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.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Simon Fox (M55) 08 June 19

Greendale Bridge

I’m guessing that you are reading this for one of three reasons.
  1. You’re bored at work (again!)
  2. You’ve done the JNC yourself and are interested to see how someone else’s experience compares to yours
Or 3. You have decided that you want to have a go at some point and so you’re obsessively reading all the accounts to glean as much knowledge as you can. I’m aiming this at the latter category (because that was me not long since) but I’ll see what I can do to entertain the rest of you.
For comparison, I’m 56. One of those skinny bald types that always populate races. On a really good day I might get in the top 1/3 of a small local fell race. So, no Ian Holmes but not Eamonn Holmes either. I was motivated to attempt the JNC mostly by the regret of not doing the Bob Graham Round when I was younger. A recent brush with mortality gave me that bit more encouragement. A 6 month plan was put into action. Not very scientific - run more. Mostly up and down hills. Ideally in the Lakes. Even more ideally actually on the route. I’m not one for high mileages but ramped it up a bit from my usual 20 odd miles a week to 30 odd with forays into 50 +. I’d build up and have 1 easy week in 3. This plus cycling to work most days seemed to work for me. I was getting fitter and avoiding injury. At the end of March/early April I did a couple of 60 mile weeks, finally an 80.5 mile week two weeks before my attempt - the most I have ever done. Long runs comprised lengthy trots across the West Pennine Moors (home turf), a recce of JNC L1 and L2, competing in the Anglezarke Amble and the Howarth Hobble in horrendous conditions (very useful training for the JNC), a recce of the Old County Tops route and an aborted Abraham’s Tea Round also in ‘the grim’. I didn’t do any more than 33 miles in one hit.
This was harder than the training! I’m lucky knowing a lot of people from Darwen Dashers and beyond who were keen and able to help out so had cover for all legs. The hard part was arranging to get them back to their vehicles following the legs. I created a JNC WhatsApp group to make life a bit easier as they could organise lifts between themselves. I also had volunteers just to collect/deliver people to the appropriate places. I made a Word document listing who was helping on each leg and their role – Nav, timekeeper - and what I’d need for each crossing (food carried/food eaten at crossing/clothing to be ready). I had a dry bag with emergency big cag, mitts, buff and a gel to be carried by a pacer and passed on at each crossing. I weighed and measured this and posted the info on the WhatsApp group. I had seen about 90% of the route and was comfortable navving most of it but made sure that I had at least one competent navigator per leg. The night before the attempt my wife and I went to the Pooley Bridge Inn for food and a few beers then slept in their car park in my van. We had done this in the past as they were ok with it if you’d spent money with them. We booked into Church Stile campsite on Saturday night - close to both the finish at Greendale Bridge and the Screes pub. I booked a table at The Screes for all the helpers who were staying on and pre-ordered food as their kitchen closes at 9.00pm.
The attempt
I used the V55 ‘standard’ 14:40 schedule and hoped (optimistically) that I’d gain time as I went along as I was concerned about having enough time on the final leg. This meant a 5.00am start. The forecast was shit. It was right. There were suggestions about postponing for 24 hours but this wasn’t an option due to the availability of helpers. The night before I messaged everyone to say that unless it was epically terrible weather in the morning then I would start as arranged. I would assess at end of Leg 1 if I was to continue and at Leg 2 I would make the ‘big call’ if we were going to abandon. This was to have enough time to stop people making a fruitless trip up to Styhead with no signal. So, at 5.00am we set off. Russ Owen (Eyriri) and Dave Haygarth (Rossendale Harriers) covered this leg.

It had rained all previous day, all night and was still going. We were in clag before we reached Arthur’s Pike. Tip: have a look at the start. Don’t run along the shore of Ullswater. Take footpath to left and head for the road. The gate is by a large tree. Turn right on road then enter campsite on left. Straight up the road through the site before reaching a 5 bar gate onto the fell. Climb it and bearing right you will reach the main track to Arthur’s Pike. Despite God awful conditions I was quite happy. We ticked off the summits and only had a problem with Red Crag. It is not an obvious summit and in the clag it was difficult to find. In the end we used GPS to hit the grid ref.

Soon we reached the large cairn of Thornthwaite Beacon. Tip: If you don’t want to run the main zig zag descent (rocky, loose, steep and slow) you can bear right alongside the wall by the cairn and reach an easier path with some grassy sections. We got Stoney Cove done and then the clag made us pause slightly before spotting the trod to Pike Howe, then headed back to the main path towards St Ravens Edge. Tip: cross the wall by a large boulder and drop down diagonally across the field to the road rather than the slower ‘tourist path’ above the pub.

Kirkstone Pass

At the crossing I had homemade potato and leek soup and, as I’d warmed up on the run in, I decided to save time by not changing kit. I went to get a last mouthful of soup only to discover Dave polishing it off! Ah well, he’d earned it. I was very pleased to meet Ian Charters doing the JNC traditional ‘meet and greet’ here. Joining Russ and I on Leg 2 were Dashers Garth Taylor, Karl Aspin and Calvin Fergusson (his Grandad, Don Ashton, was an early completer of the Challenge).

Leaving Dunmail Raise

Straight into the climb of Red Screes. I was still buzzing with the euphoria of the occasion but Russ was struggling with his ITB and the others were into a big climb with no warm up so we climbed in silence until I said ‘Bloody hell lads, the banter’s not so good on this leg! We dropped out of clag at Kirkstone but by the summit of Red Screes we were right back in it. Summit tagged and off toward Scandale Pass. Tip: you can cut the corner rather than hand railing the wall line. There is a trod on the right part way down. It can be wet but it is still runnable and saves time. The next section was a grind, uphill into the wind. It was screaming as we crested Fairfield. Next it was down to the saddle by Grizedale tarn. Last year this was the spot I had managed to briefly run alongside Kilian Jornet on his record breaking BG. Climbing, the wind made me stagger as I neared the top of Seat Sandal. Tip: after the summit bear to the right and keep on the slight trod. You will pass one of those huge sacks they transport stone in and later a stone points to the right indicating the path down. Out of the cloud and the road crossing became visible and soon the van with my crew waiting.
I was still feeling good here. In fact I felt great! It couldn’t last of course. The decision was made to continue with the attempt. Finally I started using the walking poles that had been carried round the previous two legs. Head down and get into a rhythm, glancing up towards the top occasionally, immediately regretting it and looking back down. Steel Fell is one long, steep sucker. On this leg I had Dashers Gareth Davies (nav), Alex Buckland, Ady Humphries (timekeeper) plus Kev Smith (Red Rose) and Stanners (CLEM). The latter two hanging back with me. This leg continued to be a clag fest but the rain began to tail off. Gareth did an excellent job of the navigation and we were soon up and over High Raise and heading towards Rossett Pike. Tip: aim to cross Stakes Pass and then contour round Rossett Crag before climbing up to the summit. Bow Fell was next and I began to struggle. A tough climb over the rocks although the route is easy to follow with the cairns on the way. I hadn’t taken enough food in and the cold and wet was sapping my energy too. A big mistake that nearly cost me dearly. I struggled to the summit and started to play catch up with my nutrition but by this stage swallowing was getting harder too. Everything had to be accompanied by water. Esk Pike came and went and then the trudge up Great End. I had been shown a line off that I was happy I could find in good conditions however we had agreed that if it was bad vis then we would take the safer but slower option doubling back before heading to Styhead. It wasn’t worth the risk on the day so that’s what we did.
There was quite a group waiting at Styhead. I had a few mouthfuls of chilli from a flask and some other bits but I was conscious of needing to keep going. Gareth continued on with me to the finish but the rest stopped here. Amy Freeman (Dashers) took over nav duties, also from Dashers we had Paul Taylor plus Jonathan Stubbs (Settle). Great Gable was trudged up and then onto Kirk Fell. I was suffering but still able to run when terrain allowed it. We descended via the Red Gulley. Tip: worth a recce so that you know exactly where to get on to it and that you would be happy going down it. I was starting to get some pain and restricted movement in my left leg now so was glad of Paul Taylor directing my hand and foot holds down here. On Pillar we were joined by the ever cheery Iain Asher (aka Asher the Dasher) and he kept me fed with bits of caramel biscuit. I touched the little cairn on the wall indicating the summit of Scoat Fell and then headed towards Steeple. Only 3 to go after this.
Down the wall line and up the slope to Haycock. I’d arranged with Amy that if I had time in hand we’d go down the forgiving grass slope but if it was tight we’d use the faster scree descent. As we approached on the day she said ‘Right, we are going to use the scree descent.’ And I thought ‘Oh shit.’ As it turned out we descended on grass right next to the scree and made it down quickly. I ploughed on as fast as I could but I was worried about time. At one point I turned to Gareth and asked ‘Is it on? ‘It’s on’, he replied. Seatallan is a wall - a heartbreaker. I knew to just keep my head down, use the cut out steps and make good use of the poles. Finally the slope lessened and I could risk looking up. Waving and cheering figures on the summit materialised as Claire Davies and Lea Pea from Dashers, last seen on Styhead. Their enthusiasm and encouragement spurred me on.
My legs, particularly the left one, were in state by now. The steep Seatallan descent was always going to be hard but with a flash of inspiration I slid down the wet grass on my back, hurtling down like a toboggan! Desperate times need desperate measures! I stopped before the rocks and levered myself upright. Back into the shambolic run. Middle Fell seemed to have grown since I’d been up it previously. Stomping up using the poles, taking on mouthfuls of whatever was offered swigged down with isotonic drink. Finally the summit. A brief pause for a photo then the final descent. Amy told me I had 27 minutes to get to the bridge. My brain struggled with the mental arithmetic. I did this descent in 14 minutes on a recce on pretty fresh legs and ‘going for it’. A different proposition now. Shambolic run mode re-engaged. Get. It. Done.
Supporters were screaming at me from near the bridge ‘Come on! COME ON!!’ Iain Asher spotted a direct line through the bracken and I followed. I ran as hard as I could now. Pain blocked out. Along the beck and hard right onto the bridge. DONE! I had a brief head in arms collapse onto the wall of the bridge and then I was back in the room. A big grin on my face with everyone cheering and there he was – Joss Naylor – standing next to me extending his hand. I gripped it firmly and we shook. I looked him in the eyes and took in as much as I could of the moment that I dreamt of and worked so hard towards for months. Tip: it’s worth it.
Finished in 14:57:57. 123 seconds inside the 15 hours.

Job Done

Huge thanks to everyone who supported me in achieving this. You can’t do something like this without a good team and I had the best. Thanks also to everyone who contributed to my JustGiving page and helped raise over £1800 for Prostate Cancer UK.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Graham Watson (M55) - 12 May 19

The power of friends.
Nine months ago I was profiled in the Cumberland Fell Runners newsletter (really, they'll take anyone!), and answered the question 'Any ambitions?'. Second on a list of 3 was the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge which I had down as 'doubtful' in the 55 year bracket, but 'maybe' once I became 60. So I'd had the Challenge in mind for a few years, realising that a 12 hour crossing at 50 was well beyond me, and wondering how long I should wait. Also mentioned in that CFR profile was my first foray into the Bob Graham, pacing Nicky Lavery-Hoffe on her winter round in 1999. Chatting away to Barry Johnson on that day it didn't occur to me I could manage a BG but as Barry pointed out, how would you know? I didn't, I tried, I did a BG. So it seems very fitting that my dithering about the Challenge was kicked into action when I was pacing Mick Hoffe with Nicky in October 2018 on his successful completion. After all Mick was 66, and he did it in less than 14 hours, and the pace on that last leg was so slow! If Mick could do it so could I! Funny how I ignored all the logic - when Mick races he's a good 20% quicker than me; that last leg is at about 23 hour BG pace, so the preceding 3 legs must have been considerably quicker; compare my race times to others in my age class and I'd be well over my 15 hour limit.
Of course a BG or Joss is a different beast to a race, and you really don't know until you try. I'd decided early on that the key for me would be to do lots of ascent, so off the back of pacing Mick, and a summer holiday in the Pyrenees I focused on doing 3000m+ of ascent per week, and more or less managed that from August through to February. Cross country skiing in March put a stop to that but at least had me on my feet for several hours each day for a long week. And then suddenly the date started looming up really fast. A few recces gave me confidence I could make the times, and some shuffling of the schedule gave me a five minute lead instead of a deficit on the first leg. A fantastic team of pacers came on board, with some top class last minute additions.
The day dawned a perfect blue sky day! Les and Steve Birkinshaw took me from Pooley Bridge at 5am to Kirkstone. I was very relieved to find my tinkering with the schedule put me very slightly ahead of time. Food went down OK, plenty of drinking - Les and Steve did a great job of making sure I was well looked after. Into Kirkstone, watching the Fred Whitton cyclists fly by, and 5 minutes for some rice pudding and tea. It was great to be greeted by Rainer Burchett (completer no.56 in 2005; and 31 London Marathons!), and then Mick Hoffe and Dave Appleyard of Helm Hill took me on the direct way up Red Screes - a bit of a shock after the easy slopes of leg 1, but nice to then be greeted by another friend Paul Hughes at the top. Everything kept going to plan, food was going in slowly, and I kept wondering how long it could last! Lots of chatter helped (don't often catch up with Mick) and we came into Dunmail bang on time.
Dunmail Raise

From Dunmail I knew I might not keep time to Rossett Pike and despite John Slater and Paul Jennings getting me on the best line, and doing a great job of trying to feed me (not going down so well now!) a few minutes went astray. I asked John or Paul how time was going, the answer being 'well, if you could just up the pace...'. However I was hopeful that I would get some time back, so the reply was 'let's see how I'm doing at Bowfell'. And so it proved, a couple of minutes back on each top and down to Sty Head bang on time again. 
Sty Head

At Sty Head, despite 4h40 still to go I really thought I might make it. Seeing Steve Breeze, Mario Yeomans, Kate Charles and Barry Johnson all there was a boost. 5 minutes for tea and rice pudding and off we go again. Up Gable seemed a long time, down went really well. 
Joss on Kirk Fell
We bumped into Joss and party on the way up Kirk Fell - brilliant to see him on the hill. The views were amazing, still blue sky and cool breeze. Kate offered me a drink seemingly every minute so there was going to be no excuse for grinding to a halt through not drinking. Food was a different matter and Hula Hoops were about the only thing I ate on this last leg. Seatallen felt so steep and went on for ages, and eventually I ground to a halt on the way up Middlefell and needed a gel to get me going again but by that time the pressure was off, and there was time for a pause at the last top. I couldn't quite believe I done it at Greendale Bridge, 14hrs 43mins, but sure enough Joss was there. 'Well done lad', and a handshake to end a brilliant day.

Leaving Pillar

Off Seatallan

Greendale Bridge

Friends eh. They put you up to it, then they get you through it better than you ever thought possible. You really don't know until you try.
I was also delighted to raise in excess of £900 for the John Muir Trust.
Thanks so much everyone!
Graham Watson, M55. Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge 12 May 2019. 14 hours 43 minutes.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Rob Gittins (M55) - 27 April 19

At 55 years of age I had the ‘luxury’ of 15 hours but I based my attempt on the Women’s 50, 13hrs 40 schedule which would give me the cushion of an extra hour if necessary (and it turned out that I needed it)
We had a comfortable and very warm night at Patterdale YHA. Outside the rain was beating down ominously – Storm Hannah as predicted? Still a lot could change in a few hours.
Up at 5am for a brew, cheese sandwich and last minute kit check, and then off down the shore of Ullswater to Pooley Bridge. The weather was strangely calm, overcast but no wind or rain – had MWIS got it wrong?
Guy and Paul were waiting on the bridge and we set off bang on 6am, safely navigating the campsite and straight up Arthur’s Pike. Too much chatting and a lack of concentration resulted in an unorthodox route up Loadpot Hill and an early loss of 8 minutes, but great nav through the clag and some fast downhills meant we arrived at Kirkstone on schedule.
Still no weather on Leg 1 and even a couple of brief views when the clouds opened up – we were being spoilt.
Fed and fuelled by tea we (Graham, Steve and Mark continuing on) set off up Red Screes, an acceptable 3 minutes down on schedule. My legs felt tired on the ascents but I was running well on the flats and downhills. Cloud free tops to Fairfield and views that merited getting the camera out.
Still no actual weather, tempting fate we commented on Hannah’s existence.
14 minutes down when we left Dunmail with Paul Swindles (in shorts), his dog Joss, Tom and Steve carrying on for some additional fun. Quick enough up Steel Fell but we lost a chunk of time on what seemed like a good route to High Raise. It could have been the weather, the rain had started and the temperature had dropped noticeably, Hannah was finally putting in an appearance. Paul seemed happy in his shorts but now, incongruously, put on a pair of winter mittens – top half winter mountaineer, bottom half beach party. (I have a similar pair in a drawer at home – not much use there!)
Steve left us and dropped down into Langdale for a lift back to Kirkstone from the ODG. Unfortunately his lift was waiting at the NDG
Good time up Rosset and Bowfell despite the slippery conditions underfoot then across to Esk Pike in increasingly Arctic conditions. Paul and Tom became concerned when I started slurring my words, worrying that I was hypothermic. So, down jacket and over-trousers on, cold hands up sleeves and some actual running across to Great End to raise the temperature.
The clag cleared briefly on Great End revealing the cairn marking the way off the end. We made it to Sty Head an hour down on the original schedule and apologised for being late. Gillian and Graham had walked up from Wasdale with tea and coffee and we were joined by Carl and Chris, Debs and John from Wasdale Mountain Rescue and an extra dog – a perfect team for the final leg (Tom and Paul, both carried on). All I had to do now was keep to schedule. I knew now that Joss would be on the bridge in Greendale so I had an added incentive to get there in time.
A lull in the weather up Gable and Kirk Fell and some great lines down allowed us to recoup a few minutes. The exfoliating hail returned with a vengeance between Pillar and Scoat Fell and the winds made the out and back to Steeple interesting. Off Haycock in the clag and across the almost tranquil Pots of Ashness.
On schedule! Just Seatallan, what could go wrong? To add to the ‘sting in the tail ‘we encountered the most intense and sustained wind I have ever experienced. Hannah was playing with us, the dogs went to ground, I was blown over and Debs literally took off. Carl acted as a human windshield and we battled to the top.
The same wind that had hindered our ascent now propelled us across the summit and down towards Greendale Tarn. Just Middle Fell now, which we summited with 30 minutes to spare. Then a relaxed run down to the bridge, where Joss was waiting.
Beers and food in The Screes to finish – a perfect end to a great day out.

I wouldn’t have made it round without the help of all those involved both on the road and on the fells
Road Support: Gillian and Jonathan Lindsey, Angela Drakeford
Leg 1: Guy Illingworth, Mark Burley
Leg 2: Mark Burley, Steve Swallow and Graham Brown
Leg 3: Steve Swallow, Tom Whittington and Paul Swindles
Leg 4: Chris and Deb Cripps, John, Tom Whittington and Paul Swindles
Rob Gittins

Monday, 25 February 2019

Mick Hoffe (M65) - 06 October 18

In September I returned from the Dolomites in Italy having completed the Alta Via 2, a 12 day trek in the mountains, feeling fit and healthy. So decided the time was right, now or never, to have a go at the Joss Naylor Challenge. I decided to raise money for the North West Air Ambulance and to encourage my pacers to help me out, go for what I thought was a reasonably ambitious target of 15hrs. Wendy thought over ambitious. So a date was set, Sat Oct 6th, and pacers were contacted. A 4am start was planned so hopefully finish in daylight at 18.40pm.

At 3.55am David and I were ready to go, maps in hand, head torches on, at Pooley Bridge. Suddenly nature called and we had to dash in the opposite direction to the public toilets. So after our quick detour we finally left at 4.02am. Conditions were good, dry with a gentle northerly wind. All went pretty smoothly on this 16m section to Kirkstone Pass. We had a slight problem on High Street when I was ahead and David had to replace the batteries in his head torch so for about 10 minutes we lost touch in the dark. Fortunately after a bit of shouting and wondering around we reconnected and carried on over Thornthwaite Beacon and Stoney Cove Pike. The only other incident was when I tripped on a couple of occasions and crashed to the ground. Very concerned, each time David suggested we walk for a bit, I think he thought I’d had a mild heart attack. However, each time we decided it was safe to continue.

At Kirkstone the new pacers, Colin and Chris were sitting comfortably in the van enjoying a cup of tea and a chat. They looked a bit surprised that we had arrived on schedule and it was time to head off up Red Screes. The north wind had now increased in strength and it was quite chilly on the tops. We made good progress with Chris leading the way and Colin protecting me from the wind and generally making comments (not complementary) about my lean physique possibly to take my mind away from task in hand. Still in shorts, with the northerly wind increasing in strength, it was observed my legs were vibrating unproductively, so for the descent off Seat Sandal we stopped to don some over trousers.

Warm once again after the descent to Dunmail, and now 21 minutes ahead of schedule we met up with the support team, Nicky, and Wendy, my next pacer. Eating was proving difficult but the rice pudding and cup of tea went down well. We set off up Steel Fell with Wendy leading the way and worrying that I’d blown my chances after the last, faster than planned, section. The weather was still dry with some sunshine, but the wind still quite cold. The section from Steel Fell to Rossett Pike felt like hard work with gradual climbs and boggy, energy sapping conditions. Wendy chatted most of the way and I responded with probably about five words during the 4 hour section, two of which were “knackered and sick”, and the other three were, “yes still here”. Nevertheless in spite of my protestations and dragging my feet, Wendy picked some great lines from Rossett Pike all the way to Great End and then down the ridge to Styhead so that we arrived, again about 25 minutes ahead of schedule. She also proved very good at cadging drinks from walkers along the way, mainly, I think, because she found them more responsive than her running partner.

On arrival at Styhead the next pacers, Nicky and Graham, had not arrived, totally underestimating Wendy’s ability to drive her reluctant partner faster than schedule. After cadging a coffee off another walker she legged it off into Wasdale to find our next pacers. I sat back in the sun at the rescue box, enjoying the coffee and grateful for a bit of respite and a slightly longer stop. They arrived after 12 minutes and after some more rice pudding set off up Gable. Graham leading the way, Nicky feeding and pushing the old fella ahead. Again some great lines down Gable and off Kirk Fell down Joss's Gully. The traverse round Black Crag and on up to Pillar. After Scoat Fell and Steeple it felt home was in site. Haycock and Seatallan quickly followed and then it was just Middle Fell to go. A fast descent down here through the dying bracken and a final stagger to Greendale Bridge and the marvellous welcome from Joss himself. I turned down his suggestion that I should lie down in the beck to recover, preferring to lie in the van with a cup of tea. Again we made great time on this section and shaved another 17 minutes off the schedule. It was a brilliant end to a glorious day, running with friends, chatting to Joss, Wasdale, all peaceful and quiet in the setting sun.

We finished the run in 13hrs 49mins a great time thanks to the encouragement and support from my very talented pacers and supporters. With gift aid we also managed to raise £615 for my chosen charity, the NW Air Ambulance, so a big thank you to all the people who sent in donations.

And a final thank you to Joss Naylor who set up this traverse in the Lakeland Fells and created the opportunity to do something challenging in the company of really special friends. A grand day out!


Leg 1 – David Appleyard
Leg 2 – Colin Dulson and Chris Lumb
Leg 3 – Wendy Dodds
Leg 4 – Nicky Lavery and Graham Watson

Support crew – Nicky Lavery

Friday, 22 February 2019

Scoffer (M50) - 22 September 18

7.45am and I arrive in Pooley Bridge. ‘Right, shoes on, shoes! 

Where’s my shoes?’ ‘Mmmmmmm at home on the door step!’ Fortunately, I have a spare pair, unfortunately, they are the ones that hurt my feet! 8am and we are off, 8am and 10 seconds and we have gone down the wrong path!

The next 4½ hrs to Dunmail go ok but it is very cold (cag, balaclava, gloves tights cold!) and there is an annoying rather than debilitating head wind but fortunately the forecast is for it to ease in the afternoon. At some point around Rampsgill Head, I looked to the west and can see Great Gable. It looks a long way away!!

At Dunmail, I am reunited with my comfy shoes but my feet are already sore. The next bit to Rossett Pike is horrible, with lots of flat running and boggy ground which I don’t really like. Going up Bowfell, I have my first wobble but a peanut bagel and a bottle of coke and I am ok. Esk Pike, Great End, Gable and Kirkfell come and go but I do have a bit of a slip going down Great End resulting in a sore arse bone. Going up Pillar, my second wobble and my first admittance that I am tired, but a sit down for a minute and more coke and I am off again. My legs are sort of ok but my feet are pretty sore by now which is making me quite slow on the descents.

Up to the end of the wall on Scoat, en route to Steeple, I am glad that is the optimum route as even though it was on my timing card I sort of forgot Scoat was one of them (like on a BG) but I am sure James would have kept me right had we missed it. Up onto Haycock, then it’s all downhill from here apart from the bugger that is Seatallen (I am sure it only takes a minute to come off there in the Wasdale!!) Middle Fell and then it really is all downhill to Greendale where I am met by Joss which was great, I hadn’t told him I was doing it, he must have seen it on Instagram or Twitter!!!!!

I then promptly spewed up approximately 2 litres of coke narrowly missing Joss’s brand new adidas pumps. To be honest, I was hoping to go under 10 hours and am sure 9.45 is possible given the right conditions with maybe a nice Easterly, a bit better route choice in places and above all someone who is a bit better than me.

Greendale Bridge

Many thanks to Jim, Phil, Andrew, James, John and Sharon