Monday, 30 July 2012

Coope’s Dozen – 28 July

The last couple of summers we have missed it but this year we were back from sunnier climes just in time for both heavy rain and Coope’s Dozen – my 2009 account has some of the history and Pauline’s 2012 account has photos of the group she was with. After the heavy showers finished we gathered for a prolonged and not entirely successful (in every case) photo shoot.


Most of the main characters appear in here – the exception being Elaine Latham who would meet us after 9 miles with cake and coffee and other sustenance. John Swift (in yellow with his back to camera) helped Elaine and then met us again just before the 12th of the 12 summits. This a very sociable group run and as has been the case in recent years, two groups set off and the membership of the second group varied from summit to summit as runners joined and left.


20120728-CoopesDozen-9Mark and (probably) Josie approaching Noon Hill

20120728-CoopesDozen-13Tony, Mark, Josie and Paul approaching Rivington Pike

20120728-CoopesDozen-22Looking south east from Old Adam

20120728-CoopesDozen-27Paul, Mark, Josie and Mark approaching Great Hill with Winter Hill in the distance

By and large the route is pretty well established although in the winter I had a look at alternative way on to Counting Hill and having found it in the dark with Tony, Tom and Albert who were less than completely convinced it was an improvement I was fairly happy about being able to find it again. Only Albert knew where we were going when we avoided the usual, desperately overgrown, bee-line for the wall over Counting Hill so there were the usual groans about “we usually go up there” but this line avoids the bracken entirely, following a small, barely discernable trod to the main path over Counting Hill and is a complete delight, a huge improvement.

All this good will and kudos was thrown away when Albert and I took an awful line to Old Adam but Albert’s route off Sugar Loaf was better than anyone else expected so I think if we take the normal route to Old Adam then, between us, we will have improved a well established route – next year will tell, if we remember.


20120728-CoopesDozen-30Western flank of Great Hill

20120728-CoopesDozen-35Albert, Tony, Paul, Josie, Tom and Mark with only Mark Salmon missing on Healey Nab the final summit

20120728-CoopesDozen-32-EditWinter Hill

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Mount Srd, Dubrovnik – 23 July

A bit of a cheat, really, but it is too hot to walk up hills of any size this week in Dubrovnik. Temperatures are in the mid 30s and there is no shade on the way up Mount Srd and so we join the rest of the tourists in the queue for the cable car. At 1355 feet it was never going to be a “big tick” although there is an element of irony here because, a year ago in Turkey, I wasn’t impressed by Peak Baggers who claim “drive up” summits

– ah, well Embarrassed smile


20120723-dubrovnik-338Small cross on the summit

There is a much larger, newer, cross just below the summit which replaced the one destroyed at the start of the siege of Dubrovnik during the Homeland war in 1991.

20120723-dubrovnik-335Looking inland


The real point of reaching the summit of Mount Srd, by whatever means, is the view of Dubrovnik it provides. Mid summer probably isn’t the best time because of the ever-present haze.

20120723-dubrovnik-337Looking north over the Dubrovnik and its resorts

20120723-dubrovnik-341Dubrovnik Old Town and the island of Lokrum

20120723-dubrovnik-1210Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik is an entrancing, magical place – the resorts are like any other resorts on this and many other coasts but the old town and its medieval building, forts and walls is a special place thoroughly deserving its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Wasdale fell race – 14 July

9022 feet of climbing in 21.1 miles (2750m, 34km) is a tough day out even when you are fully fit and prepared and when that isn’t quite the case then it could be a very tough day, indeed. After a poor winter’s training and not enough on big hills I have struggled in Lakeland races and have the results to prove it so I could only anticipate a real struggle towards the end.


20120714-wasdale-106 Great Gable

20120714-wasdale-1Start Field (i)

20120714-wasdale-2Start Field (ii)

20120714-wasdale-3Towards Whin Rigg with low cloud drifting through

20120714-wasdale-5Climbing out of Greendale (i)

20120714-wasdale-7Climbing out of Greendale (ii)

20120714-wasdale-8Scoat Tarn

20120714-wasdale-11Above Mosedale

20120714-wasdale-14Ennerdale – looking down to Black Sail Hostel

20120714-wasdale-17Back towards Ennerdale


20120714-wasdale-16Towards Great Gable

20120714-wasdale-19Great Gable


By Great Gable I started to struggle a bit but managed to stay just ahead of last year’s time reaching the summit over a minute quicker but I lost a couple of minutes by Esk Hause Shelter and continued to lose a little time from there to the finish. I ended up within 4 minutes of my 2011 time and in comparison with my comparative times at “Teenager with Altitude” and the “Old County Tops” it is a huge improvement. Although slipping just beyond 6 hours is slightly disappointing, there is always next year.


20120714-wasdale-1011-EditLast look at Wasdale as we journey home

Pauline has more photos on her blog here.

Huge thanks to the Race Organiser (Richard Eastman), all the marshals and everyone else who helped.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Winter Hill Week – 07 July

My Dad is staying with us for a few days and next weekend is the Wasdale fell race both of which meant rethinking this week’s running. Only early mornings and only at the start of the week – to allow enough rest before next Saturday – which really means running from home and, to get some climbing, running up Winter Hill and back. Four days doing that gave me 54.5 miles, just short of 6000 feet of climbing and 3 days rest. Two days were run in very low cloud and on one of these two days it rained but the other two days were bright and sunny – not bad for this summer.

20120707-winterhill-4Welcome sight

20120707-winterhill-8“Spirit of Sport” – Horwich (more info here)

20120707-winterhill-9The Reebok – lights & cameras

20120707-winterhill-10The Reebok – lights & the moon

20120707-winterhill-19Winter Hill Kissing Gate

20120708-winterhill-1-EditWinter Hill in the far distance

20120708-winterhill-3-EditNorth west over flat fields

20120708-winterhill-5-EditWinter Hill & Rivington Pike


20120708-winterhill-10-EditFinger Post with the Two Lads in the distance (the “finger” is now missing, perhaps this is the last photo of it)

20120708-winterhill-104-EditSome of the masts and a post

20120708-winterhill-107-EditBelmont Village & Reservoir

20120708-winterhill-9Old Station Park – Horwich

Looking at old maps of Horwich on Friday night prompted Dad to ask what happened to Horwich Station after it closed. I realised then that I had no idea and I was still wondering as I ran through Horwich the following morning – I was still wondering when I ran passed the entrance to a park and the iron arch caught my attention and answered the question.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Brian Layton’s “Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge” – 30 June

Setting off from Great Langdale to meet Brian somewhere between High Raise and Great End looked straightforward, on paper and in good conditions. In the difficult conditions he had endured through the night I began to wonder if we would be able to find him at all while we climbed up into the clag below Bowfell.


20120630-GtLangdale-21-EditOne of many full becks

20120630-GtLangdale-26-EditGreat Langdale from just below the cloud base

Had Brian been on schedule we would have met him around Rossett Pike but there was no sign of Brian or anyone else making their way from High Raise and so, either he was so far behind that he had retired or he was ahead of his schedule. Hoping it was the latter we carried on to Esk Hause and turned into the route, ascending Esk Pike. Not many minutes later, when we could see nothing, we could hear voices above us and they were getting closer. Three figures materialised soon after - Brian and his two pacers. Brief introductions and we joined the group to go over Great End to Sty Head Pass.

20120630-GtLangdale-36-EditBrian (furthest from camera) nearing Great End summit

20120630-GtLangdale-37-EditSummit approach and the details are recorded

20120630-GtLangdale-40-EditDirect descent down The Nose

20120630-GtLangdale-42-EditThe Stretcher Box and support crew are down there somewhere

20120630-GtLangdale-45-EditTime for food and drink

20120630-GtLangdale-46-EditMore food!

A little over half an hour ahead of his schedule Brian arrived and departed (just) before his support arrived. An even briefer exchange of supplies part way up Great Gable took place and we watched Brian climb strongly into the mist. I don’t know if he finished within his allowed 18 hours but all the indications are that he would have.

Brian reached Greendale Bridge 17 hours and 6 minutes, comfortably within his allowed 18 hours


We headed back to Great Langdale over Seathwaite Fell, Glaramara and Allan Crags to complete another great day on the fells – thanks, Brian, for the excuse.

20120630-GtLangdale-67-EditGreat End emerging from the clouds

20120630-GtLangdale-73-EditSprinkling Tarn almost in sunlight

20120630-GtLangdale-77-EditPavey Ark and the Langdale Pikes

20120630-GtLangdale-56-EditWaterfall below Great End with a wind blown plume of spray