Introduction

The Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge route leaves Pooley Bridge to traverse 30 summits over a distance of 48 miles and climbs 17,000 feet (77km, 5182m).

The inaugural run from Pooley Bridge to Wasdale was made by Joss Naylor in 1990, at the age of 54; in very bad weather with heavy rain and a strong SW wind Joss completed the run to Greendale Bridge in 11 hours and 30 minutes.

Chris Brasher offered engraved pewter tankards to the first 20 runners to do so with the proviso that they raised at least £100 for a charity of their own choice. In January 1997, with 17 tankards already awarded, Chris extended his sponsorship. In 2001, with 33 tankards awarded, Joss secured on-going sponsorship for the tankards.

The challenge is offered to fell runners over the age of 50 to complete the run in set times according to their age group. The challenge is intended to be a "supported run" for individuals - each contender is to be accompanied on every leg for safety reasons and unaccompanied attempts will not be recognised. There is more information on the Challenge Details page below.

If you are interested, please have a look at the Challenge Details, download a schedule or contact me using the "Email Ian Charters" form below.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Susan Davis (W55) – 23 May 2015

 

 

Leg 1- ‘Cuckoos, Larks and Deer’ (Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass)

I’m off at 5.30am on a beautiful morning accompanied by four fell friends including Paul Hainsworth, a sub 12 hour ‘Joss’ man, and the sound of cuckoos calling. The pace was brisk due to a combination of nerves and excitement as I just could not wait to be on the fells. The morning and the weather were wonderful; bright sun and a cool but gentle breeze. We ran on with lark song ringing out over the fells, the heavy dew on the grass glistened and sparkled like diamonds and we could see for miles as the tops came and went with relative ease. A herd of deer scampered off High Street as we approached and it just felt great to be alive with my heart full of joy. I knew there would be tough times during the day ahead but I was ‘in the moment’ and feeling good. In what seemed like no time at all we were speeding down to Kirkstone Pass to be greeted by a large group of my support crew with beaming smiles, arriving 27 minutes up on schedule!

 

Leg 2 – ‘Buoyant Banter’ (Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise)

And so for leg 2, or day 2 as it was for me because, as part of my mental copping strategy, I was treating each leg as a new day! With five friends for company the sun was still bright and I don’t usually react very well to the heat so thankfully, the breeze was still cool. There are only four summits on this leg and three were ticked off without incident. Suddenly, as I started ascending Seat Sandal, cramp took hold of my right hamstring. I hit the deck clutching my leg and cursing as I am rarely troubled with cramp. Kevin Bray, my navigator, came to the rescue and, as I lay on my back, he stretched my leg and the cramp was soon gone. On reaching Dunmail unscathed, I was again greeted by my amazing and happy support team who were joined by Monica Shone and Mike Langrish as the JNLC ‘meet and greet’ representatives. I arrived 34 minutes ahead of schedule. I was pleased to be in the shade at this stop -provided by Mike Hughes holding an umbrella!

 

Leg 3 – ‘The Leg of Gentlemen’ (Dunmail Raise to Sty Head)

I had not enjoyed my recces of this section as it involves a stiff climb up Steel Fell and a long march to the next two summits. No time for negative thoughts though as this was ‘a new day’ and I was still feeling strong. A steady pace was set by my all male pacing crew led by John Telfer and I needed to keep the momentum going to the top of Steel Fell. My team told me I had done fine on the climb and so we pushed on to High Raise and Rossett Pike. On arrival at the latter I checked that I still had time on my side and stopped briefly to eat. I felt very humble as we started the ascent of Bowfell. From the start of the day I had been surrounded by so much love and affection I realised just how lucky I am to have such wonderful family and friends. After suffering a touch of nausea ascending Great End I soon recovered and got to Sty Head in one piece. I had a slightly smaller support team here but they were no less enthusiastic.

 

Leg 4 – ‘The Final Push’ (Styhead to Greendale Bridge)

For the final leg I was joined by my husband Geoff and Peter Moralee (both sub 15 hour ‘Joss’ men) plus four other pacers including Kevin on his third leg of the day and Paul Evans on his second! Geoff was probably more nervous than me on this leg as he knew just how much completing the challenge in less than 16 hours would mean to me. The weather was still fabulous with views to die for as we pushed ever onwards. However, the nausea returned while ascending Kirk Fell but Steph Scott assured me that I was going faster than I thought and so I plodded on. I asked for a time check at the top of Pillar and, still well ahead of schedule, I decided a short stop would do me some good. Feeling refreshed by this the next two tops, Scoat Fell and Steeple, went over quite easily. Things got harder on Haycock and on starting the ascent of Seatallan I hadn’t gone very far when I realised all was not well and that I was suffering from heat stroke. According to Kevin, even my freckles went white at this point! Recalling my late father’s words “slow but sure gets there in the end” was sufficient encouragement to see me onto Seatallan and over Middle Fell where my brother was a welcome sight. A brief pause to enjoy a fabulous view of Wastwater Screes was followed by a slowish plod to Greendale Bridge and a fantastic welcome from my supporters and Joss himself, who had left a sixtieth birthday party in order to offer me his congratulations, so it was a perfect end to a perfect day finishing in 15 hours 32 minutes.

Susan Davis (Northumberland Fell Runners / Elvet Striders)

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