Thursday, 30 June 2011


Cragg Vale fell race

I can't believe I haven't done this gem of a race before. A wonderful setting, a fast and furious course with a bit of everything (a steep climb, a moorland traverse with obligatory Calderdale views over to Stoodley Pike , a boggy section and a flying descent), registration / presentation in a church with cheap home-made sandwiches and cakes, plus a bar!

The bar was provided by Little Valley Brewery and I had a tasty pint of their hoppy beer whilst looking at the results which were available printed out before the prize presentation. It was great to see some good friends enjoying themselves too including Raj from Wharfedale, Jackie the organiser and Steve who organised the Heptonstall fell race and who is currently putting the final touches to another new venture, the Heptonstall Festival race

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Richard Hawley

The Big Cairn

I went over to Ilkley last night and did a couple of my old Bob Graham hill reps (550ft climb) up to the big cairn above Rocky Valley and back down. As I approached the cairn for the second time there was a curlew sat on top and it only flew off when I got very close. My friend Geoff reminded me this morning that I swore I'd never do another hill rep again as we climbed Great Gable together 19hours or so into my round but I guess they've become a bit of a habit!

It's the Cragg Vale fell race tonight (hence me only doing two reps) and I'll be running it for the first time. Jackie from Calder Valley, who is the race organiser, came over to run then stay with us during 'Cockley Beck week' and she completed a BG recently so it'll be good to have a catch-up with her tonight

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Summer Breeze

I've just heard the Isley Brothers' version of this on the radio and it reminded me of Jackie Mittoo

Monday, 27 June 2011

P.P. Arnold

Stonechats, lamb chops and shingle

I had a good drive down to Southampton on Friday afternoon and arrived at Stef's before 7pm and in plenty of time for a visit to her local pub The Cowherds for drinks and a bite to eat. There was a fixed price menu available and we both had calamari as a starter before I had fish pie and Stef sole fillets. All in all a very pleasant evening

On Saturday we drove over to Devon as planned. Stef's dad did a barbecue in the afternoon and we had a lovely time sat in the sun. The lamb chops were particularly good. In the evening we went for a walk around Black Hole Marsh nature reserve and were lucky to see two flocks of shell duckling, which seemed to be doing well

Yesterday me and Stef headed over to the Dorset coast on the way back from Devon and we managed a five and a half hour walk / run (about 15miles, with a lot more walking than running if the truth be known!) from Burton Bradstock to a bit past Abbotsbury, and back. The weather was stunning and we saw lots of stonechat on the coastal heath-land, along with reed bunting, buzzard and skylarks

Friday, 24 June 2011



I'm heading down south this weekend; initially to Southampton to meet Stef, then on to Devon tomorrow morning for us to spend the weekend with her family. Hopefully we should be able to have a barbecue, do some bird-watching on the Axe estuary and get a run in on the way back to Southampton

Our plan is to do around 20miles on the Jurassic coast in Dorset on Sunday afternoon. I'd seen reference to the Dorset Doddle LDWA challenge event on the internet and we've plotted out a shorter run as a there and back along the coastal path in that area. All we need now is some sunshine!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Oh you pretty things

Beamsley Beacon fell race

This is definitely one of my favourite events of the year and last night lived up to expectations. I had a decent run with a time more or less half way between my best and worst for the race and it was lovely seeing loads of friends out for the evening

The start and finish is at the Swan, the best drinkers' pub in the village and re-hydration after running went well too with three pints of very well kept Ilkley Brewery's Mary Jane being consumed (I'm keeping quiet about the can of warm John Smith's Smooth Flow I drank when I got home!)

Thanks to David Hird and Kevin Rogan from Wharfedale Harriers and everyone else involved in marshaling, clearing nettles from the infamous ginnel etc. Results here More photos from Andy Holden on flickr here

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Congos

From the classic roots reggae album 'Heart of the Congos', produced by Lee 'Scratch' Perry

Back into it

I've done very little training since completing my Bob Graham around five weeks ago. I found the Sutton race a struggle on Sunday (possibly not helped by way too fast a start) so thought it was about time I got going again. Last night I did 5 x 150ft hill reps on Beamsley Beacon. The bottom two fields are horribly runnable, it was a very hot and humid evening, and the fourth and fifth reps were tough but I'm back

I don't think I've mentioned but I've had a sore hip since my BG but thankfully this seems to be slowly clearing up. Nearly 24hours of running and walking over rough mountain terrain must take a hell of a toll on your body and my feet were sore too for three weeks or so, but I feel like I've recovered largely now

What I need is a target for the autumn. I was hoping to have a run at the Yorkshireman marathon, but think I'll be in China in early to mid September so I'll have to think of something else. A trawl through the FRA race calendar and the LDWA challenge event list is in order I think

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sutton Pinnacles fell race

I went over to run the Sutton Pinnacles fell race yesterday afternoon. It was only the second running of the event, which is organised by Bedlamites film-star Camille from my club

Steve Brock was delighted with his first ever win in an FRA-registered race and I enjoyed myself and wasn't last, albeit not far off! Results are here

It's one of my favourite events on Wednesday, the Beamsley Beacon fell race and after yesterday's showing its about time now I got training again after a very relaxed month or so since doing my Bob Graham

The Associates

What a voice. What a terrible loss!

Saturday, 18 June 2011


I got home last night and wondered why the key wouldn't work in the lock on my case. I was tired and it took a while for it to dawn on me that I'd brought someone else's bag home and not mine!

A quick phone call to Australia (!) revealed that the rightful owner was heading to York worrying where their son's clothes were. I'm going to have to meet them Wetherby or Leeds way over the weekend plus go to Manchester airport to collect my own case. In fairness the similarity between the two items of luggage had been noted because my case was still on the carousel long after I set off home over the Pennines

Friday, 17 June 2011

Homeward bound

I'm leaving the hotel in around thirty minutes. This was always going to be a flying visit (I've been in Dhaka for less than 48hours) but it's gone quicker than I even expected

After arriving around 10am on Tuesday we've seen five customers and I've had dinner twice with clients too. Getting around here is hellish with some of the worse roads in the world and I've seen incredible scenes on the road even by Asian standards

Jet lag hasn't been too bad but I feel tired (the clock on my computer says 1-33am) in spite of six hours sleep last night. I'm looking forward very much to a quiet weekend at home!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Four Tops

I heard this on the radio this morning while driving to Manchester airport. Great stuff!


I've just checked in for my flight to Dubai and got an upgrade to Business Class. Is 10am too early to start drinking champagne?!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Walking on sunshine

All change

I got an email after I'd blogged on Friday saying there was a general strike in Bangladesh called for yesterday and today and warning me that working life in Dhaka would be at best very difficult and realistically impossible. Following this and several phone calls I cancelled my planned trip and therefore I've been at home unexpectedly all weekend!

The good news is not going away as I'd organised originally meant I had chance to see Dave and Sara yesterday and enjoy some time with their families celebrating Douglas' first birthday. We had a lovely hour outside eating birthday cake and drinking coffee before the rain set it but it was great to see Douglas, who was in good form and recovered now from his bout of chicken pox

My new plan is to go to Dhaka tomorrow via Dubai and return on Friday. India has been postponed for the time being. All change!

Friday, 10 June 2011

On the road again

It's my last day at home today before setting off tomorrow to Dhaka in Bangladesh via Dubai, then moving on to India next week for a few days in Delhi in the north and Bangalore in the south. I've been to Dhaka in the past for business, but not for three years or so. I've not been away since going to Vietnam in March and I've got trips lined up to go back to Vietnam towards the end of next month plus China (Shanghai, I think) in early September too

My flight is tomorrow evening so I've got this afternoon and most of tomorrow at home. I started my dreaded pre-travel ironathon this morning but still have a few more shirts to do plus my packing. The iPod is charged, the airport car-park is booked; there's just a small matter of my passport being in the Bangladeshi embassy in London still. It'll be a stressful wait for the postman in the morning, while I wonder whether my passport complete with new visa is delivered as promised!

River man

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Dream baby dream

Wagon and Horses, Oxenhope

Our club run last night started and finished at the Wagon and Horses above Oxenhope. I arrived there early and about half an hour before our usual starting time it was absolutely throwing it down with rain. However, the weather cleared up around 6-45pm and 19 or 20 of us had a lovely run round a route put together by Charlie which included parts of the Yorkshireman marathon, the Howarth Hobble and the Wadsworth Trog

We passed by Fly Flatts reservoir which has been hosting good numbers of wading birds recently. The Calder Birders blog has been recording regular sightings of ringed plover, sanderling and common sandpiper along with local specialty twite. A group run isn't an ideal scenario to check out the birds on the reservoir but there appeared to be a group of birders at the other end of the reservoir doing just that

After the run beer and crisps were taken and I was glad there was a fire lit near where we were sat as I'd got quite cold on the run in spite of wearing my OMM jacket. I've lost 17 pounds in weight since Christmas and think I'm missing a bit of insulation now!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The pact

There was an interesting feature on radio the other day about nostalgia. It highlighted to me my love of old music and relative disinterest in current bands and singers. This is an exception; I love it!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Strid Woods again

I went for a walk in the Strid Woods last night for the first time in what felt like ages. It was a lovely evening for a walk and several pied flycatchers were busy feeding young. Amongst other species I saw wood warbler, treecreeper, curlew, oystercatcher, sand martin plus lots of wonderful baby blue tits and great tits

It's about time I started doing some proper running again and to that end I have penciled in Abbey Runners Anniversary fell race on Thursday evening. This is a cracking event starting and finishing in Kettlewell and first run a couple of years ago to celebrate the club's 25th anniversary. I ran that year and it was what inspired my training routes passing between Upper Wharfedale and Littondale. Highly recommended!

Song for my father

Monday, 6 June 2011

Charcoal, sunshine and godwits

Me and Stef did most of what we planned over the weekend. I had a decent drive down on Friday afternoon / evening and after a quick visit to Waitrose we had a barbeque and a couple of drinks sat out on the patio

On Saturday we drove to Hurst and walked over to Lymington via Keyhaven (the photo above is one I took of Keyhaven harbour last year), and back with our binoculars. Highlights of our birdwatching walk included a redshank with three young, several pairs of whitethroat also feeding young and a mixed group of ringed plover and dunlin, some of which were in beautiful breeding plumage. We also popped into the Chequers pub for a drink and in the evening went for dinner at Stef's local tandoori restaurent. The weather was fantastic all day!

Yesterday we went to Titchfield Haven in the afternoon and were lucky enough to see two young avocet chicks along with many of the usual suspects e.g. shellduck, shoveler, littel egret, common tern, a very smart-looking meditteranean gull and around 20 black-tailed godwits


Very sad to hear news of the passing of Martin Rushent whilst I was driving back from Southampton this morning

Friday, 3 June 2011


I'm heading down to Southampton straight after work this afternoon. Me and Stef have planned a chilled weekend at her's, which should include a bit of birdwatching at Pennington and Keyhaven a BBQ and possibly a run (albeit a shortish one) on the South Downs, maybe around Butser Hill or the Meon Valley

Next weekend I'm flying to Bangladesh before going to India on the following Thursday so it will be good to take it easy, especially after a Lakeland all-nighter two out of the last three weekends


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Naylor's, Crosshills

Our club run last night started and finished at a brewery! Naylors Brewery in Crosshills to be precise

It was a lovely evening for a run out (I wore vest and shorts for the first time in what felt like ages) and a good number of us ran out of the village and up to Cowling Pinnacles and back in the sunshine

After the run we went into the brewery tap at the side of the brewery and along with our Pinnacle Blonde or Pinnacle Bitter we ate some really rather tasty pork pies which Sam brought over from Herds the butchers in Keighley. All in all a splendid Wednesday evening and one which just about dispels the rumour that the KCAC lads and lasses couldn't organise a p*ss up in a brewery!

We could send letters

For Morgan. I think he likes Roddy Frame

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Austwick Amble fell race

Me and Stef went over to Austwick on Bank Holiday Monday to run the Austwick Amble fell race. This is a great circular route of around 8miles and 1200ft climb with a good amount of very runnable ground and a fast downhill finish on a track and latterly a country lane

I was really pleased to finish in just over 72minutes and my legs felt surprisingly good after my BG little more than two weeks ago. Stef enjoyed herself running round at the back. I think it did us both good to get out after the events of the weekend and I'd recommended the race to anyone who loves the Dales and especially classic limestone country. Results here

Gil Scott-Heron R.I.P