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, 25 June 2020

COVID-19 - 25 June 2020

The easing of restrictions to come into effect in England on 4th July is both welcome and encouraging. The situation in Cumbria, as elsewhere, remains fragile and with this in mind Joss considers 4th of July to be too early to start accepting attempts. A further review on or by 25th July is planned and if the next few weeks bring nothing untoward then we hope we will be able to reinstate the Challenge. Any changes or updates will be posted here.

Monday, 23 March 2020

JNLC - 2020

In the current circumstances the Challenge is suspended 
with immediate effect and until further notice.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Chris Lumb (60) - 17 August 2019

A Grand Day Out

An attempt at my 3rd Joss Naylor Challenge crossing and I’d not learned my lesson! My 2nd crossing was completed with only 12 days to spare before my 60th birthday. This one, less than a month before my 65th. And on my eldest daughter’s due date for our second grandchild……a few days before my son (and leg 3/4 support) was heading back to China ….. and a forecast of stormy weather with lightning….so no pressure!

Jim very kindly organised my support team of him, Daz and Richard for the first couple of legs. Jim also got me out on my longest training run for the JNC - a 5.5hr recce of the 1st leg to Thornthwaite Beacon and back via Place Fell. Mmmh - a distinct feeling of being unprepared!

Colin very kindly agreed to support on the last 2 legs from Dunmail Raise. My son, Jono, also took no persuasion to join us for support from Dunmail.

Our little WhatsApp group correspondence rapidly filled with updated weather forecasts, from our own favourite sources. As the Saturday got closer, the Mountain Weather Information Service (my favourite) gave us the following:

Wind SW 20-30mph (gusting up to 40mph)
Showers from the W, some heavy and becoming frequent - patches of sun mainly E
Hill fog am but cloud base at or above tops in pm
Temp 8-10C but will feel like 4-5C

NO lightning - we’re on!

Another, in the dark start - but this time, no fumbling around to feed money or credit cards into the LDNP car park by the river - no car park, washed away in Storm Desmond - no Leigh Warburton, appearing out of the dark, having driven up from Preston, unannounced but most welcome, to support me on a previous JNC. Dropped off by Viv, we made a spot on time start from the bridge. A brief and luxurious visit to Park Foot loos and we were onto a very wet underfoot fell - a good decision to wear my Sealskin socks. Good progress made along the ridge, into a fresh headwind or sidewind, with only one, heavy, shower. I’d treated myself to 2 new Harvey 1:25,000 maps of the route and, whilst the wind didn’t seem to trouble the running, it certainly caused me problems when re-folding and re-stuffing the map into its waterproof bag - luckily I managed to hang on to it. In fact, Leg 1 seemed to fly along, a combination of great support and a very engaging tutorial in pharmacology by Jim - who shared the research on heart disease that he’d been doing as part of his continuous professional disease. Fascinating….and then we were at Kirkstone Pass, via a neat little line below Raven Crag.

A quick mouthful of food, a big thanks to Daz and Viv, and Jim and I were off. A more leisurely scramble up Red Screes than my usual Sunday morning outing and sub-20 minute ascents. Couldn’t find a decent trod below Dove Crag but good lines and running up Hart Crag and Fairfield. A steady climb up Seat Sandal and a careful, good descent to Dunmail Raise. Very nice to see Rainer Burchett here, a veteran of 2 JNC crossings I think, kindly come to offer his support to us. Big mistake here in not taking, or being able to take, on board more food - only managed a cuppa and a piece of flapjack. Great to see Richard, Colin and Jono waiting for me.

Steel Fell taken gently - probably the first time Steel Fell and gently have appeared together in the same sentence - anyway Colin and I lagged well behind Richard and Jono as they chatted away, introducing themselves. Felt strange, in addition to tired, to then not to navigate to Calf Crag, which has been my standard BG support leg. Good lines up to High Raise and Rossett Pike. Bowfell ascent went well, claggy on top and rocks wet and slippy but a very familiar route and always a very welcome waymark. Esk Pike visited and followed the path off it, not risking trying to find Yiannis Tridimas’ shortcut. Found the good route up Great End in the clag but the descent was trickier. Very wet and slippy and difficult to pick up the cairns and faint, broken trod. Care definitely the order of the descent. And we didn’t inadvertently end up on the Corridor Route as we did on my previous crossing. All in all, very pleased. At Styhead, we said thanks and goodbye to Richard, who left us to run down to a lift waiting at Seathwaite.

Colin, Jono and I then started the long haul up Great Gable. It was then that my inability to take on board food really started to take effect. The carefully created tuna sandwiches, on M&S soft brown malted loaf, with yoghurt, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and pepper, which have fuelled me and companions on manly longer runs, failed me. So were my favourite M&S cheese and onion rolls, not a favourite this day. Jono doing his best to feed me jelly babies and mixed nuts, me quietly stuffing them into a jacket pocket (and which almost ended up in the washing machine that night). So I focussed on deep breathing, to keep my legs working aerobically, with regular stops to take 3, always 3, a strange but effective habit of mine, swigs of water. My legs kept working, albeit slowly, and I kept hydrated, so no complaints. Great Gable seemed higher than last time I climbed it, though. And so did Kirk Fell. Descents of both were taken carefully, not least to avoid filling shoes with stones from the screes, successfully accomplished.

The wind was more noticeable on the climb up Pillar, in some places sheltered, others a strong crosswind. Where the path was wide enough, Colin and Jono, both taller and broader than me, did their best to provide some shelter for me from the wind. Scoat Fell in the clag but a good view of Steeple as we ran over to it. Haycock seemed to take a long time to reach and to climb and, along with Pillar, good summits to get under the belt. We had a good bearing and route-finding off Haycock and picked up the good path to Seatallan. Seatallan……a hard climb on the Wasdale and an even harder climb on tired legs on the JNC. More deep breathing and stops for 3 swigs of water, up and up on the grassy steps. Great relief on making the trig point - and on the compass bearing that ensured we made the correct choice of several trods off the summit. Middlefell at last. Slow up and slow down, legs on their last, to finish rather than against the clock. Great to see Viv waiting for us, and joining us on Greendale Bridge. Well knackered. Great support from Colin and Jono, neither of who had been doing lots of training beforehand, and most if not all of the summits were firsts for Jono - so well done and thanks to both. No Joss to meet us this time, he was tied up elsewhere and had sent his best wishes and apologies. Another very memorable crossing, with great friends and family, and a big thanks again to Joss (and Colin) for creating the Challenge.

Now to get some proper training in - to attempt a 4th crossing, well before I’m 70, in a faster time if I can - and to help me do that, sort out my eating on longer runs.

Time allowed : M60-65 18hrs (15hr schedule). Time taken: 14hrs 20min

With special thanks to:

Viv Lumb for providing vehicle, catering and morale support at Kirkstone Pass, Dunmail Raise and Greendale Bridge - and for stress caused by planning the crossing on our daughter’s due date.

Daz Moore (main) & Jim Louden for support on Leg 1 Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass

Jim Louden for support on Leg 2: Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise

Richard Holliday, Colin Dulson & Jono Lumb for support on Leg 3: Dunmail Raise to Styhead

Colin Dulson & Jono Lumb for support on Leg 4: Styhead to Greendale

Ian Charters, Peter Ferris-Naylor & Rainer Burchett for their very appreciated JNC support.

Colin, Rob Blyth, Jim & Jono for their always fun company and encouragement on the fells (and mountains in China, Jono) in training for this and enjoying life in general.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Julian Lailey (M70) - 15 August 19

LEG 1 Set off from Pooley Bridge an hour before midnight in decent weather and good visibility. Even the full moon made a brief appearance above Loadpot. But that changed dramatically by Raven Howe and for the rest of the leg the rain, wind and clag slowed the pace. But excellent navigation and support from Dick and Dave meant I was only 21 minutes down on my schedule by Kirkstone.

LEG 2 The rain and wind never let up on this leg and my headtorch packing in just after Red Screes didn’t help. Decided not to stop to replace as dawn wasn’t far away and keeping just one step behind Chris meant we didn’t drop our rhythm A couple of minor navigational errors and the tough conditions meant we arrived at Dunmail only 30 minutes down on schedule. In the circumstances, very promising as the forecast was for better weather to come and my 20 hour schedule meant I still had a 3 ½ hour buffer.
LEG 3 Relief as the rain began to ease as we climbed up Steel Fell and by the ascent to High Raise it had stopped. We had our first glimpse blue sky and conditions improved by the minute. From the top of High Raise to Greendale conditions became nigh perfect, with only a hairy moment on Rossett Pike, when a sudden gale nearly blew us away, and a difficult traverse on wet rocks over to Bowfell to slow us down. We rapidly ate into the time deficit and by Sty Head we were only 8 minutes of schedule. Now we could relax, confident of a successful finish.

LEG 4 Spirits high, fortified by a feast brought up from Wasdale Head by our supporters, we bounced up Great Gable in glorious sunshine. This leg was a dream and the clear views across Lakeland we magical. The contrast to legs 1 and 2 couldn’t have been more dramatic and we picked up time on each summit. We even had time to take a break on Haycock, admiring the sight of the Isle of Man basking in bright sunshine. Climbing up Seatallan was always going to be tough but that came and went quickly enough and we could enjoy the run through Middle Fell and down to Greendale Bridge. The finishing time was 18 hrs 55 mins, over an hour ahead of schedule and over 5 hours ahead of the time allowance.

My heartfelt thanks go to the most wonderful and accomplished team of navigators and supporters anyone could wish for: Mike, Dick, Dave, Chris, Iain, Mark, Andy, Mary, Gavin, Philip, Jonny, Serena and Kezi – my successful completion was as much their triumph as mine. A big thank you to my sponsors, whose generosity will be greatly appreciated not only by me but especially by the Macmillan Cancer Nurses and the Orienteering Foundation. And, of course, a big thanks to the great man Joss, who despite recovering from pneumonia was there at the finish.
Julian Lailey (M70)

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Mary Ockenden (W60) & Gavin Smith (M60) - 05 August 19

Mary Ockenden

In the fell running and orienteering community, everyone knows exactly how old you are, so an approaching milestone birthday cannot be quietly ignored. So, after being inspired by supporting Nick Hewitt with his 4th (!) JNLC success in October 2018, I considered the possibility of making my own attempt to mark my 60th birthday. Hence, after months of preparation, including some trail racing in France and plenty more time out on the fells, I decided to go for it. As my husband, Gavin Smith, had come with me on all the route checking and training he decided he would also like to make his own attempt. He proposed that we do it together. Although initially I had reservations, I did finally agree, based on our very similar times on races up to 6 hours long or days on the fells up to 12 hours. But neither of us knew how we would be after nearly 18 hours. We chose the date: Monday 5th August 2019 – a weekday, which made organising a support team more restrictive, but the only date when all three of our children (also keen runners and orienteers) would be available to support.

The birthday came and then before we knew it we were standing on Pooley Bridge in the dark at 4am with Chris Roberts.
Gavin, Chris and Mary on Pooley Bridge (photo: John Ockenden)

It wasn't actually raining when we set out but it wasn't far off and within an hour we were all back in rain jackets and into the cloud. After a weekend of thunderstorms and very heavy downpours, the ground was very soggy. I was very grateful for waterproof socks, which definitely kept out the worst of the bogs but did not stop the rain running down from the top! We squished our way steadily up the ridge, trying to eat and drink little and often. According to Chris there was a tent near the top of High Street, but I didn't see anything in the cloud and rain.

Descending from High Street in the cloud (photo: Gavin Smith)

Somewhere on the way down to Kirkstone Pass it stopped raining, but we didn't drop out of the cloud until we got right to the pass. That didn't give the support team much warning of our arrival, but fortunately they were brilliantly prepared with hot tea and porridge. I didn't really know what I would feel like eating at the end of each leg, but I found the warm food and drink very easy on the stomach. Thanks John, Tom, Helen, Julian and Nick for your welcome at Kirkstone.

After a short break and a restock of water and food to munch on, we were off again, this time with Julian Lailey. As we climbed Red Screes, the cloud began to break up a bit and we got a few clear patches down to the pass where we could still see the support vehicles. The weather steadily improved during this leg, and although the tops were still in cloud, we had some wonderful views down the valleys, with a bank of threatening cloud above. The support team at Dunmail Raise could see us on the skyline, and once again they had tea brewing. Smoothie, tea, cheesy bean slice, rice pudding and tinned peaches this time. In retrospect, maybe this was too much, as my stomach was a bit uncomfortable on the following leg. Thanks, John, Helen, Annie, Abi, Ian and Mike for food, drink and chairs at Dunmail!

Still on our schedule, we started the pull up Steel Fell, led by our daughter Helen and with Mike Johnson accompanying to take over on Leg 4. We still hadn't seen a single person apart from the support team. With the weather still brightening, we had our first glimpses of the sun, and a beautiful view up to High Raise. The first people we met were at the top of Far Easedale, at about midday. The climb up Birks Gill and the tussocks near the top of High Raise felt harder than usual, as legs were beginning to feel the effort. With a slightly uncomfortable stomach I found it more difficult to eat, but managed to nibble on Hula Hoops, nuts and dried apricots. I love the climb up Bow Fell, especially when you get the line just right and pop out on the plateau just below the summit.

Nearing the summit of Bow Fell (photo: Mike Johnson)

The tops were all in cloud again by this time, but views below the cloud base were beautiful. With some trepidation I knew we were approaching the steep and rocky descent off Great End, my least favourite section of the whole route. Luckily, the rock was almost dry and after the most rocky steep part in the cloud, we were met with a fantastic view all the way down to Sty Head Pass, where we could see our son John, daughter Annie and her friend Abi already waiting for us. For them, watching, it must have seemed like a slow descent (it was, but I had allowed for that in the schedule). Hot, sweet coffee with more peaches and rice pudding set me up for Leg 4. Thanks John, Annie and Abi for carrying an assortment of goodies up to Sty Head (and then carrying all the things we didn't want back down again!). It was great to have a choice, because I found that some foods, that had been great during previous runs, I couldn't face on the day and some things that I hadn't asked for but they had brought anyway were just right!

Mike led us ably on Leg 4. Helen was having such a nice time she decided to carry on with us too, which was particularly useful in case Gavin and I were moving at different speeds (but in fact we were still very similar). John joined us for Great Gable and Kirk Fell before descending to move the car to Greendale. After Sty Head we were back into the cloud again, and didn't see any more clear summits. Fortunately, the forecast possible thunderstorms did not materialise. Our schedule allowed for slow and cautious descents off Great Gable and Kirk Fell, including the impressive red gully.

Descending from Kirk Fell (photo: Mike Johnson)

The SW wind was quite strong on Pillar, but perhaps meant that Steeple was not as windy as it can be. After Steeple, and the end of the rocky terrain, I began to believe that we could actually complete the route in time. Middle Fell has always been one of my favourite fells: not too big for horrible weather days, generally quiet and great views in good weather. As a child. growing up in Gosforth, I often climbed it with my parents. Subsequently, Gavin and I introduced our own children to it when they were younger. But I have never been as happy to reach the summit as I was on this challenge! It was great to be met near the summit by Abi. John also ran half way up to meet us and then skipped back down to get the tea brewing! We made it to Greendale Bridge in 17 hours 33. Unfortunately Joss was ill, so it was down to Ian Roberts to perform the 'meet and greet'. A brilliant surprise was that my sister Jane and her husband David Hewitson (who live locally) had turned up at Greendale on a whim, not knowing anything about our progress other than our scheduled arrival time, but obviously more confident than me that we would finish!

What a fantastic day! My overwhelming memory is the fantastic support and enthusiasm of all those involved. What can be better than a day in the hills surrounded by family and friends. Thank you to all of you. Thanks also to all who have donated to my chosen charity, The Alzheimer's Society, for which I have raised more than £400 so far.

Driving: John Ockenden
Leg 1: Chris Roberts, Gavin Smith
Leg 2: Julian Lailey, Gavin Smith
Leg 3: Helen Ockenden, Mike Johnson, Gavin Smith
Leg 4: Mike Johnson, Helen Ockenden, John Ockenden (to Black Sail Pass), Gavin Smith
Food supplies, welcomes and enthusiasm: Annie Ockenden, Abi Plowman, Tom Matthew, Nick Hewitt, Ian Roberts

Gavin Smith

My wife Mary Ockenden and I attempted the JNLC on 5 August 2019. We had run or walked each leg multiple times in the preceding weeks and we devised a bespoke schedule of 17h30 based on our recces. We felt fit and confident that (given reasonable weather) we could complete the whole route, but we were unsure of how much we might slow down towards the end.

We set off from Pooley Bridge with Chris in the dark at 04:02. It soon started raining and then we were in fog and cloud all the way until we dropped into Kirkstone Pass. We were a few minutes behind our schedule here. The support team was ready with hot drinks, lots of food and great encouragement. Julian then led us briskly through Leg 2 and by shaving a few minutes from the two breaks at the road crossings we were back on schedule leaving Dunmail Raise.

Leg 3 was the nicest part of the day, with views forward to Bow Fell, Esk Pike and the waiting Leg 4 peaks, all with their tops in cloud. Helen led us brilliantly through this leg keeping us unerringly close to our schedule. Mike joined us for the whole of this leg too. We had been the only people out on our route all morning, and we saw the first others about noon at the top of Far Easedale.

Climbing Esk Pike (photo Mike Johnson)

The descent from Great End to Sty Head was where I felt most tired, but more food and drink at Sty Head revitalised me.

During our recces we had tried out various types of food to eat on the move and decided on our favourites. However on the day I found most of it unpalatable and so drank well but ate little while moving. I compensated with lots of food at the stops. Good for me and easy to consume were tea and doughnuts, rice pudding, tinned peaches, and Asda smoothies. The support team did a fantastic job having everything ready and in the right places at the right time.

Helen, Abi, Annie, Mike, Mary and Gavin (photo John Ockenden)

For Leg 4, Mike led the way. Helen stayed with us to the end, and John managed to fit in Great Gable and Kirk Fell before dropping down from Black Sail to meet Annie and Abi and take his car to Greendale. All the Leg 4 tops were in the cloud but we continued to make good progress and it was great to reach Middle Fell with 62 minutes in hand for our final descent. We finished in 17h33, remarkably close to our schedule.

We saw the fabulous views during our recces rather than the run itself, but that’s what we’re used to on the fells. It was hard, but it wouldn’t be a worthwhile challenge if it wasn’t hard.

My thanks to all our pacers and supporters for making possible a great day out on the fells, to Joss for inventing the challenge, and to Mary for first proposing that we attempt it. My chosen charity is Wasdale Mountain Rescue.


Leg 1 – Chris Roberts (Black Combe/SROC)
Leg 2 – Julian Lailey (SROC)
Leg 3 – Helen Ockenden (SROC/CUOC) & Mike
Leg 4 – Mike Johnson (Bowland/SROC) & Helen
Head of Logistics – John Ockenden (Bowland/SROC/Drongo)

Support team – Annie Ockenden, Abi Plowman, Nick Hewitt, Tom Matthew, Ian Roberts