Thursday, 21 April 2011

Small Hours

John Martyn live at Reading University playing Small Hours from his brilliant One World album

The Slaters Arms, Bradley

We had a lovely club run last night from the Slaters Arms in Bradley, near Skipton. It was a great evening weather wise, and there was a good turn out of around 25 to 30 runners. Several runners were back after injury / illness including Brett and Sue plus Russ, who last I heard had just started a two year period of rest due to acute tendonitis of the groin. Ouch!!

The pub is a regular on our program of summer Wednesday night runs but I never go there otherwise. After looking at the food on offer last night I should go more often. The Timothy Taylor Golden Best was also well kept and tasty

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Strid Woods

It was a glorious evening when I got in from work yesterday so I grabbed my binoculars and went down to Barden Bridge for a walk in the Strid Woods I think I've mentioned the walk from Barden up to the Cavendish Pavilion and back before. It's regarded widely as one of the best short birdwatching walks in the Yorkshire Dales and rightly so

Not long after setting off I saw a pair of common sandpiper (I'd already seen oystercatcher and heard chiff chaff) and before I got to the Pavilion I'd heard (but not seen) greater spotted woodpecker drumming and green woodpecker yaffling. I was lucky to see several dippers and a heron too, along with some very cute mallard ducklings

After checking the time at the wooden bridge by the Pavillion I realised I had to get a move on to beat the impending darkness so I dashed back as fast as I could. I think I was a week or so early for the main species I was hoping to see (pied flycatcher, wood warbler and redstart) but time in the Woods is never wasted and I'd had a very pleasant couple of hours walk

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Final push

Stef's BG will be starting at 7pm on Friday May 13. Therefore we're into the last couple of weeks of her training. We're staying in the cottage at Cockley Beck for a week from this coming Saturday and we've planned out four good training runs. These are recces of leg 3 (the long central section between Dunmail Raise and Wasdale) in two halves, plus a look at the options for traversing Mickledore, the col between Scafell Pike and Scafell the last peak on leg 3, and another run over leg 1, this time with Yiannis, who will be navigating on that leg for Stef

We went to the cottage twice last year and it's in a terrific setting at the head of the Duddon Valley. Hopefully we'll get some decent weather so we can relax a bit between runs. A day at the coast in the sunshine would be nice too!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Working for the clampdown

Withnail, Wheatear and I

I didn't meet my old boss on Friday evening but stayed in watching Withnail and I instead. Drinks were taken, although not at the same rate or in the same volume as demanded in the infamous drinking game I also watched my newly arrived Bedlamites DVD a couple of times

On Saturday morning I went over to Skipton and bought a new pair of Walsh PBs. On the way to Stanfords one of the town's top-rated pie shops, I bumped into Chris, an old mate from K&C. He's a nice guy and it was good chatting with him in the spring sunshine. In the afternoon I went up to Starbotton and did around 10miles and 3800ft crossing over to Arncliffe in Littondale, onto Kettlewell, then returning the way I went out. It was a stunning afternoon and I had the good fortune to see several wheatear, along with curlew, oystercatcher, meadow pipit etc

Yesterday I went back up the dale and did the first climb over to Arncliffe again (the bridleway over is wonderful, in particular the steep, bottom stretch). After running back over I then climbed Buckden Pike. If anything there were more wheatears on the way up and down the Pike than there were on the ridge between the two dales

I'd intended to have an easier week training this week and did, but still managed 10,000ft+ of climb without having a big day out; my fifth consecutive 10,000ft week

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Bedlamites on DVD

The excellent Bedlamites short film is now available to buy on DVD from Shyla and Lukas Lee. There seems to be a well-deserved buzz about the film in the fell running community and it was reviewed in glowing terms on the Mud, Sweat and Tears website earlier this week. I've ordered a copy already and I'm looking forward to seeing it again over the weekend

Reps and plans

It was back to the hills reps over on Ilkley Moor last night: 4 x 550ft on a near perfect evening to be out. A group of Ilkley Harriers were training in the same part of the moor, plus a few friends from Wharfedale too. I'm not sure if it was bumping repeatedly into those guys, or the fact I've lost 12pounds since Christmas now, or simply that the training is really starting to pay off but I was back at my car eight minutes faster than I've managed before. I was well chuffed!

I've got a weekend at home planned for a change. Tonight I'm meeting my old boss for a pint and a catch up. Tomorrow I'm finally going to get some new fell shoes then head up into Wharfedale for a longish run. On Sunday I'm meeting Dave if he's shaken off the cold he's had all week for more training

I'd overlooked the fact that I could have done the LDWA Grasmere Fells, Tarns and Gingerbread challenge event, which looks good, but it'll be nice to have a weekend where I don't have to drive over to Lakeland and sleeping in my own bed will be a novelty too

Thursday, 14 April 2011


I love Dusty Springfield. Dusty in Memphis is a fabulous piece of work and one of my all time favourite records

The Fleece, Haworth

We had a club run last night from the Fleece in Haworth. I'd guess we did 6miles or so and maybe 500 or 600feet of climbing. The banter was all about this weekend's Coledale Horseshoe and the upcoming Three Peaks, and it was lovely to catch up with so many friends I've not seen for a while due to BG training, night races and business travel

After the run beer was taken in the Fleece. I've got a bit of a soft spot for the pub as, not long after moving to Yorkshire, it was the place I discovered Timothy Taylor offered a range of beers in addition to their multi-award winning Landlord Pale Ale. It's also the starting point of the Hobble and the finishing point for the Bronte Way race later in the year. A good pub with good beer

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie

I'm in nostalgic mood this afternoon

Common Sandpiper

I went for a walk last night again down by the Wharfe from Barden Bridge. Among the usual birds (dipper, goosander, sand martin etc) I was lucky enough to see green woodpecker, greater spotted woodpecker and a pair of common sandpiper I love waders and it was great to see these neat, elegant birds back for the summer

It's been a while since I went to see the Laund Oak so I took the back way home to pay my respects. I spotted a tawny owl in another nearby oak and wondered if the tree was one of the ancient Laund's offspring? It's nice to think it might be

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Jackson 5

I was feeling a bit 'flat' again after my trip to Turkey but this seems to have lifted my spirits

Monday, 11 April 2011

Willie Wife Moor

I cannot believe how quickly my trip to Turkey went! In much the same way as the weekend before this one flew by and I ended up over in Istanbul, I've now been home, spent a weekend based in Keswick in the Lakes and then returned to Yorkshire and the office

Turkey was a great trip. Hard work with really long days but useful for the business, and fun. I landed back at Manchester Airport mid-afternoon on Friday. After a quick mug of tea it was down to Barden Bridge for what's becoming my regular end of week birdwatching walk. Stef had Friday off so I had company for a change, which was lovely. Highlights of the evening were sand martin (lots along the river), dipper, red-legged partridge and a pint of Raspberry Blond in the Craven Arms after the walk!

On Saturday we went up to the Lakes and met Geoff and Linda before walk / jogging over Beck Head to Wasdale, then recceing leg 4 of the BG in perfect conditions. I bonked horribly climbing Great Gable (when am I going to learn you can't keep going for seven or eight hours on a Mars bar?) but was fine again after eating near the summit. A quick shower in the B&B (Clarence House, recommended) preceded our now usual evening in Keswick (Dog and Gun followed by Lakeland Spice)

On Sunday we parked at Dunmail, hacked up to Dollywagon Pike over the excellently named Willie Wife Moor, reversed leg 2 as far as Sticks Pass then turned round and ran back. We had a peregrine pass directly over our heads on the long initial climb onto the ridge. A real treat!

I was tired at the start of the day and we spent more time walking than you could on a round but we both flew up the dreaded climb of Fairfield. I've been over leg 2 maybe eight times now but somehow got us completely lost coming back down from Seat Sandal. In spite of a long detour and dropping down right into Raise Beck we still managed 26minutes back to the car

Totals for the weekend were around 30miles and 13,500ft of climb. I'm sure I've never been fitter and I'm just starting to get excited about having another go at the BG

Stepping Razor

This came into my head this morning at 6.30am during the dreaded 'Monday morning after a great weekend' shave

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Bosphorous, a mixed grill and a bit of a tan

Several day's of spring Lakeland weather have left me looking relatively brown and healthy. Gone is that horrible grey February death pallor, now replaced by a bit of a tan; the kind generated by plenty of scree running and sunshine. It feels ironic then that I'm sat in my hotel room in my big old Rab fleece

I'm staying in the Hilton hotel overlooking Basiktas football stadium and close to the Bosphorous. It's still very much winter here and it's been like being transported back a couple of months in time

The hotel is fine and virtually next door to our partners' office. Today we had what turned out to be an eleven hour day with a very quick working lunch. I was tired when I got back around 7-30pm but a mixed grill, three Efes beers and a plate of profiteroles and ice-cream with warm chocolate sauce seem to have revived me. Well, them and my cosy favourite fleece

The Sidewinder

Funky hard bop brilliance...

Time flies by

I'm not sure where the last few days have gone! One minute I was arriving home from work in good time on Friday afternoon prior to heading to Keswick and now it's Tuesday morning and I'm in a hotel room in Istanbul. Below is a quick summary of the last three or four days:

On Friday evening me and Stef drove up to Keswick, checked into our our B&B, Dollywagon had a couple of pints in the Dog and Gun, nipped in the Old Keswickian for fish and chips then went back into the Dog with Nigel from the FRA forums

After breakfast on Saturday we met Nigel again along with several other friends at the Moot Hall, drove to Threlkeld, ran back down to Keswick then did leg 1 of the Bob Graham. I felt awful all morning and thought I was going to be sick around Great Calava. Eventually I came round and sudddenly I was going really well from Mungrisdale Common up onto Blencathra. I took Doddick down with Nigel and Trev, Ken descended Hall's Fell, whilst Stef, Bill and David came down the 'Parachute'. On landing Stef said she wanted to do some more climbing so went back up Hall's Fell with Ken and then descended Doddick, while I had a nap in the car. In the evening it was back to the Dog and Gun and then Lakeland Spice

On Sunday at 10am it was time to meet again at the Moot Hall before running out to the foot of Catbells, over the ridge to High Spy, down and back up to Dalehead, then the flying descent to Honister before finishing off back up and over leg 5 to the Moot Hall. Me and Stef were pleased especially with climbing comfortably up from Honister in 31minutes, which is way ahead of 23hour schedule time

The weather while we were out was fantastic all weekend, the B&B great (our landlady allowed us to use the shower on Sunday teatime before coming home, which was very kind), and the company and craic was great. Many thanks for a memorable weekend to Bill, Ken, Nigel, David, Trev and Gavin from the forums, plus Liz who we met on Dalehead. Dave A off the forums was also out recceing and we had a chat at Honister before climbing back up to Dalehead. I logged over 36miles and just under 11,000feet over Saturday and Sunday to give a third consecutive 10,000ft week

Yesterday I flew from Manchester to Istanbul (my first every visit to Turkey) and last night had dinner with our business partners here. I'm around until Friday morning and again the time looks like going very quickly as we have plenty to do!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Soul Makossa

You can't beat a bit of Afro-Funk on a Friday afternoon!

The Dog and the Spice

Me and Stef are going up to Keswick this evening for a weekend of BG recceing with friends from the FRA forums. We've arranged to meet in the Dog and Gun this evening, and essential weekend pre-hydration will no doubt take place

Our plan is to park in Threlkeld tomorrow, run back down the disused railway to Keswick then do leg 1 back to the cars. Various descent routes from Blencathra will be taken (I'm a 'Doddick Fell, get down safely and save your quads' man, Stef wants to try the 'Parachute'). Beer will no doubt be taken again tomorrow evening and a visit to Lakeland Spice is also on the cards

On Sunday we're going to run out of Keswick on the Cumbria Way over to the foot of Catbells, reverse the Anniversary Waltz finish over High Spy and Maiden Moor, then pick up leg 5 at Dalehead. Whether we drop down to Honister to do the whole of leg 5 remains to be seen