpie. Other than that, I wonder if an owl could be responsible.



Sparrowhawk 2




Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gritstone Tryal

No don't ask, 'cos I don't know why it's spelt like that. But 'tryal' it was, well locating the first check point anyway. I did occur to me (once I'd cleared the half way cut -off, concentrating too hard before then) that I'd arrived with enough time to go and do a recce for CP1. Registration opened at 8.30am, race started at 9.30am (mass start) and you were given the map as you registered so you had time to plan your route.

What I should kick myself for was that I knew exactly where CP1 was, but like a lemming decided to follow everyone else down the wrong path over the cliff. I'd used the correct path about 6 weeks ago for an orienteering event on the same bit of Teggs Nose!!

Anyway rest of it passed without a hitch, and I got to explore a few more bits of the Peak District. Travelling down one tricky rocky path I was informed by a fellow runner that it was part of the route for the Bullock Smithy Hike and that it was a change for him to come down it in daylight. Having got to the bottom I thought it would be one event I might give a miss, the 56 mile length factored in the decision too!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to make midweek utups, but should be ok for 2 hrs on Saturday.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

PS We have got some Buzzards now but think they are catching the swallows. Do they do this? Nests keep failing and it isn't the cats now. Baby swallows hatched in the open shed, fingers crossed for them. We also have Twites, cute little sparrow like birds with stripy markings, thanks JtE for identifying them.
Hi Everyone
Sorry, meant to put this on a week ago but can never remember my password at work and forget at home. Congratulations and commiserations to everyone doing races etc. I am following the blog, just not adding.
I am struggling to get my BP down with associated headaches etc and am struggling with the different drugs my gp keeps trying. The last batch brought my sodium levels down to the point where I was nearly passing out on long, hot runs. So I am off those and the BP is soaring. The only Pbs I have now are in bp units. Anyway am not doing the Saturday run until it all stabilises, or it kills me, but am doing a shorter run with David to keep some fitness. Last week we explored different routes to and from the T of T starting at the information centre, 5 miles. Today we explored alternative routes, yet again round the T of T, to meet the Amble route above Catherine's Edge. Lots of climb and 7.66m.
Hope to be back soon.
Have a great hol, NLN. (Do you want any more ginger, ordering some more this week?)

This Morning

Short one this morning - very social.  Good to see Matt back on the hill along with EtU and TF.  Up and over Two Lads where TF turned back to save her legs for tomorrow's outing.  Then Matt and I struck out along the quarry path to Burnt Edge, meeting back with EtU who decided to cut the corner.  On to the Trespass Stone and up to the stream junction to run along the Reser, over Whimberry Hill where we had a long stop to chat to Brian Walton before dropping down to Shady Dingle.  Climbing out was troublesome with bracken etc which reduced us to a walking pace more or less all the way to the Ramp which we ascended and visited the Trig Point.  Over the back to Noon Hill with the path a little more boggy than we've seen it recently, a quick drop off down to Little Houses and back to Lower Barn.

We all had people to see and places to go and bags to pack so settled for the 10.71 miles and 1,869ft of climbing.

We're all wondering what you've been up to Nic'O - give us a blog.

All packed up and ready for the Rockies waahaay!!

Ultra ultra?

Roger, brother in law of EtU and YJ, has just completed an outstanding long distance run, completing the Wainwright Coast to Coast traverse in five days, running up to 40 miles per day. He and running colleague John were each celebrating their six decades and were supported by two friends from a camper van.

They camped overnight and ran up to eleven hours a day. Possibly the worst weather week of the summer failed to dampen their determination and fortunately they encountered better weather as the week went on.

Pyrennees Man

Again, well done T’Y. I have nothing but admiration. I’ll bet you were glad to get to the comfort of Gary Devine’s place. Gary was a highly respected fellrunner during his early days in UK competition and, no doubt, he is equally respected now. It’s good to hear that he and his wife have done so well. Enjoy the easy bit and update when you can.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I'm aiming to be there at 8.30 tomorrow to at least make a start, but don't wait as I'm out tonight and could be suffering from an EtU style hangover.

Wasdale 2010!

Lots of excuses:-

High winds

Low Cloud


Delayed start ~ got cold

Inov8s were a bit worn for the wet conditions

Trained too close to the event ~ out with JtE and Botters on the Thursday

Body not used to no alcohol since preceding Sunday

Lots of other folk timed out ~ 46 (27.5%) of the 167 starters failed to finish, including such notables as Peter Ferris and JtE's nephew Paul 

The winner, Ben Abdelmoor of Ambleside ran a full hour and 8 minutes slower than Billy Bland's 1982 record of 3:25.

But ~ the real reason, apart from age and lack of inherent ability, was that I hadn't done the work. S'pose I could blame it on you lot for not having given me enough encouragement...

Knew it wasn't going well when I looked back, halfway up Illgill Head to find I was in last position.  Shortly after, the rest of the field disappeared into the clag. I was 5 minutes over the first cut-off time on Whin Rigg, but allowed through and after a poor descent I reached Greendale bridge after the feeding team had dispersed.

By then I had decided it wasn't worth continuing (using the boxing vernacular "to save myself further punishment") and managed to catch Joss speaking to a neighbour and asked him to phone through my retirement.

Must get fit for the Smithills Res Challenge ~ still on for Thursday 26th August?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GR10 on schedule

Landed last night at Gary & Debbie Devine's Pyrennees Haven
I've done an update on
Now 75% of the way through with what is supposed to be the easy bit to finish with.

Hope everything is going well. Hear you've finally had some rain!
Will have a read of the blog.

Gordon's G10

Nothing on t'Y's blog for two weeks now. Anything known?

I'll ring Julie (S) tonight to enquire.

Gordon, hope the only problem is that you're moving too fast to bother with the www.

Regards and very best wishes,


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coope's Dozen

Thank you all for your inputs; event hereby postponed/cancelled. I'll get something posted on the RMI blog and I'd be grateful if you would mention it to anyone you bump into that may have been interested.

In slower time we can discuss a revised date, or possibly an alternative outing, such as the Chipping Trigs or the Howgill 2,000s ~ suggestions?

Coope’s Dozen.

If it’s not to be abandoned for this year then option 3 does seem to be the one to go for.

Monday, July 19, 2010

This Week

UTUPing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Coope's Dozen

Option 3 seems sensible.  Not out Tues, hope to be out Sat, packing permitting - don't wait if not at UTUP.

I can manage a short utup this thurs and possibly short utup Saturday.

Found a couple of new paths (to me anyway) on my short trip out on last Saturday, one of which wasn't marked on the map. I don't think I'd want to try it in winter though but I've a least got a non too taxing little 6 miler for the summer evenings.

Prefer option 3 for Coopes 12


Coope's Dozen ~ Re-Schedule?

With NLN out of the country, YJ with his plantar fasciitis, the eponymous JtE with his problem knee and yours truly going to a wedding, the 31st is looking a bit lean. Should we change our plans?

Option 1 ~ No change ~ It will be a bit lean but it is the traditional day (one week before Borrowdale) but then Borrowdale's not very relevant to our immediate group.

Option 2 ~ Let it stand and set up an additional, later date for those that can't make the 31st ~ Avoids any change, and gives us all a second chance to turn out.

Option 3 ~ Postpone to a later date ~ Avoids a poor turn-out and gives us a chance to generate a decent amount of participation.

If we decide to cancel I'll make sure it's posted on the RMI blog and I'll contact anyone who I may have mentioned it to.

Views as soon as possible please, I prefer option 3.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


My thought for the day was to take it easy in consideration of the re-emergence of my knee injury sustained on the Pike race. I turned up at UP at about 8.45 and TF, also doing her own thing, by coincidence, turned up slightly afterwards. She went off to explore some new paths shown on her map and I went off at a walk/jog pace to go by Ammunition Corner to Spitlers, Great Hill, White Coppice and back to the barn. I struggled far more with the injury than I had last Saturday especially on the down hills and I think that, as before, the only remedy will be rest and the pills.

The weather was cold and wet. You will be able to imagine what Spitlers was like, particularly after all the recent rain. I envied those of you who were at home!

10.31 miles. 1553 /1559 feet climb / descent.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I'm planning on turning up tomorrow. Only want to do max of 2hrs. Any one else turning up so I know whether to wait or not?


I'm sure nobody is expecting me to turn out tomorrow with plantar problems but just to be clear I am still not running though the pain is reducing each day. I am still expecting to make a non combative appearance on the Coope's Doz and await details and/or instructions as to how I can best help.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


No UTUP-ing - off to Lakes to get a bit of practice for the Big Mountains.  Hope everyone's injuries not being too troublesome.

Look forward to reading what you get up to!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Running Fox

I mentioned this chap to some of you on one of our Saturday runs and promised to post a link to his blog which is:


It's a great read from a 78 years young fella who has just taken up racing again after a bit of a break!    In this post he tells the tale of his win of the MV65 gold medal in a race whilst on hols in Cornwall along with that of his (always referred to as) 'wonderful partner'.   More than just a running blog, I've been inspired for holiday locations, Britain and abroad, appreciation of the Dales, his home territory and much more...   (and no he's not my favourite uncle!)

Well worth becoming a follower.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


Yes, the weather must have been horrendous in Wasdale. My brother and Margaret stayed at The Wasdale Head Inn on Friday night as Paul, their son, was doing the fell race. Yesterday morning they left the inn to walk across the fields to the start of the race near Brackenclose but had to turn back and go by the road because the fields were flooded. They saw EtU at the start but don’t know how he went on. Paul packed it in, at Pillar I think.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


We certainly made the most of the morning given the extremely humid conditions and what I’m sure was a very painful knee affliction on JtE’s part, although he tried to make light of it.  Despite being able to see the lakeland fells by the end of the morning from Spitler’s, the weather put paid to Geraldine’s BG attempt and at least one other that we know about.  Driving rain and strong winds stopped play.  Be interesting to read EtU’s Wasdale race report, as conditions in Wasdale were apparently horrendous according to Joss when Pete placed a phone call on behalf of his wife.

Given the rather unpleasant sultry air, I left Two lades ‘til Tuesday and opted for a run out in the afternoon with Brucie who appreciated greatly the opportunity of a four mile knockabout with a ball launcher!

Out Tuesday UTUP if you can make it SN, TF.



The depleted team today was NLN, TF and me. TF was going to a posh wedding in the afternoon and only wanted a short run. We went to the Pike where she parted company. NLN and I then went via the direct route to Winter Hill taking advantage of the dry conditions. Here NLN correctly identified a Lapwing! At the mast the road was closed again  and will be for the next two months. The usual detour took us to the ramp and from there we wanted access to Catherine Edge so down we went to Belmont Road and as the Belmont Reservoir dam is still closed we took the Amble route as far as a large signpost at a crossing which is a checkpoint on the Amble. Nic’O will know where I mean. We initially turned right as NLN wanted to see the glut of Curlews seen previously in that area but none were seen. We retraced our steps and continued past the sign to Catherine Edge and to Hollinshead Hall. At this point my old knee injury had become a problem and at NLN’s instigation we took the shortest route back to the barn which was along Belmont Road to the track giving access to Spitlers and then by her route to Ammunition Corner and in. After a break I think NLN went on to do some reps of Two Lads.

The weather was initially warm and humid and a cool breeze in the Spitlers area was very welcome. Sorry about the slow progress, particularly in the latter stages NLN.

14.26 miles. Climbing: +2,291 / –2,306.


Friday, July 09, 2010

Moving swiftly on

I've read an article in the RSPB magazine which says that swifts travel about 500 miles a day, are in perpetual motion and sleep on the wing. We know a Swift like that, the YJ, except that he sleeps on the run. How else could he fit it in?

I never realised how much sense t'Yorkshireman has. He must have picked it up since he came to Lancashire, although when he lived there some could have drifted over the border to West Yorkshire, borne by a sympathetic wind. Anyway, he obviously timed his challenge so as to avoid the hysterical hype that always surrounds England's participation in the World Cup. I say "participation" rather than "bid to win", as only those with an unimaginable imagination, that is, the frenzied press, players and FabiGO Capello, could harbour such fantastical dreams. Next time, t'Y, could you take us with you? Please.
Well done so far and keep going. We don't want a Stone on knees in the Pyranees.

For myself, I didn't get as much climbing as I'd have liked last week in the Lakes, changeable weather being one of the reasons. However I do know what a hill looks like now. This week I have managed for the first time since January, to run for more than an hour-and-a-half and also, take to the Belmont hills. Time is freeing up a bit now and I'm targeting 24th July to rejoin the group, fitness and Achilles, which still posts reminders when I'm climbing, permitting.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wedding Dates

YJ’s wedding date and Preston North End fixtures reminds me that on our wedding day 50 years ago Bolton Wanderers were playing away at Newcastle United and they won 2 – 0.

From the sidelines

Footnote: I regret I shall not be UTUPing on Saturdays until further notice as the plantar fasciitis is still controlling events. The limp is less pronounced and the rest and ibuprofen gel seem to be having beneficial effects.

I am maintaining fitness by extra swimming and cycling (not necessarily at the same time) and will not return to running prematurely. I am glad to hear a date has been set for Coope's Dozen and will hope to make an appearance if only as a supporter.

Another footnote: EtU was quite right about our wedding date being fitted in around Preston North End first team fixtures. This has caused quite of a lot of problems with our anniversary clashing with races, a problem that I never anticipated all those years ago.

GR10 blog updated

just been updating my gordonsgr10 blog including comments. See you all in August

Monday, July 05, 2010

This Week

UTUPing Tuesday 6th and Thursday 8th, then in the Lakes for a week; next local public appearance Tuesday 20th.

Coope's Dozen

Omitted from JtE's Saturday morning report was mention of our impromptu committee meeting in the vicinity of Hordern Stoops, at which it was decided that our annual running of Coope's Dozen will be on Saturday 31st July.

Unfortunately, when I returned home, I was informed that this is also the date of our eldest daughter's wedding. There may also have been a suggestion that perhaps I should not have needed reminding of this.

Suggest that the show, indeed both shows, should go on. I'll appear for the early part of the dozen, but will need to proffer my excuses and leave well before completion.

I was only young at the time, but I seem to remember some talk about the date of YJ's wedding needing to avoid clashing with a Preston North End Home game... Perhaps YJ can give the full story.

Pyrenees Man

Great stuff T’Y and thanks for the info. Keep it going and keep us informed when you can.

Nearly half way t'across Pyrenees

Just landed in Bagneres de Luchon after an overnight stay in the remotest of all refuges - the Refuge d'Espingo. The last part of getting ther via Lac D'Oo was in two parts - the first was like Mamhanm to Malham Cove on a Sunday afternoon the second less busy - nevertheless a near 3000ft climb in the heat in two and half hours with 15 kilos on my back.
Next begins the tricky bit - the Ariege - it's a bit remote
Hope is well around Horwich - see that the Vicar of Brentford has been opening his gob. Is that how he lost a tooth?

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Today the team was NLN, Nic’O, TF, EtU and me. As NLN was with us it was not surprising that we went, initially, to the trespass stone. We went, as usual via the ornamental gardens, over Two Lads then along the edge of the quarries and skirting Holden’s Farm. We amazed TF by pointing out to her the two benchmarks on the way. From the stone it was to Winter Hill and then dropping off to Hordern Stoops. At this point a conference was held in order to decide upon the rest of the route, Nic’O saying that pain from the after effects of falling down stairs was causing her some difficulty in breathing properly and that she felt it unwise to go much further. We all carried on towards NLN’s route to Spitlers Edge, Nic’O turning for home at a point near to the ruins of Holden’s Farm. The rest of us carried on to Spitlers Edge and there turning towards Great Hill. It was noted that, unusually, EtU was running on the flags rather than on rough ground. When this was mentioned he asked us not to let his brother know what he had been doing and we all agreed not to. At the base of Great Hill EtU turned for home via Round Loaf and TF, mindful of his poor navigational skills, kept her eye on him until, indeed, he crossed the summit of Round Loaf. NLN and I carried on over the summit of Great Hill but TF, who was feeling a bit leg weary, skirted the hill and met us on the  White Coppice side. It was then to White Coppice and via the new bridleway to Waterman’s Cottage and back to the Lower Barn via the reservoirs as usual. NLN spotted a new benchmark on the wall at the bottom of the cascades.

The weather throughout was broken cloud and a lightish breeze. On our return to the Lower Barn we found a note left by Nic’O saying that she hoped that we had had a good run. Thanks Nic’O. Here’s hoping that the pain goes away soon and that you will be in full flight again by next Saturday.

The full round gave 15.53 miles with 2641 feet ascent / 2618 descent.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Goon Body Shock Double

Whilst driving back from the University earlier today I saw an amazing sight: a Goon runner. Clearly since t'Y is in Spain it couldn't be him but whoever this person was, he ran in an identical manner to our good friend.

Watch this space for any further sightings.


Two comments: Firstly, I thought t'Y was in France (how's his navigating?) and secondly, TLoB tells me that he has broken a tooth (whilst biting  the Lady of Brentford?) and whilst this is hindering his eating, it isn't interfering with his drinking.  Perhaps, God willing, it wil also hinder his talking.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

This Week

UTUP for me tonight and Saturday.

Mobile phone not working

Can't get phone to fully load so if you need to contact me please do so via Julie (not TF Julie).

A Few Piccies Fra Bonnie Scotland

The clag was down to about 3,000 ft on the ascent of Ben Nevis as we looked towards the conjunction of Loch Eil and Loch Linnhe over the summit of Meall an t-Suidhe.

But on the summit of the Ben we were nearly in clear air.

Whilst back at the ranch the OSH was preparing to toast some real speckled hens with a bottle of OSH. That fox would have been proud of her!