Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Fellsman

9am Saturday morning and, along with about 400 others, I'm ready for the off at the playing fields in Ingleton for my 4th go at the Fellsman, a 61 mile and 11,000 feet of climb romp around 'my' Yorkshire Dales. The route is absolutely cracking, meandering in a looping arch over the southern Dales whilst making best use of all the high ground (and swamp land!) that it possibly can, from Ingleton all the way to Threshfield - garmin route here

In the event I started quite well but was feeling nauseous (with knobs on) for a lot of the time after about 10 miles in (I blame bananas and eating too much too soon) and especially nauseous during the middle 20 mile stretch. I was actually in quite a state when I eventually arrived at the Fleet Moss food stop and, not surprisingly, quite a few runners had overtaken me in the stretch over Dodd Fell to there from Redshaw. Fortunately the bean stew, bubbling away in a huge cauldron at Fleet Moss, saved the day and I improved massively after that. I also managed to get grouped with 3 strong runners at Cray (compulsory groups of 4 must be formed as night draws in) and they gave me an excellent tow in all the way to the end, with me eventually finishing at about 10 to 2 in the morning at Threshfield. The whole route was supremely muddy and wet. And boggy. And tussock grassy. Perfect conditions then!

Oh and the full moon rising above the summit of Great Whernside, just as we were approaching it, was absolutely awesome. As was Hester cheering me on at Cray and again at the finish, even providing a much needed bottle of beer at our camp site at about 3am (Wood Nook in Threshfield, a lovely campsite by the way) 

16 hours and 42 minutes start to finish for me I think, taking into a 10 minute grouping time wait at Cray that was netted off. A personal best then, although perhaps not quite the pb I was hoping for. All the same what a magnificent event. And thanks to the organisers - just stunning, as usual.
Not a bad bunch of hills!

Looking back on the first climb up Ingleborough

Ingleborogh trig... and a dusting of snow

Looking towards Whernside 
Stolly 'putting the hammer down' just starting off up Whernside

The fantastic descent from Whernside into Kingsdale

On the way to Great Coum looking back along the wall line to Gragareth - Ingleborough now on the far horizon

Ingleborough again - this time from Blea Moor

Dropping down to Redshaw - Ingleborough is always in view

Just before the final climb up Dodd Fell

Fleet Moss - tussocks tussocks everywhere!

Buckden Pike and Great Whernside coming into view from tussock central (Middle Tongue)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Fairfield Horseshoe

Me and the boy wonder scooted around the Fairfield Horseshoe from Rydal on Saturday in absolutely fantastic conditions; not too cold, not too windy and, for the back half, the sun came out too! I love this ten mile loop up one ridge line to Fairfield summit, along a bit, down the next ridge line and along the bottom to finish. And, although it includes a good 3,000 feet of climb, a run is exactly what it is (for me and Haz anyway) all the way round with all the hills just about being runnable (the first two miles are the worst).

Okay the first stile's not runnable :)

Fairfield ahoy!

Looking back down the valley between ridge lines with Windermere in the distance

Still some snow clinging on in places

The 4 mile descent is especially enjoyable!

Hazzer playing 'I'm going to stay back here and watch'

Washing off time

Good boy!
Ze route

Friday, 19 April 2013

This week's weekday evening runs


Ogden Reservoir near Halifax -> 3.23 miles and 404 feet of climb

Ogden Woods

Where's Wally?

Cleatop Woods and Lambert Lane -> 4.19 miles and 621 feet of climb

Harry entering Cleatops Wood (or as Harry calls them Sticky Woods)

Heading down to Lodge Farm

Pen y Ghent from Horton -> 6.61 miles and 1,474 feet of climb

Harry lagging behind on the final climb

Pen y Ghent from Horton Scar

Hunter Bark trig point and Cleatops -> 4.45 miles and 658 feet of climb

Puddles on the Pennine Bridleway

Sun rays

Catrigg and Stainforth from Langcliffe (with the drive to Booths supermarket tagged accidentally on the end!) -> 5.2 miles and 583 feet of climb

Catrigg Force

Heading down the Pennine Bridleway towards Stainforth

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Inov8 Mudclaw 300's - 600 mile review

Well my mudclaws are still cracking on brilliantly, now zooming past the 600 mile point (628 miles and counting) and they still have plenty of life in them. The uppers, apart from looking grubby, are all holding together perfectly, with very little obvious wear and tear, and the shoes are still fantastically comfortable to wear running over short or long distances, soft or hard ground. 

I have to say that the studs are starting to take a battering (as can be seen in the pictures below) but they are still grippy and, incredibly, I reckon there's another hundred or two miles to be had out of them. Slightly worrying though is that its The Fellsman next weekend and, before the off, they have a notoriously rigid kit check, including a fell shoe check, and I'm not at all sure that my mudclaws will pass purely because of the state of the studs. I've therefore ordered a new pair of fellshoes from Pete Blands just in case - this time the hot off the press Inov8 mud claw 265's, which are extra specially good because they're red - but I really don't want to wear those on the Fellsman if I can help it. To my mind, on such a long run, grip isn't especially crucial at all whereas comfort and fit are, something I know my mudclaw 300's have. Anyway I'll cross that bridge next week.

In summary my mudclaw 300's are the best fell shoe I've ever had, by some margin. Lets see if I can get them to last for an 800 mile review!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Tour de Kingsdale and Fellsman recce

With the Fellsman kicking off the weekend after next, my run out on Saturday was probably my last longish outing before then. It was a real cracker of an outing too with me and Haz setting off from Ingleton and effectively doing a lap of the skyline of Kingsdale (arguably the very best dale in the Yorkshire Dales), visting the summits of Gragareth and Great Coum before dropping down to Dent and then returning to Ingleton by running pretty much the length of Whernside top to tail. 22.6 miles and just over 4,000 feet of climb with a heck of a lot of trackless running to boot. The gradient was also pretty runnable (in a very tussocky way) all the way round.... so I didn't take many 'too steep to run' breathers either! 

Once we hit the trig point of Gragareth, we exactly followed the route of the Fellsman for about the next 9 miles, along the wall line to Great Coum, a tricky descent down to Flintergill, then all the way down to Dent before zipping up the Craven Way and finally turning off from the Fellsman route and directly heading up Whernside at Boot of the Wold. Even then we picked up another stretch of the Fellsman where it goes from the trig on Whernside for a couple of miles to a wall hopping over point for the descent to Yorda's Cave. 

All the snow on the tops was fast disappearing although there were still a few drifty areas surviving. It was warm though and I managed to scoot all the way round in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. Even got a tan!

Just a couple of miles in Harry, who forgot to have a drink before we left home, stops to drink the river dry!

Looking up Kingsdale from the southern end

Gragareth ahoy!

Gragareth trig

First sweaty tee shirt run of the year!

Heading towards Great Coum with the trod totally covered by the drifts

Great Coum ahoy!

Harry at the top of Great Coum

Overlooking Dentdale from the cairn

Our line ahead all the way down to Flintergill

Still a bit of snow on the north western slopes

Harry starting to hang back and play silly beggars on the Craven Way out of Dent

Whernside ahoy!

Approaching the trig point on Whernside with Ingleborough on the horizon