Sunday, 31 March 2013

Four Lakeland Passes

An absolutely brilliant run out on Saturday following the route of the Four Lakeland Passes from Rosthwaite in the Lake District. Fellow runners included Andrew, Stef, me, Harry (of course), Hester (of course), Steve, Gem (Steve's scuttling sidekick), Martin, Linda, Geoff, his other half and Jackie (I think thats everyone?).

Beautiful weather, beautiful hills and beautiful snow and a much appreciated tea stop was included at Honister, before the final two or three miles back down to Rosthwaite.

Oh and a cracking pint or two of Loweswater Gold at the Dog and Gun in Keswick in the evening!

So warm, Hester had her sleeves rolled up

Harry on a frozen beck

Descending into Wasdale

Herdies in Wasdale

I should know the names of all these hills - leg 4 of the BGR goes over them all

Hester running up a 'small' snow drift

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Springtime Running in the Yorkshire Dales, Part Deux

Well with more blizzarding overnight, tomorrow's Edale Skyline Fell Race has, not entirely unexpectedly, been cancelled. A bit of a shame as it would have been an epic outing but, at the same time, probably not completely free from extreme risk (insert ironic smiley here). For sure the weather is fantastic if you like running in the hills and pitting yourself against the elements - fortunately me and the boy Hazzer do and we felt obliged to go out for another run in the hills above Settle this morning. This time Lambert Lane was wall to wall snow - at one point where it was waste deep for about 100 yards all I could do was use the dry stone wall to lever my way along and make headway!

On the climb out of Settle up towards the trig at Warrendale Knotts

The road to Stockdale Farm

Lambert Lane chocka

Harry 'pawsing' for a breather

Difficult even with sticky legs

Natural art

Friday, 22 March 2013

Springtime running in the Yorkshire Dales!

A fabulous run out with the boy earlier this evening - some absolutely incredible drifts of snow out there after this morning's blizzards. It was darn tooting windy as well, nicely setting the scene for this Sunday's Edale Skyline fell race in the Peak District. I even managed a small video recording of us running along Lambert Lane (a rutted cart track); apologies for my gabbling away to Harry while running but that is what we do when we're out. Also watch out for me falling over, another regular occurance. Lambert Lane is only at a height of about 1000 feet and was relatively sheltered from the wind - a little further on a higher up, we were fairly mullered by the wind screaming straight from Siberia by the feel of it!

Beautifully monochromatic?

Harry tootling along Lambert Lane

A tad drifty

Harry chasing his own snow - the wind was so strong that any snow kicked up scuttled all the way down

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Three Peaks recce

What with the HPM (42 miles) the weekend before last, the Haworth Hobble (32 miles) last weekend and the Edale Skyline fell race (21 miles) coming up next week, it was time for some serious tapering this weekend (joke in brackets)... and therefore yesterday me and Hester (and Harry) decided to 'take it easy' and go for a trot around the 3 Peaks (of Yorkshire), which on the route we ended up taking amounted to the best part of 24 miles with 4,700 feet of climb. 

Hester is running the fell race at the end of April and therefore a reconnoitre or two of the route in advance is always a good idea. And because I live just down the road from the three peaks (Pen y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough) I like to think that I know these three fantastic hills and various routes around and over them like the back of my hand. For sure I usually end up running the route 3 or 4 times each year and visit the hills themselves individually no end of times. 

Anyway it was a lovely run with us deciding to take the longer walkers route up Whernside, rather than the fell race straight up the side route, as the snow was deep, wet and slick on the tops and anything off path high up was exceedingly dodgy.

Harry queuing to get up the last rocky bit of Pen y Ghent

Hester and Harry 'sprinting' up Whernside

Into the snow zone on Whernside

Harry in the snow on the side of Whernside

The rubble strewn descent off Whernside with Ribblehead Viaduct to the left and Park Fell ahead

The final bit of climb up Ingleborough

Ingleborough wind shelter ahoy!

Coming off of Ingleborough with Pen y Ghent ahead - second lap anyone?

Hester heading for the finish in front of her favourite hill Pen y Ghent

Ze route around ze 3 peaks

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Inov8 Mudclaw 300 - review at 400 miles

Well since getting my Mudclaws on 10th January they've now passed the 400 mile mark (412 miles to be precise) and they're still cracking on nicely. Nothing's coming apart yet, although one of the laces is starting to fray a little, and they are still nice and grippy. I must have some kind of running gait problem as I've worn the studs down on one side of the left heel quite badly but that's my problem rather than the shoes'. Still plenty of mileage in 'em!

Looking good..... if a little tarnished

Not really any rubbing on the inside of the heels

Studs still grippy apart from the left heel

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Great Shunner Fell

So it was Hester's birthday today and, to help celebrate, me, Hes and Haz went for a stunningly beautiful run up Great Shunner Fell from Hawes. Chuffing chuff loads of snow after the blizzard yesterday evening too! 11 miles and about 1,600 feet of ascent.

Harry looking beautiful

Shunner Fell ahoy!


H and H

Harry making his polar bear snow cubby hole

A bit deep

I love snow!

Looking back from near the top

Nearly there

I'm not sure what I was doing here

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Haworth Hobble Ahoy!

Its 8 am on Saturday morning, with an icy wind blowing and flakes of snow in the air, and me and Harry are in the crowd of 315 runners/walkers queuing in the cobbled Main Street of Haworth, just outside the Fleece Inn, ready for the start of the 32 mile and 4600 odd feet of climb 'Haworth Hobble'. We'd only entered this race at the last minute on Thursday with Brett, the race organiser from Keighley and Craven AC, confirming that it would be okay for Harry to run the race too (one of three dog runners that I could see on the day). It would Harry's very first ultra distance race.

The Haworth Hobble is a stunning route over the hills and moors of Bronte Country, which is that part of the Pennines wedged between Colne and Burnley in the west and Haworth and Hebden Bridge in the east. When I was a southerner, many yonks ago, I'm not sure I really knew what moors were but, at the time, I envisaged them to bleak and miserable places. Just like yesterday in fact! (just kidding). Nowadays I now know moors much much better and, yes, they can be bleak, incredibly bleak in bad weather, but they are also fantastically beautiful and mystical places. And flipping rocky and muddy too! I love 'em.

We ran the first 15 miles or so of the Hobble really well and the route up until that point surprised me as it was all very very runnable, making for some fast going. I then started to struggle a bit (although Harry was whizzing along) and its no coincidence that the route became much steeper and hillier at the 20 mile point, with a rock solid climb up Stoodley Pike, over the tops and then dropping down to Hebden Bridge, up to Heptonstall (including a humdinger of a climb up a set of cobbled steps) before kind of annoyingly dropping straight back down again to Hebden Water and commencing one long drawn out climb past Hardcastle Crags  all the way up to Top Withens, purportedly the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. By the time we got up there the rain, sleet and snow was fairly full on, making the going even more "fun", but we were then in sniffing distance of the finish and we both found a good spurt from somewhere and managed to push on strong for the final 3 miles.

We finished in 5 hours and 57 minutes and, although initially we thought first dog had gone to Harry, we later found out that a lovely brown and white collie (and owner Ian?) that we'd seen earlier won the day. Never mind Harry loved it either way and particularly loved chasing sticks and stones and playing puddle splashing all the way round. Luckily he was wearing his running harness, with its handy carrying handle, which made getting over the stiles and cattle grids much easier. I was pleased with my run too, having HPM'd last weekend.

Grand day out followed by a much deserved pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord in the Fleece afterwards.


Soon after the off and Harry is already setting a cracking pace

Running on boggy ground - aah, luxury!

Stoodley Pike - a nice little climb at the 20 mile point

Looking back from Stoodley Pike

31.4 miles and 4,600 feet!

Edit: I have subsequently been informed that we did not run past Top Withens near the end of the race but instead we did it near the beginning. Doh! Apologies but the copy maps I carried with me with the route marked up disintegrated in the rain and I used guess work and my own brand of befuddled logic to assume that where we'd been. Needless to say I'm no expert in Bronte Country!