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!!