Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Ring a ding a ding it's the year end round up.

My year in pictures.

It turned out to be rather a good year, achieved  almost everything I set out to achieve and had rather a lot of fun doing so. It's been a year of being helped along the way by friends, teamwork working lol.

So instead of writing loads I am basically going to let the photos do the talking.


Walk with Neil to see the Andy Goldsworthy's near Penopnt.

Ziggy came to stay

That's Lyth (Probably my last ever but we won't dwell on that even if it still smarts lol)
Little Mell, Great Mell and Gowbarrow with Kim


The Great Lakeland 3 Day event with Kim

Northern Viaducts Walk with Kim

In my Volunteer Uniform for Dog's Trust
Edinburgh Half Marathon with Jax first road race in a long long time.
Marshaling at KMF and my first ever outdoor music festival.

The Great Glencoe Trekathon with Kim

Marshaling at LSU and Scaffel Skyrace
Marshaling and competitor stalking at Lakeland100


Grand tour of Skiddaw marshaling and knocking Latrigg off the list.

An evening with Josh Naylor at Johnstonebridge

Ullswater Way with Kim
Dumfries Half Marathon with Jax which was September but this photo is refusing to move

The very BEST thing in the year Molly joins the family.  First Grandchild for me and Bilbo.
November and December

Carlisle Santa Dash with Jax
DRC Santa Dash
Supernova Run Falkirk
Molly's First Christmas

So all in all it's been a good year and I'm looking forward to 2018.  Kim and I are entered into the Great Lakes 3 Day again and this year we are going to ace it.   Training for this will start in earnest after New Year.  Still have RED to finish for December.  We are having a Parkrun in Dumfries and a new Jog Scotland Course starting in January.  Jax and I will be continuing with the road training and Kim and I will be popping a few more Wainwrights off the list.  

The icing on the cake of course will be watching our wee Molly growing over the year.

Onwards and upwards.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


Time to face reality, I am never ever going to make an ultra runner.  I was going to completely change the name of the blog but as I'm sure no-one but me ever reads it I decided why bother.

This blog thing is basically a way of me keeping a sort of diary of my adventuring so have just added that to the title. 

Have just completed the GL3Day a feat I am rather proud of regardless of mistakes made, hey as long as you learn from your mistakes eh.  We tended to take rather a relaxed approach to the whole thing, in hindsight perhaps a bit too relaxed.  Setting off earlier each day would of ensured we finished in better time.  Learned a lot about navigation and managed to tick off a couple of Wainwrights and had a great time on all three days.

My friend Jax and I are in training for a half marathon at the end of May, it's been quite fun although we are a bit worried about the cut off time.  It's been quite a while since I did anything like this - looking forward to it - really.

So what's in the future - well more of the same as I've been doing but without any dreams or un-realistic targets.  In a way it's been brought home to me in this last week that in the end it doesn't matter much in the great scheme of things,  What does matter to me is enjoying life, getting out there seeing the countryside, ticking of hills as and when I can without caring if I tick them all. No time scales, no pressure, no wanting to be something I'll never be.  

I am still in awe of those who do  amazing things, who climb mountains, who run mountains and vast distances, who can run and navigate at the same time lol and I will continue to be in awe, all respect to them. I will continue to follow their exploits with pleasure.  

So I say to myself Watch This Space.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Some musings

Well it's been a few months since I wrote anything in't blog so think it's time to post a couple of paragraphs.

I feel that I've been lazy but funnily enough looking back I've not been THAT lazy,just a bit lazy lol.

October saw Kim and I heading off to do one of the Three Rings of Shap (Ring 2) which takes you from Shap out through Great Asby Nature Reserve to Gaythorne Hall and back to Shap probably about 22 miles all in   It was a super walk, very scenic with quite differing terrains. it is our intention to complete all three rings.

On the 15th of this month I attended Trail Fest in Glasgow (Mugdock Park)  the speakers were excellent particularly enjoyed the Consani's and Gary Tompsett and James Stewart.   Hopefully I might be able to persuade other people into coming next year.

To finish off the month Jax, Kerry and I travelled down to Pooley Bridge to tackle the Ullswater Way Day organised by Nav4.  Although we came home on the Boat of Shame we completed 14 miles and I managed to tick of another Wainwright - Gowbarrow.  Got to say for most of the day we had a laugh and the part we did was in my estimation the hard bit.  Both Kerry and I have done the second half anyway so felt fine to call it a day and live to fight another day.

As you can see the views were spectacular.

Credit to Nav4 for the photo.

November - almost a write because of a very nasty chest infection.
However I did manage to recover enough to take Kona on an adventure with Kim and I in the Lakes.  We went from Askham to the Cockpit, from there to Lowther Castle and back to Askham,  Had a nice relaxed day and even managed to do some graveyard exploring and had time to partake of a nice afternoon tea and scone at Lowther Castle itself. 

December - came and went - I did the RED runner thing again which kept me moving through the month and hopefully kept some of the Christmas excess poundage at bay a bit.

So the year drew to a close and January loomed, can't say much about the weather it just seemed cold, wet and miserable.  A few days of frost but not enough.  Now January brings the event I always (up till now) have kick started my year with That's Lyth.  We missed it last year because of the snow but was determined to get there this year and show Kim what a great event it is.  Now to say I was left at the end of this deflated and feeling like I'd been kicked in the teeth is an understatement.  I am so totally upset with LDWA that I will not be renewing my membership.  I don't disagree with cut offs in the least or in removing at risk people from a course but to remove us 3 miles from the end with an hour and a half to cut off time in my book is disgraceful. We were more than capable of finishing within time and were in no way distressed.  We had up to this point been thoroughly enjoying the walk and the scenery perhaps we were slow but we were having fun, photographing things, chatting to people etc.,  If they only had the hall booked until a certain time they should of made that clear on the cut off stated. I wonder when it became a race.  A well never mind, but I still feel very sad that after many years of loyal membership we were treated in such a way.    I've not encountered in my marshaling duties anything like this, we always make sure the last people on the course are treated really well, food is always kept for them and every effort made to ensure they are looked after and have a great event.  Yes cut offs are cut offs but they're not cut offs until that point has passed. 

So having to make an effort to put that disappointment behind me and move on, we move into February and it starts going tits up, both socially and healthwise.  More chest infection and something else I'm waiting on the results of blood tests for, if they come back positive then that may explain something if not then I really need to seriously think about things and get my backside in gear.    Watch this space.

Roll on SPRING.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Bringing it all up to date - with an eye to the future,

It took a while for me to gather myself together after the cow incident at the Lakeland 50, physically the bruises came and went and mentally I must admit to getting a lot of it out of my system by talking about it and finding out that I am not alone and that lots of people out there are not too keen on getting up close and personal with the Bovine Mafia.   One of the things that I found refreshing was how some people took the piss a bit in a friendly way, Lots of mooing and pretend matador stuff.  The saga continues though.......

Spent August mainly pottering about doing small walks , dog sitting, Guide Dog planning etc.,  Linda and I did a fantastic walk  near Wanlockhead in a place called Glenim, very quiet and peaceful.

It was a beautiful sunny day just right for a paddle and yes I did.  Lots of scope for more walking up here, super place for map and compass practice too.

September and instead of taking part in The Grand Tour of Skiddaw Kim and I pitched up to camp and help out wherever we were needed.  So after a stint of gatekeeping at the start we went off on a pootle with Sabine.  Parked at Latrigg car park and went off up and down the Glendaterra Valley (so that's another bit of the Lakeland 100 route ticked off - don't ask).
round Blencathra Centre and back to Latrigg for another chat with the crew there.  Sabine's partner Jakob was going that fast that we just missed getting her back to the finish to see him crossing the line.  

The day after Linda and I had an adventure day in Ayrshire visiting Auchinleck House and then Crossraugel Abbey.  Guess who feel asleep in the car on the way home - clue we are still alive so it wasn't the driver.  

My club's new Jog Scotland course started and I have committed to taking a friend along for the duration.  Love doing this, just getting folk into getting out and about doing stuff is such fun. 

Another stint of helping out, this time at The Cumbria Way Ultra, Kim Bev and I were at Keswick again, great place to be and so much fun.  Very rewarding too knowing you are helping someone with their individual challenge.  It was brilliant for me this year also because my club had a team entered into the relay.

So I managed to round of September very nicely with a weekend away with OH in Edinburgh attending something called The Presidents Cup, which is a invitation only Sombo competition. There were teams from Russia, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Scotland and France. Lovely to be involved in something that OH is very keen on makes a change for him as he is normally trailing round assisting me with my goals.  We had a lovely hotel room in The Holiday Inn with two fantastic breakfasts and a dinner laid on for officials and the contestants on the Friday evening.  OH spent the day on the scoring table with a fantastic view of the action on the mats.

Thoroughly rested and restored now and as Autumn settles in and turns to Winter then my thoughts turn to next year, well actually they turned to next year quite a while ago if I'm honest.  Plans are afoot for some more adventures one definitely new and one is some unfinished business.  

Monday, 15 August 2016

A case of doing everything right and it still goes tits up.

Starting at the end of.......and It's been some journey indeed.  Thank you Lakeland 50 and Lakeland Family.

I started my Lakeland 50 journey in 2011 in secret.  Didn't tell anyone in case I failed miserably, then no-one would know.  It is no exaggeration to say that what I experienced that day in July changed me. It gave me a confidence in myself that I always felt I lacked, the confidence to try new things, other years were to teach me new lessons too none more so than this year.  I've made fantastic new friends, a couple of whom I've gone on the share new adventures and experiences with.  In 2011 I joined the Lakeland family, it's a brilliant family full of diverse characters and people of all abilities but it's good job I don't have to buy them Christmas presents. It's rather a big family lol.

So with over 5 years of my life wrapped up in one way or another in this event I felt it was time to perhaps step back and let other people have the joy.  So because I had a place due to checkpoint duties in the previous year and didn't have to battle to get in on the mad morning entry dash, I decided this was to be my last year, so I was determined to make it count and enjoy every minute of it.

 Got down in plenty of time to see the 100 runners off.  My friend Vicky was taking part and I think I caught a glimpse of her as they all sped past in Coniston.  I then went to watch the children do their own little Lakeland run.  Lovely to see Vicky's children taking part, in fact I rather think her little girl was giving the friend, who was "keeping her company"  a bit of a run for her money.   A future star maybe?

The registration process went well as usual and it's nice to be recognized by the some of the marshals. A lot of the marshals are past participants giving something back to the event  So Friday night was spent chilling, chatting and eating. All nice and relaxed. 

Saturday morning and all went according to plan, tried to catch up with Vicky's progress, bad news, it wasn't going so well.  Gutted for her.  Met up with club mates who were supporting both Vic and Dawn.  Said goodbye to Dawn at the start line, knowing I wouldn't see her again as it would be wheee and gone for her.  Into start pen and off round that blasted estate, which I suppose at least gives you a chance to warm up properly.  Met a couple of chaps, one was an Ozzie who chatted for a while and then was gone, but the other was Mark who will feature large later on. 

Mark and I coming into Dalemain after the loop.

Mark and I stayed together until Howtown, but because I know I'm extremely slow up Fusedale we went our separate ways.  The slog up Fusedale never gets any easier but once past the beck where I always have a wash and soak my hair it gets more do-able and I know I'm going to get to the top in the end.  Over the top and down to the next slog, ran all the way down, when I say ran I mean tottered I suppose.  I don't think I've ever seen it so beautiful as it was that afternoon and evening it was just spectacular. Round Haweswater which seemed almost easy this year for some reason. Into Mardale Head  (ultra legends - The Spartans assisted by another legend, Louise of Troll bridge fame)bang on my estimated time, had soup, sorted foot, chatted to Mark and his new companions, they left and I followed suit about 10 mins later.  Up and over Gatescarth, down to Sadgill where I looked up to check the bridge and down I went, bugger, hurt thumb but apart from that OK.  It was getting dark heading up to the col so head torch on.  Made a slight navigational error at the stiles before Kentmere, have no idea why or how.  Popped into Kentmere (Hogwarts) to be greeted by Marcus Scotney (ultra legend).  This where I met up with Mark and Co.  One of the chaps was pulling out and the other Darren insisted I go with them, he'd been listening to Mark Laithwaite about buddying up and decided I needed buddied. 
Last of the evening sun, Topping out over Gatescarth.

Up and over Garburn, stopping every now and again for a wee rest we were treated to the most amazing night sky with shooting stars and everything.  Through Troutbeck and down through the scary woods.  Met some 100 people along the way, they are just out of this world in my mind, what a feat.  

Into Ambleside checkpoint, Susan and Marian were waiting for Vicky who was still going, in fact she wasn't far behind (WOW). Now this event has something rather unique I think, if you've not guessed already,  that is checkpoints staffed by your actual heroes of the Ultra World who dress up in all sorts of amazing garb running around seeing to YOUR every need and being happy to do so. So in Ambleside we were met by Gaynor, Gerry  and Barefoot Alek's (who was wearing a dress and fetching wig set off nicely by his bushy beard. It's odd how good he looked, really.  Reminded by Gaynor about cut off times,the troops were gathered and off we trotted into the night.  I was dubious we (mainly about me)  that we would make it but Mark and I made it to Chapel Stile with enough time to have a good rest and take on some food and drink. Darren pulled out here which was a shame, but I think he had just had enough.
Gaynor  Prior (another Ultra legend and hero)as the Tattooed Lady .

It was here I met up with Vicky (now a legend) as she prepared to tackle the last 10 miles. Utterly amazing.  She was soon ready for the off and I watched her toddle off into the morning feeling very proud.  

Over the massive stiles, over the moss of trepidation, up to the dibber and down to what will be the last few miles.  It was at this point I KNEW (mmm) that I was going to make it, and was already imagining walking into the hall to the cry of 50 finisher, I saw me get my medal and t. shirt, yaay.  However the Gods have a habit of sticking an oar in the plans of we mere mortals and it wasn't to be.  At about half a mile off the steps of doom, I met Mrs Cow who decided, not "none shall sleep" but "thou shall not pass" and it was all over for me.  My own personal jury will probably be forever out on whether I should of kept on going and finished. (Mark did, he sensibly did not try and influence my decision either way).Without Mark, who sprang into action I would of come off a lot worse indeed and I thank my Guardian Angel for sending him to me. It happened, I walked away, no big post mortems, I did nothing wrong and the cow was only doing what instinct told her to. However I don't think I want to be that close to a cow again and will do everything in my power not to be. I have my own thoughts about livestock on public footpaths and they haven't changed in any way.  I have been in contact with the organizers and all has been discussed and is well.  I want to stress that it was just one of those things, my blip no-one else's.   

I was taken back to HQ by a lovely lady and seen by the medics, felt rather foolish and that people were making a fuss of me but at the same time grateful that they were if you know what I mean. All protocols were followed and I was well looked after. Have since seen my own Doctor too just in case. 
There is something I really need to say though and for people like me and  it is super important - 

THANK YOU.   Mark Laithwaite and Terry Gilpin for making this event accessible to us. Thank you Lakeland people because in all these years I've never been made to feel inferior to the super fitties. It's always been a journey we all undertake together.  Long may it continue to be so.

On a slightly sombre note but I think relevant - on the Friday morning before we left for Coniston I attended the cremation service of a club mate who went missing whilst out fishing, after an extensive search by inshore rescue etc. his body was found in the water.  We weren't best buddies or anything but I had known for years and had been on club outings with him etc, he used to rib me about my "running" but at the same time gave useful encouragement and advice. I thought of him as I topped out Fusedale and was sad that his running and walking days were over.  We must make the most of the time we have, it isn't long in the great scheme of things.  

So here was my "last" 50 I hit every checkpoint exactly when I planned in order to ensure a comfortable finish, I enjoyed every bit of it (one bit I could of done without).  I saw one friend do something amazing  and another almost skip through what I find hard, and yet this event has once more humbled me.  I will be back next year to help on a checkpoint and be part of this wonderful and life affirming event.  Plus I'm not really sure what else I would want to be doing on the last weekend of July.  

PS  I've recovered, I think, the quite frankly outrageous bruises have faded and in a way even although I didn't get that medal I did get an experience to add to the list.  I rather think I attract "experiences" somewhat.

I have plans in the making for more adventures. Can't wait.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Goodness, where has the time Gone.

Thought it was about time I brought this blog up to date, when I started to think about it, I at first thought that perhaps I didn't have much to put in it, but on reflection that's not really true.  Quite a lot has happened since the end of January.  One of the things about getting older is that the medical profession like to start screening for all sorts of things lol.  So in the last few months I've been boobed, bowel'ed, blood tested and undergone my last yearly smear, I get to go back on the 3 year list now yaay.  All tests wonderfully clear thank goodness.  However one thing I did have investigated was my lack of breath.  I've always had a problem with my lungs in the Winter, it was particularly bad early last year when I was floored completely with chest infections.  Back then I was recommended for a visit to the Asthma nurse which I didn't take up, but on coming back from holidays in November I just struggled on hills and even out gentle walks with my walking groups, so thought I'd maybe better go along.  Spirometry test showed a definite problem, was then packed off for an x.ray to rule bad things going on, thankfully the x.ray came back clear.  On discussion with nurse it was decided that I should have an inhaler to use before exercise.

So here's my round up of the year so far.

As mentioned in previous blog spent a day marshaling at the Grand Day out Cumbria.  We had great fun in the snow.
Our marshal spot at the Cockpit

Heading back down into Askham

  After driving home from here in a blizzard, I decided not to push my luck and withdrew from That's Lyth at the end of the month,the weather was horrendous and OH was not too happy about me going on my own and I didn't really want him to come and have to spend a day in Kendal in the rain and wind waiting for me.  So that was that for this year.  Kim would still like to do the route so this is something we can pencil in for later on and there's always next year.

Valentine Run - each year one of the members of our club organizes a brilliant day out of running and socializing at his house.  Called, Frank's Valentine's Run, it's a great day out of running, eating and laughing.  The weather this year was spectacular, warm and sunny in the open but with the bonus of the frost still lying in the shade.
Thank you to Stephen Mohan for the photo.

Then there was the club awards ceremony - ok it's not training but a great night of watching all the different people collecting their awards, then a bit of drinking and dancing yaay.

Getting on with my training in my own way.  Running club on Monday and when I can make it track on Thursday's. Since becoming "retired" I've dropped half of my monthly income (our monthly income i should say) so therefore some things have to take a back seat occasionally, I don't always have the petrol or the spare change etc., but the up side is I have time for lots and lots of walking and some trail and hills.  Doug, track coach organised a  "Devil Takes the Hindmost" competition, guess who was first to be taken lol. 

Lakeland Trails - Cartmel
One of the Lakeland Trails I hadn't done so basically just had to do it and what a great day out it was.  Another really warm and sunny day made it just perfect for running and seeing the wonderful views.  Met some clubmates before the start, both way faster than me though. 

In our club hoodies before the start.

Time for Spring in Lakeland, this is an LDWA walk I've wanted to do for a long time.  My friend Kim and I signed up ages ago, in fact I think we were about the first names on the list and I was really looking forward to it.  Marissa and Kona came down with me for a drive and to keep me company there and back. We had a fantastic journey down which because of the road closure we had to go up and over Kirkstone Pass.   Happy memories of my many journeys up and down marshaling at Lakes Sky Ultra last year.  We were nice and early and got a parking space but they soon filled up and poor Kim had to park about 2 miles away and walk in to the start.  Club mates Kim and Jo were also there and after the first few miles we all just stayed together.  I have to say this is the hardest walk I've ever done, it seemed to be un-relentingly up, there were downs but even they were hard lol.  The walk up through the waterfalls to Tarn Hows was spectacular and I'm going back to spend more time just savouring it.  We had, had to set off late and did have one or two navigation issues on the way so we did take quite a while.  The checkpoint guy at the last checkpoint asked if we wanted to quit.  Bossy boots here said hell no, quit 3 miles from the end, no way lol.  There is a possibility we were in the last few to finish., but finish we did, still within the time limit. There were an awful lot of runners on this event, but it's still a walk and the cut off reflects this thank goodness (in this case).  Oh and it was another stoater of a day as we say here in Scotland. Very warm and sunny yet again.  

Jo P with a very familiar back drop.  Looking back over the L50 route.

Added excitement on the drop into Coniston and a reminder to me how and why I really dislike this descent. One of the runners fell and hurt her leg was unable to weight bear and had to have the  services of this big bird.

Time for the first big one of the year - Keswick to Barrow Walk.  Kim has had so many good things to say about this walk that I couldn't resist getting myself signed up as part of walking team Jaffa Cakes and Jelly Babies.  This was the 50th anniversary of the walk so was a rather special day.  New for his year was a slightly different route.  The road closures and safety concerns resulted in one or two route changes, with the addition of a rather nasty (well nasty to people who only walk on road, see pic) very rough section from Elterwater into Tilberthwaite.  I saw so many places in the Lakes that were new to me on this walk.  I loved it, although blisters made the last 10 miles agony and I sort of didn't really appreciate that part scenery wise as I had my head down and my teeth gritted just to make it to the end.  Kim pulled out after Lowick and I was on my own, I missed her being there at the end to share it, but a IT band problem added to family commitments meant it wasn't to be.  Perhaps next year.  

So there we have it a slightly more productive few months that I originally thought.  I enjoy what I do and know that I am getting older, some days things hurt lol, my fingers, my knees, my elbows I don't push it on those days, but other days all is well with the world. I love watching the dots, and am inspired by what people are doing out there.  Women pushing the boundries, like Jasmine Paris and Nicky Spinks are so wonderful and seeing what my own club mates are achieving this year is fantastic..........and there is more to come.

PS  Tried out the inhaler for the first time at Keswick to Barrow.  Red Bank - what Red Bank.  Made quite a difference so onwards and upwards.

PPS what is it about this year that it seems to have rained nearly every day except those days I had events.  The sun has shone on every outing this year so far.