Wednesday 15 June 2011

My Bob Graham Round 11th June 2011

Well all the training and planning was over; the day was finally here, it sure crept up quick. The day was a mixture of thinking about the Bob G and thinking even more about the Bob G! Someone said to me that it sure can get inside your head and boy does it; especially the last few hours before the start. The day was spent getting the food and clothing together into some order for the different stops etc.

All day I only managed about 2 hours sleep and come 10 pm it was time to leave Heysham with Rachel at the wheel.

We stopped at Threlkeld to meet and pick up Martin Holroyd and we were soon having a brew inside his camper while watching some lights coming down Halls Fell ridge, (busy all ready!) Paul and Scott arrived and after leaving vehicles there we were off to Keswick. We arrived at the car park and was met by Rhys, Gibbi, and Tom. The banter had already started as I kitted up and past my supplies etc to my first pacers. Through the ginnel into the market square we were met by a good number of Friday night drunks wanting in on the excitement and photo's and also a crowd of more Bob G runners. Actually there were two runners and their pacers getting ready for a mid night start also. Hmm I thought; "its going to be busy up there tonight". After a few pictures and clock watching; the time was approaching for me to put all the hard training into practice. Paul called time (00.00) and we set off on leg 1.

LEG1- with Paul Aitken, Scott Newburn, & Martin Holroyd + Sam and Nel (Paul and Martins dogs)

We set off up hill into station road, I am sure this confused the other two groups. (Rachel: it sure did...they were all mighty confused at your choice of route and asked if you were doing a different race, ha). A quick detour through the leisure centre and we were crossing the footbridge over the A66 and on to the ascent of Skiddaw. Not far behind were all the lights of the other two groups. On the last few metres of the ascent of Skiddaw we found ourselves in low cloud and the first summit was reached 3 minutes up on schedule. Only another 41 Peaks to go!!
Descending along the well marked trod, the other groups in tow had caught us up and we all reached Great Calva together and as we dropped down to Wiley Gill to follow the trod to the River Caldew crossing which was refreshing. One set of lights had dropped behind us and for some reason one group had cut straight across the moor from Great Calva and seem to drop well back. Not what I'd call a short cut as we had followed a good path. All we now had to do was the long ascent over on to Mungrisdale Common and once it leveled off Paul navigated us on to the path; now back in low cloud we started ascending Foule Crag onto the top where we then followed the path to the summit of Blencathra. Now came the descent of Hall's Fell ridge; something I was wanting smoothly out of the way in the Dark. Fortunately the rock was bone dry and grip was good. Paul's Navigation was spot on and the dogs were showing us how to descend it. Looking behind there were no lights! Then looking sidewards we saw lights; the other two groups were descending directly down onto Gate Gill! We were making good progress, we then noticed that the other groups lights were falling further behind. Looks like there choice of route wasn't quicker at all.
Down to the road, we passed a load of support vehicles for the other two groups. We got a good pace going down to the main road to be met by my support crew cheering me across the road into the car park for my 10 minutes stop. Fortunately, my pacers Martin and Paul did a good job of feeding me on leg 1 and Scott supplied me with plenty of fluid. A quick sock and top change; some hot tea, toast and marmalade (Rachel says: who i have Rhys to thank for helping me make them) and half a boiled egg butty (this was going to be the most I hate in the whole of my Bob G). Also assisting Rachel at the stop was as mentioned Rhys and Gibbi and Tom. That was the quickest 10 minutes off my life and no sooner had i sat down i was back up again and we were off for the start of leg 2.

TOTAL LEG 1 TIME: 03:48, 5 minutes up on my schedule.

LEG 2-with Matt Richardson and Mark Rowley

Setting off and leaving the camera flashes and cheers behind we were on the road making our way towards Newsham, no need for Head torches at this time of day now. Once past the old railway carriage we were crossing Old Coach Road and over the style for the ascent up onto Clough Head which was free of cloud. We could see another Bob G group well in front and the other 2 groups behind us had fallen behind. Clough Head was reached in good time and the way ahead looked great with clear views. A good pace was set and the Dodds were past easily, now being 8 minutes up on Schedule. Running down to Sticks Pass and the ascent up to Raise; the summit was finally reached giving us some fantastic views of the Langdales and the rest of my route in the day ahead!
Passing Whiteside and on the ascent to Helvellyn lower man I starting to feel my first feelings of tiredness, not in my legs but just from the lack of sleep. So I took a SIS gel that contained a high dose of caffeine as well as some well needed carbs. an instant; literally as fast as you are read this I felt alert and awake again. The trig point at the summit of Helvellyn was reached and past and then we were off on our way on down towards Nethermost Pike and a fine view of Ingleborough was noted. In the distance I could see the last peak of this Leg; Seat Sandal and not thinking about the ascent onto Fairfield too much as we still had Dollywaggon to reach. Again with no problems I was 12 minutes up on schedule. I kept to the same route as in my training; heading down towards Grisedale tarn via the zig - zag path. On descending I started with a shooting pain in my left knee...not good. I thought once we reached the bottom of the path by the outlet of Grisedale tarn it might ease so once there I gave my muscles a massage and took some Ibuprofen.
We took the path up towards Cofa pike and noticed that the other two groups were going the other way round. The knee was less painful on the ascents and I knew the loose scree of Fairfield would be kinder to my knee. At the summit of Fairfield I was now 14 minutes up on schedule. On the descent we passed the other two groups on their ascent, who had fallen further behind by now. One good thing was one of the runners had picked up my Buff which I dropped somewhere around the Dodd section. A few exchanges of 'Go on lads, keep pushing' and we were flying off down the scree with not much pressure on my knee. Down at Grisedale Hause we ran past a pile of rucksacks left by the other group and pushed on up Seat Sandal.
This was an easy ascent and I had a good shot of adrenalin pushing me on now knowing the end of the leg was very near. Once at the summit it was head down for the easy descent down to Dunmail Raise and I could taste the bacon butties waiting for me by now. Keeping to the well worn trod that has now developed due to vast numbers of Bob G recce's and attempts; we were on the descent down to Dunmail and our first sight of the road. The steeper path was greasy and there were a few slips and slides on the descent. Looking down there must have been 20 plus cars parked at the side of the road waiting for groups of runners. The group that were well in front were now not that far in front. Nearing the cars I was welcomed by shouting and cheering and it was nice to see some good friends down there cheering me in to my stop at Dunmail and a scrummy bacon and egg butty. I had made good time on my schedule, increasing it to 33 minutes. Another sock change, a quick massage to my calf and I managed to eat the sandwich as I hadn't eaten on leg 2 as I just couldn't get anything down. A couple of brews and my 15 minute stop was nearly over. I was over whelmed with the support here at the stop. Rachel again in full flow running round like a headless chicken, Val and Kev cooking the wonderful bacon and lots of brews. Gibbi and Tom was there and once again Rhys was there assisting with my sock change. It was good to see Paul and Martin had come through from Threlkeld to see me into Dunmail also.

LEG 2 TIME- 07-57, 33 minutes up on schedule

LEG 3- with Ken Robinson, Ian Harland, Ed Poulter

Ken set off 10 minutes before me to get his legs warmed up. The rest of us crossed the style to make the steep ascent out of Dunmail and up the gulley to the flat path that took us on to Steel Fell. The views ahead were good and not far in front was another Bob G group. I was starting to feel very tired and low at this point and was still getting pain from my knee. Ken started a word game of naming ports from the letters of the Alphabet. This helped to take my mind off the task ahead and passed the time as we were soon passing Calf Crag and I was now overall 21 minutes up on my schedule. We were now ascending the side of Mere beck when the group in front turned right to make the climb to High Raise first. We continued up and across to Sergeant Man and the summit was reached still keeping my 21 minutes, up on schedule. We set off across to High Raise when we noticed the other group were coming along the path leading from the other small cairn north east of High Raise! Hmmm. We were now on our way to Thunacar and I tried a slice of pizza which had now lost its appeal to me. I also had another Gel with caffeine to give me a much needed kick. Thunacar passed quickly and the group in front were moving off into the distance. Harrison Sickle came and somehow I was still 20 minutes up on schedule. A fine run down and then the ascent up to Pike 'o' Sickle. Ken and Ian went on the path below and waited for Ed and I to arrive from the summit. More drinks were passed to me ready for the run across to Rossett Crag. We follwed the direction of the Langdale fell race trod and on the descent to Stake Gill we had once again caught the other group up. My knee was certainly feeling the descents and having to put the pain to the back of my mind was barely working. On the path up towards Rossett Crag we over took the other group by the summit and I was now 17 minutes up on my schedule. Now we were on the descent to Rossett Gill to meet Alan Stockdale with some supplies for the next section. Katie had also walked up to meet us at this point and cheer us on. Fortunately Alan had brought some rice pudding and I managed to down one of these and drink a half litre of water and get another 1.5 litres of liquid as I had drunk the other 1.5 litres. I was certainly getting the fluid down me on Leg 3. Katie had a good look at m leg and was happy there was no ligament damage but more like swelling to the ligaments maybe caused by a tight calf muscles. This stop took 10 minutes off my schedule but it was much needed and I was really glad Alan had come on the day and brought plenty off stuff for me and my support. It was really shame I couldn't get the butties down my neck as they looked really nice. Now for the ascent by Hanging knotts to Bowfell. No sign now of the other group ahead but near the top Ken and Ian saw the other group had gone too far right instead of upwards. Just me and Ed ran to the summit of Bowfell as the others waited for us. Once past all the masses of walkers and sticks around the summit I was still 17 minutes up on schedule. On making our way down towards the others, the other group appeared over the lip off the path. At this point I realised we hadn't seen the other 2 groups that set off at the same time as me from the moot hall. Esk Pike was passed and we were making good progress now to Great End now 22 minutes up on my schedule. I had come out of my bad spell and wasn't thinking about my knee, Katie left us now to return to Langdale. As we made our way to Ill Crag Ken decided to push on to see Alan at broad stand and give him heads up we were getting near. Ill crag was passed and a scramble over boulders back to the path and the climb up onto Broad crag; we had to climb amongst the large boulders to get to the summit still being 22 minutes up on schedule. As we dropped down we had to again pick our way through the masses of walkers when another very fast moving Bob Graham threesome passed us and they were actually running up to Scafell Pike. It turned out later that this lad (not sure of his name) completed the round in 14 hours 59 minutes- the fourth ever fastest time, good effort. Back to earth and the top of England was reached 21 minutes up on schedule. Just the descent to do, passing the Mountain rescue box to hear shouts of encouragement from Alan and Ken. What a cracking job Alan Scowcroft had done with the rigging up Broad Stand and we were soon up it. I was a bit slimmey in places thanks to the previous weeks rain but was passed without problem. Just Scafell left on this leg and once reached I was 26 minutes up on schedule. The descent wasn't good for me; the stress on my knee and the knife like pains piercing through me kept making me stop. I thought this knee problem was going to stop me from completing my round. Just in time the scree had arrived and I could now ski down taking the pressure off my Ligaments. We were now on the bottom section of Brown tongue and crossing the river to take the track ready to be met by a large crowd cheering me on at my next stop. I saw some familiar faces and I shouted 'I'm going straight to the stream, get my stuff down to me' so i ran passed the cars and I was over the fence and in the icy water, thank god for cold mountain water. Amazingly I was still 24 minutes up on schedule. Rhys soon arrived with tea and flap jack and amazingly I got it down my neck. The tea tasted good. I spent a while in the water as the rest of my team started to arrive including Watto with my pasta. Out of the water on a rock I drank more tea and tried to eat the pasta as Watto and Rhys removed my foot ware and socks. The next set of pacers were being loaded up with Leg 4's food, drink and the much needed gels by Rachel and co. More Ibuprofen down my neck and the 20 minutes were nearly up.

LEG 3 TIME - 14:09 21 minutes up on schedule

LEG 4 with- Rhys Watkins, Peter Keron and Sam Watson

Off we went and I knew at the back of my mind I had the largest ascent of the Bob Graham facing me; Yewbarrow some 500 meters of ascent up to the summit. Before the style I had a pee stop which worried the team below, wondering what i was doing and thinking I'd burnt out before the climb had even started. Up and up and up we went and I remembered trying not to look behind me as this ascent is unforgiving when your tired and after being on your feet 14 plus hours it can mess with your head. Rhys kept drip feeding me with jelly beans and chocolate peanuts what was welcome. Sam kept passing me water and I have to say the lads did a great job of getting me up to the summit of Yewbarrow, now being 24 minutes up on my schedule. Maybe it was the drip feeding by Rhys or his terrible jokes. On to the cairn and we dropped on the trod below stirrup crags and onwards to the start of the climb for Red Pike. This goes on for quite a bit, it's not as vicious on the legs as Yewbarrow but the summit does seem to take its time to arrive. Still 23 minutes up on Schedule we still hadtime to take in the views and beautiful skies. Over Scoat fell and then down and up to Steeple; now 25 minutes up on time and we were back tracking to Scoat fell and after the summit we passed the other group that I had passed at Bowfell. The knee was still reminding me it was there on the descents (ouch), and the team kept thrusting bottles to me in all directions and Rhys kept the nibbles coming. I necked some more Gel just to keep me on top of things as we were now at Pillar summit dropping to 21 minutes up on my schedule. We now noticed there was extensive cloud starting to build up behind us, boo. We were soon down to Black sail pass and the climb up to Kirk fell. I was slowing up on the steep climb but once on the less steep ground, my pace picked up and I was much quicker; we eventually got to the top of Kirk Fell, now only 16 minutes up on my schedule. Not to dwell on time, we were soon making our way off Kirk fell and onto the steep drop down towards Beckhead tarn where Drew was waiting for us with a fresh top up of water and goodies. What a excellent job that was as again i was drinking lots but still not able to eat much. Not to hang around we started the ascent of Great Gable when the heavens decided to open making the top rocky section wet and greasy, undeterred by this the summit of Gable was reached, still 16 minutes up on schedule; this was a good feeling now as this was the last real climb on this leg. Down the rocky path I managed to side step to large boulders coming straight at me that tried to stop my Bob G attempt!!! Down at Wind Gap we were then climbing up to Green Gable in low cloud and I asked for a bearing to be taken for Brandreth as this could have easily be missed meaning a loss of precious time. It wasn't missed and we were there, 18 minutes up on scedule and now easy going, following the fence towards Grey Knotts and the lonely Silhouette of Adam Collinge was met with some extra juice. A quick hello and goodbye and we were on the final descent of this Leg. It was worth noting here that the rain had stopped and the cloud had lifted.
I decided to send Sam off ahead to Honister to tell the support that I was wanted rice pudding and lots of cups of tea again with my inability to eat during the leg. This at first probably worried the support at Honister as the lonely figure of Sam flying down towards them (Rachel adds, it did, we were all stood there wondering where you were and if you were ok. If anyone who knows Sam he does fly on the descents! But not to worry as we were soon on the small rise before the decent down to the cars and we were spotted from below (Rachel add: to great relief to all of the gang who were going...."come on Andy, where are you"). I once again put the pain of me knee behind me, as down at the bottom I was again greeted by large cheers and clapping from my own support and the support teams from the other runners. This was going to be a quick stop and it was good to see everyone once again. Rachel set off on leg 5 a few minutes before I was due to, to get a head start on the ascent. Support here was Gibbi and Tom, Viv and Mick Platt and this was another cracking job done by support keeping me going and my support runners fed and watered me up ready for the final leg and push to the end. My last sock change thanks to Watto and I was ready to leave.

LEG 4 TIME- 19.32 17 minutes up on schedule

LEG 5 with - Paul Aitken, Rhys Watkins, Keith Hill and Rachel Platt :) and Sam the dog

I was really glad Rachel was joining me on my last leg, all I needed to do now was keep going and hope the knee didn't just give up, not fall, or get lost. No pressure then. To say this is the last big ascent, it really is a kind one and the summit of Dale head was met, 12 minutes up on Schedule. Only 2 summits left!
The run was good and towards the summit of Hindscarth the cloud was met again. We returning to the direct trod towards Robinson, spirit was high, liquid and nibbles were been passed to me and the last part of the ascent for Robinson was in low cloud. Sam managed to find Rachel already waiting for us at the summit of Robinson after luckily finding the summit in about 2meter ziv and touch down; I was touching summit 42, my final summit of my attempt. A cheer from my support and a very big smile from me...(Rachel adds: and me and the gang inc Sam).
Some back slapping done and it was then once again, back to reality, we still had to negotiate the rocky section down to little town and the few miles of road that lay ahead. Down we went and the cloud was left behind on the peak to leave open views of the task ahead and a fantastic view down the valley to Keswick in the distance which unfortunatly still looked along way away. Passing the first rocky section which had been affected by the rain as it was quite greasy in places. We passed another Bob G group, unfortunately for them they were 25 hours plus over their time. The last rocky section was passed safely, more smiles from me and we heading along High Snab Bank to the last descent down to the track. My pace seem to pick up as we were now on the tarmac and round the corner we met the support where I downed a quick brew, Rachel and Rhys called it a day and what a job Rhys did on the last 2 legs. He did a great job of trying to feed me and feeding my more with plenty of encouragement. Thanks for Rachel as she had spent the last few hours running here there and everywhere making sure I had everything where I needed it and now got to run Leg 5 with me and share the elation of summiting my last summit. (Rachel adds: I was so pleased to run your final leg with you after such a hectic 20 odd hours making sure you got here alright).

Now the last 4 to 5 miles of tarmac laid between me and Keswick and the completion my first ever Bob Graham Round. I didn't change my footware as my feet felt good; surprisingly. It was head down and off we went. Paul kept committing; I was still strong and I felt good until I hit the up hill bits. Its not always a good idea to stop running as it gets harder to get going and back into a rhythm again. But as the cars passed us Tom Hainsworth joined us for the last section to Keswick. We passed the Rachel, Viv and Gibbi as they had stopped to take photos of me passing. Deja -vue Paul? It was getting dark now in the tree sections and I saw a sign post that said Portinscale 1.5 mile.

As we got to Portinscale Paul said "you could make a sub 23 hour time". That's all it took and I was off; down and over the foot bridge, flying to the gate and the long path through the fields which seemed to go on and on and on. Eventually we hit the gate and the turning onto the tarmac and the straight run now for Keswick town centre and the Moot hall. As we got closer the feeling inside was amazing; I knew i could crawl now and I'd make it. Just a few drunken people on their Sat night out to weave in and out of and then there it was; beckoning me on. Suddenly there were loud volumes of cheering from my support and an even from the bigger crowd of other Bob G teams that had congregated round the Moot hall waiting and then in a flash; there i was slamming my hands down on the doors of the Moot Hall. Yes yes yes I did it and under 23 hours. What a feeling as Rachel grabbed me with a fantastic congratulations, followd by Rhys and Paul. What a great feeling that all the time, effort and hard graft that I had put in in the past half a year, surely had just paid off. Afterwards we all stood for about 20 minutes talking about the day, lots of pictures being taken for the future look back it was time for Rachel to drive me home to a welcomed bath and bed.

I didn't eat as i wished i had of done on my round but boy, I sure did drink; I reckon I consummed around 13 - 14 lites of fluid!! I'm sure I over do it. Wish I could just eat when I run after about 5 hours i Just can't, any suggestions would be useful ( NO- i am not stopping running)...what next!!

LEG time and completion of the Bob Graham round 22.49 - 11 minutes up on my 23 hour schedule.

A big thanks to the runners- Paul Aitken, Martin Holroyd, Scott Newburn, Matt Richardson, Mark Rowley, Ken Robinson, Ed Poulter, Ian Harland, Rhys Watkins, Peter Keron, Sam Watson, Keith Hill, Rachel Platt, Katie Bedford, Tom Hainsworth

Support- Ian Watson, Kev & Val Rowan, Mick & Viv Platt and also to Rachel Platt for been at every stop running around and organising and also supporting me through my hard running schedule this year and joining me on runs and providing a very good taxi service. Offering me words of encouragement and sorting out my achey legs in the early parts of the years as I pushed myself outside my comfort zone. Rachel did a fantastic job at all levels.

Gibbi for been at every stop except Wasdale and for giving me lots of useful tips and advice over the 6 months or so, which I took on board and used to its fullest.

Also another big thanks to Paul my running partner on many Bob G recci's this year, some fantastic days out in all weathers a really good mate to have by your side, and it was really nice to be part of his succesful Bob G round back in May, as he was part of my successful round. wooooo:)

Come on Paul we need to get p!$$ed now.

Alan Scowcroft for rigging Broad stand - a job well done the rigging was spot on and to a really high standard ( I wasn't supprised, just pleased). Alan Stockdale for feeding us at Rossett Gill. Drew Holland for much needed extra liquid below Great Gable. Adam Collinge for extra liquid and a friendly face at Grey Knotts.

Thanks to everyone who sent me good luck messages and for congratulating me after wards.

On reflection, Maybe I could have done it quicker if the knee hadn't pack in and maybe I might sort out the inability to eat when running long distance. Not a foot wrong was put, but i was very lucky with the weather. Would I do it again, of course, what a cracking day out on the fell. What next? Wait and see and i'll keep this blog live, it would be nice that any would be Bob Graham first timers read it and use any part of it to assist them on their attempt. What advice could I give? Get to know the route, try different foods and drinks out. Do plenty of stretching and more than anything plan your attempt well in advance and get plenty of mile in't legs.

It as been a humbling experience for me of how much support I have recieved from all levels and from all parts of the Globe. Thanks Simon, Fiona and Wap man (William) for your messages from Oz and I loved the card- cheers guys.

Cheers Andy J ( the very Happy One)

P.S I am now an offical member of the Bob Graham Club :)

I will hopefully up load photos somewhere for you to view, watch this space

Sunday 12 June 2011

A Very happy person :)

This just a quick blog to say that all the hard work and training paid off with me completing the Bob Graham in 22 hours 49 Min's. As I am very tired today (poor excuse) I will write a blog of the full days events as there are so many people to thank.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Update for the Update !!

To see who's doing what and where read the last Blog which I have edited to update the definate's on the legs etc.

The training run finished with me running Leg 2 for Paul on his very successful Round. Setting off at Threlkeld at 04:15 in the morning, dawn had broken the rain had started and the winds were very High. Unfortunately Paul had lost 15 minutes on Leg 1 and then the second pacer with me dropped out before reaching the summit of Clough Head. So carrying on with even heavier bag, we fought the winds which were gusting around 70 mph knocking me off me feet twice climbing towards Lower Helvellyn. At times i felt i was in neutral with these winds. Navigation was very good to say the cloud was well down and I was glad to say we completed the Leg in 4 hours 3 minutes and gain back Paul's lost 15 Min's and increasing his lead by another 15 minutes. The worse bit for me was that I managed to pick up a bug from Gaping Gill and it knocked allot out of me.
I have managed some small runs locally just to keep the legs moving and I hope this cold will be out of my system enough for me to complete the round this weekend

Well done Paul in His 21 hour 24 minutes completion of the Bob G, I was glad to be a part of it- well done mate and see you at the Moot Hall on Friday night

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Confirmed Runners to date 25th May 2011

Leg 1

Martin Hollroyd, Paul Aitken, Scott Newburn & Sam the Dog


Mark Rowley, Matt Richardson


Ken Robinson, Ian Harland, Ed Poulter


Rhys Watkins, Sam Watson, Peter Keron, Tony Shanley

Leg 5

Paul Aitken, Chris Wood, Scott Newburn, Rachel Platt
possibe Rhys Watkins & Tony Shanley

Other Support

Rachel Platt - at all stops

Alan Stockdale- Rossett Gill area with extra supplies

Alan Scowcroft- Broadstand with rope

Drew Holland- Gable area (to be decided) with supplies

I will add names to this as I recieve notification

all are welcome at any stage

Tuesday 24 May 2011


I feel guilty that I have not up dated the blog this month!
After a bad run at the beginning of May running from Honister to Wasdale and then starting Leg 4, I started tiring on Scoat Fell. By the time I hit Blacksail pass I called it a day and went round the foot of Kirk fell to join Mosses Trod back to Honister. Leaving Paul to complete the last past of Leg 4. It's the first time I had felt as tired as this when out running and I am guessing that the 120+ miles in 2 weeks over Easter and not actually resting since the beginning of January, that it had eventually caught up with me.
So I have continued running mid week with small runs on the weekend, and with Gaping Gill now upon us it was a fine balance between- some running, Been at Gaping Gill, and Resting my body to recover.

So I have one more planned run this weekend taking in legs 2 and 3 for Paul on his attempt of the round. Knowing that Paul is fit and ready for this I just hope the weather is kind for him.
For me it is my last big run before my own attempt and then I can taper down my running over the next two weeks and be ready for the 11Th June.

All the preparation for this is going well and now I more or less know where everyone is going to and what lifts are available and food stops etc.

The only hole i have ( and it's a small one!) is the last leg, Leg 5- the only confirmed runner so far is Paul and it would be nice if others join me to push me along the final stretch even if just for the road section.

Please contact me if you read this (don't know who's reading it!) if your interested or want to help on the last leg to the finish.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Saturday 30th April

3 Peaks day

I met Ken and Matt in Horton at the event field. Ken was an official Sweeper for Whernside and Me and Matt were going to assist and also I could use this for some more miles and get to see the runners come through the checkpoint at Ribblehead.
We set off from the field 30 Min's before the race start via the Pennine way Bridleway. Once past Sell Gill we took the lower path to Birkwith and on the rest of the route to Ribble head. Once the last runner had past the 2:10 Min's cut off we followed them up to the very very windy summit of Whernside and back down to the Hill Inn check point. Once our job was over we could continue back to Horton via Ingleborough ( well Swine Tail) and the last descent and path back to Horton. We caught up and overtook several runners and met Rachel just below Sulber Nick taking some photos. We all continued back to the race finish to catch the last of the runners return. Thanks to Sadie for lots of brews at the camper van.

A good day out and around 20 miles of good running on a very dry circuit

Friday 29th April 2011

Yet another holiday and the start of a long weekend and I was wanting an easy day today before the 3 Peaks the next day.
So I was going to do Leg 3 Dunmail as far as Great End and then make my way back to Langdale via Angle Tarn.

Thanks once again to Rachel for dropping me off at Dunmail so she could get to Langdale to start here route up Pike of Blisco, Crinkle Craggs, Bow Fell and Esk PIke and back to Langdale.

The good thing is with doing the climb out of Dunmail so many times is that it seems to be getting alot shorter and easier, this was evident from arriving at Steel Fell in 18 Min's.! maybe the wind assistance at the top of the gully helped the time!

I was amazed how much this part of the route as dried out now, I kept on this route passing Calf Crag and the path that runs parallel with Mere Beck finding a more direct route to Sergeant Man in 1 hour 9 Min's again under schedule time. Soon I was passing High Raise, Thunacar, Harrison, and Pike of Sickle just sticking to the path which seemed to be working well. On leaving Pike O' Sickle I was joined by another runner that was doing part of this Leg. He took me along the Langdale Horse Shoe route to Rossett which did include a steeper climb than usual but it followed the ridge diagonally and picked a trod up that contoured round the last crag before the summit of Rossett. Well it seemed quicker and more direct than other routes previously used. Now Bow Fell via hanging Knotts and again this seemed quick and it was reaching the summit of Bow fell in 2 hours 49 minutes usually done in 3 hours 21 Min's. Not to hang around here as the high winds from the East were cold. So onwards to Esk Pike and the last peak of the day Great End. I was hoping to bump into Rachel so we could descend together to Langdale, but it didn't happen and I continued past Angle tarn and down Rossett Gill to a much warmer Langdale Rachel arrived after me not by much and twisted my arm for a pint at the 3 Shires :)

Not sure on mileage and ascent but was an enjoyable 4 hours 30 Min's

Saturday 23 April 2011

Friday 22nd April- The so call rest week!

After last Sundays double leg I said I was going to rest!

Mid- week whilst relaxing in the langdales; enjoying the the hot weather, i had a quick run up Pike Of Blisco. This was really to break in my new Inov8's and test the radios I was thinking of using on my BG round to communicate from Broad Stand down to the Wasdale stop crew.
Well the shoes were nice and comfy, summited in 34 Min's and down again in a total of 49 Min's from start to finish...(legs still tired). The radios worked fine except for my battery died.

Then on Friday I decided to run from Honister down to top end of Ennerdale and up the black sail pass to try another way of ascending Kirk fell and then back on the last part of leg 4 and then straight on to Leg 5.

Thanks to Rachel who dropped me off at Honister, then she was going to Little Town and come up the Catbells/ High Spy ridge and eventually meet me on Dale head and continue with me on the last part of leg 5.

Weather was good again, hot sun but with quite a strong wind which had a bit of a bite to it on the tops.
The first part of the run was OK, but I can say that my legs were tired as I was slow and found it hard work ascending Black Sail Pass. This time on ascending Kirk fell I followed the old metal fence posts up the main ridge which led me straight to the summit. This was by far the best way up Kirk fell I have done out of the three times on my Recce's.

Onwards and I was soon ascending on to Great Gable to join the masses, so I didn't hang around, had some pizza and onwards to Green Gable, Brandreth, and Grey Knotts and the descent down to the Honister mines car park. I carried on with the long but steady ascent on to Dale Head to meet Rachel sunning herself on the summit waiting for me. It was good to be joined by Rachel on one of my runs as the last time was when we did the OMM last October.

I ran on to Hindscarth as I wanted to find the direct path from the summit to Littledale edge. How did I missed this last time I ran this leg...!! A well defined path and once down I caught Rachel up on the final ascent to Robinson. The next part of this Recce was to find the path that leads down to Scope beck off the ridge. This was located after the final craggy descent and is marked by a tree. An easy descent with good steps cut out by the hoards of runners that have used this route and the path at the bottom is good going all the way to High Snab and join the tarmac road. Rachel had parked the car just before Little Town.

A good day, but I really need to rest my legs ready for next weekend. 14 miles and 6000 feet of ascent- not bad for a rest day. But I tied up some loose ends, locating a good path up Kirk fell, the route off Hindscarth, and the path down to Scope beck off Robinson.

Rachel's addition:
I decided to get my head out of the study books while the weather was nice (a first for our 2weeks easter hols) and go for a little trot myself...(first time since the OMM in Oct, oops). I planned to go from the car near Little Town and head up the bridleway to the ridge between Catbells and Maiden Moor. It was a warm day but the gentle cooling breeze was welcome. I plodded on up towards High Spy after some photo and pizza stops; getting there in just under an hour an half. I then ran furiously down to Dalehead Tarn in about 3minutes and up to the summit of Dale head in a further 30minutes (i struggled with knackered legs) where i decided to sun myself waiting for Andy. Together, as you've read we did the final bit of leg 5 of the BGR and it was lovely to be out on the fell again with Andy again and to be out in general athough i was tired and sporting evil blister. Run down was gentle but i began getting a knee Great day out.

Monday 18 April 2011

Sunday 17th April - Leg 3 and Leg 4

After yesterdays steady day (only 14 miles) The plan was to meet Paul at Honister to leave a car and then drive back to Dunmail ready for a much longer day.
I met Paul just after 09:00 thanks to some very slow drivers; we sorted our kit out and left my car in the car park at Honister slate mines.

Soon at Dunmail we got our selves ready and after some stretching the steep climb out of Dunmail was beckoning us on. There was no problem with low cloud today. Once at the top of the gully a quick toilet stop for me (well got to practice everything for the Bob G!). We were on the path for Steel Fell summit and once this was past met a couple out on a Sunday run from Ambleside. We ran with them both as far as Calf Crag, said our goodbyes and continued towards Sergent Man following the path this time that runs parallel with Mere beck. Once at the small col at the top, the summit was visible. The views were very impressive and the sun was very welcome as there was still a cool breeze at this altitude. The next few peaks of the Bob G past with no problems. Just the few false craggy tops leading to Rossett Pike caught us out running over them when I'm sure you can save time running round them. Down to Rossett Gill we headed up for Bow fell via the Hanging Knotts route. This was soon passed and the Very crowded summit was reached and left behind to continue forward on this leg.

Again the next few summits were reached with no real problems just a bit of side tracking off the paths but nothing too serious which lost us a minimal amount of time. We past a continuous trail of walkers coming off Scafell Pike and once we reached the summit; made our way down to Mickledore and the base of the Broad Stand. What did we do? Well we free climbed it once Paul was sure we were on the start of it. We climbed up the first two steps to what he said was the crux move. I climbed it but it was very slimey and slippery; especially for my fast dying fell shoes and a well placed hand from Paul gave me a foot hold allowing me to to mantle self to above the crux on another very slimey ledge. Paul followed on behind and i found a piton with a maillon and a bit of tat attatched. A young walker was convinced not to go any further on his idea to decend broad stand and go via foxes tarn route. Fortunately he took our advice and followed us upwards. Scafell was soon past and now the descent down to Wasdale. We followed a a faint track and ended up in scree filled gully and directly down to a stile and faint path to the bridge at the bottom joining the Brown tongue path. Not sure if this is the correct line, I need some guidance on this from anyone who knows please.

We had a good view of a Seaking that was hovering around the Broad crag area of Yewbarrow. Followed by smoke drifting off the cragg and several different hovers it was obvious this was a mountain rescue training exercise.

At the bridge we swilled the mud and grit out of our shoes; ate some food and topped up our water ready for the start of Leg 4 and the long climb up Yewbarrow. This time we followed a small trod to the right of the beck which took us to the top just 100 meters right of the summit which meant back tracking to the summit (have to watch this on the day). We dropped off the well marked path down under Stirrup Crag up to the ascent on to Red Pike. My pace slowed off now and I was sweating out more fluid than I was drinking. Knowing that there are no streams to drink from on this leg I had to ration my 1.5 litres of fluid. I will need someone up around Blacksail pass with extra water on my round I think. The day was now very warm and sunny and the views Of Isle of Man and the surrounding lakes were very impressive. (if only we had a camera! But time is tight on these runs and unfortunatley we wouldn't want to lose time, well that's my excuse).

Steeple, Pillar were past and the descent down to Blacksail pass was uneventful ready for the climb up on to Kirk fell. We ended up going up another gully which was no better than the other gully I ascended a few weeks back. I am going to have to try this again following the old fence posts to the summit. I continued slowly and watched Paul disappear in to the distance as my pace was a lot slower. The last big climb of the day on to Great Gable and once at the summit there was a nice thought of only three more summits and some easy running in front of us. Just around Brandeth my water ran out and we continued running to Grey Knotts and over the fence to descend to Honister. We stopped at a small stream to take on much needed water and filled my water bottle for more water down at the car. Thankfully they don't put a locked chain across the gate at the mine!

A another good day out on the fell and thanks to Paul once again on a good run. Both legs were completed in 10 hours 21 minutes. That's 7 minutes under my 22 hour schedule and 31 minutes under my 23 hour schedule.

Right Paul I know you like stats, this is for you...!!!
The run was 10 hours 21 Min's.
It was 27 miles long and we ascended around 13000 feet.
For me this weekend I have run 41 miles and ascended around 19000 feet.
In the last 8 days I have run 72 miles and ascended around 25000 feet.
I love stats too..... :o)

My shoes only just made yesterday my feet were hurting as they have lost all there cushioning, which as made my right heel a bit messy (no pain no gain), the sole at the front is hanging off, and the tread as worn through in places.
I didn't drink enough water yesterday and I was slightly dehydrated when I got home and with all the running I have done with no real weekends off ( just a 13.5 mile run!) I still was on time yesterday so a very pleasing weekend and the last 8 days. Cheers once again to Paul for a cracking day out.

Saturday 16th April- Leg 2

This was the start of a good and useful Bob G training weekend.

I parked at Dunmail and waited for the others to arrive. Enjoying a brew whilst sorting my kit out and also watching a group of runners setting off up the steep climb to Steel fell, but they were going very far to the left. Cloud base was very low covering from below half way down the steep climb. The forecast was for the cloud to slowly lift through the day to clear summits mid afternoon. The other four had arrived and after dumping spare cloths in my car we set off to Threlkeld.

We set off on a good steady pace which felt about right to me for my Bob G round and was pleased when we arrived at the summit of Clough Head in 49 minutes. The next section of running the Dodds was shrouded with low cloud and at times the visibility was quite bad. A few minutes of time were lost on this section due to complacence in thinking you know the way on without taking a compass bearing. Fortunately in both instances the track was soon found.
The cloud kept lifting temporally to show some parts of the lakes then was back again but there was no problem with the rest of the peaks to Dollywaggon apart thinking the next lump was the cairn summit but was actually the next one after. Once on Dollywaggon we had a good view of Fairfield.
This time we followed the direction of the zig-zag path to the outlet of Grisedale Tarn. We actually found a good line missing the zig-zags and straight down on the grass. We missed the start of the path that leads to Cofa Pike and had to traverse back across to locate the path and ascend up on to the ridge leading quickly to the top of Fairfield and the cast of thousands of walkers. A good steady descent off fairfield catching up another group of Bob G runners ( they were doing a Recce too. Just the last ascent of the day up Seat Sandel and a nice steady descent following a well defind path down to Dunmail in 4 hours 9 minutes. This time is 3 minutes down on my 22 hour schedule but up 12 minutes on my 23 hour schedule.
After trying both ways off Dollywaggon and up on to Fairfield I can say that the route up Cofa Pike is the better.

Thanks to Mark Rowley, Matt Richardson, Ed Poulter and Ian Harland for a good day out and was a useful Recce for Mark and Matt who are supporting me on my attempt in June on Leg 2.

Monday 11 April 2011

Saturday 9th April

A Saturday not in the lakes!
As I was running a UWFRA rescue practice on the Sunday I decided to do something local on the Saturday. So I did the 3 Peaks.

I arrived early In Horton and groups of 3 peaks walkers were already setting off up the lane to wards Brackenbottom on their start of their 3 Peaks challenge.
Once sorted I set off down the road and up the start of Horton Scar lane for my ascent up Penyghent. Part way up the lane I spotted a lone runner and was surprised to catch him up before the gate by the old shooting Hut ( I am sure he stopped to take a layer off)
We then got chatting as we continued on the ascent and were soon at the summit of Penyghent passing several groups of walkers (was there a charity walk on?)
I stopped to take my leggings off as the other runner continued. I caught him up again and we ran together the rest of the way to Ribblehead in about 1:50 from my start time.
He was catching a train back so said he would start up Whernside, but would have to turn back at some stage to get his train. Once on the ascent of Whernside my legs gave up on me and I was struggling with the ascent! (was the fact that this guy was about 6' 3 and my little legs were out paced? or was I just knackered from doing long days out every weekend this year?)
This guy turned back on the final steep ascent of Whernside ( I think he was called Dave, and was member of Idle runners or AC and was doing the 3 Peaks race at the end of the month)
Once I gained the summit i forced some food down my neck turned to face the, now, hot sun for my run along the ridge and the descent of Whernside. My legs were really feeling it now and the descent was steady and tried to run off the horrible path than on it. Once on the bottom I made a steady pace along the track/ road up past the Hill Inn with the very near looking Ingleborough beckoning me on. To say the next bit to the style, the one that is just below Sunset hole area, is reasonably flat I did struggle with the running, maybe I should have back tracked to the Station Inn and called it a day!
Once on to the stone flags and ascent on to Ingleborough I managed to plod on past the hoards of walkers and two runners that were doing Ingleborough, I was soon back on to swine tail and the long descent back to Horton. I surprised my self here and managed to run (in a fashion!) back to Horton and still manage to complete it in 4 hours 50 minutes. This is certainly different running to the Bob G and obviously I was on allot faster pace ( probably Bob G completed in 16 hour Pace!!).I was still carrying my rucksack on this run, making sure I had enough liquid as there were no water stations for me today, and I am sure if I had drank the stream water in the dales I would be squatting behind walls for the rest of the day.
A lovely day in the warm sun, hard work but it all adds to 'Miles in your Legs'

Sunday 3 April 2011

Sunday 3rd April

Yes a double run in the lakes this weekend.
Again at 09:00 this morning there was rain and very dark cloud. We set off to the lakes around 11:00 and the cloud was looking more broken over the lakes. A big thanks to Rachel who taxied me round to Honister Mines.
The days plan was to run the last leg of the Bob G to the small car park just before Little Town on the road section back to Keswick.

I set off with out rucksack which made me feel allot lighter than normal, which obviously assisted me hitting the summit of Dale Head in 26 Min's. With out pausing I continued on a good pace run to the summit of Hindsgarth in 37 Min's from Honister.
Continuing I followed the path all the way to the summit of Robinson in 55 minutes from Honister. The wind had a bite to it but cloud was good and the sun intermittently poked it self out. A good descent off Robinson with a few parts where its hand and feet on the rock onto better running down grassed paths towards High Snab farm. Here I got it slightly wrong with a bit of illegal farmers field crossing to gain the path and the start of the road section. I continued on the road on a good pace and was soon at the car park to meet a very surprised Rachel, as I told her to allow a good 2 hours for me to arrive but only took me 1 hour 23 minutes from Honister with 2190 feet of ascent and a distance of 6.7 miles.
Another cracking day out in the lakes with better weather than what was forecast.
A big Thanks to Rachel for dropping off and picking up. ( Just hope the fish and chips were worth it!)

Saturday 2nd April

The plan was a steady one, after last weekends double leg which gave me and Paul some leg problems (well knees mainly!). I met Paul on his home patch,at the village of Bampton.
We set off from Bampton after a quick brew. Fortunately the weather was now very sunny with broken cloud, which was a surprise after the 04:30 thunderstorm and heavy rain continuing onwards to mid morning.
We ran from Bampton up a nice little path that traversed Bampton common eventually landing on the bridleway between Wether hill and Red Crag. We swiftly continued onwards up on to High Raise and on to Kidsty Pike and the fast descent down to Haweswater. After a water stop we continued along the reservoir path back to Bampton.
Paul still had a problem with his knee on the descent, I felt OK with no problems this week. Back to Paul's I was treated to fresh coffee, tea and cheese on toast. Yet again another fantastic day on the fell with good weather and nice warm sun.

13.5 miles with 2500 feet of ascent.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Saturday 26th March - Legs 1 and 2

I met Paul at Dunmail and left my car behind and drove up to Keswick in Paul's car. We parked at Bria Rigg where the route joins the Bridleway over the A66.
The weather was good, the sun was out the tops were clear of cloud but the wind was slightly chilly. Setting off we kept a good steady pace and quickly passed under Skiddaw Little Man and up onto Skiddaw Summit in 1 hour 15 Min's. Not stopping we carried on off the summit in a northerly direction to where we crossed the fence (as per the directions on the Bob G map) and then followed a good worn path down and over Hare Crag and to a small bridge where the bridleway track goes to Skiddaw House. The path is still well marked (some posts, and well worn) all the way to Great Calva summit in 1 hour 54mins. The pace wasn't rushed and it felt about right for my Bob G attempt. Again; following the instructions off the Bob G map we followed the fence (again a well worn path) down to the sheep fold and down and over the river Caldew. There was no track for the ascent of Mungrisdale common but once over the summit we picked up a well worn path to take us up on to the ridge and the summit of Blencathra. The descent off Halls ridge was steady and we arrived at Threlkeld in 3 hours 33 min's for a quick break and fuel stop.

We started Leg 2 and the ascent up onto Clough Head. On the run to the Dodds Paul was having trouble with his knee on the downhills, fortunately I had some Ibuprofen which he took. Continuing maybe a little slower than we would have liked I then started to have trouble with my right leg on the descents. It seemed to be seizing up and I felt I could only run in slow motion on the downhills! Once we had made the rest of the summits towards Dollywaggon we decided to carry on down direct to Dunmail, missing out Fairfield and Seat Sandal. My leg was still suffering on the descent to Dunmail. Back to the car in a total run time of 7 hours and 14 minutes.

The total distance was 24 miles with ascent of 9667 feet. A good day out just a shame about us both having some sort of leg trouble and plus Paul was still suffering from a cold. But in all a fantastic day out on the fell.

The photos are- Paul and Me on the Summit of Blencathra and me ascending Stybarrow Dodd

Friday 25 March 2011

Saturday 26th March 2011

Sorry this is late!!
This Saturdays plans are to run leg 1 and leg 2 of the Bob G. I am meeting Paul at Dunmail at 09:00 and then getting picked up and driven to Keswick to start the run.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Saturday 19th March 2011

Not sure what to call this!!
Raise three times in one day- or
The Curse of Billy Bland - or
One man and his NO dogs.. read on

We arrived at Threlkeld by the industrial estate just before midnight. There were no signs of head torches descending off Blencathra. The night was bright thanks to the nearly 100% full moon, but there was more cloud about than when we left Skipton. The rest of the leg runners had arrived then we saw our first sighting of head torches descending on to Halls fell. Something didn't look quite right as the head torched looked to be dropping off into the very steep valley off to the right. This came apparent when they eventually got to us at Threlkeld at around 00:50.
A car was leaving one of the factories and pulled along side of us, and the window wound down and this women asked us 'Are you doing the Bob Graham' and we explained that we were just doing some Recce training. she said 'Oh good, my brother holds the Record for the Bob Graham' and we all shouted 'Billy Bland' in unison.
After a very good and clear ascent onto Skiddaw the cloud came in and made navigation allot difficult and after coming off Halls too early they had to back track and zig-zag to regain the path to descend to us. After they had a quick brew we set off on Leg 2. One of the leg 1 runners(Jim) dropped out and was going to follow the road back to Dunmail to his car and wait for us there.

A good steady pace up the road to Newsham and on towards the Old Coach road and then onwards and upwards to Clough Head in 57 Min's.The winds chill was very cold and now we were in the cloud. The ground in places was frozen and the cloud was now thickening. The brightness of our LED lights just bouncing off and straight back in your face which added to the difficulty of navigating at night. We found that covering your hand over the light intermittently let you see the silhouette (thanks to he bright moon) and make out features like the cairn of Great Dodd. The paths between the Dodds are well defined and combination of compass and Matt who just led us straight to each top with no problems. Once the Dodds were past we had the nice descent down to Sticks Pass and the ascent up on to Raise passing round the patch of snow up to the summit (noticing a dusting of fresh powder snow). We came off Raise down to the South West, slightly below the path. At this point we herd distant barking and the two dogs Henry and Jasper had taken off, not sure if they had spotted something and taken chase. We spread out and with lots of shouting and we back tracked towards the rocks of Raise. Then out of the cloud Henry had returned. More shouting and no sign of Jasper. We layered up as the biting wind ripping through us, it was seriously cold up there. After some time we mad the decision to drop off down to the Hotel at Thirlspot. Owen managed to get a signal and Phone Jim who was now back at the cars at Dunmail to drive down and meet us at the Hotel.
Now the cloud was clearing quickly and now we had a very good view of the landscape thanks to the very bright moon. Still no sign of Jasper.
Arriving at the Hotel Jim was parked up with boot open and was brewing up for us. That was a good moral boost and then the decision was made that Myself, Steve and Owen will back track up the side of Fisher Gill and Sticks Gill up to Sticks pass. While Matt and Alex were to pick up their car from Honister, drive round to the Glenridding Youth Hostel and run up to meet us on Sticks pass and searching that side of mountain on route.
Dawn soon broke and the head torches were redundant, at last I could feel my body warming up and I could take my extra layers off. Soon into Sticks Gill watching as we ascended, shouting out for the lost dog we eventually made Sticks pass and the views were brilliant. Not one cloud in the sky, the Langdales looked very inviting.( Why I didn't have a camera with us) Dropping off Sticks pass out of the wind we enjoyed the heat from the sun. We decided we might as well go to the top of Raise and have a look about while we waited for Alex and Matt. Quickly at the top we looked about when Owen called out and in his arms he had a very cold Jasper in his arms. We dropped off back down to Sticks pass some food was given to Jasper and we tied on some string to his collar (not loosing him again) we set off down towards Glenridding when after only 5 minutes we were all re-united including owner and two dogs. We decided it would be mad not to make something of the day and so continued back up to Raise ( yes ascent number three) and on to White Side. What was amazing was from within an hour of seeing the langdales it was now covered in cloud and the whole sky was now full of cloud building up. Onwards with good running on very hard frozen ground to Lower Helvellyn and to the summit of Helvellyn to be met by an Orange tent (maybe Jasper stayed the night here) Not to hang around in the cold wind we dropped off on to Swirral Edge. Having to tread carefully on the first part as we were descending on Steps of Ice and snow!
As we dropped off the temperature improved and we were quickly on Catstycam and what a descent that was (fast ans very sporting). We were soon down on the Track from Red Tarn and quickly down to the footbridge above the Youth Hostel passing scores of walkers/ climbers starting their day as we were finishing ours.

The plan went out of the window and a happy ending was we were all OK and the dogs Jasper and Henry were safe and back with owner and completed the rest of our new route. Only around 18 miles with about 2302 (7552') of ascent. A good day out.
This was my first run at night starting near to mid night, tiredness first hit me just after the break at Thirlspot ascending back up to Sticks Gill. Once daylight came I felt much better and never had any more feelings of tiredness the rest of the run. A brew was a big boost and they will be very welcome at Threlkeld, Dunmail, Wasdale and Honister.
Another thing to think about his that I need to get as much sleep as possible on the Friday before my Bob G attempt.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Saturday 19th March

The plan for this Saturday is to join Owen on one of his training runs. This is to leave Threlkeld at midnight and to run to Dumail for arrival time 04:15- 04:30. Suppose it depends of conditions, cloud visibility etc. A break at Dunmail then to continue leg 3 as far as Great End and then down to Sty head and up to Great Gable,and the last part of Leg 4 to Honister.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Saturday 12th March 2011

Unfortunately this week I started with a cold, but I managed to get out for three local runs during the week. It was good to see Mark and Matt back out running this Wednesday after Injuries etc.

Not letting the cold take over my enthusiasm, I decided to run from Dunmail over Leg three. This was a late start not setting off from Dunmail until 12:15. The weather was appalling and visibility was not good even at the road side at Dunmail.
I set off up what can be described as a steep ascent! I took the advice of the Bob G map and went up the left gully and this seemed allot easier than the other week following the fence line. I took it really steady and still managed to reach the summit of Steel fell in 23 minutes. Visibility was down to 20 meters and sometimes worse with rain blowing across the fell this was going to be a good navigation practice. Calf Crag was soon reached and then onwards to join the metal fences that run up parallel with mere beck, my choice of ascending to Sergeant Man before High raise. This was my first navigation mistake! Instead of following the left hand branch of Merebeck and following a compass bearing to the summit of Sergeant Man, I cut up the middle branch which put me on open fell. I knew straight away what I had done, even though i couldn't see that i was in between Sergeant Man and High Raise. I decided to keep on the bearing as I should hit the track in between the two summits. Bingo! I did and out of the cloud the track and the noticeable summit of High Raise was reached. I decided not to back track to Sergeant Man and carried on to Thunacar Knott, Harrison Sickle and Pike of Sickle.
Today I decided to run in my Mudclaws to give me extra grip on the wet grass but these are deadly on wet rock and some of the rocky descents were dangerousily slippy.
I got as far Martcrag Moor and given the time of day and weather conditions It was time to make my way back to Dunmail. I took a bearing to land me on the track in between Thunacar Knott and High Raise so as not to over shoot the summit. This was a good steady climb straight into the very cold wind with a mixture of rain and sleet at times.My plan worked and I reached the track I recognised. Back along this track for a short distance and back on to High Raise. I decided to take a bearing and follow the good track to Sergeant Man. The visibility was now the worse I had all day. Head down and keep running and soon I was on Sergeant Man. I now wanted to take a bearing and follow back the route I should have come up earlier. Unfortunately I couldn't see any features and just followed the compass until I picked up the start of Mere beck.I followed It until i reached the other branch and the place I made the mistake earlier crossing the middle beck and going off course. Now it was a matter of back tracking all the way back to Dunmail. This was good running with my head down high in the grim weather. The descent down to Dunmail was fun and fast and at last the road and my car came into view.
A good day out despite the weather and not feeling 100%, just hope I haven't made it worse! Just 3 hours 56 Min's and just over 12 miles and nearly 1200m of ascent.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Saturday 5th March 2011 - Leg 4

I arrived at Honister slate mines in the morning to find the cloud base was down below the car park!
I set off as planned up the old Tramway and then to follow the path below Grey Knotts and Brandreth. Visibility was down to less than 30m/100' and was good map and compass practice. Good navigation got me into the Loft Beck valley and good descent down to the River Liza and over the foot bridge to follow the path along Sail Beck over the Black Sail pass to continue down to Wasdale head. Only 6.5 miles done in a steady 1h 45 min's with only 610m of ascent. Cloud base was lifting by now. A quick bite to eat before the start of Leg 4 of the Bob G.
The ascent of Yewbarrow was a killer and will be a real tester on the full round in June. The cloud was now touching the summit of Scafell. The path that misses Stirrup Crag was well marked with a cairn and rocky descent to pick the path up again to ascend Dore head to Red Pike. On to Scoat fell and I missed the direct path to Steeple and had to back track to the summit of Scoat fell and onwards to Steeple. Again another rocky descent to pick up a good path on to Pillar and then mixed descent down to the path Junction with Black Sail pass. I followed the old fence posts up a gulley on Blacksail buttress and was quickly on what I thought was the way to the summit of Kirk fell. I had gone 200/300m past it so had to back track to gain the summit before continuing on the route to start the ascent of Great Gable. No problems with the route continuing on to Green Gable Brandeth and Grey Knotts to the final decent straight down to Honister.
The surprise for me was the fact I didn't feel well from leaving Wasdale and felt I had made a steady and slow pace and found my legs didn't want to work round this leg, but to find I completed the 10.5 mile leg with 1847m of ascent in 4 Hours 18 Min's shaving 30 minutes off my schedule time.

So another good day out on the fell not feeling 100%, but the weather was on my side for the leg with good sunshine, very good visibility after what was looking like a not so promising start. A short day compared to last saturdays 27 mile run but 17 miles with over 2000m of ascent on another solo run.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Saturday 5th March 2011 Leg 4 run

My next run in the Lakes is Saturday 5th March 2011- My plan is to run Leg 4 of the Bob G - Wasdale to Honister. To get over the nightmare of driving in and out of Wasdale I am going to set off from Honister slate mines and run up the Old Tramway and take the path under Grey Knotts to Black Sail Pass down to Wasdale. Fuel up at Wasdale before starting Leg 4 up Yewbarrow taking in all the Peaks back to Honister. This Leg should be around 4:46 according to my 23 Hour Schedule. Obviously there will be some navigation and maybe note taking to get the best route round this Leg.
My Plan is to try and leave Honister at 08:00.
Please feel free to come and join me and let me know if you are going to join me.
Andy J

Monday 28 February 2011

Story so far

IN Brief....
The hard training started in January 2011 after putting the Bob G off last year and concentrated on doing longer runs and competing in the OMM with Rachel.
So far I have managed to keep above 30 miles a week off road running. This as included running legs- Threlkeld to Dunmail, Dunmail to Honister( missing out Yewbarrow to Gable). Thanks to Rachel for the Taxi service picking myself, Chris and Paul up from Honister:)
Last week I took advantage of half term and myself and Paul Aitken battled the elements, The Kentmere horse shoe including High Street down to Haweswater and back up Harterfell on to the horse shoe. We battled low cloud, ankle to knee deep snow and 60mph Gusts. A good 4 hour run.
A few days later I completed a nice loop starting from Pooley Bridge taking the ridge on to High Street ( all the snow had buggered off!!) continuing on wards and down towards Brothers water and over ridges and valleys back on to the ridge back to Pooley bridge. A lonely 7 hours run on the fells, a nice 27 mile run- still running quicker than Bob G pace, need to slow down especially on my descents.

So a brief in sight into what happening this year so far ( lots of other runs in lakes and dales, 6 hours plus is the norm now)