9th January - I have repeated this last entry in the 2023 diary but as the Twelve Trigs ran over Christmas I left it here too.
Over Christmas I was competing in the great challenge set up by Tom Brunt of Dark Peak which is the Twelve Trigs of Christmas. I started down in Devon, collected another in the Peak District and then spent Christmas and New Year in Galloway. The Galloway trigs were quite high scorers but I did have to work for them with miles or forest tracks, always a tussock bash and obviously a fair amount of ascent! Wisp and Joss had done 11 and I was doing the Trigger without them, where I would collect another three - thus as it's your best 12 scorers I could drop some low scorers. So to enable Wisp and Joss to collect twelve I did an extra one for them and it was the best weather day of the whole holiday! I was trying to take photos as I went along but sometimes the weather was just so foul that we got the hell off the hill as soon as we could !! The competition ended at midnight on the 8th January and I don't know the results or winner yet! Photos of Trig collecting and Trigger
Then yesterday I ran the Trigger and as soon as I set off my legs were complaining about all this running and no they were not going to run fast. So after trying to cajole them to Crowden I thought I would just have to dig in and instead make sure I ran what I could of the wet, soggy bogs and also got my navigation spot on. So that's what I did as well as eating all the sugar I could lay my hands on! I was quite happy by the time I was being blown over Kinder and down to the finish! I finished in 4.44 hours about 10 minutes slower than in 2022, 4th lady and 1st Vet.
Well done Brent and Woodhead Mountain Rescue for putting on another great event.
25th December - A nice relaxing job of updating my website with a Bradfield Brewery beer! It took me a week to recover from the Cheviot Goat as I had worked hard pulling my legs out of the bogs and my toes were really black and blue. But after that I got back into running and at least my good result on the Goat proved that all the shorter speed stuff I had been doing was working so that encourage me to keep on with it. I had a road trip planned to visit friends in the Peak District with Steve. I ran a few Winter Series races while in the Peak District and then travelled to Berkhamsted to see Charlie, Carol and Lottie but also to have a tooth extracted. A long way to see the dentist I know but this is for an implant and a recommended dentist is better than anything I think. After that visit - the silver crowned tooth (that I hated anyway) is no longer there and apparently bone is growing in it's place. I'm glad it's done. I then drove to visit a couple of venues for the FRA LiRF module course and to visit my aunt in Devon. And then a very long and very wet drive back to Galloway via a run in North Lakes! All in all a successful and enjoyable trip.
Happy Christmas and all the best for the 2023. We have spent a few Christmas's at Mark now but always been so busy working on the house that it's not been very relaxing. Today has been lovely so far - a walk up Merrick this morning and now dinner is cooking. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for 2023. x
4th December - I was looking forward to doing a long race again and having done this (almost) version in March I thought I knew what I was in for. However the extra sections, the cold and the very wet bogs made it such a harder race. I ran within myself until the Cheviot when the trails end basically and the bogs begin! I had changed clothes a lot as the weather forecast was varying between -1 and 6 with sunshine and showers. I wore my inov-8 winter tights and the Technical-mid-layer-womens in the end but I do wish I had worn the Extreme-thermo-socks as my feet were frozen a lot of the time. I was with Sabrina Verjee until the Cheviot and I tried to run within myself to save energy for the bogs. I didn't feel as good as in March but I could still run on the bogs ok. It was nice to get going on them after miles of trails. I was hoping that I was making a gap on Sabrina but kept expecting her to pop up behind me as I know she is a strong trail runner. I caught Howard Dracup and we chatted a bit. After a bit of toying and froing we started working together as he was faster on the downs and I was stronger on the climbs. He had the route on his gpx and I was using the Garmin handheld 66sr.There were head torch lights all around so it was hard to tell if runners were catching us. I was glad when we reached Bloodybush edge as I knew it was the last section now. My head torch was flashing at me and I waited till the road to change the battery. Howard kindly shone his torch on me so it was all done quickly. The last hill was confusing and I climbed too soon while Howard stayed lower. We found our way back to each other for the last descent and bar falls I knew I was going to win! Really really chuffed. The trackers are here https://live.opentracking.co.uk/cheviotgoat22/
25th November - Last week I had a week on the road - firstly to the Lakes to do Dunnerdale Fell race which is a classic 5 mile fell race. I had been doing more speed work since the FRA relays but still I haven't done a short fell race for so long! The road at the start was a shocker with everyone and his dog (not literally!) coming passed me. Life got a bit easier when we hit the fell as most people walked and I could run a bit still! The race is four climbs and four descents. It's a great little race and once I had finished, recovered my breath, eaten a lovely pasty and had a good chat with everyone I was very happy!
Then it was to the Peak District to catch up with friends and do some of the Winter Series races before heading down to see Charlie, Carol and Lottie in Berkhampsted.
Then straight back to the Lake District for the Kendal mountain festival and two days of coaching on the Tor de Helvellyn and then on the Spine (Pennine Way). I watched the new Summit Fever Media - Spine Race film and was really inspired to do the race now after not being interested for years! The Ultra Session on Sunday went really quickly and it was amazing to listen to the other speakers and sit on stage with Stephanie Case and Paul Tierney.
For the two days of coaching we managed to get perfect weather on the Saturday over the Tor de Helvellyn ridge and then reasonable weather on the Monday over Cross Fell even for a Spine recce. The dogs loved it all although some of the muddy Kendal footpaths were not to be repeated!
9th November - I've finished it (well it probably wants some typo mistakes correcting) the Tor des Glaciers 2022.html write up is done and is complete with photos! If you want to learn more about what really happened and how long it took me to sleep normally again then come along to the Kendal Mountain Festival.You can buy tickets here - Inov-8-presents-endurance-session
6th November - The Girls on Hills went really well despite the usual rainy weather. In fact on Saturday it barely rained and was really warm. I dropped Steve off and he reccied Scotways Route 140D Glen Etive to GlenCoe with Paddy. I did the Running with Poles workshop and then ran up the Pap of Glencoe with Joss and Wisp. The wind on the top was a shock being very cold and strong. On Sunday I presented my Training for an Ultra talk and then Steve and I linked Scotways Route 103 with route 102 so that we could recce that. The supposed to be 50/50 showers were more like 90/10 showers but we did finish almost dry as the rain stopped 30 mins from the end! A very interesting route with some manmade water features long it. Photos !!
I am now appearing at Kendal in the Endurance session with Stephanie Case, Paul Tierney and Damian Hall on Sunday 20th November . This is really exciting and I'm looking forward to catching up with Steph and Paul about the Tor des Glaciers. You can buy tickets here - Inov-8-presents-endurance-session
Still on with the Tor des Glaciers writeup - hopefully finished this week before Kendal! I'm now off to do some "road repairs" which to me is exciting! Photos to follow!
28th October - I'm off to Glencoe for a Girls on Hills weekend and the sun is shining!! (That's big news here as it's rained all week). I have added the Turkey photos to the Gallery now. I know it doesn't seem much of an achievement but I've been struggling with laptop, desktop and updating the website since we started moving to Scotland. It's so satisfying now to know I can upload my photos to the Gallery. I've got a huge backlog as you can tell from the distinct lack on the website and in the News!
22nd October - I've been back a week from Turkey and it's flown by. I've written Turkey holiday up here - Turkey Holiday 2022.html and will finish off the Tor des Glaciers report this week too. I'm really going to try to make time to sort the JAlbum thing out so that I can upload gallery photos too.
28th September - I've been back over a week and am just coming round. We're off to Turkey to climb Mount Ararat and although I've started my write up I haven't finished it. Sorry! It's been good for me to write it down and it will help clear my head a bit. I was very disappointed with how the race panned out and also confused as to how the organisors can run a race that does not help the runners achieve a finish. There was not enough food offered nor enough beds for everyone to sleep in. Support is supposed to be minimal yet there were supporters in every Refugio. Anyway - enough said until I get back!! Tor des Glaciers 2022.html
5th September - So today I'm off to Italy for the Tor des Glaciers This is a big step up from the Tor des Geants as it's 450km, 32,000m ascent and self navigation. The distances between checkpoints are much bigger also with some splits being eight hours. So as you can imagine I'm in a state of trepidation (best word I can find to describe how I feel!). The race starts on Friday evening at 8pm and we have until the following Saturday at 6pm to complete. I have the same plan as last year - to get to Tuesday feeling ok. Training has gone well despite the toothache - but that has now been replaced by upper body ache where I fell on the Kong Mountain Marathon and bashed my upper left hand side. My legs are fine but I'm not sure about using poles for a week - it's subsiding a lot now and I have a few more days. Other than that I'm all packed and looking forward to getting to Courmayeur this week and starting on Friday night. At least being above 2000m a lot of the time I shouldn't be too hot! Donnas will feel like a sauna at 300m. I haven't been able to acclimatize to altitude so that will be Wednesday and then over the first few days of the race. My aim is to finish.
Tracking me probably requires a degree of investigation on your part! Last year there were trackers and this website showed the runners progress on a map https://owaka.live/tor450-2022 (Note If you want to replay - hit Replay at the top left of the screen but then fast forward or wait as the Tracking started mid afternoon on Friday and so people are all over then group at the start before setting off on the race. The clock seems to be out of sync too!)
The other way is the Checkpoint tracking which will be on here https://live.tordesgeants.it/
When I was following Matt Neale last year the Owaka tracking and the TOR Live tracking showed different things ie he can have passed through a CP on Live but not on Owaka or the other way round so expect some time delay.
28th August - Steve and I travelled over to Arran for the Kong Mountain Marathon which is the new incarnation of the old LAMM which was a brilliant event. We opted for Long Score and were looking forward to running/hiking on the Arran hills that we can see from just above Mark. The event centre at Brodick had a camping area but I chose badly so we had a sleepless night with a generator not drowning out the cars on the road and the party revelers who came passed at regular drunken intervals through the night! Never mind - getting the map at the start we headed for Goat Fell as we wanted to see the mountains. It was a lot hotter than we expected and both of us were overdressed. Getting onto the ridge was hard work but the breeze was nice. We continued on and then realised that the ridge was very slow as it was rocky with lots of clambering up and down. I slipped almost straight away and landed heavily on my left side which bloody hurt. We carried on but time started to slip away until we realised that if we carried on the planned route we would be very late. We dropped to the road, collected a 40 pointer on the beach which was odd running passed bathing beach goers. That looked the better idea!! And then jogged/hiked all the way to the overnight camp.
The overnight camp was great and without midges for a few hours. We ate, relaxed and then went and had three lager shandies each to rehydrate!! We were back at the now very midgy field at 8pm and asleep at 9pm! We both had a great night's sleep and woke early. We got ready for day 2 and decided with less time (6 hours) that we would straight line the finish just getting a few points so that we could have a relaxing day. This was a good plan although we still had some rough sections and the same climb as on Saturday (1400m). Near the finish we opted to go for a 30 pointer which we knew would put us out of time but we would only lose some of the points we gained. This was a nice way to finish as we hadn't really been racing until that point. The results are a bit odd in that there aren't any Open results but I think we were 19th out of about 32 teams.
It was a great event and I hope the organisors will continue it on as I'm sure it will grow and be a great event in everyone's diary once more.
25th August - We had a great couple of days in Tyndrum and we both separately did my new "Spinks Score" - which involves getting as many Munros and Corbetts in either 24 hours or 12 hours in an area specified by me! As usually happens on a Score event you set off leisurely and time goes slowly, then you end up at the furthest point having gone for that extra one. And realise that you only have less than half the time to get back! So yes I spend the last 5.30 hours running way harder than I had in the first 6.30 hours!! All along thinking that it would be unfair for none of my points to count and that I would have to come up with a "points deduction" if I went over the 12 Hours!! I did however get back in 11.30 hours and will be going back to get that extra Corbett that I missed! All in all very good fun and I'll be putting my challenge on GoFar when I've worked out the points system and a few basic rules etc!
For the record I started and finished on the A82 Auch Estate and got 5 Munros and 4 Corbetts. (46km and 4500m). Steve started in the same place and did 3 Munros and 2 Corbetts (26km and 2600m). Great hills for Tor des Glaciers training!!
Then we have a week at home and now we're off to Arran tomorrow to do the new Scottish Mountain Marathon organised by Alison & Chris Wainwright. We can see Arran from above our house and are looking forward to exploring it on foot.
20th August - After a weekend in the Lakes seeing Helen Elmore and Matt Neale in the atrocious heat I headed to Yorkshire to get my tooth sorted. Another Emergency appointment on Tuesday confirmed I needed a root canal filling and that was started. As soon as the dentist drilled out the tooth the smell was foul! Being a farmer I know what rotting flesh smells like and it's not nice! I was so glad that my own diagnosis was right and that at last it was being sorted. On Wednesday and Thursday I worked from Keith's and went running locally in the Peaks. I was booked in on Friday morning for the completion of the root canal filling and that went smoothly. So I headed home to Galloway. I still need a crown but that can wait until after the Tor des Glaciers in September.
Training is going well and I'm just off to Tyndrum this weekend with Steve to run around that area again as the mountains are lovely and grassy! I'm hoping we get a "cloud free summit" but I can see why they are few and far between!
12th August - I'm back down to the dentist next week for a root canal filling! At least it's going to be sorted for the Tor des Glaciers. I will take my laptop with me and load photos to the Gallery and do lots of work and Tor des Glaciers research! I've been ordering lots of stuff!! And doing lots of running locally.
7th August - Back to Yorkshire last week to the dentist and the tooth still isn't 100% but I don't want to start root canal etc before the Tor des Glaciers and so I'm managing it annoyingly. We visited Amanda and Andrew in their new lovely house and on the way home Steve and I did Leg 3 of the Joss Naylor setting off with shorts on under leggings however the leggings never came off! It was cold and raining until midday when at least the rain stopped and the clag disappeared so we dried out. The rocks also dried out and it became quite pleasant when we were sheltered from the wind - or when we got to Styhead and turned back for Dunmail at 1pm. Overall it was a great day out and it was good to do the route and perfect the lines. We were up on the 24 hour schedule that Steve is allowed and that was encouraging too.
1st August - A really busy couple of weeks with "finishing" off the house for a family visit from Charlie, Carol and Lottie that was just something else to have them back after all these years. They saw the house in 2018 when we had bought it and the transformation over a lot of years is huge. We had a lovely couple of days exploring the area and doing some much needed gardening! Thanks all xx
Then I have been to Tyndrum to look at the Tyndrum round with Joss and Wisp. Tim Rippon and I completed three legs over two days and I did the last leg on the fourth day (with a short rainy day on Day 3). Some stunning, grassy mountains and Munro's and I can't wait to go back and explore some more. I'll get my photos up next week - we are back to the dentist tomorrow!
15th July - I was so pleased when Helen Elmore decided to slot in a Joss Naylor and we quickly sorted support and headed up/down to the Lake District. Steve and I reccied Legs 1 and 2 on the Friday at a steady pace with all the dogs in not brilliant weather and we were glad of the Kirkstone pass for some refreshments halfway round! Then on Saturday I supported Helen from Dunmail to the finish and it was really special to finish the last three hills together and see her running down to Greendale to be greeted by Joss Naylor. A wonderful weekend with great friends.
13th July - A busy week with a trip down to Swansea for the Love Trails Festival where I was giving a coaching session on techincal trail running to a ladies only group. I arrived on Thursday 30th and went for a two hour run round the area to recce the terrain and access. This was very useful as in typically Welsh fashion, the footpaths were rather overgrown but there were some lovely unmarked trails which were perfect. The whole Love Trails event was very well organised and although I'd never think about attending something like this the combination of good music on an evening with lots of trail running during the day seemed a perfect match. I did however have toothache and so was in bed rather early and wasn't able to enjoy the music on Thursday night. On Friday morning I met my group of fourteen ladies and lead them round the local hills while demonstrating uphill, downhill and running over obstacles (rough ground), I also gave instructions and advice to the group before letting the ladies practice everything themselves. It was a great session and I was really pleased with it. On Friday afternoon I did a Q&A interview with Anna Frost which was well attended and enjoyable too. After the talk I headed north to Llanberis to register for the 100km Ultra Trail Snowdonia however my tooth was getting worse and worse to the point that I couldn't close my mouth and so almost on arrival I decided it would be madness to register and try to complete the event. I emailed the organisor and headed for the Peak District where I could stay with a friend until Monday. I had rung my dentist who said if I rang on Monday I would get an appointment. I thought a sleeping in a proper bed and taking care of myself over the weekend would be the best option. It was and on Monday morning I had a replacement filling and was able to drive home to Galloway.
I was like a bear with a sore mouth that week as I had been looking forward to the UTS race and felt I was full of pent up energy, having not run properly, for what felt like weeks! Of course it isn't but still.....!!
So I was really looking forward to supporting Billy Reede, Dale Mathers and their friend Keith on a Ramsay the following week. Steve and I drove up and got ourselves into position to walk in to Spinks Ridge on Saturday morning. The weather was good - less low cloud than forecast and not too warm. We walked in and Steve left me at Spinks Ridge to hike up Sgurr Elide Mor and camp in the Binneans. Billy, Dale and Keith arrived looking hot but good and on schedule. Going along the Grey Corries it was very hot and we struggled to keep on the schedule especially up Stob Coire Easain as the sun was really hot and it was stiffling. By the time we reached Fersit we were 15 minutes down but in good spirits as the temperature had dropped. However halfway up Sgriodain Billy decided that he couldn't go on. He was recovering from covid and just couldn't stay with the pace. Dale was also struggling and so they both dropped back to Fersit. Keith hadn't been on the hills before and we carried on - trying to make some time but then the clag came down again and we couldn't really make any time. So we trotted along enjoying it and the sunset, the moon came out and it was stunning for a bit. The valley went on as usual but it was getting light and the climb up Sgurr Elide Mor went on forever! A fantastic sunrise made up for the lack of energy we both felt not having eaten properly. I was looking forward to seeing Steve and it was great to see him and have Paddy running round us like a puppy! We all walked back down to the van and met up with Billy, Dale and co at the campsite again.
It was a shame that they didn't get round but everyone was happy and knew what needs to be done for next time! I was very pleased with my trip out. I'll get some photos up next week!
26th June - last weekend I was in Wales supporting Matt Neale on his Paddy Buckley round. On Friday it was a sweltering 20C however on Saturday morning the temperature had dropped to a nice 16C and it was lovely setting off on Leg 1 with Matt, Damian Hall and the dogs Joss and Wisp, plus Matt's dog. After a too speedy climb of Moel Siabod we settled down into a good pace and made excellant time across to the quarries where we were met by a veritable feast thanks to Andrea, Nick and Liga. Round the Moelwyns we went and arrived at Aberglasyn about 45 minutes up on schedule. Matt had a good stop and set off on Leg 2.
I then had a few hours to shower and eat before supporting again overnight from Llanberis. Matt had continued to make time up on the schedule so I set off to Llanberis with John Parkin and Tim Laney for 11.30. It was still a lovely evening although the forecast was for a bit of rain overnight and a cold wind had developed. We all opted for warmer clothes and this was to be a godsend. Maybe I jinxed the whole attempt by saying to Andrea and Jess that I'd not been on an attempt that had gone so well! Matt arrived looking strong but everyone said it was cold on the tops. We set off up the quarries and soon hit clag at 750m. I was worried about the navigation as not having been on this leg since my Double in 2019 and also knowing how tricky the navigation is - clag in the dark was the last thing we needed.
The leg was very hard work - the rocks soon became slippy, the navigation was very tricky and straight lines on a compass hardly work in all that rock. We made it across to Tryfan and then painfully slowly down on the slippery lethal rocks to the support point. Somehow every split we had lost time until now we were only 10 minutes up and Matt wasn't going fast enough. I decided to keep going as I felt ok and I really wanted to help Matt finish in time.
The clag returned on the last leg but we were on the navigation making sure we didn't go wrong and so lose anymore time. We started to nag Matt to run and with Damian out front as well, we progressed through the leg however still losing time until we were all worried that he wasn't going to make it. All of a sudden approaching the last peak with only an hour left Matt suddenly speeded up and we flew off the last peak down into Capel Curig at a phenomenal pace to finish in 23.41 hours!
10th June - Steve and I travelled up to Fort William and supported Kirsty Hewitson on her successful Ramsay round in glorious weather. It really could not have been better! We saw Kirsty off at the YHA then had some lunch before walking into the Hump from Roy Bridge with Mark. Steve set off to the Binneans with Paddy and me and Mark sat around the hump for a couple of hours which was pleasant. Kirsty arrived 45 minutes up on her schedule looking good but needing food! We set off up Stob Coire Easain and I thought it was soon over but everyone else complained about it! I was a bit worried about the long descent to Fersit but Kirsty was happy to go steady and we actually made it down on the schedule time. I had bashed my leg in a fall on Tuesday and just wasn't sure how a long descent would feel. It was ok and I was really pleased with that. A quick stop at Fersit and we were off on Leg 2 with Charlie Elliot and Tim Rippon. Again the climb seemed long but Kirsty was moving well and we made a few minutes up. The weather and views were fantastic and I was glad that I'd opted for shorts. Wisp and Joss were loving it as they had been bored all day! Over to Chno Dearg and then Beinn na Lap which didn't seem as tedious as usual. I was keen to descend and make the most of the light. I was really chuffed with my lines having reccied it really steady a few weeks before with all three dogs. Along the track and Kirsty set off like a rocket! Luckily for us she slowed a little after the footbridge and we trotted along quite well. Even though conditions were dry the valley path is still so horrid. I was glad when we reached the crossing point and headed into rough but at least not rutted ground to cut the corner.
Hitting the track we just had the track to the ruin to do - never one I like but again with Kirsty chatting and Charlie running ahead it went so quickly that we soon crossed the wooden bridge and I thought is that the wooden bridge already? Leg 3 runners - Joe Farnell, Alan, Digby and Ben were ready with the noodles which Kirsty ate as much as she could of. Charlie and I were carrying onto the Benneans and so it was us that was puffing most up the Sgurr Elide Mor!! By the top it seems it was getting light and we could see a head torch at the col of the Binneans. Kirsty was struggling with sickness now and I promised her Apple and custard that I had asked Steve to make! I hoped that he hadn't eaten it too - but he had got three of them! When we arrived there Steve had Apple and custard and that went down well with Kirsty!! They went off up Bennien Beag and we waited at the other side. Steve was heading down and me and Charlie were carrying on. I was shattered now but promised Kirsty I would lead up Bennien Mor so I did! The we stayed with them until the first out and back where me, Charlie and Digby peeled off for a rest and shortcut. From then on we stayed ahead of them knowing we wouldn't be able to go at their pace and it was a very pleasant morning, with fantastic views and great company. We dropped to the caravan carpark where Steve was waiting for us in the van.
After breakfast muffins at the campsite we waited for Kirsty and it was so lovely to see her running in in a time of 22.43 hours! So well deserved. That night we had celebrations at Black Isle pub but were all in bed by 9pm!!
29th May - This week I travelled over to the Dales on Wednesday to support Damian Hall on his Pennine Way record attempt. I saw him go through Dufton at 3am and he was looking good. The weather forecast was not what it was supposed to be and he had been through rain and wind. The rain did clear up for Thursday night but the wind continued and was quite bitter. I met up with Beth Pascal to move our vans to the right locations on Thursday and when we arrived at our start Malham Tarn at 10pm it was only 5C and a strong wind was blowing. Having done that leg last year for Damian I knew that it was fairly flat and sheltered after Malham which would be a nice reprieve. Damian appeared with Ben Mounsey and we carried on across the limestone paving down to Malham where Mark Townsend, Nikki Lygo and Sharon has set up the support vehicle. Ben stopped in Gargrave but we were met by Jason which was nice as he was going to take charge of navigating. We had a quickish stop and were off again. Damian was moving like a drunk man but was with it and eating well. I think the constant battering from the wind and rain had taken it's toll and overall he ate well on the 16 miles we ran with him and by the end he was running strongly however just seemed to be losing time on his schedule. We changed over at the road before Pinhaw cairn and watched him go off with new supporters. Beth and I drove round to Malham, dropping Jason at Gargrave to collect his car.
I was due to be running with Damian again at 11am from Wessenden so I drove to Edale where Jen and Marcus collected me on Friday morning. There is no signal in Edale but they had seen that Damian had dropped more time on the schedule and as we drove round we stopped in Glossop for coffee chatting about all sorts and having quite a lovely time! Neither Marcus nor I were looking forward to supporting as it's hard when the contender is behind schedule. I knew he would have to run as hard as last year and to make back the time really seemed impossible. Sat having our coffee we all got texts to say Damian had stopped at Hebden. Now we were sad that it had ended like this. We drove back to Edale where I gave my 10 hour carparking ticket to a man who was very grateful before driving off to see my Dark Peak friends near Sheffield.
21st May - I have written up the Joss Naylor and added a few more photos. I have also got a new (secondhand laptop) and got the gallery going again! That's worth a weekend beer in itself! Joss Naylor 2022.htm
In the other news - we've settled into Mark Farm but are still on with the middle room. Steve is wrangling with parquet flooring and I cleaned the pointed wall yesterday. The big (ger) news is that I've bought myself a proper camper. After all these years in a red postie van and then a useless Vauxhall van, upgraded to a VW Caddy which is great but still rather small, I took the plunge and have bought a bee-knees VW Transporter T6 camper. Done out by someone who knows what he wanted - and it's just what I want too! I love it!! I spent 4 days in trying to hide all the useless stuff I thought I was going to use (like a printer) and getting used to being able to wor, make cups of tea and drink cold beer (all at the same time if I wanted!). Wisp and Joss like it too!
The first trip I did was for a Ultra Tour Snowdonia photo shoot with Damian Hall - and I will upload the photos as they are brilliant!
I also went down to Church Stretton and then to the Peak District to look at venues for the Leader in Running Fitness module courses. I have booked the venues and the UKA are setting up the course bookings now for July, September and October! Watch this space.
So after a morning on updating my website and getting Gallery to work I'd better go and unpack some boxes and seal a wall!
4th May - Lots of news and no time to tell it all!!
1) I did the Joss Naylor on my birthday of 22nd April. It was a cold, windy day but conditions really were fantastic. I was supported by a fantastic small group with Leg 1 being Kirsty Hewitson and Mat Bennett, Leg 2 being Steve Sanders and Steve Wathall, Leg 3 was Charlie Elliot, Tim Rippon and Helen Elmore then Charlie carried onto Leg 4 and was joined by Simon Rippon and Steve Sanders from Steeple. I managed to stay around the 12 hour schedule until Great Gable when I decided to make really sure I was going to be under 12 hours so pushed very hard. I finished in 11.42 hours to be met by Joss Naylor and his daughter Sue and my family - Charlie, Carol and Lottie.Joss (my dog) did all the crossing while Wisp did from Kirkstone to the finish.
I felt a bit ropey on the drive round but a good bath helped sort that out and I was ready for my birthday tea in the Coledale Inn that night. All in all a wonderful way to spend my birthday!
2) In one last final push we packed up everything out of Liley Hall Farm in Mirfield and handed the keys back to the landlords who have been marvelous in all this giving us flexibility and working with us all the way. Mary Burgess from Blacker Hall Farm has taken over the land and is already making a huge positive impression on the farm. It all looks lovely as we left. So we're permanently at Mark Farm in South Ayrshire now and I must say after buying it in 2018 it's so wonderful to have moved in at last! The middle room is still in a state of plaster and concrete but all the other rooms are finished (and full of boxes!!!).
So that's my news
13th April - not much news! The week after the Cheviot Goat I had a great trip to Scotland with Kirsty, Helen, Tim and Matt where we reccied the Ramsay legs 1 and 3 for Kirsty (not me!). And then I caught a cold (not covid) and I've spent two weeks renovating, packing, driving up and down the M6 and unpacking - so very little running. But I'm doing the Joss Naylor on my birthday (Friday 22nd April) and everything is coming together for that. I haven't had time to sort out any photo uploading but I'm hoping once we are moved for good (by May) then I'll have a bit more time to catch up with everything.
2nd April - And then my laptop crashed !!!!!! I was using it to work and update the website while roving around the country and so I've been stuck for a while until I got this desktop up to Galloway. However I've still lost the ability to upload photos for now until I re-install the program etc which is very annoying but there you go. I hope to get a few photos up this weekend if I can sort the uploading out otherwise it will be in here as I've finished the fireplace and it looks really nice I think! I have spent the day today (2nd April) updating the Summer Series which has been time consuming and now I'm going to seal the fireplace stone work and pre-paint the plastered walls. Hopefully I'll feel inspired to take photos tomorrow!
Since the FRA courses Steve and I have been working hard on the house in Galloway, packing, moving and of course running! Steve is doing the Manx Mountain Marathon at Easter - while I'm not doing it as I'm doing the Joss Naylor the week afterwards on my birthday. I'm 55 and it's now my "tradition". I have been training well and also had a great run at the Cheviot Goat which was very encouraging especially as I didn't try to do well - I ran it at Joss Naylor pace and really enjoyed the new and knarly route! I set off mid pack and from half way when the terrain got rough I started overtaking people until I was 2nd Lady and 7th Overall. There were 3 ladies in the top 10 actually (the 1st Lady Emma was 5th, I was 7th and the 3rd Lady was 8th) which is very pleasing.
13th March - There were two more LiRF Pilot courses held in Sedbergh on 5th and 6th March and I attended the Saturday course to make sure everything ran fairly smoothly. It was great to see the course developing and we'll have more courses lined up soon. As I was staying in the lakes I got some running done from Pooley Bridge and across the Joss Naylor route which I'm planning on attempting this year when I turn 55 in April. The weather was stunning for once making it a joy to be in the mountains with Helen and the dogs. Photos
I then travelled up to Galloway and have been getting on with the fireplace project. I hope to have it finished tomorrow and then we have the job of getting the stone lintel lifted up onto the pillars I have built. The house is coming on and we've had the last carpets laid now. The plasterer was here for a week with Steve and Nick and plastered most of the middle room. Still seems a long way off finished but we're full steam ahead! I've added more photos to this album so you can see the development. I also went and did Girvan Prom Park run then took the dogs on more race reccy from Barr village (hence more Darley ruin photos!). Photos
3rd March - It was Hoppits Hill races last weekend and early in the week I realised it was going to be a busy one so me and Keith went full steam ahead doing numbers, labels and preparing the courses and registration for the numbers that were pre-entered. It looked like 180 adults including U15, U17 and U19 then 30 in the U13, 26 in the U11 and the usual 10 in the Under 9 races. With no Covid rules we were also taking entries on the day but didn't expect many.
The weekend was lovely and sunny which was a complete contrast from the two previous weeks of heavy rain and storms. I had drafted in my usual reliable and experienced helpers - Brent Lindsey, Andy Plummer, Ian Charlesworth and Teresa Wall along with other helpers who would Marshall the Junior race then run the Senior race. Dave and Eileen Woodhead were there and really helped out everywhere during the day with their massive experience of Junior races. Eileen helped on Registration and Dave organised, shouted and got everything going on time and then they both took the wonderful photos. As soon as Registration opened we realised that Entries on the Day were the biggest problem with not enough coloured numbers and increased paperwork. We had some Pete Bland numbers and so allocated those. I was glad when the Junior races set off at 11.30 am and the Finish was great.
We then tried to sort the Results and have the Junior prizegiving before the Senior races set off. There were 340 seniors and U15,U17 & U19 in total setting off up what we call "David Bells" hill. I hoped the little path at the top would cope! At the Finish 20 minutes later the runners started piling in with the Juniors making up 99% of the top 20. It was certainly giving all runners someone to race with the combination of ages in the race. The Finish funnel got rammed and we just kept taking times and numbers hoping that it would all tally in the end.
Prizegiving incorporated the Yorkshire U19,U17,U15 and U13 Championships with medals, trophies and chocolates. I did the Senior prizegiving and then it was all over. But no ..... Penistone Footpath Runners and AC had bought me a leaving present and they all gathered round to present it to me. I was very touched especially when it was presented by two of the juniors I had coached - Hugh Mackie and James Fryers. When I opened the present I was also so happy - it is a blue kettle for my ESSE woodburning stove up in my house in Galloway. It's perfect and even has a whistle. I've always wanted a kettle with a whistle!!
22nd February - well it feels like I've been very busy and then when I list what I've been doing - it's mad!! Firstly a trip to Mark Farm in Galloway to get the "middle room" floor screeded over the underfloor heating, then to acquire a fireplace lintel. Then deciding what to sit it on and I had the bright idea of stone pillars - and got myself a job!! After a shaky start I have got the pillars off the ground and am pleased with them. We also have hopefully got carpet fitters to do the last room (sunken floor room) and the very complicated stairs. I also went for a little run locally after the weather forecast in the Highlands was rubbish and found yet another ruined farmstead in a lovely location. I'm reccying a race route - it's now 15 miles with 1000m climb !! Photos
Then off to Fort William for the festival in horrid weather. I'm glad I got there and out again in between storms. And managed a few runs in not too bad conditions but then we didn't go about 600m. Photos
I headed home on the Saturday stopping off in the Lake District to recce the Joss Naylor - and got a great afternoon for it with Wisp, Joss and Paddy. Photos
eading in Running Fitness. Again the weather was atrocious but the course went very well and I'll be organising more for 2022 as my new role as FRA Education and Coaching co-ordinator.
Home to Yorkshire to organise the www.hoppits.co.uk races! Better get baking!!
12th February - My legs were completely shot for a whole week and a big knot appeared in my calf. Running was out of the question except I did do a photo shoot on Tuesday for Yorkshire Cancer Research and they got me to run (hobble) up and down quite a lot of times! All three dogs came too and were the stars of the shoot I think! I'll let you know when and where the publicity campaign is running when I know. Into week two and I'm back running and doing a bit of speed work. Just this morning 12th Feb - I have been for a longish hike/run with Steve and the dogs which was great if a little damp!
Then we came up to Mark in Galloway and put the electric underfloor heating down in the main room which took three days to lay the screed on top of. Much longer than we imagined it would take! Next is battoning out the main room, plasterboarding and then plastering. I have a wall to point and a chimney fireplace to build too. It's all coming on well but we are really looking forward to finishing it. We sort of had some time out on Friday to go and look at carpets - but grey and hard wearing didn't take long. Hopefully they will come and measure up next week and then fit fairly soon - which will be the last carpets to be laid.
While all that was going on we have been wrangling with Ieuan Aled Owen who was trading as Viomech Engineering Ltd last year when we paid him for a building on a lead time of 5/6 weeks. In December Steve was trying to contact him and in January Steve drove to Wales and saw Ieuan's parents. We were promised the building but it didn't appear and we asked for our money back. The alarm bells were really ringing now and after a lot of internet searching we found out that he had defrauded someone in 2013 and since then had had 3 other companies. We filed a Small Claims against him for our refund. All the details are on here http://blackcows.co.uk/Ieuan Aled Owen.html and waited. We knew he had set up a new company Agri Buildings and was advertising on Facebook. I went on and left a poor review explaining our experience with Ieuan. The facebook page was removed within hours. We also received our refund the same day from Agri Buildings bank account. Please if you read this and know of anyone buying or looking for a building then let them know to avoid Ieuan Owen from the Mold area at all costs. Now that's over and we're back looking to buy a building but with the money to do so again.
2nd February - Last week I travelled to Devon on Tuesday to stay with my aunt in Sidbury for a day before heading to the Arc of Attrition registration on Thursday via Coverak which is the start so that I could check out the road then path section a little. I wanted to see how much road there was, what the path conditions were like and to make sure my watch and gpx were working properly. It was all good and I was pleased that there wasn't much road before the path began. I did Registration quickly and met Damian Hall who had offered to crew for me. The Arc has four checkpoints but lots of places where your crew can meet you if you have one. I was very grateful to Damian for offering to crew me and we quickly sorted out the stuff and headed to Lands End to the cottage to meet Andrew and Helen there. After a reasonably relaxing evening - only I was in the what to wear dilemma we headed to bed. I didn't sleep that well and was glad to get up, have porridge and set off.
I was able to get my tracker at registration quickly and headed back to the van to eat etc before buses went. I was then offered a lift in a car with Duncan who has won the Arc five times and his Mudcrew support. That really helped as I get a bit bus sick! I quizzed Duncan on route too!!
I was glad to get going on the race and settled down into my own pace, letting runners pass me and not racing. It was hard for the first 40 miles to know what pace to run at. The terrain was overall very runnable which I'm not used to. But I kept eating and ticking over. Sometimes I tried to increase the pace but I was worried that it was too fast. I was in and out of the main checkpoints as after I had met Damian a couple of times I knew he has sussed out where to find me all the time and I could rely on him. I knew I was about 3rd women and passed a lady who said she was from Plymouth so not used to the hills. I could see the 1st lady and slowly I was catching her. I just wanted to pass her but in my own way and keep going. I got to the beach that we cross and I could run on with my XTalon Ultras so I trotted passed her slowly. I thought she would come back passed me but she didn't.
When we got to Perantanthoe I had said I wanted to change into ParkClaws and I was so pleased that I had as my feet had swollen up and it was so nice to put some spacious cushioned shoes on. I wasn't looking forward to the eight miles of road but settled down into a pace and just trotted along. It was dark now and that made Penzance better as did following Seb, a guy I had been running with a bit. He didn't have support so we leap frogged each other at times but he was good on the nav and also on the flatter running while I was faster on the technical stuff so that worked well.
Damian was sorting my head torches out as although I was carrying batteries it was much quicker and easier. He also sorted my gpx as I had pushed the button in too far and it wouldn't turn on. I've never used a gpx but the path was so fiddly especially in the dark, even then I went wrong twice early on in some houses and a carpark but soon found the runners again and the right way. I was so happy to get to Mousehole and change into XTalons again for the technical section. It was great being on the route now because I had reccied it and it was also so up and down and rocky that I loved it. I was also trying to get a gap so that I could retain my first place position.
Damian was great - giving me food, drink and updating me. At St Ives I knew my legs were battered from the running and my stomach was playing up so I just wanted to carry on and finish as soon as possible. The actual time didn't matter I just wanted to stop running! The last 10 miles were on very runnable tracks and pergatory!! It was daylight and a small bay appeared in the distance. A couple of women spoke to me and cheered me on as they ran passed. There were two bays we had to go down and up and now my quads had really gone and running down was impossible and going back up was very hard work as the steps were huge. Now I could see a bay and a village and thought that must be Portowan. 5km, 4km, 3km - the downside of technical watches is that it had now decided to countdown every chuffing 100m. I ran into the village and knew there was one last climb. It wasn't steps which was a relief but very hard work.
Into the finish and I raised my arms as I was so happy to finish!! 1st Lady, 9th overall and a time of 25.35 hours.
25th January - I spent a couple of weeks in Yorkshire working and packing after the Trigger and also I had a Christmas Day voucher Coaching day with Helen Rippon which had been postponed so many times since 2020 that we were both happy it could go ahead at last. With the weather at Trigger being so foul I had planned a route round locally but waking up the sun was shining and so we quickly repacked our bags and headed for the moors which were stunning and we all enjoyed a fantastic run.
Steve was up at Mark doing renovations and the heating went off as we ran out of kerosine on a Saturday (after coaching!). The house was so cold and it was pretty miserable until Wednesday when we had a delivery and then I had to call the plumber as I couldn't bleed the system through. I'm not a happy bunny when frozen! But normal service and heating resumed.
9th January I ran the Trigger Fell race. Brent at Woodhead Mountain Rescue is now the organisor and with lots to sort out, including covid and then the worry of the Snake being shut due to snow, he has done a commendable job of getting the Trigger back up and running. I am so pleased that the race was going ahead and that I can continue racing it.
The weather was cold, rainy with wind then snow on Black Hill, Bleaklow and Kinder which along with fog on all the summits made for tricky navigation. I found it very hard work and after Torside ran with Kirsty and Matt which made for pleasant company. I found it very hard due to just so much going on at the moment I think. We were joint 4th Ladies, and first LV40 and LV50 respectively. Results are on http://www.marsdentoedale.co.uk/Results.htm
Coming down to the Snake we met Jo Yeoman and her husband took this wonderful photo of us!
1st January - Christmas was lovely with a trip to see Maggie and Rob in Devon, then a couple of days down in Cornwall reccying the Arc of Attrition which I'm doing at the end of January. Photos of the South West coast path - 3 days of reccies
Oh and the last photo is of the Last Christmas Tree we will have at Liley Hall Farm.