Diary 2012 .
6th December - The launce of the Dragons Belly website !!
2nd December - This weekend I drove to mid Wales with Charmian Heaton in her lovely camper can. On Saturday I met up with Tim Whittaker and we reccied legs 3 and 4 of the Meirionnydd Round . Setting off from Trawsfynydd in the dark and rain (!) at 6.30am we bashed around in a wood and could still see the powerstation an hour later! Once up on the hills the showers became less frequent and we really enjoyed the morning. Charmian was a real star and drove round to every road crossing making us tea, coffee and soup throughout the day. I knew I had planned a "long day" as it was my first time over the Migneint and Arenig hills and on schedule takes 8.30 hours to run. I was hoping to do it in daylight but willing to drop the last two hills if this wasn't possible. We made very good progress and few errors. The ground was a mixture of heather with or without rocks, bogs and some tussocky bits. There was a little snow on Arenig Fawr and we got a couple of snow showers but overall it was a great day out. We had time to do Ddualt and Rhobell Fawr and all went well until the forest between the two when we encountered an area of felled / replanted forest. Bashing a way through our progress was slow but the view from the top was worth it. Now just 4km to the warm van we thought. However it got dark on us and missing a couple of good lines had us completely floundering in deep tussocks. Following the streams down we soon found the track and ran down to where Charmian was waiting. A really good day in some very wild and unspoilt hills of Wales. Photos
Charmian and I then drove to Tywyn to meet up with Hugo Iffla who is Project Director of Odyssey . Here is a video of Hugo explaining Odyssey on You Tube
A bit of background - I first heard of Odyssey in 2011 when I was in the Pyrenees running the Grand Raid. I met Ali Bignell there and got talking about cancer and charities. He explained his involvement with the Odyssey charity and what it was all about. To me it sounded a very worthwhile charity as it was aimed at adults who had had cancer and it helped them rebuild their lives and confidence. I could understand this. Back in 2006 after I was officially discharged it was hard to know where to go from there. You cannot return to your old normal life because you are no longer the person you were. Your values have changed and still you have the niggling doubts "why me, what if?". I had very good support in the form of friends and family to help me but it still took a long time to get my head round it. I can understand that people trying to adjust to their "new" life would benefit from further support and encouragement.
12 months down the line and I am finally meeting Hugo with a fund raising idea that me and Charmian have come up with. This is the Dragon's Belly - a five day, sponsored, self funded challenge down the mountains of Wales taking place in July 2013. We had a very welcome beer after a long day and a lovely meal (courtesy of Hugo) while discussing the challenge and the charity. Hugo explained that the charity is in need of funding / funds in order to run more courses and he is very keen on our idea. He suggested that the Odyssey team might be able to run the Belly as a relay - he is undecided as to which leg he will do!
On Sunday we woke to bright sunshine. We discussed our options a) more hills - always good or b) to try and sort Day 3 of Dragon's Belly accommodation. With tired legs and because we were nearly there already we opted for b). Knocking on the farmer's door at Eisteddfa Gurig we anticipated a "grumpy farmer" (not that I know any of them!) but we were welcomed in for a coffee and offered the use of a paddock with running cold water and toilets! Driving home we were extremely pleased with our weekend and can now start to put some meat on the bones of our dragon.
19th November. Lots of News...
The Trigger is full !!! I've updated the website today.
I ran Tour of Pendle on Saturday and won in a time of 2.58 hours which 8 minutes faster than I have ran it before so I am very pleased. All that horrid speed and hill training must be paying off. Then on Saturday night I went to the FRA presentation dinner. Dark Peak Ladies team have won the English and British team medals. Our team was headed by Helen Elmore, Judith Jepson, Liz Batt and then me, Jenny Caddick, Claire Oliffe, Pippa Wilkie, Heather Marshall, Rachel Findlay Robinson made up numbers on other races.
On Sunday I went out on Bleaklow with Steve in lovely weather and then for a quick horseride in the afternoon. In the evening we drove down to Matlock and had tea with Amanda and Andrew of www.racekit.co.uk Amanda's shepherd's pie went down very well as did my trial trifles (the planned Winter Series prizes) - the selection being banana and baileys, plum and fortified wine, apple and blackcurrent (and sherry). Steve is adamant that a trifle can have sherry and jelly in but the jury is out on that one.
4th November - I've had a quiet couple of weekends at home but yesterday travelled upto the Pooley Bridge in the Lakes and set off to recce Legs 1 and 2 of the Joss Naylor then to get back to Patterdale we planned to look at Legs 3 and 4 of the Ian Hodgson Relays. Keith Holmes and I picked Tim Whittaker up and met up with Simon Rippon and Ian Charlesworth at Pooley Bridge. True to form the forecast was fairly foul but overall the weather wasn't too bad. It was very cold 1C in the valleys and with a brisk south wind the tops were chilly. We had clag and snow showers interspersed with some sunshine. Progress was slow due to the amount of snow that there was. Much more than we had imagined!! The snow put paid to any micro reccying as it covered all the paths but we had a very good day out running from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Photos
16th October - It was the FRA relays down at Church Stretton last Sunday. I was running Leg 2 in the B team with Heather Marshall. Travelling down it was a cold early start at -2C at 6am but the temperature didn't rise till the sun came up. Dark Peak Ladies had two good teams in and overall our A team came 3rd while our B team were 9th. I can say now that I enjoyed running with Heather but both us agreed it was very hard and neither of us could talk while running round as we both pushed each other very well. The course started off with one big hill then there was a lot of undulating but flat running before we hit the three big hills one after another at the end. I was quite glad to reach these hills but now the sun was beating down and I was far too hot. We just managed to hold off Pennine down into the finish and were very pleased with 5th ladies on our leg. I really love running in the relays and because I try so much harder think that they are some of the best training one can do.
It was a really good day with Dark Peak having 6 teams out - 3rd and 23rd Mens, 3rd and 9th Ladies, 2nd Mens V40's and 1st V50's. Mercia had put on a good venue and good courses and it was nice that from the venue you could watch all the incoming and outgoing runners. Sportident Results
10th October - I ran Leg 4 of the Ian Hodgson relays last Sunday with Helen Elmore. We set off as first Ladies and ran very hard all the way round to finish 1st Ladies. What we hadn't realized that the incident on Fairfield where we had seen a person waving at a rescue helicopter was actually because Darren Holloway of Pennine had collapsed with a heart attack. We passed about 50m to the right of the summit. Darren later died which is a tragedy for everyone that knew him. I personally didn't but have read the pages and pages of tributes on the forum and it is clear that he was an extremely well loved and respected person.
It brought it home to me just how lucky I am to go running in the mountains, doing something I love and then come safely back down again and go home to my family and friends. My thoughts go out to Darren's family and friends.
Results after that ceased to be very important but I feel that I should mention that Ambleside Ladies (in 2nd place) stopped to assist on Fairfield and then continued running to finish only a minute behind me and Helen. Everyone involved has agreed to leave the results as they are however I would like to congratulate Hazel and Jane Reedy on a very impressive run.
30th September - Back from a week in the Pyrenees. We had wonderful weather for 5 days and one day of torrential rain and snow (while the UK were swimming down the A1 by all accounts). This is my holiday write up and photos
I did the Kielder Blast yesterday as a massive wake up call for my legs who haven't had to run fast since Weasdale (and even then they were rubbish!). With that and just having returned from 7/8 hours walking days in the Pyrenees I just wanted an enjoyable race. The course looked all on tracks but I was very pleasantly surprised and the little trods through forest rides were great for me. The hard tracks and cycle paths were torture though but I finished 14th in a respectable time (2 mins and a few seconds behind Keith Holmes so at least I got a lift home!). Onwards now to Winter Mondays and the hard work begins!
More news - sad for me - I have just put my little red tired van on Ebay for "repairs or spares". It has helped me achieve all my goals getting me along the Strines, all over the Lakes, across to Wales and way up north to Scotland since I bought it back in 2008. Now having done 150,000 it's time to move on. So if anyone would like a piece of history; here it is on EBay
The new (ish) white van is waiting to take it's place and we have just taken it out to Wessenden with Tilly and Tyke in the back and introduced it to the lonely, wet, cold existence that a recce van has up on a bleak layby in winter. But what a welcome sight it was to all of us, wet and cold as we were when we returned.
16th Sept - Yesterday I did what I enjoy doing most. I spent 10 hours in the Lakes supporting on the BG in initially in glorious weather which turned a little windy and claggy. Joe Mann and Pete had set off at midnight on a 22.50 schedule. Tim Whittaker and I had travelled up in the morning and met with Teresa and Nick Whittingham (Penistone Footpath Runners) on road support. We set off at 8am from Dunmail with Joe and Pete along with their "student friends" - Pete (2), Bob and Tosh who were amazingly bouncy and entertaining! Joe and Pete made good progress on their schedule and once in the clag they kept positive and both were eating well. By the time we dropped into Wasdale we had lost Tosh twice (??) while Pete (2)and Bob had stopped to help some climbers up Broad Crag so there was just me and Tim to carry on to Leg 4. For support in Wasdale we were met by Bernice Nixon and Helen (a whooping student friend). The only flaw in our plan to carry on was lack of food but Joe had loads and Bernice had cooked up a wonderful corn beef hash which we all soon demolished, followed by tea and cake (very civilised!).
Heading up Yewbarrow I was surprised how good my legs felt. My feet weren't too bad - a little trench foot coming back and then my shin started to ache on Great Gable but apart from that I was in good spirits. I concentrated on navigating as the clag was down and Tim made sure no-one went hungry. There was a cold wind now and some blowing rain but we continued knocking time off on schedule until we reached Honister about 1.15 hours up. Tiredness was setting in with the lads but after having a good stop the lads continued on Leg 5 with Nick Cable and Simon Rippon. Nick and Simon had already supported a leg with Tim Rippon who had set off at 8pm on Friday but he had lost too much time and had packed in at Honister - next time Tim.
Into Keswick we drove and had fish, chips and curry sauce (my favourite) and then scared passerbys by examining our trench-erous feet and peeling skin while waiting for Joe and Pete to arrive. They ran in at 9.47pm finishing in 21 hours and 47 minutes. A great day out in fantastic company. Well done to Joe and Pete.
Joe and Pete's BG Leg 3 and 4 photos
12th September - My feet are recovering, I am starting to recollect the good points; one of which was meeting and running with so many wonderful people. These are Ian Fitz's photos on flickr
Shane has requested feedback and this is mine . I hope this is now the end of it and we can all move on.
9th September - I did it - I have written up my account of the Dragons' Back Race here.
2nd September - I'm off in an hour to Wales for the Dragons Back Race . All packed, fed and rested. Even the weather forecast looks good (maybe I should have wished for more clag?). I'll try and send updates to Race Kit every evening as long as I have signal and battery.
Last week as it was raining a lot we were unable to harvest straw and so took the opportunity to fly out early Tuesday morning to Istanbul where our travelling friends from 20 years ago were having a reunion. We spend a couple of days there and flew back Thursday early am. Our friends are Anthony from US (now living in Georgia), Bernd from Germany, Lena from Sweden and Liz from Auz. We originally met in 1992/3 while Steve and I were backpacking down East Africa and travelled with them on and off for a few months. It only took an hour or so before we were back to cracking fun at each other and getting on really well again. We had a great night and tried to plan the next meet but couldn't decide between Iceland, India, Angola or Madagascar !!
I've uploaded lots of pictures on the Gallery of my BG Record, Istanbul and also a recce of the Rhinoggs I did with Tim Whittaker a few weeks ago. Happy perusing!!
27th August - Tapering is going well - I'm bored and full of energy! My talk at the Big Running Weekend seemed to go down well and although I was nervous I quite enjoyed some of it. There are some photos of the talks and race reports on the Big RunningWeekend Facebook page .
14th August - I've had a quiet running week just making sure I haven't any injuries from the Bob Graham / Borrowdale race. I've been for a couple of massages and all seems to be recovering well. After last year when I did the Tranter Round after the Lakes 24 Hour record then felt awful on the Grand Raid Pyrenees race I'm very conscious of overdoing it and would rather be "too well rested" for the Dragons Back Race in September than "over-trained".
I have some other news though - I have been asked to give a talk at the Big Running Weekend on Saturday 25th August. This is the first time I've given a talk and so I'm putting a lot of time and effort into trying to make it a good one!
5th August - The Borrowdale race was yesterday. I had entered it and hoped to run to make up the Dark Peak Ladies Team. My legs felt ok although after Monday I hadn't run all week. I decided to set off steady with the aim of "not going backwards at any time through the field". This worked very well although I was tired going up Great Gable and had eaten all my food/gels so had to manage to the finish feeling rather light-headed . The forecast was wrong again - but this time it was hot and sunny all day - too hot for me and a lot of other runners. I saw a lot of dehydrated and cramping runners over Dale Head!! My legs were definitely better going up than down and on the last descent I was very stiff legged. But I made it and enjoyed it. My time was 4.12 which is mid point for me (pb 4.02).
Dark Peak Ladies were out in force with Heather Marshall 8th, Jenny Caddick 9th, me 10th, Helen Elmore 11th, Liz Batt 12th, Claire Oliffe 36th (in her first Lakes race), and Rachel Findlay Robinson 51st. 1st ladies Team and 1st vets.
Results from runningbriefs
28th July - I did it!!!!! 18 hours and 12 minutes. I'll write a full report up with photos this week. Basically the weather forecast said showers so I went for it. We got wind, clag and rain on Skiddaw and then it brightened up to Threlkeld; I made 17 minutes on my 18 hour schedule. Across Helvellyn we maintained schedule pace (mine from my 24 hour round) and the weather really improved although we got one nasty shower coming off Dollywaggon that passed over very quickly. I came into Dunmail still up on schedule. Leg 3 went very well picking up a few minutes until Great End where the rocks between there and Scafell were very slippery. Broad Stand was hairy to say the least and the worse bit was the slabs after the rock which were lethal - I was doing more than 5 point contact up there!!
Coming down into Wasdale the sun was shining and I debated on shorts. Its a good thing I didn't as Leg 4 was just a clag/rain/wind and then hail fest. Losing time now as my stomach had also decided to pack up and a rice pudding I forced down at Pillar argued with me until Great Gable when I won and it stayed down. I lost the will to be cheerful and the hail across to Brandreth was just the pits. However I knew I could still break the record and thought I would give it my best shot so whizzed through Honister and across to Keswick running the road with energy I didn't know I still had. Running up to the Moot Hall at 10.12pm was a fantastic feeling at the end of a hard day!
Thanks to Amanda of Racekit for road support and sponsorship (a very good Haglof jacket worn for 15 of 18.12 hours! ) and to my supporters who did a stirling job of looking after me on the hill.
Leg 1 Neil Talbott and Simon Cox, Yiannis on Blencathra descent, Leg 2 Ian Winterburn and Digby Harris, Leg 3 Tim Whittaker and Joe Mann and Yiannis from Angle Tarn, Leg 4 Dave Sykes and Olly Stephenson, Leg 5 Helen Elmore and Keith Holmes. Plus everyone who did a leg and more - Neil, Ian, Olly, Tim and Joe - the coffee/tea on the hill was a real treat!
24th July - I have had a couple of easy weeks running and resting in readiness for my attempt on the Ladies BG Record on Saturday 28th July. I am setting off from the Moot Hall at 4am and plan to be back in Keswick for last orders. The current record is held by Anne Johnson at 18 hours and 49 minutes.
I think real time updates will be twitted on Race Kit and that Dark Peak's roving reporter; Willy Kitchen might put some snippets on the Dark Peak's news page.
23rd - I have amalgamated all the reports etc on the Ladies Dark Peak Bob Graham Relay into one page: Billy Bland 2012.htm
15th July - It was the Wasdale Fell Race on the 14th. I travelled up with Tim Whittaker and ran all the way round the race with him. It was quite cold and overcast when we arrived but when the sun broke through it was warm. I eventually decided on vest and shorts carrying a long top and good waterproofs (remembering the horrid weather two years ago). Setting off the pace always seems fast but I was pleased to reach the far side of the lake feeling fresh. The worse part of this race for me is always the flattish track and fields and it was again. I was glad to reach Joss's house and start the climb up Seatallen. The clag was lifting and the views were brilliant. We were catching a few people now which was encouraging. Remembering good lines across to Pillar and then to Great Gable helped our moods and speeded us along. We passed Mike Nolan on Great Gable (he is in Dark Peak and was doing his BG; he was successful so well done to him!) and offered words of encouragement. The long path along to Esk Hause seemed ok - we had mentioned trying to get under 5 hours and now had about an hour in which to achieve this so we were both pushing each other on. I knew one good grassy line and Tim knew another so before we knew it we were climbing Scafell. making sure we had a bearing off (as the clag was down) we ran off with 30 mins to go. The clag lifted at 800m and it was so easy to see where we were heading (unlike two years ago!). We pushed on right to the finish and achieved a time of 4 hours 56 minutes. 28th and 29th overall. I was 2nd Lady (Jasmin Paris was 1st), 1st V45 and actually 3rd Dark Peaker.
8th July - Yesterday I did Arrochar Alps near Loch Lomond. Travelling up on Friday we left the horrid weather behind in Yorkshire and arrived to a reasonable warm evening at the YHA in Loch Lomond. Saturday also dawned warm although it was raining and was forecast to rain heavily during the day resulting in a big clothing and kit dilemma. I eventually set off in shorts and vest which was the right decision as it was quite hot and humid. It rained a little which was actually welcome. The tops were clear mainly which made navigation easy. I can see why people go astray in clag though. The race starts with a purgatory 4 miles of track then an even worse mile of road. I was very glad to hit the climb and have a rest! Helen Elmore was running with me and she skipped along this first bit alongside me. We seemed to be doing ok. The climb was the biggest to the top of Ben Vorlich from 100m to 943m. Once at the top it was straight back down, very steeply and not pleasant - we both ended up on our backsides a lot. Across a dam and then straight back up Ben Vane to 915m. I had already decided on the track that this race wasn't for me (too much track) and now on the hills the race seemed to be up 500m, down 500m with little respite or pleasant running in between. Helen and I kept each other company and started to overtake a few people (including Keith Holmes!) which cheered us on. A girl from Bog Trotters knew some good lines and although we passed her climbing the 3rd hill on the last descent she came flying passed us at the bottom having made up lots of places on the way down. This descent off the 4th munro Beinn Narnain is in my book one of the worse I have ever had the misfortune to come down - maybe there was a path there but it seemed to be a very rocky stream gully that went vertically down and then had lumps of concrete in it with metal spikes coming out of them. I was actually very glad to reach the track and do another mile of that to the finish. Helen and I finished together in about 4.18 hours.
We have since both realised we have left our shoes behind. As the midges were so bad we took our shoes off and put them outside the car doors then changed inside the car. Keith arrived and we just drove off leaving our shoes in the car park. Please could anyone who found them and were brave enough to tackle them into a bag please contact me. We would pay for their return.
So all in all a good day - and to top it all Dark Peak had 4 Ladies in about the top 20 - Judith Jepson (4.15 ish hours), Helen Elmore, me and Liz Batt and there were no teams prizes ! Helen did win a bottle of bubble bath in the raffle though!
Last weekend on the BG Relay I was trying out some new Haglof kit that RaceKit had given me as they are now stocking it. This is my initial review- Haglof kit review
2nd July - Dark Peak Ladies completed the relay in 18 hours and 51 minutes !!!!
Leg 1 - Ruth Batty and Debbie Smith. The girls set off from the Moot Hall at 2am. It was quite warm but there was a strong wind and the clag was at about 200m. It also rained most of their leg. As the weather was poor it was also dark for longer and they had difficulty navigating in it. We waited nervously at Threlkeld at 5.35am the eta on the 20 hour schedule that I had produced. The girls arrived at 6.09am so were down on the schedule but actually completed the leg at BG pace (in 4.09 hours) which was astounding given the conditions.
Leg 2 - Liz Batt, Heather Marshall and Laura Gibson. The rain stopped briefly but soon came down again for the next 4 hours. Waiting at Dunmail at 9.30am we also started to see BG contenders coming through and they gave us news that the girls were doing well. Laura dropped off early but Heather and Liz came in at 10.14 hours so had managed to do the leg on 20 hour pace and beat the current record by two minutes with a Leg time of 4.05 hours.
Leg 3 - Nicky Spinks and Pippa Wilkie. Setting off up Steel Fell my legs felt good and I was pleased to knock a few minutes off. The schedule had seemed relatively easy for this leg but I was reluctant to cut it much shorter so had scheduled 5hrs 20 in total. Knowing that it would be hard to make up time once on the rocks we pushed hard across to Rosset Pike and were rewarded by getting back on the 20 hour scheduled time there. We were also lucky with the weather; after a few rain/hail showers the clag cleared across the Langdales which made navigating much easier. It looked thick above us on Bowfell though and it was !!! We were then in clag all the way with the wind picking up across from Great End and making any running across the rocks impossible. The rocks however were drying in the wind so there was some bonus. Scafell Pike was very busy and there were even a couple of casualties but they looked compus mentus so I left them alone. Dropping to Mickledore we had decided on West Wall Traverse over Broad Stand and I was pleased to see Carl there. He reassured Pippa along Lord's rake and up the traverse much better than I would have done. Touching the top of Scafell we had lost a few minutes and so hammered it all the way down out of the clag to Wasdale finishing at 3.10pm - now only 10 minutes down on the 20 hr schedule. We also broke the current leg record by about an hour finishing in a time of 4.56 hours
Leg 4 - Kirsty Bryan Jones, Penny Collier and Alice Robson. With Kirsty and Alice on this leg we knew that nav shouldn't be a problem. They set off at a good pace and we drove round to Honister to wait for them. My schedule gave them 4.35 hours getting in at 7.35pm. We couldn't believe it when they appeared at 7pm flying down the hill. Helen Elmore started doing excited bunny hops and running round impatient to be off on her leg !! The girls finished at 7.03pm in a leg time of 3.53 hours Also a new leg record !
Leg 5 - Helen Elmore, Claire Oliffe and Rachel Horn. The girls set off at a fantastic pace up Dale Head and it was all getting very exciting now. We drove round and waited at Newlands Church where they came though discarding clothes as they flew passed. Off to the Moot Hall we drove. Waiting there we knew they would be trying for under 19 hours now and when they appeared we all started cheering. The girls touched the Moot Hall having completed the leg in an amazing time of 1.48 hours. And they took 2 minutes off the current Ladies leg record.
Our total time then was 18 hours and 51 minutes. So off to the chippy and then the pub we went where Kirsty in true Scots fashion bought everyone whisky to celebrate with (I think it was mainly Kirsty and me that drank it though!!).
I'm hoping to collate some news from all the girls and will make up a full report then along with a collection of photos.
28th June - Tomorrow I'm heading upto the Lakes to take part in the Billy Bland Challenge with Dark Peak Ladies. This is a BG relay and the first pair of runners will be setting off at 2am on Saturday 30th June from the Moot Hall. We are hoping to put updates on Race Kit's and on Dark Peak's websites as we go round.
25th June - the annual Dark Peak BG attempt, planned for Friday 22nd June, was cancelled on Friday morning due to floods and high winds. However Keith Holmes and Tim Rippon (two of the contenders) decided to attempt on the Saturday after the worse of the weather was supposed to have passed through. So they gathered a collection of supporters from Dark Peak, Totley and Penistone and travelled up in rain on Saturday morning. There was clag on all the hills, some roads were under water and it was still raining when we arrived. By 4pm it had turned to showers and we even got some sun. The wind (forecast to drop) was still gusty and we knew Leg 1 was going to be windy.
Setting off from the Moot Hall at 4pm Tim and Keith were in good spirits. Willy was on nav while two Totley lads - Andy and Karl were carrying. We waited at Threkeld expecting them to be late but they surprised us by being 20 minutes up on schedule. Tim had just turned his ankle though but was determined to carry on. Unfortunately we had seen more bad weather coming in and so made sure they were wrapped up warm when they left Threkeld still 20 minutes up with Tom W and Dave H. Sure enough at 10pm the rain came down again at the campsite and we all retreated into our tents and cars. At midnight we headed to Dunmail where they were due in at 1am. We saw lights when we arrived and so quickly got ready but it was Tim who had retired with his ankle. Tim and his supporters all said how cold and wet it had been overnight but that Keith was looking ok and was now on the schedule. Keith arrived on time and set off on time.
I was supporting on this leg with Brent and Tim Whittaker. The "Totley Lads plus Lucy" (road support) were adamant they were staying to help Keith out and so Homer set off with us too. We are all very grateful for the extra support on the hill and also to Lucy for driving round with a car full of our stuff (and Joe, her regal collie cross lurcher dog) to all the road crossings. Dave H also caught us up having decided to do more. We were all laden down with kit as the weather wasn't supposed to pass over till the afternoon. Navigating across and through the Langdales in the dark, clag and rain was testing to say the least. I had Brent and Tim as backup while Homer did a good job of keeping Keith company. I breathed a sigh of relief to be climbing to High Raise as it was eventually getting light. Keith was moving well and eating everything we gave him. The rocks were lethal and the bogs like swimming pools. The Lakes had obviously had a huge amount of rain. The clag lifted briefly across to Rosset Pike and we were hopeful it might clear. The brief views were appreciated!
Tim and Keith at the col near Angle Tarn
Over to Bowfell and then across to Scafell we went. The clag came back down and stayed down. It was very slow going and I started to worry about the schedule, the time we were losing and Lord's Rake. Off Broad Crag at 6am we heard voices and met coach loads of "Three Peak'ers" having "done Ben Nevis and now on their way to Snowdon; it seemed like unorganised chaos. We slipped and slithered round them and headed up Scafell Pike.
Climbing Billy Bland's Rake and Keith emerging from West Wall Traverse
I wasn't happy about the Lords Rake rock and decided to do West Wall Traverse so we didn't have to touch it plus I hate the descent on the other side of it. Homer led up it and we were all thankful to be at the top. Across to Scafell and then down, down, down to Wasdale. Confused about the schedule I wasn't sure how much time we had lost but knew we had and were now on the limit. We all needed to change clothes having been through the waist deep stream before Wasdale and so had a decent stop to recuperate. Tim Rippon's culinary delights went down a treat!
Across to Red Pike
Keith set off up Yewbarrow with a new Totley lad (Alex) and Simon Rippon. Tim and I had changed clothes and felt much happier. Keith was in a good spirits and chatted away. The rain had stopped across Scafell and so we were all dry and hopeful it had passed. We made time up across to Steeple which was encouraging. The wind however picked up there and was bitterly cold. The rain came down and it was rather miserable. Extra layers, full waterproofs and new gloves went on and off down the rocks we slithered (yet again). We tried to make up a few minutes across Pillar, Kirkfell and Gable but to no avail. Every time we gained a couple we would lose them. The rocks were so slippy and Keith was tired. The rain had washed normally nice paths away and made a gully through them. Navigation was still hard and we made silly errors across to Brandreth and Grey Knotts. Leaving Grey Knotts I got the situation sorted in my head and tried to relay this to Keith clearly. He certainly understood as he said straight away "So it's still do able then? I thought it was all over and you lot were just carrying on being nice to me? Right I'm not stopping at Honister" and he flew off.
Through Honister we went grabbing food as fast as we could and set off up Dale Head after him with Lucy and Joe. He absolutely caned it up there doing it in 29 minutes and leaving his supporters struggling. I got a load of gels down and managed to take my over trousers off as I couldn't keep up. I came round a bit coming off the top and now that it was do able we all really cheered up and started to enjoy it. Keith was giving it his best - puffing away now and again but running like a trooper. He was taking gels and plenty of water off Lucy and it was a pleasure to see him perk up. Even the clag started to lift and running down Robinson we got some views but there was no time to stop. Nick Cable did a stirling job of finding the grassy lines and we were soon on the road. We dropped our bags at the support there (thanks chaps) and trotted off down the road. This went on and on a bit and Keith was glad to see the end of it. Simon R started on with his motivational chatter and Keith responded by picking up the pace again. Across the path over the waterlogged field to Keswick and then the final run up to the hall. Keith finished in 23 hours and 27 minutes.
17th June (Fathers Day and Steve's birthday). Yesterday I did the Great Lakes race. Travelling up with Keith H, Helen, Tim Whittaker and Brent we arrived early and were reluctant to get out of the car and into the rain and wind. The clag was down and the rivers swollen. After registration we knew the race was to go ahead which was good. Setting off in a somewhat reduced field the first climb was steady up to Bowfell. I was with Tim as we descended and a bit happier as I now knew the route well to Scafell. The wind was very cold and my hands got cold even with gloves on. I had opted for 3/4's at the last minute and was glad of the extra layer on my legs even though the whole lot was soaked by now. It was slippy on the rocks across to Esk Pike, Great End, Scafell Pike down and round Foxes Tarn which was simply a waterfall and upto Scafell. Coming off Scafell I wrestled with my compass, coat and map but I was determined not to blindly follow and to navigate across to the finish.
Getting sorted the main pack of about 10 runners had disappeared but I was on a bearing and at the right height so maintained it. A few brave souls had opted to follow me and so a few of us ran alone in the mist! Contouring round we saw the other pack arriving on our left. This meant we all arrived at the CP together and it was very crowded. The gully was apparently dangerous and so Tim and I opted for the around route but tried to drop off a couple of times too early and met a steep drop down the crags. Eventually we got it right and hit a lovely grassy trod down into the valley. We stayed high and could see someone heading for the river where we had planned to cross. They got across ok (it was Hazel Robinson) and so we went in. It was ok till half way then fast flowing and waist deep. Good underfoot though. We helped a few more people cross and set off to the next stream. This one was narrow and so very fast flowing. Five of us (incl Hazel) crossed all linked together and it was ok.
Most people seemed to be heading straight up but I wanted to go for the col and so stuck on my bearing. I think we were too high and ended up in the rocks but it was ok and we soon hit the col. Sticking to my bearings Tim and I crossed the "no mans" land of tarns and bogs and I was pleased when we then had the hill on our right and were dropping to the col before Blisco. Just one more hill and a long descent to go. I was almost disappointed as I was really enjoying it. There were just two lads with me and Tim now and we plodded up Blisco. Off there we went a little wrong but quickly corrected it and were soon running and slithering down the wet grassy ramp to the river where we made the detour to the bridge and the finish. We finished in 4hrs and a few seconds. Keith and Helen came in at about 4.30hrs. Brent was doing well and about 30 mins behind them until Slight Side whereupon it took him a few tries to find Blisco and he made it to the finish in just over 7 hours! Results
Dark Peak Ladies did very well as Liz Batt and Judith Jepson finished a couple of minutes ahead of me (but I never saw them all day!) and so we were 5th, 6th 7th and awarded 1st Team.
Well done to Ian for running the race and thanks to the marshalls sat on the CP's all day.
12th June - Last weekend was the LAMM. I entered the Elite with Kirsty Bryan Jones. The forecast was to be showers and about 12C. We camped at the Event centre on the Oban road about 30 minutes from Tyndrum. It was quite warm and the midges were out in force on Saturday morning. We decided to wear longs as we thought it would be colder up on the tops and also were being cautious about tics and midges. This was our first mistake - the forecast was wrong and it was about 17C, no wind and very humid. We were roasting all weekend!
To get to the start we had a mini bus ride to the ferry, a nice boat trip across Loch Etive and then a short mini bus trip to the start. Marking up the map I was reading out the controls and Kirsty marked up the map. Setting off in a hurry so that we could escape the midges we made good progress to CP1 and CP2. Heading over to CP 3 we had to climb a deer fence which seemed odd but we carried on. Just before we started the climb I checked the description "Crossing Point" I read. It can't be, it's on top of a hill. So we checked the controls and to our horror realised I had missed one. About 1km down the deer fence was a control we had missed. So there was nothing for it but to backtrack to it. A long slow plod which cost us 1hr as we did 1.23 split and everybody else did less than 20 minutes.
So on we went back to CP 4 - now trailing off the back of the pack and although trying to cheer ourselves up that at least we had realised and not been "mp"' at the finish it was very demoralising. To make matters worse I had been suffering with a blister on my heel and it was getting really painful. I tried a couple of plasters then eventually sat down and taped it up but all day it was causing me to run strangely and I was worried about day 2.
The rest of the day just went on and on. The terrain was rather uninspiring - low level hills covered in deep tussocks, very slow going. We caught another team which was a highlight (they then dropped out so we were once again last). We took a dubious line through some forest which although interesting wasn't the best and emerged rather dishevelled onto the track. Down to a CP - bridge. Now at the far end of Loch Etive and with a huge climb from 25m to 700m in front of us. We had eaten all of our day 1 food and so started on day 2 breakfast as we still had a few hours to go. Sitting (eventually) on top of the hill Bemn Chadrach we thought about camping - it was a lovely spot! But on we went taking the scenic ridge and so bagging the munro Stob Coir an Albannaich on route. This was lovely, we had views across to Ben Nevis, deer to keep us company, lovely short grass to walk on and it started to rain so we were also cool. As we were coming off we met some girls on the B course heading up to the top. They were worried about cut offs but we reassured them that there weren't any and to keep going. It made us feel better knowing there were other people having "long days out". So down we went - a couple more tricky CP's and down the track to the campsite. 11 hours and 40 minutes, 13th out of 13 but 3 teams had ditched.
I started making food (as I was starving), Kirsty was putting the tent up but on a right slope and so luckily some friends of hers stepped in and helped out (thanks very much). So then started the Big Eat! Soup, followed by Beef and Potato hotpot, followed by Veg Tikka followed by Mixed berries and Custard. By this time the midges were horrendous and I was cooking on the bridge where there was a little breeze. Bringing the bags of food we headed into the tent to finish eating. Now it was 10pm so we had our tipples - whisky for Kirsty, Vodka and black for me. Then we were asleep in minutes. Earlier in the evening I had mentioned that I had before wee'd into a bottle to save having to brave midges - Kirsty didn't look impressed and so I let the suggestion pass. However at 9pm when the midges advanced their main battalion Kirsty must have mulled this over and at 10pm suggested a new use for the very strong large foot shaped bags that were issued to us at the start. Our on suite loo worked very well overnight and we were largely able to sleep midgeless!!!
So 5am came too quickly - we had decided that we would set off at the early start of 6am so started moving. The midges were even worse now and so no cooking was done - we saved the extra pudding to make up in emergency and after treating our blisters with an extensive selection of plasters and tape (that Kirsty had the foresight to bring) we set off. Kirsty assurred me that after 30 mins my feet would be ok - I hoped so because they were agony right now! We looked at the map and were pleasantly surprised. It looked ok - we were heading home all day. Some big climbs but overall do able. The day passed quite uneventfully. Sometimes we were too hot and sometimes the huge climbs were hard but overall we enjoyed the day. The terrain was nice, short grass, pleasant contouring. The hills were bigger but subsequently the views magnificent. The weather a little cooler and it actually rained on us. We had a fair bit of food but still managed to run out completely with an hour to go, saving the pud and a Mars for emergencies. We finished in 8 hours and 58 minutes.
Overall a very hard weekend. I was too hot most of the time and it was a very long way. All the courses were long though and lots of people had been out longer than normal. The winners were out one hour longer both days. I would like to do it again so it couldn't have been that awful! My legs have been fine ever since and my feet sore but ok thanks to Kirsty's knowledge and experience of blister treatment. And as Kirsty's mother has been telling her since her childhood - "its the taking part that matters". Someone has to be last and on this occasion we are proudly that team! Results and splits are on http://www.lamm.co.uk/
2nd June - Ennerdale Fell Race. It was hard. I was either tired, hungry, hot or had nothing in my legs - OR it felt like all of those. Initially I thought I'll be better when I warm up, then after an hour (when I was very warm) I thought "oh well, one hour done, only another 4 to go". I got cramp on Green Gable, drank so much my stomach was sloshing around and then I felt sick. Felt better on Kirkfell and across to Pillar but then lightheaded and very hungry all the way to the finish. Many thanks to the marshall at the last checkpoint who not only had water but gave me a gel which got me to the finish. I finished in 4.55 hours, 3rd Lady and 1st V40.
Having already planned to then travel to Wales and hopefully support Willy Kitchen on his Paddy Buckley round I then ate and drank (tea and 1.5ltr coke was needed before I even wanted a pee!) as much as I could on the drive back. I had been getting updates - Willy had set off from Llanberis at 2am on Saturday morning. He was 10 mins up at Ogwen, then 30 mins up at Capel and Aberglasyn so it was looking like I wouldn't make it to Rhyd Ddu by 8pm ish when he was due it. I decided to head to Llanberis and up onto Snowdon. The rain and clag was moving in when I set off at 9.30pm eating a curry pot noodle while on the move! The last update was that Willy had dropped his advantage and was now on schedule. Heading up to the col before Foel Goch I could see Snowdon was in thick clag. I contoured Moel Cynghorion and was then on route climbing Snowdon. The clag came in at 500m and it was cold and raining. I decided to head on up and see what time it was when I got to 940m. The wind was in my face and it was cold. I felt sorry for Willy having to finish in this and for his supporters having to navigate in it too. At 900m it was 11pm, Willy was due on Snowdon at 11.10pm so I made the decision to stay on the path at about that height as I didn't want to miss him. I jogged up and down the path for about 30 minutes with my torch on flash but no sign of him. He was due on Moel Cynghorion at 0.06 and it was now 23.45 so I headed down hoping to get out the clag and maybe see their lights ahead of me if I'd missed them.
At 600m I heard voices and saw torches behind. It was them! Willy, Bob Berzins and Steve Martin. Willy was very steady and complaining of cramp. He seemed pleased to see me - I certainly was to see him. We continued down to the col and on up to Moel Cynghorion. I offered him a couple of "spicy squirms" - squirms being one of his requests - and these went down well. He was still climbing very well and I was confident that it would still be ok. However we still lost more minutes over Foel Goch and Foel Gron even though Willy was now moving very well. I was just hoping there was enough in the tank to get him down to Llanberis at a good pace.
Meeting Ian Fitz and Carl Betts on Moel Eilio cheered Willy up further and I managed to get one photo even though the camera was complaining of being wet and cold - who wasn't! Off we went down to the lights of Llanberis. Through the heather, gorse and bogs on the direct line to the gate. There I jumped in my van left at the fell gates and sped down to Llanberis to be there when Willy and co trotted in under 24 hours (exact time to discovered as I didn't have my watch running). Well done Willy.....
26th May - I travelled upto the Lake District with Keith Holmes, Helen Elmore and Tim Whittaker at 4am in the morning. Keith planned to set off on his Joss Naylor round at 7.30am accompanied by Helen Elmore and Tim Rippon. The weather promised to be hot with a strong NE breeze. At 7.25am there was no sign of Tim and so Helen gallantly set off as sole supporter on Leg 1 going on a 12 hour schedule with no prior knowledge of the area. Tim arrived 10 minutes later and was driven up through the campsite where we could see Keith and Helen in the distance. He grabbed his rucksack and set off at a run after them.
Tim Whittaker and I drove upto Kirkstone Pass followed by Laura (who was to collect Tim R). Mark Townsend soon arrived to support Leg 2 and set off up Red Screes as he was tired from OCT the week before. Keith and Helen arrived 10 minutes down on the 12 hours schedule (Keith wanting to achieve this even though as over 55 he actually has 15 hours to complete). They were both flustered as the pace had been fast and the schedule confusing. Keith looked strong and was ready to go after a couple of minutes. Helen set off on Leg 2 with Keith at a cracking pace. Neither me nor Tim envied her at all and hoped he would slow a bit by Leg 3.
There was no sign of Tim R though and so Laura rang him. Leaving him a message I said "he has got his phone hasn't he?" Looking in their car was the answer "No. its on the backseat". So now we were slightly worried as the map wasn't marked up for the leg. We waited 30 minutes and then had to leave Laura to wait for Tim. Just as we were pulling out he ran in. Not only didn't he have his phone, he had picked up Laura's rucksack in haste and had not had any food or water. But at least he had arrived.
Driving round to Dunmail I got a text from Helen to say she had dropped off the pace and would make her own way to Dunmail. That's fine. Tim and I arrived with an hour to spare and so got changed and packed our rucksaks up. Carrying as much water as possible the sacs felt heavy and we ate as much as we could so that we could carry less food. The temperature had warmed up although the wind was very strong. Keith arrived still 10 mins down and had a 5 minute stop where we made him eat pasta. It was now just me and Tim to support him to finish while Helen would drive the car round to Wasdale.
The pace had slowed a bit and also from Steel Fell to Bowfell Keith went through a bad patch and so we lost a few more minutes on the schedule. I wasn't worried as time can be made up on the last leg. We concentrated on good navigation and getting Keith to eat and drink. The weather was perfect. It would have been too hot without the wind. We were drinking a lot and filled up at every opportunity (even filling Keith's bladderpack from a stream off Great End) as we knew that across from Gable the chances of water are slim.
Coming across from Bowfell we got back on schedule pace and Keith cheered up a bit. After that we were gaining on the long climbs and mainly staying on schedule otherwise so I knew a sub 12 hour round was on. After Great Gable we didn't see any walkers and instead we met three lots of BG'ers which was very sociable. The sun began to set over Pillar, Scoat and Steeple and it was marvellous to be out the Lakeland fells. I almost didn't want it to finish although on second thoughts, I was looking forward to some proper food! Haycock, Seatallen and Middle Fell came and went quickly with Keith speeding up and making very good time. We all ran down to Greendale Bridge at 19.01 minutes so Keith completed in 11.31 hours. A massive achievement for a 50 year old let alone a 58 year old!!! Well Done Keith.
Photos on Gallery
23rd May - last weekend Steve and I were in Wales supporting Simon Rippon, Brent Lindsay and Mark Pearce on their Paddy Buckley attempts. The weather was pretty rubbish on Friday night but during Saturday slowly improved. They set off from Capel Curig at 11am and had to contend with clag all the way across to Aberglasyn. All three arrived on schedule at 6pm in good spirits. Off up Bryn Banog they went and we drove round to the next road crossing to wait for them to arrive at 9.40pm. Mark arrived early having pulled out after Moel Hebog - he said he wasn't up to it on the day and needed to get fitter and faster. We waited for Simon and Brent to arrive a little down on schedule. Simon was complaining about his knee but I made him carry on. Brent looked strong and after some food and clothes change they both set off up Craig Wen together.
Steve was supporting Brent (with Tom Westgate) and I was with Simon Rippon (and Simon Cox, Tim Rippon). Simon was quiet but climbing well but his knee was obviously hurting him on the descents. Brent was more consistent but steady. We were generally losing a bit of time but it was still claggy and so I was overall pleased with the pace. Once over Snowdon we split into two groups but I could hear Tom busily navigating behind me. I started to chat to Simon about his knee, the pace and generally how he felt. Over the more runnable stuff towards Llanberis it was clear that descending wasn't very easy for him but he was climbing very well. By the last descent into Llanberis his mind was made up - he was going to stop there. I think it was the right decision given that we were now 20 minutes down on a 23.30 schedule.
Brent came in a few minutes later. He was still consistently happy and strong and so after some food set off up the quarries with Willy, Jim Paxman and Dave Holmes. We drove round to Ogwen to await their arrival at 7am (more like 7.20am if they stayed on schedule). There was now a plethora of supporters for the last leg - me, Anne Beresford, Martyn Goodwin and Nick Cable. We were all ready at 6.45am but there was no sign of them. Dave Holmes came running in at 7.40am saying Brent wanted to go straight through and so that's what we did.
Brent was still in good spirits and started the first climb very strongly but it soon became clear that he wasn't able to make up the time needed to get round in 24 hours. Running across the Carnedds that was more or less accepted by him and then the supporters. The pace slowed, we all started chatting and generally enjoying the sunshine, the views and the company. Joined by Jude Stansfield and Mark Pearce on the last hill we all ran down to Capel Curig. Brent finished in 25 hours and 4 minutes. A grand effort.
14th May - Since the Fellsman I've had to recover and have had one weekend in the Lakes then this weekend at home with Steve. Yesterday we went to Scarborough to a banknote (and lots of other tat) auction. Steve's very happy as he bought the four lots he wanted and they are a good buy. We then walked on the seafront and had ice creams. It was heaving with holidaymakers and rather too crowded for me. Yesterday I also started my "training" - so went and did some speed/hill work locally then today did a local long run called Prison 12 taking Tilly and Tyke.
29th April - the return to ultra running - yesterday I completed the Fellsman for the 4th year running winning for the 3rd time in a time of 13 hours and 35 minutes. This is the lovely trophy and the Results
22nd April - My birthday! Yesterday I travelled upto the Lakes and did the Teenager with Altitude race. My aim was not to feel knackered climbing Robinson (which I was there last year). I was also hoping to wake my legs up a bit as they were quite heavy at Coledale. So I set off steadily and enjoyed the view as it was claggy last year. The weather was reasonable - some sunshine and one hail shower. I got some food and gels down before Newlands Hause and was really enjoying the race. I started to catch a few people up as well which was nice. Climbing Robinson felt ok as did Hindsgarth and Dale Head. We joined the Anniversary Race there and it was good to get pulled along by fresher faster runners. I got a reasonable line down past the tarn, waving to Joss as I passed. The ridge to Catbells didn't feel half as tough as last year (but then again I wasn't first nor had Helene Whittaker chasing me!). Keith Holmes passed me with shouts of "you took some catching" - and I am in a different race!! I finished in 3.42 hours - about 6 minutes slower than last year and 4th Lady, 1st V40 (although technically Judith Jepson who won was 1st but the organisers passed the prize down which I always agree with).
So a very good day all round. I won a bright yellow waterproof jacket in Large - which Steve is very pleased with and a nice Lakeland mug.
15th April - I travelled up to the Lake District and did the Coledale Horseshoe race. I set off steady and tried to stay within myself. The legs felt heavy but I settled into a good walk uphill which I enjoyed. It was nice to see the men coming passed and I tried not to get in their way as I was being a pansy on the descents. By the time I was descending off Barrow I had got a bit of confidence back and was stretching out so could enjoy the long run in to the finish. I was the 4th counter for Dark Peak Ladies and we were 2nd Ladies Team.
8th April - First running news since my operation. On Sunday I went up to the Lakes and reccied Leg 1 of the BG with Keith Holmes and Joe Mann. Although the weather was good in Keswick by the time we reached Skiddaw summit we had two layers, waterproof , hat and gloves on. It was raining and very cold. I was so happy to be back in the hills again though that I loved it. We were lucky with the wind as it only hit us on the summits, it stopped raining after Skiddaw and in the valleys we actually got a view. A good recce.
5th March - 3 Blind Mice and a Farmers Wife - me, Ian Charlesworth, Simon Rippon and new member Simon Cox competed in the Watershed (High Peak Marathon) last Friday. Setting off at 11.40pm we were soon into clag on the first top - Lose Hill. From then on we knew navigation was to play an important part in the race. We made a couple of minor errors early on but from Moscar kept our eyes firmly on the route, maps and compasses. I was very pleased with all our route finding and team work. Simon Cox unfortunately wasn't right from the start but credit to him he just soldiered on always jogging to keep up when he could and even making the odd cheery comment. We kept being overtaken by the same teams - noticeably the other mixed team who came passed us about five times. The last time was about 1 mile from the finish and so with a 6 minute lead on us (as they started at 11.46pm) we knew they had won the Mixed Trophy.
Finishing in 9.34 hours is a personal best of 25 minutes which we are extremely pleased with. Our overall position was 4th, 2nd Mixed but we were informed that we were leading the Vets category and were awarded the Vets trophy along with tankards and Woodhead Mountain Rescue Ale. Results
26th Feb - Steve and I ran the New Chew as a pair today. It was claggy on the tops but cleared in the afternoon. We were taking it easy and being careful not to get injured as we are both doing the High Peak Marathon next weekend. After a couple of silly mistakes that weren't serious but just meant we wasted 5 mins each time finding the checkpoint we framed ourselves and hit all the rest of the controls spot on. We finished 8th overall in the Long Score and 1st Mixed Team so we came home with some chocolate. A really enjoyable day which is just what we both needed.
Monday 20th - Thursday 23rd. A rather upsetting week with a MRI scan on Monday followed by gynaecologist appointment on Thursday whereby I was advised to have a hysterectomy to remove "cells that aren't cancer but that could turn into cancer". There is a technical term for the cells but who can remember them while trying to digest that news. This was initially devastating for me to learn as I am feeling fitter than ever before and ready for the races / challenges / workload that I have planned for this year. But a few days have passed now and I have come to terms with it a bit. I was unsure where and how to write this but will add some stuff to the News and some more on the Breast Cancer page
19th Feb - Although the weather forecast was poor I went to the Lakes with Keith Holmes to recce the 4th Leg of the BG. We drove through some heavy showers and expected the worse but luckily for us the rain had moved off the Lakes once we arrived and we only had one hail shower while running. We went from Wasdale up Yewbarrow and round to Great Gable then took in Lingmell on our way back to Wasdale in preference to a long valley run! Excellent conditions. Photos
11th Feb - After cancellation of Pennine Relay and Mickleden I was watching to see if Wadsworth would be cancelled. But with a couple of course alterations and lots of warnings (all needed) the race went ahead. The ice was treacherous - stuff you could see but a lot you couldn't and any stiles, farmer's tracks or rocks were lethal. I fell over warming up and squished a gel in my pocket so had to start with borrowed gloves and a very sticky thigh. But that was my warning; after that I was very careful on the ice, frustrating as it is to be walking when it's flat runnable ground! We missed the down and up at the start and maybe it was just that but my legs felt really good all the way round. I was 1st Lady early on but Ali Raw was just behind me wearing spikes which obviously made a huge difference on icy tracks. I was running hills I don't usually even with a lot of hanging onto the edges (which if walls were covered with ice) and it all seemed to go very quickly. There was some difficult soft snow on the top in the first half and I imagined it would be the same at the end so got a lot of gels and sweets down as although you're not going very fast it's very energy sapping.
Once the loop was done and we were back at the road I had caught Greg Rimmer which was nice as I was unsure of the best route across the moors. Using bearing and a direct line to get to the shaft left us floundering in snow, heather and bogs but once at the shaft we were on hard packed ice paths to the summit. I was still 1st and couldn't see Ali behind but pushed onto the finish. It was a great feeling to enter the cricket field and I even enjoyed the lap round to the finish! My time was 3.28 hours - 15 minutes quicker than my pb but the course was a little shorter.
4th February - a cold snowy day gave me the time I needed to do my Colombia write up! to go with my Colombia photos
30th January - This weekend I had an excellent trip to the Lakes. After listening to the forecast throughout the week and the weather on Friday evening I was expecting the worse but the weather was perfect. No wind at all and on Saturday we were in sunshine. The snow (knee deep and soft) did make running hard work and progress was hindered but no-one complained as the views and company made up for that. My rather ambitious plan of doing Leg 3 of the BG then the Great Lakes route back to Langdale had to be cut short before Bowfell. By then we had decided that Billy Blands Rake would be full of chest high snow anyway. Going direct to Scarfell Pike then across to Scarfell we arrived at the summit at 4pm. The daylight lasted well but we did the last hour and half in the dark running off Blisco to arrive in Langdale at 7pm. It was fun though and good to experience the terrain and distance! Ian Fitz had cooked up a selection of excellent curries for tea finished off with an experimental cheesecake (made by oneself).
Sunday was a more relaxed plod through Leg 1's snow. How nice that someone had already ploughed a furrow on Sat over half the route for us to follow! On Mungrisdale comman we found a frozen trod that was actually quite runnable so long as you lifted your knees and took a size 4 ! Nice snowy decent off Blencathra finished the day off perfectly Lakes photos