Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Teenager With Altitude – 24 April

With 16 miles and 7300 feet of joy on a sunny morning in the Northwestern Fells of the Lake District, the inaugural “Teenager With Altitude” promised much for long distance fell runners. Even the weather was almost perfect – some might have argued it was a little warm but the gentle breeze on the tops more than compensated. A small field of 58, I think, started and I was a little concerned that avoiding last place would be more difficult than usual. By way of Causey Pike, Outerside, Grasmoor, Newlands Hause and High Snock Rigg; Robinson is eventually reached where the Anniversary Waltz route is joined. Over Hindscarth, Dale Head, High Spy and finally Catbells before plunging to the finish at Stair. This is a glorious route with demanding ascents and descents and it exceeded all of my expectations. The organisation and support was, as expected, superb and I’ll be back next year.

Teenager With Altitude-001 North East to Skiddaw and Blencathra before the start


Teenager With Altitude-002 Just before the start with Causey Pike (first CP) on the skyline


Teenager With Altitude-004

Looking back down Grisedale to Outerside and Causey Pike


Teenager With Altitude-005 Whiteside

Teenager With Altitude-006 Grisedale Pike on the left and Crag Hill on the right with Skiddaw in the distance


Teenager With Altitude-007

Rannerdale Knotts and Crummock Water

 Teenager With Altitude-008High Snock Rigg with one runner and two marshals

 Teenager With Altitude-009 Western Fells beyond Buttermere Moss


 Teenager With Altitude-011Dale Head from part way up High Spy

Results and other details of both “Teenager With Altitude” and the “Anniversary Waltz” can be found here and to save you looking, I managed to avoid the “lantern rouge”.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Winter Hill – 17 April

Thursday evening in Winter Hill’s golden sunshine was still cool in complete contrast with Saturday morning when it could almost have been mid-summer. A fresh breeze, omnipresent on Thursday, continued to sweep over the exposed upper edges reminding everyone that summer isn’t here just yet. I wanted a long run, a long run with a bit of tarmac and while Winter Hill is so dry and hard it could almost count as road I wanted the real thing. So a bit of the “black stuff” at the beginning passing Curly’s Fishery and the same again at the end.

Winter Hill - 001 Curly’s Fishery looking almost due north with the mast on the skyline


Winter Hill - 002Curly’s Fishery looking east

The moors are exceptionally dry and the first fires of the year have started already which especially bad news for ground nesting birds. There seems to have been almost no growth and very little green to be seen above the drained fields.

Winter Hill - 003 North east over Belmont in the direction of Darwen


Winter Hill - 004 Over Spitler’s Edge looking north – with very good eyes you might be able to see 3 runners on the dark path in the centre of the picture, after double-clicking to enlarge.

The lead runner is in a dark vest and the most difficult to see, the middle runner in yellow isn’t too difficult and behind him (Ed) the third runner in blue can be seen. Unlike previously, I hadn’t recognised Pauline’s stud marks but I did think the blue vest was familiar and Pauline, it is.


Winter Hill - 006 The Dovecote Tower

The Dovecote Tower, commonly known as the Pigeon Tower, stands at the north western edge of the Terraced Gardens. Italian in style, and built in 1910 by Lord Leverhulme as part of his extensive Rivington estate. In 1886 Leverhulme established a soap manufacturing company called Lever Brothers (now part of Unilever) and he lived in the Rivington area of Bolton for many years. In 1913, his house there was destroyed by a suffragette — ironically, as he was in favour women's suffrage. He had a large mansion created to replace this original home, and turned a large portion of the grounds over to the town of Bolton as a public park, including a small zoo stocked with emu, yaks, zebra, wallabies and a lion cub. His own Japanese-style garden, based on the design of the willow-patterned plate, included a lake complete with its own flock of flamingos The Pigeon Tower originally had three stories, with the top room being Lady Lever's sewing room and the lower two levels housing ornamental doves and pigeons. The three floors are linked by a solid stone staircase that runs up the semi-circular spine of the building. On rare occasions when the metal barricaded door allows access, one can still see in the top room the ornate fireplace engraved with the initials of William Heskth and Elizabeth Ellen Lever running in a circular wheel above the family motto, MUTARE VEL TIMERE SPERNO - "To change or to fear I spurn". Whilst structurally sound following renovation work in Spring 2006, the property has not been inhabited for many years

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

By Lake, Ridge & Wainwright – 11 April

To my mind this is the best “20+ miler” in the LDWA calendar – well organised and well supported by the Westmorland & North Lancs group over some of the best fells in the Lake District with enough freedom in the route to go wrong if you aren’t paying attention. Revived after an absence of a few years in memory of Eileen Knopfel, with all profits to CancerCare the route climbs out of Borrowdale and turns north over High Spy and Maiden Moor before plunging down to Little Town, Newlands Church and the first check point at Low Snab Farm. Up over Hindscarth and Robinson before crossing Buttermere Moss and dropping into Buttermere, the second check point and more food. Round the lake and through Scarth Gap on to Hay Stacks and across to Honister Hause for the final check point. All that is left now is the climb to Dale Head and the drop through Rigghead Quarries to Rosthwaite and the finish for more food and drink.

The event attracted the “usual suspects” from the LDWA, a good number of runners and a smattering of Bob Graham aspirants topping up their training. It was good to see old friends at the start and meet a new FRA Forumite, “Derby Tup” halfway up the first ascent. A long day in the Yorkshire Dales probably wasn’t the ideal preparation for this route and, eventually, Pauline succumbed to the heat in Buttermere and retired at Honister.

LR&W-001Rigghead Quarries (on the way up)

LR&W-002 Derwent Water and the Northern Fells beyond


LR&W-003 Newlands Church


LR&W-004Looking north from Hindscarth with the Northern Fells in the distance


LR&W-005Buttermere village, Crummock Water and Rannerdale Knotts with the  Western Fells beyond


LR&W-006 Fleetwith Pike beyond Buttermere

LR&W-007North west over Buttermere to the North Western fells below Grasmoor


LR&W-008Fleetwith Pike

LR&W-009 Almost a last look at Buttermere


LR&W-010 High Stile above Buttermere


LR&W-011Inominate Tarn on Hay Stacks with Great Gable on the skyline


LR&W-012 Final look down into Buttermere

LR&W-013 Looking north from Dale Head with High Spy and Maiden Moor on the right, the Northern Fells in the distance, North Western Fells to the left in the distance and Hindscarth also on the left.

When this event was run on 13 July 2002 I was fortunate to be one of the sweepers; the other was Eileen Knopfel and we both had a wonderful warm sunny day on these fells. Irrespective of the weather, all days and nights walking on the fells with Eileen were warm and sunny – she brought her own sunshine for the rest of us to share and enjoy.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sabden Valley – 04 April

With ever changing weather forecasts we chopped and changed our plans for Easter and while we weren’t able to get everything done we did manage to go and have a look at a route Pauline needs for later in the year. Just south of Pendle Hill, in the Forest of Pendle, is a valley which, whilst not free from the ravages of civilisation is far removed from the northern industrial towns of Colne, Nelson, Brierfield and Burnley against which it nestles. Two long ridges provide a good long 20+ mile run away from Bank Holiday crowds. With just a little flexibility the route can be made to visit the four nearby Trig Points.

The torrential rain we saw during breakfast persuaded us that a delay of an hour or so wouldn’t go amiss and so although we set out under leaden skies the day improved thereafter.

Sabden Skyline - 001 Trig on The Rough

Sabden Skyline - 002 Easter Cross above Newchurch in Pendle


Sabden Skyline - 003 Pendle Hill


Sabden Skyline - 004Trig on Stang Top Moor with Pendle Hill in the distance


Sabden Skyline - 005  Trig on the Rigg of England on the south side of the valley looking east


Sabden Skyline - 006 Looking East up Sabden valley


Sabden Skyline - 007 Trig on Black Hill looking towards north east towards Pendle Hill


Sabden Skyline - 008Looking north west from the west end of the valley in late afternoon 

This route is one we recall with a special fondness as it was one of our earliest 20+ mile routes but one which we took two (consecutive) days to do staying overnight at a pub in Blacko. Ah, those were the days - walk 12 miles to the pub, have a few beers, stay over, have breakfast and then walk back the next day!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Rivington Pike Fell Race – 02 April

Rivington Pike Fell Race is probably the second oldest amateur fell race of all, having been run since 1893 (Hallam Chase since 1863), and it may have been run as a professional race as early as 1869. Always held on Easter Saturday it is a short steep race of about 3.25 miles with 700 feet of climbing – doesn’t sound much, does it? That is what I thought when I rashly entered it (my first fell race since school) in 2003, approaching my 50th birthday. Needless to say, I never again wondered how hard a 3.25 mile race could be. Since then I have grown to realise the only way to really enjoy races like “The Pike” is to spectate!

This year heavy cloud cover provided shade for the runners but prevented the very slippy ground from drying and so complicated the choice of footwear – studs could provide the necessary grip but there is a lot of tarmac and concrete at the start and finish.

Rivington Pike FR-001 South west towards North Wales

Rivington Pike FR-002

Tom Cornthwaite (Blackburn Harriers & AC) stretches the field in the climb to Georges Lane. First to the summit he extended his lead over Ricky Lightfoot (Blackburn Harriers) and Rob & Danny Hope (Pudsey & Bramley AC) on the descent to win comfortably.

Rivington Pike FR-003

 Rivington Pike FR-004

If you think the climb is hard (and it is), just wait for the descent

Rivington Pike FR-005


Rivington Pike FR-006

More pictures here and the results here