3rd December - I've had a busy couple of weeks with the Dark Peak Club Champs and dinner which is the main event of the year and the race to win! With a niggly hamstring and driving over in thick clag I wasn't thinking I could have a good run. Warming up along the track out of Old Glossop I also knew I'd be last of the fast runners (as there was two starts) as it was my worse sort of start, slightly up along a track for a mile. But after that the course looked great with lots of rough ground and three steep climbs. The worrying bit in the clag was straight across the moors for a mile or so but at least I thought I couldn't run straight over the Pennine Way and so that would catch me!
We set off - about 35 in the fast group and yes I was last (or thereabouts) along with Kirsty Bryan Jones. Everyone was heading directly up a hill which I had thought was the most obvious line so I followed. Kirsty carried on along the valley and I thought "Oh well" Worsel'd by Kirsty maybe! Once climbing I was catching and passing people and it did make getting the best line easier. I found some flatter ground at the top and tried hard to run into wind. I was catching Megan and Hattie, but I could hear them chatting! Jon Morgan came running towards us and said he'd lost a glove so was looking for it. I carried on to CP1. From there we dropped down into the valley and climbed up. There was an obvious line and with Megan and Hattie in front we all arrived at the stream together. I set off up, out of breath, listening to them chatting! I passed them and hoped they didn't run round with me and then trot passed me at the Finish! Jon Morgan had caught us up and Pez latched onto him in front. This we CP2 Shelf Moor Stones. Now came to long cross moors section. Pez was helpfully wearing a very bright jacket and so with my compass bearing and Pez/Jon in front I was able to run quite well in the clag. It seemed to go on forever and we crossed one big path but not the PW. We were further right than I planned but all good. Hitting the PW Jon/Pez crossed it. I stopped and made myself check. Nope - this was definitely the PW and we should now be left/downhill. I set off and Jon/Pez soon joined me.
I now thought I was first Lady through CP3 but not knowing the handicaps given out for everybody you never really know where you are in the race. I headed off across the moor again towards Dog Rock and once on the edge didn't know whether to drop or follow the edge. Dropping looked rough so I followed the edge and soon saw the CP in the bottom. A horrid steep, rough descent to CP4, then a great steep climb back out again! I climbed hard knowing that there was a long flat and gentle descent to the finish and I knew nearly everyone could run faster than me there! I didn't lose too many places actually - but a couple of minutes on Jon/Pez. But no ladies caught me although Majka wasn't far behind me at the finish!
So I had won the Ladies, being fastest lady and there was talk of me winning the handicap but that depended on other people and their handicap. We all went to the pub in Old Glossop and had beer and chip butties. This is the best feeling, sitting there having had an enjoyable race, watching everybody chatting about their lines and future plans.
Later that evening was the Dark Peak dinner. Steve and I went along. The speeches from the Club Men's and Ladies Team Captains were excellent and then came the Handicap prizegiving. I was very surprised when they called me out, having won the Ladies, the Vets and the Overall Prize! However Helen Elmore technically won the Ladies Vets prize so I passed it onto her.
21st November - The Barkley Film is out !! Barkley film on youtube.com
It was Kendal Mountain Festival last weekend (and I feel I'm still recovering!). I also did Pendle Fell race on the Saturday which on a late night, fish & chips and three pints wasn't the best idea. My stomach hated me for about 2 hours then at least we had some good walking uphills to do which settled things down. I was very pleased to finish strongly and 4th lady, 1st LV40 in 3.06 hours which is really good ! Results when they appear - Tour of Pendle
The weekend before I travelled to Fort William with Kirsty, Helen and we met up with Keri from Girls on the Hill up there. We planned an ambitious day on Saturday doing the whole of the Ramsay CW Leg 1 from Fort William YHA to Fersit. Setting off at 6.30am progress was very slow due to a bitterly strong wind, ice and snow across to the Aonachs. Once at lower levels across the Grey Corries we made good progress and just got to the top of Easain in daylight so just having to do about an hour in the dark. Lovely Nancy Kennedy collected us from Fersit and then we finished off the fantastic day with tea and beers at Wetherspoons in Fort William (don't laugh - it's the best pub in town!). On Sunday we had a shorter five hour run up onto Sgurr a'Mhaim to the forest track in brilliant sunshine and less wind! What a great weekend. Photos in Gallery
6th November - After the Relays I've had a quiet couple of weeks and have been sorting out a few niggles that have appeared - some due to running but others due to farming (forking wet silage and bitty straw about, cattle handling) and also building (chief wall pointer and painter at Mark Farm!). The weather has been generally horrid and we've brought most of the cows in. The calves have been sold to https://www.blackerhallfarmshop.co.uk/ and are going next week. Then we can bring the rest of the cows inside.
I had a lovely couple of days (when it was actually sunny too!) with Charlie, Carol, Lottie, Jane and Scottie. We had a nice gentle walk to the Woolpack at Whitley followed by a lovely lunch where Steve came and joined us and gave us a lift home !!
22nd October - This weekend was taken up with the FRA Fell Relays which Dark Peak were hosting at Fairholmes so the pressure was on! My only role really was to bring the Dark Peak flag that I made years ago - and then to run Leg 2 with Helen Elmore in the Ladies V40 team. It was a really well organised day and the venue was perfect. I love running with Helen as we have different strengths and really push ourselves. I can do steep climbs and rough terrain; Helen is much faster on any track running whether flat, downhill or slightly uphill. We had a very good run and were pleased with our 1.23.59 time. Overall the LV40 Team were 1st and we won one of the lovely DPFR mugs as a prize each. Thanks you everyone that made the day run smoothly!
British Fell Relay Results on Sportident.co.uk
Last weekend was a hectic one with Steve and I going to Kirsty and Flora's wedding in Keswick then heading up to Glen Coe for the Girls on the Hills Ultra Training weekend! It was lovely to see Kirsty and Flora looking so stunning and happy together and the wedding was held outside in an hour of sunshine in between showers!
Sunday I was coaching on Ultra preparation and pole technique and the day went very well. The organisation and the venue were perfect and even the weather behaved itself. It was fantastic to end the weekend with a meal in a local pub and beers with Nancy Kennedy, Keri Wallace, Helen and Jenny Tough.
12th October - The weather has turned very wet and we're already looking to bring some cattle inside. We went to one Suckler calf sale this week and prices were down on 2018 as expected. The lack of knowledge over what will or won't happen on 31st October is causing a lot of uncertainty.
Last week/weekend I had a busy time flying to Innsbruck/Kitzbuhl early on Thursday morning to take part in an Inov-8 Retail Training and Retreat. This would have included the Downhill race however I was already booked to speak at the Wainwright Memorial Lecture ( https://www.wainwright.org.uk/ ) in Rheged Centre, Penrith on Saturday evening so I flew home on the Saturday morning. Derek Cockell was very please to see me - as I was to get there in plenty of time! I really enjoyed the evening and am honoured to be awarded with an Honarary membership too - better get a few Wainwrights walked now!
Next morning I had been drafted into the Dark Peak Ladies team at the Hodgson Brothers relays ( http://hbmr.org.uk/ ) on Leg 3 running with Lisa Watson - who is way faster than me! I drove down and got ready at Kirkstone. We were surprised when Dark Peak Ladies appeared in first place but with Helm Hill right on their heels. Setting off up Red Screes I knew this was going to hurt, especially as I'd done quite a lot of running in Kitzbuhl, not thinking I was in a team! I just tried my hardest but Helm passed us. We managed through a few good lines to keep with them though and after a hair raising descent into Sykeside we were on their heels! Our 4th pair ladies had an eventful run as the clag was down and they didn't know all the lines and so lost a few minutes. We finished 2nd behind Helm Hill with Ambleside 3rd Ladies. https://www.sportident.co.uk/results/HBMR/2019/HBMR/
29th Sept - yesterday I raced at Peris Horseshoe in Snowdonia. A race that I love but haven't done for a few years. The weather forecast was awful with high winds and showers which is what we got. I was very uncertain again as to whether this was a good idea and so set off slowly - I was actually last out of Llanberis! I climbed well though and made a few places. Then in the clag my route knowledge really helped and I just felt really happy and strong. The organisors had decided to miss out one climb and the alternative did add more flat running and an ascent of Snowdon on the tourist path which was so busy! But it was the right decision as it missed out an exposed ridge. I was just so pleased to feel good and be running down into Llanberis after 4.07 hours, 3rd Lady and 1st LV50. There was a huge table of prizes but the big teddy bear caught my eye and so that's what I chose! Thanks to the organisors for a wonderful race and I hope to be back more often. Racetek Results
Today has been yet another horrid wet one and I've finished my TDG report. Sorry if it's too long but there's a lot to write about in 4.5 days! - Tor des Geants 2019
22nd Sept - yesterday I went to the Lakes and ran (sort of raced) the Three Shires Fell race. It's one of my favourites but I did question my sanity only 9 days after the TDG. I set off very steady in perfect weather and really enjoyed the day! I finished about 10 minutes slower than usual in 2.47 hours. Today - it's been a wet day and I've updated the Ultra Races and Rounds page , sorted out the Double Paddy photos and updated the Trigger Fell race website
20th September - So I got home last Monday and then went to the Summer Series presentation at the Strines pub. It's taken me a few days to get my head back to normal as it was very fuzzy and so sorry for the lack of updates.
The Tor des Geants was an absolutely incredible race. I loved it. Just day after day of climbing massive mountains, being looked after by great CP staff and Paul Tierney. I set off well but the cold weather at altitude meant I had to give myself an "easy day" as my lungs shrunk to half size and my legs felt tired after only 36 hours. This worked and by Tuesday night I was ready to push on again. Teaming up with Darcy Piceu meant we never slacked and the incredible changing scenery kept us amazed right to the finish. My eating and sleeping were good and so were my legs by the finish! I finished joint 10th woman with Darcy, 60th overall and in 106 hours. I will write up a longer report when I have the photos and my memories in order ! (Hopefully this weekend!).
th September - All packed and ready to fly tomorrow to Geneva where I meet Paul Tierney (Wainwright record holder and coach at https://www.missinglinkcoaching.co.uk/), collect the hire car and head to Courmayeur. The race starts on Sunday at noon and somewhere there might be runner tracking or at least CP runner tracking. We do carry a tracker. It might be here http://live.tordesgeants.it/ (showing 2018 at the moment). Other than that check Tor des Geants website for any links and the Inov-8 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/INOV8run/ / website https://www.inov-8.com/blog/
That's about it. I'm nervous but excited and plan to set off steady, then hopefully cope with the lack of sleep as well as I did on all my Doubles so that I can slowly move through the field without too much effort! Sounds like a good plan. I need to keep on top of my eating, pace and feet. Wish me well!
18th August - I love the Sedbergh Hills Fell race and so travelled up with Keith Holmes on a cool, drizzly and very windy day to compete it this - my last effort before the Tor des Geants. I set off feeling tired but with the aim of feeling strong at the end. I slowly warmed up and started overtaking people until I was second lady. The wind made such a difference on the return leg as we were just heading directly into it and at one point I walked and sheltered behind a runner larger than myself which helped keep me from being buffeted about. I so enjoyed the long descent and the finish. I was catching the first woman - Jo but didn't want to injure myself as it wasn't worth it so was happy to finish just behind her!
13th August - And I thought there wasn't much happening.
On the farming front we have had the cows scanned and out of 61 there are 55 confirmed in calf with two of the six 99% sure and the others maybe's which is a very good percentage indeed and much better than last year when the cows suffered from lack of grass and the heat. Our new bull Monty has performed very well which is a good result. This year the rain and warmth has made the grass grow well and the cows are happy!
Last weekend I had an easier weekend running with Kirsty from Hayfield and Steve from the Strines. I had picked up a knee niggle and had a couple of massages in the week which has sorted it (whew!) but I didn't want to undo the good work that the massages had done. All now is focussing on the Tor des Geants in September. Paul Tierney has agreed to support me which is fantastic and I've got the flat, flights and car booked. I've received new poles from www.leki.co.uk and some sparkly new sunglasses from www.julbo.com
After a break from racing I travelled up to Borrowdale on 3rd August with Keith and did the Borrowdale fell race. It was a warm, muggy day and because I had been leading straw until midnight the night before and felt heavy legged I decided not too beast myself too much and make sure I didn't come away with an injury. We managed to get stuck in a traffic accident on the M6 which meant we arrived later than planned and so preparation was a bit rushed. My "taking in easy plan" sort of worked but the legs felt strong and I felt tired and breathless. I finished in 4.20 hours, 5th Lady and 1st LV40 and 1st LV50. With Majka having a great run to win in 4.00 hours and Lisa Watson coming 2nd in 4.03 hours Dark Peak Ladies were 1st Ladies Team. And also 2nd Ladies Team !! Borrodale Results on Sportident
31st July - I was invited up to the Fort William Trail Running Festival to speak with Joss Naylor on Saturday 27th so took the opportunity to do some running in the Highlands with Kirsty Hewitson and Helen Elmore (and Wisp!). The weather forecast was less than favourable but we made the most of our couple of days there. The talks went well with Charmian Heaton doing a very interesting talk about her experiences as a Road Supporter on a lot of my rounds but also she gave an insight to her own mountain experiences in the Alps and on the Frog Graham and Breca Swim Runs. Joss was his usual entertaining self and it was lovely to spend time with everybody as well. Photos
24th July - the last two weekends I've been to Wales and supported Helen Elmore, Tom Saville, Andy Quicke, Matt Bennett, Dale Mathers and Billy Reed on their Paddy Buckleys. The weather on both weekends has been less than favourable and well done to Helen, Tom and Matt for completing in under 24 hours. Andy, Dale and Billy all completed but due to weather and I think the fact that Dale/Billy team were doing it unsupported and on sight was very impressive and had the weather been better it would have helped massively.
So the first weekend I supported on the Capel to Aberglasyn leg, then the Snowdon and Glyders legs. And the second weekend I did the Capel to Aberglasyn leg again followed by just the Glyders leg! And although I'm a little tired of the Capel leg I'm still really enjoying the supporting, being in Wales and the increased training for the Tor Des Geants in September.
9th July - Last weekend Steve and I competed in the Fairfield Score class at the Saunders which was held in the Howgills. The weather was almost perfect as it was dry and warm but a little too hot for us. It was interesting that we got the map and all the controls on Saturday morning and then had to plan both days running at once. It was a decision really whether to head north or south of the Howgills as the overnight camp was due East of the Start. After a bit of deliberation we headed South. I tried to plan a route that didn't involve a lot of steep ascent or descent as I knew Steve wouldn't be used to them. For about 5 hours we had some good running and route choice but eventually a lot of contouring played havoc with Steve's legs and then a steep climb almost finished us off. But we collected 20 more points and headed for the overnight camp with 300 points and time in hand.
Steve went to collect our beer, coke and milk while I started putting up our Alpkit Ordos 2 tent. Only being the second time we had erected the tent I was a bit slow in remembering - probably because I was starving as a lot of my day food had melted in the heat and I hadn't eaten it! But it was nice weather and it didn't matter ! Amanda and Andrew were also finished with 330 points and setting up next to us. The beer arrived and a lovely lager shandy soon relaxed us all. Tents up and compared with others; the room inside the Ordos is impressive and we were looking forward to our night in it! Expedition food meals cooked and more beer was drunk. Sarah Jones Morris and Steph Coe had arrived after an epic 9 hours out and set up camp next to us. We spent a lovely, if rather midgy evening (thank heaven for midge nets!) before going to bed. It was so quiet in the camp overnight and I slept well.
Waking up at 6am it was clear that the midges were out in force as they were gathering in clouds outside the tent. Having a large space to get dressed and cook breakfast in was lovely and we were almost packed before emerging into the midges! Quickly taking down the tent and packing it away we went to start at 8am.
I had planned a route for Day 2 that took us towards the Finish to begin with then I hoped we could bob around collecting points. I hadn't however drawn any lines on the map. Big mistake because as we left the first control I thought we should be heading east to a control. It was only when we were halfway there I realised that we should have been heading west to a control on that side of the valley. Now we were high up on the wrong side of the valley. And we were contouring and Steve wasn't happy! Oops. I admitted my mistake and what we needed to do to collect the points and head towards the Finish.
Climbing up the next hillside we were too hot and Steve was panting rather. I kept looking at the map and trying to find a "nice" way as requested by Steve. There wasn't any. It was either ascent and descent or contouring. So we continued on and after two hours I drastically reduced my expectations of point gathering and had us taking the easiest route to the Finish. This still entailed a long steep climb and then with two hours to go I asked Steve what his preference would be. Collect more points or head directly to the Finish. Head directly to the finish was his answer! This was actually a good call as we only made it with 15 minutes to spare and at least retained the 200 points that we had collected.
Overall we had a great weekend. The Howgills are tough underfoot but the weather was lovely and we enjoyed being out together. The organisation was great and I for one will certainly be returning next year. Hopefully Steve will have forgotten the more unpleasant aspects of this weekend by then and will agree to join me!
www.Sportident.co.uk - Results - SLMM 2019
2nd July - On the 22nd June I raced at Buttermere - the warmest and driest day for a good while. Not being a race that I've enjoyed before I set off steady and felt good until High Stile (about 4 hours in) where I fell over and got cramp in both calves. After that it was painful with cramp and sickness to the finish in 5.33 hours.
I then went to Chamonix with Inov-8 to the Mont Blanc Marathon where I didn't race but worked on the trade stand. The temperatures were around 36C mark all 5 days which made it very hard work for everybody. But it was lovely to get out early mornings and have a cool run then before the day started.
Next weekend I'm doing the Saunders with Steve and the weather is looking a comfortable 15C/10C. You might be able to follow our progress here - http://www.slmm.org.uk/
18th June - Last weekend I had a busy weekend as firstly it was the Great Lakes Race where I ran round with Helen Elmore as it was a Championship race and although usually one of my favourite races I find it all rather too busy when it's a championship. Me and Helen had a good run round, not chatting exactly, trying but enjoying it. And both of us determined not to get injured on the very slippy rocks. The rain and clag cleared halfway round and it was unusual to be able to see from Slight Side to the Finish!. Results
I then travelled to Mark in Galloway to replace the boiler thermostat reset switch and do some window pointing on Saturday evening! The boiler seemed to be working when I left on Sunday to travel to the Muckletoon Adventure Festival where I jogged round the 5k then did a Tent talk to a full house! What a great event and I look forward to returning again!
I then travelled back south with a detour into the Lake District to see Paul Tierney on his Wainwright attempt. I was due to support him but rain at home had oput paid to that as we were trying to make silage - so I'm dot watching hoping that with only two days to go that he continues to stay on schedule and complete the continuous wainwright challenge. You can follow him too on http://live.opentracking.co.uk
11th June - So the week after Duddon I did Ennerdale fell race and the forecast was for heavy rain, wind and clag. I set off well wrapped up and with a ton of food and gels as on Duddon I ran out. Some early clag had me on my toes but it went well. After that the clag came and went but I stayed on my maps and went from being somewhere at the back to finishing mid pack and in 5.03 hours. Third Lady and 1st LV50. I was also included in the Open Team Prize for Dark Peak along with Pete Davis and Love Chechnik!!!! So 5.03 hours for 23 miles compared to 5.02 hours for 18 miles on Duddon! I'm glad I've put that right - every ten years or so I need a little reminder that my own navigation is often right and even when tired I should trust it. Results: www.fellrunner.org.uk/results
I had a couple of weeks of very little running and then did the Duddon Fell Race on 1st June. I set off very steady and was feeling ok in my legs but my brain wasn't in gear as in the clag I made two huge mistakes of following people instead of trusting my own navigation. This cost me about an hour! https://fellrace.org.uk/races/duddon/2019
31st May - I'm recovering well and have managed a couple of steady runs. I am doing Duddon Fell race tomorrow which is going to be a tester! This Wednesday Steve and I travelled down by train to London as it we had been invited to the Royal Tea Party as part of receiving the British Empire Medal. It wasn't forecast to rain much and we never thought to take an umbrella but it would have been good! I was glad of my sensible jacket as it was quite cold.
We walked from Kings Cross to Buckingham Palace, stopping for pie and peas in a pub on Trafalgar Square along the way. There I changed out of my sensible shoes (that gave me three blisters on the top of my toes!) to my sandals and binned the sensible shoes! There was a short queue into the Palace grounds at 3pm then we headed straight for the tea tent where we received a lovely plate of sandwiches and cakes and a cup of rather whishy washy tea. It's a pity about the rain as walking round the grounds would have been lovely in the sunshine. Then we stood in the crowds and waited for the Royal party to come down various aisles. The Queen came down our one and I managed to get a couple of photos of her before she whizzed on. Back to the tea tent for more refreshments and then through the Palace to the Grand entrance and off back to Kings Cross where we had another pint of £5 beer (at least it was nice beer!) before catching a train home. On the train I ordered a cup of tea and was impressed that it was made with a proper Yorkshire teabag.
I have loved receiving the British Empire Medal and it's all down to people at Penistone Footpath Runners & AC, Dark Peak and everyone else that wrote nice things about me. The nomination was in 2014 and everyone had given up on me receiving it in 2018 when I was awarded the BEM. Thank you everyone for all your efforts. Photos of Buckingham Palace Tea Party
25th May - I did it!! Thank you to everyone that followed me and donated to Odyssey. I've written up the weekend here - Double Paddy Buckley round and will sort all the photos out and add them to the Gallery later.
16th May - Ok. Big news. All the trips I've been on to Wales have been for the Double Paddy Buckley which I'm starting on Friday 17th at 10.30am. I'm hoping to complete in under sub 48 hours but like with the Ramsay I will continue and finish, whatever the time! I'm going for a full anti-clockwise round followed by a clockwise round starting at Capel Curig.
The Paddy means more to me than the other rounds because it has so many memories for me. It's where I started really and it's the round that made me train properly in the first place, taught me so much about how not to do a round on my unsuccessful 2006 attempt, got me back on the hills three weeks after my cancer operation and all throughout my cancer treatment I was in Wales, trying to live life again. And then the incredible Paddy Ladies record when I completed in 19.02 hours.
So here I am again - going back to Wales today (Thursday) and starting tomorrow morning. This is a link to the tracker http://live.opentracking.co.uk/x2paddy19/
29th April - Since the Howgills I've been to Wales for a weekend (13th/14th April with Wisp) and the weather was stunning, I did the Teenager with Altitude race over Easter in hot weather and then yesterday I was in Wales again!
The Teenager with Altitude race is one of my favourites but the forecast hot weather is not especially as I've suffered on this race before in hot weather with cramp. So I made sure I was hydrated before the race and took two bottles on the race with Zero tablets as well. I also took more food than usual as I felt tired and hoped that would help! So setting off I was very conservative and just kept a good pace but not too out of breath up Causey Pike. The legs felt good until we had to run! I concentrated on running tall and not speed to hopefully wake them up a little to the running aspect of the race. Going across to Grizedale Pike I went the way I always go and that proved good as I passed a few people. Running off there I was feeling good especially as there was a little breeze. I was drinking like a fish and downing the gels and sweets too. All in preparation for a hot climb up Robinson. I passed a lady going down Whiteless and the next bloke said to me "So are you 1st Lady now?" I said I didn't want to think about it as there was a long way to go - but of course I did! Without pushing myself too hard from now on I just kept trying to run where I could. Climbing when walking seemed easy. The legs just seemed to have power; so different than on the Howgills. It was hot in the valleys but all the drinking had paid off and I never ran out of water either as I filled up everywhere.
Joining the Newlands Memorial race after Robinson we were right with the back markers. I think this was the best combination I've ever been as they were happy to let us pass and there wasn't too many runners so I could run easily and also still see the runners in the Teenager race. I just quite enjoyed the final run along the ridge to Catbells - from years of doing the race I knew the trods and there was a lovely view. Charmian was there on Catbells and cheered me on. Running down I missed some flags and James shouted at me. I was going to let him pass me as I didn't mean to short cut him but he stopped to chat to someone. Running down the road I just wanted to enjoy it so took a sneaky look behind me and couldn't see anyone so had a nice run down and into the Finish field.
There was someone with a hose pipe spraying runners which was lovely and then I collapsed in the shade. Wendy Dodds kindly got me some water and we had a nice catch up chat. I was so pleased to win the race and come home with the fantastic new trophy. It's a cracking race and I'm so pleased that it's found new organisors to take it on. Well done everybody.
17th April - I did the Howgills Fell Race which was awful as I suffered from jet lag I think. The legs were fine but I found it too hot, I was breathless and then got cramp! I finished running along with Helen Elmore which made the last few miles bearable. Since then I've been running and racing locally and felt fine. I had a wonderful weekend in Wales with Wisp with glorious views but a cold north wind!
12th April - sorry for the delay. Having got back to the UK everything was good on the farm. Only four cows had calved and Jim had done a wonderful job of looking after everything. We did however only have 36 bales of silage left and so with the weather being still dry and good we decided that some cattle would have to go out. So we've had a busy week sorting, vaccinating and transporting cattle out to their fields. Hence it's taken me a while to write up my Barkley experience! But here it is! The Barkley Marathons 2019
24th March - So as I mentioned back in November - I'm off to do the Barkley Marathons on Wednesday which start sometime in the next two weeks (I'm not allowed to say when!). This is the best website for information http://Matt Mahoney.net/barkley . Inov-8 are going to publish a blog on Thursday and will hopefully get some updates up while I'm "out there". Training hasn't gone great over the winter - but what is done is done. I've got as well prepared as possible with my kit, food, maps and support. I don't usually ask for luck but think it will play an important part in this - as well as the weather - so wish me luck everyone!
12th March - As in 2018 I travelled down to Devon last weekend to see my aunt Maggie and also run in the Grizzly a 20 mile, 1030m race which takes in cliffs, beaches, rivers, bogs and this year a mucky farmer's yard. In 2018 it was shortened due to the Beast from the East and we ran in a blizzard! This year was quite the opposite although a cold fresh wind it was 8C. The recent rain made the course muddy and not knowing what to expect I set off conservatively as my legs were still tired from the HPM. Thinking I would do about 3.30 hours I took food etc for that time. I enjoyed most of the route but especially the steep downs and ups as most runners had trail shoes on and I had the new Inov-8 Mudclaws on. The course was shortened to 19 miles however I suspected the Markers hadn't been altered so I asked a marshall at Mile 17 whether we had 2 or 3 miles to go. "I think 3 miles" he said! confirming what I thought. Still I was doing well as it was nearing 3 hours then. I managed a sprint finish so as not to be overtaken by a lady and then bumped straight into my cousin Caroline! Maggie and Rob arrived soon afterwards and I enjoyed chips and curry sauce while waiting for Rocker to finish. Then it was a lovely beef stew for tea and a good drive home. Results
8th March - Last weekend was the High Peak Marathon which is a race I've done every year since 2005 and love. This year I had a completely new team (but the same name - 3 Blind Mice and a Farmers Wife) consisting of Majka Kunicka, Megan Wilson and Lisa Trollope. And with a new course across Bleaklow only decided two weeks before it was always going to be interesting!
We arrange to meet early on the Friday at 8.30pm so we could register then sort our kit in the pub out of the mayhem in the hall. We weren't setting off until 11.36pm and so headed back to the hall about 11pm. I always just want to be off and it was good to be. The weather was very warm about 8C and as we climbed to Hollins Cross I was glad I'd only got two thin layers on. Everything went very smoothly to start with; the pace was fast but bearable, we were passing the teams I expected to pass and navigation went ok too. Along the road below Stannage we ate and ran. Unusually for me I found the pace here ok. Usually I am cursing it by now and shoveling in food to try and compensate. Stannage itself was quiet and we were alone. Again a good trotting pace and down to Moscar. It had started to rain and I whizzed through the CP hoping to put my waterproof on while waiting for the girls - but they whizzed through too!!
Up onto Cartledge Flats we ran catching a few teams along the flags as we headed into clag. I wandered a bit heading to the edge and we hit the edge path a little too far left but never mind. Majka was struggling a little as we passed another Ladies team but a good line to Cut Gate had us arrive there in front. Now the horrid new bit down to Slippery Stones and onto Humber Knolls along the track in the valley. We just went steady as we all needed to eat and recover a bit. The track just seemed to go on forever. At last the CP and then across the river and up into the clag again. Majka was climbing really well and so we pulled ahead of a couple of Teams. Finding our way towards Barrow I was trying to lose the teams following us and as we approached Grinah I could see a few lights below the stones and so when a team came towards us asking if we had found the CP I replied "No but there are lights below the rocks". The team we had caught was Jasmin's team and we were all surprised to see each other! We shouted down and got the reply that yes this was the CP so we scrambled down. And then back up.
Running over to the new CP on the Pennine Way we toyed and froyed with Jasmin's team until we hit the Pennine Way when they took off an we never saw them again! Majka was having trouble with her head torch so we swopped about until we could all see. It was nice to be trotting down to the Snake - in darkness which is a first for me. Leaving the Snake CP we got a good pace going to Mill Hill and I thought I was going to struggle across Kinder however as it got light from Mill Hill Majka kept saying she couldn't see in her left eye and it was obvious that she didn't want to run downhill. We encouraged her across Kinder and then I held her hand as she seemed very unstable and unsure of her footing. As Majka's sight got worse this system worked better and soon we had one person either side of Majka and the spare person running about navigating and finding the smoothest way for the three behind to follow. It became a real team effort as when helping Majka we couldn't eat and also had to run in the rough stuff either side of the path. Majka though was incredible putting her trust in us as it became obvious she really couldn't see anything however when we said it was flat she broke into a run. As we neared East of Edale rocks we all agreed to make it seem as normal as possible so although leading Majka we said everything was ok and once on the flags Majka ran. The flags - usually so tedious were a godsend as they were relatively flat for Majka. We told her when to step up and when there was a step down but we could at least run. No-one wanted to be caught but all of us knew we were doing everything we could. Once off the flags we chose the long way round on the main path but it was horribly stony and Majka kept tweaking her ankles which sounded painful. We all just wanted it to end. We adopted a system where we were able to run uphill and then we had to walk the downhills. Just passed Rushup Edge CP a team passed us and asked if we were ok. We replied yes. We had a right job getting Majka down the little path to the road though - I ended up with Majka holding onto my waist and Megan and Lisa holding onto her arms. Back on the main paths the biggest obstacle was the ruts as Majka just fell over/into them. We always took her weight so that she never fell on the ground as we could hold her up. Then we decided to avoid the path and run in the open where at least it was evenly uneven. That got us to Hollins Cross and then just the descent - but again we stayed out in the open tussocky grass and it wasn't as bad as we had all been dreading. Stiles were interesting as one of us had to place Majka's foot on one step, then help her up and place the foot on the other side. Majka kept asking "where is the road?" Once on the road we all ran, happily now to the Edale Village Hall, still giving Majka instructions and into the hall.
I dibbed while Megan and Lisa guided Majka to a seat. We were 4th overall and 1st Ladies. Wow! Majka's sight slowly came back while she was eating in the hall and was back completely by the next day. It was one of the most epic HPM's I've ever had. Thanks to Majka for enduring so much for so long and to Lisa for carrying everything and Megan for being so supportive.
26th February - I travelled up to Fort William last Thursday 21st for the Fort William Mountain festival where I was talking on Friday night with Jasmin Paris. On Friday I ran with Jon Gay and Tim Rippon over the Lochy Munros which are lovely being short grass. It was claggy unfortunately but as we were descending the clouds broke and we got great views. With it being so warm there was no snow which was nice for running but is having disastrous consequences for the winter mountaineering sports.
On Friday night Jasmin and I enjoy the talk and we've received good feedback which is lovely. On Saturday I had to drive home to mark out the www.Hoppits.co.uk races with Keith Homes. The races were on Sunday and we had a lovely warm day for them. I was really pleased with the turnout of 47 Juniors and 64 Seniors as I'd managed to clash with other fell races too. Thanks to my wonderful helpers - Keith Holmes, Brent Lindsey, Ian Charlesworth, Bernice Nixon, Teresa Wall, Paul Fryers family and all the gathered on the day Marshalls. Having such great help meant the day was very enjoyable for me too.
My dad has driven down from Lewis and is spending a few days with us which is lovely. We don't seem to have had a calving rush yet - but my favourite cow No 97 calved last night making our total 7 now.
Next weekend is the High Peak Marathon and I'm running with Majka Kunicka, Megan Wilson and Lisa Trollope - so I expect to get dragged along a lot at the start! I then go to Braemar for the http://www.braemarmountainfestival.com/ so if anyone is in the area I'm talking at 2pm on Sunday 3rd March!
18th February - Sorry about the lack of updates! I've had a couple of busy weekends and the HPM access permits to help out with.
16th/17th February - As we have only had one calf born so far and the forecast was reasonable I managed a full weekend in Wales training for the Barkley. The weather was actually a lot worse than forecast and I was glad of spare layers! There was just me and Wisp on Saturday doing 25 miles and 2850m in 9.10 hours - I aborted at 6.30pm having been blown all around Y Gryn in the dark, rain and clag! But overall we'd had a good day out from Llanberis - meeting no-one once we'd left the ever popular mountain of Snowdon!
On Sunday I was joined by Helen Elmore and the weather forecast was correct with the early morning showers blowing through by lunchtime to give us views and sunshine even! Another very windy day but at least we dodged in and out of it a bit! We managed 23 miles with 2106m climb in about 7.30 hours.
9th February - Charlie, Carol, Jane, Lottie and Scott visited from Berkhampsted for the weekend. It was a very stormy weekend but we managed a lovely 7km run/cycle round Broomhead reservoirs followed by a very competitive race which was then rewarded with tea out at the Strines Inn! Photos in the Gallery
29th January - And then I go and catch a cold! So what with the weather last weekend I didn't get out running for a whole week! I did feel slightly better by Sunday and went up onto Outer Edge and Swains Head to see the restoration work and find some Trial plots! It was lovely to be out and about up there even though it was very chilly.
24th January - I haven't really got into this year yet! And I still haven't archived 2018 but we've been very busy and time has just flown by. Last weekend I went to Wales with Pez and Wisp and for once the weather was better than forecast! We were both very overdressed and too warm! The sun even shone and it felt like spring. Although we only did 20 miles we covered 3000m of ascent in 8 hours and were all very happy with the day. There aren't many photos and they are a bit mixed! I was wearing my new Inov-8 Mudclaws and trying the gaiters as well - both of which are bright green - I did try and get them mucky!! Jan 2019 with Pez & Wisp
Farming wise - we've counted the silage and figured that we haven't enough. The cows are eating it too fast - maybe because they came in hungry and are now nearly due to calve. Today we mucked out the shed which makes more air space as before there was 4ft of muck on the floor and now there is none. We have 54 cows and they are all in calf - due 10th February onwards.
15th January - The Trigger went well last weekend and I'll write that up this week sometime. It was a very windy day and drizzle with clag throughout the race which took many people by surprise and there were lots of wanderings going on! I didn't feel great setting off from Marsden but concentrated on my navigation and although I had a couple of deviations from the perfect line I found everything and slowly overtook runners (unbeknown to me as you couldn't see much) to finish in 4.50 hours, 17th and 3rd Lady!
Results are on the Trigger website!
2nd January - It has taken me ages to sort the photos, download the gpx tracks and write up the holiday! Argentina 2018 I went to Wales and reccied the Paddy Buckley with Andy Quicke, then did the Hangover Hike on New Years Day with Steve, Amanda and Andrew and now actually feel like I'm getting back to it. Happy new Year all and I'll have to start a new Diary page too!!