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.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Kevin Barron (M50) - 15 May 2021

This challenge had been planned for Aug/Sept 2020, but lockdown and the need for a short holiday (in Eskdale) in Sept, meant that time was against me if I wanted to do the route in daylight. Life got in the way and before I knew it the clocks had changed and I decided to put the challenge on hold until the Spring 2021. 

 After a good winter training with several bigger days on the fells I decided that I would commit to a date in May ahead of several BG supports in June & July. May offered me the opportunity of another go in Aug/Sept if I was unsuccessful….but I was positive that would not be needed! 

 April 27th, I started to message people about supporting on the 15th May – support was not an issue. So the date was set! I did a couple of harder runs in the next few days and started to taper after supporting Sabrina on Leg 5 of her Wainwrights attempt. Two weeks is a long time when you don’t run…. Keeping an eye on the weather, it initially looked ok, but in the preceding few days MWIS forecast rain/hail and low cloud, I was determined not to let that spoil anything and mentally prepared for a wet, clagged in run. On the day however MWIS was wrong and I was provided with a sunny day, great views and a cooling breeze on the tops, only one 20min rain/hail shower as we started up Haycock, but at that point I hardly noticed. 

Pooley Bridge with Adam

Leg 1; Jenny and I woke early and headed to meet Adam (a late substitute for Jacob who had been taken ill after his victory in The Lap the Saturday before). Adam was at the bridge as planned and we introduced ourselves. Pleasantries over, we waited for 0600 start time…and then we were off. Steady pace through the campsite and onto the fells, it was good to be moving and I felt strong. I knew the pace would need to be maintained. Adam and I chatted as we went. The summits came and went quickly on schedule, great views a plenty..…I realised the pace was unrelenting. In what seemed no time I was heading down to Kirkstone and could see Jenny and the leg 2 guys with Rainer. A quick hello to Rainer, a drink and a rice pudding, thanks to Adam and bum bag swapped over and off. 

High Street

From Kidsty Pike


Towards Stony Cove

Kirkstone Pass

Leg 2; The quick pace continued up leg 2 with Michael (my son) and Matt…..Daz was to join us and had already set off up Red Screes to meet us at the top. Also a little way up was Sabrina, still recovering from her Wainwrights, but it was good to see her for the 5-10mins she joined us. On the steeper rocky sections I started to cramp in my calves, not something that I have suffered with. Matt pulled out a salt tablet it must have helped as the twinges started to recede. Daz was near the top, a quick hello and we all set off on the descent to Scandale and the climb towards Fairfield. Michael forcing me to eat and drink to keep the cramps away, Matt and Daz out front Good time made on this leg over to Seat Sandal but I started to get stomach issues. A quick call of nature stop and then back to the descent to Dunmail. Good to see my grandkids at Dunmail along with Leon and Debbie – Jenny her usual organised self, marshalling the changeover. I was not in too good a place and didn’t say much at this point, a quick drink, calf stretch and a nod to Leon, let’s go….. 

Red Screes


Seat Sandal

Road Support - Essential Kit

Leg 3; The drag up Steel Fell doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you do it, but it was over and we made time on a group of BGer’s passing them before they forked off towards Calf Crag. Bottles were filled at Birks Gill and we made slow progress to High Raise. I know leg 3 was tough from the schedule, even on my reccies with relatively fresh legs the time were tight, so I full accepted that I would lose time on this section. What I hadn’t accounted for was how tired I would actually feel….the relentless pace was telling! Leon kept me hydrated and I forced wine gums and a Mars bar down…it was a struggle. High Raise done, the long descent and then climb to Rosset Pike was quite, I needed to regain my focus and concentrate…too easy to feel tired and low contemplate stopping – I pushed those thoughts away. A few more minutes lost to Bowfell despite it being my 2nd fastest ascent…just shows the BG pace (for most people) is more generous….however a few sharp words from Leon got my head back in the right place and we set off to Esk Pike on a mission to recover some time, which we did, only to lose it again on Great End and the rocky descent to Styhead. The photo of me at Styhead says it all, I was empty at this point, but thoughts of giving up had not resurfaced. I had it in my head 1400hr latest at Styhead, you can do 4hrs to the finish…it was 1359 …..a drink, another bite of a Mars bar, thanks to Leon and over to Gary and Alfie. 

Towards Steel Fell

Arriving at Sty Head

Leg 3 was Tough!

Leg 4; No sooner than we set off I needed to stop Gary ‘what’s up’ Me ‘stones in my shoes, need to get them out’ so like a pampered child, Gary helped me remove my shoes and rid them of the miniscule stones that had accumulated in them on the route so far. That done it was a slow march up the side of Gable. Gary and Alfie, constantly handing me water, cramp hadn’t returned but didn’t feel too far away. Encouraged by Gary that we were on/ahead of the scheduled split lifted me…I also knew Gary knew good lines off Gable having done several supports in recent years. A good line of Gable and we headed to Kirk fell…more stones in the shoes. Gary ‘can it wait until after Red Gully as you are likely to pick up more’ Me ‘ok’ and on we continued. My mood and the pace gradually picked up, I asked Gary to go ahead about 10ft so I didn’t need to think about where to go, Alfie behind handing me water every few minutes. Good time was made (including another stop to remove stones from my shoes) to Pillar and beyond. As we started up Haycock, a rain/hail shower necessitated a quick stop to get our jackets on, a few minutes lost but not a disaster. Across to Seatallen, bottles refilled and we reached the summit with 1hr to go…..Middle Fell still seemed a long way off, but it was at this point I felt barring complete breakdown I would finish within the 12hr limit. Photo on the top of Middle Fell and then a painful descent to be met by Jenny at Greendale Bridge……made it 11hr 39min (11 min up on schedule). 

Towards Red Gully with Alfie

Coming Off Kirk Fell

Middle Fell - last summit of the day

Almost There!


 Photos and thanks to Gary and Alfie. I decided to sit in the river to rest my calves which were twitching like a bag of squirrels! A quick change and a brew with Jenny and then we headed home. 

 An adventure made possible with the great support I had, can't thank them enough……will they all come back when I do the v55?

Monday, 15 November 2021

Simon Franklin (M55) - 14 April 2021

After a year of lockdowns and isolation, an idea started forming in my head of a spring day running with friends, all back together in the hills. Being lucky enough to now live close enough to run across fields to the North Western Fells I had managed to stay hill fit through the winter and a solo Abrahams Tea Round in March persuaded me I was ready to execute the plan

At 5:15am on Pooley Bridge I felt like a cork in a champagne bottle and the first leg with Carol and Paul Nelson passed quickly and easily as the clouds cleared and a sunny path across to the later hills opened up ahead.

A short chat with Rainer Burchett at Kirkstone and I was dragged off with my next pairing of Steve Rhodes and Paul Calderbank. The chance to catch up on three months of chat shortened the miles across to Fairfield and down to Dunmail and with another quick changeover, it was off up Steel Fell. By now it was a properly warm day but Dave Harrison and Tom Lynch fed me all the right lines and food and drink and another leg flew by.

By leg 4 I was well up on the 15 hour schedule but the heat was starting to tell. The multiple big climbs up Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar felt tough and my stomach started rebelling. Martyn Price kept my spirits up while Helen kept herself busy taking photos in the fantastic late evening sun. A final slow shuffle over Seatallan and Middle Fell and it was done with 25 mins to spare.

It was a great surprise to find Joss waiting with my small COVID compliant support crew at the bridge and the elbow bump was really appreciated.

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.