Monday, 29 September 2014

Totridge Fell – 28 September

The “Bagging Bug” has bitten and despite yesterday’s fell race and a dodgy knee we wanted to tick a couple more Trig Points, this time in Bowland. In the event we ended up with a little less time than we had originally hoped for so decided just to run round a loop from Hareden to Langden Castle and back over Totridge Fell. The ground is almost completely dry even along Totridge Fell and it was delightful to be back at Langden Castle where we haven’t been for a good few years.


20140928-1-totteridge-1-EditLangden Castle

20140928-2-totteridge-7-EditLooking up Beadale Water

20140928-3-totteridge-10-EditLooking back towards Langden Castle

20140928-4-totteridge-15-EditTotridge Trig Point with the plaque in memory of Bill Smith

Bill Smith
Fell Running Legend
Died In These Hills


20140928-5-totteridge-22-EditLooking down to Hareden

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Good Shepherd fell race – 27 September

If this hadn’t been a Club Championship race and I had already completed the four I need I am not sure I would have gone to Mytholmroyd for this race but it was and I hadn’t so there I was, knee strapped and just hoping to get round. I managed round, collected maximum points in the V60 category and did no more damage to my knee. This means the pressure is off at Great Langdale which is the last Club Champs race I can do this year which is, I think, just as well. I still hope to get round but it could be a severe test for my knee and doing more damage to it wouldn’t be good.


20140927-1-hebdenbridge-26Post-race refreshment with club colours

Huge thanks to Steve Woodhead and everybody else who helped on yesterday’s race, especially whoever made the wonderful soup!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Peak Bagging – 21 September

A couple of Marilyns with Trig Points today  - Freeholds Top, south west of Todmorden and Lad Law, north of Todmorden. Two pretty gentle, short runs from the car to the Trig Points and back but it was good to be out again without and pain from my knee.

20140921-1-trigs-5-EditFreeholds Top

20140921-4-trigs-22Boulsworth Hill

20140921-2-trigs-12-EditLad Law

20140921-3-trigs-14-EditBoulsworth Hill

Three Shires fell race – 20 September

Mid-September so my right knee must be poorly, and it is. Last week’s Mountain Trial (Medium) made it no worse (thankfully) but watching the Three Shires seemed like the most sensible option. It also gave us the chance to do a bit more bagging so we added Wetherlam to our third round of Wainwrights and 9 new Birketts on a 9 mile circuit from the Three Shires Stone.

Hell Gill Pike, Little Carrs and Great How are on the Swirl How side of the Prison Band while the others are in a cluster between Birk Man Fell, Blake Rigg and Great Intake. This is the first time we have been on this side of Wetherlam and we stayed below the low cloud but we were denied seeing Wetherlam because the cloud base dropped as we dropped down to Birk Man Fell.

20140920-1-threeshires-3-EditCairn on Wet Side Edge


20140920-2-threeshires-7-EditHalifax Memorial on Little Carrs

20140920-3-threeshires-21-EditPhil Davies



20140920-4-threeshires-25-EditSam Watson

20140920-5-threeshires-74-EditColin Valentine

More race photos here

Results here

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Mountain Trial – 14 September

This year from Patterdale with much speculation beforehand about whether the course would restrict itself to “only the Helvellyn ridge”. In fact it did but that still left the course planner with plenty of options. I wondered if I had made a mistake entering the Medium rather than the Classic but it didn’t take long on Sunday morning to realise that if i had made a mistake it was in not entering the Short! I struggled round the Medium in just over six and a half hours covering over 20 miles and in excess of 7500 feet of climbing. The weather was kind and there were route choices galore. I think I avoided some of the worst routes, enjoyed the day and, of course, seeing old friends. No camera en route, I am afraid, so these are from before the start and after the finish.

20140914_001_LDMT-6-EditGetting Ready

20140914_002_LDMT-11-EditSurvival Bag

20140914_003_LDMT-21Tony – still smiling at the end!

20140914_005_LDMT-26-EditPost Mortem (1)

20140914_004_LDMT-23-EditPost Mortem (2)

The Mountain Trial is a long tough day out for all but the elite and it has a very special atmosphere, not least because, the route is unknown until you look at the map and decide for yourself how you are going to get to each of the successive check points. This year is, probably, the first time I have stuck to my route choices between check points and I think also it is the first time I avoided any really bad choices – probably helped by the fact that almost all of the route was over familiar ground.

Huge thanks are due to everyone involved in organising and helping with the 2014 Lake District Mountain Trial.

Hodder Valley Show – 13 September

Another of the classic Lancashire agricultural shows with an equally good fell race which this year is an English Championship race. This meant there would be separate Men’s and Women’s races in addition to the Junior races. The day and show is about more than the fell race even although this is reputedly the best of the three race routes. The show rotates round three different sites, each with its own race.



























20140913_005_hvshow-237-Edit-EditVictoria Wilkinson leading the field on her way to a new course record

20140913_006_hvshow-241-EditMel Price (I think) in second place with Emma Gould behind

20140913_007_hvshow-247-EditCaitlin Rice in fourth place

20140913_008_hvshow-601-EditMorgan Donnelly leading the men’s race

20140913_009_hvshow-608-EditRob Hope in second place

20140913_010_hvshow-614-EditMartin Mikkleson Barron who finished fourth

Results are on the Bowland Fell Runners website, here.

More photos from the men’s race, here.

More photos from the women’s race, here.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Longsleddale – 06 September

There is still something a slightly wonderful about consulting one of Wainwright’s volumes for advice on unfamiliar ground, all the more so when you find you have been there before but it was so long ago that all recollections have slipped away entirely. My handwritten notes recorded we had climbed Grey Crag from Sadgill on August 4th, 1999. Then we bypassed our first target of today, Great Howe. This marks the probably stuttering start of a campaign to complete our third round of Wainwright’s High Fells, first round of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells, first round of the FRCC Lakeland Fells and our first round of the Birketts. The rounds overlap as you might expect although some of Wainwright’s Outlyers are found on no other lists but otherwise most summits should be worth more than one ‘tick’.

Today’s Birkett targets are Great Howe, Little Harter Fell and Goat Scar and today’s Wainwright’s Third Round targets are Tarn Crag and Grey Crag. The round for today is Great Howe, Grey Crag, Tarn Crag, Branstree, Adam Seat, Little Harter Fell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike, Goat Scar, Shipman Knotts and back to Sadgill. It is also a “not too committing” test for my right knee which is somewhat more fragile than usual.


20140906_001_longsleddale-2-EditLooking up Longsleddale from Great Howe

20140906_002_longsleddale-5-EditSurvey Pillar on Tarn Crag

20140906_004_longsleddale-14-EditStile and fence on Branstree

20140906_003_longsleddale-13-EditStile and fence on Branstree (II)

20140906_005_longsleddale-21-EditWool on fence post

20140906_006_longsleddale-22-EditWool and rain drops on fence

20140906_007_longsleddale-24-EditMardale from Little Harter Fell

20140906_008_longsleddale-33-EditReflection on Shipman Knotts

All the desired ticks were gained and my knee stood up to the not too demanding rigours of the day which was quite pleasing because I have been resting it for a week now.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Pic de l’Homme – 04 August

Pic de ‘'l’Homme stands high above Lac d’Aygue Longue at the head of a long valley south of Ax-les-Thermes. Gary & Debbie had shown us photos of the ridges and the lake and highly recommended it as a summit on a circular route from the end of the track up the valley. Almost as soon as we got out of the car the low clouds were chasing us up the valley. Our initial optimism was replaced with doubt and then it seemed as though this would be another day when the unseasonable weather would get the better of us.

20140804_001_Pyrenees2014-734-EditThe end of the track and the start of the race with the low clouds

20140804_003_Pyrenees2014-764-EditLooking up the valley towards the lake

20140804_002_Pyrenees2014-753-EditLooking up the valley towards the lake


20140804_004_Pyrenees2014-765-EditLooking back down the valley towards Ax

Eventually we climbed out of the clouds into sunshine and looked back over a huge inversion. The peaks and ridges above us we all clear and all we had to be wary of was the afternoon storm although that seemed a long way away. The clouds high above us and below us seemed stable and it looked like it might stay like this for the rest of the day.


20140804_005_Pyrenees2014-794-EditLac d’Aygue Longue

By the time we reached the lake along with another two pairs of walkers the clouds above were building and darkening. All 6 seemed uncertain about continuing but all decided to do so, seemingly in the knowledge that turning round would always be an option. Almost as soon as we set off for the Col de la Parade the cloud started moving up from the valley and we were engulfed again.


20140804_006_untitled-802Lac d’Aygue Longue with the clouds drifting in

20140804_007_Pyrenees2014-811-EditLooking back down to Lac d’Aygue Longue after the clouds cleared

20140804_008_Pyrenees2014-820-EditLooking south east from Col de la Parade

20140804_009_Pyrenees2014-825-EditSouth east to the Pic d’Esquine d’Ase

20140804_010_Pyrenees2014-851-EditPic de l’Homme with the inversion filling the valley

20140804_011_Pyrenees2014-854-EditLooking south west to the lower of the two summits

Again we were able to climb out of the inversion to enjoy the spectacular views in warm sunshine. These conditions were much more than we could have hoped for and a day that threatened to be a cloudy disappointment turned into a spectacular one.