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.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Andy Watts (M65) – 20 June 2015


We set off from Pooley Bridge at 4:45 on this my second Joss Naylor traverse (the first having been in 2010, aged 60).  This was to be a ‘lightweight’ day out, with just two pacers, Joe Llewellyn taking legs 1 and 2 to Dunmail, and Ian Smallwood going through from there to the finish, with the two of them sorting out car transportation between them.  In the event we had several more helpers and at times became quite a large party.

The weather forecast was for intermittent rain and light winds, and so it turned out, except that we were in clag all day barring a couple of hours in the afternoon.  The first stage went well, and we found our way up to High Street and down to Kirkstone with no problems.  I had planned to walk straight through at Kirkstone, but we were joined by Nick and Clare Harris and a climbing friend Jonathan, and paused briefly for introductions.  Route-finding over to Hart Crag was difficult, and we ended up going North from Scandale Tarn and following the wall as a useful handrail.  Nick demonstrated the grassy route down from Fairfield, but I stuck to the zig-zags.  At this stage I was wearing Hokas – really good shoes for long distances on rock, but hopeless on wet grass!  Coming down Seat Sandal was a bit hair-raising with slidy shoes on the steep slope, but we reached Dunmail in good shape, if rather down on schedule.


IMG_20150620_112818At Dunmail, Andy Watts is third from the left. (photo: Mike Langrish)

It was good to be met by Mike Langrish at Dunmail, and to be joined by Geoff Cox.  After a change of shoes and socks, and a full ‘expedition foods’ serving of porridge with strawberries (800 calories and thoroughly to be recommended) we set off up Steel Fell 25 minutes down.  This was a very wet section, with light persistent rain adding to the heavy clag, but we kept up reasonable time until the descent off Great End, which seemed to take for ever.  This section deserves a thorough recce, as looking back on it from Sty Head Pass there seems to be a grassy route down on the Western flank.  We stopped at Sty Head only long enough to liberate a couple of hot-cross buns (excellent mountain food), a banana, and to top up the jelly baby pocket.  A brief window of sunshine gave superb views.

At this stage tiredness was beginning to set in, and I was losing a few minutes on each peak, particularly on the descents.  The clag returned on the way up to Scoat Fell, and we were treated to the rare sight of a perfectly circular rainbow on the mist down in the valley.  I’m reliably informed that this phenomenon is called a Brocken Spectre, and it was very impressive, if just about impossible to photograph – my poor attempt turned out looking more like a sheep in a fog.  Route finding on this leg is not too demanding, though we had to cast around after Haycock to find the runnable way down.  I was surprised to find clear trods all the way across to Seatallan, as I remember having to go just on compass bearing five years ago.  My descent of Middlefell must have been painful to behold as I was now going very slowly on the rocky path, and I lost a further 15 minutes on this section alone.  Joss came out to meet us at Greendale Bridge, and it was great to have a few minutes chatting – it was limited to no more than a few minutes partly because it was already getting dark, and also because the midges were out in force.

The final result was a successful traverse, taking 17 hours 40 minutes, approximately 3 hours more than I took in 2010 but still well within the 24 hour limit.  I think we probably lost an hour or so due to the weather, and the accumulation of minor route errors caused by the clag. An hour at least was due to taking the whole event at quite a relaxed pace, determined to enjoy it rather than go for a time.  But part of the difference must be due to the legs being 5 years older than last time!


AndyWattsAndy and Ian at Ore Gap – thanks to Geoff Cox for the photo.

A great day out on the hills, and thanks to Joe and Ian for pacing, and to Clare, Nick, Jonathan and Geoff for their company.

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