2017 News

17th October - Another full weekend which started a couple of days with Inov-8 at Staveley meeting the German retailers. I was tasked with taking the retailers on a rather wet, windy and claggy run on Friday afternoon. I think I had them a little worried about my direct lines across bogs and tussocks at times but it was a delight to see their faces on the final run home as totally soaked by this time they were jumping in puddles like kids! Now I think they understand why we love fell running!

Then to the Bob Graham dinner where I did a questions and answers talk with Jasmin Paris. It was very enjoyable and I do love giving out the certificates! Unfortunately everything was delayed by various power cuts which did mean that I left at 11pm to drive to Llanberis! It wasn't a bad drive though and I arrived at 2am ish and was asleep by 2.30am. Waking in the van suddenly on Sunday morning I heard lots of traffic and realised it was 7.45am - a proper lie-in! I was supposed to be registering the Dark Peak Ladies vets team for the FRA relays so rushed to the event centre. Everything was in hand and after sorting the number me and Kirsty got ready for our Leg 2. The weather was warm, cloudy and a bit windy but it was definitely shorts and vest for me! Pippa Wilkie had a good run on Leg 1 and we were soon off. There was a horrid fast bit of track to start with then a long climb up which was nice. I had warmed up now and overtook Kirsty to up the pace a bit. This was our strategy and it worked well with Kirsty being faster on the descents and anything flat! So once we were off the hill there was a painful mile along the road before another short uphill through fields and then the final boggy descent. We were very pleased with our time and position. We handed over to Kirsty Bryan Jones and Alison Wainwright who were on the navigation leg and went to get changed and relax! It was two hours before they returned and handed over to Liz Batt on Leg 4. It was hard to know where we were in the overall positions but we hoped we were 1st Vets.

The final results were soon up and yes we were 1st Vets! The Ladies A team were 5th and the Ladies B team 24th. Dark Peak Men were 1st, MV40 and MV50 were 5th. So overall everyone was happy especially as we had had a few team changes in the last week and had moved runners around with Rose Paxman stepping in at the last minute! Results .... http://www.britishfellrelay.org.uk/ 

Steve Chilton asked me to write a review of his book Running Hard and it's up now here .. Running Hard Book Review 

 

10th October - I had a busy weekend with Langdale on the Saturday where because the weather and the ground conditions were very wet I took it steady and just enjoyed the race. The clag though provided route finding difficulities and I was in a group that couldn't find the summit of Crinkle Crags. After wasting 8 minutes (says my watch) I arrived at the correct CP and saw three ladies leaving. This spurred me on to get back passed them as I was annoyed at myself for going wrong. I steamed up Blisco and encouraged Majka from Penistone to join me. Descending I put all my FRA CiRF course hill descending techniques into practice and was pleased to stay in front of the ladies. I finished 2nd which was a surprise as my time is on of my slowest! Sportident - Langdale results 

Then on Sunday I ran an Ultra and Bob Graham course which had 9 people booked on it. This is a nice number and I was able to give one to one advice throughout the day. I'm looking at running another one this year so email me on Nicky@blackcows.co.uk if you are interested.

 

1st October - Generally the cold is going - but it keeps trying to come back which is annoying but not surprising as I'm back racing and training. Last weekend was the Great Whernside race; the last in the English Championships and I found it enjoyable but was out of breath climbing. I was pleased with my result but have no idea where I'll end up in the overall results as I've only done 4 races in total and only 3 as a LV50. Results (Update - I am 5th in everything - LV40, LV45 (4 races) and LV50 3 races).

Then this weekend I was running a course for Hardmoors on Saturday and spent a very enjoyable day with 8 participants. The morning was a presentation on ultras and Bob Graham training and preparation. The afternoon we got out on the hills for some descending and ascending technique coaching! Made it back just before the  rain! Then off to Ambleside as I was invited back to the Red Rose Road runners fell weekend to give a talk to a very merry bunch of aspiring fell runners!

On Sunday it was the Hodgson Brother relay but the weather forecast (and actual) was dire so we ran the short courses. This meant lots of last minute changes but I ran the new Leg 2 with Kirsty Hewitson. As usual it was very hard being chased by much faster ladies! Dark Peak Ladies came 3rd which was a great result and good to introduce some new ladies onto the team this year. HBMR-2017-Results.pdf 

18th September - Now feeling a lot better - the cold had almost gone and I spent a lovely Saturday supporting Nick Whittingham on his Joss Naylor. At 60 he had 18 hours to complete and finished in 17.13 hours. Nick helped and supported me a great deal when I first started attempting rounds back in 2005. He was there on my BG in 2005, on both my Paddy Buckley rounds in 2006 and 2007. 

I supported Nick on Leg 1 starting at 2am where the weather wasn't very pleasant at all but we got to Kirkstone on time. I then slept a little and drove round to Wasdale. I parked at Greendale and after getting sorted I had a long chat with Joss Naylor then set off to Pillar. After a proper walker's picnic I walked towards Kirkfell where I met Nick, Simon Rippon and Jude Stansfield coming along. Nick was struggling with his stomach but walking strongly and we made good time to the finish. Wisp had a grand day out too. It was just wonderful to spend a great day (even in rain showers) in the Lake district helping a friend. Nick has put a lot of work into the Joss Naylor and being the first round he has ever done he had no experience of just how hard staying on your feet, eating and coping without sleep can be. Well Done Nick!!   Nick Whittingham Joss 

17th September - Sorry about the long delay. I was away for two weeks but had to drop out of the Tour of Monta Rosa race and so when I returned home I wasn't so inspired to update my News page. We were also very busy on the farm and I was recovering from a chest infection (the reason I dropped out of the race) and so also that just delayed things.

So the holiday overall was very good. I spent the first week with Inov-8 in Chamonix either on the retail stand or supporting Damian Hall and Yassine Deboun on the UTMB. It wasn't all work though as I got the chance to go up the cable car to Aiguille Midi three times as well as meet with friends that were out there also racing. Supporting was good but the lack of sleep meant I got a cold which I thought I was getting over when I travelled to Switzerland to start the race on Thursday morning. UTMB Photos 

The race started at 4am and began well for me, I was feeling good and really enjoying the views and the rocky terrain. It was a fantastic route with massive climbs and descents. Initially I thought my lack of breath was down to the altitude although my nose was very blocked. I only really started getting concerned about my breathing at about 7pm when it got dark and cold and I was climbing to 3000m. I had started coughing about 6pm but then I started coughing up lumps of yellowy stuff, my head felt thick and instead of being slightly breathless I was really panting no matter how slow I went. We climbed up and it was getting colder. I put all my layers on and was glad to reach the CP at the summit. The markings had got a bit spread out and a few runners had got lost. It was lovely and warm inside but I knew I needed to keep going and so when a Swedish runner said she was going but was worried about finding her way I said I would go with her. The marshall pointed us in the right direction but the markings were very poor. Not only was it claggy but it had started raining / sleeting and I decided that I would try and find my way down for 30 minutes and if I hadn't descended onto a proper route I would go back to the CP and just sit it out. My hands were frozen and I was concerned about my coughing. The Swedish lady was lovely and between us we followed the little orange dots down the right paths. It took hours to descend as it was either rocky or tree roots. I was surprised no-one was catching us but we learnt later that they had held people in the CP due to the thunderstorm.

When I reached the CP my mind was made up. The coughing up yellow goo was getting more frequent and I actually didn't feel like carrying on which is very unlike me. I did think I could see what a doctor thought but going inside really set the coughing off and the Marshalls would have stopped me if I hadn't stopped myself. The Swedish lady carried on which I was pleased with - although she had slowed a lot she was a strong walker and I knew she could finish. 

So I sat for an hour, then tried to sleep in the beds upstairs, then had a sort of shower (I had no shower stuff but felt all sticky), Jean came in and gave me her drop bag (I already had mine) and so I almost had a full change of clothes. I slept some more and waited for the 9am bus. Which didn't happen. Now I was quite fed up but I helped the lovely CP marshalls and talked to runners coming through. I went for a walk and was stopped by a car with two Italians in it. I realised that one was also a DNF runner and they were asking me if I wantd a lift back to Grachen! Did I !!!!!!? I was so happy to be out of there - now 2pm. 14 hours after dropping out! So three hours later (it's miles and miles round), rather warm and rather fast - but who was I to complain (???!!) I was back in Grachen. Then it was tedious, waiting round, feeling sorry for myself, seeing happy runners. I do think we needed a "dnf party". 

The next day I wanted to walk somewhere but my lungs weren't going to allow me to do much. But wandering round town I bumped into Lizzie Hawker and she invited me to walk with them to collect some marshalling stuff from a mountainside. It was very enjoyable and I felt sorry for Lizzie and Richard. They looked more tired and zonked than I felt. Lizzie had been told 100 times about the lack of marking and is determined to improve it for next year. It was talking to them that really made me decide that next year I will return and do the race again. I hate to leave stuff unfinished and so that's the plan now; to return and to finish the 170km race. UTMR Photos 

 

 

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 fianc) was lovely and seeing Jett and Otis growing up was great.  http://runbg.co.uk/Images/2016/Australia/index.html