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, 8 July 2015

Simon Cane (M65) – 14 June 2014


It was in November 2013 that Dick Towler invited any aging members of the Lakeland Orienteering Club to join him in preparing for the JNC, to be done on or after his birthday in June 2014. It seemed like a good idea to join in the fortnightly training sessions, and then assess nearer the time whether it seemed feasible to complete the challenge. So I joined in a series of ever longer speed-walks in weather that always seemed to challenge the efficiency of our thermal gear and waterproofs.

By the beginning of May, having completed just over two of the JNC legs in one go and in reasonable time, I decided I could no longer avoid joining in the challenge! Leaving everything to the last minute meant a first recce of leg 4 nine days before the day, and the need to share Dave Nield’s support crew on the route. I did, however, have the masterful support of my sister, Diana, and daughter, Sarah, at the rest stops. The week before the challenge was spent resting, planning and buying the food & kit for each rest stop & wondering if it was worth trying to sleep during the day before our 10pm start. The omens were good, possibly: it was Friday the 13th, and a full moon!

The first leg went very calmly - there was little wind. The light held for about an hour before head-torches were needed, and after a couple of hours the cloud started to break up and we got memorable sights of the moon reflecting in the nearby small tarns, and shimmering in distant Windermere. We arrived at Kirkstone almost half an hour ahead of schedule, disturbing a rather sleepy support crew!

The rest stop at Kirkstone went all too quickly, but the next leg over Fairfield in the growing light went without problems. In the distance ahead, however, the clouds seemed to be clinging to the peaks around Great Gable, and the visibility was less than during the night. We were still going faster than our schedule and by Dunmail Raise were over an hour ahead.

By High Raise I was in unknown territory, as we were now exceeding the longest distance we had done in training. All went well until Bowfell, where weariness set in, and I found I was unable to take in any significant amounts of food - even a single jelly baby made me feel vaguely sick. I began to doubt my ability to finish. As we descended a less than ideal route off Great End I saw Dick Towler ahead of us, despite him having started two hours after us - he was definitely going like a train!

At Sty Head I managed to eat a little, and was revived somewhat by two cups of tea, but setting off up Great Gable I struggled to keep up with Dave and his crew. However, summiting Great Gable after a slower pace & realising I could catch up on the downhill seemed to reassure me and confidence returned. At the same time as my confidence returned the cloud descended and little was seen of the next five summits. In addition there was a short shower and more wind as we went through Scoat Fell. In the mist we took an unintended direction of descent from Haycock - but the loss of time on this section was irrelevant to us as, despite out exhaustion, we had still be making faster progress than planned - and barring accidents knew we would be within the 24 hour limit. At this point Cliff Etherden caught us up - he also had started two hours after us!

The downhill finish was a dream and I did a totally unnecessary sprint to the bridge to overtake Cliff and finish to the applause of my club mates, including a shattered Dick, who had broken the 18 hour barrier. More importantly, there was Joss himself to greet us all in - a memorable end to the challenge. An hour later Carol McNeill & Jenny Helme appeared to complete our band of six achieving sub 24-hour times.

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