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, 13 May 2015

Katy Thompson (W60) – 21 June 2014


It was 3.45 on a beautiful morning as George drove me and Mike Wallis down to Pooley Bridge where Ivan Whigham and Mick Dobson were waiting on the bridge. We set off at exactly 4 am, along the lake and through the campsite past our tents. As we climbed up to the ridge to Arthur’s Pike there was a thin layer of cloud looking like snow on the Helvellyn ridge and we could see over to Fairfield where I’d be in a few hours time. We kept a steady pace, walking as soon as I was even slightly out of breath. I was feeling much better than I expected at that time of the morning and we reached Arthur’s Pike 13 minutes ahead of schedule.

It was clear all the way to High Raise but then the mist blew across as we reached Kidsty Pike. As I touched the cairn Mike kept a sharp eye on the quad bike track across to Rampsgill Head. Then the long climb up to High Street. It seemed a long time before the trig point emerged out of the mist. Even Thornthwaite Beacon couldn’t be seen until we were very close.

The wind got up as we crossed Threshthwaite Cove, but at least it blew away the mist. Mike had great lines so it was no wonder that we were gaining on the schedule all the way. A steep grassy descent brought us to Kirkstone 40 mins ahead of schedule. George was ready with a drink and boiled potatoes – I didn’t eat them all but Bracken was quite willing to help me! My son Paul, Simon and Linda were there ready to support me on Leg 2.

We followed the path up Red Screes then across to Hart Crag, with Linda taking photos all the way. We pretty well kept to schedule over this leg, gaining just another 7 minutes. Simon ran ahead down to Dunmail to warn them we were coming. A good job as Jean and Wendy had not been there long and Lisa only arrived as I was changing my tights for shorts. I had been warned my first leg schedule was too slow but had decided not to change it as I didn’t know how I would feel and I thought it would be better to be up rather than down. But if I had changed it there might not have been such a rush at Dunmail

Linda carried on for the first part of the next leg. So it was five Clayton ladies that set off on the steep climb up Steel Fell. Jean was constantly reminding me to eat and drink, while Wendy was more interested in how many loo stops I had had! We didn’t see anyone until we reached High Raise just before noon. This was a busy place and there were plenty of people willing to take photos of the group. Karin and Doug joined us at Stake Pass across to Rossett Gill. Then it was the steep climb up to Bowfell where we lost the path slightly and tested Lisa’s fear of heights.

The terrain from Bowfell to Styhead is very rocky, but somehow the rocks don’t seem quite so bad when someone else is leading you across them and you’re chatting with friends.

Jude, Sarah, Andrew, Michelle and Dave were waiting at Styhead with extra water, food and a wet flannel. Jean, Lisa, Jude and Sarah left us to descend to Wasdale. The rest of us climbed up the steep path to Great Gable and down the rocky descent to Beck Head. Up Kirkfell and down the steep red gully. Then the longest climb of the day up to Pillar. Once there I felt confident that I could complete the challenge. Round Black Crags and up the giant blocks of rock to Scoat Fell, then out and back to Steeple. Although I was feeling pretty tired by now, I was still gaining on my schedule, especially on the ascents.

By this time I was finding it difficult to eat and drink and the steep climb up Seatallan was very hard; but there was not much further to go. Off Seatallan and then the final climb to Middlefell. Jean met us on the summit and there was only the descent through the bracken to Greendale Bridge and the welcoming committee, including Joss himself.

After numerous photos on the bridge everyone was telling me I’d gone green and then I was sick on the bridge. I was sick several times during the night and queasy all next day, but by the end of the week felt ok to do the Dollar Race! This may have been a mistake as it completely knocked me out for the following week!