Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Chipping Show - 27th August

Chipping is always a great show - large enough to have plenty to see and small enough to be authentic. There are tourists here too but not many and some them, here with their children, have been coming here since they were children themselves. This way also my first race of 2016 but there are no photos; those days of racing with a camera are long gone, just racing is hard enough now. It is two years since I last raced here and I couldn't quite match my previous times but as a hard training run it was excellent.

Horse Judging

Old Friends

Horse Judging (ii)

There are more photos from the show here, on Flickr.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Around Boredale - 26th August

Back to the Far Eastern Fells to bag Beda Head for our Third Round and collect the nearby Birketts and Synges. There will always be more "nearby" than we can bag in a day so today we made sure we reached the summits closer to Howtown than anywhere else. The ones we looked at but didn't visit are easily reached, along with others, from Patterdale.

Looking into Martindale

Hallin Fell


Place Fell

Brothers Water


Boredale (Mono)

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Turner Landscape fell race - 13th August

On Dow Crag with Yiannis on a cold, windy, claggy morning. Visibility improved as the day went on but was very poor when the early runners came through.

Unless another Race Organiser steps up this will be the last of a short lived but greatly enjoyed race.

Dow Crag

Monday, 15 August 2016

Yewdale Fells - 12th August

Yewdale Fells

With our far more ambitious plans (climb Pillar Rock) shelved by a poor weather forecast we turned to a small group of small Birketts below the Coniston Fells.

Kitty Crag (1427ft), Long Crag, High Wythow, Low Wythow and Brackney Crag all sit above Yewdale and below the Furness Fells. Together they provide a delightful, if short, outing that could have been designed for poor weather. Kitty Crag is the highest of the group and the wind was so strong we were unable to stand on the summit. Occasional glimpses of sunshine on distant fells were punctuated by bursts of rain which we were happy to avoid. This has been a good year for the bracken which is higher than I can ever remember it being. These summits are above the "bracken line" but our initial ascent and final descent were made more difficult by the band of high, dense bracken. Seeking a little shelter from the wind we took the path down through a gully to Far End, at least, that is where we ended up by design. The start of the descent is completely obscured by bracken and more than once we found ourselves standing on top of a small crag with no option other than to retrace our steps.

High Pike Haw

High Pike Haw turns out to be an unexpectedly sharp pointed, very shapely hill in the lowlands below the high Coniston fells and an absolute delight.
Couple of pints in the Blacksmiths Arms at Broughton where they have a 'replica' Carlisle State Bitter. The last time I had a pint of this it was brewed by the still-nationalised State Brewery.

Coppermines Valley


Blacksmiths Arms

Monday, 8 August 2016

Ian Roberts' JNLC Leg 4 - 6th August

A benign morning with sunshine at Sty Head while we watched the Borrowdale FR field come though while we waited on Ian Roberts arriving from Dunmail Raise. Ahead of schedule and in good spirits he arrived ready to eat, drink and to tackle the last leg of his crossing to Greendale Bridge. The wind is already strengthening and will continue to do so for the rest of the day.

By Pillar, Ian is beginning to lose time for the first time since leaving Pooley Bridge and turning into a headwind isn't going to help. Around an hour ahead of a 21.5 hour schedule means he has plenty of time to spare so everything is still relaxed.

Steeple marks a significant stage in the day - it is the final rocky summit and it is also the final dry one. Torrential rain greets us on Haycock and it relents only a little over the final three fells. Progress is slowed a little by the gale force winds and heavy rain but they disappear as we make the final descent to Greendale Bridge where Joss and the support team are waiting to offer well deserved congratulations to Ian.

This turned into a tough day out but Ian was up to the challenges and finished comfortably within his allowed 24 hours - very well done!

Wast Water

Ian at Sty Head

Ian and Ian at Sty Head

Descending Great Gable

Descending Kirk fell

With Joss on Greendale Bridge

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Coope's Dozen - 30th July

16 stood on the start line for the 2016 running of Coope's Dozen and seven completed the Dozen with the others doing as many of as few as they preferred.

Thanks to Ed for making it happen, to Christa and Duncan for support at the road crossings and to Josie, Karen and Darren for dragging me round the Dozen.

Lancashire from Rivington Pike

Winter Hill from Rivington Pike

Darren approaching the Trig Point

Speedy Making Excuses

Reflecting on Christa & Duncan's Support

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Back Again, Birkett Bagging - 23 July

Back to the Far Eastern Fells again but this time with a bunch of Birketts to bag. Two groups beckoned - the first, and last as it turned out, are east of Loadpot Hill while second is above Martindale. This won't be an elegant route but it includes two Wainwrights we want to complete our Third Round so an inelegant slog it will be.

Perhaps it was the excitement of seeing a Red Squirrel that caused us to overshoot the hills by a considerable margin before realising my error - "Get them on the way back", suggested Pauline and so we did.

Low Kop became our first 'tick' then over Wether Hill and Loadpot Hill to reach Swarth Fell and Bonscale Fell before dropping down to Howtown.

A humid, midge-ridden climb through the bracken above Steel End brought us to Pikeawassa, Brownthwaite Crag and Gowk Hill for a good look at the climb back up Wether Hill for the long drag back to Four Stones Hill and Pinnacle How. The descent from Pinnacle How leaves us not far from the car which pleases us both because this seemed like a long hard day.


St Sunday Crag and much more

High Raise from Bampton Common

Ruin above Bampton

Nestling in the Fellside

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Keith's JNLC - 19 July

Keith left Pooley Bridge on Monday at 20:00, right on time, with Jim while we met Nigel at Dunmail Raise later the same evening. Pauline took Nigel to Kirkstone Pass to meet Jim and Keith while I tried to get some sleep in Nigel's car and, almost, succeeded. Keith was about 10 minutes early at Kirkstone Pass, just as he predicted, and Nigel brought him to Dunmail right on schedule. After a second breakfast we set off for Sty Head where Pauline, Nigel and Ed would meet us with more food and drink.

Climbing out of Dunmail Raise and into the hot sunshine at 5 o'clock in the morning suggested it could be a long, very hot day.

Keith at the top of the climb out of Dunmail Raise

Brownrigg Moss with Greenup Edge straight ahead

Keith climbing towards High Raise

Looking back down to Brownrigg Moss

Although Keith is still going strongly minutes are being lost here and there so that we both realise his 22 hour schedule is unlikely to be achieved, on this, the hottest day of the year. The next couple of hours confirm this but also confirm that a sub 24 hour completion is still very possible.

Leaving High Raise

From High Raise - the skyline shows much of the remaining route

Taking a minute on the way to Rossett Pike

Looking into Great Langdale from the climb up Bowfell

The long, relatively low stretch from High Raise to Bowfell is stifling and we both long for the cooling breeze which is blowing above us. This is Keith's nadir and while he seems reluctant to believe the clock he is still travelling fast enough. Bowfell is something of a contrast with what has gone before but it provides a spring with cool, clear water we both enjoy and a steep rough climb into the cooling breeze we both craved.

More than anything, with only a few minutes lost on the climb it convinces Keith he can reach Greendale Bridge within his allowed 24 hours. Esk Pike and Great End are summited without losing any more time before the descent to Sty Head where Pauline, Ed and Nigel are waiting.

Pauline and Ed make sure Keith eats and drinks all he is capable of while Nigel fills all the water bottles we think we can carry although we know they won't be enough. This next section, from Sty Head to Pillar, is the most demanding climbing on the route and while we have the breeze the partial cloud cover that helped from Bowfell has gone now.

Leaving Great Gable

Kirk Fell with Pillar and more beyond

Descending Great Gable with Wasdale beyond

Nigel leading Keith up Kirk Fell

We reach Pillar about an hour down but, more importantly, still moving fast enough and with plenty of time in hand. The same can't be said about our water though - Keith has a little cold tea left and Nigel is down to a last mouthful or two as I drain my water bottle. In addition to the outstanding summits we now have another objective which is the spring below Haycock. Scoat Fell, Steeple and Haycock are all gained without any further loss of time which allows us to spend time at the spring drinking its cool clear water and eating a bit for the last couple of climbs.

Seatallen, as ever, delivers the 'sting in the tail' and while the summit views justify lingering, today isn't the day as Middle Fell beckons.

Wasdale Head from Middle Fell

Nigel on Middle Fell

Keith on Middle Fell - just the final descent left

Following Joss off Middle Fell for Greendale Bridge

We just started descending Middle Fell when we saw Joss coming up to meet us - the perfect way to end a fabulous day on the fells. Keith reached Greendale Bridge 23 hours and 14 minutes after leaving Pooley Bridge. Having shared half the journey with him I know just how hard a day it was and how deep he had to dig to get there so my congratulations are heartfelt.

Huge "Well Done", Keith, it was a pleasure and privilege.