Friday, January 30, 2015

All clear!

I have now had the all clear from  the surgeon and can  resume normal activities which means I can now run  with the grown ups again,  that means over the rough stuff.

As a consequence I shall be UTUPping tomorrow.

Saturday 31st January

I'm UTUPing and hoping for company.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Roundup

A month of getting out and about locally as no driving with the broken arm – a few more here if it’s of interest.  Progress is going well and feeling fully recovered from the surgery, another week and hoping to get back to normal : )  Whatever that is!


My visitor – making friends with the locals : )


Fiddlers Ferry from Naylor’s Farm, Aspull


Bit soggy under foot at times


Sunset from Borsdane Farm


Here's my blog of yesterday's UTUP plus a couple of pics...

Words for the picture!

IT at work have now sorted out our default browser, so I now have full access to posting on the blog at work. Not sure how long this will last before they start putting 'blocks' back on, so will enjoy while it lasts!

The previous 2 posts have now been amended accordingly!



Here I am studying the map at the trig on Pendle Hill (photo from TLoB).

We'd climbed straight up from Ings Head farm. Grateful that a couple of walkers had led the way about 15mins earlier leaving some handy footprints in the snow.

A good morning out, with a well earned stop in the cafe afterward.

Sun 25th

Whitestone, 4th race in the KWL. No TLoB today as he'd headed south to earn some beer money. The trusty orocs and waterproof socks meant a better foot experience this year through the boggy bits and grippier on the 2 short steep bits.

Another win for Anna again, so 3-1 so far. Can't see things improving for me as the planned Saturday runs will be getting longer over the next couple of weeks!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Saturday 24th

I'm UTUPing - anyone else?

Will it be an Oroc day, or just regular stuff?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Snowy conditions for this little race. TLoB was sporting his new club colours. Waterproof socks and orocs were the preferred choice again.
This was the first race of the series where I could do a direct comparison with last year. The first race was a slightly shorter course than the previous year and race 2 I hadn't done last year. A bit depressing reading to find I was nearly 3 minutes slower. Results are now on the Helm Hill website.
Sat 24th Jan
I'm planning a recce of the Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round (race on 7th March, details on C-le M site). All welcome. I'm leaving my house at 8am and have room for 3 in my car. Aiming to arrive at Barley about 9am for a 9.30am start. Not likely to be a very fast pace as certain key 'lines' need to be checked.
If anyone is interested in a lift let me know (I'm not intending to do any detours en-route so if you want a lift you'll need to come to my house). Alternative would be to meet at the car park in Barley, again let me know so know to expect you.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday 17th Jan

Four of us out this morning, more than of late. The ground was covered in a mix of hail and snow, and the depth was never deep, but increased slightly with height.

We all set off for White Coppice and, having achieved that objective, we let YJ do his Duracell Bunny thing as he headed off through the forestry towards Brinscall, aiming thence for Abbey Village and 16 miles.

We remaining three set off for Great Hill, but as we approached Drinkwater's TM realised that she had not left herself enough time to run home, and, turning to retrace her steps, with her mobile to her ear, muttered "He's not picking up!".

KLM and I summitted Great Hill then returned to base via Spitlers, Pauline's Path and Ammunition corner, pausing as we approached the barn, to talk to one of my non-running daughters (three fall into this category) and her companion.

Not a lot of miles covered (except possibly by YJ), mostly due to my pitiful pace, but an enjoyable outing nevertheless. Hope you made it to the wedding on time, TM (cue for a song?).

Monday, January 12, 2015

Thursday, Saturday and Monday (today)

Thursday at the Dentist's - Those of you who were at the most recent 'do' may recall the discussion regarding my temporary cantelever dental bridge. Well, it turned out to be significantly more temporary than expected - I managed to pull it off (out?) with a piece of chewing gum. Thursday saw me at the dentist's having it more securely fixed. Sitting in the waiting room, I heard a familiar voice emanating from the Xray room - it was Julie's Recruit, Mick M. He was engaged in conversation with one of the practice support staff and was demonstrating the classic mechanic's sharp intake of breath and head shake as he gave his diagnosis on the condition of the Xray machine. Cut to the chase:- We had a good old chat - he is still an avid follower of our blog - he keeps running, although he spends a lot of his time supporting a number of close family members who have serious health problems - he hopes to turn out again with us on a regular basis, when circumstances allow - and he sends everyone his best wishes. Good to see you Mick, let's hope we see you with your legs muddy very soon. 

Saturday - Just the Come-back Bros were out. YJ was going well but keeping off any seriously rough ground to avoid the fd thing. I trailed along slightly behind him and covered a good 10 miles to his 12 on an out and back route to Brinscall Woods. 

Monday (today)  - Managed the climbs from the Top Barn, five minutes faster than my first come-back run nine days ago, in spectacularly awful conditions. Character building!

Kendal Winter League

As the TF rightly pointed out, next Sunday's race is at Giggleswick, 5 minutes walk from my house. It is also my birthday on Sunday, so after the race, I intend to go to one of the excellent pubs in Giggleswick to celebrate.
It would be good if some WFDBWGUA readers could come up and do the race/drink beer or both. It starts at 1pm and is £3 to enter.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Firbank (TF version)

As TLofB has already alluded to, the weather was atrocious. I have learnt from last years series, you arrive early to get a parking spot near to registration, pay your £3 and then catch up on a bit of reading until timing it right to venture back out of the car in time for the pre-race head count.

Those who are slightly less 'risk-adverse' arrive late, parking their car in a spot that 'Mum/Dad's taxi' has vacated. This can work equally well as the bloke in the Farrier's van that parked in front of me can attest to.

Today's race required full FRA gear. Mine was easy to see as I was wearing most of it, with my club vest worn over my waterproof jacket as there wasn't a cat in hells chance the jacket was coming off! TLofB was opting for a more 'incognito' method, until that is he opened his mouth (nuff said!!!). It was a very brief hello, and we were off.

I'd been given a verbal description of the route from Anna (Helm Hill) last week, so arrived with my head in gear for a 2 lapper. Having been pipped by Anna by over a minute last week, I was pleased to catch her on the 2nd lap and arrive back about 30 secs in front. Orocs and waterproof socks were a good choice this week.

It's going to take a lot more to catch TLofB, but I could stand a chance at Cautley, but definitely Yarlside. Looking forward to next week at Giggleswick, if it's the same course as last year it's an absolute little cracker. Hope to see TLofB on his home turf sporting his new club colours.

All the details about the races can be found on the Helm Hill website, including maps of the courses.


Freezing Firbank Fell

Settle Harriers take part in the Kendal Winter League, and today's race was at Firbank Fell, described as a field next to the M6. Well it is near Jn 37 of the M6 but it is not a field, being far too hilly to fit the description, and besides, the clue is in the name. Today the problem was not  the hill but the weather which was atrocious, howling wind and driving rain/hail; at one point I thought I was running on the spot, such was the strength of the wind.
But I survived and was revived in a smashing pub in Barbon - highly recommended if you are ever that way. Results are not out until mid-week; last week at Scout Scar I was 10th V60, so I am hoping I have improved a place or two.

Two footnotes;
1  I had a pleasant surprise just at the start today, a voice said "hello" and there was TF. My apologies for not trying to find you afterwards, -I just wanted to get warm!
2 On Thursday, I posted an article about the 3 Peaks on this site, but clearly there is a time warp between Settle and Horwich as it appeared as having been posted on January 2nd. Any clues?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Who's a softy?

I see that NLN is made of sterner stuff than myself, running  over rough ground with a broken arm.

Sadly I am still keeping to tarmac and smoother, more level tracks than those up on Winter Hill. I have been warned not to do anything that might tear apart the carefully embroidered 12 in. scar that adorns my shoulder, at least until the end of  January.  This means no swimming, not lifting anything heavy or, given my proclivity to falling over (or being pushed?), not running on terrain more suitable for grown ups.

So, although I will be UTUPing on Saturday,  gales permitting,  my choice of route will be predetermined and boring.  If anyone wants to join me the route will be: Rivington Green, Bowling Club, Cascade, Yew Tree,  bridle path to White Coppice (missing out the Nab) , Goyt, underground cowshed, Brinscall and Abbey Village, returning by the same route hopefully faster than the outward leg. Target is 16 miles

Medical note: The wound is healing nicely  and I hope  to be given the green light for full activity when I see the consultant on  January 30th.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


Chasing EtU on his way to discover Borsdane Wood : )

Local fields with Ed-14-1-2

Friday 2nd January

Very kind of SN to pick me up for a bit of an outing over Winter Hill.  Broken arm prevents driving right now.  Dramatic conditions with storms all around but we kept dry.  A couple more pics in the usual place Smile










One for the Orienteers

Rivington Score Challenge

Starting from the Top Rivington Barn and travelling on foot, visit as many different trig points as you can before returning to the Barn.

Points are accumulated according to the distance in whole miles, as the crow flies, that each trig point lies from the Barn. For example, a visit to the three trigs on the Winter Hill Massif, without incurring penalty points, would score 6 points.

Time allowed:- as much as you want, but you must not start before sunrise, or finish after sunset.

Points will be deducted for all minutes or part minutes spent outside daylight hours.

Only ‘proper’ trig points count; silly little bits of concrete with nails in them aren’t ‘proper’ trig points.  The cairn on Healey Nab was a trig point, but is no longer recognised as one.

Only rounds completed after the date of this post count, that is 7th January 2015.

The referee’s decision is final.

This is a perpetual challenge, there is no closing date.

Reference to may help you plan your route. 

Go for it.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

One Minute of Glory

Yesterday I ran my first race in over a month, the delay caused by other commitments and some flu-like bug picked up a week before Christmas. 95% recovered and already having put my name to run in the Greater Manchester Cross Country Champs, I arrived around 20 minutes before the start to pick up my number from Steve P, eventually finding other Horwich runners, so we had enough for a team with a few to spare (only 4 to count). Boggart Hole Clough can get a little muddy but this year it pulled out the stops - a proper mudbath for three laps.
I had a reasonable run but not as good as the officials thought. Just after finishing, they announced the results - I was the silver medallist. Wonderful, I thought, but then I thought I had better correct them otherwise Nick Leigh might get a bit dischuffed, having lapped me near the end of lap 2. We had the right numbers - no cock-up on our part - they'd just read 360 as 366 on Nick's vest. Oh well it's not been a bad year though, a gold team medal in the Mid-Lancs, first sub 45 10k in 15 years and my first big mountain ultra completed.
The results look like I had a crap race : fifth from last but after analysis it was ok. My last race at Liverpool was the fastest I had run for 15 years and I finished 45·4% behind the winner (of the Mid Lancs results). Yesterday I finished 51·9% behind Chris so not much worse really, especially as Liverpool was perfect conditions for me. At last year's SE Lancs race as Boggart Hole, I was 63·5% behind the winner. It was very odd that there was no long tail for this race as the women's race was far more spread out. It was good to see Andy making his debut and he did very well, finishing in 52 minutes, only 9 minutes behind Chris who was the runaway winner. A very good day for Horwich, with gold, siver and team gold.
For the mathematically minded amongst us, I have drawn box plots that compare yesterday's results for Greater Manchester (men's and women's), Lancashire Men's Champs, and the Mid Lancs at Sefton Park in Liverpool. The times show the range from first to last.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

So Far, So Good

I abandoned the painkillers just 36 hours post op and the day after (op + 2) it was apparent that I had got off very lightly, compared with the majority of guys who had undergone similar surgery. It really has seemed like a case of a stitch in time saving nine.

I was knocking about quite comfortably during week 1, walked further afield exploring local footpaths in week 2, started swimming in week 3, and despite a slightly delayed start due to ice on the roads, managed a couple of rides during week 4. So, this morning (op + 26) I reported to the UP just 1 minute after the UT to find I would be running alone.

I then drove to the Top Barn and set off to do my version of the climbs:- Top Barn -> Noon Hill -> Georges Lane -> Winter Hill Trig -> Mast Road -> Two Lads -> Georges Lane -> Pike -> Gardens -> Top Barn. On a good day I have done this this circuit in just under 1:25, so I wasn't too disappointed with 1:35, given that I treated the descents from Two Lads and from the Pike with due respect.

The only discomfort was a slight twinge on the Mast Road, so as my dear old Dad used to say, I slowed down to a fast gallop, and now, several hours later, I'm fine and planning another outing on Monday, following a ride tomorrow.

On the way home I picked up my daily comic from the Co-op in Adlington and was in the check-out queue behind a guy buying a deep pan pizza. Never one to miss an opportunity, I suggested to him and the cashier that "It's one of those Christmas pizzas" - blank stare - "You know Deep Pan, Crisp and Even" - further blank stare, followed by "I don't think so, you can get them at any time of year." Perhaps it's me.

Finally, a seasonal tribute to my surgeon, Mr Varghese:-

A fine surgeon by the name of Varghese,
Found cutting up people quite easy.
But when carving the turkey,
He went all wobbly and jerky,
And left his guests feeling quite queasy - (well, you try rhyming with Varghese!)

I hope you all have as much fun and success in 2015 as I hope to have.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Three Peak Week

It all started because I wanted to see Hull Pot in spate. Hull Pot is on the side of Pen y Ghent, and after heavy rain, a spectacular waterfall goes over the rim. So on Christmas Eve, following three days of the said heavy rain, I set off  along with two friends Brian and Hester and their dog Harry, to have a look. We were in luck; the waterfall was spectacular  . Now Brian and Hester are in training for the Lakeland 100 so they wanted a longer run, which meant Plover Hill before Pen y Ghent. Getting up Plover Hill was fine, but the traverse along the top made Spitler's Edge seem like a desert. After P y G, it was back to their house for tea and mince pies, and then they mention Ingleborough!

As it turned out, I didn't join them for Ingleborough as the comings and goings of various visitors made their date, the 27th impossible. Which turned out to be a stroke of luck as the 28th was bright, sunny and cold, with snow above 1000'. I went up from Cold Cotes, which is a fairly easy 3 mile run up to the summit. The views on the way up and at the summit were superb, and the run down easy after the initial rather icy bit off the summit plateau.

Two down, one to go. The original plan was to go for New Years Eve, but the weather forecast suggested the 30th would be better. It was right but about two hours late. I set off along the route we had followed in October when EtU, YJ, TF and TM had come up here. All was fine until about 2000'. There is a particularly boggy bit on a plateau and the National Park authority have laid paving slabs over it (as on Spitler's). The snag was that the slabs were iced up and very dangerous which meant running through snow covered tussocks instead. The summit was cold and bleak so I didn't linger but dropped straight off the side at the first gate as I didn't fancy the rocks on the traditional descent. It was a very easy and quick way down and I was back to my car just in time for the promised sun to come out.

24 miles and over 4500 feet of climbing  was a good way to end 2014. The plan is to do two at time in the spring and then all three in early summer; any takers?