Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Spire Ultra

This weekend my training for the 110km Lakeland Trail race culminated in what will be the most intense part of training. This was a 36 mile run on the first day and followed on the next day with a 21 miler. It was potentially a problem because this weekend I was supposed to do a 20 mile run on each day the 36+21 mile weekend was supposed to be next week. My body has adapted to the intense mileage but I've experienced over use issues with my Illio tibial band this has responded to reduced mileage, rollering and exercises. It was a risk to do the 36/21 mile session this weekend.

The previous weekend I'd run the spire ultra this was a wonderful race organised by members of the North Derbyshire running club, Jamie and Claire Glaizebrook.

The map above shows the route around Chesterfield the route recces were enjoyable social runs I really should have paid attention to the route. Although it's well signed the recce was very helpful and I picked up some great tips from everyone. The route  has opened up many opportunities for new running routes. Full details are provided in the links below.

Race day was great the week had been rather hot and I must say that the idea of a 6 hour run with high levels of heat filled me with some concern. We were fortunate the day started cool and rain was forecast. It was pleasant to run under the trees in the cooling rain. The remainder of the run was bright, sunny and hot a fab day with excellent support from NDRC club members marshalling along the route. I completed the 34 mile route in 6 hours 34 minutes.

The 36 mile route I attempted the following weekend was very satisfying I ran the route of the Grindelford gallop and extended it by running along Stanage edge and up to High Neb. I ran back via Bamford and ran along the path running alongside the river Derwent to Grindelford. The route is shown below.

 Getting out the following day was difficult but I managed it. It was OK once I got going. I completed one of the most challenging weeks of my training plan. Now to taper the effort and prepare for the actual race!



Monday, May 1, 2017

Bank Holiday Hunt for the Dovedale Ninja

The grumpy old sat-nav refused to operate this morning, as we headed out of Milldale navigation skills had to be used. Rather than drop into Hall dale we headed across the fields skirting around the village of Stanshope and going towards  Ilam.

Ilam Rock
Dovedale has so many wonderful limestone features Ilam Rock, Tissington spires, the apostles, Reynards cave and more [1]. It's hard to think that this was part of a tropical ocean, until you study the fossils of shells embedded in the limestone.

We had car trouble today and had to drop Amanda at work at ridiculous oclock. Today an early start did not seem so beneficial as there was a lot of rain and the skies were dark. Undeterred we made our way from Nottingham to the picturesque Dovedale village of Milldale.

Our route started with a walk across the fields towards and Stanshope, we headed towards Ilam walking along Ilam moor Lane. We contoured around the side of Bunster hill before heading down to the Izaak Walton hotel and the start of Dovedale. Our walk took us along Dovedale and returning us to Milldale.

A GPX with our route is available below, a link to an interactive map from open street map is also provided (users might need to have an account on open street map).

gpx file

Interactive Map

I'm a strong supporter of the open philosophy and this now includes OpenMapping. The interactive map with OpenStreetMap has a great number of features including a variety of mapping standards (OS, Bartholomew, satellite imagery), editing tools and sharing of mapping. Maps showing the outline of our map our featured below.

Looking Towards Ilam from the Side of Bunster Hill

As we walked across the fields, the weather had eased off, in their state of excitement it's possible that Keisha and Louis figured out where they were on the map and were able to recognise some of the valley features from the contour shapes.On our rainy walk along Ilam moor lane we spotted the big flat stone tables used to stand milk churns ready for collection.

By the time we had arrived at Dovedale, it had brightened up quite nicely lots of people were also now turning up at the main car park. We had a quick lunch stop.

Dovedale Stepping Stones

The Twelve Apostles

We wandered along the dale coming across the stepping stones and the rock features known as the twelve apostles. A walk up the steps to lovers leap provided a good view.

Reynards Cave

Passing the Tissington spires we arrived at Reynards cave, we climbed to the cave on the eastern side of the gorge. After a scramble around on the rocks (the squigly bit on the GPX trace) we discovered the deadly Dovedale ninja.
Ilam Rock


Glitter-ball queen and neon Diamond on the Viators bridge at Milldale
We finally arrived at the Viators bridge in Milldale, originally this pack horse bridge would not have sides so that wide loaded pack horses could pass with ease.  This seven mile route is wonderful and highly recommended  the delights of Dovedale  are always a joy to view and explore. Clearly 7  miles is not far enough my two youngsters are full of beans!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

cam crag


  • We got dropped of at Stonethwaite  and followed a path through Langstrath valley to a path that lead out the valley onto cam crag. We stopped at some boulders and looked for a secret cave witch was also a bothy. We kept on walking to cam crag when we finally got their and got geared up.We started moving together and scrambling up the route when we finally finished the scramble and walked down back to the valley.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter in a lake District Hobbit Hole

Easter had arrived and it was time for a few days in  the lake district. After an excellent one night stay last year we returned to the  Quiet site at Watermillock by Ullswater.
The quiet site have increased the number of hobbit holes available with  a sleeping area for 5, a toilet, electrical power, and sink these provide a very comfortable camping experience. My position was in the covered porch which is the cooking and eating area.
The weather for our first day was forecast to be very good on a suggestion from a climbing instructor at Awesome walls in Sheffield we decided to try Cam Crag ridge a Bentley Beetham route in the Langstrath valley, Borrowdale.

We were dropped off at the village of Stonethwaite on a beautiful bright morning, we made our way along the Cumbria way as far as Blackmoss pot.

Black moss pot is a well known spot for wild swimming the water rushes down the narrow ravine, the pictures above illustrate the deep pool. People love to jump in and swim particularly after long hot days of fell walking.

From here we headed up to Cam crag, I checked the scrambling guide which indicated I had already done the route with Gordon in 2001. On our way we searched the area for the bothy in the cave, Keisha and Louis were thrilled when they located it.

The rock was in excellent condition and there are many lines to scramble on, its quite easy to escape any difficulties. This was an excellent opportunity to enjoy a fabulous scramble and to practice some ropework, moving together Alpine style (see references at the end). However, there is no substitute for practice and experience. Keisha and Louis moved together with great skill and practiced making natural belays using slings and boulders. On harder sections both Keisha and Louis followed the safe practices for attaching to the belay and proceeding to climb.

We had spent quite a lot of time exploring and scrambling we had to head straight back for out lift from Rosthwaite.

Back at the hobbit hole despite having had an energetic day there was much high jinx!

The following day was cooler and not as bright a good day to recce a section of the lakeland 110km Ultra trail challenge.  Whilst I was running from Ambleside to Askham everyone visited the Lowther castle near Askham. As well as playing in the grounds they tried the easter egg hunt, this involved a lot of running around and clue solving for Keisha.

Is was womderful running from Ambleside through to Troutbeck, Kentmere and over the steep Gatesgarth pass to Mardale head. Beautiful lakeland villages and exciting fells. I plodded steadily along topping my energy levels using tailwind. The weather was much brighter as I ran along the shore of the Haweswater reservoir much flatter here and I easily made my way to the village of Askham although its flatter you miss the ups and downs of the fells, did I really write that!

We had an excellent week of running, walking and eating good food. A favourite walk was up Little Mel fell, not far from the campsite. After packing up on our final morning we walked from the quiet site to the Aira force waterfall. After accepting that it wasn't bad refusing a lift from the car we enjoyed our walk along the Ullswater Way, counting slugs as we went along. We were all thrilled by the high point of the route (shown below). We finally arrived at Aira force after 86 slugs!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

110km Lakeland Trail Challenge: University of Sheffield Scanner Appeal

I have been training for a few month now to do the lakeland 110km Ultra trail challenge. I've been wondering what madness encouraged me to do this! A bunch of mates that love the hills and another that are passionate about fell running I guess the mixture leads to this rather unfortunate consequence. Hopefully all is not as it seems.

It turns out that this race takes place on the same day as The University of Sheffield's Big Walk Appeal raising money for an MRI-PET scanner, further details are on my fundraising page.

In order to complete this 110km trail run with 14000feet of climbing  I've been doing a lot of distance averaging around 60miles per week with upto 5000 feet of climbing. The missing element however is the lack of training on the lakeland fells.

Training usually consists of an easy....ish midweek with two long distance runs  at the weekend typically 20 miles one day and 15miles the next.  Continuing with this pattern I headed to Wasdale in the lake district for two days of quality lakeland hill training.

I stayed at Wasdale Hall youth hostel unfortunately my training buddy couldn't make it because of an ankle injury...  just as well he's too fast for me! Seriously the thought of an arduous couple of days solo in the fells raised many concerns. Fortunately the weather outlook was fantastic I decided to stick to the original plans.

I set off from the National trust car park at the end of Wast Water on a most glorious morning. A steady jog along the Moses trod path to Sty Head tarn and I dropped down to Seatoller. After around 10 miles I arrived at the start of my day heading out from Rosthwaite up Greenup Gill. The day comprised the following series of hills High Raise, Sergeant Man, Thunacar Knott, Harrison Stickle, Pike o Stickle, Rossett Pike, Bow Fell, Esk Pike, Great End, Ill Crag, Broad crag, Scafell Pike, Scafell and back down to Wasdale.

The route was magical the most exciting parts were the scramble up Bowfell this an almost direct from the connecting ridge of Rossett pike. The scramble up Bowfell was so exciting, the evening before a checked the map and a couple of Wainwright's suggesting that my proposed route was not a good idea. However, in my travels a fellow walker provided me with some clues about the correct line to follow. Except when scrambling and on really steep bits I managed a steady jog until broad crag at which point I felt quite depleated of energy, dizzy and dehydrated! Dropping down from scafell pike to Mickledore I descended to Foxes tarn to start a safe ascent of Scafell (i.e. avoiding Broadstand). I staggered up Scafell no energy left. Tge route finding was quite easy. As the pace demonstrates I really am not up to this 110km lakeland challenge... it will certainly be interesting. I've probably exagerated here with the mention of exaustion on Scafell I walked up at quite a respectable pace and sure on the way down I was no iconic fell runner like Joss Naylor once again I made way down fairly easily  over steep loose areas of scree a pair of walkings would have been handy!

The second day seemed quite daunting with a start from the same place and heading directly up the steep side of Yewbarrow.

I had to start early because I needed to be back home at a sensible time the weather looked as though it was about to change. I'd eaten quite well the evening before so actually felt quite good I headed up the side of Yewbarrow trying to move as briskly as possble and made quite quick progress. Clearly the ease with which made this demonstrating that the day before I just didn't try hard enough... I have little spirit, drive and energy. It was much colder today and I jogged steadily along the ridge there was some fantastic scrambling down before beginning the ascent to red pike. With a pull up to Scoat fell the clouds gathered and the wind gained in strength. Another scramble along to the summit of Steeple added yet more entertainment. From here I continued to Pillar. I was a bit unsure about the route up the steep side of Kirkfell I decided on energy conservation and chatted my way up with a gentleman from Wigan a very fit 73 year old who told me about various adventures. From Kirkfell Great Gable looks simply marvellous it's a favourite mountain of mine and today it lived up to all expectations. I descended via the Aaron slack path to Moses trod and returned at a steady jog to Wasdale. 20 beautiful hills and almost 40 miles in two days I guess that's sticking to the training plan. If I recover from this then it'll have been successful (training wise) it's certainly successful from my tour, I feel blessed to be able to get out to explore these most marvelous mountains.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

another new blog


Be sure to checkout my new blog

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A New Blog!!!


First things first a new blog...... 

     I am going to start a new blog (but still keep this one) with baking, crafts and many more. I am            going to use this to do a blog in my spare time as someting extra to do. Though someone is always having an adventure.💙💙💙💙

     I want to use this as a kind of memory book so i don't forget recipes i make up or even DIYs that        might come in handy. I want use be able to go back to memories that I have forgotten and                    remember them clearly again as if it happened yesterday. 💙💙💙💙

     This is also going to be a way for me to be inspired by websites, books , videos etc. and to share it      with others. I want it to be a blog that people can come to every week to be happy, and inspired          and a place to put my ideas on like a notebook.❖❖❖❖

      I hope you will enjoy my new blog and will have ideas and learn new things from it. 😃😃😃😃

My new blog is called Glitter Ball here is a link

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Grindelford Gallop

Last weekend the Hope fell race was a messy one! Checkout the facebook video
Lovely weather by accelerate

Undeterred by the weather my intrepid explorers ventured out to Great Longstone. Starting from the Crispin pub we wandered up onto Longstone moor into the snow. This was a useful recce of part of the Grindelford gallop route.

The following weekend was the actual Grindelford Gallop race this is a 21 mile route heading out of Grindelford along the Derwent valley then on upto Eyam, Foolow and Longstone moor. After Great Longstone the route proceeds along the Monsal Trail to Bakewell railway station. Then up through the golf course to the Chatsworth. After Edensor the route passes in front of Chatsworth House and goes to Baslow. The final climb of the day takes the traveller onto Baslow, Curbar and Froggatt edge then a fast finish back through the Haywood  to Grindelford. The route is shown below. 

The start of the race was exciting it's referred to as The Scrum.
I followed someone from the Killamarsh kestrels proceeding at a convincing pace. However on the downhill stretches I didn't holdback. I paid for this on the final run from Baslow to Curbar edge. In training I'd manage to run this but I had lost it! I was plodding uncomfortably along the edges.

Crossing the Haywood stream was as usual entertaining the other week, when out running with Louis, I splashed some walkers how embarrasing! Today with a photographer  I made another splash wobbling across and almost falling over!

The final stretch through the Haywood was fab, I'd held a little back to enjoy this bit! It helped having someone on my tail I managed to catch a couple of people. This was a fab race and it's not surprising that all the places are taken within 10 minutes of entries opening.

It's always great to have support of my family and buddies from the North derbyshire running club.  One of the good things about the race is the food a bowl of delicious soup, bread and a mug of tea provided a brilliant end to the race.

The race results are here.
The grindelford gallop site

This race is a fab way of raising funds for the Grindelford primary school.

My next race is the spire ultra on the 27th may.
This is a stepping stone to a 66 mile ultra in the lakes..., perhaps this time I'm trying to bite off too much,   mmmm  dubious, training is underway, watch this space.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lathkill with the Tiggers

I'm frequently asked about the length of a walk, most of the time I guess, occasionally I attempt a fairly accurate measurement. For reference the length of this walk was determined using my Garmin watch and came out to be 4.2 miles. That's the distance along Lathkill dale going from Conksbury bidge to the gate at the top of the dale near the village of Monyash.

Before Amanda dropped us off at Conksbury bridge, she reminded us of an excellent new years eve walk with Sally and Simon's family ( New Years Eve at Lathkill Dale).

 Louis dabbing in front a a fallen victim of storm Doris! I try to dab but I just get dirty looks!

It was good to wander around the remains of the Bateman's house here we went through a gate and  descended  some iron steps to the entrance of a 12m lead mine shaft. This was safely fenced off and nearby there was a winder which when turned illuminated the shaft, it was very pretty.

There was a lot of water and the cave, from which the river starts was gushing, it would have been perilous to explore here today.

As we neared the top of the dale we recalled old gruesome tales!

Happy in't Mud!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Soggy and Boggy Litton Walk

We met the Castle Mountaineering Club at Litton, Hugh greeted my children with the words kids "do you want to call child line"? This is typical Hugh humour. Today was not a particularly pleasant day for a walk  as the remainder of the dusting of snow was being washed away by steady rain.

Andrew and Ali planned an excellent route. The route took us out of Litton along church lane to Tideswell. From slancote lane we walked along to Monks dale and followed the limestone way towards Wormhill. From here we dropped down into Millers dale there was a lot of water and the main path was under water.

Conveniently, at Millers Dale railway station the rain eased and we sat on the benches to eat our sandwiches and the last of the Christmas cake. Hot ribena restored some warmth to us.

We continued along the Monsal trail until Litton mill where we joined the path to Tideswell dale. There was much entertainment trees decorated with baubles and a cave explored a little way by Hugh and myself. Thanks to a head torch from Louis, Hugh and myself ventured along. Further along the trail some signs had been altered both Keisha and Louis find this highly amusing and were giggling their way along the path.

A fungus decorated tree along Tideswell dale. Returning to Litton Keisha and Louis were still laughing about the sign. My attempts to calm them failed. Hugh, kindly intervened and picked Louis up and deposited headfirst him into a puddle, well almost. We were all laughing. Despite the weather we had a wonderful day.  It was good to meet up with friends from the CMC again and to meet new friends.