7th July - I've been on with the writing up all week and it's helped me realise what a wonderful weekend we all had up the beautiful mountains of Scotland. Get a coffee and a piece of cake and settle down to read .... Double Ramsay Round
6th July - Sorry for the delay in writing. I've had to reflect a lot after I finished the Double Ramsay and then there was recovery so I've felt a bit zonked for a day or two. For anyone that didn't watch the tracker I did really well for 30 odd hours then the heat on Sunday was relentless and I just lost a lot of time. I was still focussed though and eating/drinking well so hoped to pick up time over the night section when it was cooler. However a variety of things went wrong - my support deserted their Support point and then came back but that lost me 40 minutes more. And then I got blisters and swollen feet. And then incredibly the weather went from blazing hot to cold and foggy in the dark so navigation was tricky. So I plodded back along the last leg doing every split about twice the schedule split.
Hence when I finished I was happy to have completed it but disappointed that I did 55.56 hours and wasn't closer to the 48 target which I now know is possible. I am however the first person to have attempted and completed a Double Ramsay. I'm also very happy with my mindset, eating, drinking, legs and to be honest my feet aren't that bad either. I could go again - tomorrow!
I'm writing up a longer blog but thought I'd better tell everybody that I'm fine and happy. Ready for the next race and lots more enjoyable days in the mountains. My support were incredible supporting me in the heat and never complaining at me. It was a fantastic weekend in the Scottish mountains.
28th June - So I have big news. All these trips I have been doing to Scotland have been in preparation for my attempt on the Double Ramsay Round. And although the weather is a bit warm for my liking I'm planning on starting at midnight this coming Friday (29th June) and completing before midnight on Sunday 1st July. I am doing it in the same vein as I did the Double BG which means I'm setting off acw from Fort William, running Legs 1, 2 and then Leg 3 is to the summit of Stob Coire Easain where I will turn round and return the way I have come, going cw to Fort William. I then have a massive climb of Ben Nevis at 8am on Sunday morning and a long leg across the Grey Corries to Stob Coire Easain again. Then I finish coming back along the Grey Corries, up Spinks Ridge onto the Aonachs, along Carn Mor Dearg and down Ben Nevis to Fort William. All very confusing I know!
I am travelling up on Thursday and staying at Bunroy Campsite in Roy Bridge. I have a trusty set of supporters and Charmian Heaton has taken care of all the logistics so I'm all set. Wisp is going to do Legs 2,4 and 7 which are the softer valley & heathery legs, plus the last leg. I'm all packed and ready to start.
I have a tracker and the link is http://live.opentracking.co.uk/ramsaydouble18/
And Inov-8 will be posting updates, blogs etc throughout the weekend - links are on the tracking webpage.
22nd June - and the lovely weather continues except for the day that the Great Lakes race was on when it was cold, claggy and rainy! I wore a warm long sleeved top, 3/4 leggings and my waterproof all the way round. I wasn't racing hard as I felt tired from all the previous month's racing. I set off steady and ran quite well, navigating across the very slippery rocks on route to Scafell. Off Scafell I seemed to lose faith in my own navigation and dropped too low on Slight Side which was annoying. Then I scrambled down a horrid gully into the valley catching two guys again who had found a niver line. Up into the clag again to Blisco and I thought I was further than I was so dropped earlier than I should. Luckily I dropped out of the clag and could see Blisco so could quickly correct my mistake, catching one of the guys again! I even went wrong off Blisco so I was glad to see the finish!! I great race that deserves more regular entries. It will get them next year when it's a Championship!
Now we are haymaking so very little running for me this week!!
12th June - Very busy two weeks - what's new?! Steve and I did the LAMM in Harris two weeks ago with Steve. It was a hot day and not having run with Steve for 10 years on an event it was a bit of a learning curve once more. We both underestimated how rough the terrain would be and used up 2 hours getting 35 points within 5 miles of the Start. I then had a hurried restructuring of our planned route and we tried to get to the Finish as quickly as possible. Unfortunately this meant a 680m climb in the heat which was very hard. Steve struggled in the heat and it was lucky that we were following a stream so at least we had water. Down into the valley took ages over rough ground and then we'd both had enough and weren't making the best decisions. We missed a couple of points that we should have got really. Steve tried to run down the valley passed a never ending loch but felt dizzy so we walked. It was a lovely day and it didn't really matter! We finished 45 minutes over time and so lost 90 points.
We had a lovely afternoon and evening having found a perfect campint spot. Steve relaxed and talked to other competitors and as more and more people came in we realised that many people had underestimated the distances and terrain (and heat). The over night camp was idyllic and without many midges which made it perfect.
On Day 2 I had a "cunning plan". Basically to run as fast and as far as we could on decent tracks, climb the same 680m hill to get a few points, run some more on a decent track and then catch the bus (without time penalties - what a brilliant idea) to nearer the Finish and then spend the remaining time collecting points around there. It felt odd to be missing points but a lesson learnt from Day 1 is that 1km can take 20 minutes so every point is time consuming. It was also very claggy and so an obvious CP - mountain top was easy to find. We had asked for an early start at 6am so we could finish early and head to my parents on Lewis. That also meant we were on our own for most of that day which was very nice and quiet. Steve has sense of humour failure as I tried to fit in as many point collections as possible, especially as it co-incided with the sun coming out and baking us both. But after Day 1 lesson learnt he stuck with it and we were very pleased to finish about 35th on Day 2 making us 48th overall. LAMM 2018 Results and My Photos
Last weekend I raced the Ennerdale Fell race - again in very hot conditions. I didn't enjoy it as it was just a struggle in the the heat and although I drank a lot of water and had quite a few gels I don't think I had enough solid food to eat as I just felt very sick for the last hour. But I'm happy with coming 3rd Lady, 1st LV50. Ennerdale 2018
But really exciting news is that I've been awarded a British Empire Medal - many thanks to Keith Gordon, Charmian Heaton and lots of my lovely friends who wrote nice things about me back in 2014 (which I knew nothing about) and it's all been worthwhile as I got a letter three weeks ago saying that I had been awarded a BEM! https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/birthday-honours-lists-2018
30th May - The good weather has continued and I headed up to Scotland again to support Jim Paxman on his Ramsay attempt with Wisp and a band of merry supporters. The weather was very good, quite warm but with a strong easterly wind. The wind didn't help at times as on the rocky ridges it was quite hard to run. Jim set off at 7pm and we stayed above and on schedule until it fell dark. Then the combination of dark and wind meant we fell behind but Jim was happy as he knew he might lose time in the dark. Arriving at Loch Elide Mor just 30 minutes down Jim ran straight through.
I then walked through to the "Hump" between Stob Coire Easain and Stob Ban in the Grey Corries with Charmian and Jude Stansfield. This was very pleasant and I was looking forward to my noodles. Wisp was still full of bounce and wanted us to run!. We arrived at about 5.30am and after noodles settled down in our various tents/bothy bags. I've never bothed before and although comfy I don't think I slept much. It was wonderful being out in the mountains though in great company and sunshine.
Simon Rippon and Steve Wathall walked in and appeared at 10am. Jim was due at 11am so we had our breakfasts and got ready. We all sat on the Hump and chatted while anxiously waiting for Jim. He appeared at the top at 11.15am and so was 45 minutes down when he reached us. He said he couldn't make any time up but being so close we persuaded him to carry on. We did lose time on the climb though and then when on the Grey Corries the wind was quite strong and made running hard work. By the time we reached Spinks Ridge below the Aonachs we were at least an hour down so Jim aborted and the support crew carried on over the Aonachs, Carn Mor Arete and Ben Nevis. Me and Wisp were shattered running down to Fort William!
Back at the campsite we had a merry evening until tiredness and the midges drove me to bed. Next day was a leisurely drive home. Photos of Jims Ramsay May 2018
20th May - With the cows out and not enough grass to silage we've been busy getting up to Scotland to our property there, running the Ultra Tour Wales 50 in which I had a good race, although a minor meltdown on Moel Hebog with seven hours to go had me worried for a bit. I had run out of water so once I had rehydrated at the next CP and eaten some baked beans I was sorted for the rest of the race. It's certainly a tough one especially as after the heat we then got hailed on on Snowdon which was rather unpleasant. I finished 9th overall and 1st Lady in a time of 13.50 hours.
I have also had a quick trip to get some more Munro climbing in plus a Buttermere Horseshoe recce this week and so I'm ready for a bit of a rest especially as I fell over and bashed my shin yesterday. Photos in the Gallery Steve is away and back tomorrow. He's been helping Andy Heading out in Romania with the Transylvania 100k I hope it's gone well out there for the race and Steve. In a couple of weeks we are up in Harris doing the LAMM http://www.lamm.co.uk/ which we're both looking forward to!
9th May - well the end of April flew by as the weather eventually dried up and we got on with landwork. Then we were able to turn the cows out with the bulling heifers first, then the store heifers. Then last week the cows and calves. Of course it rained on Wednesday but then got very hot and now they all have plenty of grass and are happy.
The Bank Holiday weekend was my brother's 50th and he invited us to Guernsey for the celebrations. Unusually Guernsey was cooler than the UK with a cold wind. The temperature was about 18C but the wind made it cooler. After a lovely meal on Friday night I was ready for the Park Run on Saturday. Bravely Charlie, Carol, Lottie and Steve all registered and started too! Steve pulled up quickly with his hamstring injury that he got on the Fellsman. Charlie, Carol and Lottie ran one lap very strongly but it was rather too hot for them so they stopped there. I enjoyed the two lap course and finished in around 22 minutes.
After that we relaxed with Lydia on the beach which Lottie loved. Lottie was the only one to brave the cold sea. Saturday night we went to a steak resturant and had a brilliant meal. Sunday I ran along the seafront while the others drove and stopped at the sights. I was running along and decided to look at the tower and who should I hear but Steve! I poked my head up and surprised them! After 10 miles I'd had enough of flat sea shore and that co-incided with us meeting again at the beach! The largest sandcastle was built with moot and aquaducts too!! Lottie braved the sea again! The weekend ended with us trying to walk across a causeway but the tide was too high. Photos
The weekend before I quickly travelled up to the Dales on April 29th to compete in the Three Peaks Race. This is a race I have done a few times and have the same strategy now which is to set off fairly conservatively. This seemed to work this time too although as usual I got cramp from the Hill Inn. Helen Elmore was just behind me most of the way and caught me off Ingleborough which made me try harder as I knew she was trying for sub 4 hours too. I finished in sight of her - both of us at 3.54 which I'm very pleased with. Dark Peak were 2nd Ladies Team with Chloe Haines being our 3rd counter. Results
22nd April - my birthday! Yesterday I travelled to the Lakes with Majka and Pez and did the Teenager with Altitude. It was busy with 300 runners then 700 in the Waltz and very warm so I decided to set off steady. I felt good all the way up the Causey Pike which is unusal for me. Then kept drinking and getting the gels down and climbing Robinson had a spirt of energy. From there to the finish I was passing the Waltz runners which always feels strange and is hard to pace. But I ran hard and finished in 3.36 hours, 3rd Lady and 1st Vet. It was a poignant race as Steve Cliff was a good friend of mine and died over Christmas so I kept thinking of him and how sad it was. I hope somewhere he appreciated the huge turnout and the weather for his classic races.
Last weekend I went to Scotland to do some long hills with Majka. There was still a lot of snow but it was perfect running snow !! I was dreading the floundering type but it was solid but with a melted surface so we got grip in Mudclaws and used the ice axes a lot. We were able to get two long days in covering 36 miles and 5950m climb. On the Saturday we met up with Helen Rennard and scrambled over Carn Mor Dearg arete after her! Poor Wisp was tired by this time and I had to help her over some rocks. I was very impressed at her. We finished off the day by meeting Nancy Kennedy and Keri for a pint and well earned tea. Photos
10th April: Steve wanted a long run on Sunday so I dropped him at Marsden and he ran the Trigger route to Edale. I drove to Edale and did a 20 mile run - a sort of Mini HPM getting to Abbey Brook and finishing with a hot ascent of Crookstone Knoll. It was warm and poor Wisp was overheating with her thick winter coat. Steve had a good run getting to Edale at 4pm and then we went to the Strines pub for tea!
On the farming front the rain is putting paid to land work and with no prospect of turning any cows out it's pretty miserable for us and the cows. But the sold cows & calves are being collected on Wednesday so that will ease the straw situation as we will spread the other 50 cows and calves out between two sheds. Where has the sun gone?!
2nd April. Quite a gap in updating my diary because a lot going on and the weather has been depressing so farming has been hard. But I think we're lucky as we don't have any stock outside and have nearly finished calving. Only 5 to go! So at this time of year we should be harrowing, rolling, putting fertilizer on and fencing in readiness for turning out. We haven't done any of that because a) the land is too wet and b) the grass isn't growing because it's too cold. And then today we've got more chuffing snow which just gets into the cattle sheds and makes them even wetter. Straw is at a premium - we bought it at £12 per bale in August and did have enough. The wet weather has meant we have used more and now only just have enough. To buy now it's £25 per bale which when we're using 3 to 4 per day is scary. Anyhow I'm sure spring will be here shortly.
Another farming event that has happened is that as part of Steve's retirement and my job change (to doing more coaching !!) we are downsizing to a herd of 45 cows. Last weekend we advertised 33 cows and calves on www.sellmylivestock.co.uk and on Good Friday we sold them. Still to finalise but really good news.
Friday 30th March. With farming taking up much of my time I was keen to do another race over Easter. I'd heard of the Howgills race a few weeks ago and had entered. With 14 miles and 2000m of climb it was going to be hard. I drove up with Wisp as I planned on a day in the Lakes for Saturday. This is the first time I'd taken Wisp to a race as I don't like leaving her by Charmian and Steve Wathall promised to look after her. It was a low key registration and the weather was undecided in being sunny or overcast. I had hoped to run in a vest but it proved too cold so I wore a windproof as well all the way round. There were 73 runners and we quickly spread out so navigation was key to get from CP to CP especially as the route criss crossed a lot of paths and hills. There seemed to be little proper running and lots of big steep climbs and descents but I felt ok most of the way round. I enjoyed the grassy descent to a sheepfold then the climb to the last CP before hurtling down to the finish. I finished 27th in 3.25 hours, 4th lady and 1st LV40/LV50. No official results out yet but some cracking photos here - Grand Day out Photography
24th March - After quite a tired week I wanted to do something nice and the Doctor's Gate Race fitted the bill being local and a new AL race. The weather was glorious and it was vest and shorts! With the clocks changing and cows needing feeding I felt a little tired to start and so took it steady up the long Doctors Gate path. The course had been changed slightly but was flagged in parts so navigation wasn't really necessary. I really enjoyed the runable climbs then the hairy descents and then a steep walking climb before a long gradual downhill to the finish. A great course and really enjoyable all round with the Queens providing good beer and buffet afterwards. Results
17th March - The weekend after the Skyline I went down to Devon to visit my aunt (in between more snow) and also take part in the Grizzly. My aunt was well and we enjoyed a nice Saturday together. The Grizzly had already been shortened when I arrived due to the weather forecast to 10 miles instead of 20 which was dissappointing. However on Sunday morning this was a wise decision as it's not a fell race and no kit is required! I quite enjoyed it and will go back to do the full route hopefully next year! It snowed heavily during the race and with no gritters in Devon the roads were gridlocked with crashed cars. Luckily Rob in his 4x4 got us back home and to the pub! Results
12th March - Yesterday I raced the Edale Skyline. Not being one of my favourites now that there is little route choice and a lot of it is paved in stone flags - but a Fell Championship AL race, local and very good training I nearly always do it. And this year it was being run anticlockwise so that added a different dimension to it. A huge field of 420 runners set off on a warmer than forecast day - I wore just a vest and was toasty! The first climb was crowded but along the tops I enjoyed the rocky path. Getting to Brown Knoll the paving flags started and went on forever. I didn't think I could go any faster but loads of people passed me. Then over Mam Tor, Lose Hill and again loads of people seeming to pass me. I was loking forward to the steep climb to Winhill then the gradual climb to the last CP - at least on grass and muddy footpaths too! I gave myself a talking too and with approx an hour to go just upped the pace to get the race over quicker! I ran all the uphills and the muddy path to Ringing Roger before trying to fly down to Edale as I knew there was a young lady behind me that could really descend!
I finished 12th and 1st V50 in a time of 3.31 hours which is the same time as two years ago! Sportident Results
6th March - Wow - two weeks has passed very quickly and there was I thinking nothing had happened because of the snow! Well firstly there was Hoppits Hill Races http://www.hoppits.co.uk/ where I was missing three key people; Keith, Brent and Charmian but Andy Plummer, Bernice Nixon and Ian Charlesworth stepped in. However 56 Juniors registered for the Junior races which is nearly double the usual 30 runners I get ....so although I'm very pleased it was a shock on the day! Next year I'll be prepared so I hope to see them all again then! And we got great weather for the race - sunny, cold and dry. The courses were actually quite dry too! The Juniors went well and then onto the Seniors where again I got more runners than last year. A big thankyou to Penistone Footpath Runners and AC who make the race a championship race and that doubles numbers. 74 runners ran and apart from a couple of wanderings everyone followed the tapes etc correctly. Everyone made it back to the Cricket club to enjoy Fay's bacon sandwhiches and cakes; that's the main thing! Dave & Eileen Woodhead came and took hundreds of great photos and helped me out organising as well. Junior race and prize giving photos & Seniors Album 1 & Seniors -Album 2
So two days later the snow came! We're busy calving and the snow's getting in the sheds, the water pipes are freezing and everything takes so much longer to do. On top of that I was supposed to be doing the High Peak Marathon then driving to Scotland to talk at Braemar Adventure Festival. However first the HPM was cancelled then Braemar - both of which although I wanted to do - the weather/travel was not inviting. I am glad that I got an entry to Edale Skyline this coming Sunday, then the week after I'm heading to Devon to see my aunt but also I have got an entry into the The Grizzly which will be interesting!!
The cows have been calving thick and fast and we have 60 calves now. The snow got in the sheds and they are rather damp but the cattle don't mind the cold weather so are looking healthy. We have 25 cows left to calve and just want them to get on with it now!
21st February - I've been a bit busy for updating - sorry! I was on a 1st Aid course for the whole weekend of February 10th/11th. This was very good but obviously took up the whole weekend. Will was a very good teacher and I'm glad that we didn't have to try and learn lots of medical stuff but he concentrated on getting us to assess, clear the airways and put into Safe Airway Position asap as that is the most important aspect of lifesaving in a lot of cases. The weather was truely awful but we did our rescue scenarios out in the sleet showers making us realise how important those shelters and emergency bags are.
During the week Shane Benzie from https://www.runningreborn.co.uk/ Damian Hall recommended Shane to me. We spent an enjoyable morning running and analysing my form which surprisingly is very good uphill and downhill but fairly heavy on the flat. Shane gave me some advice about trying to run tall and light which I'm trying to put into practice!
Then the following weekend I ran one of my own course Ultra Race & Round Course which went very well with six people coming along. On the Sunday it was the New Chew in really nice conditions. I set off looking for satream junctions and was doing ok but then came across a dead missing man Bernard Gaunt. He was face down but looked like he had just gone to sleep as he was on a bed of cut heather and comfortable. There was another runner with me Paul Taylor who distantly knew the man as he was local from Saddleworth and also the organisors so he said he would call it in. Neither of us had signal so I said I would also ring. We ran off in opposite directions; me on course for the next CP. When I got signal I looked down my phone and didn't have any organisors numbers. I decided that rather than ringing the police and confusing things I would carry on as Paul insisted and finish. It was rather odd though. I couldn't really concentrate. But I enjoyed running and appreciated the fact that I was able to. I finished and got an update from Paul. MRT were at the scene now and dealing with it all. I was first Lady which was a surprise. New Chew 2018 results
And then - in between all that ....... we've had 23 calves born! Mainly ok - one set of twins and one breach but we sorted and the calves were born alive!
4th February - things have improved greatly this weekend. My dad came down from Lewis for the week which was lovely. I managed my speed session on Thursday after another massage with Jeff Cole at http://www.injuryscene.co.uk/ then on Saturday I ran the Wadsworth Trog race in cold, snowy conditions. It was very wet underfoot and with my back still feeling sore I started off steady. There was very little grip through the soft snow and small steps were needed to get anywhere. Knowing the course is more runnable now helps as I know what to expect and plough out the crosscountry sections without too much grumbling! I was trying to run all the way as I've been frustrated with my lack of training runs and so thought I would try and make up for it. I ate well and with the snow the flagged sections were actually slower than usual which actually helped me as less people passed me than normal.
I was about 4th or 5th most of the way round but I passed a couple of ladies in the later half. Then came the only navigational bit and I set off on the way I know rather than following runners heading off in another direction. I didn't know whether I had made a good decision as I was now on my own with only the runners behind (probably following me) for company. I ran on to the last CP and headed down the valley knowing that there is a long steep climb to finish. It was a bit randomly marked so I had to back track a bit but made the footbridge and started the uphill fields. The fields were so muddy it felt like being on a treadmill not moving! But with no-one in front and no-one behind I plodded upwards. Finishing was really nice not having anyone to sprint against. I found out later that I was 2nd behind Sharon Jebb and about 5 minutes slower than last year. Wadsworth-trog-results-2018/
Then today Steve wanted a walk so I went for a 10 mile run around Derwent Edge to meet him. So I'm really happy with how my training seems to be back on track now.
I've also written up the Trigger 2018 report - rather briefly but it's hard once the race has passed to remember everything. I was so happy the weather and the day went very well. Trigger 2018
23rd January - After a great race on the Trigger I was snow bound for most of the week with the roads being too grid locked for travel being worthwhile. Then on Thursday I was shoved over by some cattle which resulted in a very bad back. I've had back twinges before but nothing like this. So after a massage and lots of stretches I was able to run again very carefully on Monday night. It was so frustrating to be going steady but worth it as my back felt better afterwards. Socks are still a challenge but I feel like I'm improving daily now.
16th January - The Trigger Fell race was last weekend - held on the 14th January. Once again we had a full race early on but lots of injuries and colds meant that on the day we had 170 runners registered on a relatively calm and benign day. This was a relief after last year. In fact that became the most said phrase "It's so much better than last year". With clear (ish) visibility, temperatures of around 4C and freezing on the tops it was a very pleasant race for me. As usual it takes me to around Bleaklow to run off the stresses of organising and also to get onto ground that I prefer - instead of tracks and slabs. I really enjoyed the race and seeing all the Woodhead Mountain Rescue marshalls on route. What a great day! Thank you all. http://www.marsdentoedale.co.uk/
6th January - With a few people reccying the Ramsay Round it was a good excuse to visit and run in the Highlands again. I travelled up with Majka, Pez and Wisp to meet up with Jim Paxman and Tim Rippon. There was more snow than I have ever seen before but we made good use of our winter gear and the good weather and got three good days in. Not much distance was covered but we managed three Munros a day! Wisp was named the "Wisp the Wonder dog" by the end as she developed amazing snow running techniques. Photos
2017 Christmas and New Year - in March 2017 we bought a property in Galloway in Pinwherry. It's very rural and needs quite a lot of work doing to it but we were keen to spend Christmas there and so travelled up on Christmas Eve and were there until New Years Day. It was lovely to relax and work but also explore the surrounding area. Friends that came to stay got stuck in the snow but luckily it came and went quickily. I had hoped to run round the Ring of Fire in the Galloway Forest Park but the snow on the hills and ice on the roads put paid to that so I made do with typical forest tracks, rides but also some lovely snowy runnable hills! Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2018 is a good one.