Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge Dinner–16 Oct

Having helped Gordon Johnson complete “the crossing” at the end of August we had the perfect excuse and, indeed, an invitation from Gordon to attend the dinner. In many ways it marks the end of summer; Joss goes off to Spain not long afterwards, October half-term is almost upon us and not only are the days shorter they are noticeably colder.

JND01-200 Joss presenting GJ with his engraved tankard



JND01-201Part of the Group with their tankards

On the Sunday morning Joss leads a very gentle stroll up over Buckbarrow and unlike last year we enjoyed a morning of exceptional clarity. The high tops of Snowdonia were clear to the south west and the Isle of Man seemed even closer than yesterday and just a little further north the Mourne mountains in Ireland could be seen.

JND01-100 Joss with Spy and a collie with an eye for publicity

JND01-101Joss Naylor Tankard held aloft to celebrate Wainwright no 214

Gordon clearly has a sense of occasion and having saved Buckbarrow to be his 214th and final “Wainwright” he celebrated with a surprise bottle of champagne before receiving Joss’s congratulations.

JND01-102Congratulations from Joss on completing “Wainwright’s High Fells”

JND01-103Joss, Pauline and Spy on Buckbarrow summit

Monday, 18 October 2010

Isle of Man from St Bees - 16 Oct

On Saturday afternoon after a run on the Buttermere fells we travelled to Wasdale for the Joss Naylor Dinner at Santon Bridge. On the way south we saw the road to St Bees which is the traditional starting point for Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk and is a place has wanted to visit for some time, so we did on a day of exceptional clarity.

St Bees (1 of 1)

Without enough time to walk over St Bees Head we contented ourselves with a seat on the breezy prom and watched dogs chase balls with the Isle of Man on the horizon.

Buttermere Fells – 16 Oct

Even if the weather couldn’t quite match the glorious warm day we enjoyed a year ago in Wasdale last Saturday started out bright and sunny. Any warmth the sun might have provided was blasted away from the fell tops by a brisk, bitter north easterly wind – a good drying wind, I am sure. Away from Buttermere and up Red Pike for look over to Grasmoor and down into Ennerdale to reverse part of the Ennerdale Horseshoe fell race route, surely the best of the Lakeland races.

BF-100Grasmoor and the outlying fells above Crummock Water 

BF-101 Anglers Crag beyond Ennerdale Water

Beyond Great Borne we reached Gavel Fell before turning for Floutern Moss and the return to Buttermere. A good drying wind it must have been because I can’t remember this vast, sprawling bog being as dry as we found it on Saturday. Not that we kept our feet dry but nowhere did we encounter the calf deep areas I recall from previous crossings.

BF-102 Scale Force waterfall – the highest in the Lake District with a single drop of 170 feet

We have crossed below or above Scale Force falls every other time we have been here and so a closer look was overdue. Although the water volume could be much higher and often is the level was low enough to allow us to scramble to the very bottom of the big drop and spectacular it is.


BF-103 Along Buttermere to Fleetwith Pike, half in sunshine, at the far end

Beyond Scale Force, Buttermere was bathed in afternoon sunshine and down here, sheltered from the wind, it was almost possible to pretend summer was still with us.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Review: Hi-Tec V-Lite Sonoma WPi walking boots


Recently Fitness Footwear sent me a pair of Hi-Tec V-Lite Sonoma WPi walking boots to test.

My first pair of fabric walking boots were made by H-Tec and so I was looking forward to see how fabric boots in general have changed and, in particular, to seeing what Hi-Tec fabric have done to their fabric boots.

My first pair might not have been capable of tackling the roughest ground but they were comfortable and they were light.

Straight from the box these new Hi-Tec boots look so different and so much better, so much more like serious walking boots than the ones I remember even if the colour is a little paler than I would have preferred.

The outer provides good toe and heel protection while the sole and midsole are stiff enough to provide both protection and support while remaining comfortable.

Untitled picture

Initially I found the boots to be slightly stiffer than expected and I don’t consider this bad because it suggests plenty of protection for the feet inside and walking around soon eased the upper enough to fit closely and comfortably. The lacing system is easy to use and adjust, the tongue sits in place comfortably and I felt ready to tackle so rough ground.

At this point I became aware of heel lift in both feet and so I tried to tighten the laces a bit more to prevent it but was unable to anchor either of my heels securely in the heel cups.

Several times I thought I had achieved a tight fit but as soon as I walked on sloping ground my heels lifted inside the boots, my left heel being more prone to lift than my right.

Eventually, I was able to lock my heels into the boots but only by lacing them so tightly, above my feet, around my ankles that within minutes they were too uncomfortable to wear. This is due to an unfortunate combination of my stiff feet with their high arches and the precise positioning of the eyelets for the boot laces.

Had I tried these on in a shop I don't think I would have persisted with them but the heel lift seemed to slight I thought (and hoped) it would resolve itself. Regrettably it didn't and I was unable to find out how well these boots would perform. The toe and heel protection is both substantial and solid without ever feeling cumbersome. The sole and midsole combine well to provide support, comfort and protection while the tread pattern looks hard wearing and pretty grippy. I am disappointed I couldn’t get the fit right because they are so comfortable that I wanted to try them on rough ground and high hills to find out how they would really perform - the build quality and everything else about them says they will perform very well.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Langdale Horseshoe Fell Race – 09 Oct

Saturday was the second time I have run the Langdale Horseshoe, the last of the Lakeland Classics for 2010, and on the previous occasion in 2007 the weather was equally good and my time was somewhat better. I can only claim that in 2007 I had spent all summer racing and I didn’t stop to take photographs in those days. Saturday was too good a day to not photograph, especially during the second half when the valleys to the south west of Crinkle Crags were filled with hazy clouds.

LHFR-001 climbing away from Stickle Tarn (1)

LHFR-002climbing away from Stickle Tarn (2)

LHFR-003 Descending to Martcrag Moor

LHFR-004 On Martcrag Moor

LHFR-005Descending towards Langale Combe 

LHFR-006 Dropping into Angle Tarn with Esk Pike beyond

LHFR-007 Climbing to Esk Hause Shelter

LHFR-008 Looking west from below Bow Fell

LHFR-009Looking back to the Scafell massif 

LHFR-010A lone runner on a lower line 

LHFR-011 Crinkle Crags with Bow Fell in the distance under a little cloud

Despite the time spent taking photos I finished in the top half of my age group even if not in the top half of the field but I am happy with that, having thoroughly enjoyed the race. The results are on the Ambleside AC website.

Great Langdale on a Sunny Sunday Morning – 10 Oct

Having stayed at the Achille Ratti hut in Great Langdale on Saturday night we were privileged to watch the autumn sunshine creep up the valley on Sunday morning.


Gt Langdale -001 

Gt Langdale -003

Gt Langdale -004 

Gt Langdale -002

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Joss Naylor

Next weekend is the 2010 “Joss Naylor” Dinner where this year’s successful completers, including Gordon Johnson, will be presented with their engraved trophy. Last year it was my turn and, of course, I was was pretty excited and nervous about the whole thing whereas this year we are going along to see old friends and to offer our congratulations to those who joined the club in 2010. Joss will be taking us for a walk on Sunday morning and earlier this week I was looking through our photos from last year when came across one that seems to have been overlooked -


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay Leg 3 – 03 Oct

The “Ian Hodgson” is the first of the big relay races that will take place over the next few weeks. The Horwich RMI A team had raided the Vets team for runners to leave the Vets team a little depleted and so I found myself with a place. Paired with Tony Varley for Leg 3 we missed the worst of the weather and started late enough for the low clouds to lift. As neither of us had previously run this leg we were more than relieved as we watched the clouds lift and the rain ease.

IHMR-001 Clouds above Hartsop clearing the tops of the high fells

IHMR-002Saltwell’s Leg 3 pair await the arrival of their Leg 2 runners 

IHMR-003Otley AC Mixed Team handing over the dibber 

IHMR-006 Horwich RMI Vets finishing

IHMR-004 Chorley Mixed team finishing

IHMR-005The Trophy with Pete Bland’s van and the the last of the low clouds 

Tony and I held our own on Leg 3, catching 1 team but unable to stay with two of the other teams in the mass start on Leg 3. Overall, we were a bit disappointed with our final place but sometimes that is just what happens. The results and splits are all here.


Finally, walking back to the car I came across two of the largest mushrooms I have ever seen. The one below is the bigger of the two and has its own little puddle on top.

IHMR-007 A mushroom large enough to make a meal, if edible

Duddon Valley – 02 October

The annual Rucksack Club fell race is generally held on the first Saturday in October and 2010 wasn’t an exception. The location and the precise format of the fell race is determined by the organiser although navigation skills are always required and this year took the format of an Orienteering score event in the Duddon Valley. The best of the weather occurred before the start and while it didn’t rain until much later the clouds started to build from mid morning. This is a low key event involving about 25 people, most of whom we didn’t see out on the hills, and while we didn’t end up with the highest score (by a considerable margin) we only had trouble with one of the controls we tried to find and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Duddon Valley-001 Low clouds clearing out as the first of the sunshine begins to appear

Duddon Valley-002 one of many streams trickling through a jumble of rocks

Duddon Valley-004 An old storm damaged tree still growing

Duddon Valley-005 Looking north up the valley

Duddon Valley-006 Characteristic small pool below some waterfalls

Duddon Valley-003 Morning sky that promised more than it delivered