Sunday, 23 June 2013

Greendale Bridge – 22 June

“Strong to Gale-Force winds” wrecked our plans for the day and left us on Greendale Bridge with nothing to celebrate.

20130622_002_Greendale-102-EditTowards Wasdale Head

20130622_003_Greendale-1-Edit-2From Seatallan towards the coast

20130622_004_Greendale-3-EditFrom Middle Fell with Buck Barrow on the right looking towards the coast

20130622_005_Greendale-5-EditWast Water

20130622_001_Greendale-100-EditGreendale Bridge (empty)

The hills are still there, no one died and we’ll be back for another go.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge – 16th June

The Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge is open to veteran fell runners and challenges them to complete a 48 mile route with almost 17,000 feet of climbing starting in Pooley Bridge and finishing at Greendale Bridge, Wasdale. The detailed route isn’t specified but the summits to be visited are specified as is the time allowed. On Sunday, as a newly minted 60 year old I would be allowed a relatively leisurely 18 hours. The route travels south over High Raise and High Street to Kirkstone Pass and from there generally west over High Raise to Bowfell and Sty Head before starting a loop above Wasdale Head to Greendale at the other end of the valley.

I was well rested by Sunday morning but concerned that I might be under-prepared having spent less time in the Cumbrian Fells than I would have like because of the lingering snow – this fear was fuelled by two less than impressive long races, Ennerdale Horseshoe on a hot day and the Old County Tops on a cold wet day. I had a sub-17 schedule and decided on Friday to include the splits for a 17:50 completion on the pacer’s schedules so that if things didn’t go to plan I would, at least, know how much of a cushion I had. In the event I needn’t have worried, after some serious warnings about going too fast at the start I was able to stay ahead of my schedule and finished in just under 16 hours.

Days out on the fells like this aren’t really about the route, the weather (it helped) or the time taken – they are about the people you spend the day with, the people who make it enjoyable, the people who make it all possible.

iansjoss2013-3-Edit-10Richard and Leigh

Richard would run the second leg with me but first of all he came to Pooley Bridge to see us off. Leigh ran the first leg from Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass – issued warnings about my too fast pace and found all the summits for me as well as the routes in between.

iansjoss2013_p-76-Edit-10Richard, Keith and Karl

At Dunmail Pass – the end of the second leg where Richard has just finished as has Karl who ran from Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass and on to Dunmail. Carl helped on my first JNLC in 2009 and today was Karl’s birthday too. Keith and Pauline provided faultless road support throughout the day.


iansjoss2013_p-101-Edit-12Penny and Rhiannon bringing me into Sty Head at the end of the third leg

Rhiannon too helped on my 2009 crossing and her photographs of that day encouraged me to take another look at digital photography.


Joss came up to Sty Head to see us and then to various points on the last leg to see me through before dropping down to make sure he was at Greendale Bridge to see me finish.


iansjoss2013_p-103-Edit-10Monica (I wasn’t paying attention to the photographer)

Monica was the original co-coordinator for the challenge and she and her husband (Colin) came up to Sty Head to say hello, wish me well and safe speedy journey on to Greendale.


iansjoss2013-104-Edit-11The “Last Leg” Crew – it was only me on my “last legs”

David, Pauline, Joss, self, Tony, Josie, Bill, Albert and Keith (kneeling)

Keith and Pauline were able to come round the last leg as well doing road support all day; Bill navigated as he did for me in 2009; Tony, Josie, Albert and I train together; David came out to meet us and see us safely over the last summit and down to Greendale – I had a fabulous day on the fells and I didn’t want it to finish although my legs did.

You all helped to give me a completely unforgettable 60th Birthday and I am struggling to find the words capable of expressing the gratitude I feel so, “thank you” will have to suffice, however inadequate it is – thank you all!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Ennerdale Horseshoe fell race - 09 June

A long hot day on the hills turning into a real struggle after Kirk Fell – I guess that is what happens when you don’t eat or drink enough. My slowest time ever Sad smile but I did get the long day out that I was looking for was so it wasn’t all bad.

20130608_001_ennerdale-101-EditEverything seemed fine at this stage

20130608_002_ennerdale-104-EditApproaching Red Pike summit

20130608_003_ennerdale-106-EditKirk Fell looming large

20130608_004_ennerdale-110-Edit-2Ennerdale (with the finish almost in sight – beyond the lake)

20130608_005_ennerdale-5-EditPost Race Refreshment Team


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Travelling Home and a “Bob Graham” or Three – 01 June

We made the long road south a little longer with a lunch stop at Prestwick on the Costa Clyde and couldn’t have a better day for it. All the fun of the fair on the promenade, kids playing on the beach and a surprisingly good lunch in a high street cafe.

whitweek-829-Edit-10 “Elvis” and a fairly unappreciative audience

– ironic that the only place Elvis set foot in the UK was at Prestwick Airport, about 2 miles along the beach from here.

whitweek-840-Edit-11The beach

The rest of the afternoon was spent driving south and reading text message updates on the contenders’ progress. The trick was going to be to try to see the first somewhere between Honister and Keswick, meet the second at Honister to run the last leg and finally to see the third, probably in Keswick. In fact, Steve Angus ran fast enough for us to see him finish in Keswick before heading to Honister.


whitweek-844-Edit-12Steve (with Scamp) and some of his support crew running up to The Moot Hall

whitweek-845-Edit-1319:43 – well done, Steve!

Now off to Honister to meet Jim Trueman (Pennine) who set off early on Saturday morning with Dominic Oughton. Dom retired at Wasdale with muscle spasms in his back and legs while they were both going strongly and ahead of schedule. Jim was still going strongly and ahead of schedule when we left Honister with Helen who had come from Wasdale with him. I guessed taking photos wasn’t on his schedule but I managed to grab a few on my phone as we climbed out of Honister.



Still well ahead of schedule at the start of the road section where Dom joined us for the run in to The Moot Hall, Jim finished in about 22 hours but I can’t remember his actual time.


whitweek-34-Edit-17Jim (on the left) with Dom contemplating the last 22 hours or so. Well done, Jim

The final contender, Tim Roe, left Keswick at the same time as Jim & Dom and was about 20 minutes behind them at Honister. We managed to miss Tim’s arrival but were able to see him not long afterwards.

whitweek-856-Edit-11Tim with some of his support crew

whitweek-855-Edit-10Well done, Tim!

Geal-charn & A’Mharconaich – 31 May

These two Munros above the Pass of Drumochter are a “pleasant and undemanding day” according to the SMC and so they were. Last day here before heading south to Honister to help of the last leg of a Bob Graham Round attempt so an easy day was in order. More by luck than judgement this turned out to be a good choice because the rain chased us off the second summit and after a dry sunny morning, at least to begin with, the rain in the afternoon was the heaviest we saw all week. These two gave us our 100th and 101st Munros – Keith compleated a long time ago and is trying to avoid being drawn into another round so they don’t count for him.

20130531_001_whitweek-795-EditLooking north on the railway


20130531_002_whitweek-800-EditLooking south above the railway and the A9 road



20130531_003_whitweek-804-EditLoch Ericht and Ben Alder


20130531_004_whitweek-816-EditLoch Ericht and Ben Alder again


20130531_005_whitweek-817-EditLast look towards Ben Alder as the rain clouds gather


20130531_006_whitweek-821-EditKeith, Pauline and self on A’Mharconaich

Geal Charn – 30 May

Having been defeated by a large ice-field high on Cairn Gorm on our way to Loch Avon we headed down the A9 for Geal Charn above Glen Markle near Laggan. Without the long walk-in of the Cairngorms this is an easy afternoon’s walk.


20130530_001_whitweek-766-EditLooking south to Ardverkie Forest

20130530_002_whitweek-770-EditJust what summits are for – looking south west

20130530_003_whitweek-771-EditLooking south east

20130530_004_whitweek-779-EditApproaching Garva Bridge

20130530_005_whitweek-788-EditRed Deer watching at we walk passed

20130530_006_whitweek-794-EditCanoes by the Old Bridge Inn

Monday, 3 June 2013

Bynack More & Creag Mhor – 29 May

A windy showery day was forecast but both were late in arriving so we didn’t get very wet and weren’t blown off either of the tops – a good day.


20130529_001_whitweek-714-EditMore trees on the edge of Rothiemurchus

20130529_002_whitweek-719-EditLooking south east from Bynack More

20130529_003_whitweek-731-EditLooking south west from Creag Mhor

20130529_004_whitweek-752-EditTree Roots

Mullach Clach a Bhlair – 28 May

Mullach Clach a Bhlair overlooks Glen Feshie and is one of a pair of Munros often climbed together but the low cloud and high wind easily persuaded us to come back on a clear, calmer day to do the other. Glen Feshie more than made up for the lack of views from high up. The last time we were here the cloud base was about river level and the rivers were too high to cross so we had to push our mountain bikes most of the way back to the road, in pouring rain. Today was much better. The trees are fascinating.










20130528_005_whitweek-694-EditOne of the rivers we couldn’t cross the last time – hard to believe when we saw it this time.

20130528_006_whitweek-697-EditAuchlean Farm

20130528_007_whitweek-713-EditKeith – entranced by the activity on the bird feeders outside the window