28th December - I had quite a nervous time getting ready for Hoppits Hill Races especially as it snowed the day before! But the sun shone for the duration of the races and although we learnt a lot, the day went very well and it was so lovely to see juniors and seniors running the races. I'll write a proper report on the Hoppits website now (6th Jan) now that Christmas is over and we're in yet another lockdown. I do intend running the Hoppits races again - first date would be the 27th February but again I'll just keep postponing it until I can!
24th December - Well I've postponed Hoppits Hill Races twice now and then decided on 27th December. It was touch and go all December with a lockdown, then Tier 3 and then a new Tier 4 announced and placed on London, then more Tier 4 for other parts of the country on Boxing Day ..... but not Yorkshire! So with 3 days to go I'm ready and 99% sure the government won't change their minds again before Sunday. It's been nerve racking but I'm looking forward now to seeing 60 Seniors and 50 Juniors racing around my local hills. It's very wet and muddy everywhere so that's going to be fun. The weather forecast is dry and I hope it stays that way. I'll report back next week!
Other news is that we've been tripping back and forth to Galloway when we can so that even though the plasterers aren't allowed to go we can still progress the property while waiting for Tier 3 again. We been kitchen designing (me mainly!) with two visits to DIY-Kitchens.com and now almost decided - just need to remeasure one more final time! Then we purchased parquet flooring and are trying to figure out the best (and quickest) way of removing the old tar from them - all 2000 of them!!
Farming wise - it's very very wet - outside obviously but inside the sheds too. We decided we had too many cows to calve and so advertised 15 in-calf on SellMyLivestock - and sold them within a few days!! They were collected by a haulier and delivered to a happy Welsh farmer in Swansea. All great!
Joss, Wisp and Paddy are running well and enjoying my trips around the Peak District. I said to Helen today "I hope we're not still doing this at Christmas time next year". Everyone is yearning for somewhere / something else to do. Anyway... onwards with Hoppits and 2021!
Happy Christmas and New Year. x
29th November - It's very hard updating the News page because as fast as things get put in the diary they get taken out again. However I did get up to Glen Coe and deliver my coaching sessions to Girls on Hills just before the England lockdown and even managed to climb a couple of Munros! Joss and Wisp came along and were very well behaved. It was a wonderful weekend (although the weather was foul!). I hope to work alongside Keri and Nancy some more in the future.
The Trigger and Hoppits Hill races have been postponed to 7th February and 27th December respectively. If anyone wants to enter either then follow the links on my Home page. Both races are taking entries and it would be good to have full participation if we can go ahead.
Joss is growing fast and has become a wonderful dog. I am doing a lot of running in the Peak District and also in Galloway when we get up there. The terrain there is typical tussocks but I'm getting faster on them.
The calves were all sold to Blackhall Farm shop and collected early in November. We had the cattle scanner lady out this week and all 62 cows and heifers are in calf. This is a first to have 100% !! They are all inside now and this weather is even too wet for them there. The damp is seeping into the buildings and it's a right job keeping them dry.
I promised you some photos of my pointing at Mark and here they are! This is the hallway and a big wall to rack out and then point up. I'm very pleased with it.
16th October - I've been busy with coaching, running with Joss, pointing and then the weather turned wet and cold and so it only took two weeks for the fields to be waterlogged and horrid. We brought all 50 cows and their calves inside this week. It is the start of winter but they are so much happier inside eating nice silage and sitting on dry straw. The Trunce was a success and held on a very warm, sunny day. It's given me the confidence to organise a trial Hoppits races day on Sunday 13th December. Keep looking at the Hoppits pages for details of how to enter etc.
1st October - Well more things are being cancelled - The OMM, The Lakes in a Day, Teenager with Atitude but some races are going ahead and we're putting on a one off Trunce on the 11th October - email Trunce2020@btinternet.com for details and online entry. Then I'm working on how to put on Hoppits races next year plus the Trigger in January. So hopefully as RO's get their heads round Covid requirements and landowners get happier issuing permissions we can get racing again.
I have been to Mark Farm in Galloway quite a bit and my pointing/decorating of the hallway is progressing. I will source some photos next time I'm there to upload. Joss is growing and now a little dog rather than a puppy. Our walks are more like runs now and I can't keep up. I enjoy taking him on the hills and getting him used to streams, stiles, heather, bogs, sheep and birds. All going well at the moment!
The Yorkshire farm has dried out a lot and the cattle are enjoying the cooler, fly free days. We always hope it will be a late autumn but it rarely is. But everything is making the most of it while it lasts.
12th September - And another month gone! The trouble is that the weeks are rolling into one still. The last month has been spent waiting for the weather to be nice so that the straw that we buy can be combined and baled. We managed a few days up at Galloway but that's it. I got so fed up with cancelled plans and stuff that I took myself off to Wales yesterday to recce the UTS - scheduled for next weekend but now cancelled due to increased Covid restrictions and risk. The weather on Moel Siabod was a lot worse than forecast and I was getting blown all over. Wisp however was in her element! Knowing that the route dropped into the valley I stuck with it - and was glad I did as after that we went up to Pen y pass, Glyder Fawr, Y Garn and dropped to Ogwen before heading over the Tryfan col back to Capel. I thought it was a magnificent route with some rough paths but also a lot of nice paths, great views and a very interesting route. I've transferred my 100km place to June 2021. https://apexrunning.co/events/ultratrailsnowdonia#uts100
I supported Andy Heading on his BG, two weeks ago, in glorious weather but unfortunately Andy was sick from Steel Fell onwards - so that's 4am to 6pm! I did legs 3 and 4 with him and it was so frustrating for all of us when he would eat something, keep it down about 20 minutes and then throw up. And as the hours passed it took a toll on his climbing speed and so slowly we kept losing a minute or two on the climbs. On the descents and the flats Andy was still running well and we made the time back but always staying 20 minutes down on his 23.30 schedule. The crux was Great Gable where me and Steve Sanders used all the cajoling and persuading techniques we had to keep him going. Once heading to Honister still 20 minutes down Andy got more determined. I was glad and sad to see him head off up Dale Head. Glad because I was mentally exhausted because the last 11 hours had been such a roller coaster and sad because I knew Andy still had 3 hours of hell to go through with a not guaranteed good result at the Moot Hall.
With Amanda, Steve and Mark Spendlove on Leg 5 they took it in turns to cajole and bully Andy along. A serious fall off Robinson shook everyone up and had Andy finishing looking like he'd run into a wall with 7 minutes to spare. Well done Andy. Such a determined effort through 10 hours of hell.
I have also managed a weekend up in Fort William with Charlie Elliot, reccying the Ramsay in changeable weather. It was brilliant being back in the Highlands and we had a massive day doing Legs 2 and 3. Wisp took it all in her stride and Joss came along and was dog sat by Nancy Kennedy. All good learning for Joss. Thanks to Nancy, Keri Wallace and Helen Rennard for making the weekend possible.
11th August - I'm back in Yorkshire now and have uploaded all the photos that I took while in Galloway. Although most of the week was spent in the little toilet room racking out, then wire brushing the whitewash off the stones, then pointing the stones - 99% of the photos are of the walks that we/I did with the dogs around the local area and in the Galloway hills! Joss is growing fast and enjoys a full day out going very slowly and having rests /picnics along the way. His favourite bit is descending down deep heather but he also enjoys mousing in the garden and playing with Wisp. I think he has nearly won Paddy round but not captured full proof of that.
Running has taken a bit of a back step as the time is spent walking with Joss but it will be time well spent as he is learning so much while out and about. He even went up and down a ladder stile this week! He learns so quickly but is a careful adventurer which I'm glad about! Photos taken in Galloway Aug 2020
7th August - I'm trying to update this more often now as it's my diary too for future reference.
So this week we are up at Mark in Galloway - the house is coming on and I'm pointing then decorating the toilet now. I am also going out on the Galloway hills a bit with Steve, Paddy, Joss and Wisp. We just do a few miles taking ages for Joss although yesterday we turned round and he was gamboling down the heather, crashing into us all and doing somersaults. I just couldn't capture it on camera!
30th July - I have supported two people on rounds recently -
Damian Hall on his Pennine Way record attempt. On Thursday night I supported from Malham Tarn to Cowling from 11pm to 5am. Damian was about 2.30 hours up on his schedule by now. Again a tough leg, being Damian's second night and with only having had about an hour's sleep. He was moving well but dipped in and out of wanting to sleep again. We kept him moving down a very long valley just full of fields and grassy footpaths. Daybreak brightened him considerably plus the fact that he had lost 10 minutes in 1.30 hour split. He rocketed off so fast accompanied by his new support and I headed for home and bed. I was back on Saturday afternoon waiting at Torside to support him to the finish. He arrived still 2.30 hours up but confused as he had lost 30 minutes on the last section and I'm sure the schedule was wrong. It had got warm now and climbing Torside we were glad of the breeze at the top. Martin Stone had told us that if he did the two splits to Edale on his schedule ie 3.35 hours that he would take 3 hours off John Kelly's record. That is all we had to go on as the schedule now seemed confusing and so I took it off Damian as he was studying it too hard! We pushed on with Damian running really well and his support doing a great job of feeding him still. He didn't want to stop at the Snake so we powered on. I set the pace to Mill Hill knowing how long it goes on for and we ran all the way. Kinder Edge always goes on forever and eventually we reached the climb upto Kinder Low Trig. Down Jacobs Ladder we flew with Damian really flying now. I had never done the PW to Edale from Kinder Low so didn't know how far it was. We just kept pushing until the last climb and descent to the river path. Now I knew we had done it in 2.50 hours and so surely would be within the 3 hours. Damian ran down the path to the finish at the pub and it was a joy to see him finish there. The time was 61.34 hours knocking 3.10 hours off the record.
Sabrina Verjee on the Wainwrights a couple of weeks ago where I did Tuesday daytime from 5am to 4pm in quite foul weather across from Wasdale to Hardknott Pass. It was tough in the conditions to stay on schedule and find the right way but we delivered Sabrina feeling strong and ready for the next few days. The next time I supported was on Saturday when Sabrina was behind schedule due to a knee problem. It became clear that without assistance down the hills that she wasn't going to stay on the schedule and she decided to continue and finish the Wainwrights being so close to the finish (24 hours) but that she wouldn't claim that it was a record of any kind. We took 10 hours on a leg that was scheduled to take 5.30 hours and Sabrina went on to finish the last leg at 9.30pm on Sunday night having started on Monday morning. The decision not to call it a record round was well received by everyone and I hope when/if she attempts again that she asks me to support her on what I'm sure will be a fast completion.
This two month lay off was very unusual for me but during lockdown apart from farming and a Virtual Series that I was organising (and wanted to keep low key) there wasn't anything going on at all. I was running every day which is unheard of but there was little else to do and I enjoyed having the routine. Wisp enjoyed the running too and is now very fit!
At the end of Lockdown I was lucky enough to find a new dog - I wanted a puppy this time to replace Tyke instead of a Rescue dog as Tyke was so trusting and I thought that having three rescue dogs would be a bit much. After much deliberation I have called him Joss - as he has a very cheeky look and is already very adventurous and bold!
Now that lockdown has allowed us to visit Scotland I have been able to return to Galloway and resume work on our property there. Helen Elmore came up and we went out on the Galloway Hills which, once we had survived the obligatory brash, tussocks, flondering through lowlevel undergrowth was fantasic. It was so good to be back in some proper mountains and so long since I've been in a new area.
22nd May - A very sad day today as we had to put Tyke down after a short illness which only started in February. A very special dog that we are all missing very much.
9th May - Well another three weeks of Lock Down done. Numbers od deaths are dropping but increasing in Care Homes. Wales and Scotland want to continue with the Lock Down for another three weeks. I'm hoping tomorrow that Boris says we can travel to exercise and I can get into the Peak District a bit. The weather has been dry and warm and all the cows with calves are out now. The grass isn't growing much though! I've been making curtains for Mark and will hopefully finish the three pairs for the Boiler Room today! The second Virtual Series is keeping me entertained and this week was Home Adventure Racing" which being a Team event I enlisted Dobbin, Rosie and Jim! Photos here - Adventure Racing To get the video to play - press the Download original file button in the bottom right hand corner. It starts playing and doesn't download to your computer.
30th April - As with everybody - there is very little news. At least the weather improved and we were able to get on farming. It has been hard looking across at Bleaklow and not being able to run there but I got into an early routine of running everyday and set up the Virtual Series which you can follow from those pages. I'm hoping that we won't need a Series 3 as I'm keen to get to Galloway and back running in more exciting places. Generally though life is ok on the farm - we don't need to sell any cattle until October and Blacker Hall Farm shop have been as busy as ever.
Yesterday was a Virtual race with a Horse theme and I really enjoyed it and took loads of photos so I've put them all in the gallery! Badminationals
28th March - Well I set off to Mark in Galloway on Monday 23rd March and was about 30 minutes away when Boris announced the new measures. So after continuing onto the property, I checked it over and drove all the way home again. I was gutted as I had a week of isolated work and running to do. I spent Tuesday being very grumpy and/or crying. Steve, the dogs and the cows all avoided me. This week has been spent in farming, coaching and sorting out a routine that works for me. I have a theory that we are only animals and all animals like a routine. My routine is now
1) Get up, do a bit of office work - I've lots of coaching still as I'm changing peoples plans on a weekly basis to adapt them to life now. I'm also doing Plyometric plans for people self-isolating. All my talks have been cancelled to August now.
2) Go for a run. I've never run everyday before but I am now as it helps make me feel I've achieved something everyday. Yesterday was a horrid 12 miler that I used to run a lot called Prison 12 (yep it goes through a prison). But I finished at 9am and felt happy all day. Quite a feat in these times.
3) More work - now I have a list of jobs and I have to do One Horrid Job a day. Then I can pick nice jobs for the rest of the day. Horrid jobs include Vat Returns, farm accounts, cleaning, mowing the lawn (I hate mowing the lawn!). Nice jobs include getting the Solwise internet stuff sorted, making jam/pies/bread, writing letters, coaching, FRA emails, looking at maps!
4) Everyday I'm putting more on Social Media - which for a lot of people takes seconds but for me it takes an hour I would say, to take photos, write things and then posting. But it's good - people seem to like it and as other people's posts are cheering me up, I hope mine are helpful too.
5) Today I'm running a Fantasy Fell race at 9am. Just me and Helen Elmore at the moment. We both have a route that is 4 miles long with 500ft climb. I devised mine back in 2001 when I wanted to know that I could get round the Trunce! I then used it for my Wedding race in 2009 and adapted it for the Hoppits races that I organise every year. We're starting at 9am and I have my Dark Peak vest and my Trunce Race number ready. I'll keep you posted as to who won and who got a cake or beer as a prize. I might expand the concept to be the new Summer Series for 2020 so get those 4 mile routes at the ready!
6) I'm also trying to buy something from the Retailers that I know must be struggling. Steve and I have a saying about "What Goes Round Comes Round" and I firmly believe in the MoneyGoRound so sometimes in farming we buy a bargain and sometimes we pay over the odds. But this is all money going round and one day we benefit and one day someone else benefits. I haven't a lot of money but at the moment I'm lucky as our farming business hasn't been affected yet and my coaching is still continuing although I'm adapting everything constantly to keep up with race cancellations and restrictions) but it's all work and all bringing in money. So I can spend some of that. I have bought some teeshirts and mugs from my sisters business Genki Gear and some Thermos flasks from Flasks online as they are a small business operating out of Mirfield and have already been hit by floods this year. I have now asked Steve if he needs any running stuff and my next purchase is going to be from Pete Bland Sports
7) I'm trying to give support to everyone/anyone. When I had cancer the support I got was incredible and I learnt about the power of it. Knowing that people are thinking about me and have taken the time to send a card or flowers or ring me up made so much difference when I was feeling low. So all those letters I've kept promising myself to write I am writing. All those telephone calls I am making. While out running I think everyone is so much nicer now and when we say "Morning" and give a nod - we really meaning "Morning and I hope you and your families are alright". And that is why we must all do our part and stay away from people to make sure all their families are alright.
17th March - Well a week today I was due to fly to Atlanta and take part in the Barkley Marathons again but obviously that became not possible with US restrictions on UK travellers. With many touching communications between runners and Laz, and many of the remaining runners voluntarily giving up their place in the interests of Laz's health, then the US State Parks have now closed - the Barkley Marathons 2020 have been cancelled. All UK fell races are being cancelled as well as all other sporting events. Although this is all hugely disappointing, to farmers it is reminiscent of Foot and Mouth and is the only way forward. I'm now looking to do a long day out in the mountains somewhere instead and much decorating at Mark Farm in Galloway!
25th February - This weekend I've done lots of running in the Peak District as due to the weather and cows calving (we've got 22 now!) it was more worthwhile running locally and being at home. This has though enabled me to do a Park run (my 21st I think) and the West Yorkshire Winter League race. These are great events and the Dewsbury event uses the Hoppits race course which is how I got involved. So a 5ish mile blast round Stainland Lions course on Sunday morning followed by 4 hours over Bleaklow on Sunday afternoon. The legs were pretty shattered at Winter Mondays last night!
15th February - I went to the Lakes on the Saturday with Andy Heading to try and recce Leg 1 of the BG. Storm Dennis was forecast and after 4 hours we decided enough was enough and retired to a cafe! That evening was the Ambleside Climbers Shop Charity event at 4pm however the worsening weather meant that attendance was lower than booked. I enjoyed watching the Barkley film and talking about 2019 and my plans for 2020! The audience were great and asked some really good questions. Afterwards Cathy said for me to get off as the roads were getting flooded. We made it out by going through some deep waters and were thankful to do so. Thanks ever so much to Inov-8 and the Climbers Shop/Joe Browns for organising the event. We raised £360 for Odyssey and Hugo has been in touch to say thanks!
On the Sunday I headed over to Saddleworth for the New Chew orienteering event. With a strong wind and showers forecast it looked very cold out there as I drove over Wessenden. Looking at the map there were a lot of stream junctions and having had lots of poor experiences of Stream Junction finding on this event - I wasn't keen! But it had to be done and so it was! Not very fast but reasonably accurately. I then headed off to Wessenden for a 40 pointer and halfway there realised that it might not have been the best decision as I only had two hours and was as far away from the Finish as I could possibly be - knowing that the route back was rather rough too!
I collected the 40 pointer and then just basically headed for home! making good progress I debated a 10 pointer but after floundering around in a stream/river bed in heather and rocks I aborted that silly idea and just ran in finishing with 10 minutes to spare and all my 225 points intact! 9th Overall in the end and 1st Lady. Chew 2020 Results.pdf This is one of the best races in the calendar and many thanks to Peter Cobley and Saddleworth Runners for a great event and the best pie and peas ever!
11th February - To get some more Barkley training in I went to Wales with Kirsty Hewitson despite the forecast and Storm Ciara coming in. Saturday wasn't a bad day until 3pm (although too cold for photos) and we managed a lot of the Rhinogs ridge from Barmouth bridge to Clip before aborting down to Trawsfynydd (finishing over another impressive bridge) just before dark. Thanks to Flora for collecting us from there. On reaching my van at Barmouth though I saw I had a total flat tire but between us we had changed the wheel in about 20 minutes! Off to the pub and pizza for tea. The forecast was very bad for Sunday and over breakfast we decided to abort and go home. That was such a good decision as even getting out of Wales meant driving through flooded roads and up onto pavements. We We were all home at 11am and tucked up inside in the warm! Photos
On a very windy day I completed in the Wadsworth Trog on 1st February. I set off wearing longs and warm thermal just wanting to enjoy it as we'd had a long tiring week on farm. I don't like some of the new course and tried to settle into a running rhythm on these flatter sections. I felt good though and the wind did help once by blowing me uphill but overall it was quite a battle even running downhill against it. I had looked at my previous times and thought I'd done 3.26 hours and 3.34 hours so said to Steve Sanders that I was hoping for 3.30 hours. I was glad to finish and get out of the wind and am very chuffed with my 3.24 hours! I was 4th Lady and 1st LV50 - beating the LV50 record - which I checked afterwards was actually my own! 2020 Wadsworth Results
28th January 2020 - Last weekend I attended the National Running Show in Birmingham as part of the Bad Boy Running Ultra Zone. I have done a podcast for Bad Boy running in January 2019 and kept in touch ever since. My slot was on Sunday morning but I arrived on Saturday lunchtime to take in the show. It was much bigger and busier than I ever imagined it would be! It was good to meet up with Keri Wallace from Girls on Hills and we had a great time at the show and also in Wetherspoons then the "Networking dinner" in the evening. I never plucked up courage to go and talk to Laz on Saturday and then couldn't find him before leaving on Sunday. Oh well - that will have to wait till later in the year!
25th January 2020 - Last week I have been attending the Fell Running Association Race Organisors meetings and found myself in the Lakes on Thursday so me and Wisp went for a long run over Helvellyn. I ended up running hard so that I could get back and make the Ambleside branch of Alpkit before closing. I actually ended up running through Ambleside in full fell running kit and throwing myself through the door at 5.27pm surprising them all. Thanks Alpkit for a lovely warm pair of Rhombic Waterproof Winter Gloves !
18th January 2020 - I had a great weekend running on the Welsh mountains with Kirsty, Flora & Wisp. For a change we went to Dolgellau and the weather was perfect. Saturday we found a great route ending up on Cadair Idris at sunset however on Sunday we weren't so fortunate and out descent eventually led us to a recently deforested forest! Thanks so much to Flora for collecting on both days and saving us from a long road run back! Photos of both days
12th January - Trigger in cold, wet conditions. As part of the organising team I sat at Registration until 15 minutes before the Start and didn't realise how cold and wet it had got outside. Hence I set off in 3/4's and a lighter waterproof than I would have really liked. I felt good though and as usual glad to be off and leave organising to someone else for 5 hours! The rain came down as we headed to Wessenden and I was soaked right through. Then as we climbed Black Hill the wind and the clag came in. Overall the conditions suited me perfectly and I warmed up running into Crowden where I was chased by Kev Saville. At least having Kev for company made the flat running pass quicker and I was glad to reach the bottom of Torside. I put more gloves and hats on here and ascended into the clag again. The water was just running in all the trods making it hard for me to tell whether I was in a stream or on a path heading towards Shelf Moor. I emerged pleased to see the Woodhead Mountain Rescue marshalls there. I dived off glad to be heading down again. As I approached the path near the waterfall I caught some runners and we headed to Snake Top CP. Straight across as it was too cold to stop. The clag was coming and going but I went too far along the flags and ended up in some rubbish ground down Withins. The Cp appeared quickly and I was surprised that runners ahead were going up the path. Never mind I thought as I headed direct. I bumped into more runners climbing towards the Fence CP and it was Conrad Rawlik and 4 other men. They disappeared off after the CP but I caught them again at the Woolpacks. It was good to be running with people to try and keep up with. I love the descent down from Grineslow Knoll to the Finish and especially as my hands warmed up! Running into Fieldhead Campsite I was happy to finish and very chuffed with my time (4.38.30 hours) and 2nd Lady position behind Megan Wilson. Results
Steve said he set off steadily and was initially disappointed with his 6.30 hours but now knows he can push a bit harder. We're both entered into the Manx Mountain Marathon at Easter!
8th January - Brief synopsis of my Christmas and New Year
Christmas Eve to Boxing Day - travelled to Devon and spent Christmas with my Aunt Maggie and family. Had a stinking cold / cough but festivities helped!
Home to the farm for a couple of days
Weekend - off to Galloway to Mark farm then on Saturday 28th I travelled to Ireland to race with Billy Reed over there which was tough being an 8 mile trail race. Also Sunday went for a very windy run in the Mournes - cough subsiding a bit.
Week - spent decorating at Mark Farm. Finished one room completely and ran out of paint! Steve's sister Sue and John visited to celebrate New Year! No running!
Home to Trigger preparations!