Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Bolton Abbey headtorcher

I managed my third Monday headtorcher in three weeks with Dave last night. We met by the cricket ground at Bolton Abbey and ran up to Barden Bridge and back. From memory this run works out at around 8.5miles and it's all very runnable (which doesn't mean we ran all the way there and back). We were lucky enough to spot a deer with our headtorchs around the Strid area and then later hear a pair of tawny owls calling to each other. Somehow, we managed to get mislaid for a few minutes near the Strid too but we were soon back on the Dales Way footpath without mishap

Tonight Stef and I are meeting Becca for a session of my old BG hill-reps on Ilkley Moor. It is absolutely freezing outside at present and sadly I can't see it getting any warmer between now and 7-00pm!

The Clash

One of my favourite songs by one of my very favourite bands

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Snipe and the Cake

I've not had one of my imaginary band-name blog titles for a while and don't think this one is any worse than say Florence and the Machine. Stef and I spent the weekend in Devon with Stef's family. We planned to try an early morning run but it didn't happen. We did manage to eat some rather excellent food courtesy of Stef's folks, including a full English yesterday followed by a roast beef dinner complete with crumble and custard and then birthday cake in the afternoon (it was Stef's mums birthday)

Yesterday, we also went out for 30 or 40minutes bird watching at the 'old hide' on the Axe estuary and we were lucky enough to see stonechat (a smart-looking male, sat of the fence on the way to the hide), little egret, shell duck, teal, wigeon, dunlin, lapwing, curlew, redshank and black-tail godwits plus one bruiser of a great black back gull. I'm not sure who was more excited about the snipe: Stef who spotted it, or the chatty local birder with the telescope who'd overlooked it?

Watch the sunrise

I was trying to think of something upbeat and optimistic to post on a downbeat grey Monday and then thought of this

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Mixed feelings

The nights are drawing out and I've got real mixed feelings about the rapidly approaching spring. I hate the dark nights and don't like dank, wet weather but have really enjoyed running at night this winter. Last night we had a great run from the White Lion again followed by bangers and mash, and Ilkley Black. I ran in shorts, a long-sleeve Helly and a Pertex jacket and was plenty warm enough. It was seriously cosy in the pub afterwards too

One thing I am looking forward to is some bird watching. Stef and I have been really busy for what seems like months and apart from the odd walk down by the river haven't had time to do much at all lately outside of run, work and sleep. I can't wait for the warblers and flycatchers, swifts and martins to arrive!

Down by the river

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Another track played on Gideon Coe's live album special

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Ramshaw headtorcher

It was time for another Monday night headtorcher with Dave last night over Ramshaw the hill behind Carleton. The sky was clear like the previous week but the ground was wet and extremely muddy. I'm enjoying running on Monday nights and it's a great workout because a 70% fit Dave means I get a real test just keeping up (if he was 100% fit I'd be nowhere near!). We're running from our's next Monday and have planned on doing a cheeky half Addingham Skyline, although which half we do remains to be seen

Misty in Roots

John Peel seemed to play a track every show for years from the classic Live at the Counter Eurovision album. I'd not heard it for decades but Gideon Coe played this track (I think) over the Christmas holiday on his live album special

Monday, 23 January 2012

Short Hebden walk

Saturday's short (c15ml) Hebden walk was great fun. We had a saunter round at 'social pace' and finished in good spirits in around 5hrs 45mins. Stef did better than we expected (I think!) and Peter got some good time on his feet in preparation for his Fellsman debut in April. Food at the checkpoints was outstanding (as ever) and I managed a 'full house' of sandwiches at the infamous CP3 (cheese and pickle, potted beef, tuna/mayo and beef dripping) along with stollen too.  It's not surprising how popular this event is with the long-distance walking and fell and trail running crowd!


We were listening to Jarvis on 6Music last night and I thought suddenly I've never posted any Blur on my blog! I pondered also, 'is Jarvis the Greatest Living Englishman'? 

Friday, 20 January 2012


Whoooosh is the sound of the last year disappearing at a terrifying rate. It's a year today since I started my blog. Thank you to my followers, to casual visitors and anyone who has gone to the trouble of leaving a comment over the last 12months 

Part of the reason I knew the year was or is about up is that it's the Hebden tomorrow and one of my first posts mentioned it. This year we're walking the short (c15miles) route and after running the long course for I think the last three years it'll be interesting to get a different feel of this well organised and very well subscribed event

The Universals

Friday funk doesn't get much funkier than this

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


I've entered the Wadsworth Trog and the Haworth Hobble now and this morning signed up for the Saunders MM (Kirkfell class). It'll be my first mountain marathon and I'm looking forward to a couple of days on the hill with John, who was one of the first runners I got to know when I joined KCAC around seven years ago

The Wadsworth Trog is aptly named with a few miles of bog-trotting and some proper navigation towards the end. I've done it twice but never really had a good run. The first time I ran round with Dave and we got spectacularly lost and last year Stef had a tough time of it and we were last for probably the first quarter of the race

The Saunders should be interesting. I've done plenty of camping in the past but little if any back-packing. Running in a pair is very familiar to me (I've always run the Hobble as a pair) but I think I'll need to get out and brush up on my navigation! John's suggested a two-day practice run with full kit and I think it sounds a splendid idea

If I were a carpenter

This is my current musical obsession. I must have listened to this plus other versions of the song twenty or thirty times last night!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pinhaw headtorcher

Dave and I had a run over Pinhaw last night from Dave and Sara's above Carleton near Skipton. It was a wonderful run with hoar frost covering the ground, dry-stone walls etc and a very clear sky. I'd not run with Dave for months and we had a good catch-up on the way round, plus I had a nice cuddle with Pippa when I got back. She's five weeks old now and growing like mad!

I've run four Haworth Hobbles with Dave and our entry for this years event of March 10th is going in the post tonight. Dave got very fit a couple of years ago when he was computing to Leeds on the bike regularly but hasn't been doing much recently at all. We both think this year's Hobble will be tough (I've not run longer than 90minutes since last summer), and it's unlikely to be our best, time-wise, but it's a not-miss event for us both and it'll be fun however long it takes us

Johnny too bad

Monday, 16 January 2012

Running in the Clouds premiere

We had a wonderful time on Saturday evening at the Westmorland Centre in Kendal. Hearing 'Running in the Clouds' performed in public for the first time was fantastic. Meeting Richard Wigley the General Manager of the BBC Philharmonic, Maurizio, the composer of the piece and Selwyn, the Chairman of the Bob Graham Club and catching up with Morgan, and Ian Bent from the BBC was also great. Being interviewed live on air in the interval was however nerve-wracking for me, although Stef sounded much more relaxed!

The performance is available on-line here and the music is also being played in Salford tonight and broadcast here

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Winter walk by the Wharfe

It's been a beautiful day here today. We spent an hour or two tidying the garden this morning but couldn't resist a short bird watching walk by the river afterwards. Most of the usual suspects were seen (dipper, heron, little grebe etc) but the highlight was probably seeing a sparrowhawk attempt to catch a starling after separating it from its flock

Salmon fishing in the New York

We met a guy grayling fishing on the Wharfe this afternoon. I've set myself a project to catch a grayling this summer / autumn. My mind is full of Klinkhamer Specials, Treacle Parkins, Sawyer's Killer Bugs and Little White-headed Nymphs (classic and modern grayling flies for the uninitiated)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Working Week

I can't say I've ever done much jazz dancing in Camden Town but I have loved Tracey Thorn's singing voice for a very long time

Malagnini's Running in the Clouds premiere

Tomorrow evening in Kendal it's the world premiere of the classical music written by Maurizio Malagnini to celebrate the Lake District, Joss Naylor and the Bob Graham Round. BBC Radio Cumbria is broadcasting the performance live and Stef and I have been given tickets for the evening. There's a good chance we might well be involved with broadcast too. Taking part in the pre-recorded Radio 4 programme was great fun but a live broadcast would be something else completely!

Thursday, 12 January 2012


I heard on last night's headtorcher from the White Lion that Camille's lurcher Rufus was run over and killed recently. This is horrible news because, although I'd only seen him a couple of times, I had a real soft spot for him and Camille is a smashing lass. She is apparently very upset and I'm not surprised. I'll remember Rufus trotting along in the dark with us on the local fells then curled up on the pub floor

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Full moon headtorcher

14 runners including John and Chris from Tod Harriers, plus three or four dogs met up last night in the car park behind the Swan for our full moon run out up the Beacon. It was a beautiful night for running (I was shocked at the size of the moon when it popped up on the horizon whilst I was driving home from work earlier in the evening). We ran the BOFRA race route in reverse i.e. up the ginnel and main ridge, and down through the fields. Nearly everyone retired into the Swan for a pint or two after sharing the home-made ratatouille soup me and Stef made on Sunday night. A perfect way to start the week!

Keep on knocking

Rockers. Pablo and Jacob Miller

Monday, 9 January 2012

Neon lights

It's full moon tonight. Stef and I, plus a group of KCAC pals are having a run up the Beacon followed by a pint or two in the Swan. The forecast isn't bad and the Mary Jane was in tip top condition when we called in for a beer recce last night, so all's looking good for a decent night out!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Great Whernside

We drove up to Kettlewell last night hoping to take part in the night 'race' up Great Whernside. However, we arrived at the start just in time to see a load of headtorchs disappear over the horizon. Therefore we had a steady trot up as far as the crags above Hagg Dyke, then set off back down. Ian Holmes, who went on to win comfortably, passed us as we turned round and it was interesting to see him at such close quarters, especially descending fairly rough ground

The evening was the polar opposite to the night before The sky was wonderfully clear and there was little if any wind. After getting changed at the car it was into the King's Head for pie and peas and a couple of pints of Jingle Pot ale from the excellent Yorkshire Dales Brewery based in Askrigg, up in Wensleydale. Apart from the mild irritation of missing the race we had a great night out. I've run most days since Christmas and in spite of often only doing a few miles I can't ever remember enjoying it as much as I am just now!

Delroy Wilson

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Quiet Life

A bit of a 'guilty pleasure'? I'm still trying to make up my mind!

Wild and windy Ram Tam

It was an amazingly wild and windy night last night for our Wednesday headtorcher from the White Lion. Six of us had a short run up onto the moor on a footpath that had turned into a stream, a potter around the top and a steady jog down another stream before getting changed quickly and retiring sharpish into the Lion. Chips were taken along with a couple of pints before Stef drove us over to Cononley where I had the first pint of Ram Tam I've had in far too long a time. All told an excellent evening out!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Okay so the lass eats puffins; however she is extremely talented and makes records that sound like nothing else

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Bob Graham training

No, I'm not about to start training for another Bob Graham! I got an email earlier this morning from a friend who is planning an attempt and he was asking how much training I thought he needs to do and what my thoughts were regarding certain races / challenge events leading up to the attempt. With this in mind I thought it my be interesting to post a summary of what I did last spring leading up to me getting round (beginning of January to ten days before round on May 13 / 14):

Total days in Lakes recceing: 13
Total hours on Lakeland fells: 70
Total 4hour plus runs (fell): 15
Total climb (approx but not far off): 150,000feet
Total double day weekends (running Saturday and Sunday): 12
Longest run: 22miles / 8,000feet (recce of Lake, Ridge and Wainwight LDWA route) in just under 8hours
Fell races / challenges done: Hardmoors 30 (on January 1st!), Hebden LDWA, Wadsworth Trog, 4 Lakeland Passes LDWA, Heptonstall fell race

If I was asked to sum up what is needed I'd say 'climb, climb, climb', and long days on your feet. I'm not convinced about the worth of 'racing' but long fell races and LDWA-type challenges make useful training days plus are barometers as to how the training is going. The races etc I did felt right but others I could have done include the Howarth Hobble, Blubberhouses 25 LDWA and the Calderdale Hike. The Lake, Ridge and Wainwright is on again this year as a challenge event but isn't being held until July

Jimmy McGriff

Monday, 2 January 2012

An early lamb and more plans

Yesterday we went down to Derbyshire to see my family but before we went we had a run up the Beacon. We were out around first light but didn't quite need headtorchs. I was amazed to spot a ewe with a lamb in a field the other side of the river. There was a real feeling of spring in the air with birds singing in the hedgerows although we got treated to a short burst of sleety rain when we were about three-quarters of the way up the main climb on the Beacon!

Along with the events I've already targeted for this year I'm also going to enter the Wadsworth Trog and probably the Heptonstall fell race. I notice entries have also opened now for the Wharfedale Off-road Marathon which I've only ever done once before and somehow I've been talked into entering the Saunders Mountain Marathon with John Preston!