Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Bob Graham rules OK

The Bob Graham Round has become increasingly well known since Richard Askwith wrote Feet in the clouds and with ever more information about it on the internet. This higher profile has led to some mutterings of derision: 'it's a trail race', 'it's not as hard as it used to be', and 'they might as well pave the whole route now' being typical jibes from the non-believers. Perhaps needless to say I don't subscribe to these thought and love the challenge and everything positive associated with it

This weekend we've been up in the Lakes for some training for Stef but also to support Andrew Henderson from Durhan Fell Runners. He'd posted last week requesting help on the FRA forums and I responded saying we could help on leg 4 (and possibly leg 5 too). As it worked out we walked over to Wasdale from Honister on Sunday lunch-time and did legs 4 and 5 with Andrew and enjoyed ourselves greatly in the process. Andrew completed in 23 hours 36 minutes and then proposed to his long-term partner Camilla (who'd done a splendid job with his road support and logistics). She said yes, which rounded off a super day in Lakeland perfectly! 

Pride and ambition

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Old White Bear

We had a great evening for our regular Wednesday night club run last night; bright and just a bit breezy. We did 6 miles from the Old White Bear at Crosshills, ably led by Paul and his dog Galileo, followed by the usual refueling in the pub. There was a good turn-out with many of our regular Wednesday night friends and Brett passed on my new club vest. I've had my old KCAC vest for eight years and after something like 150 to 200 races (and washes) it's looking a bit tired and threadbare. Stef and I have had a couple of easy weeks with little running done but it's time to crank it back up again now

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Jack Bloor fell race

It was the Jack Bloor fell race on Tuesday night. Conditions were about perfect for running again (apart from the wretched midges) and Stef was nearly five minutes faster than last year! I had Martyn just behind me for most of the race and a woman from Ilkley just head showing us some very nice lines across the moor including an alternative descent to the very wet rushy area. Results are here and some photos from Paul Wood here It was good to see Yiannis over for the evening (and a recce earlier in the day) and Phil Jones back on the hill after his appendix operation 

Grant Green

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Wales and dales

We managed three runs over the extended weekend (we'd booked Friday off work for Stef's postponed BG). On Friday we had a relatively fast run over our favourite 'four climbs' route between Upper Wharfedale and Littondale. We did our best ever time for this and celebrated with soup and a sandwich afterwards in Zarina's. On Saturday we had a steady run / walk around the LDWA Walden route with Martyn and Helen (23 miles / 4,500 feet climb) in 'mixed' weather conditions, and on Sunday we went over to Liverpool to meet Yiannis for a run out near Llangollen in North Wales.This was the first time I'd been in the area for far too long and as me and Stef were approaching the car after a really good outing we spotted a male hen harrier! A further treat was the wonderful roast beef dinner followed by apple pie and ice-cream that Yiannis' wife Cath provided for us on our return. All in all a most splendid weekend and a good return to some proper training after a few lazy weeks on my part. Totals for weekend were approaching 45 miles and 11,000 feet climb 

Friday, 10 May 2013


We've checked the weather forecasts (MWIS and Met office) regularly all week and kind of knew that Stef's BG wasn't going to go ahead since Wednesday. Last night we postponed until (probably) mid-June. I don't think this is a bad thing because Stef starts a new job on Monday and I suspect it would have been a struggle going in around 30 hours after a near 24 hour fell run. Anyway it's back to the full-on 10,000 feet a week training for a few weeks and I might shed the three pounds I've put on in the last fortnight!

I'm looking forward to a weekend of long runs in the Dales, some quality time with Stef and if the mixed (at best) weather continues, firing up the log-burner. Today was booked off as leave from work so we'll be heading out shortly up to our old stomping ground of Upper Wharfedale for a run, probably followed by refreshment at a carefully selected cafe or pub 

Blackbird singing

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Weather watch

Stef and I spent the weekend in the Peak District. Stef's Bob Graham starts at midnight on Friday so we aren't training to mean anything at present but we did do a nice seven mile walk on Bank Holiday Monday around the Miller's Dale area starting and finishing in Litton. We had a sandwich and a drink in the Red Lion after the walk and I've made a mental note to go back sometime, because it's an excellent pub! 

This week is mainly about planning, logistics and watching various weather forecasts for the Lake District. The forecasts at present suggest a band of wet weather coming off the Atlantic on Thursday and into Friday but no-one seems to want to predict with much certainity yet what will happen on Saturday. I'm just praying Stef has the confidence to go for it and the luck to get conditions which are manageable  


Friday, 3 May 2013


Stef bought me a new digital camera for Christmas but I've only just started using it. These photos were taken on a recent walk in the Strid Woods at Bolton Abbey and show a surprsingly confiding mandarin drake

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Lothersdale fell race

It was what I always think of as the start of the 'summer' last night: Lothersdale fell race. I don't know how he does it but Brett does seem to have an uncanny knack of laying on decent weather for his races and yesterday was no exception, with a bright, sunny evening;  close to perfect for racing 

Without looking back through either my blog or results list I've no idea when I last did a short fell race so I really enjoyed it. Slogging slowly and persistently up 1000 or 2000 feet climbs before jogging along a ridge with a rucksack is great but nothing beats the adrenaline rush (and pain) of a 30 minute dash! 

I met Darren from Chorley last night. He's the guy who did 101 fell races last year but he's also a big music fan, so we had a natter about bands we like after the race including Midlands-based metallers Witchfynde

Bob was out taking photos and the results should be up soon here

Neil Young