Sunday, 30 September 2012

Winter Hill – 29 September

After weeks of running and racing elsewhere this was a weekend at home and run over Winter Hill on Saturday morning. Along between the reservoirs to Healey Nab, through White Coppice to Great Hill where I caught up, unexpectedly, with Pauline, Ed and Ray before meeting John running in the opposite direction. Very sociable indeed – all this after meeting Gordon earlier on Great Hill.

 

20120929_004_winterhill-2-Edit  Rivington Stocks

20120929_005_winterhill-4-EditWaterfall – somewhat tamer than earlier in the week

20120929_006_winterhill-13-EditAnglezark Reservoir in the distance

20120929_009_winterhill-20-EditOne of the lanes between the reservoirs

 

20120929_002_winterhill-21-EditAnother of the lanes between the reservoirs

20120929_003_winterhill-11-EditReservoir with Winter Hill in the distance

20120929_007_winterhill-36-EditWinter Hill

20120929_001_winterhill-43-EditOne of the quarries

20120929_008_winterhill-46-EditTrees between the quarries

My knee seems to be recovering from the Mountain Trial – I don’t need the strap any more but I still paranoid about twisting it because the ligaments or cartilage on the outside of the joint still twinge at the slightest encouragement. Am more optimistic about Great Langdale than I was a week ago.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Review: Regatta Professional Uproar - softshell jacket

 

Recently polo-shirts.co.uk sent me a Regatta Professional Uproar Softshell jacket for review. Regatta Professional claim their Softshell garments are a new approach to traditional layering systems and the Uproar is available in a number of sizes, a variety of colours, has a water repellent finish, is light, comfortable and wind resistant. It is also interactive which means it can be zipped into some Regatta waterproof jackets and is lightweight with a knitted fabric back for warmth and comfort.

Regatta_Uproar_Jacket_29_145_300_300The Regatta Professional Uproar in black

Sounds good but when might you want, or prefer, a softshell jacket? Because softshells are so versatile it is probably easier to begin by describing when you might prefer something else or something else as well. The Uproar, like all softshells, it isn’t waterproof but it does have a water-repellent finish and will keep you dry for good length of time. If the rain or snow is heavy enough that a hat is needed then a waterproof top is probably needed too and so the lack of a hood shouldn’t be a problem.

Although the Uproar has with a knitted fabric back for warmth and comfort it isn’t, on its own, a proper winter jacket. Just as a waterproof top will be needed when the rain or snow is very heavy, low temperatures or very high winds will mean another layer is needed. Mid-summer will probably be too warm for the Uproar so what does that leave?

Actually, it leaves most of the year round, when it isn't bitterly cold, isn't very hot and isn't pouring with rain. Warm and highly breathable as well as wind and water resistant, Softshell tops are much more versatile than fleeces or other mid-layers and the Uproar is great example of a softshell top.

The design of the Uproar is straightforward, practical and uses warm, comfortable materials. The Uproar is also quiet, almost silent, with none of the “swishing” that is so difficult to avoid with hard shell jackets and, like all Regatta clothing, it is well made with solid stitching - it looks and feels like it is built to last. If I am disappointed about anything, it is the pockets – they are positioned so that they will be behind a rucksack waist belt which isn’t uncommon but they are really too small to be "hand warmer pockets" for adult hands. The full length zip seems sturdy and fastens the collar fairly snuggly around the neck while the sleeves and the jacket itself are comfortably long. In addition to the zip there is a shockcord hem to adjust the fit and help keep the weather out.

The Uproar is a highly versatile, very comfortable, robust jacket that is light enough to wear or carry almost all year round. If you wear a fleece as a top layer most of the year round then the Uproar will do everything your fleece does and more besides – it will keep the wind out for longer, it will keep you dry for longer without a waterproof and it will be as comfortable to wear.

If the Uproar Softshell isn’t quite what are after then have a look at the other jackets and fleeces from polo-shirts.co.uk

Monday, 24 September 2012

Caw – 23 September

The day after the Rucksack Club fell race involves collecting the controls which means a gentle run out over part of the route to controls you found the day before or ones you didn’t, if you are still looking for a challenge. Pauline and I went out to collect the controls around Caw and visited the summit en route. Not the highest hill above the valley but one with some of the best views. Caw is also the final check point on the long Duddon Valley fell race route and has just enough ascent to provide a “sting in the tail” as well as a very fast descent to the finish of the race below.

The early morning light wasn’t as spectacular as Saturday but  the developing clouds added some interest.

 

20120923_001_duddon-220-EditCottages with Harter Fell in the distance

20120923_002_duddon-222-Edit-2Outside store

20120923_003_duddon-228-Edit-3The head of the valley with the Scafells in the distance

20120923_004_duddon-542-EditLone sheep high on the fells

20120923_005_duddon-546-EditThe Scafells and more

20120923_006_duddon-548-EditThe Duddon Valley

The Rucksack Club fell race – 22 September

The annual Rucksack Club fell race is a low key Score Event with just enough controls for a 5 hour run, if you don’t get lost and don’t make any bad route choices – I did both and ended up with the same number of points as Pauline who jogged gently round some controls with Keith. Based at the club hut in Duddon Valley the event was blessed with spectacularly good weather in contrast with most recent years. I was out early to watch the first of the sunshine arrive on the tops above the valley.

 

20120922-duddon-103

 

20120922-duddon-104

 

20120922-duddon-111

20120922-duddon-18

 

20120922_007_duddon-128

 

With the sun high in the sky and my map marked it up it was time to go and find some controls, in theory. I undershot the first but found it, overshot the second but picked up later, undershot the third but found it and missed the fourth by a considerable distance. Not too long after missing this control Tom appeared just behind me and it required only a brief conference to confirm we were lost. Eventually we sorted ourselves out and headed off in the wrong direction for the control we had missed. Luckily we soon encountered someone who actually knew where they and we were. We then visited the next three controls without incident and went our separate ways. Another couple of controls later and I realised there were only two things left to do – avoid penalty points and enjoy the sunshine. Tom however was fired up and headed off into the wilds looking for more controls and, for the second year running, picking up most penalty points in the process.

20120922_008_duddon-501Near the first control but not the right stream

20120922_009_duddon-509Harter Fell with the Scafells in the distance

20120922_010_duddon-512Stickle Pike and nowhere near the control we were looking for

20120922_011_duddon-515Stickle Tarn and uncharacteristically close to a control

20120922_012_duddon-520Morecambe Bay with a grey smudge on the horizon that is the Isle of Man

20120922_013_duddon-525Looking towards Lancashire

20120922_014_duddon-530The Scafells

 

20120922_015_duddon-532The Scafells again

20120922_016_duddon-24Mark who visited all the control faster than anyone else with Paul (event organiser)

 

20120922_017_duddon-26Andy and John who visited all the control but not quite as quickly as Mark

 

 

20120922_018_duddon-27Ed and Ros who were third with Paul

20120922_019_duddon-211Sunset and time for a glass of wine with dinner

Huge thanks to Paul for setting up the Meet at short notice and to Ros for great meal in the evening – another really cracking Rucksack Club meet.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Three Shires fell race – 15 September

The Three Shires fell race means autumn is just around the corner if not here already and, this year, the third race in three weekends. Niggling injuries from last weekend meant a a week of almost complete rest and, I hoped, enough time to recover from last weekend’s Mountain Trial. The closure of the M6 delayed many runners and which caused the start to be delayed by half an hour until 11:30.

20120915_001_3shires-2Car park with the Langdale Pikes in the distance

20120915_002_3shires-102Chilling or stretching before the start

20120915_003_3shires-103Start of the first climb up Wetherlam

20120915_004_3shires-106Further up Wetherlam

20120915_005_3shires-107Wetside Edge with Pike of Blisco beyond (both are on the route, after Wetherlam)

20120915_006_3shires-109Looking back down into Little Langdale

20120915_008_3shires-112About to descend to Blea Tarn

20120915_009_3shires-119Chilling afterwards

20120915_010_3shires-120Rehydrating Smile

20120915_011_3shires-121Lottie wants that pasty

20120915_012_3shires-124Race HQ – The Three Shires Inn

My week of almost complete rest wasn’t enough to to recover enough to get round in a good time but my knee strap did the business – descending was painful (painfully slow, perhaps, but that is different) and only the merest twinge climbing, not enough to blame for my time.

As it is a great race and a great day – huge thanks to the Race Organiser, Selwyn Wright, all the marshals and everyone else who helped make it happen. The results are here.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Lake District Mountain Trial – 09 September

Last year’s Trial found me wanting – poor route choices, in particular, made it a very long slow day and so I was hoping for an improvement this year. Fewer poor route choices will help and the ground, in the North Western fell should be better than last year. The Newlands Adventure Centre was race HQ and there were adventurous bears in the grounds.

20120909-LDMT-504-EditClimbing Bear

20120909-LDMT-507-EditDavid Powell-Thompson wishing it was his place rather than his number

20120909-LDMT-102-EditJoss and Mike Walford exchanging tips

Joss has competed in 49 or 50 Trials (there was a little confusion at the start) and won 10 while Mike Walford has done 44 consecutive Trials and was doing the Classic course today.

20120909-LDMT-106-EditAlbert Sunter (302) and another on their way

20120909-LDMT-107-EditJoss ready to start and, probably, offering advice and wishing good luck to Mike Ferguson

20120909-LDMT-109-EditThe Derwent fells from below Catbells

20120909-LDMT-111-EditHelvellyn in the distance with the Central fells in the mid-ground

20120909-LDMT-112-EditCatbells, Derwent Water and the Northern fells beyond

20120909-LDMT-113-EditHindscarth with Robinson beyond

The sun burned off the morning mist to leave a haze that persisted throughout the day and which made for dull photographs during the rest of the day. I did a bit better than last year with only one poor route choice but most of the day was a struggle with the heat and some niggling injuries. The Mountain Trial is one of the classics in the fell running calendar and I’ll be back next year to “enjoy” another.

20120909-LDMT-509-EditPost-mortem

The results are here and huge thanks are due to the organisers, marshals and all other helpers for the 2012 Lake District Mountain Trial.