2017 News

 

22nd August - After Borrowdale on 12th August comes  Long Tour of Bradwell which is my usual pre 100 mile August race. I have varying success on this race and often suffer with cramp when it's hot. So with the forecast being hot I drank a lot on Friday and took plenty of fluids with me. Setting off I was determined not to suffer in the latter stages and so walked up some hills that I would usually run up. The conditions were good; the clouds hadn't parted and there was actually a bit of drizzle. It had rained heavily the week before so the ground was slippy and in places very muddy.

I ran with Anthony Bethell a lot of the way round until he sped off; then I was happily on my own. I caught a couple of runners after Toads Mouth and pushed on feeling strong and not getting cramp. All that speedwork must be paying off as I even enjoyed the flat bits. Heading up Abney valley I spied Ant in the distance, caught him and we ran to the finish together. So I was 1st Lady all the way round but tried not to let that determine my pace until Abney when I pushed hard wanting to keep my position. I was really pleased with my legs, energy levels and overall race.

Now I have a week before I fly to Chamonix to the UTMB where I will be on the Inov-8 stand on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

Then I'm supporting the Inov-8 athletes round the UTMB. On Tuesday I'll drive with Jean Brown to Grachen in Switzerland where the Ultra Tour Monta Rosa starts at 4am on Thursday. You will be able to follow me on there somehow. So from next Tuesday I won't update this page but am now a social expert (not!) and you might see posts on 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nicky.spinks 

Twitter https://twitter.com/NickySpinks?cn=cmV0d2VldF9tZW50aW9uZWRfdXNlcg%3D%3D&refsrc=email 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nickyspinks/?hl=en 

 

8th August - After Scotland I managed to twist my ankle by looking at the view on a short 4 mile run. So I didn't run at all and did lots of stretching as I really wanted to race at Borrowdale. I don't usually tape my ankles but with the Ultra Tour Monta Rosa coming up I don't want to keep injuring them so I did tape both ankles for the race and was very careful on all the descents. Just before the start it rained for 15 minutes and so I exchanged my lightweight waterproof for a heavier one however it was dry for the whole race and very warm so I was glad I had only worn a vest. I was pleased at how my legs felt as I have also been feeling rather lethargic the last two weeks. It was wet underfoot but clear and I found some reasonable lines. I was pleased to get to Honister in one piece and nearly home! I had just passed Megan a new Dark Peak lady and it was nice to encourage her on.

The finish is always hard along the track and I couldn't believe how long it was taking me; the minutes just ticking away and I had hoped for a sub 4 hours finish! So running into the Finish field I was pleased to clock 3.58.02 hours, 3rd Lady and 1st V50. Well done to Megan in 4.00.42 (4th) and Kirsty Hewitson in 4.06.39 (5th) and Jenny Caddick in 4.15.56 (7th) meaning Dark Peak Ladies won the Team Prize!! Borrowdale Results 

 

25th July - Two weeks have flown by. Hay has been made in between rain showers. 180 bale of straw has been ferried 22 at a time and stacked away in the barn. Today we've managed to catch a runaway bull Hector from our neighbours field; last week he decided the grass was greener on the other side of the wall and he was having it! He's now stuck in a pen with a "For Sale" sign on it. Talking of things we're selling we've a  Cobra for Sale !!! Last used at our wedding in 2009 we've decided it should move on. 

Running wise - well big stuff !! Back to the Highlands to recce the Ramsay for Kirsty Hewitson with Jean Brown and Beth Pascall (my HPM team). What a great weekend!! We had the ambitious plan of doing it all in two days and had to cut out a few tops (five in total) in order not to be benighted both days. But a fantastic weekend in great company. Wisp came along and enjoyed her first visit to Scottish mountains. We were all very tired after 52 miles, 18 Munros and 7800m climb in two days. Photos 

 

9th July - Last weekend we travelled down to Devon to visit my aunt Maggie and go to a big birthday do there! It was lovely to see her and Rob again. Then this weekend it was the Wasdale Fell Race which was busy (as a FRA Championship race) and quite warm. At least we had a Dark Peak Ladies team out with Judith, Jenny and Alison. 

I set off slowly I thought and soon got left behind from my usual racing mates; must be having a bad day I thought. I felt ok passing Joss's house which is always good but running / walking up Seatallan felt hard and hot. Oh well, one of those races. Maybe all this racing is taking it's toll. I just kept eating and drinking and hoping something would kick in sooner or later. I felt better once I knew I was passed halfway and climbing Great Gable I started to overtake runners which was good. The cramp started on Scafell making the last descent painful and it was annoying to be just over 5 hours in 5.00.37 hours - but then I remembered that the start had moved so it was probably a sub 5 hours really! Results 

 

 

Having a quick shower I set off for the very long drive to Cardigan where I was due to talk on Sunday morning. It was a long way but in our new van with the satnav working on my phone quite a pleasant unstressful journey. And I was certainly ready foe a sit down. My stomach hadn't wanted any food after the race so I made up a Mountain Fuel Recovery Milkshake which tasted nice and settled the stomach. I arrived at The Do Lectures at 10.30pm, ate some pasta in the van then went and introduced myself to Naomi and co. I was quite nervous about talking here as the brief was "Not to do your usual talk" and so I done my talk about the people and the events of my life that has /have the biggest influence on it. I'm glad I didn't see any of the other talks as I would probably have been more critical of my own. Anyway three beers later at 1am I went to bed in my teepee! In the morning I showered, had a bit of breakfast and then waited for 9.45am to come around. I think once I got started the talk went well but I know I stumbled a bit to begin with. Afterwards I grabbed a pizza and settled down for the drive home. It was lovely to get home about 6pm and have a relaxing evening with Steve and the dogs!

The grass is cut, the weather forecast is rubbish (as usual) but we are hoping to get it made into hay this week!

 

 

 

25th June - Again another change in the weather - back to fairly cold, windy and rainy. On Friday I supported along with James Gregory our friend Justin Bramhall on his BG setting off at 6.50pm. The weather was blustery in the valleys but Skiddaw was typically awful with strong winds, clag and rain beating us across the summit. The valleys were calm though and with Justin eating well we made good progress and came down to Threlkeld about 25 minutes up on schedule. He made good use of the time changing into dry clothes and set off up Clough Head. The weather overnight did not improve and on Saturday he aborted across Leg 3. 

I raced (as best as my tired legs would allow) the Buttermere Darren Holloway Memorial Race which I've never done before on Saturday. The weather was cool and blustery again and I wore my Inov-8 Tri blend tee shirt with the black merino over the top - this is rapidly becoming a great favourite combination of mine. Setting off the legs wouldn't work at all and I knew it was going to be a long day! The clag on the tops didn't help my progress as I don't know the area and it became obvious that knowing a few grassy lines would really pay dividends. Anyhow I wasn't really enjoying it but the plan was to run it as a training race and so that's what I had to do. It seems a very long way to Honister but the legs had woken up by Newlands Hause so I was starting to enjoy it too. Seeing Charmian and Justin at Honister was very nice although disappointing to learn that Justin had aborted. I ran on to High Stile and started catching people at last! Having run on my own for much of the race it was nice to feel part of a "race" again and passing Lucy Spain was the extra boost I needed. I made a right hash of the last descent though and had to crash through a lot of gorse bushes (another line needed for next time!). But I finished in 5.30 hours and 2nd Lady so am well chuffed with that. 

Now for some rest before Wasdale in two weeks time!

 

20th June - What a difference in weather in one week. Now the weather is very hot; too hot for me really. Frustratingly last Monday after only 1 hour our mower gearbox fell in pieces when Steve was mowing 30 acres of silage grass so all week we've been fixing that and he managed to mow on Friday. As the weather was so hot though it was ready to bale yesterday (Monday) and now it's nearly all "led" and stacked back at the farm. Onto hay next but will the weather hold!?

Anyway on the running front I tried to recover from Ennerdale and managed some speed work on Thursday evening. I was hoping to support the DPFR Bob Graham weekend but had to cancel as the mower was still in bits on Friday. However I had entered both Tebay and the Great Lakes races as one was an English Championship and the other a fantastic race that needs more runners. Tebay was just awful for me. Lots of runners, really hot and I struggled with the last two miles home. Afterwards it was the FRA AGM and as I'm already on the committee I attended. The Junior Coordinator post needed filling but I didn't want to volunteer for that. However Chris Jones the Access Coordinator offered to swop and as Access is something that I am keen on I offered to fill that now vacant post. So that's a slightly daunting prospect!

Then I drove round to Langdale and met back up with Charmian and Steve for tea at Stool End Farm where the Great Lakes starts. Next morning it was very hot at 8am and neither Steve nor myself were very enthused at racing. We mooched about until 10am when we decided we had to register and get ready! After Tebay I decided I was just going to run comfortably as it was too hot and too long a race for overcooking it. I have done the race twice before in foul conditions and so I wanted to enjoy the views for once. There were 53 runners registered and setting off up "The Band" to Bowfell we quickly spread out. Coming to a split I made the decision not to follow but make my own mind up and chose the path as I didn't feel like a soft, hot direct line. It was a good decision. I was pleased to reach Bowfell summit and the legs felt much better running towards Esk Pike, Great End and Scafell. The water was refreshing at Foxes Tarn and I made the most of it! I found good trods down to Slight Side and had a couple of guys with me which was nice as they didn't crowd me or talk too much. Coming off there though we ended up scrambling a bit and I apologised but then found some lovely scree to run down and I'm not usually a scree fan! Crossing the valley to Crickle Crags was hot and we passed walkers bathing in the pools - oh that looked inviting. But only a couple more climbs and we would be finished. I went my usual diagonal way - but easy when I could see then across to Blisco. Pushing now as I didn't want to be caught by hopefully the 2nd Lady (hopefully as a marshall early on had said I was 1st but none of the others had) I told Jon Melia I was happy to finish jointly as he had been great company. We ran off Blisco both cramping up but wanting to get down as fast as possible! It was great running down to the very low key Finish to be told I was still 1st Lady, 12th overall and under 4 hours - so 30 minutes quicker than before!

After a lovely cool down in the river we watched other runners finished and had prizegiving. The walking sticks and Kong Adventure  voucher are fantastic prizes and the trophy is as great as it's name. I waited till Steve Wathall finished but having gone wrong off Slight Side he retired but was in good spirits and Ben promptly awarded him a bar of chocolate for "Best Incompetent navigation on the Hill"

The Great Lakes is a proper classic fell race and as Ben puts it "Please come back next year and bring a competent friend" !! I'll try Ben - thank you and Britta!!

 

11th June - I'm having a website catch up day and have updated all the Talks, Articles, Coaching pages which I've been meaning to do for ages. It was prompted by talking at Keswick Mountain Festival last Friday with Jasmin Paris. It was lovely to see Jasmin and catch up with her as we are good friends. It was the first time we've done a talk / Q&A together and it was well received. 

Then on the Saturday I ran in the Ennerdale Fell Race organised by CFRA This is a very hard race at the best of times; being 23 miles long with some very tough climbs in it. Saturday though the weather was forecast to be foul - wet and windy all day but I was pleased when Colin took the decision to run the full route. Setting off we were soon being blown about by the wind and map reading was essential as we were in clag all day. I was glad I had opted for my thicker Inov-8 waterproof and merino top. I was running with Kirsty Hewitson and after a couple of hours where I was navigating but she was backup it was obvious that it was nicer for both of us that way so we started to work as a team rather than compete with each other. The wind and rain did not abate at all and we were soon drenched. It was funny that the marshalls were very keen for us to take water from them but lack of water was not a problem with water cascading everywhere! Trying to run at all across slippery rocks while being blown about was really the problem! I was happier when we got onto the BG/Joss Naylor route which I know quite well and using all the good trods we passed another lady. On Iron Crag the marshalls stuck a hand out of the tent with the dibber on it for us and when we shouted our numbers he said "You're 1st Ladies" Wow we exclaimed and left with renewed speed. We ran along checking behind more now. Catching Dave Sykes on the last climb I said "You're going to beat the 1st Ladies" and that raised a smile from him as he shot off down the hill towards the Finish!

On the final run in along the track we couldn't see anyone behind us. Joss Naylor was waiting at the gate and congratulated us which was lovely. We finished Joint 15th in a time of 5.32 hours, but 1st Ladies, 1st LV50 and 1st LV40. We won a lovely new trophy between us. Thanks Colin and all the marshalls for the organisation and the copious amounts of tea, sausage rolls and cakes.

 

7th June - Beth Pascall attempted the Paddy Buckley round starting at 3am on Saturday from Llanberis. Having promised not to be up on schedule I aimed to get to Capel Curig at 8.30am as she was due in at 9.20am. I was slightly delayed but as I pulled up Kirsty ran down and shouted "She's in"! So I jumped in the back of the van and quickly put my Mudclaws on while I was driven down the road. Grabbing a bottle of water I let Wisp out and we both ran off after Beth. I was so pleased not to have missed her but wished I had had breakfast and gone to the loo before running up Moel Siabod at a cracking pace. After settling down a bit I enjoyed supporting Beth across to the quarries. There it was decided that as she was a little short on the next leg that I would cut off to Aberglasyn, refuel and then do the next leg with her. 

I never like the run off Cnict but it was nice to be able to go at my own pace. Even the road passed quickly and then in the carpark was my van with all my food! I tucked into noodles with a tin of chicken curry while Wisp had her breakfast too. Beth arrived having not gained anymore on schedule and we set off up Bryn Banog which is always a tough climb. Beth had slowed a little on the climbs but descended very well. We lost a little time in the heather but kept on the schedule to Rhyd Ddu. The views were magnificent but I still didn't have time to get my phone out and take photos! It's a great little leg of the Paddy Buckley. Reaching Rhyd Ddu I was glad to be stopping and saw Beth off with a new set of supporters. We drove round to Llanberis and had fish and chips with curry sauce (sausage and no curry for Wisp). It was reported that Beth was on Snowdon and would arrive about 10pm. After seeing her finish and congratulating her on her first ever round in a time of 18.50 hours I set off home ready for bed!

 

31st May - Over the Bank Holiday I travelled up to Galloway on Thursday with Steve and Clare Oliffe on route to the Jura fell race .Steve had decided not to run so me and Clare drove onto Ardrossan on Friday morning and caught a series of ferries to Jura. Not being particularily fond of light packing nor heavy cycles we had planned to hike the 9 miles on Jura. However we decided to try the "chance it" queue and were 4th in line at Kennicraig. Lucky for us seven slots were free and we got on! I camped in the van and Clare on the seafront. The weather forecast was turning wet for Saturday but Friday was too hot for running we decided and I was looking forward to the rain.

Saturday morning dawned muggy and hot but overcast. The organisors took the brave decision to run the race and divert runners if the predicted thunderstorms arrived. So setting off I was in two minds about wanting the rain as I wanted the full course! There was a tiny bit of rain in the first hour but then nothing for the rest of the day. I had set off steady with tired legs from OCT and felt strong when reaching the Paps however when I tried to push it I just got too hot, felt lightheaded and was unstable so after Pap 1 I backed off a little only to look back on Pap 2 and see Jenny Caddick down below. I decided I would just have to try harder, get out of breath, eat all my gels drink all my energy drink - then hopefully not pass out on the road which I was dreading!

So that plan sort of worked; I didn't get the line off Pap 3 right but think I was only overtaken by Dave Sykes. Running across the bogs I fell in one and got cramp and so had to be careful then. I was running quit strongly now with the legs having woken up a bit and feeling cooler as I'd chucked stream water over my head and back! Setting off on the road I heard a shout of "Come on Andrea". "Oh no I thought another lady and I'm rubbish at road running". So I pushed hard, got a stitch and had to back off. Diane Hakes cycled passed and said "There's no-one behind you" but I wasn't convinced Andrea wasn't catching me. I was however catching two "brown vests" (Dark Peak) which was encouraging. Having walked out on the road on Friday evening I knew the distance to go when I hit the Cementary and so could try a bit of faster running. Running over the line I thought I had done exactly the same time as 2016 - 4.32 hours when I was actually a minute slower but I'm really pleased with that as the heat was horrible. I finished 3rd lady and 15 minutes in front of the 4th lady who was Jenny Caddick! Results - you have to put year and select the race Scottish Hill Runners Results 

Clare finished in 5.47 hours and lots of other Dark Peakers finished too. We had a great evening at Prize Giving and then in the pub. Driving back to Galloway on Sunday the weather was perfect; cooler though which was lovely. We really enjoyed the day doing bits of driving then a ferry. Arran looked stunning and next year we plan to stay there on route. The balerman rang up from Yorkshire (as we had planned to bale grass on Monday) and said could he bale it Sunday and so I said yes - executive decision made! 

So that meant we could stay a bit longer in Galloway and so we took it in turns to mow the grass and fix things! I then suggested Clare and I ran to Barr over the hills and Steve agreed to collect us on route home. The run was a bit of an adventure with Clare practicing "Galloway Forest Navigation" but we found our way and didn't find any drowned cyclists in the huge, gooey bogs. In Barr we met Steve and had lunch in the cafe there! A perfect end to a great weekend! I've uploaded Joss Naylor and Jura photos onto my Gallery 

 

 

 

23rd May - Sorry about the lack of updates. My body decided it was going on strike after Innsbruck so I had a couple of weeks easy running (apart from Summer Series races!) and a massage from Jeff Cole which has helped but more is needed. I think it was the flat fast (ish) running of Innsbruck on tired legs that did it. Anyway last Saturday I had entered the Old County Tops race which I have done 4 times now; the last time two years ago with Jean Brown when we broke the Ladies record and finished in 8.28 hours. I was running with Jean again but both of us were making our excuses about injuries etc so we had no real expectations or plan! The weather was nice when we registered but the clouds soon rolled over and the rain (not forecast) started. A quick change of waterproof to a thicker one was performed thinking of the exposed tops such as Scafell that we would be running over. Setting off we kept the pace reasonable and waved goodbye to Kirsty Hewitson and Andrea Priestley who were so much stronger than us (me!) on the flatter road sections. 

Heading up onto Helvellyn the rain started again, sometimes it felt like hail and I was glad of my Inov-8 long sleeved and hooded merino top. I was wearing the same combination that I wore for my Joss; a tri blend teeshirt with the merino over the top. The merino has long arms with hand covers, a long back and a hood (sometimes a little annoying) but today was a godsend - keeping rain out my ears and my neck and head warm. So up and off Helvellyn in the clag with Jean finding the good line down to Wythburn (and overtaking Kirsty/Andrea in the process) where I picked up a banana, flapjack and malt loaf. I don't usually need so much but felt hungry. Running up the valley was warm and so the jackets came off but once we contoured High Raise the rain started again and the wind picked up. It was cold and we put the waterproofs back on. Angle Tarn seemed exposed and I wasn't looking forward to Scafell; at least the descent is rapid though. Running as much as we could - sometimes just to try and stay warm - we reached the summit where the marshalls were huddled, happily in their shelters. My hands now were blocks of ice and my fingers totally numb. I hoped Jean didn't ask me to use a compass on the way off! But no she knew it and we descended as fast as we could glad to be leaving the wind and hail. My hands slowly and painfully warmed up but stayed fairly useless for a few hours. 

Cockley Beck was a welcome CP with some lovely tea, cake and sandwiches. Setting off we seemed to have collected some teams that were happy to run behind us. Jean was navigating and also tired so I was thinking of motivational things to say when I looked at my watch and saw we had only been running 6.30 hours. Not wanting to annoy Jean but wondering what time we might finish I asked if she knew the splits from Coniston Old Man to the Finish. She replied 180 so I said "We've been running 6.30 hours". There was silence but then a distant speeding up in her pace. Trying to now run as much as we could made us both lightheaded. Jean had two gels left so we had one each. The summit seems to take forever to come and it was great to turn round and head down to Three Shires Stone. The road is always purgatory so it's good to be back on a knarly path. On and on we ran; choosing fields over road towards the Finish cost us a place but still we knew we were going to beat the record. We finished happy, tired and battered in 8.17 hours, 1st Ladies and 11th overall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st May - Well a busy week on the farm turning more cows and calves out, then a wonderful trip to Innsbruck as part of the Inov-8 team and to run the Innsbruck Alpine 85k Home yesterday and so catching up today. I've written up my Joss Naylor Birthday celebrations and loved remembering all the great times we had. 

Innsbruck had poor weather conditions unfortunately for the organisors and had to cancel the 85km making the route the 65km instead but with an early start of 6am. I arrived on Thursday and it was snowing hard on Friday making the decision an easy one really. There was just too much snow. I packed my race bag and headed down to registration about 11pm. After registering I helped out on the Inov-8 stand till the race briefing at 7pm. Then it was pizza for tea, two beers and a not very early night! Damian Hall had arrived at 5pm and since he was already doing the 65km starting at 8am we had a bet as to whether he would catch me! 

Saturday morning dawned far too early and with clag about. I chose to wear my Tri Tee again (like on my Joss) but this time my Softshell Pro jacket on top so my number could be seen. Having only taken X-Claws thinking I was doing the technical race I borrowed a pair of Trail Talons test shoes from Inov-8! Setting off my legs felt tired and so did I. I had a hard race for 20km as it was quite flat, too runnable and a little frustrating in the clag and trees so without much view. But I persevered, eating lots of chocolate and hoped that my legs might wake up a little. After I had done 4 hours my legs and body felt better and I was able to start running the slight inclines again. The sun kept poking through and I enjoyed the views of the stunning snow topped mountains all around. I began passing runners too which was great. Getting my map / schedule out I concentrated on getting to each CP and drinking coke helped me along. At Hall there was Hannes and he was dressed for running. I was having a grumpy moment and thought I wouldn't like him bouncing along beside me but actually he was perfect. He knew the route and although obviously trying to jog slowly was hard for him he was was very encouraging at just the right times. We passed a lady and he said I was now 3rd which was a big surprise to me so I pushed on. Running down towards the finish I assumed we had to run a circuit of the town and so it was so lovely to pop out and see the actual Finish banners only 150m away. I sprinted along with a huge smile on my face. Thank you Inov-8 for giving me the opportunity to visit Innsbruck and run this race; I've had a wonderful time and am so very pleased that the sun did shine on Saturday and again on Sunday when we visited (by cable car) the summit of the mountains!

 

25th April - I still haven't managed to write up my weekend adventurers but Lee did a quick telephone interview with me and updated the Inov-8 Blog I slept well for a couple of nights; then had a very restless one last night after running the Summer Series race. Tonight I've been coaching Juniors and tomorrow we're turning more cows and calves out to brave the now winter conditions so I have to have an early night! This weekend I'm off to Innsbruck again to run (am I mad!?) the Innsbruck Alpine 85k so I'm also trying to pack for that.

24th April - Just a quick update to say "I did it" !!!!! What a great day. The weather, my support and Wisp were all fantastic and I was able to achieve a time I never thought possible. Sub 12 was my target but it was one of those days when everything comes right in the end. I finished in a time of 11.02 hours! More later - off to check cows then for a massage! 

 

21st April - Just ready to head off to the Lakes. What a week it's been! With the grass growing and the dry weather we decided to turn 45 cows and calves outside. This takes two full days with all the sorting, disbudding and transporting. In between we seem to have a few disruptions with our landrover not starting, a calf dislocating it's leg and then this morning another farmers cattle escaping but getting into ours. So all sorted now - the vet came to the calf last night and with twisting and turning managed to put the hip back. The calf seems ok this morning but a bit wobbly. But instead of my usual relaxed packing I've chucked everything into lots of bags this morning and am awaiting Charmian. 

I set off at 5am from Pooley Bridge tomorrow morning and have written a Blog here and you'll be able to follow my progress (seemingly short compared to the Double BG!) on this Tracker link -  http://live.opentracking.co.uk/spinksjn17/?n=1 

As part of the Joss Naylor the challenge is to raise money for a chosen charity - mine of course is Just Giving - Odyssey So please donate a little if you can. Thanks

 

16th April - Recovery from the Calderdale is going well; it's actually Tapering for the Joss Naylor which I've kept quiet about. My 50th birthday is next Saturday 22nd April and so I decided ages ago that the best way to see it in was to do a Joss Naylor on that day weather permitting! The weather is currently looking ok and so fingers crossed and watch this space for updates!

While tapering I have utilized my time by finishing my Enso Skirt Review and sorting out a date; Sunday October 8th for a 24 Hr Round and Ultra Training Day

 

2nd April - Calderdale Hike yesterday in a mixture of sunshine and showers. I was sent an Enso skirt back in March but the weather hasn't been warm enough (as I'm a wimp) until now. I'm very impressed at the feel and fit of the skirt and it was nice and practical to wear too. I also wore my Inov-8 Roclites as in 37 miles of West Yorkshire there is many many miles of tracks, roads and rough stony paths. The shoes coped very well even though it was very muddy in places. What I did like was the grip on the old flagged bridleways which are usually lethal in fell shoes. I couldn't decide whether to race hard or enjoy the day and didn't seem to get going until 4.30 hours. I think I was dreading the long drag below Stoodley Pike - on which I started off spritely but by the time I was at Errington Grange I was flagging a lot! I did enjoy running up the hills in the 2nd half and hope that my extra hill / speed training is paying off!

I finished at a sprint having (exactly as 2016) someone behind me just from the last CP! I finished 1st Lady in a time of 6.27 hours. The room went dark and fuzzy when I stopped and I realised just how hungry I was. The food at that the Scouts put on is 2nd to none and I soon tucked into baked potatoe, chilli, coleslaw, cheese and tuna - yep all together as I couldn't decide which I wanted most! I sat down next to Jo Marshall (close/distantly related family) and we exchanged tales of our various races; she had just finished the 17 mile course. We just had to have a celebratory photo in the carpark!! 

 

26th March - Spring has arrived! What a difference compared to last weekend. I raced in a vest and shorts at Long Mynd yesterday and had a good run. I can't say I felt very sprightly along the track between CP 2 and 3 but at least it was near the beginning of the race and there were plenty of hills to follow. I was very pleased to finish in a time of 2.02 hours. 19th Lady, 2nd V45 and Dark Peak won the V40 Team with Judith and Kirsty. Results 

On the farm last week's rain put paid to land work but it's dried up a lot over the weekend and we're back harrowing and rolling. Calving has gone very well; no ratchet use (yet!) and 71 calves alive, 3 calves died and 9 cows left to calve so could make 80 if (a big if) all goes well.

 

20th March - wow two weeks gone but I've been so busy on the farm - 65 calves now! And with running an Ultra and Round course last Saturday, then two days of Joss Naylor raccying; both in foul weather but a lot achieved. Last weekend was the course on Saturday then the recce on Sunday where the forecast was supposed to be nice and it was horrid. But I ran from Wasdale with Keith Holmes, Jon Whilock, Forest Bethell and Andy up onto Great End where we met snow, wind and rain! Wisp has had enough of Great End now and me too to be honest. Then around in foul weather and clag on the Joss route over Gable, Kirkfell and Pillar to Haycock where at least we got some visibility as a bitterly cold wind forced us to run off very quickly! At least I found the lines round Seatallan and Middle Fell and then unbelievably and annoyingly the sun came out just as we finished! 

This weekend the forecast was awful so at least it could only get better! Kirsty Hewitson, Beth Pascall and Matt were already in the Lakes so agreed to do legs 1 and 2 with me. We all set off wearing thick winter tights, big waterproofs, masses of hats and gloves - and we took money for lunch in the Kirkstone Inn! Setting off the rain and wind were as forecast but we had visibility which meant a lot to me as I've been on those legs 3 times and never seen any of them! It was quite confusing being able to see at times! Battling the wind and rain got slightly annoying but everyone stayed in good spirits; the chat about chips and hot drinks driving us on. At about midday the sun burst through and our hopes lifted. Dropping to Kirkstone we all dripped into the pub (Wisp and Dingo were allowed too) and were met by friendly staff who cheerfully made us drinks and three bowls of chips. 40 minutes flew by and we were soon back out into the weather. It did abate though across Red Screes, Hart Crag and Fairfield; enough even that we could take photos and enjoy the descent off into Patterdale. Thanks everyone!

 

5th March - What a great weekend already! The High Peak Marathon starting Friday night at 11.41pm with my Ladies team of me, Beth Pascall, Jean Brown and Kirsty Hewitson. The weather forecast was for rain and clag but it was completely wrong; it didn't rain at all and it was only claggy until Outer Edge trig. It wasn't great at the time as it was so wet and boggy underfoot but we stayed strong across Kinder and as the splits show on the results High Peak Marathon we got faster (relatively) as time progressed and made up places. After 9.32 hours of running we came in 4th overall, 1st Ladies and broke the ladies record by 9 minutes!!! 

On the farming front we've had a few calves born last week and we're up to 40 now. Just about halfway! And tomorrow we're going to collect a new bull called Joe. 

 

28th February - I travelled down on Friday evening to my brothers for the  XNRG Seminar on Alps races Then back Saturday to get ready for the www.Hoppits.co.uk races. These went very well on the Sunday with an increased turnout of both Juniors and Seniors. Thanks to all my helpers/marshalls and the Cricket Club. And in between calving has been continuing reasonably well with 36 calves now born and approaching halfway!

 

23rd February - Ten days on and the weather has turned wet, windy and warm! I did the New Chew last Sunday and left home where it was 8C, calm and cloudy. Over the hill and it was 4C, very claggy with a bitter wind. I set off with a good plan and found the first couple of controls easily even though they were tricky stream junctions. Then got to one that was very hard. I went back and forth checking streams etc and eventually had to give up. I set my compass for North and after 40m dropped into a stream and there it was!! So after that the controls were found bang on and I even ran a very long way and got a 40 points one. However time was ticking away and I had to make my way back. I was tired of the clag and the tussocks and had 20 minutes to get to the Finish, about 3 km away. There was another control but I decided against it - "Flat rock" could be hard to find in clag! 

Back at Race finish I was there with 10 minutes to spare. Kirsty Hewitson finished having set off the opposite way to me. The points were added up and she beat me by 10 points; which was what I would have got for that last control! So lesson learnt - always try for a little more if you think possible! But I was happy it had been a good day and I was pleased with my navigation New Chew 2017 Results.pdf  

On the calving front things are going along quite well - we've had 25 calves born with a good spread between Hamish (7), Elvis (9) and Hector (7) - then Harry has had 2 but his cows didn't calve until April in 2016 and with a 285 day gestation we don't expect his yet. My favourite cow No 97 calved at 1.30am on Tuesday hence I slept through last night and missed a heifer calving (first timer). She calved ok but has decided she doesn't like her calf. They are now in a stable together and I've bottled fed it using milk I've milked from No 97! Hopefully as she settles she will take to her calf.

Dad also rang up this week and said he had seen the OMM featured on The Adventure Show - here is the link but I don't know how long the link lasts.

 

13th February - A two week break but lots going on. My dad visited last week from the Isle of Lewis and we started calving! We got to 7 but then one cow just this morning sat on her calf and killed it which it very disappointing and sad for the little calf. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't actually gone to tag it, and she got up and there it was underneath her. But anyway so far it had gone well but no heifers (1st timers) have calved yet which is always interesting. At least they have had chance to see what happens and how they are supposed to look after their offspring (and they aren't in the shed with the killer cow). 

I ran a lot last weekend and this; it was Wadsworth Trog last Saturday and knowing how flat and trail like the route is now (because of Natural England restoration) I set off at a comfortable pace. I ran with Greg Rimmer from Dark Peak for quite a while which was nice and he kept me going. But then he pulled a muscle and dropped back a bit. It was very hard going as recent rain had made all the paths very muddy but also there is a lot of flat fast trails and road in it which I find hard running. By 2/3 though I was waking up and really enjoying running the hills on the return to CP1 now CP10. Off the Trig I realised that the group in front of me were dropping too far left and so heather bashed a while to get back to the tower. In this group was Lucy Spain and after following her for the rest of the race I thought maybe I could get passed her on the last climb through the muddy fields to the Finish. This I managed to do but fell over in the cricket field in a last attempt to put a spurt on. I jumped up and hobbled over the line - still in front. Nichola Jackson had a storming run to finish 11th in 2.51 hours but I was pleased with 2nd/1st LV40 in 3.21 hours Wadsworth-Trog-Results 2017

This weekend I did a High Peak Marathon recce with Kirsty, Jean and Beth. We got cold, bit snowy but clear weather and it was very useful to run and recce together. The race is in three weeks and we've been allocated a late setting off time! Start list 2017 As we finished late on Friday night we had booked a room at the The Snake Pass Inn When we arrived the owners seemed not to know everything and we asked them when they had moved in - their answer was "Yesterday!". But they were very welcoming, the breakfast was fantastic and I hope that it is a success for them.

 

31st January - Maybe the last weekend we can both be away as we have 85 very pregnant cows waddling round the sheds - all due next week and to finish calving by Mid April! So Steve made the most of an offer of nice hotel with breakfast ( Tontine Hotel ) and came away to Peebles Outdoor Film Festival. The hotel was lovely, breakfast too and Sunday dawned a lovely day which was nice as I was due to be on the Run with Nicky at 10.30 am. Moorfoot runners did a great job of organising and planning a route so all I had to do was run and chat - not always easy after a full breakfast. In the afternoon there was a short film screening, followed by Run Forever and my talk. Then we had to get off home via Moffat (great fish and chips).

Kevin Lelland from John Muir wrote a nice report about the run, film and talk

 https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/latest/news/1069-staff-blog-in-it-for-the-long-run 

 

23rd January - I've had a busy weekend - running and talking. At least I'm back running again as a week off (but especially missing Trigger) was horrible. Steve came back from India and we've settled into farming again. The tractor is at least being put back together now.

On Saturday I went to the Lakes to meet up with Hannah, Suzy and Juliet to recce the last section of the Lakeland 50. It was a lovely clear, cold day and very enjoyable running. I'm not doing the 50; they are! Then I went straight to Nelson to speak at Trawden AC club dinner having been asked by Kerrie Bretherton. It was great to see the film and then do the talk especially as it's mainly a road running club and I wasn't sure if many people understood what I was on about. Then came prize giving and then Kerrie persuaded me to do something called a "Flash Mob". What a laugh; I hid at the back and copied Kerrie!

On Sunday I wanted to run the Trigger route just to say I had done it. Steve agreed to run with me even though he's not run that distance for months and only got back from India last Tuesday! So Sunday morning we had cows to feed etc then a car to drop at Edale before driving to Marsden via a cafe for brunch and so we started at 12.10pm. My watch did about 2 miles and packed up so I was taking photos of us at the CP's until it got too dark and cold to do so. It seemed a mad idea to Crowden - where we had a stash of sandwiches, pies and coffee (and dog biscuits for Wisp). Then Lawrence edge finding our way well in the clag. Across Wain Stones, Hern Stones in thick clag and upwards to the wreck and Shelf Moor Trig. It was now 4pm and daylight was fading. We hoped to get to the wreck with some light and took a line down Withins straight to the wreck. Now 5pm and dark. We wrapped up warm and began the long trog round Kinder. It seemed to take ages but we climbed up onto the plateau. I wanted to go to the Trig but we couldn't see it so headed off in the right place and came across it. Heading back again we didn't know where we were on the path but headed off on our HPM bearing to try and hit the flags leading to East of Edale. We soon got into some odd ground so retraced our steps back to the big cairn. Off again and I heard a whistle - like someone whistling a dog. So we carried on and I heard it again, then a faint shout and a whistle. We shouted but no reply. Then a whistle again and a flash of torch. Not wanting to leave our line I stayed where I was and Steve went to investigate. He was ages and I was getting cold. He then came back leading a very cold lady and her dog. We discussed the best option. She (Nicki Love) had called MRT and they told her to stay put. But we didn't want to stay there and nobody knew where we were anyway. We agreed to head off and call them (on my phone as being a torch had killed Nicki's). Oh we stayed on that bloody bearing for what seemed like an hour. But after map checking etc decided we just had to stay on it. Eventually I saw the flags and we all cheered up. Steve fed and clothed Nicki, I lent her my spare head torch. We found East of Edale gate and headed down Jacob's Ladder. I turned my roaming stuff back on (I'd turned it off to save battery) and dialed 999, got through and explained what we were doing. It was a long slow walk down Jacob's Ladder and anyone that goes that way on the Trigger must be insane! Nicki had cheered up quite a lot; she had only expected to be out 2 hours max running (in shorts!!), but had packed walking waterproofs and over trousers which she had put on. No head torch and no compass. Halfway down we saw lights which were Edale MRT and so handed Nicki over. The warmth of the 4x4's was inviting but No we kept our resolve and ran off. We arrived at Edale at 8.20pm so did 8.10 hours which we're pleased with. Finding a good F&C's in Glossop and having a chip butty with curry sauce and two tins of coke finished the night off nicely. Wisp had our not so nice pork pies!

So that's cheered me up no end and I'll get all the Trigger stuff collected up now and on the website.

 

17th Jan - Well I was gutted that with all the organising done for Trigger (without Steve this year) and the uncertainty about the weather as there was deep snow about on the Saturday when I put the flags out on Black Hill - but come Sunday morning my cough was still too bad and my chest very tight so I made the probably right decision not to race. The clag was well and truly down and there was heavy showers all day so I was very worried for the 191 runners that set off. Watching them through Crowden did nothing to alleviate my worries as half of the runners seemed to have no idea of where to go next. There were quite a few retirements there which were ferried back to Edale. I got to Edale and along with Charmian, Jude. Simon, Ian, Jeff and Andy we got the Finish sorted and just waited. The first runner Nic Barber came in in 3.59 hours (about 20 minutes slower than normal although the aircraft wreck CP addition would have taken longer to go to without the clag being down). Then we waited another 20 minutes and I was getting more and more worried about the whole field. The runners and the retirements trickled in until we had all 191 accounted for. 157 finished - however we have had to remove 6 runners from the results as they ran on the Out of Bounds area. 34 runners retired due to the very bad conditions (we usually have 5/8 retirements). Apparently the Snake top was bitterly cold. Well done to all the runners; there were a lot of people very glad to finish and we were very glad to see them. We raised over £5000 this year for WMRT !!

So Steve is back tonight. The tractor is slowly going back together but the back end is still just a steel casing with lots of cogs in it. I ran the Winter Mondays very slowly last night but it was good to find that my chest would allow some running at last. I might even go and run the Trigger route very slowly this coming Sunday!

 

8th January - All go still. The tractor is in many bits, the weather has turned warmer. I've been on two HPM reccies this weekend - via the aircraft wreck on Kinder as a Trigger recce detour. All the running I've done this weekend has been in clag but good to get out with jean, Kirsty and Beth -plus two or four dogs! Trigger is coming along - and the weather is forecast to turn colder (and maybe some snow!).

Then I've gone and caught a cold! 

Uploaded the Australia photos tonight  http://runbg.co.uk/Images/2016/Australia/index.html The general order is there ie Melbourne with Rosie, Ronnie and Otis, driving north, Broadwater with Kia, Rob and Jet. Then early Christmas when R&R&O flew up. Then drive back to Mebourne and Christmas day camping then on the beach in Melbourne. Hope you follow all that! 

4th January - It's been very busy since I got home. The farm was well looked after by Jim while we were away but the New Holland 5060 tractor wasn't fixed and so it's been hard for me farming with the older larger tractor (did I ever tell you about the stone barn and the electric post? - No? Well I'm just waiting for the third collision to happen). Anyway I persuaded the tractor man Dan to come and after a couple of days the news wasn't good. Although the bearing that had disintegrated wasn't that big a job the damage it has done to another shaft was bad and this shaft can only be removed by an almost total dismantling of the back axle. So one week on and we're nearly there - it's in lots of bits!!!

Apart from the tractor the weather has been good (bar New Years Eve and New Years day), the cows are alive and well (always a plus) and I'm back running a lot. Maybe too much as I was very tired on the Winter Mondays race so resting tonight. And I had a quick trip to Berkhamsted to see Charlie, Carol and Lottie which was lovely.

Australia was brilliant - somewhat varied weather from 17C and raining to 40C and sweltering. But the SUV AC coped with it well and gave us a respite from the heat and the flies! The jouney from Melbourne to Broadwater (and back) was enjoyable and we saw lots of outback, cows, corn growing, mountains and lakes. Meeting Rob (Kia's fiancé) was lovely and seeing Jett and Otis growing up was great.  http://runbg.co.uk/Images/2016/Australia/index.html 

 

29th December - this will have to wait until tomorrow. It's 9.30pm and since arriving home on Tuesday night (now Thursday) I've only slept 4/5 hours a night and I'm shattered now! Australia was great! Visited Steve's daughters, drove from Melbourne to Broadwater (near Lismore) and back. Did a little running but generally it was too hot in the 40C. Enjoying the sunny cold British weather now. I'll write more in the morning......

 

5th December - Its been another busy week after Strom Angus as we had to get all the cows that were still outside in as they were very unhappy! That done - so all 85 in calf cows and heifers are in two sheds, Hamish, Hector and Harry have been separated from the cows but are settled in the Bull Shed. Then we have 24 stores and bulling heifers and 15 young replacement heifers (about 4 months old now). So that's that for 4 months till the cows and heifers start to calve in February.

On Friday we went to the Strines for our Christmas Works Do - jointly with Amanda and Andrew Heading and Mark Pearce! We book rooms and so had a very merry evening where Steve couldn't remember drinking any whisky the morning after and wasn't hungover - just felt very tired and had to lie down a lot!

Running wise - it's all a bit steady winding down for Christmas and New Year. Here's to a good 2017.

27th November - what a weekend! First up the Double Bob Graham film was released online Run Forever on Friday night. Then on Saturday I ran an Ultra and 24 hour course which went very well and I'll be running some more next year. Then today I was on the Assessment day of the Fell Running Coach in Running Fitness course at Mythomroyd. It was nerve racking waiting to run my session and be assessed. But everything went really well and I passed along with everybody on the course. Many thanks Graham and Steve. So after all that Steve and I are going out for our tea! 

 

22nd November - having had great plans to go to the Kendal on Friday evening, see the Double NG film and then recce the Joss on Saturday before returning to Kendal - it was nearly all thwarted by the weather! Firstly lots of snow arrived on Thursday making reccing fine lines impossible so we postponed our recce. Then the drive up on Friday took forever and so I only just caught the last 10 mins of the film! On Saturday I decided to stay low and reccied the Lakeland 50 from Ambleside to Coniston. Luckily when I caught the bus from Coniston the Ambleside there were two runners from Helensburgh - Gordon and Michelle - doing the same thing. As they had all the route descriptions I tagged along to get out of Ambleside and then we joined forces for the whole day which made it a lot faster and more enjoyable for me at least!

Nick Brown rang me at 4.30pm when I was walking into Kendal to say we had been invited to the Prize Giving but had to be there at 6pm. I met him and we were ushered into the theatre. The prizegiving started at 6.30pm and we clapped, clapped and clapped some more. We were starting to wonder if we were just making up numbers. I was desperate for the loo and "Best Short Film" came on so knowing that wouldn't be us (Run Forever is 45 minutes long!) I nipped out. There was a queue of people waiting to go into the next session and there was a queue in the toilets. The fastest loo visit ever but also stopped to talk to Charmian outside. So when I walked back into the theatre and looked up - Run Forever was up on the screen!!! I got all emotional and Nick ran across the cinema and hugged me. We had won "Judges Special Award". Up on stage Nick let (made?) me speak but I was tongue tied - just like the Oscars!

The session afterwards included "Run Forever" and other films so I got my first chance to watch the whole film on screen along with Charmian, her mum, Steve Wathall and then Roger Baumiester and Martin Stone sat behind and giggled at all the old photos in the film of themselves! It was a fantastic end to my weekend as I headed home early on Sunday morning.

 

16th November - Dark Peak Club Championships was on Saturday 12th with the dinner that evening. The champs are a handicapped race and I don't know what I had done but I was setting off at the back with all the fast lads! To top that it's on an area I don't know at all and the weather on Saturday morning was wet and claggy. I was rather nervous as many a Pertex nomination has been created by the wanderings of runners on (or rather off!) the Club Champs route. 

Setting off I just concentrated on navigation ignored the other fast runners passing me; they however went straight to the CP while I was left of it. I thought then to do a bit of crossnavigation - ie to get a compass bearing then put the map down and try and keep up as best I can with the group of fast lads who "look" like they know where they are going. A little risky but otherwise I was going very soon be right at the back, slowly running and navigating. This actually worked a treat and we dropped into the valley where there was a long track to run along. Map and head down I knew this was somewhere I could make a bit of time. Then back across the moors, clag lifted so I could see the next CP so headed that was as fast as possible. I started catching runners myself which is always reassuring. CP4 there was Rose Paxman; a welcome smile and "well done". Off round the hill and a long contour in the clag to near the top of Brown Knoll. Now a tricky descent to a quarry. Here my map was a bit blurry as on the fold so when I spotted Willy contouring the hillside I went the same way. There was the CP and a merry bunch of Marshalls. Direct bearing home I thought and climbed out the quarry. Crossing the same ground we had covered on the route out but it all looked different and many people were dropping low. My compass was stubbornly pointing left so I went left. As we dropped out the clag I spotted the walls and track and knew where I was. Sprinting carefully down the hill many people piled passed but I was happy and left them to it.

Results http://www.dpfr.org.uk/results/view/4375 

We all then retired to the Ramblers where a lovely man was selling his vegtables out side in the rain. I bought a huge bag for £5 and then proceeded to drum him up some custom from the runners inside so hope he went home happy as well. The dinner that night was an entertaining affair; with great food and speeches. Thanks all for ogranising.

Kendal Mountain Festival is this weekend and I'll be there on Friday night and Saturday nights to present the Double Bob Graham film. I'm running on the hills during the day on Saturday as I can't go to the Lakes and not run! Then Saturday night is the main showing where Roger Baumiester will also be presenting the film with me which I'm really looking forward to; he is such a character! 

PS. Lots of people have asked me this - Once the film has been released at Kendal it will be online on Inov-8 site and on UKClimbing website. I'll get the link and put it here.

 

8th November - Last weekend I had a busy weekend in the Lakes running Legs 1 and 2 of the Joss Naylor on Saturday with Dave Pickering, Max Howard, Tim Whittaker and Steve Wathall. It was lovely but cold weather and the warming cups of tea we had at Kirkstone Pass Inn was very welcome halfway. Wisp also came along and sat being very good in the pub. There was snow on Fairfield and so I was glad of more layers and the sight of Charmian waiting at Dunmail to collect us all. 

Then I went to Brathay Loadge to spend the evening with Red Rose Road Runners who were having a "Fell" weekend. They had been learning navigation with Chris Knox of Keswick AC during the day. I gave a talk and answered loads of questions in the Q&A. It was a great evening and I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

On Sunday we had the ambitious plan of doing Legs 3 and 4 to Wasdale but setting off the weather had other ideas. Showers were forecast from 9 to 10am but they carried on all day falling as snow above 800m. Combined with the wind it made running rather unpleasant. We soon started to miss out tops in an attempt to stay roughly on schedule. Steve's hangover wasn't going away so he headed straight for Wasdale with Max while I carried on with Dave. There was a fine dusting of snow everywhere and ice above 850m so we were just going too slowly and so also decided to bin it after Great Gable. Running down Wasdale we stuck our thumbs out but decided that hitchiking with a woman gave you 10 points, a man -5 points and a dog -5 points. But it was worth a try. About the 5th car though stopped !!! We all then had a very jolly ride in an old car with two lads from Gosforth to where Charmian was waiting in Greendale. Photos - apologies for all the Wisp ones! 

 

3rd November - Decided not to run tonight and instead do my 2016 OMM write up and my Fell CiRF coaching homework as I've the Assessment day on November 27th - yikes! 

1st November - Just a quick update as very busy on the farm, with Trigger, with talks and courses and coaching. So will update with a proper OMM report asap. Basically it was a long hard course - Day 1 it rained softly a lot and was claggy so me and Jean concentrated a lot on navigation. Overnight it was warm and I slept very well. Day 2 was warm, dry and we got some nice views when we dropped under the clag. We ran a lot with Jon Whilock and Bryan Carr and made good decisions. It was nice to stay in front of the cutoffs and finish. We were shocked that our slip said "Alert" and panicked but it was just a kit check. My toe was painful as it was poking out the sock most of the day but it's forgiven me now! We finished in 16th place, 2nd Ladies behind some very talented Scottish ladies who were 7th overall!  The OMM Results 2016 

On the farming front we've sold all our calves - yippee !!!!! That's three groups to Holmfirth at a good trade overall and then the other half to Black Hall Farm Shop. It's always nice to have sorted that. Now we can get ready for winter - although with this warm dry weather they are happier outside. Unfortunately the little calves inside are suffering with pneumonia in the warm so really we want it to be colder!

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22nd Oct - Two updates in one day - that's a record! The course went very well. I am still learning about what it is that runners wanting to run further wish to learn about and  polishing up my delivery so hopefully everything I've learnt over the last 15 years can be condensed down and delivered in a way that is understandable. So I welcome any feedback! I was impressed at the participants on today's course; they had clear goals and an achievable timescale. Woodhead Mountain Rescue were fantastic in providing the venue and the food. Charmian Heaton was available to help me out on logistics and in return I'm awarding the prizes tomorrow at the Power Surge 10k .... and actually running the race as well!

 

22nd October - Up early as need to feed the calves before going to Woodhead Mountain Rescue and running the first of my Ultra Courses The weather is looking promising and I'm looking forward to meeting everybody.

We have been very busy with change in the weather moving cows and calves round to new fields, sorting calves out to sell at Holmfirth Mart and pricing up the calves that we sell to Blacker Hall Farm Shop which entails grading ours then sitting for hours in cattle markets watching calves being sold (we call them calves but they are 9 months old and rather like teenagers; not always pleasant to be around!). 

I travelled to Luss last weekend and ran the Navigation leg for Dark Peak Ladies A team. It was a very challenging course , made more so by thick clag. I wasn't too happy with my micro navigation as we lost 10 minutes looking for our 4th CP - yet another re-entrant! But overall the Ladies did well. The results are British Fell Relay Results   

Nick Brown has been back to the farm and finished off the Double Bob Graham film interview. The trailer has just been released here Double Bob Graham Trailer  and the film itself is going to be premiered in November at the Kendal Mountain Festival 

Then I have been on the Fell Coaching course myself and have loads of homework to do but am really enjoying the course and would highly recommend it to any inspiring coach. And I am running my own courses so that's to sort too.

 

6th October - Well I was on the last leg of the Hodgson Brothers Relay with Jenny Caddick on 2nd October. As Charlie, Carol and Lottie were over for the Saturday along with my sister Lydia and Phil her husband although I had moderated I wasn't feeling that I had prepared properly! And then having bought 16 two week old calves I had to feed them then set off to the Lake District. So to find out on my arrival that Zanthe and Anna were 1st on their Leg, then Jude and Sally had retained the lead on Leg 2 meant the pressure was on!! Jenny and I watched Helen and Clare set off on Leg 3 being chased by Keswick Ladies then went to our changeover to get ready! The weather was perfect - no wind, clear skies and a little too warm so it was vest and shorts. Waiting was the worse bit but the ladies came flying in - still in the lead. Jenny shot off along the valley and from then on we couldn't speak as we had no spare breath to! We also knew that Helm Hill and Ambleside had really fast ladies on the last leg so even when we couldn't see runners behind us we knew we had to keep pushing. It was one of the hardest 1.30 hours I have ever run and the fastest I've ever done the leg. We managed it though and won the Ladies Trophy!!

Apart from that news I've been on a Fell Coaching In Running Fitness (CiRF) and have the next full weekend this coming weekend so have been doing me homework and practicing on the PFR&AC Juniors! Annoyingly it means I can't do Langdale and so can't complete the FRA Championships as I won't have done enough races - but there will always be next year!

Then on the farming front we're very busy as although we've had a nice autumn up to now it's still going to be winter sometime and we start to sell the 9 moth old Suckled calves next week in Holmfirth which is a daunting prospect but they are looking well grown now. We also purchased sixteen 2-4 week old heifer (female) calves to rear up as replacement cows last week and these are being bucket reared milk twice a day. The theory (and it works) is that these calves trust us to handle their calves in two years time when they are calving themselves.

 

 

 

 

27th September - UTMB recovery is a bit hit and miss but not helped by hurting my back cow sorting. I think my body is not liking the return to fast running - with the Royal Dungworth on Saturday then the first Winter Mondays race last night. But I'll keep on with the stretches and massages and hope for improvement. Saying that I had a reasonable run at the Three Shires on 17th September especially after a late night talking at Saddleworth on Friday and with the same time as in 2015. Results on Fellrunner I then supported Andy Heading on his BG which unfortunately was unsuccessful due to dehydration (it had been a very hot day which I also didn't like while racing).

Last weekend I did the Dungworth Dash; a local Dark Peak race and had a real battle with Keith Holmes, just managing to stay in front till the finish - and again the same time as last year. My quads however complained bitterly and so I tried not to race hard on the Winter Mondays race but only managed that till halfway round when I just had to go for it. So back to the foam rollar and stretches today!

Another piece of news is that Entries are open for the Trigger race. A new system this year so read carefully and follow instructions (says Brent!) -   Trigger website 

12th September - Yesterday eight Dark Peak Ladies hauled a barrel of water (75kg) from the Snake Inn to the Nags Head in Edale dressed as nuns! It was at times very hard work but overall a fantastic day and one that we plan to repeat! With staggered starts we were 3rd off and finished 1st - so without any of the faster teams catching us although when the times were recorded we were actually 9th out of 14 teams and 1st Ladies team! The Results should appear in due course on  Kinder Beer Barrel Race  but for now here are a couple of photos and a Video even!!

Next Friday evening I'm talking at the Saddleworth Outdoor festival about the Double Bob Graham and other things! Book here https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/277138 

 

6th September - The legs were sore most of last week but a couple of massages have helped along with stretches. The foam rollar is not in use yet though. I was on a Fell Cirf Course this weekend and so had to run quite a bit which was very hard and so I wasn't looking forward to the last Summer Mondays race but after gently running down the woods the legs really woke up and I was able to enjoy the rest of the race and not disgrace myself either. 

This coming weekend looks busy with Kinder Beer Barrel Race on Saturday followed hopefully by the Lake District Mountain Trial on Sunday (if I don't get too damaged by an out of control beer barrel on Saturday).

 

31st August - I got back on Tuesday from Chamonix and have written up my UTMB race experience - UTMB 2016 Life has got back to normal quickly with the cows getting out and silaging again but the memories of a wonderful trip will remain with me for a good while yet!

 

22nd August - A gentle week running; lots of packing then I did Pendle 3 Peaks on Saturday. I promised myself I must be careful on the descents and I was. I really enjoyed the race being the last half of the Long Tour of Pendle but was glad to finish unscathed in 15th position (in the Ladies Race). Sportident Ladies Race  and Sportident Mens Race 

So I'm all packed and ready to fly on Wedesday for the start of the Ultra Tour Mont Blanc on Friday evening 6pm local time. You can follow me here - http://utmb.livetrail.net/ plus I will try and Tweet / Facebook when I've done.

16th August - A week of rest, ice, stretches and wobbling and the ankle is a lot better. I had a busy weekend with a talk at Leeds Heart Centre on Friday night, after which I drove to the Lakes to see Adam Perry off on his 24 hour record attempt however the weather there was not as forecast with high winds, rain and low cloud so it wasn't ideal conditions and I later learnt he had stopped at Dunmail.

I then supported Andy Heading on his ACW BG from Honister to Wasdale - in much the same conditions. We managed to get into Wasdale 10 minutes up on schedule and I hoped the weather would improve for the later legs. Although the rain stopped the clag remained low and Andy was too far down on the schedule after Blencathra and so pulled out there where Steve Burgess was waiting and they walked out. Such a shame to get so near to the finish.

But after my support I drove to Aberdovey - which was a long, long way! I was talking at Outward Bound Centre to 65 of the Skills for Life students. I was very glad to get there and very impressed at the facilities and the organisation of the centre. Jo Fromant met me, showed me my room and then we had a tour and dinner. The talk started at 7.30pm. I had changed the talk quite a lot as not being runners I doubted the students would be that interested. I talked more about my childhood and my life, finishing up with some tips as to how they could succeed in their 4 day expedition which was to start on Sunday. I was very impressed at their concentration and I enjoyed the talk very much. 

On Monday I had a massage with Claire Sykes, then ran Summer Mondays where I tried really hard, didn't get my lines right, found all the deep heather and fell down lots of holes. It was however lovely to be running and the ankle felt much stronger. Then on Tuesday I had another massage; this time with Jeff Cole and so my ankle is now very well massaged and getting as better as it can be.

 

12th August - Well I did Borrowdale fell race last Saturday and had an awful race. Firstly I felt tired and hot but was determined to enjoy the race so looked about and made the most of it. But then (and not while I was looking about) I twisted my right ankle coming down to Honister and as I put my left leg out to save myself I got cramp in it and so fell / rolled down the hillside. Some lovely runners and supporters came rushing to my aid as I was screaming but it was the cramp that was hurting. I felt really sick after that and nearly stopped at Honister as I didn't want to really injure my ankle. But after hobbling to the CP and drinking some water I felt better so carried on. I finished in 3.59.59 with the ankle not too bad. Sportident - Results 

The swelling and bruising came out on Monday and Tuesday. I've been icing, resting, stretching it all week and it's a lot better now. But I've been sulking as again I can't run. Oh well. Enforced taper won't hurt I suppose.!

Inov-8 published my blog about Running Further last week and I've had lots of people sign up on my October course as a result. So many so that it's full and I've added another date in November now!

 

31st July - Yesterday morning I drove to the Lakes and supported Lawrence Piercy on his "Fast BG" meeting him at Dunmail for Leg 3 support with Tim Whittaker and Dave Lund. We were all slightly nervous to say the least as Lawrence was using the 17.15 schedule I had devised for my BG record. The weather was cool, slight breeze, high clouds and sometimes sunny. Lawrence came in ahead of schedule rushing us a little but had a couple of minutes stop and then we all set off. He was in good spirits across the Langdales eating quite well. Once on the rocks his speed increased dramatically making his supporters all work and "take turns" in visiting the tops with him! On Great End the clag came down thickly which was cooling but not really a hindrance. Without a rope on Broad Stand it looked slimy and so we went via Lords Rake and West Wall Traverse. The balancing rock at the top of the gully has gone / broken / fallen down which was a surprise! Wisp took this route quite well; I've been getting her used to rocks slowly but unstable ones she doesn't really like. We went ahead so as not to knock rocks on Lawrence. 

The descent to Wasdale was a combination of scree and grass which didn't really worked but Lawrence was descending so well that he left us all for dead! He was in and out of Wasdale (setting off on Leg 4 with Glen Borril and Rich Hunt) by the time Tim and I arrived - we had been somewhat thwarted though by both getting cramp while straddling a barbed wire fence!

Tim and Dave got off home while I wanted to do more so offered support on Leg 5 as well. In Honister I waited with Adam and Ella (Lawrence's friend and girlfriend) at 6pm for them to arrive which he did but now 10 mins down, struggling to eat too. But still in good spirits we all set off up Dale Head - Lawrence, me, Wisp, Glen, Rich and Adam. The hills were good and the road went on forever. Lawrence was happy and sprinted to the Moot Hall in 17.40 hours. Photos of Lawrence's BG 

 

 

25th July - one week later and no running was driving me insane. But tonight (Summer Mondays) was great. We've been so busy haymaking - 2500 little bales, 2000 stacked in the barn and 500 delivered out. No time for running - but no inclination after working all day and in the heat. It was great to run tonight. Hopefully I'll get a bit more in this week now. On Friday I'm looking forward to talking at Heart Centre in Leeds.

16th July - Another long run last night in preparation for the UTMB wearing my new Trail Talon (the new version of Ultra 290's) up Mickleden which is the nearest I can get to rocky trails. I was impressed at the comfort as I couldn't feel the stones. Then I went from Outer Edge to Blacks to meet Steve and got them well and truly clogged up with peat; it might be dry but there are still a lot of bogs about! I've written an article about my Double Bob Graham recovery to date and the preparation I'm doing for the UTMB in 6 weeks -  Double BG Recovery and UTMB Preparation 

Today I went and ran the Loxley Lunge Setting off just in front of Keith Holmes I went wrong three times before he caught me so then I just followed Keith round! A interesting little blast with a great river valley to negotiate; good thing it wasn't raining heavily! Got home and Steve has mowed 12 acres of hay so please let the forecasts be right and the rain to stay away now! 

A leisurely look back to the start from the Loxley Lunge summit as we de-taped the course this morning. Thanks to all who came. Neil Northrop's new course record of 21'14" could have fallen very quickly if Tom Saville had not digressed at two key junctions on his way to 21'38". Congrats too to Nicky Spinks on a new women's record of 27'40".Tim Tett's old record still stands for V40s.

 

10th July - Another week of showery and sometimes heavy rain. But no haymaking meant I was free to do the Wasdale Fell race; one of my favorites. I had a good run, sometimes enjoyable but mainly quite hard work in the conditions which were probably at the worst end of the scale of the forecast! I have written a write up separately so I can link it from other places ... 2016 Wasdale Race 

 

3rd July - 10 days on and we're coming to terms with the upheaval. The Farmers Guardian wasn't all doom and gloom but there is a long was to go yet. We spent most of last week hauling silage out of muddy fields and daren't look at the fields now. But it's finished! Now we need the weather to change and give a us a few nice days in a row to make the hay in. While we wait I have been painting gates and Steve services and fixes things like the calf creeps, mower and tractors. 

Running wise I've decided that rest and recovery is going well and that I need to start doing some hard work now in preparation for the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc at the end of August. So I did the Thurlstone Chase on Saturday as speed work which was hard and very runnable.  Results 

On Sunday I then ran 20 miles with Carla and Wisp around the White Peak area. We started off on the Long Tour Bradwell, then did the Edale Skyline round to Ringing Roger, then Tour Bradwell descent and route back to Bradwell. It was a lovely morning but rather hot so the Spar at Hope was a welcome break! What with Summer Mondays tomorrow and the PFRAC Handicap on Tuesday I'm certainly working the legs hard now!

26th June - The EU Out result of the referendum came as a shock and has left us wondering what's in store for UK farmers. But the silage needs making so with the weather forecast suggesting a couple of days fine weather we cut the remaining grass. I set off to the Lakes early on Saturday morning to support Adam Perry on his Lakes 24 hour record. Charmian kindly drove me and Wisp to Langdale where we ran up the scree onto Pike of Blisco (actually I bashed through bracken to one side of it) and waited for Adam on Thurnacar Knott. The weather was good, warm, cloudy with the odd small shower. Adam appeared a few minutes down on schedule and looking worried however through the Langdales he picked up time and set off down into Langdale on schedule. 

I then ran round to Bowfell with Keven and Chris Perry to await him there as he has asked me to mark Billy Bland's Rake. We met a lovely German lady walking the BG, some Billy Bland Challengers and a memorial walk group. Adam appeared looking strong, a couple of minutes down but gaining/losing them on each top in turn. I followed until Great End where I waved him off saying I would be at Newlands carpark to support him on Leg 7. 

Wisp and I then ran off Great End to Styhead Tarn and down into and Seathwaite where Charmian was waiting. We went back to Keswick and I drove to Newlands in my van. At 12.30am the alarm went off but I hadn't slept; too worried about navigating in the clag that had descended about 6pm. No road support appeared and we knew that was a bad omen. Then people started arrving but they told us that Adam had stopped at Honister after a navigation error on Leg 5 had cost him 15 minutes. Such a disappointment for Adam and everyone involved. He looked so strong and on for the record. Hopefully he can take the positives and rally round for another attempt. Adam Perry Lakes24 Photos

So a few hours sleep and I drove home where it had been raining heavily and the grass / fields are now soaked. 

 

23rd June - Couple of Media related things happening:

1) As the 29th July sold out quickly we've organised another date at Leeds Heart Centre which is Friday 12th August - Book here:  Heart Centre - Whats On 

2) Martin Yelling from Marathon Talk had a long conversation with me after the Double Bob Graham and the Podcast has just been released http://www.marathontalk.com/ Then also on ITunes Episode 337 where you can see the Running Order also Itunes.apple.com View Podcast 

 

19th June - Well the rain started on Friday 10th here and it hasn't stopped. Silaging has ground to a halt while we watch the grass being flattened and the docks poking their ugly heads out! Oh well! Anyway... this weekend I travelled to the Lakes to support the Dark Peak group attempt on Friday night; navigating round Leg 1 with Wisp! The conditions were good apart from a bit of clag on the tops and all contenders looked strong. The forecast was better for Saturday and I'm pleased to learn that once I left five people finished on Saturday including Sarah Jones Morris; all in around 22.45 to 23.15 hours. I got back to Keswick and saw Lee Proctor off from Moot Hall at midnight on his Bob Graham - which he later completed in 20.58 hours - and then me and Wisp went home.

On Saturday Steve drove (with me trying to sleep) down to Devon for a joint celebration with my aunt Maggie. It was her 80th and my 10 years of surviving cancer so we agreed that no surprises this time but a nice family BBQ. There was however a very nice surprise as her daughter Pam had flown in from California and was there at Carolyn's house to greet us when we all arrived! The sun tried to shine for the afternoon and it was lovely to see Maggie, Carolyn, Pam and also my brother Charlie, Carol and my niece Lottie!

BBQ on Saturday at Carolyn and Dave's house. Then Steve, me, Maggie and Pam on Sunday morning at Maggie's

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14th June - After a week of little running due to silaging I was ready for a good run in Wales supporting Kirsty Hewitson on her Paddy Buckley round. The forecast was so unsettled and we'd exchanged many emails throughout the week but with eventual conclusion that it was worth a try! Setting off from Yorkshire the weather was horrid; warm but low clag and persistent rain. Unusually as I crossed to Manchester it brightened up and North Wales was the same. Low cloud shrouded the tops though but the rain held off. I was supporting on Leg 1 (Capel to Aberglasyn) then Leg 4 (Llanberis to Ogwen). 

Kirsty set off at 10am with me, Jean Brown, Tim Rippon, Bob and Wisp!. We made good time over the Boundary ridge and Moelwyns only encountering a big of clag on the higher tops and arriving at Aberglaysn about 20 minutes up on her 23.50 schedule. The weather looked to be improving and the sun even poked it's head out a couple of times. Kirsty was strong and eating well. Conversation was good and spirits high. I travelled to the next road crossing at Pont Gors with Charmian and Steve to see her through there now 30 minutes up. We then regrouped at Llanberis to wait for her to arrive. I couldn't sleep as I was very worried about the navigation on the Glyders and Tryfan. The clag had returned and being ahead of schedule it looked like most of the leg would be run in the dark. Kirsty arrived about 12.45 running well. Wisp had been very good on Leg 1 and so I decided that she could come on this leg too. The rocks had been very dry even though it was claggy and humid so everyone and Wisp had been running across them very confidently. The other supporters on the leg were Beth Pascall, Matt Bennett and Mandy Calvert. Matt said he would take he down before Tryfan if she didn't like the rocks.

Setting off I was glad the pace had slowed a bit; some of the 1st leg had been very hard work for my legs! It also meant that I could navigate and found the Elidir Fach and Fawe tops spot on. I then concentrated on the next few hoping all the time that it would get light for Tryfan! Glyder Fawe and Glyder Fach were found and then the path down the side of Bristly Ridge was a combined effort with everyone spread out! It was nearly light but still claggy and all the rocks looked the same! It was such a relief to find it and descend. Suddenly in got light, the clag cleared and we could see Tryfan and the Carnedds behind! I tried to take photos on my phone. Wisp had been skipping about quite happily do I decided she could come up Tryfan with us. She was fine on the rocks (having once slid off a rock slab on Great End and dropped 10ft to me she is now more careful about looking before she leaps) but I was still very impressed. 

Kirsty was feeling a bit queasy but still in good spirits and with 4.30 hours to do the last leg we were all happy enough as we descended Tryfan to the road to meet Jean, Wendy Dodds and the road support. Kirsty set off on the last leg and I went to Capel to sleep! Sitting outside the cafe at 9.15am waiting the imminent arrival of Kirsty my phone rings and it's a farmer enquiring about the mower we have for sale. I must say I couldn't wait to get rid of him by passing him Steve's details and ending the call!!!

Kirsty ran down to the cafe at 9.24am looking as fresh as a daisy and so happy. Unlike me; she also managed an hour in the cafe (no food!) before retiring to her car for a snooze. Well done Kirsty and all her supporters! It was a great day and hats off to Kirsty for finishing in 23.24 hours. Photos in Gallery 

 

6th June - On Saturday it was hot and humid for the Duddon fell race which isn't a race I know well so I was glad it was clear for navigating. It was far too hot for me though and the legs felt like lead for 2/3 of the race so I just puffed my way behind Dave Sykes making good use of his route knowledge and trying not to annoy him by obviously following! I also ate all 4 gels, sweets and energy drinks that I had. By 3 hours though the clouds had rolled in and I started to feel better so thought I would drag Dave along for a bit - only now he was struggling so I pushed on alone. Making sure I was going the right way I was lucky enough to catch Joe Blackett (another DPFR runner) on the last summit so had an easy job of navigating a line to the finish! I finished 3rd Lady in 3.56 which I was pleased at especially as with Jude and Jenny DPFR Ladies won the team prize. . Duddon Results 2016  

I also managed this weekend to sort and upload all the Double Bob Graham photos into the Gallery -  Double BG Photos    

 

1st June - Life's getting back to normal - and I'm back racing again! Steve and I made the long journey to Isle of Jura last Friday to both race in the Jura Fell Race Arriving on Friday evening we parked next to Charmian on the Pier and enjoyed the evening meeting lots of Dark Peak, Pennine and other runners. The weather was perfect; slightly warm, no wind and clag free hills. Race day morning was a relaxed affair as you can register between 8.30 and 10am, the race starts at 10.30am. Most runners wore shorts and vests. Steve looked a bit overdressed in longs and long sleeved but hadn't brought anything else. I planned to set off very steadily not knowing what the legs and energy levels would be like. Steve also planned the same as he had only just returned from Romania on Thursday where he had been helping Andy Heading with the Translyvania race.

The first three climbs are lower level to about 500m through boggy and heathery ground. The climbs were ok; rather hot but the legs were stiff on the descents. I was running with Kirsty Bryan Jones and Jenny Caddick which was reassuring as finding the right lines seems to be key on this race. However I was feeling stronger and stronger and on the first Pap pulled away on the climb. I dug out my map made up using Tom Westgates notes and studied the descent route. As it happened it was quite obvious but horrid down a scree shoot that was just awful. I hoped that all the descents weren't going to be like that as the legs weren't happy and so neither was I. Climbing the next Pap I veered left a bit avoiding the large rocks and scree. Again I studied the descent off and followed the obvious route although the lad in front of me was going astray and didn't hear me shout! 

So onto the last Pap - climbing was easy for me; there was a nice cool breeze. I climbed passed a local lad and we spotted Dave Skyes descending on a line not marked on my map. The local lad knew it though and so we both went that way off. We were heading down a grass shoot but it felt wrong to me as I knew we had to contour. The lad and I discussed it and decided to contour left. This was the right decision as we soon hit the contour path and it took us round the mountain gently down to the lake before the last hill. Excellent stuff!! The last climb was a heathery lump and I was catching Dave Sykes; reaching the summit Charmian was there and shouted "Go on Nicky, Chase Tim Tett down!". I set off down with the legs complaining now. It was a long, long descent and not pleasant as on rough soggy ground. I was happy to cross the stream and run on flatter ground even though it was very boggy. I passed Dave and gave him encouragement. Reaching the bridge I wondered how the legs would like the road. It was nice at first not to have to pick the feet up but the finish seemed to be getting no nearer. Tim kept looking round but I wasn't bothered about trying to chase him. I did want to get under 4.45hrs so I would get a crystal glass though and so kept watch checking. It was hot and I was glad to finish in 4.31 hours!! 7th Lady and 2nd LV40. Steve finished in 6.44 hours after running with Jim Fulton for most of the race; he said he was tired from Romania and too hot!! Results

Tuesday 31st May - I always enter the Hallam Chase and then when it comes round think "Why did I do that?" but I like to support the race and it's actually great fun. Once again I really didn't know how the legs would take having to run a) up and down steep hills b) for only 3 miles c) on tarmac . The weather was cold and windy but it was shorts and vest for most runners. There were 65 in total and I was given a nice (but fair) handicap in front of Keith Holmes! The legs worked ok and I did 29.14 which is roundabout what I always do so I'm pleased with that!

 

23rd May - It's taken me an age but here it is Bob Graham Double I'll probably change it a little and add more photos and supporters write ups as they come in.

18th May - Its been a busy couple of days - but I'm recovering well. It was incredible; people say I was smiling all the time and I must say I enjoyed more of the round than I usually do - but then again I was running for 45 hours and 30 minutes so there was more of it! Everything went very well - the weather was perfect, my support were brilliant, Broad Stand was roped and went smoothly, my food stayed down and I even enjoyed fish and curry sauce! So much to talk about that I will get it written down now.

The media coverage has been overwhelming; and has rasied a lot of money for Odyssey through my Just Giving page. So much so that I rang Hugo on Monday and he said if I could raise £15,000 that would pay for a 2nd hand mini bus. Initially I was looking at £6500 which is the cost of one course for 12 people. It's been very touching to read all the comments that people add and have sent me. 

I will write up the story of my successful Double Bob Graham round very soon but for now here is  a link to my Inov-8.com  blog  and UK Climbing write up  I've also been on BBC Radio 4 Womans Hour on Wed 18th at 10am and ITV Calender News at 6.15pm.

 

12th May - OK so time to come clean! All these little trips to the Lakes reccying anti-clockwise in 2015/16 were all in preparation of my Double Bob Graham attempt due to start this Saturday at 00.01 (midnight Friday) and planning to finish by midnight on Sunday 15th ie. in under 48 hours. The weather, my supporters and backup are all in place. I aim to follow Roger Baumiester's footsteps (an account of that is here on pages 14 to 21 - Dark Peak 10 Years.pdf ) doing CW to Yewbarrow, then ACW back to Keswick. Then ACW to Yewbarrow and CW to the Moot Hall at Keswick. I've written a blog detailing why and how on Inov-8 website 

I will be wearing a tracker so when you've finished running in what should be a weekend of good weather, sit back, enjoy your drink and watch me! http://live.opentracking.co.uk/x2bg2016/ 

The idea of the Double crept into my head as a way of celebrating that it was 10 years ago that I had Breast Cancer. Back in 2006 I didn't think I would ever live so long and I'm celebrating this year in many ways. It seems fitting that I also raise money for a charity which helps people recover from cancer and like me get on with the rest of their lives. This is the link to my updated JustGiving page 

 

 

11th May - The weather is great! The cows are out! And I had a great surprising race at Up the Nab last Saturday. On Friday evening I was mowing the lawns; for the first time this year so the poor mower (and me) were having a hard time of it. I only got one lawn done but knew I wouldn't want to do it on Saturday afternoon after racing. I drove to the race via Monks Road as that's where I used to live (at Plainsteads Farm) to relive old memories of cycling to Charlesworth every afternoon with my brother Charlie, to then do a paper round and cycle back home! I could also look over the race route. 

This I did then arrived very early so chatted to Jon at Pete Blands. I was thinking "This is going to be hell. A long runnable climb up the nab, a few fast loops and back". I even got so despondent as there were lots of good Dark Peak Ladies there that I thought "I wish I was mowing the lawns instead". So the race started; I took it steady up the first field, then the second field; the legs feeling heavy. Got to the third field and still climbing and the legs woke up and so did the lungs. I looked up; "Hey this is alright" I thought. I kept on going, passing loads of women (it was a ladies only race) and arrived at the top. Descending the legs were wobbly and I wondered whether that was me done for. But a little runnable climb, then a fantastic steep descent, a huge steep climb, and so on! The route had been changed from my map below but was great. Flying down the last descent I was happy but being chased by a U23 (with young U23 legs) - not good!! At least the Rugby club, about 100m flat running and I was done. 13th Lady in 45.23 mins. Judith Jepson just in front so I was 2nd counter for our team and we won the Ladies Team prize with Helen Elmore and Pippa Wilkie. Results; Up-the-Nab-Women.pdf  and Up-the-Nab-Men.pdf 

Up the Nab.jpg (569660 bytes)

Coaching and Courses - I've been running Ultra and 24 Hour round Seminar courses and will be putting more dates in later this year so please contact me on nicky@blackcows.co.uk    if you are interested and so I can make a list of possible dates. I am also starting to do One to One Coaching and so also please contact me if you're interested. I hope to update the main page this week with more details.

 

2nd May - What with farming, recovering, Ultra seminar day and then the 3 Peaks two weeks has flown by. But having a Bank Holiday today meant I've caught up with stuff. So here's my write up of China in diary form.  KMF China   At the bottom is a link to the photos and Ben Abdelnoor's report; a great read! 

The 3 Peaks was nerve racking for me - I just didn't feel prepared having not run much since China and being bashed and battered from cattle work. So setting off up Pen y Ghent at what I thought was a good pace I was disheartened at the constant stream of runners coming passed me all the way to Ribblehead when eventually I caught someone having a worse race than me. I offered him a jelly baby and was glad to see he did finish! I must say I felt better on the road section than usual but with heavy legs. So collecting as many sweets as I was offered and getting my 4 gels down I was glad to get climbing Whernside. It was pleasing that now I was catching many people and even overtook a few on the descent to Hill Inn. The marshall had my bottle ready (thanks very much!) so I ran through and was off up Ingleborough. The flags seemed to have more steps than I remember but knowing I was on the way home gave me a boost. I also caught a few people. Unbelievably a few runners had gone wrong off the summit and so I overtook a few more on that first steep section. One lady got me back on the long run in just at the point when cramp in my quads was threatening to reduce my run to a walk. As a last resort I did 100m of "high knees" which unbelievably got rid of the cramp. I didn't dare sprinting to try and catch her but at least running wasn't painful anymore!! I was so chuffed to do 3.55 hours; I think my pb is 3.53 in much better conditions.

 

24th April - China was fantastic. I think it helped that everything was arranged by the Kendal Mountain Festival China team consisting of Amanda, Kanili and Simon - but also we were often in the capable hands of Mr Lu and Mr Chi. I'm sorting out the many photos and writing it all up at the moment.

Since I got back last Wednesday I suffered with jet lag on Thursday so that wiped that day out. Then Friday and Sunday (today) we've been fencing and sorting cows out as it's time for them all to go out. The cows and us are ready for it but there's not much grass as it's too cold. 

On Saturday I ran a really enjoyable Ultra / BG seminar from Woodhead Mountain Rescue HQ. Fifteen people came along and it was so rewarding to teach and inspire them to pursue their ambitions. I'm also going to write about that when I get time.

Also on Saturday Jasmin Paris attempted the Bob Graham. She is a lovely person but also an extremely talented runner and usually beats me in races by miles! So I knew my record would fall; baring catastrophe. However she had an incredible run in perfect weather and finished in a time of 15.24 hours which is the 5th fastest time ever. So although I've lost the record I am happy it has been smashed by Jasmin who has gone on to prove just what women are capable of. Well done Jasmin!!

 

10th April - I ran the Calderdale Hike yesterday in brilliant weather. Having not done the course before I was careful to map read and also pace it well not really knowing how long I would be running for. I was really pleased with how I felt all day - maybe I didn't try hard enough! I finished in 6.18 hours (the winner did 5.36) and I think I was about 6th. It's a local, tough 37 miles and I really love the event! http://www.calderdalehike.org.uk/ 

Next week on Wednesday I'm off to China and so won't be updating next weekend as I'll be presenting the Bob Graham film and then running the Ningbo Marathon which looks interesting with 1700m of climb and quite a few steps I think! I'm really looking forward to seeing Ningbo as I've never been to China before.

When I return I'm running another Ultra and 24 hour course - Ultra and 24 hr Round Seminar so am busy today getting ready for that!

 

4th April - And again two weeks has passed. Quite a good two weeks though just very busy. At Easter I went to the Lakes with Steve, Amanda and Andrew Heading. We had good weather on Good Friday and we were out 9 hours but Saturday was dire and so only me and Wisp made it onto the Langdales which was worthwhile but it was nice to get in a lovely dry warm van after 4 hours!

On Saturday 2nd April I ran the first of my courses and although it rained so we were unable to get outside much it was very enjoyable and I so like to help people achieve their ambitions whether it be the Lakeland Trail Ultimate 55k, the UTMB or the Paddy Buckley. I received this lovely email on Sunday 

Hi, Nicky
Just want to say thank you so much for running the course today.
It was such a practical and down to earth series of sessions and I almost believe that it's manageable now.
Good luck with the record breaking. 
Linda 

Then on Sunday 3rd April I travelled to the Wasdale with Tim Rippon and Dave Lund and met up with Charmian and Steve. We all climbed out of sunshine into clag up Scafell and onto Broad Stand (which was just like it was on my BG record last year - claggy, lethal and the gully full of snow). Then went our various ways - down off that gloomy place into sunshine. I had set myself a daunting task keeping up with Dave and Wisp for 6 hours but it was all good training!! We dipped in and out of cloud, wind and boiling sunshine all day and managed a good loop of Wasdale finishing just as Charmian got a pie out the oven for tea. What more can anyone ask for? !!  Photos in Gallery 

 

 

21st March - I can't believe it's nearly a month since I updated - but I don't always feel like it when stuff not going too well and we're really busy sorting it out. The High Peak Marathon was cancelled on Friday 4th March due to snow but me, Kirsty and Jean organised a good outing to the Lakes to recce Legs 4 and 5 of the Anticlockwise Bob Graham. It was cold and snowy but an excellent way to blow away our disappointment. I've put some photos in the Gallery 

Last weekend I ran the Edale Skyline in brilliant sunshine so I was way too hot for the 1st half until I managed to take off my long sleeved top. I found it hard (as always - and that's what I told myself) until Mam Nick when we get onto the rougher, boggy running which was also covered in snow and I felt really good all the way to the finish. Up to Mam Nick there were three Ladies all vying for 2nd place (Jasmin Paris was 1st) but I managed to pull away across Kinder and opened up a 10 minute gap which I'm really chuffed with. It's always reassuring  to know that my pacing and endurance is still good. I was 2nd Lady and along with Sally Fawcett and Kirsty we won Ladies Team prize as well. Results

Then Wednesday last week I was invited to the Lakes by Inov-8 to attend a Brand Experience Day and was asked to guide a run - what a better way to spend a day!! It was a fabulous experience. Wisp came along and was star of the show really!

My time has also been taken up with organising the www.Hoppits.co.uk Usually this isn't stressful but a number of key people were away and it's thanks to Charmian Heaton and Keith Holmes (plus lots of volunteer marshalls) that the day went smoothly. I was about to throw the towel in but as the races were a success and the Junior and Senior numbers are on the increase I'm now talking of more years to come and even a 10 year tee-shirt!!!!! 

Work on the farm has been hard - after a good run of 65 calves we seem to have problem after problem. Backwards calves, calves with bendy legs so they can't suck, two calves have died of unknown illnesses that didn't respond to antibiotics, a very poorly cow with a high temperature but we called the vet who didn't know what it was so injected her with a massive dose of antibiotics and she got better, a calf that won't suck it's mother but when we try to help she goes for us so eventually we had to separate them and we're now bucket rearing the calf. And while I was in the Lakes a heifer couldn't calve a very big calf so Steve pulled it out, she prolapsed her uterus, the vet was called but both cow and calf died - so I'm feeling guilty at having time off. We had four calves born this weekend and are counting down with only 16 left to calve.......!!!

At last the rain and wind has stopped and the easterly wind we've had has dried the land out so we can get on with some land work. Roll on Spring !!!!  

 

28th Feb - well although I had a good run at the New Chew I managed to pull my quad and so haven't run properly all week which is frustrating but then again when I did jog out on Wednesday I felt shocking; I think the disturbed sleep is getting to both me and Steve. Steve has come down with sinus infection and is on antibiotics now. So one week later and we've 48 calves - but five sets of twins. We lost one of the twin calves as both calves decided to try and be born together; that was a vet call out but at least not a cesarean. 

So on Thursday while I was sat feeling like I needed a boost I get a phonecall from Paul Scully at Kendal Mountain Festival. Apparently the festival goes on tour and when Kendal offered the films to China they chose both my films and would like me to go out to present them! I really couldn't believe it!!! After talking with Steve I've agreed. Its April 16th/17th but I'll be out there about 5/6 days and running the Ningbo Marathon while I'm there as part of the festival.

Yesterday I did run - Barnsley Harriers put on a relay to celebrate 25 years and the Penistone Footpath Runners & AC Ladies Team were short of a runner. I was on the first leg and set off quite fast but then reined myself back in with thoughts of ruining my quad again. I finished 3rd lady but 1st Ladies Team as the other ladies were solo or Mixed. Sarah Jones Morris and Julie Johnson had superb runs too and we finished 1st Ladies. Then in the evening I was speaking at Hope Adventure Film Festival which I hope went well.I felt rather tired having been up at 3am calving a cow and after watching Judith Jepson and Spyke's talk felt rather overwhelmed by it all. 

Anyway - it's now 7pm, I've had a beer, tea is ready, the boiler has packed up, it's freezing inside our house, we're relying on immersion heaters for a bath and I'm ready for bed!!! 

 

21st Feb - we seem to get 4/5 calves one day and none the next! Now upto 26 but nothing today which is good as I was out running the New Chew This is an orienteering event from Saddleworth and some of the terrain can be tussocky to say the least! It was howling as I drove across Wessenden so when I looked at the map my route choice was decided on wind direction! I decided to run out across tussocks with the wind behind me, then south down the PW, pick up points there and then back from Laddow which I know takes roughly 30 minutes! The clag and a non existent path hindered progress to start with but then I got going - usually in a direction no-one else was which was disconcerting! A below crag shelter had me flummoxed but on going back to the original crag I had looked at I found it - success! Up to Black Hill and down the PW against the wind was hard, but all good - I found the next two points easily! Across to Laddow Rocks and now I only had an hour left. Being a Score Event you are allowed 4.30 hours then penalized 3 points a minute if you are late! So I spent 10 minutes scrambling about looking for this cave till I had to give up and leg it back to the Event Centre - getting in at 4.28 hours!! I was 1st Lady but still smarting from not getting the cave and that extra 25 points! Well done to Richard Hunt (Dark Peak) who won with 277 points (compared to my 175!). I then tucked into a huge slice of cheese and onion pie, peas and beetroot and enjoyed some lovely cake! I can highly recommend this event! New Chew 2016 - All Results 

PS The twins are at last looking stronger and only this morning I saw them frolicking around for the first time. I wanted to get photos but was rushing to get off to the New Chew!

 

16th Feb - 14 calves born - but two sets of twins!! One set was born easily and are doing well. The other were born yesterday; or rather one was born (a heifer) -  the other (a bull) was unceremoniously pulled out by his back legs as he was presented backwards. They are struggling a little but this morning the bull did manage to suck from a bottle milk that we milked from his mother yesterday. I then stood him up and propped him between my legs so he could get used to balancing on his legs! It's a no wonder they are wobbly as there can't have been much room for them for 9 months inside!!

Running wise I've been concentrating on the High Peak Marathon which is in three weeks now. So doing lots of long stuff and last weekend ran both days with my team, had tea at the Strines pub and slept in my van with Wisp there overnight with Jean alongside me in the camper. Waking to snow falling on Sunday morning I feared we would be snowed in but the sun came out and it was a glorious day in the Peak District!

I went to take photos - the bull is the darker, larger twin. He tried to get up but fell over. I'll feed him some more milk and help him later.

   

 

8th Feb - Only 5 calves born so far but all at night! We're having a job keeping the sheds dry with all this rain and wind. I had a busy running weekend doing Wadsworth trog on Saturday where I felt quite good until halfway round and then was passed by a lady who came skipping by which was dissapointing as I had been 1st up to that point. It was only when I finished and saw that it was Holly Page; a well known GB fell runner that I was happy! It was so boggy underfoot and rained all day so it was nice to finish and get dry and warm again. I was a minute slower than 2015 in 3.18 hours but the winners Carl Gray and Ben Mounsey were 10 minutes slower as were a lot of people who said it was the soggy ground that slowed them down. I won 4 bottles of Manchester Pale Ale as 2nd Lady prize which were very nice! Trog 2016 Results 

On Sunday I went and ran cross country at Killamarsh. Again the fields/grass were a mud fest but there were a lot of tracks also. I set off steady and felt stronger towards the finish finishing 7th lady. Killamarsh 2016 

 

2nd Feb - Steve and I ran the Kinder Trial together last Saturday. It was a relief for me to be able to run after being kicked by a fat bad tempered cow on Thursday. My right knee felt very unstable on Friday but with ice and massages it seems to have survived. It was a cold windy day but we enjoyed being out. That was Steve's first race for 18 months! Kinder Trial Results 2016 

So Sunday was spent getting calving pens ready and house jobs as the weather was once again rather foul. We haven't had any more calves born but there are so many cows just ready to calve!! 

 

27th Jan - We had one calf born a couple of days ago - a little early but it's ok. Last weekend we went down to Berkhamsted to visit Charlie, Carol and my niece Lottie. We had a good walk out through the mud! Then yesterday I was asked by the BBC to run / walk with Jo Brand on her Sport Relief challenge walking from Hull to Liverpool (unfortunately into wind the whole way). As she was struggling timings were all delayed and that meant that the planned filming schedule didn't happen and Ian Winterburn, Roger Baumeister and myself were hardly allowed anywhere near her. Such is the BBC! Well done to Jo though who is cheery and determined. I think Manchester will be a welcome sheltered relief today! Anyway I had a lovely walk and chat to Roger Baumeister who is the only person to have completed a double Bob Graham in under 48 hours. He also told me of his ten LDWA 100's and his ten Fellsmans. It was lovely to chat and run with him; a hero of mine!

19th January - It's the lull before the storm at the moment with 90 cows due in February Steve and I are making the most of it and I seem to have been running every day !! Saturday was a HPM team recce and the weather was glorious so we were able to take it steady and look at route options. Sunday I did the Retford Inter club cross country, then last night it was a Winter Mondays Race! Tonight is Juniors at Penistone - maybe an easy run is called for! 

 

12th January - The Trigger fell race was last Sunday and this is my write up -  Trigger 2016

1st January - where to start!!! 

CHRISTMAS -  2015 Christmas in Scotland photos 

On the 23rd December we drove to Steve's sisters in Hexham and spent a lovely night with Sue and John before setting off early on Christmas Day to drive to Fort William and Jon's flat! Once settled in there by 4.30pm and all packed for a couple of days hiking and bothy life we caught the 5.37pm train to Corrour arriving there at 6.30pm. We left one sack of wood there (about 20kg) and shared the other out between us so our packs already full of camping/sleeping/clothes/food were heavy! Although the weather was fairly rubbish it was better than the forecast and we made good progress down to the end of Loch Treig and along the horrid wet path to the Chiarain Bothy. We arrived at 11.30pm. We got sorted and settled down to sleep. 

In the morning we woke late 8am and were slow to get going (after our full english breakfast!) so didn't set out the door till 11am which was not too good. But again the weather was much better than forecast and taking a more direct line (which added lots more climb) through the snowline we made it to the Corrour station in 2.30 hours and that's with a lovely lunch stop on top of the hill. We collected the wood and tried to retrace our steps but with better lines we climbed less and contoured more. Back at the bothy about 5pm we relit the fire and had more food, wine and whisky! A really good night's sleep and an alarm had us up, breakfasted and out by 8am! The wind had picked up and it was drizzling. The plan was to walk to just passed Kinlocheven and camp. The direct short route once again had lots more climb and it was bitterly cold and snowing on the col. A quick swig of whisky (keeps you warm apparently) and we were off down to the end of Loch Elide Mor. The wind was increasing all the time but at least it was behind us. Meeting day walkers it looked unpleasant for them battling against it.

At the Mamore Lodge we cooked up some noodles (inside the old annex which was cosy but derelict which is a shame) and then set off again to join the West Highland Way. We met a variety of walkers battling towards the wind which was now buffeting us about from behind. The forest marked on the map had been felled so we couldn't camp there and so we carried on. It was now raining and not pleasant. Reaching a Information Board it said Fort William was 7 miles and 4 hours. As it was 3pm we decided to walk all the way with thoughts of Jon's lovely warm flat awaiting us.

We marched on at a great pace using poles and the WHW was so well maintained it was easy to stride out. It got dark and now rained harder. Eventually reaching the forest we could see Fort William. Steve estimated 30 mins - I thought more like 1.30 hrs. Steve's phone rang and it was Jane from Lower Hopton wanting to leave her car in our farmyard and walk down to her house because Mirfield was flooded. We text Jim to tell him and walked on - pondering the floods at home. The road from the Braveheart carpark was very very very long and very dark. It felt like we were walking away from civilisation! Water was seeping in and we marched in unison; one goal in mind. Into Fort William, up the hill and there we were - Jon's flat. 

After a make-do dinner we had lovely baths and an early night. Sunday we had a lazy day driving about and eating mainly. We met up with Nancy Kennedy for dinner which was lovely - it was a pity Jon was away but next time! Monday we wanted to walk/run but again the weather wasn't brilliant with high winds so we had a good walk up the Glen to the col between Binnien Beag and Binnean Mor, aborted all thoughts of going higher, and walked back - just right ! Tuesday we drove home and had missed all the floods.

NEW YEARS EVE - New Year's Eve and Hangover Hike Photos 

Amanda and Andrew Heading came to stay and we went to our lovely local pub which was great; a right mixture of ages and music but everyone loving the atmosphere. The landlord puts on food and champagne for the toast. Amanda kindly offered to drive. I tried to moderate but obviously not very successfully as my stomach on NYD was not great! Steve and Andy just went for it !! We got to bed about 3am but had to be up at 7am to get our jobs done as we had all entered the LDWA Hangover Hike which starts in Dewsbury, comes through the farmyard, goes round to Emley and Bretton and back to Dewsbury. We had entered the 21 miles event but on getting there were actually not too disappointed to be told it had been reduced to 17 miles because of landslides.

The start time was 9am and I think there was about 40 people - some runners but mainly walkers set off. In our party we were all suffering from lack of sleep and Andy from lack of co-ordination! So not a lot was said and the pace was rather shuffly for 10 miles when Andy woke up and led all the way home! The atmosphere was fantastic and the weather cold but dry. It was so nice not to race but take time and eat cakes with tea at the friendly Checkpoints. Finishing in 3.54 hours we had some chips and a beer!! Then came home to do nothing really (but update my webpage!).

Happy New Year all - I have some good plans and am looking forward to another year. Here's to some dry weather!