Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lostock 6

Taken on the corner of Regent Rd, at about 4 1/2 miles.

This Week

UTUPing this evening (27th) and then a couple of quick ones in the Bank Top Ale House.

UTUPing Saturday, not yet fit to race - but soon will be!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Lostock 6

Sunday morning saw me back in road racing mode for the Lostock 6.  These short races are never easy, no time to catch your breath and certainly no time to admire the scenery.

After a slow start (9 mins for the first mile)  the first of several hills came and went with little difficulty, as did all but the last, and steady progress resulted in a time just short of 51 mins,  only marginally slower than my last 10K at Brighton which by contrast was a very flat seafront course.

Average pace of 8.34 per mile was about 20 secs too slow for the O/70 prize so there is work to be done before the next road race, the Fleet half marathon in three weeks time.

Congratulations to Mary on her excellent run in just under 49 mins.

High Cup Nick and next week

A quick report on Saturday's venture to High Cup Nick. Having been told by EtU and TF that this one is a good race and that setting is impressive I thought I'd head up for my first race of the year, just to clarify, I count the Amble as a failed long training run due to calf trouble and feeling very nauseous before the ramp (or something like that).

Decent weather on the day: clear, dry if a little boggy underfoot and with a helpful strong wind to blow everyone along the valley and up the Nick itself. However on the way in that same wind was horrendous and I could feel my jaw locking up while losing the feeling in my fingers despite my "windstopper" gloves.

Two out from Horwich in the forms of Fellephant and myself but there were familiar faces from Preston and one Bowlander who'd clearly neglected Bleasdale. The usual Lakeland clubs were there, Keswick and Helm Hill out in force and I did have a quick chat with my AL race navigator, Wendy. 

At the time of writing only the top 50 results are out here. Slightly annoying as I was 53rd in 1:20:06, not sure what Felle's time was yet, will have to wait for the full results. I took a shot of the board before leaving though I'm not sure how clear it will be on here. Rhys Findlay-Robinson was the winner in 1:04:53 so not near the record but Victoria Wilkinson of Bingley broke the ladies record. I believe that 244 took part so I was just outside the top 20% in roughly 125% of the winning time. Not bad, though I wanted better.

A fun day out and a few pics can be found here;

and the albums on Facebook

For some reason this one is a personal favourite, the illusion of leading....

Black Combe and Cloud 9 next weekend in a repeat of last year so that should be interesting. Who else is doing either or both?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bleasdale Circle Fell Race

Marshalling on this one at High Fair Snape Farm – weather kind and back for the ceilidh in the evening.  Bleasdale pics here with a link to the runners Smile

Bleasdale FR-137

Track up to Fair Snape Fell from High Fair Snape Farm

Bleasdale FR-38

The only Horwich runner Michael Kay

Bleasdale FR-133

Senior Mr Kay (Derek) out for a bit of a jog

Bleasdale FR-4-2

Here comes TF and below leads the ladies up the hill

Bleasdale FR-9-2


Bleasdale FR-124

Parlick Fell

Bleasdale Sat 22nd Feb

Having more or less recovered from the previous Sunday's outing at Barbondale I thought I should test the quads out again on another short steep downhill.

My last time at this race was in 2007 when I was a relative newcomer to this fell running lark. Unfortunately this year there was to be no pie&peas, but still there was the offer of some post-race refreshments, so that always saves the effort of have to create your own.

I arrived nice and early and was offered a privileged parking spot in the village school car park. Mr Marshall suggested that I reverse in to the car park as they wanted to get as many cars in as possible, so I duly obliged. Mightily impressed he was with my skill at not managing to hit anything, 'Nice to see a Lady Driver using her mirrors, don't see that often'. I gave this some thought, but in the end I confessed that the car had a lot of on-board electronic wizardry (dipping wing mirrors, reversing camera, parking sensors) that made reverse parking an absolute doddle.

NLN and Ian were there to help with Marshalling too. They'd commandeered the last 2 gates before the fell on the outward leg.

Numbers were down on my previous attempt, the race is now limited to 150 but they certainly weren't full the week before hence my late entry. So soon after setting off, I was battling it out with two other ladies for the coverted last place. Determined to keep my nose ahead, we were accompanied by a sweeper who was obviously new, as he thought it was part of his role to engage the three of us in conversation. At race pace the best I can manage is usually 'yes' 'no' and 'q' (abbrieviated phonetic thank you) for walkers that step out of the way. So glad that his team mate stepped up for the challenge of talking and running.

The fell bit was good, the fields to and from were tough going. I wasn't especially pleased with my time of 1:06:27. Granted is was quicker than '07, but a good minute and a half slower than what I'd thought I'd done on the day. Looking at the results the time gap between me and the runner in front and the ones behind look about right so will just have to accept it as my error and train a bit harder to improve it.

Results here


Saturday, February 22, 2014

This Morning

Just the Swift Bros for this morning's short outing, but nevertheless a good run out.

With me not quite back to full fitness and YJ saving himself for tomorrow's Lostock 6, we opted just for the Pike, Two Lads, the Trig Point, Wooden Bridge and home via the Sheep's Back. On Two Lads we encountered our first soaring singing skylark of the year; a cheering occasion.

Passing Scotsman's Stump we noticed that it had lost its top plate, which sat leaning against the base of the post. Will someone effect a good repair or will further deterioration ensue? Perhaps FSS will feel moved to preserve this memorial to his countryman.

On the descent to the wooden bridge we encountered EYJ and paused to exchange excuses for slow progress.

Passing through the wood on the run in (SD643152) YJ pointed out the recently engineered mountain bike course which will require further inspection sometime soon.

Just six and a half miles, just inside two hours. I'll be out tomorrow, watching the Lostock 6 from the relative comfort of my bicycle saddle.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Saturday (and Sunday)

I too will be UTUPing tomorrow  and will also be trying for a late entry for the Lostock 6.

Saturday 22nd Feb and Sunday 23rd

My original plan was to race High Cup Nick on the 22nd but lack of training due to ill health has precluded this. However, although not yet back to full fitness (not that I can remember what that's like) I'm just about back to my normal (?) training regime, so will be UTUPing tomorrow.

If there is no untoward ill effect from this I will see if I can get an 'on the day' entry to the Lostock 6 on the 23rd.

Just for info, by my reckoning, the 21st February sees the end of the darkest third of the year, so for the next eight months we will have more daylight hours than we have today! Perhaps the OSH is right and I do have SAD; or perhaps I just am sad.

Also, for new or infrequent readers, Saturday UTUP (Usual Time Usual Place) is the Lower Rivington Barn at 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Howgills 5th April - The Route

The (my) plan is to park up near the Cross Keys Temperance (!) Hotel on the A683 SD698969.

Then it's west across the River Rawthey and head NNW for Yarlside SD686985.

Then north, contouring Kensgriff for Randygill Top NY687001.

Then we have to lose some height (twice), heading west , first down into Bowderdale, and over the col north of Hazelgill Knot and then down to Langdale Beck, where we turn south, upstream along the western branch to regain height for Breaks Head SD652985.

That gets most of the climbing done, and now we just cruise along, picking up the remaining eight 2,000 ft tops:- Fell Head SD649982 - Fell Head End SD646981 - Bush Howe SD659981 - White Fell Head SD661974 - The Calf SD667971 - Bram Rigg Top SD668965 - Calders SD971961and finally Great Dummacks SD677963 before descending back to our starting point, keeping south east of Cautley Crag.

The route is about 11 miles and YJ, tBIL and I completed it in July 2002 in 2 hours 47 minutes - expect quite a lot longer this April!

Shap Weekend

Few pics from Shap with full set at Out and About Smile


Shap Sheep


Lime Works




Looking up to Wet Sleddale




Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kendal Winter League - Barbondale

Having recovered from the previous weeks 'lurgy', but because of it I missed last Sunday's race at Fairmile, I was itching to get my size 4's on this weeks route. It sounded right up my street, steep and grassy!

The start/finish was just off the Barbon to Dent road, about 1 metre of flat and then straight up. As you can see from the photo below it was one of those fell-sides that got steeper the further up you went.

I've marked the race route on the map below. (There's a more detailed map on Helm Hill's website)

The green dot on the road marks the spot where I was parked and where the photo was taken from (looking towards the start/finish area).
They're not for the faint-hearted these races. Last week someone managed to break their leg, and this week a runner was being attended to as I was coming back down. He was helped down off the fell with his arm in a sling.
I'm managing to maintain my 100% record of beating one of the local ladies from Helm Hill, now 5 out of 5 races that I've attended. She's done 7 races. So it could get very interesting when they come to work out the final league placings. It's your best 7 out of 12 races. I can only manage a further 3 races, so it does mean I could have a 'duff' one, but the pressure's on!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Bet you all thought I'd forgotten!

Date now set as Saturday 5th April, hope we can fill a couple of cars.

This Morning

A small select assembly this morning, just TF, YJ and yours truly. With both TF and me coming back from illness, we opted for a roundabout route up the Pike via the castle, the grammar school and the gardens. It was, as so often it has recently been, wild on the Pike, but we hung on without mishap.

Then it was straight back to the bottom barn for TF and me (just 4 miles) whilst YJ headed Yarrow-side for a few extra miles.

TF is racing tomorrow, so must have felt well recovered, whilst I was pleased to find that after 13 days intake, the antibiotics seemed finally to be working; should be back in full training by next weekend.

Beer tonight, cycling tomorrow.

Friday, February 14, 2014


I'll be utuping. Perhaps may need some lead weights for my bum bag, hopefully it won't get as windy as Wednesday. School near work had it's roof blown off, I'm sure the kids are delighted even if the parents aren't!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Amble ramblings

It was probably a mistake to enter the long Amble having done nowhere near enough training for a long event.  However I did manage to complete the full distance, after a fashion.

As T'Y has indicated strong winds were a big factor and once the route turned into the full force of the gale at Darwen Tower it had a big effect on pace, was  energy sapping, and made straight line running  difficult.  Several times I was blown off the path.

My hopes had been  to beat last year's time of 6hr 45 mins and by the tower I was several minutes ahead of schedule.  With the effects of the wind and the lack of mileage, progress after White Coppice was especially slow and I finished 20 minutes slower than last year, having walked most of the way from Waterman's Cottage.

Congratulations to NLN, T'Y and FSS who all managed to cope with the distance and the wind .

I will be UTUPping on Saturday.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Amble and its preparation

Wednesday Run

I'll go back to Wednesday which is my day off work - well at least my day off my full-time job. I arranged to have a decent run with EYJ so met up with him at about 9.10 at Wilderswood. We decided to head in the direction of Darwen Tower but EYJ need to be back for 11.45 so we knew that he'd have to turn back at some point or if possible, devise some route that would get him back and then I'd maybe do another 40 minutes or so.
Going well, chatting to people on the way, as you do. Headed over the reservoir wall at Belmont and up onto the Witton Weavers Way. The weather was great but I'd seen the forecast so knew it wouldn't last. At an appropriate time, EYJ set off back so he could home for midday whilst I continued. I thought I may as well head for Darwen Tower and return by the same route as I didn't fancy Great Hill, knowing how wet underfoot it would be. As I'd climbed onto the ridge, I caught a sidewind and the hail started. Determined as we all are, I continued to the Tower then turned round. By now I was into the full blast of wind and icy rain, making running somewhat difficult. Rather than head down the usual route towards Slipper Rowe, I turned on to the Tockholes Fell Race route and followed the route down to Sunnyhurst and thence into Sunnyhurst Woods. I found my way through to the Tockholes Road and made a route choice into Tockholes Woods which would give me less exposure to the elements than the road. It would also add more descent then ascent out and onto Witton Weavers Way. The return journey along the Way was quite tortuous as I was fully exposed to the gale force winds. This was probably the hardest conditions I've run in for some time. Some respite was gained through Belmont and the climb up the ramp to Winter Hill was in the lee of the wind until the top was neared. The run down the mast road was yet another battle into the wind, finally arriving back at 1.45 having completed some 20 miles - probably much more than was sensible in preparation for the Amble.

Shoe Disaster

I got round to washing my fell shoes on Thursday night in preparation for the event. It was then that I realised that the run had taken far more out of my shoes than it had of me. Basically the outside of the right shoe was falling apart along the full length of the footbed. Although cheap, I had been reasonably happy with More Mile Cheviots, with these being my second pair (they are comfortable with a decent grip), the quality was now apparent. As I was working from 9.30 till 8 on the Friday, due to most of the day being on a First Aid Course, the only option was to choose some new shoes form our range ... but we don't sell fell shoes. Okay I have another option, my New Balance trail shoes but I think they are only really suitable for up to 10k. Anyway I plumped for a new shoe that only arrived on the day I started with the company, less than 3 weeks ago, the Kalenji Kapteren XT4. I would describe them as a trail shoe on steroids and was planning to get a pair for my Pyrenean venture in August - but they are not a fell shoe.
Anyway I took the risk and went against my own advice of never racing in a new shoe until they have had some wear to ease them in. Even after a couple of weeks I got severely blistered a few years back when running Kentmere in newish Mudclaws.

Amble Day

Ed may have noticed that I parked at UP rather than trying to find somewhere near Amble HQ and got there around 7.40 to find quite a big queue for registration. Chatted with YJ, saw Andy, and even so we all got away on time. I ran for a while with NLN, then headed off to the Pike in the knowledge that she was limiting herself to the 16 miler. It is a great event, lots of people to chat to and eventually I reached Entwhistle Reservoir CP where EYJ was waiting, accompanied by Cleo. I mentioned who was running and that NLN was just doing the 16 mile route. Then she appears out of the blue. She failed to take the compulsory 15 minute meal break and shot off in the direction of the Strawbury Duck. After the regulation consumption of jam butties and cake, I set off in pursuit and joined her for the next few miles.
On the way towards the Tower I got ahead and followed a bloke with a dog rather than the other runners so ended up on the ridge running against the flow of runners. Cursing myself for the extra distance I was running, I found that, when reaching the Tower, I had actually overtaken a couple of runners and to my surprise was still ahead of NLN. The run back along the ridge was the first section where the strong wind hit you as we all fought to create any speed. The reception of John Crook at Slipper Rowe checkpoint was very welcome, as was the sheltered running through to the Belmont Road. Gradually the climb up to Great Hill became more strenuous as the wind hit. Expectation was that once past the shelter the downhill section would be much easier. How wrong could I be? The wind was now so strong that staying upright was a major achievement. Even on stretches after White Coppice the buffeting was quite strong.
I got back after six hours to find Albert, Tony V, Josie and FSS, tucking into hot pot and peas, with NLN following me about ten minutes later. YJ arrived about an hour later, still a respectable time considering the conditions. Andy had to retire at the mast due to injury.
Great photos from NLN.
Apologies for the War and Peace size of the report - no doubt TLoB will make some comment :-)

Not working next Saturday so looking at options. Also available most Wednesday mornings.

PS Did the shoes work? Not a single blister and no knee pain. I stayed upright with only one slight slip on sideways sloping mud. I'm very impressed with them.

The Amble

I set off to do the short route – just don’t know what happened!  T’Y, YJ also completed.  Blown over a couple of times on Great Hill, but not much rain – just over six hours – I’ll take that in those conditions and with no distance in the legs Smile

Full set of pics






Still a bit o’frost


Weather closed in after this so no more pics Sad smile

Friday, February 07, 2014

Saturday on Winter Hill–1st Feb

A good outing making it back before the weather arrived.  EtU, TtE, IK, TF to start, with JtE sadly retiring with a damaged ankle and TF accompanying him back to Lower Barn – best wishes for a speedy recovery JtE Smile


Semi frozen


Up through the gardens




At the Pike




Georges Lane


Two Lads


Before catastrophe struck












Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Will be there for the Amble. Hopefully the weather will be not as inclement as today's run to Darwen Tower and back. Outward direction was fine. Return direction was far from fine - as wild conditions as I have run in.

Not Ambling

I'll be at the Lower Barn this Saturday as I haven't entered the Amble. I'm also planning to UTUP this Thursday 6th Feb.
Not UTUPping

I won't be at the Lower Barn on Saturday as I have entered the Amble.  Have we anyone else doing the LDWA event?

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


...has obviously been spending too much time on the fells and has forgotten that on certain terrain the ground is shared with motor vehicles.

So much so, that when recently striding off the pavement on Chorley New Road to cross Curteis Street, he ran into my youngest daughter's car as she was waiting, stationary, to pull out. He failed to stop, but no damage was done and she won't be taking legal action.

Mind how you go.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Kendal Winter League

To help inject a bit of speed work into my winter schedule this season I've decided to have a go at the series of Sunday races organized by Helm Hill Runners ( Results from previous years look like they'll average 40-60mins efforts for me.

So today I was at Birkrigg Common just south of Ulverston. Numbers have dropped off a little since the first race at Scout Scar, so I'm battling to keep clear of last place with a handful of runners.

What I'm enjoying about these races is the variety of the terrain, the low-key organization and the friendly competition. Todays run was on a free-draining limestone hill so no wet boggy trods but fast grassy paths and the better weather gave a chance to enjoy the view across to Morecombe Bay.

A couple of pics from today.

In the far distance you can see the U12's lined up ready for the off (that hill is tougher than it looked, although the little'uns made it look easy!)
Bit of congestion on the loop round the trig
The view out to sea. No map reading required for these races you just follow a series of little plastic flags (blue one in foreground)

Embedded image permalink
Someone's trace of the route, up the hill to the trig, straight over the top and down the other side to a stone circle (historic relic) and then up, down, along, up and finally back down the first hill.

Next week it's in the Howgill's, running up one of the hills you can see from the M6.