Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Dropping off Great End towards control 3

The 61st Lake District Mountain Trial
Borrowdale 13.9.15

Trial!.... That was more like purgatory. Only joking, the 2015 Lake District Mountain Trial (LDMT) was one of the hardest but most enjoyable events, that I have done and that was just the Medium Trial. Massive respect to those doing the Classic(long) Trial.

 Usually the LDMT falls too close to the Rab Mountain Marathon for me to enter. My legs are not strong enough to do two big events so close together. Silver linings and all that. No Rab MM for me this year, meant I had the chance to enter this classic.
 Disappointment at missing the Rab MM, was well and truly blown out of my mind, up on Rossthwaite Fell and Glaramara. This was not a consolation race. It was the 'dogs danglies'

On the way to control 2

This is how The 2015 LDMT happened, from inside my head.
A relatively relaxed start. I drove up the night before stopping at The Caledonia Guest House in Penrith. Like I said relatively relaxed. No early morning start and long drive, just the usual sleepless night of pre race excitement and self doubt.

Start line butterflys are tamed, slightly, by chatting to Adam (Adams Race report). The butterflys had been well and truly radged up by looking at the entry list. It's a who's who of fell running ledgends; Nicki Spinks, Joss Naylor, Wendy Dodds, Steve Birkinshaw, Helene Whitaker, Rhys Findlay-Robinson.
I really am 'not worthy'.

The butterflys are released as I dib at the start-line and run towards Stonethwaite. Friendly Marshals, marshal us across the road and issue us with pre marked maps.
Up on to the fells and into the clag. A steep and slipery path leads me to my first navigational error. Apart from time stood still, checking where I went wrong, it doesn't loose me much time. It is still annoying and unnerving.
A few of us concertina together. In spite of starting at timed intervals, the clag and confusing ground cause us to bunch up. Slowing or stopping to concentrate on map and compass, lets later starters catch up. Some converging from unexpected  directions (at least I am not the only one taking the scenic line).
After a few false hopes, the Crag Foot, of control #1, looms out of the miasma. That's better. It always feels good, to get the first one. The butterflys can now go back into hibernation, till the next start-line.

A fellow LDMTer 

The nav for control #2, Boulder at the bottom of Allan Crags Ghyll, is much easier, especially as the clag has lifted. The low cloud is clearing but there is still just enough to add a little drama to the views.
Steep and tricky underfoot, the descent to the valley floor means one thing. The only way is up.
 A short but steep climb up to Esk Hause

Half way up to Esk Hause
Looking back down Langstrath
On the Esk hause path, a small herd of grinning fellrunners come hurtling downhill towards me. At first I think they are LDMTers. It turns out to be Jim and friends Running every day in 2015 for Parkinsons uk. Good on ya Jim!

Still on the path, I chat to the lady above. I mention that most events I do are score courses, as opposed to line courses like the LDMT. She says that "Line courses can be less stressful, because you are not clock watching, so you can enjoy the day more". Which makes me smile. I think that is a great way to look at things.

My legs are tired, my back hurts and so does my brain. All I want to do is sit down, somewhere comfy, have a nice cuppa tea and to plan the rest of my route properly. Failing that, give up and go home.
 I tell myself to 'stop being mardy'. I am almost at control #3 out of 6, nearly half way. Turning back wont be much less painful than carrying on. Wrong! My foot slips between two rocks. The rocks are much harder than my shin. Ouch!.

'Woo hoo!' I make a good route choice to control #3 Tarn, just below Great End. A lovelly spot with beautiful views across The Corridor Route towards Great Gable. Wow!

Happy again. Down and up again. Down to Styhead Pass and up towards the col, between Great Gable and Green Gable.
Bad route choice/Nav error two. Maybe I was enjoying, running down the scree, too much or maybe I am just a muppet. The result is, instead of following the Mosses Trodd, round to contro #4 Innominal Tarn. I do a down and up. Wasting both time and precious energy. When I realise my error, half way down Brown Tongue, I am annoyed with myself. A bit fed up but resigned to my fate. 'Ho hum'. I plod on stoically. Steve Birkinshaw  passes me, on the way up Loft Beck. He hasn't made an error, he is on a different course(the long/classic).

Control #5 is a straightforward, one and a half k shuffle. Friendly marshals, take my race number and offer words of encouragement. From here, it is all downhill, to cotrol #6 and the finish. Normally, I love descending but tired legs, take some of the fun out of it. It doesn't matter, I am on the 'run in' now. As always the run in seems to take forever.

At last the finish line. All finishers are treated to live commentary. I am too kippered, to take in what the man on the mike says. I am just glad to stop running.
I have now stopped running but can't stop grinning. I am not the only one. There are lots of happy faces.

Checking the finishing positions, this may have been one of my worst results, but it has been one one of the most enjoyable events, that I have done.
This has been my first LDMT, I am sure it wont be my last.

 A very big thank you to all who made the 2015 LDMT happen. A true classic

Friday, 14 August 2015

Shoe selfys

The landscape artists of ancient China, would often put a tiny Daoist master or a Confucian scholar in their paintings, to show perspective and the insignificance of us humans.

If they had 21st century technology, they would have used, the shoe selfy.

Cowboys favourite; a fat calf

Peregrines in the Canaries 

Pickering Tor PBs


steady on



How contrived

Wave harriers.. Without any waves or harriers

My favourite

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Just running for fun

No dog, no Strava, no watch, no fells, no shirt, not even a clue where I want to go. 
Starting off on autopilot  I head up towards the water tower. 
Once I get past the water tower and out of the park, I take my shirt off. Wouldn't want to frighten any small children, or put anyone off their ice creams.  
It's hot and humid and the sun comes out. No hat, Doh! Don't want to burn my bald patch. The shirt now becomes a sun hat. I look like  Blackadder minus the pencils. 

 I don't care, I am enjoying myself, even taking a wrong turn, something that usually infuriates me, just makes me laugh.  

Yes, this has been a fun run.

Friday, 31 July 2015

C'mon, catch up. Late again.

Rab Evening Mini Mountain Marathon 12.6.15                                                                                               

The cheesy grin says it all. This was the BogRock Partnerships first evening Mini Mountain Marathon (MMM) and they did us proud.
Starting from the Old Dog Freehouse. The course planners, planted controls either side of Dovedale and sent us out to visit as many as possible, within a 2 hour time limit.
It turned out to be a great way to spend Friday night, rounding it of with a half of very refreshing, pale ale.

Event organisers write up here  Rab MMM.

Monday, 6 July 2015


The Great Lakeland 3Day 2015 Ravenglass

The Great Lakeland 3Day(GL3D) has become my Big event of the year. Big, not only because it is at least a day longer than anything else I have done, but big because it has become my favourite event of the year. 

 Traditionally, UK mountain marathons(mms) are, two day fell races, with challenging navigation and an overnight camp. There is an emphasis on self sufficiency and all the kit needed for the two days, tent, food etc, has to be carried. The routes take competitors off piste and over 'interesting' terrain. Interesting as in, all the stuff you would avoid on a normal day out, plus lots of ascent, descent and probably my least favourite, contouring.

 The GL3D do their mountain marathons differently and not just by adding an extra day. 
Quoting Race organiser, Shane Ohly "The planning brief is to design journeys through the mountains that are following classic and natural lines including long ridges, valley trails and a mix of iconic and rarely visited mountain summits."

The GL3D team really do go the extra mile. Even the night before the race Food, beer, and free camping were available. There was also a screening of a couple of running films.

 Overnight camps are also very different. Sociable and fun, are not words usually associated with mountain marathon camping, but again the GL3D team were the perfect hosts
A large marquee, cheerful marshalls, hot water, cake, a raffle, with a chance to win prizes provided by event sponsor Lowe Alpine and beer. All go to make the camps enjoyable.

Day 2 overnight campsite.
Enjoying beer, cake and Sunshine 

Not for long though, clouds rolling in

As this blog is already running late, I shall tell the rest of the story with photos and captions. Yes, I know it is a cop out but trust me, with my lack of writing skills, it is much quicker.

Day 1

B-Course 27.8 km 1,657m ascent

Starting from- Eskdale> Wasdale Head>  Pillar> Black Sail Pass> Honister Pass> Finish- Little Town.


Heading for Wasdale


Still going up Pillar

Nearly there.

Damp camp

Day 2

B-Course 29.8 km 2,224m ascent (a bit less, Bad weather course used)

Start- Little Town> Bottom of Cat Bells> High Spy> Pike of Blisco> Finish- Little Langdale 

Still Damp

Day 3

B-Course 29.0 km 2,224m ascent

Start- Little Langdale> Weatherlam> Swirl How> Dunnerdale Forrest> Dalegarth Hall> Eskdale Green> Hooker Crag. Finish- Ravenglass.

Good to see you again.
Thanks for the tow and the company.

A big thank you to Ourea Events, the marshals, competitors and all who helped make it happen.