20th February - Last week I travelled to Alston with Bruce and Wisp to meet Helen Elmore and Tim Rippon. We spent three days exploring new areas around the great Haggs Bank Bunkhouse which I discovered during the Spine reccies and it's just a great friendly hostel. I carried Bruce up Cross Fell which we did on the Tuesday in a cold wind but nothing like Spine conditions! Bruce was introduced to lots of things on this trip which was part of the reason for meeting up as I wanted him to learn about sleeping in the van, travelling, going to pubs, meeting people and dogs. We also got some lead practice and successfully negotiated a field of chickens! On Monday night we headed into Alston in search of a pub and all looked very quiet and closed but we spotted Turks Head Inn Alston just down from the co-op that was open and welcomed us and the dogs in. It really was the best "first" pub for Bruce and also a friendly pub for us and we spent both Monday and Tuesday evenings in there getting to know the owners and locals. Selection of photos from me, Helen and Tim
Hoppits organisation is underway and I will be down on Friday 22nd to organise the races with Keith, Ian and Andy as usual. I will be passing this onto Dewsbury Runners from next year. This is my last year!!
10th February - Steve and I hiked up Merrick (well halfway up) with the dogs and Bruce in a rucksack. The weather was worse than forecast and we just checked the markings of the Merrick Hill race and then came back down to the warmth of the truck! More on www.Brucescrown.co.uk and Photos
Bruce is growing well and my recovery has been a walk / jog round the rough land near Mark on a morning and then some gardening or outside work from 4pm onwards in order to get him outside again. I've taken him on some longer hikes by carrying him in the rucksack on my front which sometimes he agrees with and sometimes he doesn't! This week however I've been itching to do some more so tomorrow I might have a warm up with him and then a longer run with just Wisp and Paddy (which they will love!). I've been busy organising Hoppits races along with Keith and we've getting everything sorted now.
3rd January - A recce of Bruce's Crown up Shiel Hill this morning in what was supposed to be sunshine but was raining and windy! Bruce wasn't happy at being carried but there was no way he was climbing it on his own little legs! Photos Organisation of the Hoppits Races is underway and many thanks to my helpers at Penistone Footpath Runners and Keith Holmes for agreeing to do yet one more year for me! See you all there on 25th February!
31st January - Bruce's Crown organisation is gathering momentum and to help me and other runners I went on a recce yesterday. I've written it up on the https://www.brucescrown.co.uk/News.htm page . I wanted Bruce to come with us but he's too young to be doing so much and so I carried him in a rucksack up all the ascents and along the forest track at the end (much to his annoyance there!). He's just the opposite of Joss in every way so far apart from their love of descending at speed and stopping by doing a rolypoly!
28th January - so I have finished the Spine and written it up today! Spine Race 2024.html
After I finished I came home with Anna (a lady I coach from Denmark who had finished the Spine North) and spent a couple of days recovering and sleeping a lot. Then I travelled to the National Running Show and then did a talk at Mavern Joggers on the Monday night before driving home on the Tuesday. It all seems a long time ago now and I'm trying to recover by having lots of walks with Bruce! Recovery is going well and I really am looking forward to getting back in the mountains I have missed.
The Bruce's Crown race organisation is coming on well. Entries have opened and I'm having regular meetings with Galloway Mountain Rescue.
While at the National Running Show I was approached by Mikey from Dewsbury Road Runners and they are going to take Hoppits on and so I have been busy getting that off the ground for 2024!! I'm really pleased and happy that the races will continue.
11th January - I was hoping for a long post but the day has been busy with Bruce having vaccination at the vets in Girvan and Spine packing (of course!). So tomorrow we're heading to Sheffield for the Spine registration on Saturday, and the start of the Spine on Sunday at 8am. I've enjoyed training and reccying for this race all summer and autumn. All the reccies, bar the last one, I did with Joss and once I get to Standedge I will be reminded of him a lot on route. This will be good for me as with the arrival of Bruce (who is completely different to Joss) I can look forward to running with dogs again. Wisp of course is still running strongly (even the vet said she's in fine health!) so once I've recovered from the Spine I'll be back out with two dogs (and Paddy sometimes) on the hills.
Back to the Spine - I'm looking forward to getting going and using the first section to Hebden Bridge as a kit and food check. The weather is looking cold and snowy in places. Just what I like and I'm happy with my kit and clothes. You can follow me on https://live.opentracking.co.uk/spinerace24/
9th January - I hope to update again this week with news of the Spine race which I start on Sunday. And also more photos of Bruce the puppy - growing and being a terror. But for now I'm just letting you know that the www.BrucesCrown.co.uk website has been updated with the Route and Rules. I'm having a meeting tomorrow night with Galloway MRT and hope to know when entries are opening very soon. We have the Scottish Hill Runners permit and Forestry, Land Scotland are in the process of granting the permissions. All exciting stuff.
1st January 2024 - technically and when I next update (maybe this week) this will be a new Diary. The main news being that I drove to the Lakes last week, avoiding the floods but having to drive through some deep water on route. I stayed in the campervan with Wisp and on Thursday morning we went for a short run in the storm and then collected Bruce at 10.30am. The drive back was ok and he settled in well. He's not Joss and his character is different. He seems so little and fragile and we're trying to keep one step ahead with the eating and anxiety. I will be glad when we have done a week. Wisp and Paddy are being tolerant except when he tries to play with them. I have uploaded the photos of the day I collected him and since he's been at Mark in the new Gallery 2024/Bruce
Today I have managed to get the JAlbum working again. Every time I have a computer issue I end up starting a new Gallery as otherwise I have in the past over-ridden the old one with the new rather than adding more to the old. So a successful today and the sun was shining for once so Bruce was able to spend more time in the garden and is well on the way to house training himself!