Diary 2021

 

Then to Yorkshire and off to Mark in Galloway for New Year. Amanda and Andrew came up and we headed out on New Year's Eve to a blustery Merrick and two trigs! Steve and I then has a week of house renovation and just have one room to floor, walls, ceiling and decorate. I feel like we're nearly there but still loads to do and then the moving. But it's nice to have some rooms finished so that stuff gets unpacked when it gets up there. I hope everyone has a good Christmas and New Year. x

23rd December - I have run a lot these last few days and had tea out at the Strines pub with the dogs after one of them! Then the legs went on strike at Winter Mondays so I was very slow but enjoyed it for once! I've done a couple of runs and efforts since as it's supposed to be holidays and that's what you do! I had a lovely run with Keith reccying the Trigger race too. Photos

  

18th December - I had a few runs in Galloway and am getting some circular routes sorted that are mainly running and minimal tussock bashing! It's a shame that the energy companies are determined to cover the landscape in wind turbines - yes we need wind power but Scotland already produces 100% of the electricity it uses by renewable energy. This electric is being sold to Ireland. Anyway it will be sad if they consent more around us as I won't run these hills anymore. Wind turbine photos

Then it was back to Yorkshire for my booster jab which I'd booked a month ago before Omicron started. I felt fine on the Thursday but didn't sleep on Thursday night because my arm was hurting. On Friday I was supposed to be heading up to the Lakes for the Tour de Helvellyn but just felt shocking and kept making mistakes in my work all morning. I was packing in the afternoon and thought I just don't want to do this. So I decided not to. I hope the event went well and I don't mind donating my entry as these events have struggled in the last couple of years.

Instead I have been packing, doing present wrapping, christmas cake decorating and will head out for a run as I slept really well last night with even a lie in to 8am!!

 

11th December - As below the Cheviot Goat was postponed only hours before the start. It was heart breaking watching the organisors deliver the news as they had worked so hard after the storm to change the route, set up the Registration, clear trees, order porta loos, order a generator etc etc. So I sat on the sofa on Friday, very disappointed and then headed to Galloway Forest Park on Saturday. I only took three photos as the weather was so rough! I got very cold and drenched and was very glad I had a "get out route" which involved 6 miles of forest tracks but low level and warming!! The next day I went out locally as the weather was cracking.

Apart from that I have been doing lots on our house in Galloway.

For ages I've been wanting to upload more photos - but I work from my laptop while in Galloway and am still trying to sort this out. So firstly I'm trying to  upload a gallery of running photos and it seems to have worked  =  Autumn Galloway running  . You just have to click Back to get to the Main menu!! So now I'll sort out a load from the house and other things (like TOR 2021) and get going!!

 

2nd December - I did the Pendle Fell race on Saturday 20th and I think everything caught up with me as I felt so very heavy legged running alongside the reservoirs at the start. "Oh well" I thought! "It's going to be hard one!!" The legs didn't seem to mind climbing the first hill but the next 8km along the tops was really awful. I felt like I had a couple of bags of potatoes for legs. Getting the gels and the jelly babies down I couldn't wait for the hills to start again! I know there are 6 climbs on Pendle and I enjoyed each one as that's the only place I felt strong. There was a strong wind too which blew me about. Anyhow - at least it's only a short race and I was hoping for about 3 hours. The sixth climb came and at last I felt like I was passing people and they weren't catching me back. I reached the top and set off as fast as my tired legs would go, not wanting to lose all the places I had just gained. One lady and about four men caught me to the Finish which wasn't bad considering there is about 2 miles of flat running in it! I was very glad to finish and go and have lunch with the Fell Running Association Reunion! With Covid still about there was a fast prize giving where I received 1st LV45. No results were displayed and so I had no idea where I finished. I was very pleased when the results were up online and I was 6th women overall in a time of 3.08 hours. Tour of Pendle-results

Update on Below: Just as I was about to set off I got the news that the Cheviot Goat had been postponed due to the County declaring it was in a State of Emergency. The new date is 19th March 2022 which I'm looking forward to.

Then it's back to Galloway to set up my office (which I'm now sat in!) and clean the walls that I have pointed and seal the wall. My hands are tired and looking forward to a break when I head over to Ingram tomorrow to compete (or complete as the recent weather has made the course interesting!) in the Cheviot Goat!   

15th November - Another week spent at Mark where we had carpets put down in three rooms; the Junk room (that isn't full of junk anymore but has retained that name!), the Boiler room (that is to be my office) and the shower room.

On Friday Steve and I travelled to Glencoe to stay at the Independent Hostel with Kirsty and Flora (and dogs). I had booked the Bothy but actually is it a house! With Clachaig pub within walking distance it makes the perfect location. On Saturday Kirsty and I reccied the Ramsay from Loch Elide Mor to Devils Ridge in perfect weather of warm, no wind with cloud inversions and four Brocken spectres!! Steve and Flora planned and walked their different routes but everyone had a fantastic day finished off with a meal in the pub. On Sunday the weather was supposed to be rain from midday so we planned an early start from Glen Nevis valley. Again doing different routes with Kirsty and I heading up Na Gruchanean and continuing the Ramsay to the finish descent. We had much better weather than forecast and didn't get wet! We even got another Brocken spectre!

6th November - I have had a nice couple of weeks with not much running but do need to get back into it as I have a Cheviot Goat entry for December plus the Arc of Attrition in January! I have been at our property in Galloway where Steve and Nick have done a fantastic job of putting in the kitchen that I ordered from DIY Kitchens back in March 2020! It's been sat in the living room up there since then but now is installed and looks stunning. We are going to tile where it's still plaster and I need to finish decorating.

We now have carpets in the bedrooms and more carpets ordered for next week for three downstairs rooms so we can begin moving stuff up from Yorkshire now.

I travelled from Galloway to the Isle of Lewis last Wednesday - the ferry was so rocky that I was nearly sick but Wisp and Joss were fine! Maybe I need to ride about in the back of my van to sort my sea/car sickness out! It was lovely seeing Charlie, Carol and Lottie on the island as well as my dad and Penny. We haven't caught up for so long. I caught the Friday ferry back to Ullapool and it was nice and calm.

I'm now in Glencoe with Girls on Hills and have done my Running with Poles session this morning in the rain! I'm back doing a Q&A tonight and then a How to Prepare for an Ultra talk in the morning before joining in with the Ascending and Descending skills out on the hills. It's great being part of the Girls on Hills and being part of the team https://www.girlsonhills.com/coaching

 

Oh and the OMM was cancelled because of the floods in the Lakes which was very disappointing but completely understandable when I saw the video of the marque being blown away and everything strewn across the field. I look forward to doing it in 2022.

 

 

 

25th October - Last weekend was the FRA Fell Relays and I was on Leg 3 with Sally Fawcett for the Ladies Vet 40 Team. This was the long marked leg so about 6 miles with 950m climb. I was very worried about this as my legs were ceased up on Monday and Tuesday after the Lakes in a Day but slowly they came round. I arrived at the field in the Howgills and watched Leg 1 runners coming in. Pippa Wilkie ran well and came in with our A and B Team runners. Kirsty Bryan Jones and Alison Wainwright set off on the navigation leg. We thought they would be about an hour and a half so we got ready and jogged about a bit. The weather was warm at about 12C and we both had shorts on. The ladies came in on time and we set off with me hanging onto Sally along the road and up the first hill. The next section was undulating and again my legs wouldn't run properly on the slight uphill gradient and so I got a gel down and tried my hardest. Then there was a very steep uphill and my legs suddenly woke up and were fine walking up that. A gradual descent, another steep uphill where I was stronger than Sally so we pushed each other along with her running the flats and me climbing and descending well. We overtook a number of Ladies Teams but had no idea that we had passed the 1st LV40 team until after we had finished! Clare Ollife had a great run on Leg 4 and we were first Lady Vet Team which was fantastic. https://www.sportident.co.uk/results/HelmHill/2021/BritishFellRelay/

Next weekend I'm competing in the OMM https://theomm.com/the-omm/ Hopefully Kirsty Hewitson and I will have a better day on Saturday than we had last time the OMM was in Langdale and we couldn't find a checkpoint in the rain and clag!

 

12th October - I'm still on with writing up the Tor des Geants but life has been very busy with a visit from my Aunt Maggie and Rob, a trip to Galloway and the Lakes in a Day race. It was lovely seeing Maggie and Rob again and we had a nice few days exploring. Mark Farm is coming on in Galloway and one kitchen unit is now installed - the walk in larder! The ESSE range is brilliant and I've been practicing cooking on it - rather an art as it's wood burning.

Last Saturday I did the Lakes in a Day race which is 50 miles and 3800m ascent from Caldbeck to Cartmel. It's a race of two halves as the first 30 miles are across the mountains then the last 20 miles is along the side of lakes, through woods and fields. I started off conservatively as I knew I was still tired from the TOR. We climbed into clag on the first hill which just got thicker up Blencathra and remained with us for the rest of the day. The wind also increased and at times it was raining (Fairfield!). So it wasn't the nice forecast that we were hoping for but it wasn't cold. I made sure I ate a lot when I could and concentrated on not going wrong. I ran into Ambleside soaked to the skin  but pleased with the race so far. It's great that you get a shoe change at Ambleside and I was so pleased that I didn't have to run the road in my trusty Mudclaws but could wear the TerraUltra's instead. I had caught a group of men and left the checkpoint with them. We were all running differently and I was stronger on the climbs than the flat. I was enjoying the lower level sheltered running and was warming up nicely. I caught Jack Casey up and we ran together for the rest of the race which was a good partnership as it took two to concentrate on navigation and staying on the flagged route in the clag and then dark. Hitting the road we could hear voices behind us and so we speeded up. I was amazed that my legs would do road running after 47 miles but they seemed happy! I was so elated to run into the finish after 11.07 hours, First lady and 11th overall. A great race, with good organisation and loads of choice of food at the checkpoints. Thanks James Thurlow and team.

 

29th September - I have started a write up but run out of time at the moment so below is what I copied from Instagram for the time being.

After I successfully completed the Lakes 24 hour record only 4 weeks ago and then having a roller coaster ride to even get to the TOR 2021 start line my aim was to get to Tuesday feeling better than i did in 2019. Iíd only done about 6 runs in the last month so I had no idea what the legs would think of this! I set off steady and stayed that way but did notice about Monday morning that I was around men Iím not usually. Marshall said I was 6th and I replied I didnít want to know! I passed a lady heading out of Loo on Tuesday afternoon and at Gressoney Sarah told me I was 3rd! She suggested I carried on without sleep which my feet subsequently hated me and her for but it was a good decision.

I got to Valtournesh at 3.26 and gave me and my feet 1.30 hrs sleep having only had an hour on Monday night. I opened the door to head out at 6.30 and it was raining. I went straight back and found my drop bag to get my Inov8 Protec shell and winter tights as I knew the next section was high and exposed for a long time. Wednesday was good as now cool and I ran and ate well. Wednesday night sleep didnít happen at 9pm as too noisy and that really affected me overnight. Iím very grateful to Bernhard from the TOR130 race agreeing to be my ďfriend ď and we saw each other over the pass and down 10k of track that I knew we should be running but was too tired. We both had 15 mins sleep at 6am at Bosses and I was adamant then that 4th was catching me so pushed the pace to the finish with my feet complaining bitterly. Only when I saw Sarah near Courmayeur did I believe it was really happening. 3rd Lady and 1st LV2 (vet 50). 29th overall in a time of 101.16 hours for 360km and 24500m says my @garminuk watch! Paul Tierney had a storming run finishing 12th in 88.10 hours and Ally Beaven finished 15th in 93.14 hours. Well done @theultrarunnergirl for 3rd place on TOR 450 Glaciers in 155.06 hours. All in all a fantastic worthwhile trip! Canít believe my 3rd position

 

8th September - yep we had our farm sale last Saturday and sold all the machinery and "junk" that's been kicking around for years. It went really well and we're pleased with the prices. It was a bit sad to see some things go however I won't miss haymaking till 1am in the heat or muckspreading in the rain so it's good that the items can find a home and be used again.

And after a very uncertain run up to the Tor des Geants I am actually going tomorrow to Italy to start the TOR 330km on Sunday at 10am. This is the website and you might be able to find some tracking on there nearer the day.  www.Tor des Geants If not then I'll write it all up when I'm home the week of 20th September!!!  

31st August - I have written up the report and it's here - Lakes 24 Hr Record 2021.htm

Next week I'm driving out to Italy to complete in the Tor des Geants again which starts on Sunday 12th September. After all the uncertainty about Covid restrictions I'm manically sorting everything out this and next week as well as helping (a bit) Steve to organise our farm sale for this Saturday  http://www.wilbys.net/property/details-5445

20th August - My attempt last weekend was successful and I'm so happy with regaining my Ladies Lake District record! I finished in a time of 23 hours and 45 minutes. So so happy.

13th August - It took me about three days after my lakes attempt in May to decide to attempt again in August. Since then I have been training hard and now the weather has settled down and looks ok for this weekend that I'm all set to start at 3am on Saturday morning. I have two plans - one to add Knott and Bowscale, and two to miss them out if the weather / underfoot conditions aren't great. Of course this hard decision has to be made within two hours of setting off on the round. My support are all primed and ready - thanks to everyone who is coming along.

For updates / photos as I'm running keep an eye on facebook etc and follow the tracker link below. It will be out of my hands!!

7th August - I'm currently tapering and weather watching for next weekend as I'm going to attempt the Ladies Lake District record again. I'm a lot more prepared than in May and really hope that the weather settles down enough for me to attempt. This is the link to the tracker that I'll have https://live.opentracking.co.uk/lld24ns21/

 

4th August - I am in Galloway pointing our kitchen to be walls and headed up to Kinlocheven on Friday to support Helen Elmore on the Charlie Ramsay round. Helen was starting at 11am on Saturday. We all convened at the compact campsite on the WHW at the back of Kinlocheven. The weather looked good - maybe getting a little cold overnight but that was all. No rain and hardly any wind. I had suggested I walked into the Hump before Stob Coire Easain and so after seeing Helen off at Fort William Youth Hostel at 11am I drove round with Sally and Rick and walked in along with Joss, Wisp and their beagle Jess. It was warm and we got there at 2.30pm so then had 2 hours to wait. There was a nice breeze to keep midges away and we rested and slept a bit.

Helen arrived at 5pm with support (Lewis, Martha, Glen and Tim Rippon) struggling to keep up! Only Martha was carrying on and so stuff was handed to me and I quickly stuffed it into my rucksack and took off after Helen. Climbing up we re-capped the Grey Corries and Helen settled down into the long climb. I always go the same way up but it always seems different as the vegetation grows differently each time.  I was passing the usual landmarks though but the stream was dry higher up. Helen was eating very well and we shared my foods as her food had got left behind. Making the top bang on schedule cheered us both up and we carried on with a bit more chatting. It was a lovely evening and I was soon in shorts and single top. It was dry underfoot too. We arrived at the Dam on schedule too and I was pleased to see Charlie Elliot, Simon Rippon and Ian Challans. Helen didn't want to stop long and so we were soon off again. Stob Sgriodain goes on a bit but Helen was climbing well. With her only having short legs these heathery mountains are hard work but she was digging in and eating/drinking as well. Ian explained that he has only just made the Dam in time having got the timings confused and we all said we were glad that he had. It was great to make a little time up on the climb and head over to the easier Chno Dearg. Joss loves a grassy descent and was fooling around falling over on purpose which made us laugh. Bein na Lap is a short steep climb then a very long gradual climb. I remembered being here with Billy Reed in the rain and clag, and was so glad it wasn't like that. We got the head torches out at the top and it was dark by the time we reached the track in the valley.

Running the track we all settled down into a routine of walking and jogging which is needed along the Valley Section as it takes over 2 hours and is hard to maintain momentum on because the path/track is so bumpy and rutted. It soon sped along though and we reached the river crossing which was only ankle deep. Over to the other main track we went and then down that looking for lights/torches at the ruin where Kirsty, Elenor and Kev were supposed to be. It was ages before we saw a torch then it disappeared. When we arrive they were all packing up as we had surprised them being 15 minutes up on schedule. They set off up the hill and we could hear and see them for ages. We ate some food and set off to Kinlocheven very happy with our day/night arriving there at 2.15am. The shower and beer were wonderful as was my bed in the van! The dogs were very happy too and soon were asleep.

I woke at 7.30am and checked the tracker. Helen was moving well across the Mamores so I got up and after chatting to everybody I drove to FW YHA. Helen ran in looking very fresh and extremely happy in a time of 23.24 hours Well done Helen!!

 

26th July - I was up in the Lakes this weekend supporting Steve Sanders on his BG. Also attempting separately was Fiona Fulwood who I have been coaching to the BG for about a year now, and also Majka was attempting the Frog Graham - so a lot of Penistone and Dark Peak fellrunners around the Lake District! I was legs 2 and then 3 for Steve of the Bob Graham. The weather was very hot and muggy when I arrived at 6pm. I went to the campsite and tried to rest as I was starting at 10.30 pm from Threlkeld but I didn't get any sleep but I read a book and hoped that Steve was doing ok. Arriving at Threlkeld it was a clear full moon night and Steve arrived on schedule, looking good. We set off up Clough Head with Amanda and Andrew Heading. Steve was in good spirits and Joss and Wisp were too! The leg went well but there was some strange cloud inversions about which were stunning to look at in the moonlight but rather annoying to have to navigate round as the cloud came down very quickly and usually as we were descending off trying to find the path or the tarn even! As we were climbing Fairfield we heard voices and surmised that it was Fiona who had set off 15 minutes after Steve. Steve had been eating and drinking ok and we arrived at Dunmail slightly ahead of schedule.

With a quick road stop we were soon off up Steel Fell. The ground was very dry and there was still a cool breeze. We had Pez as extra support on this leg and he chatted away to Steve. Both Steve and I were looking forward to daylight which came as we approached Calf Crag. It was nice to take the head torches off and the sunrise was incredible across to Sergeant Man.  Fi had done Raise first and so we passed each other in between Raise and Sergeant Man. It was good to see (and hear!) Fi doing so well. Steve was struggling a bit with food but maintaining pace all the way across to Rossett and even gaining a little now and again. Billy Blands rake was hot and stifling and we were all glad to get to the top and hike across to Bowfell. Steve ran well across the knarly rocks all the way over Esk Pike, Great End and onto Scafell Pike which was quiet at 8am in the morning! We ran down to Mickledore and scrambled up West Wall traverse with me going well ahead with the dogs. Here Steve seemed to run out of energy a bit and we lost time to Scafell. The descent into Wasdale got hotter and hotter and Steve looking at his watch took off, leaving me behind but Pez kept up with him ok.

Steve went onto leg 4 but it got very hot and he struggled to keep food down and so lost more time arriving at Honister behind schedule by 45 minutes (meaning he had to make 15 minutes up to finish in under 24 hours). Dale Head didn't go well and when Steve realised that he wasn't going to be under 24 hours he decided to finish. He took around 25 hours but has completed the BG. At the Moot Hall it was emotional to see him finish and I hope he reflects on his achievements and does what he feels he wants to regarding having another attempt.

 

19th July - While at Beth and Matt's wedding I offered to support Beth's sister Fiona on her BG on 16th July. Fi was attempting along with her husband Matt but on different schedules. They set off from Moot Hall together at 10.20pm and getting updates that they were ahead of schedule we were ready at Threlkeld early at 1am. It was a clear and very warm night. I chose shorts and a short sleeved which is unheard of for me!! We spotted two lights on Halls Fell and Matt arrived first, and left quickly with Matt Bennett as his support. I had company on my support with Jenny and Adam, which I was glad of! Fi came in looking fresh, ate some food and was ready for the off. We all were excited to be going, especially Wisp and Joss!

Fi set off like a rocket up Clough Head and we all tried to keep up! Once over Clough Head she also shot off downhill and none of us could stay with her. As the leg progressed this became the norm however I was able to let her go and catch her on the ascents. Fi was moving well and after a little blip with her stomach which was soon sorted with a mixture of potatoes and sweets it was then water which we were running out of. But we had enough to give Fi and that was the main thing. Sunrise was stunning on Dollywaggon and even I had to take a photo! We kept in sight of Matt and Matt and it was great to pass each other on the ascent/descent to Fairfield. Matt was going well and so was Fi. Running down to Dunmail I was pleased to be able to stop and re-hydrate. Wisp and Joss however tried to head up Steel Fell with Matt, as he was leaving Dunmail as we arrived, but I called them back!!

After chatting a lot to Fi's parents I drove to Keswick, had a shower and a quick sleep. I then drove into Borrowdale to meet up with John Kelly's support team as I was supporting Leg 2 with Neil Talbot and Sam on John's Wainwrights attempt. I was very worried about the heat and then also as it became obvious John was going very fast, the pace as I had assumed being a multiday attempt and John putting me on Leg 2 that I would be able to keep up. It was so hot that me, Wisp, Joss and everyone else were hiding in shade as best we could. John was due in at 3pm and I hoped it would be cooler by then. He arrived with an exhausted Steve Birkinshaw and support, looking quite fresh! Setting off up BessyBoot I was working hard to keep up and worried that I would be more of a hindrance than help but stuck with it to the top. John is not only a strong ascender though but an extremely fast and nimble descender. With heavy packs he soon left me and Sam behind and again we worked harder on the flats and uphills to catch him. This became the norm all the way across to Allan Crags and Seathwaite fell then on the descent and ascent to Base Brown John showed signs of struggling in the heat and even stopped for a few minutes rest on the top of Base Brown while we re-filled bottles etc. Setting off towards Green Gable John started talking about rethinking his sleep and sleeping during the hottest part of the day and not at night. We all agreed this was sensible and it was good to see he was chatting and moving well again. Across to Great Gable we continued and at Beck Head Tarn I stopped and waited with Sam for Neil and John to do the out and back to Kirkfell. I needed to sort my rucksack out, feed the dogs and give them a dip in the boggy puddle that was the tarn.

Neil and John were soon back and off we headed to Fleetwith to meet Charmian with extra supplies. Again Sam and I dipped out of Fleetwith summit which was a shame as I like Fleetwith but we were flagging now and it seemed a long way still to go to Loweswater. John was moving very well and eating bits but drinking a lot. . All the way along the ridge we ran well with Neil navigating and Sam/me behind with John. The sunset was just as good as the sunrise was but I had no time to take photos! Descending Hen Comb down the horrid steep bracken fested banking I looked up at Mellbreak knowing that it was the last one for us, but John had so much more to do. It is incredible that anyone can go at that pace for 5 days. I have so much more respect for anyone that does the Wainwrights continuously. It is brutal. Neil again suggested that Sam and I could miss this out and as much as I hate not doing everything with the contender it was the right thing to do also. We spent 10 minutes lying on the grass enjoying a bit of chat round the other side of Mellbreak before John and Neil appeared and we were running off at a pace into Loweswater.

There John decided to sleep and recharge. We all piled into Charmian's car and drove back round to Keswick and then Borrowdale.

On Sunday morning I learnt that Matt and Fi had stormed round legs 3,4 & 5 to finish in 18.54 and 19.48 hours respectively. Matt was cooking a fantastic breakfast at the campsite which I tucked into before I headed home on Sunday morning.

I was all packed and ready to head back to the lakes for more support when at midday on Monday John had to pull out with extremely blistered feet. I am honored to have helped out at all on his attempt and I'm sure he will be back to have another attempt and look forward to supporting (maybe only later legs though!) again.

 

 

 

14th July - well like everyone else I hope, life is becoming more exciting and normal. Firstly Steve and I competed in the Saunders on July 4th in the Fairfield Score Class and we had a great couple of days (despite some clag and rain) in the Lakes. We ran over Dale Head area on Saturday and did 20km with 1900m climb finishing early as the clag and rain was getting complicated and we didn't want to risk losing our hard earned points. On Sunday the weather was slightly better but the terrain over Base Brown, Green Gable etc was more challenging. We were more daring also on the Sunday, which looked like it wasn't going to pay off with only 2 hours to get to the finish, but Steve dug in and we made it with a few minutes to spare. We did 17km and 1450m climb on the Sunday and came 31st out of 82 teams overall. We both really enjoyed the weekend and it was lovely to be racing again. Thanks to Saunders for putting on a great event and we look forward to more to come.

Then last weekend I went down to Devon on Thursday to visit my aunt and then continue on to Beth and Matt's wedding. It was great spending time with Maggie in more relaxed times and then heading to the wedding in Taunton on Saturday. Being runners there was a pre-wedding run and a post wedding run! The rain held off for the duration of the wedding and it was a very special weekend.

 

 

 

 

29th June - My first proper race since February 2020 and it felt very strange and disconcerting as this would be a real test of my fitness and speed. It was forecast to be nice and warm but there was clag hanging on the tops when I arrived in Langdale and it didn't look like it was going to shift. There was a cold north wind too and much debate was had about clothes. Just before the start the wind seemed to drop and I hastily took a thin long sleeved top off and just ran in my Dark Peak vest and shorts.

Setting off I felt good but the pace felt fast as usual. I tucked in behind Lee Warburton as he would know any little corner cutting lines! Getting to the place where the tourist path and the direct route split I saw everyone going direct so debated as I always do the tourist path. It was the clag that cemented my decision as I knew the route from the top of tourist path but not from direct. So off I went on my tod! It was nice to now have space to run when I wanted and walk when needed. I turned off and headed up the main path. The rocks were slippy so the worn path was easier ground. I was waiting to see runners coming in from my right on the direct route and on reaching Stephen Wilson the photographer I said "Where is everyone?" I continued up on the main path as it was claggy and reached Bowfell. Climbing up I was pleased to make the first CP still feeling good. I headed down the main cairned and reliable path to the col then found the path across to Esk Hause. I was joined by Jon Morgan and Joe Blackett and that took me by surprise as I don't usually see them on races. But things happen in the clag so I just carried on behind them expecting them to easier pull away. I knew the way though in the clag and didn't risk any short cuts now. Reaching Esk Pike still with Jon and Joe I was really enjoying the rock hopping and really pleased that Amanda Heading had sorted my very stiff ankle out. This was much more like the old me on the rocks. I took a fall though while thinking about the route ahead and not looking and saved myself using arms and knees. Ouch! The clag wasn't shifting and so I was careful coming off Scafell and again just stuck to the path to Mickledore. Climbing Foxes Tarn I collected water and then went direct up the grass which I've never done before. A crowd of us reached Scafell together only no-one then seemed to know where they were going. I went passed and along the ridge to the path. Dropping down I got the compass bearing out and heard female voices behind me. Two young lady runners came passed and ran off. I didn't think I would see them again but because they didn't know the route I kept bumping into them until Blisco. Slight Side CP was before the summit and everyone was heading straight down. I contoured round a bit to find a usual gully and slithered down something. Now I could see it was easier to head down but a bit confusing in that rarely on Great Lakes can you see anything! The scree was horrid as usual and then the two ladies appeared from my right and ran off again into the distance after the runners they could see.

The valley was quite dry and I could see everyone doing the traverse route. I was so pleased that my legs were still very strong - I didn't push very hard as I had another day planned on the Sunday. At the col people were going in all directions so again I just stuck to what I know and headed for Blisco direct. It was really lovely to be running, with a view towards the last climb. The race had gone very quickly. I climbed well but could feel some cramp coming on. Heading off the top I went on my usual line again and soon joined some other runners who had gone direct. One of the fast ladies was there too but she spotted me and shot off! On the descent I was getting cramp but I was happy to be finishing. I sprinted as much as possible so not to get overtaken in the last 100m. Finishing in 3.31 hours I was amazed I had run so fast. My previous PB was 3.47 hours. Britta handed me 1st V40 and 1st V50 prizes. I was 5th lady and the winner Georgia Tindley (the other fast lady) was 3.25 hours.

 

12th June - Billy Reed said that he was going to attempt the Ramsay with his friend Jonathan this weekend. I hadn't been to Scotland for months and wanted to do some big hills so I offered to support them on Leg 2 from Fersit, starting around 8.30pm. The forecast that had seemed good slowly deteriorated but it could go either way and it wasn't due to be very wet, just a little windy. Billy and Jonb set off from a very busy Fort William at 12.30 and I drove to Fersit to relax before Leg 2 and Leg 3. Billy's daughter Chloe and her boyfriend Stuart were supporting and they arrived at 5pm. We made our way to the dam at 6pm where it was quite cold and I was glad of my Dryrobe!  I was also glad that I had gone with the warmer option of long legs, three layers and thick waterproofs as I could see clag forming on the tops. At 8.20pm there was no sign of them and the wind dropped so the midges came out. We quickly moved camp to a more windy location! They arrived about 30 minutes down on schedule which was ok and they were soon sorted and we were off up Stob Coire Sgriodain. We went into the clag and wind about 700m and I was glad when we reached the top. I wanted to get as far as we could in daylight and trotted off. Chno Dearg came and went quickly but it got dark on us as we descended into the valley. I was pleased with the line considering and as we popped out the clag we could see some bright lights to our left. I figured it might be Corrour. We climbed up the steep hillside of Beinn na lap and then it took us forever to summit - it just went on forever into the driving rain and clag now. I was so pleased to see the top and then descend to the valley bottom. We were doing ok with the time but not making any up and I hoped with more running in the valley we could make a bit of time up but soon Jonathan was having a bad patch and the pace was ok but not quick.

When we crossed the river and arrived at the big track Billy suggested I went ahead and asked Chloe and Stuart to get the kettle on for some hot drinks. I did that glad to be able to run. When Billy and Jon arrived Jon said that he was finished and Billy was going on. I sped up my eating and sorting as Billy was quickly getting sorted as he was keen to move on. Climbing Sgurr Elide Mor Billy was moving really well and I was confident we would be ok. The clag was coming back though which made navigating harder and the rocks slippy. Over to Bennein Beag we trotted and I waited at the bottom for them as I needed to add more layers and feed the dogs and myself etc. I found an ok line up Bennein Mor in the clag and we were ok on time. Summiting though we were hit by a strong wind and I knew it was going to impede our speed across the rocky ridges. We ran on though and I was concentrating hard on navigation and staying upright. We messed around finding the contour path to An Gearanach and again I wasn't going up it with the dogs. I said this to Billy and he replied "Is there somewhere we can drop down?" I knew there was and really wanted to abort myself but it was hard to agree to, as we were so near to the finish. But I had been thinking about how to stay warm while Billy was on the out and backs and it was the right decision. We dropped near Steall Falls and luckily I got a text to Chloe so she was waiting for us at the top carpark.

So a long day out and not the result we wanted but Billy and Jonathan learnt a lot and will be back to have another attempt.

5th June - I recovered quickly from the Lakes 24 attempt and two weeks later supported Kirsty Hewitson on Lakes, Meres and Waters which is 100 miles and 6500m climb and visits all 26 Lakes, Meres and Waters in the Lake District. Kirsty was attempting to break the Ladies record and had a 33 hour schedule. I was supporting Leg 3 around Coniston and Leg 7 (the last one). Kirsty was 2 hours ahead of her schedule and I only just made the cp as she arrived! We set off up Coniston with Steve Wathall doing a great job of finding nice lines. It was quite hot and water was paramount. Kirsty was saying about Leg 5 overnight and how Matt Bennett couldn't do it anymore and I somehow heard myself saying I could do it - not thinking that I was already on Leg 3!! However we made plans and I doubled back to my van and drove to Ambleside to meet Charmian and wait for Kirsty who would be arriving around midnight. With no tracker it was down to supporters to keep us up to date. I had realised that this leg was much nicer than the last leg with little road and since I had Joss and Wisp it was nicer for them too. Kirsty arrived and was cheery. We set off with Fi Pascall and Matt, on the long drag to the first water of Skeggles. Kirsty was just feeling the pace and not finding a whole lot that she wanted to eat but an offer of coke soon perked her up and generally we moved really well. Kirsty knew all the lines and the sun was coming up so all was good. Kirsty said she felt tired but was climbing very well on the steep climbs. Her shin was hurting her but there wasn't anything we could do. We arrived Low Hartsop  about 2.30 hours up on schedule and the supporters hadn't arrived. We quickly rallied round and agreed that we could do the next leg - or at least set off and the new support could catch us on the road. Luckily it wasn't needed as they arrived.

I had a lovely time relaxing in the van with Charmian before driving round to the bottom of Sticks Pass to wait for Kirsty. It was now very hot. Kirsty arrived still 2.30 hours up and although her shim was really hurting her with only 16 miles to go she was ready for it. Helen Elmore had taken my place on the last leg and they set off quickly. We saw them briefly at Portinscale before driving all the road that Kirsty had to run right out to Over Water where we had a little snooze! It was small party that awaited a very happy Kirsty as she ran down the road to the water and dipped her feet in. A new record of 30hours 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Well done Kirsty!

 

22nd May - well that didn't go to plan! I knew I was taking a chance with a week of rain before my attempt but setting off we encountered fog and then snow on Skiddaw. I debated not doing the two extras but with no time to think I went ahead and added them. I was so cold and my feet were like blocks of ice so I ran up Bowscale trying to get feeling back into them. Across to Blencathra I knew we were losing time and the snow was even halfway down the descent to Threlkeld. I kept going though and I was climbing well but running was now hard. Eating was also difficult and it was a tough leg across Leg 2. The clag was still down but thankfully there was no snow. I lost another 10 minutes so I was 20 minutes down at Dunmail. I kept going hoping that I would come round but my legs were fairly battered now and something was up with my right foot so when we got to Bowfell I was unstable and not confident across the rocks. I tried really hard to stay on schedule but it just wasn't happening. Up Scafell felt a real ordeal when usually I like climbing. I talked to my supporters across to Lingmell and they encouraged me to go on. The descent to Wasdale was so slow though and I was now 30 minutes or more down. I only went on to Leg 4 because I just wondered if I was climbing ok that I could make time up and not lose on the descents. I climbed Yewbarrow well but off the top it was obvious I couldn't descent properly. I argued and reasoned with my support and we agree to wqalk to Honister. We should have gone back to Wasdale as it took us forever to get to Honister.

So two weeks on and I feel recovered. It was 60 miles and 6700m climb and I'm pleased with my recovery. I have another date in August planned already for another attempt!

 

19th May 2021 - I haven't updated for months and should really start again as it's my diary to look back on. The news so far for 2021 is that

1) We've sold our cows to various people and Blacker Hall Farm shop which is very exciting as it has given us so much more freedom. Now we just have three dogs to think about when we want to go up and down to Galloway - and they just come with us!

2) Mark is coming on now since we found an excellent plasterer. I'm not on with decorating the upstairs bedrooms and Steve is on with the kitchen. Well not installing it yet but doing the floor, walls and ceiling.

3) I'm going to attempt the Ladies Lake District 24 hour round this coming weekend as Carol Morgan broke my record last year adding Grisedale on. For anyone who wants to catch up I wrote all about this in 2011 when I broke the record. This is quite scary for me as I haven't done anything against the clock for a while. And without races to monitor my fitness and speed it's all on gut feeling and timing my reccies. So if anytone wants to follow my progress I do have a tracker and it's http://live.opentracking.co.uk/ns24h21/

January to May - Like a lot of people I just got on with living under lockdown for three months, then getting back to bits of socialising but still always thinking there would be another lockdown. I was training for the Ladies Lake district record but didn't really know whether I had done enough as I couldn't get to the big hills until April.