Friday, November 28, 2014

Out of Action!

Suffering from a severe bout of cholelithiasis – should have had the op last Friday but cancelled on arrival.  Hoping this will take place very soon.  In the meantime reduced to the odd stroll when able, with fitness levels plummeting by the day.  A brief foray today to avoid the stir craziness and snatch a few snaps. 

Winter Hill-8-1

Winter Hill-9-1

Winter Hill-10-1

Winter Hill-16-1-3

Winter Hill-27-1

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday 27th November - Tonight

For inforation:- Botters and I are meeting at Horwich Stocks (UP) at 7:00 p.m (not the UT), for (most probably) a run up the mast road to the end of the tarmac/the trig point.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Loneliness of the Ultra-Distance Runner

YJ approaching the second highest point on the route (617 ft) near the 19 mile mark.

Parlick from the 26.5 mile point.

Finished! Then a quick right, right into the cafe.

Well done that man, 19 minutes inside my 2011 mark, set when I was 10 years younger than him - ok, who's going to be our 2015 contender?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The trough was  tough 

Wednesday's Tour of the Trough had been three years in the making.  Initially the idea had been for EtU and myself to tackle the Trough of Bowland together but a bout of   piriformis had put me out of serious running for most of that year and my task on the day had been road support for EtU.

On Wednesday he returned the favour by supporting me on my  lone attempt.

The weather could hardly have been better for the time of year, with very  little wind initially, low but not freezing temperatures, and no rain forecast.

Once having left  the start line at Chipping the countryside was quieter than expected and with to nothing but startled pheasants for company I made good time to the first meeting point approaching the Hodder Bridge. The plan was for EtU to park up every five miles and run back to meet me and then escort me back to the car and the energy stash in the boot.

It was an arrangement that worked extremely well with regular inputs of energy, a mix of Lucozade sport, energy gels and jelly babies, a format that I have found to work well in the past.

From the bridge rendezvous the route went to Dunsop Bridge and on to the Trough road with the steep and long climb up to the county boundary for another support meeting.  The road from there is nearly three miles downhill to the next turn at roughly halfway.

Two more meetings with EtU (15 and 20 miles) took me past Calder Vale and brought Parlick, looking down on Chipping, back into view. By now the climbing was beginning to take its toll and the pace was dropping, but at least I knew I was going to make it to the finish.

Both EtU three year earlier and myself had underestimated the amount of climbing in the second half of the run,  nothing too high but mostly steep and the hills coming unrelentingly  one after the other. So it was with great relief that the tower of Chipping Parish  Church came into view and I crossed the finish line in 5hrs 4mins  14secs.  with a grueling 27.5 miles behind me.  The pace averaged out at 11min 8secs per mile.

I am tempted to claim to be oldest person to have completed the circuit in the hope that someone will be challenged to prove me wrong, though  I don't expect a long queue to be formed.

The run would have been even harder unsupported so I express my gratitude to EtU for his practical and moral support on the day and his encouragement during the preparation.  We need a challenger for next year.  Any offers.

Do on Friday 19th December

Very few takers so far; any more?

Saturday 22nd Nov

I'm UTUPing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the cause of Science

In late October I was perusing the Ultrarunning Community group on facebook and I came across a request for participants in a nutritional trial. The pre-requisites were that you were current running and had experience of running an ultra. You needed to be able to run for up to 16 hours.
Probably against my better judgement I made further enquiries thinking I would be too old and decrepit to be of any use but I'm afraid I was lassoed into the grips of the trial.
At the time of expressing my interest I was also not working full-time so did have a little more time on my hands.
By the time of the trial I had of course gone back into full-time work plus my extras, and travelling to Salford's Media City every day.  I had been selected for one of three groups - the nutrition for my group would be a combination of High Five drink from powder, gels and energy bars with a target of consuming between 40g and 60g per hour. We had all been delivered stocks to test out in advance so the Sunday of the preceding weekend, I took a combination with me on an 18 mile there and back run from Wilderswood to Darwen Tower via Winter Hill, Belmont and Catherine Edge.
Thus after work on Friday and a quick tea, finishing my packing including mattress, sleeping bag and a load of kit, I set off at about 8.30 to drive up to Stair near Keswick.
Arriving at about 10.30, I got very little sleep on the floor of the village hall before arising at 4.15 to make some porridge and await our induction at 5a.m.
After explanations regarding the testing process and then our first set of tests (blood samples, weighing and recording various state of health/feeling, the dozen participants were ready to embark on our first lap at about 5.50a.m.. On agreeing to take part, I was not the oldest participant, however, by the day,  that honour had passed on to me.
Off we went in the dark with fully charged head torches, taking care in the dark. Before long our head torches were glowing up the slope of Causey Pike. I've never previously ascended Causey Pike and it was fine for me although near the top it was getting quite challenging. The final bit, however, took a great deal of care in the dark and on wet rock as it was no longer running but scrambling with a rather precipitous drop. There were four of us in a group at the back and once we started descend on the other side I drifted to the back. Route finding was no problem as the route was very well marked.
The second half of the route was reasonably flat but much of the track was muddy on a strong camber so it was often easier to run on the rough ground. It was all very wet underfoot. The route was clockwise on the map with a run out and back to Stair.

My garmin had been on charge all day but still decided to pack in after an hour so I only have an estimate of my time at the moment of about 2hrs 55 - somewhere I have a print from the dibber but I'll get the full data when all the data has been analysed.
After my testing and a brew I was away on my second run, which was much quicker at 2hrs 27 (from my stopwatch, leaving my garmin to recharge. the day was brightening up and walkers were getting out on the hills.
On the third lap I decided it would be my last. I had plenty of stamina but decided it was far too great a risk to scramble up onto Causey Pike and risk serious injury. Having recharged my garmin, I completed in 2hrs 34 including some relatively fast pace towards the end.
Overall including breaks, My trial lasted for nearly 9 hours with over 8 hours of running and my 3 laps totalling 22 miles with 5,700ft of ascent will give useful data. I realised that I don't like gels, especially the feel of the foil : I only used one on my first lap and stuck to the drink and energy bars for the rest of the time. I was glad to have some other food at the finish.
It was very worthwhile. The drive back was tiring and would have been even more so had I completed the 16 hours - probably would have stayed over. I see that I had a represntative in the area of the UTUP last Stauday morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday 15th November

Summit bagging in the Northern Fells a couple more here : )




Bowscale Fell


Sunset over Keswick

Running Down

Now I know that I only occasionally manage to turn out on a Saturday morning, so I am probably not in the best position to comment, but I have to say that the world as we know it was turned on it's axis yesterday. We started off downhill!!!!

It was Jim's idea, and it was a good one, to do a loop of lower Rivington via the castle, so that we were properly warmed up by the time we started climbing. There were just four takers yesterday, Jim (does he have a moniker yet?), YJ, EtU and my good self. Somehow we even managed to get separated before we reached the Devil's Steps (Jim and I were chatting and hadn't noticed that the others were not behind us (our excuse was that it was the first time this century we had seen each other so we had a lot of catching up to do!) We split at this point with the brothers Swift going directly to the Pike whilst Jim and I went via Wilderswood. At the Pike we saw several sturdy souls taking part in 5 marathons in 5 days.

On the descent, we had the pleasure of meeting JtE and we stopped for a chat. Suitably inspired we went to Two Lads and then the mast. Here Jim turned for home and EtU suggested a timed descent from the trig pillar to the wooden bridge on George's Lane. TM's record is still intact as I managed 7.07 with both EtU and YJ showing more sense in the conditions (it was very misty and very wet underfoot) and taking a more cautious approach.

We then went to Noon hill but had problems locating the path towards the Pike (as I said, it was very misty). Eventually we found it and followed the new(to me) and drier (??) route which takes the higher ground and leads directly to the stile below the Pike. Up the Pike again and back to the Lower Barn . En our way down we met Mrs t'Y and stopped for another chat (it seems t'Y was being force fed nutrition bars - I await his report with both interest and trepidation).  At the barn I was collected by SWINW and for once I was in her good books for being on time.

An excellent morning out with a bit over 10 miles to put in the diary. Thanks to Jim, John and Ed for the pleasure of their company, and I will look forward to seeing you all again in December

Friday, November 14, 2014


I will be UTUPing tomorrow, Saturday, and will be back on the fells having satisfactorily completed two 18 miles runs in preparation for next Wednesday's attempt at the Tour of the Trough. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"No doubt there will be photographs"...

...but not as you know them.

With no other takers and NLN sidelined after a visit to one of TF's fellow practitioners, it was left to SN and me to fly the flag on the Pike this evening. It was SN's first headtorch outing but she took to it like a duck to water and was soon skipping round the puddles on George's Lane like a good 'un.

As we approached the target we could see that the projection took up all the south facing wall, powered by a similar arrangement of generators as had been used for the floodlighting last winter.

Unfortunately, without our regular photographer, the quality of my shots was not up to standard (I wondered later if the light from my headtorch had confused my camera), here, for what it's worth is the best from a very poor portfolio:-

The display will be there until the 14th, so perhaps someone could improve on this - how were the shots on your phone, SN?

After coming back down onto George's Lane SN was in a 'I'm not ready to go home yet' mood, so we went up Two Lads, enjoyed the breeze and the view for a short while then returned to the Stocks.

An exhilarating little outing, the only downside being the poor quality of the photographic evidence - get well soon NLN!

Mallorca 2014

A few random pics with details of our trip at Out and About Smile


Port Andratx


Puig Major – highest point on the island


Soller Tram


On the Barranc de Biaraitx


MTB Mallorcan style


In the Placa


On the hill


Looking down to Deia – yesterday’s lunch spot - highest peak in the mid distance to the right


At the top




Well at Castel d’Alaro


Farmland in the valley


Evening at the Port


Monday, November 10, 2014

Tuesday 11th November

With no interest having been shown in a head-torch run to the Bomber Memorial, I am joining two of our ladies at the Horwich Stocks to set off for the Pike at 5:30 p.m, assisted by head-torches.

We are planning to view the poppy projected on the Pike Tower, no doubt there will be photographs. All welcome.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Words for Yesterday

Thank you, NLN, for your excellent (as usual) photos (see later for captions), long may you continue.

Just a small group, NLN Jim and self, with YJ meeting and greeting before he set off on his 18 mile road run.

We set off for the Bomber Memorial, agreeing that it 'seemed appropriate'. I dropped off the back fairly soon, but managed to overtake the leading pair with a different route choice, so that we all arrived at the memorial at the same time.

Jim expressed an interest in ancient local history, which prompted our photographer to demonstrate her knowledge of the route to the Pike Stones - no, they're not near the Pike. Then, finding a good trod, we were at Jepson's Gate in no time. Down the tarmac to Manor Farm and then footpath to join the lower route to Waterman's Cottage. Thence to Healey Nab, bumping into the Lostock Hopes on the way.

On leaving the Nab we made the mistake of allowing the ever loquacious Jim (ELJ?) to choose the route and about 5 minutes later he asked if either of us knew the way back to the Barn, as he hadn't a clue! A passing dog walker gave us some very vague guidance and we were soon on the 'usual' path home.

I'd dropped back again by the time the leaders reached the Barn, but I'm told that Jim kept on moving, returning to Horwich on foot.

According to my non-electronic measure we'd clocked up a very enjoyable 7.5 miles in about 2 hours 30; probably closer to 8 miles, as my wheel cuts corners - yes, all on its own.

Picture no. 3 - I think you might have got into a bit of a rut.

Picture no. 4 - That's where I had a d**p last week.

Picture no. 5 - Why do I look so little compared with Jim, when you can clearly see, by the way my left hand is positioned, that I am nearer to the camera than he is? Perhaps I am that little.

Was FSS pleased with his rugby result?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Saturday 8th November – Back to Reality!

After the glorious sunshine of Mallorca Healey Nab was a bit of a shock the system – still the company was good and a trot out to the Bomber Memorial seemed appropriate.  The ancient burial tumulus at Pike Stones featured en route – EtU will post the stats, my guess is seven or eight miles.  An early finish which given the conditions was welcome.  A bonus bump into JtE called for a hot choc in the Barn, a few more here Smile


The wisdom of the ancients….   in building their burial mound – Pike Stones


Magic Mushrooms


Captions anyone!




Thursday, November 06, 2014

Bomber Memorial

Any interest in an evening headtorch run to the Bomber Memorial on Tuesday 11th November?

Time to suit interested parties. Departure point open to suggestions, possibly assemble somewhere with decent parking and then drive a bit closer in one vehicle.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Wild Camping - Surely Not!

TM talks of 'wild camping' in her newly acquired VW camper van - parked in a lay-by! Surely that can't be wild camping, how about 'vamping'?

Down and Up the Ramp - Saturday 1st November '14

To add a bit of variety to our Saturday morning outing we revisited the old First Tuesday Time Trial aka Down and Up the Ramp that I used to organise back in 1999 and 2000.  This consists of starting from the gate at the top of the Ramp, haring down the Ramp, taking recording your time as you touch the woodwork above the forestry and then racing back up to the top.

Assuming that you don't fall over (no-one did, so far as I know) this can achieve several things:- a measure of your descending ability, a measure of your ascending ability, a comparison of these two (perhaps indicating where extra work is needed) and, most probably, sore quads.

The plot was to have a staggered start (to match the staggering at the finish) so that we'd all finish reasonably close together, but due in part to me inhaling toilet paper (no it hadn't been soaked in LSD - more details can be provided if required), folk had set off before I got there, so the start was a bit a bit (only a bit?) of a shambles.

Self recorded times (down, up, total and down/up %age):-

TM 8:21 15:50 24:11 52.7%

KLM 8:46 16:05 24:51 54.5%

Jim 10:01 14:59 25:00 66.9%

EtU 10:57 16:07 27:04 67.9%

YJ 15:29 16:03 31:32 94.7%

What does this tell us? Christa is the fastest descender and the fastest overall. Kev is nowhere near as slow on the descent as he reckons. Jim's a mean climber. I'm a bad all rounder and John needs to brush up on his descending skills. No-one managed sub 50% for their down/up ratio - but this can easily be achieved by going for it downhill, and then strolling casually up - but no-one would do this on purpose, would they?

Folks' electronic kit tells us the one way distance is 1.05 miles, so even downhill, only Christa managed a sub 8 minute mile.