Monday, 30 April 2012
My mate Geoff finished the Bob Graham on Saturday in 22hr28minutes. I'm really chuffed for him because he had a go last summer on the night of Stef's second attempt and had to drop out due to the wretched weather. He moved from Leeds to the Southern Lakes last year and I know he's been recceing and training hard, including a lot of time on the hill in the week on his own. A well deserved success!
Sunday, 29 April 2012
It was Stef's birthday on Friday and we've had a weekend camping in Eskdale in a pod at the Caravan and Camping Club site at Boot to celebrate. The weather was amazing considering how wet and windy it'd been at home and in the Midlands last week
On Saturday we had a good run over Whin Rigg and Illgill Head and back via Burnmoor Tarn with Chris and John. Last night we had dinner at the Brook House Inn and today we did a short walk from the campsite along the Esk. The photo above was taken looking upstream from the footbridge, and close to where we saw a dipper by what I reckon would make a good swimming hole (in warmer weather!). This afternoon we called in Broughton on the way home and ate at the Square Cafe The pea and mint soup was brilliant and we'll definitely be back
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
I got up early this morning and went down to Barden Bridge for a bird watching walk before work. The woods were alive with birdsong and I saw many of the expected species including several calling nuthatch, maybe six pied flycatcher (all male), loads of sand martins, treecreeper, chiffchaff, willow warbler, a pair of blackcap and goosander. No wood warblers were about in spite of walking as far as last spring and summer's 'hotspots' but I did see a mystery wader disappearing away quickly as I walked back to the car. I only saw it for a few seconds and I'm fairly sure it was a redshank (it sounded like one) but I'm not sure
This evening Stef and I ran from home over the Beacon as far as Round Hill, then back. The sun was setting as we were on our way back to the Beacon and it was lovely still evening for fell running. We just got home with a few minutes to spare before dark and had sausage and beans for summer. It's been a good day!
Monday, 23 April 2012
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Stef, Sam and I have been over to Branscombe earlier this morning for a set of five hill reps up onto the headland from just above sea-level (an approximately 400feet climb). In February last year we did eight of these but Stef and I were both a lot fitter then than we are now. This morning's session was fun and we were lucky to miss the heavy shower that started just after we went into the cafe for coffee, after eating our bacon and sausage butties on the beach
We saw a sparrowhawk displaying over our heads, several swallows passing by inland and the gorse and scrub on the headland was alive with warblers singing. The running (especially the brutal section of steep steps near the top) was hard but it was good to be out and back into some hard training and great to see Sam flying down the hill after each climb. He's a very strong descender!
Thursday, 19 April 2012
No not a reference to Stef stealing one of the local baby sheep and bringing it home to keep it warm but the pub we ran from last night; The Lamb in Oxenhope in fact. There was a good turnout from the club considering the wretched cold and wet weather including most of the regular Wednesday night gang
Wednesday nights are the bedrock of my involvement with KCAC and I always try to have a run out it I'm around. However, last night it was hard work to be honest. I think I still had a lot of the previous weekend's climbing in my legs. Wearing shorts didn't help. The good thing was we had a rare appearence from John Dennis and he was in great form in the pub afterwards, keeping us ammused with all kinds of funny stories about ill-fated attempts at the 'Wobbly Bob, mountain marathons in the Lake District and tales of club members past and present. It nearly made up for the fact we found out we'd been drinking re-badged Tetley's bitter sold as Lamb Ale!
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
My legs have been killing me since getting home on Sundy evening. Actually, that's not strictly true; they felt surprisingly good when I got home but they have been sore since yesterday morning. Anyway, this evening Stef, who had a great time at the Highlander with Yiannis, and I ran on the Dales Way out to the Friends Meeting House. The run felt hard but my legs feel better for it. I was always dubious about the value in running on tired sore legs but have found over the last couple of years that if I can get out even for twoor three miles and very slow (maybe with short walking breaks) I feel better for it
Monday, 16 April 2012
I arrived in good time at Dunmail Raise on Saturday morning after a great drive up through the southern Dales. In Hellifield I spotted my first swallow of the spring and I saw another just before crossing the M6. The fields were full of lambs and the early morning sunlight was great
Martyn was waiting for me and we were soon in Keswick ready to recce leg 1. The weather wasn't bad in Keswick but it was bitterly cold by the time we got to the top of Skiddaw (85minutes: I was quite pleased with that and the little shortcuts I showed Martyn including Yiannis' ginnel). We bumped into a couple of friends as we were crossing the Caldew and Tom was waiting as planned on top of Blencathra to show Martyn his direct descent. I did Doddick fell and I'm fairly certain I saw two ring ouzels chasing each other part way down. I saw several wheatears near the bottom and loads more over the rest of weekend
Tom treated me and Martyn to tea in his camper and then after a change of plan gave me a lift down to Keswick. I was glad of a warm shower in the hostel and it wasn't long before I was in the Lakeland Pedlar enjoying chilli and a coffee. On Saturday evening I met Ian in the Dog and Gun and we then had a decent meal in the Royal Bengal (two of their staff had been handing out 30% off vouchers in Keswick in the afternoon!)
On Sunday after a cracking breakfast and spotting a dipper outside the YHA, I drove over to Honister to meet Ian and Becca. Becca was a bit late but it wasn't long before we set off to run over Moses Trod to Wasdale and then do our leg 4 recce
The weather of Saturday had been cold and a bit cloudy but yesterday was simply stunning. I struggled a bit after getting up Yewbarrow well inside 24hour schedule but it wasn't a day to worry about timings or schedules (especially if you've already done the BG). By the time I got to Gable I was absolutely worn out but the light on the way back to the cars was lovely and I took my time on the descent down to Honister enjoying revisiting the end of my favourite leg
With the couple of local runs we did in the week I clocked up 40miles and around 14,000ft of climb last week. My legs don't feel too bad this morning and I'm now looking forward to helping on a few attempts this summer, perhaps starting the Becca's in May
Saturday, 14 April 2012
It's an absolutely stunning morning here in Wharfedale and I'm about to set off to Dunmail Raise to meet Martyn for a recce of leg 1 of the Bob Graham. Tonight I'm stopping at the YHA in Keswick and meeting Ian for refreshments (I've not been to the Dog and Gun this year!) and tomorrow it's a recce of leg 4 from Honister with Becca. I'm no way as fit as I was this time last year although I've kept most of the weight off I lost training for my round. However, a bit of missing hill fitness isn't going to stop me having fun in Lakeland
Stef went up to Scotland for the Highlander yesterday and the last I heard was Yiannis was cooking beans in their tent. No doubt they'll be woken up soon by the traditional bagpipes! Watching them preparing their kit yesterday morning on our living room floor made me laugh, especially when Stef got the kitchen scales out to weigh various (tiny) canisters of camping gas
Friday, 13 April 2012
Thursday, 12 April 2012
It was one on my favourite nights of the year last night: our Wednesday night club run from the Fleece in Haworth. Aurthur (who has recently returned to running after a series of injuries) led a group of around 15 of us along 6miles of various tracks, paths and typical Calderdale-type 'through someone's garden' ginnels. These included sections of the Bronte Way and the Railway Children Walk We retired afterwards to the Fleece for essential re-hydration and re-fuelling. Tim Taylor's Ram Tam was in fine form and I enjoyed a bag of Seabrook crisps made not far up the road in Bradford
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
A good day yesterday, with a run out on Ilkley Moor in the afternoon (around 90mins, avoiding the worst of the rain), an hour's snooze afterwards, some cleaning up at home and a walk down by the river from Barden Bridge in the evening. Good stuff I reckon for a pretty wild and wooly day at times!
On Ilkley Moor Stef spotted out first wheatear of the spring to go with the snipe, curlew, mipit, skylark and golden plover we also saw, and in the evening a common sandpiper (again the first of the spring), three deer and a pair of mandarin were the highlights. I'd hoped to see some sand martin but we had no luck, or with the woodcock near Barden Bridge. I'm not sure when they start roding, but it can't be long
Sunday, 8 April 2012
We had a smashing day today pottering around in Ambleside before climbing Loughrigg, traversing Loughrigg Terrace, then walking the length of Rydal Water and returning via Rothay Park. Stef bought herself an ultra lightweight down jacket for keeping warm at her upcoming mountain marathons and we both enjoyed being up on a fell which really punches way above it's weight in terms of views etc. Bill Birkett reckons on circa 6miles and getting on for 1000feet of climb in his excellent Complete Lakeland Fells book. Not a bad little walk for a rest day!
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Stef and I managed another run today: 6miles or so along the Dales Way to Bolton Bridge, up to Haw Pike farm and back through the golf course below the Chalker wind-farm. John and his dogs Moss and Skye were with us and with another couple of runs planned before going back to work I'm starting to really enjoy getting out again
Friday, 6 April 2012
On Wednesday night Brett asked if we were up for a run out on Good Friday. I'd forgotten it was Easter this weekend but once I'd realised we had a long break it sounded an excellent idea. A group of us met at the Old Bridge in Ilkley this morning and we had a lovely run of around 13miles over the Beacon and Round Hill and then on toward Timble and back. We had a good group including one or two folk we don't see too often and Stef ran much better than she thought she might. All in all a splendid way to start the Bank Holiday weekend
Tomorrow we're meeting John for a run on to Simon's Seat up the Valley of Desolation followed by refreshments at Buffers. We're also hoping to get up to Lakeland over the weekend for some retail therapy and a trip up Wansfell. I'm hoping I've got my running mojo back after several false starts over the last few months
Thursday, 5 April 2012
A dozen or so of us from KCAC ran out from Skipton last night and just managed to get up Embsay Crag and back to the cars before dark. It made for the perfect antidote after the horrible wintery weather and frustration of not getting across the Pennines earlier in the day. Stef really enjoyed her first run for over two weeks because of the flu and Kevin kept us informed with plenty of local history lessons. I don't think I would rather have been anywhere else on the planet last night than out with our club-mates and I'll never forget 'racing the sunset' as we climbed the top of the crag. It was a really special evening!
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
We were supposed to be meeting John and Andy at Bolton Abbey last night for a run out but the foul wintery weather meant none of us got much further than the Swan. Stef and I did manage to run home in the rain! I'm not sure there's much of a future in running after three pints of Mary Jane and a bag of Pickled Onion Monster Munch mind
I've got to drive over the M62 to Lancashire later, which might be 'interesting'. Our club run is from the Narrowboat in Skipton this evening and I'm determined to go. Now where did I put my Powerstretch tights and OMM jacket?
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Monday, 2 April 2012
I've been really busy with work the last week or so and haven't managed a run since last Sunday. I was in the West Country for work this week just gone, then spent the weekend in Devon with Stef and her family
I got up early both Saturday and Sunday this weekend and went down to the Axe estuary. A combination of low tides when I was out, the weather and the time of year (a few weeks early for a lot of migratory species) made for not fantastic bird watching but I did see and hear blackcap, willow warblers and chiffchaff
Stef and I are at home for Easter and I think we're both ready for a break from work. What we do depends a lot on the weather with snow forecast for tomorrow in Scotland but I'm looking forward to some running and walks by the river. I noticed several sand martin near Ben Rhydding this evening on by way home and it'll be time soon to look and listen out for roding woodcock at Barden bridge and not too long before the pied flycatcher and wood warbler are back too