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.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Don Talbot (M60) - 6th September 1991

Don Talbot was the first to take up the challenge although this wasn't his intention. When Joss announced the details Don was a couple of months short of his 60th birthday and didn't fancy his chances of completing it within 12 hours, (In those days there wasn't a category for 55 year olds) so he decided to wait until the extra time would be available, after his birthday.

This delay caused Don some anxiety and he confessed to his wife Marjorie that he was concerned and that, "If I am not careful I could miss out on getting a tankard." This turned out not to be a groundless worry as Don was the only contender in 1991.

In his own words, Don recalls his day thus - 

A sprained ankle had delayed my attempt from 28th August until Friday 6th September and having decided on a 05:00 start from Pooley Bridge, it became neccessary to camp overnight near the start. Fellow club member Phil Taylor came to the rescue by providing his caravan and the loan of his son Jonathon as pacer/navigator. Len Farnsworth was also on hand to provide assistance on the early leg. He dropped Jonathan and I at the start and after the customary photo-call we daeparted on the dot.

A clear, starlit morning augured well for the rest of the day. As we climbed Barton Fell the sun began to break through and I found it neccessary to stop occassionally and view the landscape to the North, East and West; it would have been sacrilege to have ignored such an ideal morning.

Arthur's Pike was reached 13 minutes ahead of schedule and the deer were out to greet us on Loadpot Hill. Inken Blunk, a Rucksack Club lady, met us at Kirkstone with a very welcome brew, which was an unexpected pleasure as she wasn't due to join me until Dunmail. Jonathon cut back to Pooley Bridge at Fairfield as we pushed on. At Dunmail, after another brew, Len moved over Inken and then he took the car round to Wasdale. Where would we be without such stalwart helpers? Len had remarked earlier about the lack of people out on the fells on such a fine day; this pattern continued throughout the rest of day. The afternoon passed pleasantly, with an ever changing scene and, as Gable came nearer I reflected on how, in the early morning it had looked miles away. Peter Cockshott, another Rucksacker, was waiting at Beck Head with fruit, rice pudding, cake and drinks, wonderful sustenance to see me to the end of the route. Peter stayed with me to the end, occasionally plying me with drinks and flapjack.

Atop Haycock it was especially satisfying to sit awhile and reflect on the day; a most invigorating trip in wonderful country with marvelous friends. This was living, with a capital 'L'.

Len was waiting at Greendale Bridge and Joss had come along to welcome us in. It really was such a wonderful day. Thanks to all.


  1. I love reading these accounts. My Grandad was the 4th person to complete the challenge (Don Ashton) and it's something I aspire to do when I reach the eligible age category. Will be following the blog closely :)

    1. Great to hear from you, Calvin, and thanks for letting me know you enjoy reading these accounts - I am very pleased you do