Monday, 17 July 2017

Kentmere Horseshoe Fell Race - 16 July

A return to fell racing after a year or so's absence. Running on the roads through the winter seems to have worked because I avoided injuring my right knee for the first time for two years. It probably means I don't have enough climbing in my legs for even AM races like this but it is better than being injured.

This is my first time at Kentmere and before the race started I had been joking that I used to think this race wasn't far enough and now I think it might be too far! This isn't entirely a joke because after such a long layoff and many doubts about ever racing again I am more than a little nervous.

After a slow start at the back of the field I begin to sort myself out and pick up some places after the gradient becomes runnable. Descending is enjoyable again and my knee is still fine when I finish. I nearly avoid cramp but am able to run through it and, finally, walk it off after finishing.

Crikey, racing is hard work and on a less good day I am not sure I would have enjoyed it at all. I am glad I did it so perhaps Lakes AMs are the future.

Pete Bland - Fell Running Legend

Kentmere Church


Wondering - where the race goes

The Bernese Oberland - June/July

Not unlike a year ago we abandoned plans to head for Skye at the end of June because of forecasts of poor weather.With a little more time to prepare this year we sorted an apartment  for a week in Wengen above the Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland. We saw rain for only a couple of days and were able to spend the rest of the time high in the mountains. A truly glorious week.

The Eiger, Munch and Jungfrau

Lauterbrunnen Valley

Mannlichen Gipfel Summit

Approaching the Eiger

Kleine Scheidegg

The Eiger from Kleine Scheidegg

Lauterbrunnen Valley

Lauterbrunnen Valley


Towards Grindelwald

The Eiger and Jungfrau

Train from Schnige Platte

The Eiger and Munch

Jungfraufoch Train

Towards Kleine Scheidegg


The Eiger Trail 
The Eiger Trail 

The Eiger Trail 

Grindelwald Train

Murren below the Eiger, Munch & Jungfrau

The Eiger, Munch & Jungfrau

The Eiger, Munch & Jungfrau

The Eiger, Munch & Jungfrau

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Great Langdale - 17 June

A glorious summer's day in Great Langdale when we had a wander up the valley to Rossett Pike.

Clouds over The Crinkle

Great Langdale

Rossett Pike with a plume

Clouds on Esk Pike & Great End

Clouds on Bowfell

Great Langdale

Great Langdale

Clouds pouring over The Crinkles

Cumbrian Traverse - 16 June

More years ago than I care to remember we were tempted to try this on a day with an "improving forecast". Needless to say the forecast didn't improve and we were forced to abandon the attempt. Usually we try to have another go as soon as possible but this fell by the wayside where it languished until I started looking around for a way to celebrate a "not very big" birthday. Knowing a BGR contender who would be interested in a long day on the fells meant a I could avoid a solo attempt and all we needed was a "fair forecast". With only a couple of hours of rain and following wind forecast for Friday, 16th June, things looked pretty promising.

Broughton Mills to Wrynose Pass

Even at 06:30 on Friday morning it was obvious the forecast wasn't quite right - the "following wind" was blowing in the wrong direction but a cross wind wouldn't be that bad, would it? Peter and I set off in sunshine half an hour earlier than planned while Pauline and Peter's wife Sheila prepared to meet us at Wrynose Pass around lunchtime. The first leg went pretty well, through the Furness Fells to the Coniston Fells and down to the Three Shires Stone.
  1. Great Stickle
  2. Stickle Pike
  3. Caw
  4. White Maiden
  5. Brown Pike
  6. Dow Crag
  7. Conistone Old Man
  8. Swirl How
  9. Great Carrs
  10. Wrynose Pass
From White Maiden onwards we were above the cloud base for most of the time but by then the most difficult route finding was behind us, at least for this leg.

Wrynose Pass to Honister Pass

Having completed and enjoyed Leg One just a little faster than a 12 hour pace we should have been "quietly optimistic" about the next leg. The low, dark, heavy clouds sitting on the fells ahead of us suggested conditions were deteriorating, and they were.
Cold Pike was above the cloud base and before we reached Crinkle Crags the rain arrived and stayed with us until Great Gable. We missed a turning somewhere between Crinkle Crags and Bowfell and dropped about 500 feet into Upper Eskdale. This wasn't the best part of the day but we retained our sense humour and, eventually, found Bowfell. The reminder of the leg was uneventful and the rain relented so that we could eat before Great Gable. We lost about an hour overall on this leg, most of which was the error on Crinkle Crags.
  1. Cold Pike
  2. Crinkle Crags
  3. Bowfell
  4. Esk Pike
  5. Great End
  6. Great Gable
  7. Green Gable
  8. Brandreth
  9. Grey Knotts
  10. Honister Pass

Honister Pass to Keswick

After more food and hot drinks we were ready for the short, last leg into Keswick. With considerable relief we watched the clouds on Dale Head lift higher than the traverse we needed to find to reach High Spy. Conditions improved significantly and this last leg was a delight. Reaching the Moot Hall at 21:28 meant we finished 34 mile, 13,000 feet route in just under 15 hours, about an hour longer than we expected.
  1. High Spy
  2. Maiden Moor
  3. Cat Bells
  4. Keswick
Huge thanks to Peter & Sheila and, of course, Pauline for a truly memorable 64th.

Towards Caw
Morecambe Bay from Caw
Coniston Old Man
Towards Brim Fell

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Beacon Hill, Norfolk - 05 June

A friend's daughter's wedding is our excuse for spending a few days on the North Norfolk Coast, near Wells Next The Sea and not too far from some of the many Beacon Hills in the county. One of them is the county high point and worth a visit for that reason alone.

Beacon Hill
The flag pole was something of a surprise and the surrounding trees obscure pretty much all the views which is more than a little disappointing. However, another county high top which is our 12th "Historic County Top", our 21st "Current County Top" and our 12th "Administrative County Top" - not lists we pursue terribly actively.

Wells is a delight, Cromer is interesting and we probably saw Hunstanton at its best on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Blakeney Harbour is worth more time than we had to spare. Almost any other time of year would be better because of the access restrictions to protect ground nesting birds in the Spring.

Crabbing in Wells Harbour
Wells Harbour
Wells Harbour
Wells Harbour
Cromer Beach
Blakeney Harbour
Blakeney Harbour