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, 25 March 2015

Mike Hobson (M65) – 22 June 2014


11.30pm on Saturday 21st June. Two JNLC contenders, Roger Smith and I, both of Lakeland Orienteering Club (LOC) and our respective supporters, Pete Kidd and Iain Smith, sat on the bridge at Pooley Bridge waiting for midnight.  Roger and I were nervous, not only for what lay ahead, but also with the knowledge that the previous weekend, six fellow members of LOC completed the round comfortably within the 24hour schedule. Neither of us needed to say that the weight of expectancy was sitting heavily on our shoulders!

Midnight and we were on our way. And what a magnificent night it was!  All went like clockwork and at Kirkstone Iain handed me over to Tony and Pauline Richardson, fellow members of LOC and great friends. Roger kept his stop brief and set off well ahead of me. (In fact I wasn’t to see him again all day).  Kirkstone to Dunmail saw, for me, three ‘bad’ bits of the round dealt with – the descent off Fairfield, the ascent onto Seat Sandal and the descent down to Dunmail.

At Dunmail, Sheila was waiting for us with welcoming coffee and tea along with my leg 3 pacer Pete, my long time walking, climbing, running friend who did the JNLC in 17 hours aged 64.  Mike Langrish, acting for Ian Charters was also there to ‘meet and greet’ that day’s JNLC contenders.

Tony and Pauline were continuing to the head of Stake and then heading down to be collected from the ODG.  Steel Fell felt very comfortable, but the stretch to High Raise seemed interminable and was my only low point of the day, but a short rest there helped. And at the head of Stake, I said goodbye to Tony and Pauline, and hello to Selwyn Wright and Richard Lecky Thomson who were joining Pete and me for the rest of the leg to Sty Head. The climb up to Bowfell gave a problem when Pete unexpectedly announced he wasn’t feeling well. He went back down, met us at Esk Hause but then elected to miss Great End and went directly to Sty Head.  It was a shame, but he left me in good hands and great company. (Subsequently he felt that he had had too much sun).

At Sty Head I was delighted to see my supporters Julie (my son Andrew’s partner) and Dave and Helen Neild, and also Dick who had supported Roger.  Selwyn and Lecky returned to the ODG and Pete headed down to Wasdale with Julie. Andrew joined me here and we were to meet Sheila at Black Sail to make the last leg a family affair. My daughter Helen isn’t a fell walker, but she had done sterling work helping with transport, and was to be at Greendale for the finish.

The ascent of Gable was easy, but leaving the summit, I was too anxious to ensure we kept far enough right to avoid the screes. We became embroiled with the end rocks of Gable Crag and were forced to indulge in some exposed clambering to get back on route.  Sheila was at Black Sail with the news that Roger had passed some time ago ‘going like a train’. We had lots of time in hand and good visibility, although due to our lost time on Gable, against a schedule of just under 20 hours, we were now looking at a finish of just over 20 hours.  Sheila pushed us on, but in truth I didn’t mind.  I had wanted the day to be good, and to be memorable, not just for me but for all my supporters and I felt that had been achieved.  I had hired a tracker, which added an extra dimension to the day for my sponsors, many of whom were fascinated to follow my progress online. 

There was another good moment when we unexpectedly found Dave Neild waiting near the top of Middle Fell.  He kept us company on the final descent and then all that remained was to thank everyone waiting at Greendale and to shake hands with and chat to the great man himself.  A fitting end to a wonderful day!

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