Sunday, March 30, 2014


TF very kindly shepherded me round the  Heptonstall fell race on Saturday to  record a finishing time an hour slower than she did last year.

The high temperatures forecast did not materialise as a brisk easterly breeze kept levels down and at times provided a strong headwind.

From the outset we were at the back and manged to pull back only a couple of places by the end of the 15 miles of the route that mixes boggy peat, pastureland, hard tracks with a few wooded steep and muddy  ascents  and descents.

This is very much a community backed race with much support from Heptonstall residents all round the route, marshaling and encouraging the runners who also received  a short sermon and a blessing from the local vicar at the start.

Haven't  found any results yet and I don't expect to find much comfort in the fact that we probably finished third and and fourth from the tail in about four and a quarter hours. That won't diminish the pleasure of completing  what was a well organised event in a testing yet  inspiring environment.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Howgill 2,000s - Saturday 5th April

We need to finalise arrangements for this outing; drivers and assembly time. Please email me if you're coming.

Liver Hill - Tuesday 1st April '14

This BS fell race, from the Rawtenstall Marl Pits, is usually the first of our local evening fell races after the clocks change. It's a 6:45 start and will please both Tykes and Scotsmen, as there is no entry fee!

I ran 57:00 in 2012 and 72:06 in 2013, so I am keen to see if my new medication can turn back the clock.

Happy to provide lifts if anyone is interested.

Today Was an Uneventful Run Until...

...wait for it, NLN!

I was about to set off solo from the Lower Barn when CW turned up on foot. Coming back from a long lay-off, he had parked below the pigeon tower and reported for a very short tour of duty via a slightly roundabout route. Shortly after we set off, t'Y overtook us (in his car) then parked and joined in. He had fallen playing basketball (!?) a couple of weeks ago and damaged his ribs, so didn't want to run for very long.

CW returned to his car without gaining further altitude, leaving t'Y and me to take in the Pike. Then it was Wilderswood, where t'Y turned for home, leaving me to climb Two lads, the Pike, Noon Hill, Winter Hill, Two Lads and (for the third time) the Pike; I don't have much imagination.

Then, just after crossing George's Lane into the gardens, there they were, not one but two tree creepers, and they were doing what tree creepers do. Apparently, they can only creep up trees, not down. So their brief flights from most ways up one tree tend to be down to the near the bottom of the next. One soon flew out of sight, but the other did a couple of tree transfers and at one point showed off its fine white underside. So next time we're out, NLN, we'll creep around the trees in that area and see if we can manage a repeat sighting, and possibly even a photo.

Last Week at Santon

Just a couple of runs, as the main purpose of the visit was to tidy up the garden before the weeds started their spring acceleration.

Wednesday saw Our Northern Correspondent and me on top of Wasdale screes:-

Whilst Thursday saw me on a short run up Irton Pike, where the new asthma medication seemed to be working its magic, propelling me to my second fastest time since May 2011.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Winter on the Buttermere Fells

A great weekend in the Lakes with the Rucksack Club tackling the Buttermere Parish Boundary on Saturday – more of the route and pics at Out and About

Buttermere Round-9

Early morning at Penruddock looking towards Hellvellyn

Buttermere Round-17


Buttermere Round-31


Buttermere Round-37

Climbing up to Red Pike

Buttermere Round-40


Buttermere Round-51

Crummock Water

Buttermere Round-64

Into the blizzard

Buttermere Round-71


Buttermere Round-72


Buttermere Round-86


Buttermere Round-95

The view from Dale Head

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Edale Skyline Sun 23rd March

Not the best prepared on race day - main road shut at Disley which involved a detour through New Mills after consulting the paper atlas, the Sat Nav and my phone!

So arrived approx. 10mins later then planned. Parked in the field and decided to make one trip to the registration. Slight problem, thought I had everything, but having had my kit checked and then went over to get my number I could see an extra column on the list with my dibber number in it. Where was my dibber? In the car - aaaaargh. Completely forgot about getting a discount for having my own dibber.

Got my number and sorted my rucksack and then ran back to the car for dibber. Arrived in start field at 10:30am - race start time. Thankfully the organizer was still going through the pre-race safety talk.

I liked the new diversion, lot softer on the feet. Mucked up my timing schedule though but I felt if I was on the top of Lose Hill in about 2hrs then I stood a chance of clearing the cut off. Wind in our face along the ridge but got to Mam Nick in 2:35. What a mixed blessing! I had to carry on. It was definitely hard work on the route to Brown Knoll, not quite as boggy as I feared, but not a lot of running done.

The check point at Jacobs Ladder had been moved slightly east, so it was a new contouring route up to the main path. Nailed the 'grough' route behind the Wool Packs and Crowden Tower (needs a bit of work for a poor vis day) which gained me a few places. Then finally onto Grindslow Knoll. Do I/don't I. Blow it, I went for the down and up. Said 'boo' to the marshalls on Ringing Roger as they were looking out for runners coming along the path!!

Final finish time 5:15:55, 20mins slower than 2012, 5 mins on first half, 15 on second. 50 mins slower than 2011!!

Did the down and up work. Well I think so,  I have to scroll up 30 places for someone finishing with a  faster split time for that section. So I'll be keeping it in! Results are on the sportident website

I'll be out doing Heptonstall next week with YJ


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Visit to Rivington's Red Light District

Wasdale Red Pike and Buttermere Red Pike have recently been joined by Rivington Red Pike, the main difference being that the Rivington version is to be a temporary phenomenon.

SN and I tried to get a clear photo shot, but as with so many newsworthy scenes nowadays, some weirdo had got there first; this one, apparently, fancying herself as a hokey cokey entrant to 'Strictly'. 

Note to self - must find out about 'cropping'.

More info at:-

Red Pike without the 'Strictly' aspirant.
The best laid plans.....

The Fleet half marathon turned out to be  a big disappointment to both myself and daughter Sally, neither of us getting  anywhere near our expected times.

The trip down south started well enough  but traffic problems on the M25 turned the journey into a nearly 11 hour ordeal reaching Brighton late in the afternoon, just in time to change and meet son Eden off the London commuter train for a six mile run home, followed after a few hours sleep by a 9.5 mile run.

So far so good, until the next morning when a foot injury that had not  manifested itself the night before made even walking extremely  painful.  Not very encouraging with the Fleet half only four days away.  Intensive treatment  - lots of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation - had the swelling reduced and most of the pain gone and strapping to the foot completed the preparation. The only explanation  for the injury could be the change to a new pair of shoes, barely broken in for   training, let alone racing. It was back to the old, worn shoes for the event.

With no running for three days prior to the race expectations of a good run had diminished and the weather forecast of high temperatures was further bad news.

Sunday dawned  with clear skies and hardly a breath of wind. From the gun there was nothing in the legs and as the heat built the mile times got slower and slower taking me to the finishing line in 2.02.03 (chip 2.01.12) by far the slowest time ever in a half marathon. That put me in third place over 70, miles (literally) behind the winner and 1500th out of 2445 finishers.

Sally trundled round in  2.48.29 (chip 2.45.38) and finished with a broad smile on her face in 2409th place.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Black Horse Friday 21st March

Just a reminder that it is our Equinox Evening 'Do' this coming Friday at the Black Horse at Limbrick.

Two Lads, Whimberry Hill, Belmont and Lead Mines Clough

A helluva wind and so a relatively low level route, although not much shelter on the path out to Whimberry Hill and along to the ramp.  A good thirteen miles for SS and myself with TF joining us briefly and EtU only missing out on Lead Mines Clough Smile

Pictures of the day here

Sat Run-16

Long time since I was on this path crossing R Douglas, but nice and sheltered it was too

Sat Run-18

Slightly more exposed at Two Lads

Sat Run-21


Sat Run-24

Someone trying to tell us something!

Sat Run-39

Out to Whimberry Hill

Sat Run-49

Gorse and gloomy sky – but no rain was seen

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This Week

I'm planning to UTUP both Thursday 13th and Saturday 15th.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Parbold Duathlon Sunday 9th March '14

Sporty Swift and I entered this duathlon (run 3.2 miles - cycle 16.8 - run 3.2) in preparation for our respective triathlons later this year.
This was Rachel's first solo participation in a multi-event and she was a little apprehensive of what lay in store. However, unfazed by the strong competition, she paced herself well and completed both runs inside her target pace of 9 minute miling and completed the whole event in 2:37:32, just 88% on top of Brian Fogarty's time (the winner) of 1:23:43.
I had a nasty attack of the wheezes and dropped out after the first 1.6 mile lap of the two lap run course. Disappointing as my training has been going well recently and I ran my best track session of the year the day after.

Monday, March 10, 2014

An away match

I won't be out on Saturday 15th as I shall be boldly venturing into TLoB territory (that's anywhere south of the M4) for the Fleet half marathon on Sunday 16th. I shall however be out on Wednesday 19th leaving the lower barn at Rivington at 8.30 am if anyone cares to join me. EtU has already  indicated a possible turnout.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Another crackpot idea

How on earth are we going to convince kids that running is healthy when we have this crackpot in charge of education?

Friday, March 07, 2014

Edale Recce

I'm off to Edale on Saturday for a recce of the 2nd half of the race route.

Had a bit of a 'woe is me' moment earlier in the week after the slow time at Black Combe and began to wonder if it wasn't worth handing my entry back.

The route off Win Hill has been diverted possibly adding some extra distance, and more crucially biting into the dreaded cut-off. However having re-read the report from when I last ran (2012, 2013 was snow-bound in March) I realised I've got a bit more time to play with than I thought.

In 2012 I did BC in 1:59 and was at Mam Nick in 2:29 (cut off - 2:45). This years BC was 2:07 (cut off still 2:45) so going to be touch and go. but if I do get through the down&up from Grindslow Knoll had better pay off if I'm to keep under the 5hr mark.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Saturday 8th March

I will  be UTUPing on Saturday and hoping for a longer run than I managed on Wednesday.  Having endured a 7-hour drive back from Brighton on Monday energy levels have been low all week, just nine miles in four days so far.  Must do better.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Quarterly 'Do' - Equinox Evening

I have booked us into the Black Horse at Limbrick for the evening of Friday 21st March. Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Anyone hobbling?

Not yet entered but planning to do it.
I was out of action for ten days due to a back strain but managed to get myself to the final Mid-Lancs XC at Kendal where I played my little part in securing the title for Horwich (mainly giving our leading six some aggro when they lapped me to make them go faster - it worked as we won by the massive margin of 3 points). Full story in this weeks BEN and this month's Runaround for those who are members of Horwich.
I'll probably be able to make UTUP this Saturday.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Black Combe Sat 1st March

One of my fav races this one. I also had potential cracker of a race in the Kendal Winter League lined up for the day after. So to avoid clocking too many miles on the car I opted for a stop over in a Kendal B&B for the weekend.

I was expecting a 2hr+ time and that's what I got. With sportident timing it does allow you to analyse strengths and weakness and this year with out a doubt the weak bits far out-shone the strengths. The only strength I can consider was, turning up!

My times have yo-yo'd somewhat. Starting in 2009 with a DNF, 2010 with 2:16, 2011 - 1:52, 2012 -  1:59, 2013 - 1:54 and finially 2014 - 2:07. Hardly consistent racing and not looking good for Edale in 3 weeks.

Nice to see TYC out having another go (believe it or not I beat him last year!), his finish time was heading in a better direction to mine full results here

Cautley (KWL) Sun 2nd March

Another day, another race. Speaking to one of the Dallam ladies the day before, she assured me this would be just as good as Barbondale.

The seniors race was heading up a different hill to the juniors.

At 12:00pm the juniors could see the top of their hill (photo taken from the road looking northwest)
Unluckily for us seniors, ours was blanketed in mist (photo taken from the road looking west - farm in the foreground is marked on the map)
On the way up, us back markers noted the varying routes the front runners were coming down. Some almost opting to follow the blue line on the map. There were markers all the way up, so could only guess they'd run out for the route down. Having only just past Anna (Helm Hill lady) about 100m shy of the turning point I wasn't taking any chances so had my compass at the ready.
Fears unfounded. Got the 'flagged' down route spot on, but it did need a couple glances at the compass. I could see why the unwary had managed to veer off though. Just didn't have enough oomph on the last flat bit to put another lady between me and Anna. My 100% record is still intact, but it was a close run thing.

Despite the disappointment with my current level of fitness, it was a good weekend of racing and will definitely be looking to book again for next year.

This weeks challange - sort the mid week training regime out. It clearly isn't working.


Great Hill

Just two out this morning – a leisurely trot out to Great Hill and almost Healey Nab. More here if you have time Smile

Sat run-2


Sat run-4


Sat run-5


Sat run-16


Sat run-19


Sat run-31


Sat run-40


Sat run-43


Sat run-45


Sat run-55