Diary 2009


29th December 2009 - I along with 15 runners completed the 48 miles of the Bradfield Boundary in wonderful clear, sunny weather. Conditions underfoot varied from icy paths and roads, soft heather covered in soft snow but on the plus side 90% of the infamous Outer Edge bogs were frozen solid. Photos in 2009 gallery

The full list of completions is Tom Westgate, Rus Beresford, Geoff Dimelow, Ruth, Steve Martin, Keith Holmes, Kev Saville, Simon Basich, Dave Holmes, Mick Stenton, Mark Pearce, Tim Ray, David Bollington, Willy Kitchen and Jim Fulton.

20th December - Steve and I went up to Fort William with our newly purchased boots, crampons and ice axes for a bit of practise before Chile in Jan. We set off early morning on Friday following the Tranter route. There was only a bit of fresh snow but it had fallen on a lot of ice which made conditions slow going. We had a good day though and dropped off into Glen Nevis before dark to return to Achintee Farm and the pub!!

Saturday we decided to try boots and crampons and set off up the Ben. It all seemed rather tame as the path was clear and there was again no snow and even the ice was melting. However the forecast was for conditions to get worse and they did! At 900m it was claggy, the wind picked up and snow started falling. By 1200m visibility was 20m and the wind/snow was biting into our faces. With the use of careful cairns watching and GPS following we made out way to the summit. The shelter was a welcome respite for lunch. On the descent we were battered by driving snow and a cold bitter wind - goggles would have been nice and have gone on my Christmas list! There was deep snow until 200m - a lot had fallen in the time we were on the hill but it was easy going in boots and crampons! Another evening was spent in the Nevis Inn by the fire drinking Tennants and Christmas Ale!

Sun - the forecast was for snow to move south. We had hoped to in front of it but it was early and we woke to 6" of snow. Scot cleared the drive and we made it out ok. The roads were snowy and icy and there was no sign of any snow ploughs or gritters until Tyndrum! Driving down we decided to head across the A66 and A1 - an excellant decision as the M6, M62 were getting blizzards however we made it home fine. Photos on Scotland Dec 09 trip


13th December - Calderdale Relay. I ran Leg 5 with Debbie Smith. We set off in the mass start as our runners were coming in but couldn't catch Ikley. We were 3rd Ladies team but only by 1.30 mins ! It was good conditions to be running and I'm glad I knew the way as lots of people didn't!

7th December - The day of Tankies dawned very wet and with all the rain we have had we knew it was going to be soggy underfoot. With a brisk wind in our faces Wessenden valley felt hard work and I was glad to get to the road. The flags to Black Hill were lethal in Mudclaws but I don't think anyone else was fairing any better in other shoes. Black Hill was very windy and it was nice to be dropping off into Crowden valley. With clear conditions it was difficult to lose people with good lines. There was much variation going up Lawrence Edge (and some along the trail and up Wildboar Clough). I went a way we had only reccied the week before so I wasn't 100% but it was ok. Across to Wildboar Clough people were spread out all over but everyone converged to run up the now well used and boggy path to Bleaklow. The hail came on Bleaklow and my legs ended up full of dents. I had to put on my waterproof to protect my face. It soon stopped and by the Snake the sun was coming through which warmed me up running down the Snake.

Seal Edge came and went. Kev Saville caught me and we discussed the possible whereabouts of Tom Westgate! I refrained from looking at my watch as I would be disspoainted not to be faster than last year even though conditions were slower. Running down the road I caught Jim Bell but there was no way he was going to let me beat him! As we finished the ladies said 3.46 and I was stunned. How can one run so far in so different conditions and get exactly the same time as last year!

2nd Lady and 1st V40, think I was 25th overall. Steve had a good run and think he did 4.37hrs. Results on Dark Peak Fell Runners

Photos Tanky's Trog 2009 (Dean Clough)  and Tanky's Trog 2009 (Kinder Descent)

Our Pics from above are below - Having carefully planned my route across the stream Greg Rimmer tried to lunge past and came a cropper. He said I should have used him as a stepping stone - next time I just might!


Steve over the stream - very elegant! And me looking tired - on the last descent



28th November - with Tankies only a week away and Calderdale the week after I went and reccied Leg 5 with Nick Whittingham. We did a there and back and it was very very wet underfoot and slow going following instructions backwards as it were. Once we had turned round it was good to be able to run consistently and we were 45 minutes faster on the return journey!

22nd November - Time to try the racing legs (apart from Winter Mondays!) - the Full Tour of Pendle. Very wet underfoot, extended by 500m with quite a bit of hill fog and I did the same time as last year 3.15 hours so was reasonably pleased. Legs felt heavy though! Tour of Pendle Results 2009.pdf

14/15th November - I trotted round the Dark Peak winter handicap and didn't fare too badly then at night was the big event of the year - the Dark Peak dinner and dance. I was partnerless (Steve was in London) but danced the night away with two very capable partners in Dave Markham and Chris Barber. To say how good a runner Phil Crowson is ... maybe it was the drink but maybe he has no co-ordination on the dance floor whatsoever!!

8th November - I've had a week of easy running (apart from last Monday night race!) and my toes have come back to life. This Sunday I went to recce the BG with Amanda, Mark Pearce and Ian Charlesworth. A good seven hours with varying weather - but no rain. And there was snow above 900m! A few pictures in the gallery Mark pictures on Mark's Photo Gallery

31st October - Been back from Reunion a couple of days - feel slightly spaced and have been to bed at 9pm both nights! Pictures of the holiday in general on gallery and also one of me back home with my two ridiculously large trophies. I had 10 days on Reunion - the first 4 were spent relaxing, walking and sunbathing! Then came the race and al the preparations, then came a couple of days of complete self indulgence before flying home. The island is fantastic - it's very tropical, has great food - a mixture of indian and african, three stunning extinct volcanoes with green cirques (centres) and very friendly people.

The Grand Raid (or Diagonale les Fous - "Crossing of the Fools") race was fantastic. I had a basic plan and was hoping for anything between 36 and 40 hours. I had split the race into three sections to coincide with the drop bag points. One after 45 miles and another at 75 - giving me roughly a 45 mile section, a 30 mile section and a 20 mile section. I was hoping to do slower than Ramsay pace on the 1st, Ramsay pace on the 2nd then hopefully give it all I had on the last.

We set off at midnight on Thurs in torrential rain and were completely soaked in minutes. It was however still very warm and there wasn't much point putting my waterproof on. The first 5 hours are spent going up from sea level to a height of 2400m. Initially we did about 6 miles of wide track then it was onto a narrow path through woods and a slow crocodile upwards. I was just taking the time to eat and drink but when we approached the tree line I did get worried as I was getting cold and had on waterproof, hat and gloves by then. Luckily the rain stopped and as the sun came out I warmed up and dried out. Across the plateau we could run and I began to overtake people. The checkpoints came frequently and is was pleasing to find they had a good selection of food - bananas, raisins, bread, tea, coke, coffee and other stuff. I was warming up and found my sunhat and suntan lotion from my bag. The views were magnificent and all was going well.

At Cilaos I was thoroughly enjoying it. There were lots of supporters out and they call your name out (its on the front of your number) and cheer "bravo" and "courage". But there's also bands, drums and general festivities all the way round. I changed my socks, ate some food from my drop bag, talked to Marriane, Kathryn (waiting to do the Half Raid), Sue and Ange (Sleath brother's wifes) and set off again. My stomach decided to play up a little as we dropped into the valley to begin the 2nd huge climb of the day - 1400m. I knew why - I had run out of food before Cilaos and so it was now trying to digest all the food I had just eaten. More Cheddars came out and after forcing a bag of those down it felt better. It started to get dark as we crossed the valleys down towards Deux Bras and it was head torches out. At one point we had to cross a shallow river and because I was slipping on the rocks I walked through the water. This was a mistake I think. I realize now that all the locals were trying very hard to keep their feet dry and it was soon after that that my toes started to hurt. Looking at them they were all white and shriveled but no blisters could be seen - I put some vasaline all over my feet and carried on. It seemed to take forever to get through, round, up, down, round, up, down in the dark. At one point we (I had teamed up with a local guy) spent an hour and a half in the dark listening to a band playing at the checkpoint we were going to but never getting any nearer to it. Eventually we dropped into the last valley towards Deux Bras - I told the guy that I was slowing him up and he must go on - he thankfully agreed!

At Deux Bras I headed for the medical tent and was ushered onto a couch. Off with my shoes - 3 people examining my feet. Out came a epi pen needle thing. Into my little toes it went, then into my heels - Ow, Ow, Ow - Urrh - think I'm going to faint. I lie back and hope they know what they are doing as right now its more bloody painful than ever. I didn't want to lie down as didn't want my body to think it was getting any sleep! But the burning pain in my feet keeps me awake. The guy tells me "we must burn your feet now so they don't hurt later" - hope he's right! He bandages my toes and heels up and off I stagger feeling very wobbly. I get my drop bag and just about get to canteen tent when I think I'm going to faint so sit on the floor very quickly. Some of this is definately down to lack of food so while sat I open 2 tins of rice pudding (Sainsburys - I know  - its lots of air miles but I needed them!). After food I felt better so decided to carry on. It was about 3am and I had another big climb to do and it would be light by the time I got to the top.

My feet had calmed down a bit and were ok to run on. I missed not having company but pressed on. The hill passed easily - my feet hurt mainly on descents. Then there was a road section and the last major food checkpoint. Despite my feet I was still passing a few people and asked how long was the finish - 5 hours said one person, 4 hours said another. Ok I thought the quicker the better and so whenever I could I ran. My feet were getting very painful again and I wasn't enjoying it at all. The last 3.50 hours were generally hell with my feet on fire. I was annoyed at myself for not looking after them better and not being able to run as fast as I felt I could.

On the last descent I thought I had spotted a woman behind so thought "right forget pain and run like its a fell race". I caught my friend from overnight up and together we ran the last mile and over the line together in a time of 33h 49' 39". I was very pleased to learn I was 4th woman and 2nd FV40 but even more surprised to later learn that I came 117 out of about 2300 starters and 1556 that finished. The overall winner did 22h 9' 8" and the 1st Lady 28h 13' 54".

Dave Sleath finished 376th, 4th V65 in 39h 40'49" - he also suffered from severe blisters and trench foot - looked more painful than mine even! Martin Sleath was 438th in 40h 39' 15", Amanda was 625th 11th FV40 in 43h 48' 7", Mark Spendlove was 633th in 43h 55' 19" (he says he owes it all to Amanda who got him round) and Andrew was 920 in 48h 52' 56". All 6 Brits that started - finished!

In the Half Raid Marriane was aiming for 24 hours and even though she was sick still clocked up an impressive 564th in a time of 23h 11' 50" and Mark's wife Kathryn dug in to come in at 751th in a time of 26h 29' 22".

Amanda and Andrew Heading organised the whole trip and I want to say a big thank you to them.


15th October - I'm flying to Reunion Island tomorrow and am back on 28th October. I am running the Grand Raid Reunion Race; a 90 mile, 9000m race across the island. This is the link to the website Le Grand Raid - La diagonale des fous  - unfortunately all in French! During the race it will be possible to follow our progress - I did it a few years back for Amanda and Andrew. The race starts midnight on Thursday 22nd October and I'm hoping to finish sometime on Saturday.

My number is 533, Amanda 332, Andrew 327, Dave Sleath 641, Martin Sleath 401 and Mark Spendlove 433

3/4th Oct - Long Mynd - the last in the Vasque series and a chance for me to make up a couple of places. It was very windy and the pace seemed very fast for the first few hours. I felt horrid and banned myself from looking at my watch as time was going so slowly. Apparently though as everyone is grouped at about 7pm the tactic is to run as fast as you can till then. I was feeling much better halfway round, had caught a few good runners up and had stayed with Julian Brown also. Into the night and the leading lady pulled out (she was running with us) - we made a group of 5 up with lads from Todmorden and were still going reasonably well. There was talk of the Ladies Record which spurred us on. We finished in 9.51 hours - ten minutes off the record and I was 1st. However due to their system of allowing waiting time at the groupings another woman got exactly the same time as me so we were joint 1st in the end. A good course, really nice hills and friendly well organised race.

Me on Stiperstones - a very rocky, slippery, wet and windy place!

26th/27th Sept - Steve and I did the RAB MM Elite class (because its 7 then 6 hours - same as OMM Long Score) in the Howgills this weekend. It was hot and the valleys/hills were steep. We found the first day hard but had a good night in our tent and a nice trot round on the Sunday. Not last in fact about 2/3's way down field which wasn't too bad.

20th September - After another week of relative rest I did the Three Shires Race from Little Langdale in the Lakes. One of the most talked about races navigationally and with the clag down I was very careful not to go wrong. The rocks were slippery and although I finished in 2.35 hours it felt a much longer race than that! Great organisation and prize giving.

14th September -  After a week of rest and a couple of very short and very steady runs I did the Mountain Trial. A lovely day with clear views all round. It was a tough course and I lost concentration towards the end resulting in a couple of mistakes but overall I'm very pleased with 6th Woman - And Dark Peak Ladies won the Team Prize!  Results for Petzl Lake District Mountain Trial on 13-Sep-2009

Bullock Smithy - I had a good run and really enjoyed it but lost 30 minutes on the night section as I hadn't reccied it and got slightly lost then very confused running round the streets of Bollington and Poynton! Next year - recce and new target. Did take about 1.45 hours off last years time and had a far nicer run. Results -  Bullock Smithy LDWA Hike


31st August - I've entered Bullock Smithy next weekend (5th Sept) so am taking it easy this weekend. I went to Thornbridge and did the DPFR race there taking 5 minutes off the last time I did it which was pleasing.

24th August - On Sunday I drove from sunny Yorkshire to the wet and windy Dales to do Sedbergh Hills Race. I did it last year and found it hard so wanted to enjoy more of it. Maybe because I knew what was in store neither the constant up and down rough hillsides nor the long traversing phased me and I felt I was having a good run. It was a surprise to be told I was first lady half way round but that made me try harder. In the clag coming back navigation played a part but on the last hill I was still first. Trying to get under 3 hours I slithered down the grassy slope to the road and legged it to the finish. It was not to be.  I did 3.00.47 and 1st Lady !!!!

18th August - With the forecast in most of the country looking dismal last weekend I went to do the LWDA event  Marsden Meander. It was a well run event with breakfast, food at checkpoints, good route instructions (which needed to be followed closely) and excellent past and pudding at the finish. An interesting route with surprisingly pleasant views as it looks pretty bleak from the M62. A good day out. 

Ian Winterburn was also there. His report below ...

Marsden Meander,   A LDWA event. 22 Miles 3550ft ascent. ”Just under 100 runners/walkers took part. Well organised with breakfast laid on at the start and a spicy pasta dish followed by banana and custard at the finish and good mix of food on route. The run went north out of Marsden across the M62 then turned West to Green Withens res before heading SW to Piethorne res then headed back towards Chew valley along Standedge where it was very windy, over Black Moss before returning down Wessenden Valley. A good mix of trails paths and open country. It got a bit warm at times but we managed to run in just before the rain started.
1st Ian Winterburn 3.46.00
3rd and first lady Nicky Spinks 3.48.00.
I was gifted the first place as the runner in front went monumentally wrong at 17 miles and missed out the last two cps. I was glad of the long flat section to the finish as if they’d been a hill involved Nicky would have soon come past…
Good value on all counts and well worth putting in the diary for next year if there isn’t any thing else on, Perfect for a long training run.”

6th August -  Went over to do Crackenedge last night with the aim of getting under an hour. It was a lovely night but the course was wet in places. Someone said I was 1st half way round but then I spotted a lady behind and catching so tried a bit harder. Mark Harvey gave me an update on the 2nd Ladys progress and encouraged me on so I was trying very hard by then! Came in 1st in 58.00 minutes and got the same prize (a bottle of nice wine and a bar of freetrade chocolate) as the male winner so was very pleased!

Did Borrowdale on Sat and really enjoyed it despite the wet rocks! Came 2nd Lady and 1st V40 and managed to knock 4 mins off last years time. Still don't know all the secret lines so keep watching people flying off down the other side of the valleys while I scramble round rocks etc.

27th July - The wedding was on Friday 24th July and was brilliant. We had chosen the short service so were done and dusted, back at the farm having champagne and pictures within the hour! It was a very special moment though and we both really enjoyed it.

Saturday morning was a hive of activity getting the barn finally ready and preparing food. The weather was absolutely fantastic; hot and sunny. Everybody arrived and the camping field soon filled up and apparently looked like Glastonbury! The do started at 6.30pm and went on until 3.30am !! Steve and I had a fantastic time and would like to thank all our family and extended family for all the work and organisation that was going on while we were simply ambling about socialising! Steve said some lovely things about me in his speech and I managed to get the first (or was it middle) dance that I wanted.

Sunday morning the "competitors" were gathering in the shed by 8am and once again I want to thank all my friends from Dark Peak and Penistone who organised themselves into cooking, tiding up, clearing away, washing up (a mammoth task) and then later in the day packing tables, chairs, glasses, food  and crockery away into boxes.

The race organiser (me) thought most people would be ok without marshalls on the route so I was a bit slack there (sorry but I did nearly win!) which made interesting results with Kev Saville coming in 1st with Tom Saville only seconds behind. The family won the overall Family prize so that "reccy walk" on the Saturday certainly paid off! Results spreadsheet -  Wedding Race.xls

If people could let me have their photos on disks so I can put them up in the gallery that would be great and thank you everybody for making it the special day I always wanted it to be.


19th July - Had a quiet week on the farming and wedding front as we are on top of preparations and expected to be haymaking but the weather has put paid to that. Steve is mowing the carpark overflow and exit back onto the road field today. We will put the carpets down tomorrow and then things really start moving on Wed / Thurs with all the hire stuff arriving on Thurs and pig preparation on Friday! More photos on gallery

Today I went and ran the Holme Moss race. It was more like bog wading but I tried to enjoy it. Some of the route was very rough and I was glad to get to Laddow rocks. I had a good run from there although the rain really started then and made the paths very wet. I finished in 3.30 hours and was 2nd woman, 1st V40 and chose a bottle of port as my prize. Dark Peak Ladies (Janet McIver, me and Alice Robson) also won the Ladies Team prize. Geoff Dimelow won 3rd V50 - a lovely pair of solar garden lights which he was very pleased with!!! There were lots of prizes and the post race food was fantastic!


12th July - Wasdale was this Sat (11th) and I travelled up with Mark Harvey. It was forecast to be warm 20C then rain later on. I set off steadily and by Greendale felt better than the last two times I have done the race. My legs felt tired but I had energy to run bits of uphill. I enjoyed all the race except the descent at the end as my sore toes were painful. I did 5.18 (3 mins slower than last year but I enjoyed it this year!). I was 2nd V40 and 7th woman I think.

Wedding: Today we have sorted out the pig ie. size of pig, keeping pig refrigerated and carving pig which is very reassuring for us (and probably you!). I have finished washing millions of glasses and am going to make a start on the crockery and cutlery. Steve has made some very robust tables and I'll take some photos to put up later.

5th July - Yesterday I did Osmotherley Phoenix - it was 24 C which is too hot for me and we had also been haymaking all week on the farm so I was tired but looking forward to a run out. I found it very hot going but drank gallons of water and energy drink. Hoping for about 6 hours I tried to run harder at the end to get under 6 hours but started to feel dizzy so gave that a miss and came in at 6.05 hours

Wedding preparations have also been taking up much time and thought but we feel on top of it. Scary to think its only 20 days away now (sounds better as 3 weeks). I have put some more photos on the gallery

22nd June - I supported on the Dark Peak BG weekend. The contenders were Mick Stenton, Martin Payne, Simon Bacsick, Mark Pearce, Simon Rippon, Helen Elmore, Steve Jones, Becky Harper, Karen Davison and Kenny Turner. The group set off at 6.45 on Friday evening and the weather was ok but blustery for the 1st leg. Overnight the rain came down making navigation hard but they arrived at Dunmail roughly on schedule. Martin Payne had pulled out overnight. At Dunmail I saw Ash coming in with rucksack but then sat down as a contender and carried on as such so we were still 10. I passed Mark Pearce not looking very happy going up Steel Fell and he also dropped out on Calf Crag. The rest of the group were all looking strong and although we had a few quiet, sick or tearful contenders going across to Rossett Crag everyone had pulled through their particular ailment by Bowfell and across to Scarfell were going well. The rain, cold wind, clag and wet rocks made staying on schedule impossible but knowing the weather was to improve and that it was all still do able we just kept going. Without any major navigational errors we made it to the top of Scarfell and off into Wasdale about 20 minutes down on schedule.

Ash sprained his ankle coming down into Wasdale and everyone within earshot either heard the crack or his subsequent yell of pain. He continued on from Wasdale but it was obviously hurting him.

At Wasdale I disposed of a carrier bag full of wet clothes in Brent's car and carried on with Simon Rippon on the next leg. He was worried about the time but I reassured him we would be fine and by the top of the 2nd peak Red Pike we had made all the deficit up and then started gaining on the schedule. It was a very enjoyable leg with Nick Whittingham and Pete Stanley. The weather generally improved and Simon was running well. Too well in fact as we couldn't catch him going downhill (thank heaven for the ups!) and my already sore toes took a bashing. At Honister he was going well and continued on with Bernice and Ian Charlesworth.

Simon finished at 17.30 (making it 22.45 hours) with Karen Davidson arriving seconds behind. Mick Stenton came in at 17.45, Helen Elmore at 18.10 closely followed by Steve Jones at 18.11. Then Julie Gardner finished her 2nd attempt (the 1st having been aborted 2 weeks ago in hail) in 23.45 hours. Simon Bacsich came in at 18.17 then Becky Harper at 18.22 along with Ashley Kay.

Photos on Dark Peak website


18th June - Had a busy week silaging and then a day off at the seaside on Sunday - lay on a beach for 3 hours it was that hot. Anyway I'm off to support on Dark Peak's Bob Graham weekend this coming weekend but we have also been busy getting the shed ready and shopping for stuff. I keep trying to put more photos on the gallery but the connection isn't working properly so just keep checking the gallery

8th June - Most of you already know that the big event of this year is that Steve and I are getting married on 24th July. I have always said that all I would like is a ring, a dress and a do! Steve bought me a diamond in Siberia, the gold in Alaska and we bought the dress together in Barcelona last December. So now all there is left is the "DO" Having decided to have a hog roast at the farm we have now begun the mammoth task of turning a cattle shed into a venue. I have put a series of photos and captions on the gallery and will keep updating as progress is made. 

7th June - Ran a leg of the Barnsley Boundary for Penistone Ladies. Good for me that it was wet and slippery underfoot. I was first lady back but overall we were 2nd Ladies team this year. Penistone Men were 1st overall though which everyone is extremely pleased with and V50 Men also won their category.

6th June After a week of no running due to silaging on the farm I was looking forward to Ennerdale however didn't really enjoy it. I just found the wind hard work and the slippery rocks painful after 4 hours - it was so nice to get to Haycock and some grass! I also didn't take enough food and drink and thank all the supporters and marshalls out on the hills offering drinks and food. Think it was one of the either hate it or love it days as that seemed to be the general consensus!  Did 5.25 and was 4th Lady and 1st V40 so not all bad!

29th/30th May Ian Fitzpatrick attempted the Paddy Buckley setting off on Friday at 6pm. I was supporting on the 2nd leg over Snowdon. After the 1st leg he was already 30 minutes up on schedule. We set off and reined him in a little but with excellent visibility and dry rocks it seemed easy to make up time. It was very warm but we encouraged him to drink and eat which he did. By Llanberis we were about an hour up and as he maintained scheduled pace across the 3rd and 4th legs to arrive at Capel feeling good and still 1 hour up. Over the last leg and the Moelwyns he said he "pushed it a bit but it fxxking hurt" and completed in 22.15 hours. A fantastic run - well done Ian!

I had to come home after seeing him through Ogwen and so I'm sure the missing details and photos will appear somewhere soon.

Also last week John Rowe cycled from  Land's End to John O'Groats in 7 days. A massive achievement and one I know he has been training for all year. He sent me a text to say he was very happy and enjoying a beer from the comfort of his van in Scotland. Well done John !


23/24th May - Along with Ian Winterburn I attempted the Mark Rigby Round on Saturday. Traditionally a self supported and unreccied round in the Cairngorms taking in 18 Munro's, a distance of about 65/70 miles depending on route choice and about 19'000ft ascent.

The weather forecast (don't we love them!) said the rain would clear at 8pm on Saturday. We set off at 9pm and it hadn't cleared. By the top of Cairngorm it was windy, raining and thick clag. We decided to press on and make a decision after the second top, Bynack More as to whether to abort as we were already well down on schedule, cold and wet. Descending Bynack More the skies seem to be clearing and although we were still wet we had warmed up considerably and so decided to continue. We got a lot of food down us in the valley and while ascending Ben Avon the skies did clear and the winds drop. Passing a couple of hardy bivvers we out and backed to Ben Avon then reascended Beinn a Bhuird. Dawn was breaking and as we trogged across the peat moors to Beinn Bhreac we were making reasonable progress although it was becoming fairly obvious that it would be unlikely that we could make up the time that we had lost.

It was roundabout here that my stomach decided it hated me and overall made my life a misery so I was just head down, plod on behind an ever bouncy Ian. I had packed 3 Travel Lunch meals (puddings that you make with cold water). In the Lairig an Laoigh valley I made the first one up - Cream Cheese with Strawberries. Looking into the mush, as I had put too much water in it, I thought "this could made a reappearance in about 5 seconds" but gave it a go. Unbelievably my body thought it was nectar and accepted the whole lot. That soon had me perked up and for the rest of the day I could eat whatever and whenever I liked.

We pressed on across Beinn Mheadhoin, Derry Cairngorm, Ben Madui (in snow) and along to Carn a Mhaim ridge. The wind had been steadily increasing all day and along the ridge was very unpleasant and cold. We had a tentative look over the edge for the "gully" but as were being buffeted about and could hardly stand up decided to take the long way round (Ian did remind me that I am getting married at the end of July!). Down at Corrour bothy we knew we weren't going to get round but decided that we would climb up and do Devil's Point, Cairn Toul, Angels Peak then follow the ridge to pick up the Rigby route on Braeriach and descend to the car parked at the bottom of the Chalamain Gap path. This is what we did at a more leisurely pace and finished after 22 hours back at the van. Mark Harvey and Bob had spent the day in Glen Nevis area and drove across to join us for tea and a beer. Pictures on Gallery

Video of Rigby Attempt - May 09.mpg


9th/10th May - My plan on the Fellsman was to try and run quicker on the first half (with Simon Rippon) than I would normally in the hope that I could sustain it! It certainly felt faster and I was quite worried coming off Whernside that it wasn't the best of plans! After a gel and energy drink going up Gragareth. I felt a bit better and once into Dent had cheered up a bit especially after a cup of beans and a handful of sultanas there. From then on I had a gel and energy drink at each road stop as well as their food. The weather hadn't been too bad - a cold blustery wind but it was always behind us however the wind and rain really lashed down as we crossed Blea Moor and descended into Stonehouses where there was about 15 runners huddled in the tent with the rain hammering on the roof.

After some excellent pasta with tomato sauce and a cheese sarni we put our waterproof trousers, extra hats etc and ascended Great Knoutberry in clag. However as we ran off the rain stopped and the sun even came through. From then on the strong wind persisted but the rain was gone and the sunshine dried us out and warmed us up. Simon mentioned his ankle was hurting him and he would see how it was at Fleet Moss but made the decision to drop out before Dodd Fell and told me to keep going. I was hoping to get past Cray before 7.30pm so cracked onto Fleet Moss where I suddenly found I was starving! A four course "meal" of rice pud, fruit salad, hot beans then more fruit salad plus tea went down a treat and I set off across Fleet Moss in good spirits. It helped having reccied this part as I knew where I was and Middle Tongue came and went easily. Not making the same mistake as on the recce I trotted down to Hells Gap quickly having made up a few places. I got into Cray with 3 other runners but it was only 7.10pm and the marshall's never mentioned grouping so neither did we!

Off up Buckden I went going up the wall line while the others went further right - I reached the top first and could see across to Whernside the last, final climb from there! On the descent to Top Mere I could see runners in front and tried to push on hoping to be grouped with them. Luckily I caught one guy and we dropped into the checkpoint together where there was already a group of 7 and another 2 waiting. We were grouped with the 2 and quickly set off up Whernside as a four. One guy, Jess had done it 21 times before and so although I had reccied it and got my maps out we didn't need them really. We got a good pace on. I was finding hills ok but downhill running got me out of breath and I felt sick but I hung onto the back of our group on the descent. Then across the flat I found jogging easier than walking and the guys walked / jogged alongside. We overtook the group of 7 and reached Yarnbury at about 10.45pm. Once degrouped the two lads (apologies for forgetting names) set off at a cracking pace along the road. I followed as best I could but it wasn't till I reached the bridge did I consider 14 hours to be a target. With about 3 mins to spare I ran up the road and into the school.

I know a couple of minutes shouldn't be an issue after 13 plus hours but it was and I was nearly shoving the 2 lads in front of me out the way hoping that the nice lady would record me down as 13.59. I am still awaiting confirmation of my time but whatever I am extremely pleased with my time and my run overall. Results now on Fellsman results:2009

I must add that the organisation, people and route make this one of the best races I have done. The marshalls and helpers couldn't do enough for us and were so cheery and encouraging. Definitely one to do again for me.

Others that I know about - John Rowe dropped out at Hill Inn with thigh injury/pain, Simon at Fleet Moss with ankle injury, Amanda and Andrew Heading ran with Mark Pierce and got in just over 17 hours. The winner Jez Bragg did 10.50 hours and the first lady Sarah Rowell did 13.45 hours.


2nd May - In preparation for the Fellsman I went on a 2nd recce of Fleet Moss onwards with Steve, Andrew Heading and Mark Pearce. Even though the weather was clear (unlike last time) we still managed to go wrong off Middle Tongue which just showed us how important fence counting is. Pictures on Gallery

25th April - Excellent weather for the 3 Peaks again. Set off with trying to get 4 hours but felt so tired that I had abandoned that by Ribblehead however the ascent off Whernside felt good and I started passing people instead of being passed. The descent was good and  from then on I felt a lot stronger. I made myself run a lot of the flags to Ingleborough and reached the top in 3.25 hours. I knew it was a good 40 minutes down but gave it all I had. I finished in 4.03 - and 5th woman so very pleased. Full results on SiERA Online - Three Peaks - 25 April 2009

19th April - Having signed myself up as a guinea pig to have my blood taken at about 8 checkpoints on the Calderdale Hike I really wanted to do it. However on Thursday I did a Fellsman recce which ended up being 24 miles and 7 hours of freezing fog / wind from Fleet Moss to the finish. My legs felt like lead on Friday! However I thought it would be good training and set off at a comfortable pace with Amanda and Andrew. Navigation was important and errors were made but on the whole we were doing ok. Malcolm Coles joined us and added a bit of local knowledge. I enjoyed it all with no pressure. The blood taking crew were fun and cheered me on and I was interested to find that my sugar levels stayed reasonable constant around the 4 to 5 mark. The Scout support is fantastic - these people really know what food is. I finished in 7.12 - and not knackered. Amanda did 7.29 and Andrew about 7.40.

11th April - Steve, Amanda and Andrew Heading and me travelled over to Isle of Man to do the Manx MM which is actually a traverse of the Island from Ramsey to Port Erin - about 32 miles and 8400' climb. Amanda couldn't run as she had acquired loads of blisters doing the Atacama Desert race the week before. Andrew and Steve set off on the early start at 7.30. I missed the bus but luckily and very kindly our B&B landlady Sandra gave me a lift to the start. After that I really enjoyed the race as was horrified and in a right panic when I realized the bus had gone - so I was very pleased to make the start line. The weather was excellent - shorts even! It was very wet underfoot though as the island had had lots of rain in the previous two weeks. I still had tired legs but set off steady and then picked up as the race progressed. I was hoping to knock some time off my previous of 6.47 and was very pleased with 6.12. Andrew had a good run and did 7.46 with Steve knocking 20 mins off his previous time to do 8.08. Full Results Pictures on Gallery

4th April - me, Ian Charlesworth, Simon Rippon and Mark Harvey entered the 4 Inns. The day started well with a bit of mist/light rain and overall conditions were good. The first half to Edale is over Black Hill, Bleaklow and Kinder while the 2nd half goes into Chapel en le Frith and across to the Cat and Fiddle before dropping to Buxton. Mark Harvey was recovering from flu and dropped out at Chapel. The rest carried on to complete in 8.29 hours. A good time but an incomplete team. Results on  The Four Inns Walk website.

29th March - Edale Skyline! A beautiful day - sunshine and so clear and quite dry underfoot too except where the frost was coming out which made it slippery. I set off faster than normal (a new tactic) but paid for it going up Winhill which was awful. I was aiming to get there within the hour which I did (57mins). Then I picked up running along the road - odd for me. Lose Hill and Mam Tor seemed ok and at least I was passing people that were now walking. From Mam Nick (target around 2hours - did 1.56) I felt much better and quite enjoyed the rest of the race (except the bogs off course). I was aiming to beat my time and knew it was about 30 mins from Grineslow Knoll so when I reached that at 3.15 hours I was pleased and pushed on. I finished in 3.40 knocking 13 minutes off last years time. Still 4th Woman but 1st LV40! And Dark Peak Ladies got Team Prize - a full box of Staraprama!! Pictures on Dark Peak Photos  And Results

22nd March - Ian Fitzpatrick, Roy Gibson, Mark Pierce and I recce the Paddy Buckley from Capel Curig to Aberglasyn. The weather threatened to turn nasty all day but we just managed to stay in the sunshine although the wind had quite a bite to it! A very enjoyable day after a week of dry stone walling! Pictures on Gallery

16th March - Once again I had entered the Haworth Hobble on Sat 14th March - and as I was running round wondered why! Its so fast and mainly on tracks especially the 1st half. However I just stuck to it and reassured myself that loads of people weren't passing me so I couldn't be that slow. It did seem very quiet and I was glad I knew the route. I enjoyed the 2nd half much better and the last hour was good as I realized I could be on for a pb. Spotting Ian Winterburn on the last hill was a plus and I tried to catch him but he wasn't having any of it! We both did a PB by about 8 minutes.  Results on Keighley and Craven Websitel

6th/7th March - The Derwent Watershed !! This year our team (3 Blind Mice and a Farmer's Wife) consisted of me, Ian Charlesworth, Simon Rippon and John Rowe. We aimed to try and increase pace from the start and to jog if possible along Outer Edge through the bogs!! The forecast was reasonable but on the 1st top at 450m the clag was down and that was how it stayed throughout the night until about 7am. We ran well, didn't make any serious navigational mistakes (although room for improvement) and were pleased to arrive at the Snake seemingly well up the field. We just tried to keep the pace up and retain our position until the finish! Last year we did 10.55 and so of course wanted to beat that. We looked like we could be on for 10.30 and eventually came in in 10.23. 1st Mixed team and 4th Overall !!

There are some good photos on  Dark Peak Photos  And provisional results here -  Watershed Results summary  Watershed Split times


1st March - Steve and I competed in the New Chew in Long Score. After having a reasonable day in good weather we got back to the finish with a few minutes to spare. With a score of 310 we were 1st Mixed and received a bottle of wine and a block of Caerphilly cheese each!  An excellent day out. Next year they are going to run the Chew Skyline race instead. Results on  http://www.saddleworth-runners.co.uk/results

15th February - Yesterday me, Steve, Mark Pierce, Ian Winterburn and Simon Rippon went to the Lakes for a BG recce. Unbelievably there was less snow there than on Bleaklow and in much better condition for running on. We set off from Dunmail at 10am and did the BG route to Rossett Pike. Then we descended to the coll and started the ascent of Bowfell up Billy Bland's Rake. This was full of snow and had ice underneath so for me, Ian and Simon it was crampons on! We all had ice axes and Steve was wearing rubber studded things on his shoes. With Ian leading we climbed Bowfell! From there we went over Esk Pike to Esh Hause and descended to Angle Tarn. Then down the valley to the Dungeon Gill Hotel in Langdale for 5pm where we had left a car. My pictures in Gallery and Mark's Pictures


7th February - I was so pleased that the organisers decided to run the race - I don't seem to have been able to get any proper training / racing in for ages because of the snow. Lots of long hours in knee deep snow or on icy roads.

When the race started I was somewhere near the front and so for half of the race people were passing me. It was hard to overtake as it meant going out of the trod and into the soft deep snow on either side. I started with a bit of cramp half way round but a energy drink mix with 2 Nuun tablets in it soon sorted that! (tastes disgusting but works). The way back was easier as the Half Trog had made a good path across the moors. We went a new way to the last checkpoint on the hill but seemed to get there very quickly and without any cross country heather bashing. Overall I really enjoyed it. Results on Calder Valley Fell Runners and pictures are up on Dave Woodhead's Pictures - Thanks to Dave for this one of me below.

Sunday - I went up onto Bleaklow (more deep snow!) with Steve and John Rowe.

1st February - I ran the last leg of Pennine Bridleway with Lynn Bland. It was good running conditions but a lot of track! Overall Dark Peak were 4th Ladies.

24th January - An exciting snowy day in the Lakes reccying from Wasdale to Honister except that because of snow we cut it short after Great Gable and returned to Wasdale via Moses Trod. An excellent day out in good conditions! Pictures in Gallery and Mark Pierce's Pictures

18th January - We had a recce of the Watershed route from Cutthroat Bridge to Snake road summit. Took about 6 hours and covered all the route without losing anyone in the bogs!



10th/11th January - I had planned a trip to Scotland but the weather forecast was so bad that we retreated to Wales. However the weather there proved to be challenging and it was a "weekend of alternatives". Photos on 2009 in Gallery

4th January - Did Moz's Birthday Run from the Nag's Head in Edale and for once didn't go off course and explore the darkest depths of Kinder bogs as usual! Results on Dark Peak Fell Runners