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.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Eric Blakie (M60) – 08 August 2015

 

My Bob Graham was 15 years ago and since Foot and Mouth sidestepped me to Triathlon I haven’t really spent a lot of time on the fells apart from supporting other attempts at BG’s or Joss’s and the odd outing at the Langdale Horseshoe. Anyway it was on the bucket list and so we are at Pooley Bridge at 2.00 am on a 17.30 hr schedule for a 60 year old—actually 61 at the time. I must also mention that I had not seen some of our gang of pacers for some time and as I mentioned I was actually doing this for them----but it did feel very strange being the centre of attention !

So first leg-----wet wet wet underfoot but good weather and a reasonably clear night. Pacers Kevin Otto and Ian Smallwood.We missed the first peak Arthurs Pike by about 200m and had to back track. That cost us a few minutes which we never really got back plus in the dark I was trying to make sure no accidents as my knees have been playing up recently—walking poles helped tremendously in the mud ! Had to make a ‘nature stop’ on High Street costing another couple minutes but caught my pacers up by taking the shorter route up the wall.We met Richard Woodrow on Stoney Cove Pike who had backtracked from Kirkstone.Kirkstone arrived 11 mins down but no panic---took a shorter break.

Second leg with Graeme Dance and Ian Smallwood-- again. Kevin was in the plan for this but decided he may slow us up on the climbs. Fantastic views from the tops ---low mist/cloud to the west and clear to the east. Found it difficult to get the few minutes back on this leg as didn’t want to go too hard. I wasn’t looking forward to the decent off Fairfield but was surprised to find the zig zag down quite easy---the summer crowds had moved the loose scree aside. The decent off Seat Sandal is a bit taxing on sore knees but we came to Dunmail only 9 mins down to be met by all the team including my wife Dot duly ready with every need.

Third leg and no way back-----with Ruth Dance and Tim Malpass setting off 6 mins down.A good climb up Steel Fell got some time back but we had decided to go to High Raise via Sergeant Man rather than my usual route straight up Birks Gill which proved a mistake---it seems easier but is longer so we lost a few more minutes.Coming down from High Raise to Rossett Tim started to lag back and was clutching his thigh however waved us on---so we left him ! Well as a pacer you accept if you get injured you are on your own( not quite as we knew that we had support meeting us at Rossett who he would meet up with !).After Rossett we were met by my brother Clive who had come up from Langdale with Kevin’s son Jonathan—more importantly with the coffee. Quick coffee stop and up Bowfell keeping to the split time. We then made up time over Esk Pike and up to Great End then deciding not to do the Band but backtrack, cut the corner down a nice grassy slope and to the main path from Esk Hause. We were met by Ian and Pete on the path–and by virtually the whole gang again at Sty Head.

Last Leg---after a short break left on schedule. Kevin and Jonathan had decided to do leg 4 for their own amusement and had already set off finding their own routes with Pete.A good climb up Gable got some time back and we met up with Pete for Kirk Fell again gaining time. Richard made a brief appearance at Black Sail Pass to encourage us on but had obviously forgotten the coffee !!By Pillar we were 15 mins up but lost some of that when I had to put some tape on one of my toes.We met a Bob Graham attempt on Steeple and he was 40 mins down but tried to encourage him as from my experience many are 40 mins down at this point and you can make it up.

Kevin and Jonathan kept popping up but proceeded to take a horrible path off Haycock whereas Ian knew the ‘easy’ way off down the grass. They then headed straight for Greendale Bridge. Seatallan seems very foreboding and miles away from Haycock but we were soon over the bog and up the climb with one to go still 7 mins up. The last hill is always very welcome and we were met by quite a party—Richard still didn’t have the coffee but had a miniature whisky for me which was duly downed as photos were taken and down we set off. Then we were met by David Powell Thompson to take us down his route(Joss had been called away for some meeting) which was very nice especially as we had watched him on TV the week before in ‘A year in the life of a mountain(Scafell)’.So to Greendale Bridge and the finish---17 hrs and 27 minutes.

After various photos and a leg dip in Joss’s stream a couple of bottles of fizz ensued before we headed back to our accommodation near Keswick and a mad 2 hr celebration party. But what a day on the fells in clear weather and with a fantastic bunch of pacers and supporters—very difficult to put into words but an experience I shall always remember –thanks guys ! Oh and as for the continuous micky taking and insults—well it keeps you going and your mind off the pain—certainly it was pay back for many !!!!!

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