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 address on the Challenge Details page.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

2021 Resumption from 12th April

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions on 12th April 2021 means Joss is happy for the JNLC to resume from that date. Like last year, prevailing Social Distancing requirements are to be complied with. Contenders must still be accompanied; one pacer per leg is preferred and not more than two are permitted.

The tradition of previous completers meeting contenders to provide encouragement and to wish them well on their way to Greendale Bridge will be re-instated and Joss will endeavour to be at Greendale Bridge to congratulate completers. 

Friday, 26 February 2021

2021 Attempts

 During the current restrictions the Challenge remains suspended and while overnight stays away from home remain prohibited attempts will not be permitted.

When overnight stays away from home are permitted, which is currently not before 12th April, I anticipate the Challenge will resume subject to prevailing social distancing requirements. The resumption will be formally confirmed and attempts should not take place before this confirmation.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Gary Thorpe (M55) - 12 September 2020


For those who nosily read the end of books first, it took 11 hours and 34 minutes.

My advice to anyone contemplating it, is don’t put if off until your nearly 57 and make sure your prepared because it’s not that easy.

Darren Fishwick (Chorley AC and chuckle merchant) had been recceing leg 2 seven days earlier and was preparing to go at the same time on the same day.

I joined him on that recce to test myself out , as my knees had been sore for a while. It was a final fitness test. Dropping off Seat Sandal certainly stretches the knees and we’d run the leg well under schedule. My knees were okay so it was game on!

My wife Becky had me on an anti-inflammation diet and by the big day I was miraculously fixed.

After that recce Darren was saying that whilst he’d missed his 100 races due to COVID, he really missed the chat, craic or banter. It’s the important glue that holds fell running together. Without it , you wouldn’t get that bond that drives the selfless support on the fell or by the roadside .

Arriving at Pooley Bridge, Darren was there sorting his finishing touches. At the last minute we chucked away the headtorches for the 6am start.

Pooley Bridge

Leg 1 felt breezy and rushed. Twelve tops in 2:35ish and hardly any walking. It’s all time-checking rat-a-tat-tat!! Darren and his posse were close by and kept their social distance.

Matt kept me hydrated.

There was no navigation required really, having covered leg 1 with Dan in support of vet 60 Roger Laycock on his recent 12:47 crossing. On that day, I ran in Dan’s wife’s trail shoes, as mine lay in a car at Grasmere. A mistake I did not repeat!.

Ambleside AC’s Neil McKenzie was head chef at Kirkstone car park. A comfortable chair , luxurious porridge, Coca Cola and sweet coffee. Four minutes and we were off again.

Darren took a shorter stop and gulped down some soup. Presumably a Chorley breakfast, its 8:40am.

On the climb to Red Screes Dan continued on leg 2 with Daz Moore waiting at the summit. Daz injects enthusiasm into you whether you like it or not. He should be sold as a vital accessory. Dan and his clever lines ensured that we arrived at Dunmail bang on time.

Twas busy at Dunmail, but a great atmosphere. Lou Osborne, Carl Bell and James Harris came and had a word whilst Paul ‘Corny’ Cornforth and stalwart Leigh Warburton were limbering up ready. Neil shovelled food down me.

Darren , arriving a few minutes after, employed a formula one pit stop again.

What you had this time?” I enquired as we climbed Steel Fell.

Beans!” Replied Darren.

Glad I’m not behind him on this bit I thought.

The sloppy ground through to Rossett Pike was draining after all the fast moving excitement earlier on. A twinge of cramp came and went. Corny and Leigh fed me well.

Road support Neil relieved by Helm’s Steve Baker for taxi duty for the leg 2 lads, made it to the foot of Bowfell with his beloved coke.

Fellrunners inspire fellrunners!. On Mike Robinson’s recent Joss the heat was almost unbearable. Supporting on leg 4 I saw how he combatted the demons and after a quick lie down , Mike got up and slaughtered the rest of the leg.

So how could I complain about a touch of cramp and fatigue?

Descent to Sty Head


Leigh, Neil and Corny delivered me to Sty Head safely and shot off to Seathwaite or Langdale.

Sty Head

Bill Williamson the leg 4 specialist shoved a banana down me with the talented Chris Richards looking to learn more about the western fells. My shivering son 17 year old Alfie turned up in his shorts. “Wear something warm!, I could be late” were my last words to him.

It’s been quite something for Alfie to volunteer for leg 4 . He’s been out running with us on Thursdays for three months and in the early weeks lagged way behind. Just lately he’s started thrashing us soundly although he remains committed to his football team.

It was worth doing the Joss just to be able to have him with me through those last eleven miles.

Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar are leg 4s big obstacles. For me, when they are out of the way, you can relax a little. Bill weaved his way around the leg with his usual accuracy.

On Seatallan, I dug out my stash of crisps and coke but Alfie seened keener than me.

From Middle Fell , Chris looked on in wonderment at the majestic and dramatic western fells . His enthusiasm reminded me of what initially drew me to these places all those years ago. I did my first fell race in the 1970s, as a junior, and it seems like a lifetime ago. I guess it almost is.

Middle Fell

At 5:34pm we arrived at Greendale Bridge where Joss was ready to greet Darren and myself.

A gentle touch of the elbows and a few words was followed by a few pictures with our families, friends and pacers.

Greendale Bridge

With Joss

Just 8 minutes later Darren rolled in with pacers Carl Bell and James Harris . After I’d offered him my elbow, he heartily shook my hand off. I agreed with him that this challenge feels tougher than a BG but not just because we are older though. You cannot afford to slacken off much until maybe the final three tops.

  • But it’s a grand day out . Though only possible if you are well supported. In my case, by Neil McKenzie (road support/leg 3), Matt Beresford, (Leg 1), Dan Duxbury (legs 1 & 2), Daz Moore (leg 2), Steve Baker (Red Screes, road support), Leigh Warburton, Paul Cornforth (leg 3), Bill Williamson, Chris Richards and Alfie Thorpe (leg 4). Becky Thorpe for reducing the inflammation via diet.

I’ve raised a few quid for the North West Air Ambulance by completing the challenge.