27th December - I have just returned from Scotland (last time for a while now) with Steve where we spent Christmas walking and staying in bothies. It was an eventful trip mainly because although we had known about the very bad weather forecast we had completely underestimated how much snow was laready on the ground making our progress on Christmas Eve very slow through soft deep snow walking into wind against the blizzard. The plan was to catch the train to Corrour from Spean Bridge, walk 11 km to Loch Chiarian bothy, stay two nights and walk back to Spean Bridge.
Arriving at Corrour off the train there was snow on the ground but it didn't look too bad. The train conductor had told us that "a Survival Expert had died the previous year walking to Rannoch and to take care". The wind was strong and because we couldn't make out the path set off on the track. The wind was very strong but it was ok. Two 4x4's came along and also warned us of the impending bad weather. We carried on along the track into wind. We had large packs and also two 35ltr ruksacks full of wood so progress was slow. Dropping to the end of Loch Trieg the snow was less and so was the wind. It was quite pleasant and we were hopeful that the valley to the bothy might be sheltered. We were only at 370m, we had to climb to 450m then drop to 370m again. It had taken us 2 hours so far. Setting off up the valley was ok apart from falling into the bogs through the snow as we couldn't see them. The wind and snow was increasing and we tried to speed up. When we reached the watershed though the snow was very deep and Steve who was leading was often floundering while I with the heavy load couldn't go any faster against the wind. We had dug out a pair of goggles and a balaclava so at least Steve could see where he was going and I was partially covered. It just went on and on - even when we could see the bothy it took over an hour to get there. Reaching the door I was so glad to have made it - 6.5km had taken us 4 hours. Steve immediately began to shiver uncontrollably and so we got him changed and some hot soup into him. I was warm enough but starving so made up an Expedition Foods meal. Steve soon came round enough to light the fire and we did have a very enjoyable night eating all the goodies we had lugged in. The little snowman light didn't like the cold, the fairy lights looked the part and we donned our Santa Hats!
We had to change our plans we decided as there was no way we could walk all the way out in one day so decided to walk to Learach Bothy on Christmas Day leaving us a short walk on Boxing Day. So after an extremely windy night Christmas day dawned a lot nicer and even though the walk took us 7 hours it was more pleasant. The snow had melted below 350m so were were only floundering for half the time. The valley to Learach was clear of snow for half of it which made progress faster however we had collected wood on route making our packs heavy once more!
Reaching the bothy we noticed footprints and it was occupied by none other than two more Yorkshire people - Koldip and Tim from Sheffield. They had walked in from Spean Bridge on Christmas eve and spent the day chopping lots of wood and so the bothy was lovely and warm. We spent a very enjoyable evening chatting and drinking.
Boxing Day was a leisurely affair and setting off at 8.30am we took photos as we walked back to the van at Spean Bridge. We then returned to Aite Crunnichidh hostel (Independent Hostel Guide) where Nicola was pleased to see us. This hostel is excellent, very friendly and highly recommended. Photos
21st Dec - I completed the Tour de Helvellyn run by Joe Faulkner at Nav4. I arrived slightly later than planned for Registration and so set off at 8.56am (you can start from 7 to 9am) which meant that only a few fast boys and girls (Tracy Dean) were behind me. They soon caught me running into the driving wind and rain and I was left on my own! My main objective of the day was pace. It's 38 miles but the first and last 10 miles are exactly the same route (run opposite way on return) so I wanted to do a negative split for this. Also the route was far more road and trail than I like but I'm trying to improve my technique and mental ability to run long sections of flattish track. Due to running into wind and rain it was very hard work even in the valleys and I pitied the early starters who would now be on higher ground. As it was I was forced to walk at times. Reaching Side Farm in Patterdale I had taken about 2 hours and felt good. Leaving the farm we had to wade along the driveway through thigh deep water! Setting off up Sticks Pass I was glad to be climbing again and the descent over the other side was pleasant. I tweaked my ankle - always annoying but ran along into the CP in good spirits. The forest tracks alongside A591 were far more pleasant that I imagined and I caught a few people who I chatted to. I took a direct line to Grisedale tarn and it was SO good to be climbing steeply for once! Running down the valley to Side Farm the weather improved and I was too hot. I got a tea "to go" and chatted to Clare Maxted (the Editor of the Trail Running Magazine) about her run. As I left I gave the mince pies that I had carried all the way round to Charmian (marshalling there) and ran off eager to try and make my negative split. I pushed hard all the way back and was pleased to do the ten miles faster by about 5 minutes and that was after still getting caught out by the mirage of paths across Bartin Fell! Results
20th December - I was back in Scotland on the 13th Dec - this time with Mark Harvey. We walked into Loch Chiarian Bothy (only went slightly astray so it took us 5 hours and we didn't arrive until midnight) where we met Jon Gay who had walked in earlier and got the fire ready. I had brought from the farm two sacks of wood - which weighed about 10kg each. Me and Mark had lugged these sacks all the way and even Jon was impressed! After warming up, eating and drinking some whisky it was 2am !!
So a rather leisurely start saw us running at 8.30am. The weather was blustery but dry as we ran along the valley to Loch Trieg and then followed the Ramsay route to Sgurr Elide Mor. By this time it was raining quite hard and so we hurriedly ate food and donned full waterproofs before ascending. The climb wasn't too bad - we did have to climb the last 300m round in a col so that we weren't taking the full brunt of the wind but surprisingly as we reached the top we could stand up ok. The descent was ok but we failed to find my preferred line and I was rather disappointed when I reached the bottom so I asked Mark and Jon whether we could re-ascend. They were happy with that so long as we called it a "do" (ie made our way home) after that. Climbing back up was very blustery. Jon and I made it up and then back down on my preferred line which avoids the horrid rocky path. We all then turned towards Loch Elide Mor and headed down. All the streams were now torrents. Jon headed towards Kinlocheven while Mark and I headed across to the bothy on our "Godsend Path" - so named as we had used it the night before to get to the bothy after we realising where we were. We had to make a 1km detour to cross a stream and arrived back at the bothy at 5.30pm. The fire was soon lit and a very pleasant evening was had drinking wine or whisky and eating!!
On Sunday we got up, packed up and then walked out. It had snowed overnight and the weather was very windy but dry. The forecast was for rain at 1pm and that is what we got - just as we arrived back at Kinlocheven! This is graveyard we passed near Blackwater Dam and all the people died in 1908 we assume working on the dam. The other photo is Blackwater Resevoir. We followed the conduit down which was very pleasant as it is covered and so had a lovely gentle gradient to walk on - until it plunged down the hillside and we followed the track!
2nd December - Willy Kitchen, Tim Rippon, Steve and myself travelled to Roy Bridge last weekend and reccied parts of the Ramsay Round. We were truly blessed with the weather as a low pressure had moved across the UK more quickly than forecast. On Saturday there was a very bitter wind and both days we had clag on and off overall it was perfect with Sunday being very mild.
I had been asked to talk on Friday night at the "Run the Moors" Presentation evening in Rochdale by Saddleworth Runners. So after an enjoyable talk / evening Steve and I drove up to Roy Bridge arriving quite late but as we were ready for the morning we could get to sleep straight away. As an afternote to all I am willing to give talks and would ask that any fee/expenses is donated to the Odyssey charity (link on my homepage) as I am continuing to support them.
On Saturday Jon Gay joined Steve and I. We did a clockwise circuit of Loch Treig taking in 5 Munroes. Willy and Tim had decided to do an anti clockwise circuit and we met them at the far end of Loch Treig. I warned Steve against being competitive but he was having none of it. We did stop and take photos of the bridge restoration - which will reduce the death trap element of the Ramsay somewhat. The ascent of Stob Coire Easian from the shooting lodge was long and tiring especially as we hit soft snow at 600m. In clag I don't think we got the best line either. Descending was a little hairy on the hard packed snow / ice but with Jon there we followed (or tried to - but he is the Winter Ramsay Round Record holder!) down the slopes, ice axes at the ready! The clag cleared on Stob Coire Mheadhoin and so photos were in order before descending through more clag and the dark down to Fersit. At about 400m the clag lifted and low and behold we spotted lights on the far side of the loch - Willy and Tim making their way down Stob Coire Sgriodain. We were fairly confident of victory as we had a good path to follow but upped the pace nevertheless. Arriving at the bottom we decided that they didn't need any help and so jogged to the van to put the kettle on. They arrived a few minutes later. Everyone had enjoyed their day and after dropping Jon back at Fort William we enjoyed a magnificent dinner (cooked by me and Tim) and made a large dent in the two kegs of Bradfield Brewery ale that Willy had purchased.
On Sunday we all went together and were joined by Mark Leggert who lives in Spean Bridge (and he was in shorts!). A bit too leisurely a start and a long plod up the first munro - Stob Coire Gaibhre (not on the Ramsay but worth a visit) meant that we arrived on Stob Choire Claurigh at midday. The weather was mild, no wind and some sunshine making the views across the Grey Corries to Ben Nevis stunning. Descending on snow Mark watched us all pussy footing about before sliding halfway down the slope on his backside (has he no nerves in his rear?) jumping up and running down the rest like there was no danger. Tim (up for anything) followed him while Willy (later describing himself as a "worrier" - called out warnings about steep dropoffs etc). We came across a hare further down the slope who froze in an attempt to mimic a rock then hopped off and turned round to sit and study us. Willy and Tim then made their departure home before the ascent of Stob Ban leaving me, Steve and Mark to complete the circuit to Fersit (yet another ascent of Stob Coire Easian - but I have that line nailed now!!). Running off the snow was slushy now and easy to break through so very pleasant. The cloud that had been up and down all day lifted again on Mheadhoin and so we got some great photos of the sun behind us on Easian.
A great weekend - good weather and company - Photos
I've added the photos of the recce we did in October in Gallery (ignore the Nov folder - the link doesn't work).
25th Nov - last weekend I raced at Pendle where I tried to pace it better than I have in the past. This worked; I'm still ridiculously slow on the flattish sections but enjoyed the climbs and did roughly the same time as last year.
In the evening it was the FRA dinner which was highly enjoyable. Steve and I were able to have a drink (or few) as we had made the van up as one bed and so found a quiet spot in the carpark to crash out at 2am. The meal and entertainment were very good and Dark Peak received quite a haul of medals and cups. Well done Judith and all the ladies. I received a Lakeland Classics mug for coming 2nd Lady and 1st V40.
16th Nov - The Dark Peak Club Championships was held at Tintwhistle. With the course being designed by Neil Northrop we all knew it was going to have navigation in it. It's a handicap and although I campaigned for a lenient one I was set off with the fast boys at the back. My route choice to the 1st CP lost me at least 6 minutes but I hate track starts and had opted for a rougher climb first! Thereafter the clag came down and it was steady to CP2. Then it was onto more familiar ground around Chew Reservoir but I think I only benefited from local knowledge by not taking the horrid direct line through tussocks but sticking to the longer path round. I enjoyed the climb back out of the valley and the long traverse back to the Finish. Club Champs Map
Kirsty with her much more superior navigational skills beat me by 5 minutes so I won the Vet 40 ladies prize. Club Champs results
9th/10th Nov - I was on a High Peak First Aid which was provided for by Dark Peak for race organisors, coaches and runners who want to be 1st Aiders. It was an excellent course run by Kathryn; a paramedic and was very hands on which was brilliant. I came away at the end of two days confident that I could assist someone in difficulty in any situation.
2nd Nov - Today I ran the Grin and Bear it race in aid of Woodhead Mountain Rescue. The route and date changed this year with a 16 mile challenging course up Mickleden, across Outer Edge, down to Salters Brook Bridge and then back. I was hoping for clag and got it! Setting off steadily I was cursing up Mickleden as it's not my idea of fun; running slightly uphill into wind when everyone else seems much happier than I. Reaching to top I was thankful and turned right across the moor. Losing the path I got the map and compass out and soon found the path again. Off Outer Edge trig we were rejoined by runners we had seen on Mickleden who stayed with us (me and Keith) until the 1984 stone where I decided that if I was going to lose them I would have to now as once back on tracks it was obvious they were stronger than me. So upping the pace I set off. I soon caught Ian Charlesworth and his Pella ton and managed to pass about half of them. Down to Salters Brook bridge I realised I hadn't eaten much so took some banana and tried to get some jellies down but it was too let. I felt sick so spat them out. I tried to stay with ian but he was stronger on the tracks than me. passing Charmian Heaton and Steve I said a few words. They had run the shorter course and we were all on our way home! I finished 9th in a time of 2.33 hours and 1st lady. I won a lovely trophy of bog wood mounted on a base. Looks better than it sounds!
I definitely need to do some more long runs at pace because I found the whole race very hard work!
Photos from Woodhead Mountain Rescue's Facebook page.
29th Oct - Last weekend Steve and I travelled to Fort William and had surprisingly good weather on Saturday for our Leg 3 recce of the Ramsay. We were joined by Jon Gay and after a bit of backtracking between Binnean Mor and Binnean Beag to recheck lines had a pleasant run across the Mamores until the rain/wind came in at 4pm when we hurriedly got to the end asap! We checked out the tree felling on the line to the road then finished off with tea and cakes in the YHA.
Sunday Steve and I went up the Ben - there weren't many intrepid walkers about so we reccied all the shortcuts to the summit and the line off down to Carn Mor Arete. After finding the start of the "chicken run" - what the locals call the lower contour path under the arete we hastily descended down to the clumbers hut (as the hail was getting a little painful) and contoured round the Ben to arrive back at the lochan at 600m.
Photos to follow.
24th Oct - The rain has continued and we've been very busy bringing cattle back from outlying fields to the farm. Last Saturday I did my first Park Run in Dewsbury and ran a time of 21.30 minutes for 5km. I cycled there and back as Steve needed the van however on starting up Hopton Hill (similar to Hoppits Hill but on road) I came across a large group of cyclist beginners slowly making their way up. I was jealous of their many gears as I was in my lowest (or is that highest?) and standing up as I passed them. Just as I reached the brow of the hill Steve came along in the van and laughed as I finally came to a halt to rest having put in far more effort than I had planned!!
Then on Sunday I travelled to a very wet and windy Llanberis in Wales to compete in Dark Peak Ladies A Team running the 2nd Leg of the FRA Relays with Clare Oliffe. The weather was ferocious 15 minutes before the start of the 1st leg however cleared up for the actual start. Clare and I were ready after about 45 minutes but not expecting Helen as only two Ladies had come in when there she was ....3rd!!! We set off at a cracking pace and one I couldn't maintain as it mainly flat! Clare seemed to be coping easily with it though so as usual I just hung on for an eternity until at last we reached a hill steep enough to walk! Then I had a rest while Clare dropped behind. We passed one Ladies team but two teams passed us so we were 3rd. The weather on the ridge was very windy with some hail. We just fought our way down to the col. The rest of the route wasn't bad and the last climb came quickly. sending Clare ahead on the long descent I tried to stay with her but to no avail. We finished 3rd and passed over to Rachel Elder and Jenny Caddick on the Orienteering leg. They had a very good run and came in 3rd also passing over to Pippa Wilkie who maintained 3rd . So we got a Bronze medal.
Our Ladies B team came in 11th Ladies team, the Mens A Team won and the B Team were 3rd. The MV40's Team were 3rd and so were the MV50's so overall a very good day out.
15th October - Not much to report - we're busy on the farm - buying heifer calves to rear up as replacements and sitting in cattle markets trying to price up our "suckled calves" to sell privately to Blacker Hall Farm Shop. The rain has started and as we don't know if it will stop we have to get ready for bringing in all the cows for winter. So not much running really however I did Winter Mondays Race 2 last night and was pleased with my time.
7th October - It was the Ian Hodgson Relays last weekend and Dark Peak Ladies were 3rd Ladies which was a good result as we had a plague of injuries and lurgy at the last minute so called in reserves and swopped the team around - many thanks to the girls for this. The weather in Yorkshire was lovely but in the Lakes it got progressively worse so by the time Helen and I ran the last leg it was rather foul. Wearing Pennine ribbons to remember Darren Holloway by we passed his cairn near Fairfield summit and acknowledged Geoff Briggs and the other Pennine runners standing there.
30th Sept - It was the Edale Skyline yesterday. The forecast was warm sunny with a strong east wind. Not my favourite conditions. I travelled with Martyn Goodwin and arrived early with lots of cake. Everything was going well Ian Fitz looked relaxed as organisor and there were plenty of helpers which was good. Although it seemed very cold at Edale I stuck with my decision of vest and my new Raidlight Shorts whiich had only arrived from www.racekit.co.uk on Friday. I like these shorts for racing as the pockets are very handy for my map, gels and gel wrappers.
I set off conservatively as most times I have done this race I find it very hard work to Lose Hill and then harder after that. For me there is too much running in it and with the dry conditions it favoured road runners more than fell runners really. The bits I dislike (road, track, grassy ascent to Win Hill, flags to Mam Tor) came and went quickly and I felt good.
Leaving Mam Nick I had drunk about 600ml and had 200ml to get me to the finish. I knew I was liable to get cramp and it soon came on - first in the calves, then thighs, then hamstrings! I have this theory that once it has come in one muscle and you have run through it ... it doesn't return there. So once I had done both calves, thighs and hamstrings by Ringing Roger I was hopeful that I could descend to the finish without cramp! I had been overtaking people since Brown Knoll and was now 7th Lady with Heather just in front. I had a good descent to the finish but couldn't catch her!
Photos - Dark Peak Album
Results - Sportident.co.uk
21st Sept - I did 3 Shires on Saturday which was surprisingly claggy all the way round (as forecast said clear and dry!). After losing a couple of minutes getting to 3 Shires Stone I concentrated a lot more and navigated the rest of the route well. I'm not sure of my time but I was 3rd Lady 1st V40, just behind Heather Marshall who was 2nd Lady!.
The Trigger Race entry form is now up on www.trigger.org.uk
17th Sept - Peris results are out. Well done to the Dark Peak Ladies and Men!
15th September - A busy weekend with Peris Horseshoe on Saturday then in a moment of impulsiveness I also entered the Lake District Mountain Trial on Sunday!
Saturday - Peris went very well for me. Having done it before I knew the pitfall of setting off too fast however with fresh, good climbing legs it was hard to hold back up Elidir Fawr. I seemed to be well up but felt ok so hoped that it was a pace I could sustain. I kept getting the food down and knowing a few good trods helped me stay with faster runners. Climbing Glyder Fawr I started overtaking a few people so even though the legs were a little tired I carried on pushing. I think I got a reasonable line to Pen y Pass; at least the clag cleared and I could see my destination! I ran in joining the same people I had left the summit with having not seen anyone on the descent!
Setting off along the track to Lliwedd I felt ok at first but the long section of running soon took it's toll on me and was I glad to see the climb at last! I kept leapfrogging with Helen Berry but catching Ashley Kay and Gavin Williams steadily so even though the legs now felt shot I got another gel down along with some "Energy Boost" stuff that someone had dropped (as I'm always on the look out for extra sustenance!). I managed to pull away from Helen and passed Ash and Gavin. Seeing Heather Marshall at the summit of Snowdon I knew she wouldn't let me catch her but hoped that I would shock her into passing the girl she was with. I enjoyed the descent and then the climb to Moel Cynghorion. Running down I was pushing hard but not as hard as in 2007 when I was trying to get under 5 hours with Gill Harris. I knew the forest went on and on but was pleasantly surprised to see the finish. I finished under 4.30 hours, maybe 8th/9th but we had to get off before prize giving/results so I don't know for sure.
Sunday - The weather forecast was awful and so warning emails had been sent out telling us to expect a shortened course. I travelled up with Ian Winterburn and the weather was indeed awful. After a delayed start the decision was made to cancel the event after marshalls couldn't get to their control points. So instead 10 of us went for a low level run of about two hours. Running back to the YHA at 12 noon the rivers were in spate and the taped finish footpaths were all under water so it was a very good decision to cancel the event.
13th September - I've received the following email from Hugo Iffla......
"Out of several hundred entries Odyssey is through to the Mountain Warehouse
competition final 10, with a chance of winning £5,000 for the charity - it all
depends on the number of votes we can achieve - so please vote yourself, and ask
friends, family and colleagues to vote, put it on Facebook, and any other way
you can think of gathering votes.
This has all been instigated by Jane Myatt who attended an Odyssey course herself, and recently completed the Castle to Castle bike ride challenge from Cardiff to Caernarfon which was a very successful fundraiser for Odyssey.
It's very simple to vote and only takes seconds by clicking on the link:
Castle to Castle bike ride
Please vote now and spread the word - we only have until 30th September to gain the highest number of votes possible.
I've voted; it was quick and easy and it would make a huge difference to Odyssey to win the £5000
10th September - We had a relatively easy weekend. I did Longshaw Sheepdog Trials Fell Race on Saturday and then Steve and I went up onto Black Hill on Sunday to mark out with a GPS the potential routes across the conservation area of Sliddens Moss. We're working on the permissions now and the Entry form will be up on www.Trigger.org.uk very soon.
This coming Thursday I am talking at the Race Kit Multi-day Event and MDS Taster Evening in Manchester and looking forward to catching up with Elizabet and Colin again after their trip to the UTMB and CCC.
2nd September - Steve and I travelled to Fort William on Friday and reccied Leg 1 of the Ramsay on Saturday setting off at 8am. The weather forecast was for wind and showers and it certainly rained very hard overnight but when we set off it improved and we had a good day. We spent a lot of time finding the right lines and also planned to meet Joe Mann from Penistone Footpath Runners on the Grey Corries at about 3pm. He had set off at 10.30pm on the Friday night on an ACW Ramsay round. We were descending to Stob Ban at 4pm when he came towards us looking strong but saying that the wind had hampered his progress overnight. We hoped that he would make it over the Aonachs and Ben Nevis in time. The wind had made our progress very slow and we eventually got to Fersit at 9pm. The van was a very welcome sight to see - having been delivered by the supporters of the "Canadians" attempt.
The Canadians; This attempt was part of a Boundless film programme who had approached Charlie Ramsay looking for support. He along with Jon Gay had organised all the support and logistics for them. Simon Donato and Paul Tribilcock had set off at 12 noon on the Saturday and I was scheduled to support them on their Leg 3 (as they were ACW) from Fersit (ETA 2am) back to Fort William. So we quickly changed and had hot food and lots of tea before trying to sleep. The support arrived at 1am and we roused ourselves and had breakfast! Apparently Paul was pulling out and Simon was 30 mins down. He arrived looking strong but now about 45 minutes down. I met the other support, Jon Gay, Helen Wise and Lisa Gamble.
Setting off it was raining, windy and claggy so I was navigating with Jon while the girls ably looked after Simon. We made good progress with me practising my recce lines backwards! Sunrise didn't really happen; it was too claggy and it just slowly got light. Simon was a bit tired on the long climbs but was overall eating and moving well. The Grey Corries were cold and windy with everyone adding even more layers but I only managed to keep my dry gloves dry for about an hour!. The wind on the Aonachs was very strong and seemed to be getting stronger to a worrying degree with Carn Mor Dearg and then the arÍte to negotiate next. After discussions with Jon and Simon the three of us agreed to continue but drop off if anyone was unhappy. Lisa and Helen were going to drop off at the col with Steve (the film producer) who had met us on Aonach Beag to film Simon.
The climb to Carn Mor Dearg was a bit hairy as I'd forgotten how narrow even that ridge is but we felt ok at the top so continued along the ridge down. This section was the most wind exposed as we had to descend to the arÍte in the windward side. I hung onto every rock, Simon was more confident however I saw Jon even jogging sometimes such was his confidence over the rocks! We crossed over to the leeward side and were quite sheltered on the contour path and avoided the ridge completely. Climbing the Ben the wind was also ok and we even saw walkers there. Much to Simon's amazement the summit was the usual mayhem of people in flimsy jackets and pink bobble hats!. Running off the three of us were in good spirits; well over 24 hours now but happy to have completed and be running down to the YHA.
The finish was a film set but it was good to see Steve, Lisa, Helen, Charlie, Tim, Mark and everybody for a quick catch up. I learnt that Joe had got round in 23.53 which was an incredible effort from him in those conditions. Well done Joe!
28th August - The results are up for the Hoppits Hill Races. Many thanks to Mark Pearce for his wonderful spreadsheet (he will be selling it to all race organisors shortly!).
I've put some photos of our last Scotland trip up in the Gallery and (straw permitting) Steve and I will be back there this coming weekend to support a couple of Ramsay attempts and do some reccying of our own!
26th August - Sorry I have been so busy organising the Hoppits Hill Races that I haven't had time to update this diary. I have been printing, strimming, putting up signs, flagging the courses and drumming up marshalls for two weeks now. I hardly slept worrying about lack of marshalls and then the maybe lack of runners. The turnout was low; 9 Juniors and 26 Seniors but the races all went very well and everybody enjoyed the routes and most people went away with a prize!! The Senior Race was won by Annabel Mason with her dad coming in 2nd!! Brent has the results which I hope to get up very soon.
Many thanks to all my friends from Penistone and Dark Peak especially Brent and Keith who have shared out the workload with me. And all the runners who travelled and ran and made the day worthwhile.
Also thanks to Andy Plummer and Racekit who provided the prizes. A few things to change for next year but hopefully with more publicity the numbers will grow.
16th/17th August - I travelled up to Scotland to recce the Ramsay Round with Amanda and Andrew Heading. The good weather broke and gave us 48 hours of wind and rain but we had the Meannach bothy to ourselves!! We had a long 14 hour day on the Saturday and a shorter 6 hour day on the Sunday before driving home.
4th August - Yesterday was Borrowdale Fell Race. I've done this race five times before and never managed to get under 4 hours so that was my target (as usual!). The weather was perfect; cool with a strong wind but still definitely vest and shorts weather. By luck I was standing at the front of the field when the starter shouted "Go" so I got a clear run through the woods but had to contend with lots of people running passed me. I enjoyed the first climb and even the descent off Bessyboot. I hadn't noticed who was running in the ladies so I was surprised when someone said I was 1st Lady at Esk Hause and tried not to get carried away as there is still a long was to go. I was feeling the early fast pace / strong wind now and battled my way up Scafell. I rock hopped across but remembered a few grassy lines which were nice. Walkers on Scafell noticed that I was 1st Lady and all applauded which was encouraging. Off the top I headed for the screes which are always awful and I let more men passed! The corridor route went quickly and then across to Great Gable. I had decided that there was far too much running in this race and I was looking forward to some more climbing again. I was running with Ashley Kay and debated asking him if he had any gels as I had eaten all mine by now but some nice lady at Styhead handed me a handful of jelly babies and so hungry was I that I even picked the ones up that I dropped and ate them too!
I was doubtful that I could remember the nice way off Great Gable but didn't do too badly collecting some runners along the way who had started to head back to Styhead I think! Across to Grey Knotts I debated the best way but stuck with being safe not wanting to make a mistake now. Down to Honister to fill up with water as I was feeling twinges of cramp and was worried I would cease up on the final descent. I drank too much though and felt sick off Dale Head. Slotting in behind two Bowland runners was a good decision as they knew all the grassy lines down to the track where they ran off after reassuring me that they couldn't see another lady behind me. If I win a race (and I don't win many) I do like to do the final run in at a nice pace; not eyeballs out with sweat pouring down my face. It's just nice to savour the applause once in a while. As I was confident that I would be under 4 hours as well ... that's just what I did!! So thank you to everybody that did applause me. I finished in 3.53.14 hours. Fantastic to be sub 4 hours at last....Results
I won a lovely Berghaus jacket donated by Rathbones of Keswick and a really nice trophy (better than the Men's even which never happens!). Dark Peak Ladies won 2nd Team prize too with Clare Oliffe and Steph Coe. Thanks to Scoffer and everybody for a really well organised day. This is one race that should be in everybody's calendar!!
Racekit News: On the 1st August Racekit changed hands from Amanda and Andrew Heading to Colin Barnes and Elisabet Frankenburg. I know both parties have worked very hard in the last month or so to make the switchover work smoothly. Colin and Elisabet want to continue supporting me and as I've just found out they knew about my win before I got chance to tell them. It's already been tweeted on the Racekit website!
Hoppits Hill Races - I'm now busy organising these races which are to be held on and around our farm in Mirfield on Sunday 25th August. Please come along if you can and help make these races a success.
28th July - I ran Pike of Blisco yesterday in sweltering conditions but luckily it was a little cloudy for some of the ascent. I really enjoyed it actually as it was a steep climb up, a little route finding off the top ad then a steep descent. I was 16th which I was very happy with.
Charmian has totted up all the money we raised for Odyssey and it comes to £6527 which is fantastic and means that this year Odyssey can run another course for 10 people. I look forward to hearing all about it from Hugo. The winners of the Dragon's Back dvd were Debbie Smith and Margaret Lewis.
24th July - I've added photos to my report below and also to the Gallery
22nd July - On Friday 19th I travelled up to the Highlands of Scotland with Andy Heading, Steve Burgess and Keith Holmes. Jim Paxman and Keith Holmes were attempting the Ramsay setting off on Saturday 20th July at 12.30pm. This is my write up of the weekend - Jim Paxman RR
17th July - I did Broomhead on Sunday and it was very hot but I managed to win which was a surprise. I couldn't manage a sprint finish though and so more short stuff is the order of the day now.
I've added my photos of the Dragons Belly to my Gallery
13th July - Haymaking finished last night at 11pm. Writing my diary of the Dragon's belly all day today while it's nice to be out of the heat! Now I'm going for my first run as my swollen shin has gone down and I had a massage from Jeff Cole who says the damage isn't permanent - whew! I'll get my photos posted later. This is it - Dragons Belly Write up
8th July - Last week was the Dragons Belly (as you may well know from my recent news!). I had a fantastic week thanks to all the runners and supporters. My legs and feet held up well but I suffered with shin pain in my right leg which was very painful. I'm in the process of writing it up but we're very busy haymaking so it could be a while.
30th June - All packed and ready to go to Wales. I hope my bags pass kit check - I've tried to downsize but can't get everything I really really need into less than two bags. I'm really excited now and hope the weather is kind to us.
I've compiled a last Donations Request email as below. See you in a week's time with a full report!!
On Tuesday morning I'll be setting off with a group of friends at 7am from Conwy Castle to run 200 miles down the lenght of Wales over 5 days to raise money for Odyssey. I am nervous / excited to say the least. Last time I tried this distance my feet got infected and by Day 4 my shins were so painful that I could only walk down hills. So I plan to look after myself a lot better.
Thanks for all the donations to date - I have reached about £1000. As a team we've decided to try and raise £6000 which is the cost of a whole course for 10 people (as above photo). If you haven't donated then please do at https://www.justgiving.com/Nicola-SPINKS1 and help me to help them. The names of everyone that makes a donation (no matter how large or small) will be entered into a raffle with the two winners receiving a Dragon's Belly dvd.
During the week you can follow our progress by....
1) Following us on https://www.facebook.com/DragonsBelly2013
2) Tracking each runner as they run over each mountain on http://maps.opentracking.co.uk/belly13.cfm I
3) Get snippets of news from me on www.RaceKit.co.uk
4) And read progress reports on http://www.dpfr.org.uk/site/index
Have fun watching and thank you very much,
PS - If you could also like our facebook page and whatever else people do on the internet to ramp the ratings of a page then that would be great.
PPS All details of the route and runners can be found on www.dragonsbelly.co.uk
26th June - I've written up a brief report and included the updates that Willy Kitchen put on the Dark Peak website - Billy Bland 2013.htm
21st June - I was in the Lakes supporting on the Dark Peak Bob Graham Round. I was very glad that I had run Leg 3 in the relay the week before because I was navigating that leg and the clag was down and it was very wet and windy. Well done to Lawrence, Dale, Bernie, Martha and Tim who all completed in under 24 hours.
25th June - I'm now getting packed up for the www.dragonsbelly.co.uk and would like to ask that you read below by request for donations and donate if you can. Thanks.
Fundraising for Odyssey
Itís been seven years since I had cancer and allís going very well. Since 2006 I have been on the look out for a small worthwhile charity to get involved with. I heard of Odyssey in 2011 and after meeting Hugo Iffla I have become involved with raising money for the charity.
So Ö the reason for the email is that on July 2nd I am running 200 miles down the length of Wales with a few friends in a self organised Dragonís Belly and we are looking for sponsorship.
Odyssey help people with cancer regain their self confidence and enjoyment of life by providing week long holidays in the outdoors. The holidays are designed to be adventurous for all the participants while providing a lot of fun. Itís very hard to explain as the content of holidays are kept a secret from the participants but the Odyssey video shows it well.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWw0ZUtM9bU
I know everyone is bombarded with requests for donations nowadays and so I promise not to do this very often (the last time was seven years ago!). My reasons for wanting to help this charity areÖ
1) When I had cancer I immediately turned to my family and friends. My family visited me and sent flowers and cards; my friends also sent lots of cards and gifts. You all let me know in your own way that you were there for me. When I couldnít sleep I used to reread all the cards and look at the flowers. A week after being diagnosed I went and supported on the Dark Peak Bob Graham weekend. Being part of everyday life there helped me forget for a short time what I was facing in life. Support is an immeasurable thing but I truly believe in its power to help now.
I feel for those people that donít have a strong circle of family and friends to help them through their cancer. Odyssey try to provide this support not only through the holidays but through the people involved in the charity.
2) In 2006 I had motivation to get better. I had attempted and got round a Paddy Buckley in 25.45 hours but I wanted to get well enough to get round in under 24 hours. Not everybody has a challenge in mind nor the support behind them to enable them to be able to work towards the future.
The Odyssey courses provide a wonderful opportunity for people with cancer to have a holiday with a difference while getting them to look forward to life.
3) People who have cancer like to meet and talk with other people that have cancer. I got in touch with Don Mabbs through Dark Peak and Mandy Goth; a Todmorden runner. I can understand that the Odyssey courses will bring people together who will become friends for the rest of their lives.
4) What I like about the video and photos is that everyone looks like they are having fun and laughing. When you are told you have cancer laughter is lost in your life and it is replaced by constant worry, hospital appointments and test results Ö. and thatís without describing any pain you might be in. I used to relish and relive the times when I was having a laugh with family and friends totally forgetting my next hospital appointment.
So thatís why Iím asking you to sponsor me to run all five days of the Dragonís Belly from the 2nd to the 6th July 2013. Please donate at www.justgiving.com/Nicola-Spinks1
Many, many thanks, Nicky
Until the 2nd July there will be updates on www.DragonsBelly.co.uk and during the week you will be able to watch my slow progress as Iím going to be wearing a tracker! Iíll send another email out with details soon."
17th June - thanks to everyone that has donated already and all the promises of further donations to come - I still need more though to make my target.
Last weekend was a busy one. On Saturday I did Buckden Pike and was 16th ! My legs set off far too fast but I stuck with it as I knew I would lose on the flat running and downhill. I really enjoyed the race actually but bottled the wall jump at the end! Need more practise!
Then I travelled up to the Lakes to run Lag 3 of the Billy Bland Challenge as part of the Dark Peak Ladies Team. We did this challenge last year in foul condition and achieved 18.51. I thought it was going to be the same weather this year as we hit rain and wind at Shap. We all met at the campsite and had to retreat to the pub out the rain. It was forecast to get better and it did. At 3am the rain and wind had abated but there was still clag around. The weather got steadily better during the day. I'll write up a full report but basically
Leg 1 - Ruth Batty, Debs Smith and Lynne Bland - 3.27 hours
Leg 2 - Judith Jepson and Heather Marshall - 3.06 hours
Leg 3 - Nicky Spinks and Jenny Caddick - 4.22 hours
Leg 4 - Kirsty Bryan Jones and Claire Oliffe - 3.28 hours
Leg 5 - Helen Elmore and Pippa Wilkie - 1.41 hours
Making a total of 16 hours and 4 minutes. Absolutely brilliant - my schedule was for sub 18 hours but they blew it away!!
11th June - I had a good run at Ennerdale last Saturday. It was hot and I set off steady carrying water and a spare bottle. I have had a nightmare on this race in the past when I've run out of water and so was determined not to. My plan worked a treat filling both bottles at Kirkfell which lasted me to the finish. I enjoyed all of the race as you can see from the photo! I finished 3rd Lady just behind Heather Marshall (Dark Peak) in 4.50 and was 1st Vet.
I have compiled a document / email in which I explain the reasons why I'm running the Dragon's Belly in order to raise money for the Odyssey charity.
I would like to ask everyone reading this to also read what I have written below and then please donate as well. Thanks.
6th June - My legs are much better and I was happy with my Barnsley Boundary time and position. Now I'm concentrating on the Dragons Belly and getting the new races that I'm organising on Sunday 25th August 2013 at least partially organised! Today I've created the basic website www.hoppits.co.uk. and will be adding maps and entry forms this week. Some of you might recognise a photo or two from our wedding in 2009!
1st June - I managed the Hallam Chase on Tuesday about a minute off my pb. My legs were ok on climbing but my bruises were very sore on descending. Otherwise I have been running round locally doing lots of planning for the new Senior and Junior races that I'm organising in August - I hope to get the website ready soon.
Tomorrow I'm running Leg 6 of the Barnsley Boundary for Penistone Ladies team then it's off to Woodhead Mountain Rescue centre for the Dragon's Belly evening. There's lots going on now; I've got huge piles of beans and vegetables ready for the chilli, the pastry and apples are ready for their pie, Hugo Iffla of Odyssey has prepared his presentation, Amanda Heading of www.RaceKit.co.uk is going to talk and demonstrate about foot care / taping and then James Thurlow of Open Tracking has sent me a tracker to try out as we're thinking of using them on the Dragon's Belly.
The evening starts at 6pm with a showing of the Dragon's Back film; Rich Heap of Slackjaw Films has kindly donated two dvd's that we are going to raffle off to raise money for WMRT. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org ) with a pledge and your address !! Everyone welcome on the night.
26th May - Today I have written up the Paddy Record Report and included some photos and my Schedule and Actuals. I have put the photos in the Gallery and there is a link at the bottom of my report.
Last week my recovery was going well especially after a massage from Jeff Cole at Injury Scene however on Friday morning I stupidly tried to inject Alan (the bull) while standing behind him and found out that he has a very powerful kick and good aim. He managed to swipe both my thighs which was immensely painful and has left me with very sore muscles. I'm recovering quickly though and might go for a hobble out tonight as the weather is so nice.
20th May - Full report to follow....Basically everything fell into place and so I'm now the very proud Ladies Paddy Buckley Record Holder knocking 17 minutes off the record to finish in 19 hours and 2 minutes!!
Thank you to all my support for making it possible. I had trained for the record, was organised and knew what I had to do but it was my support, the 99% perfect weather and my stomach behaving itself which made the day such a perfect one.
17th May - the forecast for tomorrow (Saturday 18th) is consistently rainy and so I have postponed until Sunday when I think there is a reasonable weather window. I have rejiggled my support and had offers of new support and it all looks good to go. Willy Kitchen will hopefully put updates on Dark Peak's website and I will ask Charmian to update Amanda and Andrew Heading at www.RaceKit.co.uk .
15th May - Last week we were very busy on the farm and I felt tired and achy but on Friday I decided that I would go and run at Fairfield Horseshoe as I was frustrated at not running and could always take it easy and enjoy it. It was a good decision. Travelling up with Keith and Helen was a good way to catch up with them. The weather suited me - cold, wet and claggy. I enjoyed the race although it was very busy and I felt good on the climbs. I took it very easy on the descent and lost many places not knowing the best lines but was very pleased with my position and time. Fairfield_2013_Results
So now packing and organising my kit / food / support for next weekend. The weather seems to be ok for Friday / Sat - so I'm hopeful that my record attempt will go ahead.
Other news -the Dragons Belly plans are coming along very well now and we're having another Belly Evening at Woodhead Mountain Rescue on Sunday June 2nd at 6pm. Hugo Iffla from Odyssey is going to give a presentation on the charity and it's work which will be very interesting. Amanda Heading will explain how we can look after our feet and how to tape them when necessary and the rest of the evening will be an informal chat about the Dragon's Belly week - route, maps, kit, support, food etc. I'm going to make a veggie chilli with jackets/rice/rolls and a selection of puddings / cakes and charge £5 for food with all proceeds going to Woodhead Mountain Rescue. The evening is free to attend and everybody is welcome.
6th May -
BG Support - on Saturday I supported Tim Rippon on his BG. Unfortunately the weather on Friday night and into Saturday was really foul - even the tents in the campsite took a battering. Tim and Rob Cole were 45 minutes down on 24 hours by Dunmail; Rob packed in on the Langdales while Tim carried on and managed to stay on pace but not gain all the way to Wasdale ably supported by Mark Pearce and Brent Lindsey. It was very claggy and windy but at least the rain had stopped. I met him in Wasdale and with Tim Whittaker and Tom Westgate we tried to make time up on Leg 4. Although we were gaining a few minutes on every split time was running out and Tim couldn't pull anything more out of the bag. We arrived at Honister having gained over 30 minutes leaving Tim with 2.40 hours to do Leg 5 in but he arrived at the Moot Hall 7 minutes over 24 hours.
Plans - As you might have read below I had planned to attempt to take more time off my own BG record of 18 hours and 12 minutes. On the run up to my planned dates the snow was heavy and having to postpone again and again left me deflated. I decided to have a day in Wales to rethink my plans. I have always dreamed that the Paddy record would be the one for me as the Paddy itself means so much to me and that day confirmed it. So I have now organised support and devised a schedule to break Anne Johnson's record time of 19 hours and 19 minutes which in itself was the record until Mark Hartell bettered it by doing 18.10. So on the 18th May at 3am I will be setting off from Capel Curig (weather permitting). You might be able to follow my progress on Racekit / Dark Peak's site / Facebook as Willy Kitchen (roving reporter) will be in attendance.
Steeple emerging from the clag Me trying out my new OMM thermal top on Red Pike
28th April. Fellsman time again! I had a plan of using it as training and not really racing but that never works out. I also wanted to eat more early on to try and get rid of the low spot I always have on the 3rd hill Gragareth. I set off strongly but felt the pace was ok. Eating more that plan worked and I ran off Gragareth feeling strong. Collecting beans at Dent I caught Tim Whittaker and we ran on together up Great Coum. Overall the weather was good - quite warm, a strong northerly breeze though which made it cool on tops and then a few hail showers but luckily not hard ones. Coming off an out and back I thought I heard a female voice and (as I was currently first lady) that spurred me on to running a lot over towards Redshaw. Tim had dropped back but I was confident he would catch me again. I was quickly through the cp and off up the fence line. This is where I try and run however although I had energy it was so boggy that it was a waste of energy so I walked and ate instead. The ground overall had been extremely soggy and was making running very tiring. Tim hadn't caught me and I hoped he was ok. From Fleet Moss everyone was saying how tired they felt and I was the same. I was eating well but had the odd stomach cramps but generally found it very hard work. I was in a bad mood that I couldn't shake off and so decided that the quicker I ran the quicker it would be over. I ran with Matt and we shared route notes. At Cray we were caught by a couple of strong lads and then across Buckden we caught Pete. The guys could all run faster than me on the flat so I tried very hard to stay with them not wanting to be left out of the "group" as it was now after 7pm and we would need to be grouped at Park Rash. Everyone was happy to be grouped and from there to Yarnbury we all tried very hard to keep a good pace going. It just got dark as we arrived at Yarnbury. I told the guys "to leave me now" and they ran off. I quite enjoyed the road for once not having any real target to beat apart from under 13 hours which we did easily. I finished in 12.36 hours and 1st Lady. Initially I was disappointed at my run / time as I wanted feel strong throughout. However on reflection I am pleased because the time I achieved was me running on "limp home mode" which I don't intend to do everytime. Thanks to the guys I was grouped with for having me tag along, the organisers and marshalls.
Steve ran with Andy Heading. Steve hasn't run since the HPM in March and found it hard (not surprisingly!) but they arrived running strongly at about 6am - so about 21 hours something. Tim said he found it hard also and finished in 14.20 hours.
20th April - I went and ran the Teenager with Altitude in northern Lake District ; a cracking race with lots of climb. The weather was perfect and it was dry underfoot. I was determined not to set off too fast as you can really pay for it later. The plan worked and I finished 2nd Lady in a time of 3.32 hours; a pb of about 3 minutes. Results
15th April - Just a reminder that this coming Friday (19th April) is the RaceKit Workshop in Multi-day Events and Dragon's Belly Evening held to raise funds for Woodhead Mountain Rescue. See the flyer for details.
14th April - On Friday I travelled to Wales with Tim Whittaker and Tim Rippon to recce the Glyders and Carnedds legs of the Paddy Buckley. We stayed in Llanberis YHA. On Saturday bad weather was forecast from about 1pm so we got up early and set off at 7am through the quarries onto Elidir Fach hoping to get onto the Carnedds before it arrived!. The snow line was about 600m however the top was semi-frozen but it was thawing from below so we were breaking through 90% of the time. The clouds were clearing though and by 9am we had sunshine! We made good progress even staying on schedule until the Glyders then climbing Glyder Fawr through soft snow was slow and the descent off Glyder Fach was very deep, soft snow. Running would have been suicidal as we were breaking through onto rocks. Tryfan looked stunning - one half (our descent route) covered in snow while the other side was snow free. As we wanted to make the most of the still good weather we decided to miss Tryfan and descend to Glandana. We sat in the sunshine near the bottom and had lunch!
The ascent of Pen yr Ole Wen was ok but we could see the weather approaching and by the summit it was raining/hailing/sleet with a strong wind. Even though we were prepared for the weather it was incredible how quickly it came in and we were soon wearing many layers and navigating in clag just wanting it to be over and to be in a nice warm cafe! I was very careful making sure we got the right ridges as a "wrong valley" descent could be disastrous!!! Battling across the ridges we only saw one pair of walkers battling the other way. Tim R asked "when can we bail?" and I said "after the next hill" (Pen Yr Helgi Du) but as we descended Carnedd Llewelyn from 1064m down to 800m the weather and snow improved considerably so I didn't let on that we could now "bail" and continued onto Pen Llithrig y Wrach where I said to Tim "we can bail now" and ran off on the normal Paddy Buckley descent to Capel !!
The cafe at Capel was very welcoming as we were drenched by now. A hot coffee and dry clothes were lovely. The bus timetables disagreed as to when the bus might arrive - the internet saying 15.58 and the bus stop sign saying 15.46 so we were outside in good time. The bus stop sign also said "All Sherpa fares £1 " - Really? Minutes passed while the rain came down. People came and went in their warm cars! But then at 16.00 a bus rounded the corner and we leapt out into the road determined it would not pass us by. As usual in Wales (listen up Lake District) we had a friendly driver, a warm bus and the 30 minute journey to Llanberis did actually only cost £1 !!
Here are my photos
7th April - Well after another cold week I finally decided to postpone my BG record attempt out of April as the snow isn't going very fast and the weather looked to become wet and windy instead. I went up to the Lakes on Friday night with Charmian, Steve and Pete and ran Joe Faulkner's new event - Dawn-to-Dusk. It was a small but select field that set off at 6am after Joe's briefing which included a warning about the cornices on Helvellyn "if you're off course and you fall off - you will die". The weather was perfect - cold, no wind and clear. We ran up towards Load Pot hill and then the field split up to meet again at the summit - some having found faster routes than others (local knowledge!) then up onto High Street running over the frozen snow, the views were stunning. Dropping to Hartsop the path kept disappearing and me and the guy from Carnethy that I was running with ended up on some steep snow which turned to ice. He sat on one foot while I sat on my bum. Off I went, faster and faster with both heels dug in and then my fingernails too. Eventually Ia little squeak burst out of me and my running companion turned round just as I hit the heather and rocks. Bump, bump, Ouch, ouch - but I stopped! Whew!! After that I descended using his technique which was much better and controllable!
After Hartsop cp there was a long track which wasn't too bad to Patterdale then a long slog up the never ending Grisedale valley to Grisedale tarn. Here I decided to take the contour route to Wythburn Church (the next cp). It was good underfoot however I hadn't checked my height accurately enough and ended up looking down into Birkside Gill about 100m too low. Not much choice really but to climb which I did on a lovely snow bank. Running over on a bearing I saw some climbers and thought oops maybe not a good route but I followed a sheep trod down and after another snow/ice slide crashed into the fence along with my map which I had dropped. Running down to the cp I was hoping not to see lots of others runners which would just prove that my route had been rubbish! No, no-one - good!
After scoffing all the banana, grapes and crisps they had I turned round and began the ascent of Helvellyn. It was getting hot and so more layers came off. Once climbing I felt good and the path was nice and either hard packed snow or totally melted - slush would have been very hard work. I was hungry and steadily working my way through all my food. Also thirsty and drinking well. Running off Helvellyn I made sure I was "on route"!!!! The next cp was Whiteside and then a long drop to Patterdale and then road to Hartsop - this was my least favourite bit but the cp at Side Farm was worth it with coke, banana, juice and grapes. I had thought about going direct from here up Place Fell but it looked steep and rough ground and so I marched up the path instead. Now it was very hot and I could take no more layers off. I was also hungry but only had cheddars and hula hoops left which I tried eating but they sucked all the moisture out of my mouth so I couldn't breath; so I had to give up on them.
It was nice to stand on Place Fell and look back across the snowy ridges of Helvellyn but know that I was heading home to proper food!!! Still a long way though and unfortunately mainly tracks and roads! Oh well - since the snow came I have been a road runner so I'm more used to them now - and they are easier if I imagine they are covered in grass! Down to Martindale and then round on a never ending track past Barton Park and onto the confusing plain of Askham Fell. Using the compass I got myself across to where I recognised it or so I thought - I still made one error heading for the wrong coppice and had to have another map study before figuring it out. The lack of food was clouding my memory obviously! Running down to the village and into the hall I was happy and very glad I had come to do this race.
The winner was Kim Collinson in 7.59, 2nd was Jasmin Paris in 8.24 (I think), 3rd was Conrad Rawlik in 8.35 (I think) and then me in 9.02. Steve Wathall, Max Howard and Pete Holden came in together well under 12 hours. We all then sat and had copious amounts of tea, soup and cake provided by Joe and his wife; concluding the day just perfectly. Overall a well organised and enjoyable event.
30th March - The snow is still putting paid to farming outside and running / racing. I've had to postpone my BG record attempt another week to the 13th/14th April - we'll see if the snow has gone by then! I was getting frustrated with the snow but have turned my attentions back to road running and to the farm accounts! Happy Easter!
24th March - We had to cancel the Workshop at 5pm as we couldn't get up the drive to WMRT HQ. It was the best decision as it took everyone hours to get home and the snow didn't stop all night. We have rescheduled the event for Friday 19th April.
This is the new flyer ..... Racekit Workshop in Multi Day Events Flyer 2
Running wise - the snow put paid to the Edale Skyline and so I ran from home (as we were snowed in by Sat evening).
The weekend before (Sat 17th March) I took part in the Yorkshire Vets Crosscountry which was hard but enjoyable (afterwards!). I was 11th and 2nd V40 so got a medal - this is a link to the results http://www.yvaa.org/2013/yvets13xc1.html
These are photos from the Cross Country. This is me on the last (2nd lap) which was a long hill. The 1st time round my legs felt tired so paced it the next time but was overtaken by these two ladies near the top. These photos show me thinking about the situation and then deciding that I did have enough left in the tank to sprint and then sprinting! The hill flattened off and for about 60 metres I felt like I was flying .... However for the last 60m I felt like maybe I had started my sprinting too early!!!! But I hung on and made 2 seconds on them by the finish! The next photo is Annie Lightowler showing us how to really put some effort in!
18th March - The Film Premier was attended by about 35 people and raised just over £200 in door takings, beer sales and donations. Steve has been described as "David Attenborough meets Bush Tuckerman" which I think is an apt description. His pre-film talk made the history behind chocolate very entertaining which is no mean feat. Andy Heading's photos which ran on a slideshow during the break gave an interesting overview of Colombia as a country and the soup/rolls/tea/coffee/biscuits/beer meant no-one went home hungry! Thanks to Pete Sparks from Bank View Cafe for the food.
So hopefully we make this coming Friday's event just as successful: RaceKit Workshop in Multi-day Events 7pm at Woodhead Mountain Rescue again. Programme; Talk by Amanda and Andrew Heading on how to train, prepare and run in a multi-day event, q/a's followed by food. The rest of the evening will be centered round the Dragon's Belly Event with a presentation by myself on the route, organisation, accommodation, kit and training. All welcome. £5 on the door. All proceeds going to WMRT.
Ian Winterburn is running a Navigation Course on the Saturday (23rd March) and just told me last night that he has a couple of places spare if anyone is interested- Everythingoutdoors.co.uk
15th March - Running wise I've been mainly taking it easy and recovering from the HPM. My talk went well at the ShAFF that Sunday.
Steve and I have been getting everything organised for the first event that is being held at the Woodhead Mountain Rescue centre
Sunday 17th March - "Rivers of Chocolate" Film_Premier". 7pm at Programme; Introduction by Steve Burgess, 1st showing of " Rivers of Chocolate shot in Colombia over Christmas 2011/12, food served while photoshow is running and then Q/A's with Steve, Andrew Heading and myself. £5 on the door - all proceeds to WMRT. Rescue Ale will be available for sale. Tea / coffee = free
2nd March - Brilliant night - conditions described as "perfect" but to be honest I was hoping for more clag and soggier bogs as I think we do better in those conditions. Saying that we set off at a good pace and with our new team member Keith Holmes we seemed to perfectly matched. I'm always at the back until Cutgate and this was no exception - but there we met Tiggers Team (minus Tigger). After running alongside with them they put a spurt on and left us. I tried to up our pace but to no avail - in fact I think the extra effort caused Ian Charlesworth to have a "bad spell". As Ian has never (to my knowledge) had one of these he looked very bemused and said "I don't know what's wrong - my legs won't work" - and to be honest they didn't look like they were working. We thought he was in pain. After 15 mins or so he came to terms with whatever it was and buckled down to "getting through it". Eating and let us take his sac for a while. We were on our own most of the way across Outer Edge and Bleaklow only seeing a couple of teams leaving Wain Stones (or rather somewhere in the area between Bleaklow Head and Wain Stones which is now taken to be the stones by the checkpoint crew). At the Snake we could see the Mixed Team heading off to Mill Hill. Ian had semi-recovered and so we made good progress across Kinder - I was encouraging the lads along. Keith was unbelievable and just jogged constantly while we walked / jogged. So along Rushup Edge we jogged and then Hollins Cross - seemingly catching the team. On arrival into the Hall Richard said "Oh thats going to be close". And it was - 53 seconds we were beaten by. But we won the Vets category so Keith is now in proud possession of the trophy and a tankard. We finished in 09.04.20 taking exactly 30 minutes off 2012 time.
Well done to Tiggers team - Judith Jepson, Heather Marshall, Ian Loome and Jules - that was a cracking run. Also to Flippers Gang on beating their own record and finishing in 8.51 hours. The Carnethy Ladies also broke the Ladies record finishing in 9.40 hours.
Steve, Brent, Mark and Amanda came flying into Edale Village Hall in 10.54hours. It was their goal to get under 11 hours and so they are all very happy. Amanda was heard to say "never again" but I think she could be persuaded!
1st March - I was on Radio Sheffield this morning with Howard Pressman - this is the link (it says Rony Robinson but it's not) - You can fast forward to me at about 12 noon ish to 12.30pm (two hours after the programme starts) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p014l3zz
28th Feb - Two flyers which can be printed off for publicity or for your information - "Rivers of Chocolate" Film_Premier and RaceKit Workshop in Multi-day Events
24th Feb -
New Chew - Steve and I ran in the Long Score class today in great conditions. As usual we spent ages picking up a few low pointers first, then ran a long way out (to Holme Moss mast) and around picking up big pointers and then only left ourselves 30 minutes to get back to the finish. Steve said "we'll do what we'll do" after I told him our predicament then set off like a March Hare and we arrived back on the dot of 4.30 hours thus not losing any points at all. I won 1st Vet - a new compass and Steve 1st V55 - a bottle of beer (his choice!). The event was excellent; lots of route choice and huge amounts of delicious food at the finish!
New Events -
Sunday 17th March - "Rivers of Chocolate Film Premier". 7pm at Woodhead Mountain Rescue Headquarters Programme; Introduction by Steve Burgess, 1st showing of "Rivers of Chocolate shot in Colombia over Christmas 2011/12, food served while photoshow is running and then Q/A's with Steve, Andrew Heading and myself. £5 on the door - all proceeds to WMRT. Hopefully beer for sale.
Friday 22nd March - "RaceKit Workshop in Multi-day Races" 7pm at Woodhead Mountain Rescue again. Programme; Talk by Amanda and Andrew Heading on how to train, prepare and run in a multi-day event, q/a's followed by food. The rest of the evening will be centered round the Dragons Belly Event with a presentation by myself on the route, organisation, accommodation, kit and training. All welcome. £5 on the door. All proceeds going to WMRT.
My Talk - I'm working hard on my talk at ShAFF on Sunday 3rd March www.shaff.co.uk . It now includes the Dragon's Back and Belly Events. I'm on at 16.45 in Screen 5 which I'm told has 65 seats so if you want to come maybe pre-book. I'm talking on Radio Sheffield to Rony Robinson on Friday 1st at 12 noon.
18th Feb - I ran the Clowne cross country yesterday in brilliant sunshine. Choice of shoes seemed to be the biggest question for most but I had only taken my More Miles and so that was my decision made. We set off along a road then track then some muddy fields, then more road, track, fields, woods and then more road and then the "big hill" to a wall. I was enjoying it and passing people on the rough stuff mainly and could see a lady on the hill so I tried harder and passed her. Climbing the stile the marshall said 1st Lady - and I thought "Oh No, now I'm going to have to try" and try I did. All the way down some road, along lots of track, across a flat field, more track and eventually onto the return stretch of road. I could hear everyone cheering the 2nd Lady behind and so when I thought we were nearly back I sprinted - the finish was further that I thought and I thought I was going to fall over when I ran out of breath! But I made it but had to collapse on a bench for a few minutes before I could breathe.
Then we had lots of food and cake inside. It was all very sociable. Clowne XC Results.xls
15th Feb - The talk on Wednesday went very well. It was a very long night and I didn't speak until nearly 10pm so tried to keep it as short as possible. It was interesting to relate the training that Jason Ward and Stuart Bond do for their speed to what me and Darryl are doing for the MDS and 24 hour rounds.
12th Feb - All ready for The ShAFF Expert Nights tomorrow night although I have got a sore throat today which I'm hoping an early night will see off. Charmian has sent me the Handsworth XC Results and I'm thinking of doing the one this coming Sunday if I can.
Radio Sheffield rang me yesterday and have invited me down on Friday 1st March to talk to Rony Robinson who has a slot called "My Life so Far". I'll be on between 12 and 12.30pm - listen in as the questions they have asked are quite diverse and you could learn something about me that most of you never knew!
10th Feb - I travelled down to Handsworth this morning and competed as a guest for Retford AC in the cross country (much to the disgust of Anne Beresford who runs for Handsworth!). It was a lot of fun and I wore the shoes I bought yesterday - the grip was brilliant and I'm very pleased with them. I took it steady as I knew my legs were tired but came in 3rd Lady which I was pleased at.
Charmian and I then had a good chat about the Dragons Belly and the progress we are making with accommodation and catering.
When I got home I worked on my talk for
9th Feb - Yesterday was Wadsworth Trog. The weather was cold and although rain was forecast we didn't get any and it seemed quite warm running. Without the ice of 2012 we were running the "full route" which includes the little loop at the start and the road at the finish. I think there was a little mix up on the road as we ran down the road and then were sent straight over a wall which dropped 6ft into a field - quite a surprise but a little shorter !! Then we met a horse on the bridleway back up which was quite jumpy but I thought it was coping very well with a field full of runners trying to get all ways round it. Up onto the moors it was clear that the ice wasn't totally frozen and the bogs underneath were deep and cold! I think everyone must have gone through a few times - I know I did and my shins hurt even though I was wearing longs (for just that reason). I ploughed on trying to pace it but not really knowing as it was hard to run on the broken ice / bogs.
Clipping at the dam wall we climbed back towards Cock Hill where I thought we should be more right but didn't have the confidence to break away until I saw Pete Booth going - He led a right pack over to the fence and it was a massively good decision to go that way. Off down the muddy paths to the start of the loop, I always hate the road / track but it was better than last year as not a sheet of ice. Then onto the top - there seemed to be a few people following and when one person broke right to the ruin everyone followed. I stuck with my convictions this time and kept going but did sneak a look behind me and was pleased to see Pete Booth do the same. Poor Pete then took a right plunge into his waist but shook himself off and carried on. This was another good line and worked well. Round the ruin and onto the flags which I loath - the 2nd lady trotted passed me and looked strong. Onto more tracks and I was getting annoyed with people passing me on these sections so made myself run a lot of the uphill field. Felt better and so continued upto the road. I got a good line to High Brown Knoll but went a little stray after that and was very cross with myself but on finishing I realised that actually it wasn't a bad line at all. I was 2nd Lady, 1st V40. 3.38 which is the same time as 2012. Results
While I was there I bought some More Mile Ladies Cheviot 2 shoes - at £30 - a bargain. Available from Run Direct shop on Ebay .
4th February - In preparation for my BG Record attempt I was up in the Lakes this weekend refining a couple of lines that were wobbly on my previous attempt. I booked the Mungrisdale Hall and not knowing the weather planned a roving route in which hills could be added or discarded as necessary. On Saturday I was joined by Dave McGuinnes, Nick Cable, Tim Whittaker, Tim Rippon and the lively Joe Mann. The weather was fantastic - better than I could ever have hoped for in winter. The snow had melted (almost), the sun was out, there was no wind and it was cold. We did the "full route" from Seatoller which included Glaramara, Styhead pass, Great Gable, a few reps of the descent off Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth and Grey Knotts then added Fleetwith Pike in (as it's one of my favourites being the first peak I added in on my 24 hour record and I haven't been back to it since 2011), then we were treated (or I think that's "tret" in Yorkshire Speak) to a hot chocolate by Tim W in the cafe at Honister before completing all of Leg 5 including the road back to Keswick. By Keswick it was just me, Joe and Tim W as the others had doubled back to collect cars. We tried to resist chips but once Tim offered to share a bag that was a done deal!
Off to the warm and spacious Mungrisdale Hall for a shower (where most of the previous returning party were in the pub) and then enjoyed a banquet of Fitz Family curries; cooked by Ian, organised by Helen and amusingly labelled up by Mia and Eddie. We exchanged tales of the day and blisters with Jim and Olwyn Paxman, Debs Cable and Ian and Helen Fitz over dinner. And learnt to everyone extreme amusement of Dave McGuinness's liking for winter by torchlight swimming in the Ladybower reservoirs. Takes all sorts! After a pudding of cakes, cream and banoffee pies we thought it only fitting to have a couple of pints in the pub before being in our beds by 10.30pm!
Sunday dawned not such a nice day but with no rain, clag at about 700m and very windy on tops we decided on BG Leg 1 recce. This time it was me, Helen, Tim W, Tim R and bouncy (still!) Joe! Ascending Skiddaw was leisurely as it "was Sunday" said Tim W. The summit was very very windy and me and Helen were very glad to be chaperoned across by the two Tims. We soon descended out of the wind and found the correct line off and across to Great Calva. There again the summit was windy but the decent was pleasant. Again climbing Blencathra was windy but the descent was sheltered. We finished about 3pm - just time for more chips and a pot of tea before driving home.
Thanks all for coming along and making it a good weekend. My Photos Nick Cable's pics on Facebook
25th January - Trigger 2013 - as an Organisor and as a Runner!
20th January - I've written up our holiday to Kazakhstan I apologise for the links to the Gallery but its the easiest way to describe the photos. Now on with the Trigger report!
16th January - Just a quick update. Happy New Year !
Since we have been back off holiday (6th Jan) we had the Trigger to organise and run, the farm to get back to and a couple of runs. The Trigger went very well, the farm is fine (dry and cold - excellent), the running - hmmm. My legs were very tight after 3 weeks sitting in the landrover driving to and around Kazakhstan but are coming round now. They worked enough to get me from Marsden to Edale in 4.06 hours but would not do hill training last Monday! I'm in the process of writing up my holiday and have already put the photos on the Gallery. I'm also writing up the Trigger Race report and results for the Fellrunner / Trigger website.
I have been asked by Stuart of Accelerate if I will speak at The ShAFF Expert Nights on Feb 13th which I have accepted especially as the topic is "Getting to the Start Line".
So hopefully I will get all this done this week / weekend especially if we get snowed in......