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.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Bill Williamson (M50) - 23 July 2017


I was under no illusion the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge time allowance of 12 hours for a V50 would be easy. I had used the 10 Peaks race a month earlier as a test, it has similar ascent to the JNLC but is around three miles longer, it took over 14 hours so there was no doubt this was race pace for me. I thought running with support would make up some of the difference and I did lose time on the 10 Peaks because I ran out of water?
The JNLC time for V50 is the equivalent of running a sub 6 hour Wasdale fell race twice and last year I did Wasdale in 6:05. Think positive!

Pooley Bridge



Leg 1 – Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass

At 7:00am on a glorious sunny morning I set off from Pooley Bridge with Paul Johnson providing support. The low cloud forecast had not materialised so I could relax and enjoy the run up to Arthur’s Pike. I had told Paul I thought the schedule was too fast and would be walking a lot of the climb so I was very surprised to hit the summit bang on time!
Stuart Stoddart was waiting on the top and joined us providing some local knowledge and entertainment when he tried to nose dive into one of the many bogs. It was heavy going until High Raise due to the amount of rain the previous week but we kept pretty much to the schedule.
We said goodbye to Stuart at Rampsgill Head and within 30 seconds I took a nose dive myself, no damage done but a warning I needed to concentrate.
By now the day was heating up and on the climb up to Stoney Cove Pike I was starting to feel it. I don’t appreciate running in hot weather especially as at the pace we were moving is was getting difficult to drink enough water. Paul had been doing a fantastic job providing food and drink when I needed it but my body was having difficulty taking it in. On the final descent Paul still had the energy to race off and warn my road support I was on my way.

Arriving at Kirkstone Pass


Leg 2 – Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise

More Liquid!


A big grin for my daughter Rebecca taking photos at Kirkstone a quick guzzle of juice and water then I pour half of it over my wife handing the bottle back.
Sorry!”
Great to see one of the official JNLC helpers turn out to see me at Kirkstone, it is a lovely tradition that I was not expecting. Only five minutes down on schedule here but I don’t stop and get the time back.
Paul Jennings is supporting this leg and I immediately tell him I am taking the climb easy as I need to eat and hydrate before pushing again.The descent off Red Screes becomes very wet approaching Scandale Pass and some of the shortcuts I take don’t seem worth it as I sink deep into bogs forcing me to walk.
It feels very hot on the climb around Dove Crag and I’m constantly drinking, I thought I had given Paul too much water to carry at the start of the leg but on Hart Crag I finish the last of my water. The views are spectacular running towards Fairfield, the bright greens of the Eastern Fells especially looked magnificent, what a day to be on the fells! We run straight past the summit to a cairn further north, I blame the fact that I’m normally here in the dark or in clag or both! This resulted in a great descent line on grass to join the main path so may have been worth it.
The final descent to the road through the bracken from Seat Sandal was one mudslide, not sure how I kept on my feet. We arrived thirsty but confident 10 minutes behind schedule at Dunmail.


Arriving at Dunmail Pass



Leg 3 – Dunmail to Styhead Pass

Wynn and Steve Cliff were at Dunmail supporting and it was a real boost to see them both, this was why I was doing this challenge. I drank as much liquid as my stomach could hold then set off up Steel Fell eating a bacon sarnie with Carwyn Phillips and Andy Beaty on support duty.
The climb seemed to take ages and once on the top I struggled to run some of the flatter sections then managed to find the deepest of the bogs going in up to my thigh as Andy floated across like Legolas. All this was very heavy going and I could feel time draining away.
On the tussocky climb up to High Raise it was getting increasingly hard to eat as my mouth was dry no matter how much water I was drinking, luckily Carwyn had some jelly babies which I managed to get down or the time deficit may have become too much.
Every time we passed a stream I would have a hat of water poured over me and soaked my bandana to try and cool down. I was feeling queasy and lightheaded on the climb to Bowfell, at the summit, after finding that I’d lost over 30 mins since leaving Dunmail I new things would have to change.
On the climb to Esk Pike I started taking a small bite from a bar then wash it down with water as if taking tablets, doing this I managed to eat a full bar before the summit! I used the same tactic on the climb to Great End. I was still losing time but I was now getting calories in before the final leg.
More importantly I could see cloud creeping in from the west, soon that sun would be hidden. I now started to perk up as I was also approaching home ground and descended Great End in the scheduled time.

Leg 4 – Styhead to Greendale Bridge

It was lovely to see Kate Beaty here who had come out to Styhead to see how I was getting on, again it’s a little boost to know people are cheering you on when attempting challenges like this.
A quick look at the watch confirmed I was 42 minutes behind the schedule so it would require a 3:35 last leg, 20 minutes faster than 12 hour pace to finish in time. The temperature had dropped by about 10 degrees, the wind had picked up, thick cloud was shrouding the tops and all I could think of was yes let's do it!
Phil Archer and Peter Mcavoy were my support for the final leg. No mention was made of the time but the atmosphere was serious and I could tell they were keen to be off. I had told them I was going to run straight through but I knew I needed to get more food and water in so took four minutes to wash down another bar before setting off.

A steady ascent of Gable followed taking in plenty of water and a gel halfway up, we quickly gained on a walker but could never quite catch him. At the summit he gleefully explained he was not going to let us overtake!

Gained 4 minutes”

I could see Phil stopping to take a bearing off the misty summit but these are the fells I’ve spent most of my life running over so I ran straight him past down my prefered route, the rocks were extremely slippy but I was starting to feel in my element now and made it down to Beck Head in 10 minutes.
Another gel on the ascent of Kirk Fell then the rain gets heavier so my waterproof top goes on and I shelter behind Peter due to the strong gusts of wind.

Gained another 9 minutes”

Food and drink appear within seconds of requesting it all I’ve got to do is run, this is great fun! I shout follow me after the summit and snake through the scree and crags to the top of Red Gully. This is a section I was worried about as my legs are starting to cramp and any big stretch down could set it off, I take it slowly and manage to make it down without incident.

It’s a long drag up to Pillar and I still need to gain time so run a lot of the uphills and power walk the steep sections.

5 minutes gained”

I run off Pillar into the clag navigating from feature to feature to drop quickly down to wind gap and skip along the Black Crag traverse. The oil slick rocks of Scoat are slowly crossed and likewise the out and back to Steeple before striding out into the wind and rain on the grassy descent before Haycock.
Sheltered slightly from the weather I take it easy on the climb and take in more food and water, at the summit I start running towards the descent gully then...

ARGH!”

I caught a rock with my foot and now I’m sprawled on the ground near the summit of Haycock with blood pouring from my hand and my left calf going into painful spasms of cramp.
A quick stretch and the cramp eases but it’s a very tentative descent down the steep slopes before confidence comes back and I pick up the pace again.
Just before the climb to Seatallan Phil goes by at a sprint, no way can I move at that pace, he’s got the last gel so is this some sort of ploy where I have to catch him if I want it!
He stops after the climb starts but I run straight by and keep going until the slope gets too steep and I have to walk, he soon catches up with me.

What time is it”

I have not looked at my watch as I’m going as fast as I can, I’m not sure I want to know.

It’s six o’clock”

The schedule is 45 mins from Seatallan”

I’m not sure how long until the summit so keep pushing, at 18:15 we reach it but the clag is down and this can be a tricky top to find the way off. Phil has his compass out and runs off on a bearing, for the first time I follow glad of the help as this is a summit I rarely visit. I soon see tracks that look familiar further north and follow these keeping Phil in sight to judge my direction. I drop down steeply beside a scree run within 30 seconds the clag parts to reveal Middle Fell ahead and for the first time on this leg I relax.
I run a lot of the climb up Middle Fell for fun and then slowly jog down from the summit remembering the times I have ran this descent with friends on their challenges to finish at Greendale Bridge in 11:54.

A handshake and good crack with Joss on the bridge then a wash in the beck before reminiscing with Steve and Wynn for a few hours on present and past adventures.

Final Yards!

Shaking The Shepherd's Hand

Happy Days!






Saturday, 24 March 2018

Simon Rippon (M50) - 08 July 2017



I spent most of the week leading up to the ‘Joss’ looking and relooking at the weather forecasts on various websites trying to convince myself that all would be well on the one variable that is impossible to manage. By the Tuesday it was a 50/50 call as to whether the high or low pressure front would move over Cumbria – I’d decided that I wouldn’t ask my support to travel if the conditions were going to be very unsettled as this would impede my chances of completion. Late Wednesday all was good on the forecasts and I got an email out to my supporters to say I was good to go.

Jude Stansfield (my partner and Glossopdale runner) and I drove up from Holmfirth on Friday and we met my brother Tim (Dark Peak) and Lins Palmer (Glossopdale) at Pooley Bridge and we camped on a very busy site (not to be repeated!) on what was a lovely sunny evening. I sorted my hill kit and went through the list of things to do at road stops and gave this to Jude. We then had a walk into the village and called at the pub – for a pre-dinner ginger beer and chips!

Up early on Saturday morning to blue skies, sunshine and a cool breeze, this gave me confidence, as I knew we’d be in for a good hill day. After cups of tea, muesli and fruit, Tim, Jude and I walked down the lane and across the fields to the bridge. I had a few minutes by myself to get my thoughts together and give myself a pep’ talk and off we went at 7.00am.

Leg 1: Support – Tim Rippon (Dark Peak)

I’d been told many times that the pace on leg 1 was ‘relentless’, ‘bloody fast’ and ‘you needed to hold on’ but undeterred I cracked on through the caravan park and up onto the open fell. I know when fit my pace is strong but wasn't sure what I’d be like at Kirkstone on a 2:42 schedule for this leg with more to follow. Regardless, I ticked off the tops and felt strong, positive and relaxed although Tim told me I wasn’t to be too hasty and needed to come off the pace a little; checking my times I was fine. All well. Time passed quickly as the views unfolded along the Roman ridge and soon to Kidsty Pike and onward to Thornthwaite where I opted to stay well right of the usual path running on grassy slopes to the bottom – there’d be time aplenty for rocky paths! Tim kept me well watered and I nibbled on flapjack. As we climbed up through Stoney Cove I backed off the pace and took in the views out to Leg 2 and beyond and perhaps this was why I missed my line onto Pike How – Tim shouted me back and I had to retrace my line to top the summit, that cost me too much time and saw me slightly off my arrival time into Kirkstone. I wasn’t worried about being ‘down on schedule’ at this point – there was plenty to do yet! I had a quick stop, didn’t feel I needed anything apart from a cup of tea, some water and fruit cake. I was ready for the climb up to Red Screes where I was to meet Ian Charlesworth (Penistone Footpath Runners) who was tasked with support down to Dunmail.

Leg 2 Support Lins Palmer (Glossopdale) Ian Charlesworth (Penistone Footpath Runners)

Lins and I chatted about all sorts as we paced up the well worn path topping out just before the trig where Ian was waiting; a quick hand shake and I thanked him for turning out for me and we were off. We took my preferred trod and began to pick our descent down toward Scandale. The time went well, we admired the open views and commented on the cool breeze as we went. I’d seen a good line when watching the Ian Hodgson Relays last year where Dark Peak men’s team had sliced off the corner of the climb and having recce’d it took that and was pleased that we topped up with ground saved. Heading to Hart Crag we met Steve Sanders (Penistone Footpath Runners) who’d come over via Dunmail, he ran with us a while but said he found the pace a bit too hectic and we met him again later. Good lines made for good running out to Fairfield. I wasn’t watching the clock and for some reason lost a few minutes to Seat Sandal – maybe a bit too much social chit chat going on! I felt relaxed heading off the steep grassy line from Seat Sandal and could see Jude and others waiting at the stile. I was down on schedule by around 15 minutes a culmination of Leg 1 error and too much social on Leg 2 maybe. It was good to chat with Willy Kitchen (Dark Peak) as I gathered fresh gear, sun cream and food to go.

Leg 3 Support Mike Bourne and Sarah Broadhurst (Dark Peak)

As with the BG, looking up the climb to Steel Fell is always daunting and I knew that this leg was to be the big challenge – heading into Borrowdale where the climbs come more often, the terrain is a challenge and physically tiring. I was ready for this.

We top out on Steel Fell, Mike was joking and making banter and it felt a good distraction. I reminded myself of the lines out to High Raise opting to run out toward Greenup Edge and not taking the usual BG lines. It made for better running although the rain earlier in the week made the ground very boggy in places, which was strength sapping. Hitting the top edge path we ran an angle to the trig and we were greeted by “well done” “good running” from walkers basking in the sun. The line down was great toward Rossett, I really opened my stride and felt confident in my running and energy level – then I hit a wet grassy shoot and ended up on my back flying down hill, in snowy conditions it would’ve warranted an ice axe arrest technique! I was wet through and Mike was laughing, Sarah was more supportive asking if I was OK!

As we reached Langdale Coombe I said I wanted to take a lower line off the Rossett Edge area then do a short climb up to the Pike. As we made our way I was sure I’d made a wrong choice as it seemed convoluted; as we contoured Rossett Pike came into view and we went to the cairn, job done and now for Bow Fell.

Sarah did a great job leading the lines round and up the rake, which is heavily cairned these days. There wasn’t much chat just the occasional joke about the hell that is climbing fells when tired, Sarah offered Mike and I a lemon sherbet (if we were good!!) and joked that we had to keep it whole in our mouth for as long as possible - a good fell running game.

Bow Fell was busy, Sarah and I didn’t hang about and made our way out to Esk Pike chatting about France, sunshine, living simply and outdoor swimming – passing the time and perhaps distracting me from the miles to go. We met Mike at Esk Pike, he decided he’d see us at Sty Head and trotted off as Sarah and I jogged up toward the climb to Great End. We cheered on the Wasdale race folk as they came by.

At this stage I knew I was heading for my rubicon, Styhead and then Great Gable. I’d said to myself many times leading up to the run ‘if I can get to the stretcher box in good nick there’s all to play for’. I was in good nick, focused, had energy and enjoying the hills and the company.

Leg 4

Willy Kitchen (Dark Peak) was at Sty Head where I grabbed some food and said thanks and good bye to Mike. Sarah and I strode on to the flagged path of Gable. Willy followed but said he couldn’t manage the pace (fair play given he’d just supported a BG long night leg) and soon left us to make his way back to Wasdale.

Gable done and now I was really fired up as Sarah had mentioned that Tim was to be at Blacksail Pass for me. Right, let’s crack on. Eat, drink and trot was my mantra. Sarah was easy company, chatting, offering me bits to eat and encouraging me on. Kirkfell came and we made the red gully line perfectly and looking ahead I could see the remaining hills to come. We hit Blacksail and there was Tim with Jude and our Bedlington Terrior - Milo - terrific. After a brief greeting we were off, Sarah dropped down with Jude and I thanked them both. Job well done Sarah.

The trot out to Pillar felt a bloody age. Tim was pushing me, “come on Bro’ I don’t want any backing off now….I need a bit more from you”. Schedule wise I had clawed back most of my lost time and as we hit the next few tops I was correcting my losses. Tim was thankfully giving me no choices food wise – “get this gel down you”, “eat this sandwich…” as we marched up toward Scoat Fell and Steeple. I knew I could finish this job but had lost sight of where I was schedule wise, all I could see was the real time on my watch; I said to Tim “Bro, I need to know the total times for topping out the last 3 hills…” he told me, I checked my watch, right it’s looking good.

The line out to Haycock looked to go on forever, more gels and a fast run down the grassy reaches then fast paced walk to the summit. I’d run with Nicky Spinks here on her Joss and knew the grass ramp line to the far left away from the boulders. We hit it well and were then heading across some wet ground to climb the last big top – the nemesis that is Seatallon. Late afternoon sun, tired legs, a determined mind and we hit the trig and switched back to the trod to descend to the valley bottom and the gentle slopes of Middle Fell. Almost home. Tim was running ahead and shouting me to “give him some more…..” running along the top of Middle Fell to the far cairn I did slow to savour the day for a moment. I knew apart from a bad mishap I’d be at Greendale in no time. Tim and I stopped at the cairn, he recorded the time, I put my arm over his shoulder to thank him for all he’d done and for sharing the day. “Right, lets get off…” he said and away we went on the twisting descent. I could see the bracken had become waist high so any quick lines were limited but I did manage to find a cut through and passed Tim. We headed to the flat grassy ramps along the beck and Tim was out in front. I could hear clapping and cheering and words of encouragement and saw my support on the bridge. It suddenly dawned on me that Tim would be there first so I thought hang on! I accelerated and was past him and turned onto the lane to touch the stone of the bridge warmed by the day's sun. I completed in 11:40 bang on schedule.

Joss was there smiling and my days support too, it was a terrific moment which I savoured. I thanked Joss for putting the route and challenge down, we both agreed it was a bloody good day on the hill and tougher as it went on.

I need to thank all those that turned out to help me, a big thanks to Jude for her support during the months of training and recce’ing and being at the road side too. My hill support was sparse but it was the right people on the day – people I trust on the hill, who respect these kind of endeavours and are bloody good company!

Simon Rippon.
(Dark Peak Fell Runners).


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Kevin Bray (M55) - 17 June 2017



I guess that if you are reading this you already know about the JNC in terms of its history, ethos, route and schedules.
I had helped a good friend, Susan Davis on her successful journey back in 2015 I had really enjoyed completing three legs of the route on that day.
After a 2016 where I lost some people from my life whom I had loved and valued it gave me the spur to raise some money for three charities, Cancer Research UK, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team.
The JNC seemed the perfect challenge to take on.
I am a long way from being any kind of ‘elite’ fell runner but I never turn down an opportunity to get out on the hills and part of this whole experience has been the enjoyment of doing the training and the reccy’s over this absolutely brilliant route! Some memorable days in all sorts of weather with great company learning the way, exploring options, finding new lines and just taking it all in!
I have been truly humbled by the support I’ve had for my attempt both in terms of sponsorship (I’ve raised over £3,000, more than I ever imagined) and on the hill and at the roadside on the big day.
There is quite a group of North East based fell runners interested in this type of challenge and I had was fortunate to have some ‘old’ (literally!) hands with me as well as some youngster’s!
The weather on the day was beautiful when I set off at 07.00, though it was going to get very hot later in the day especially when I got to Dunmail where it was absolutely baking at 12.24! Until then I had trundled along Leg 1 & 2 gaining time on my 14.40 schedule but I started to feel the heat on the ‘1,000’’ staircase to Steel Fell. The journey across to High Raise turned into a slog because I really was dehydrated and my two pacers Paul Appleby and Nick Spencer kept me going. At one point I said to Nick ‘it’s not going to happen today’ but you know what – it did. I thought about the sponsorship and all the people who had turned out for me and that was the motivator that kept me going.
When Paul told me we had only lost 9 minutes getting to High Raise it was such a boost! I was expecting him to say 20 – reverse psychology I guess!
Anyway that was the bad patch over. The heat was tempered by a good breeze and I picked up and started to pull back time on that fantastic section of the route between Rossett Pike and Styhead. We got the descent from Great End to Styhead absolutely spot on and at Styhead my team had brought up plenty of food and drink for refuelling.

Climbing Great Gable (Allon Welsh)

We departed there at 16.52, 20 minutes up on schedule and ticked off the remaining tops on an absolutely beautiful evening. The views across to the Scafells in the warm evening light were stunning.
I reached Greendale at 21.25, 35 minutes inside my 15 hour target and the icing on the cake was to shake ‘The Shepherds Hand’! Joss was there and what a top man he is – genuinely interested in how the journey had gone. He and Mary chatting away with all of us – we must have been there for half an hour, despite the midgies! Some great pictures and Sandra saying to the man ‘I can’t believe it I’m standing next to a legend’!!

With Joss (Graham Dalgleish)


I had told everybody involved beforehand that I wanted it to be a memorable day for everyone – it certainly was and that to me is what the JNC is all about!
Many thanks to all my sponsors and particularly to my pacer’s and supporters, Gwenda & Les Cavill, John Telfer, Dave Hall, Peter Moralee, Nick Spencer, Paul Appleby, Allon & Sally Welsh, Tina Jackson, Peter Reed, Geoff & Susan Davis, Mick & Sandra Curry, Dave Rickaby, Graham Daglish, Elaine Cowie, and finally to Linda, my wife, no1 supporter, driver, car park attendant, pit stop manager and organiser! It wouldn’t have happened without you!
Greendale Bridge (Mary Naylor)