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.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Michael Burgess (M55) - 29 May 2016


The JNLC is a traverse of 30 summits over a distance of 48 miles and climbing 17,000 feet from Pooley Bridge (GR NY 470 244) to Greendale Bridge (GR NY 143 056).
Joss Naylor’s inaugural run was in 1990. The challenge was created with Chris Brasher offering engraved pewter tankards to successful contenders with the rules being that the attempts are validated and signed with at least £100 being provided to a charity. After 30 odd tankards were awarded in the first 10 years Joss secured on-going sponsorship for the tankards.


I asked for and got a great team of experienced navigators, pacers and logistical support lined up. I then practiced a few legs, worked out my schedule and logged my attempt with Ian Charters the JNLC Coordinator.
On the day of the attempt I got up at dawn had breakfast and strolled down from Park Foot Campsite along Ullswater with Verna, Nigel, Jane and Steve to meet John on the new Pooley Bridge.

Pooley Bridge

Leg 1 – Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass

We set off in crisp clear conditions, reaching Arthur’s Pike 8 mins under the schedule. This gave confidence as Leg 1 requires quite fast running to meet the schedule. For the first and only time we encountered cloud, on the summit of Loadpot Hill but this was gone as we raced past the derelict Lowther House. Raced, because we encountered and had to run through a rabbled cloud of crane flies that wanted to investigate our clothes, mouths and ears.

We soon reached familiar Hodgeson Mountain Relay route territory where we then detoured to Pike How and were able to miss out St Raven’s Edge getting to Kirkstone Pass.

Leg One

Leg 2 – Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise

Did you know that Kirkstone Pass is named after a nearby stone that has a silhouette that resembles a church steeple? Anyway the plan was to have a hobbit style second breakfast of porridge aside the 3rd highest pub in England (the others being Tan Hill in Yorkshire and the Cat and Fiddle in the Peak District.) The plan failed as the logistics crew hadn’t allowed for me being 30 minutes up on schedule. So it was off up Red Screes, where we passed Verna, Jane and Kirsty.

Alan led Steve and I on some great HMR lines to Scandale Pass and across to Hart Crag with breath-taking views coming off of Fairfield. Grisedale Tarn was a disturbingly dark black.

Support Team on Fairfield

I knew I was doing well as on the climb to Seat Sandal, Steve was behind me. Whereas during team events or mountain marathons Steve is invariably ahead on me seemingly strolling on climbs with hands clasped behind his back whilst I bring up the rear, often on all fours. So running into Dunmail was great and I was now almost an hour ahead of schedule.

Dunmail Raise

Leg 3 – Dunmail to Styhead Pass

After a few spoonfuls of porridge I set off with Ross and Simon up Steel Fell. Andy was a few minutes late so climbed to the summit in 17 minutes to catch us up.

Leg Three Start

With an hour in hand all I wanted to do was keep exactly to the schedule so it was running, taking in view across the Langdale Pikes and more running until the rocky climbs up Bowfell, Esk Pike and Great End. Simon led the way brilliantly off of Great End and suggested stopping to bathe in Styhead Tarn. Instead we ran into a crowd of supporters in party atmosphere at Styhead Pass with my hour still in hand.

Styhead Pass

Leg 4 – Styhead to Greendale Bridge

Leg Four Start

There were some steep climbs in short order on this leg and Great Gable didn’t disappoint. The support crew strolled to Wasdale, had a picnic and a pint of cool beer at the pub before heading towards Greendale. Still we more or less met the summit schedule all the way to Scoat Fell. Simon and Andy took a rest here to fuel themselves on more rolls and jelly babies to my occasional dextrose tablet taken on the move. Ross and I nipped across the col to Steeple as crossing a drawbridge to a Tintagel like Castle, thrilling route with great views.

Alan met us at the summit of Haycock and then led us to Seatallon. This allowed Andy and me to catch Ross and Simon, not least because they had the water. This is where I missed Kevin Harding and Rick Ansell as I daydream of them pushing me up this penultimate hill.
However, the daydream turned into calculating that I had time to walk the rest of the way and still be successful, so there was an air of celebration. Celebration became real 14 hours and 22 minutes from the start as we arrived at the finish to all our supporters waving and cheering. The boys held back to let me run in alone, but I wanted none of that. It was important to me to run in together not least because for me the support is not only needed but part of the fun.

The final run in off Middle Fell, nearly there! 

Final Run In

Joss was also waiting for us, so a quick shake of the hands, a photo on the Bridge and a sit down in the stream was the order of the day. Well that was a nice long day out in the hills!

SUPPORT TEAM – Thank you

My chosen charity is SSAFA (The Armed Forces Charity)

Friday, 9 September 2016

Barry Edwards (M55) - 25th June 2016

I recall thinking in 2015 as I was made redundant that I would be able to do a bit more running in the fells. I live in the flat lands of Beverley in East Yorkshire so running in the Lakes always takes a lot of time travel and effort. Whilst perusing the Gofar web site I saw the JNC. I knew nothing about it and didn’t really take any notice of the distance and schedules before I was declaring my intention of running it to anyone who would listen.

Being a man and once committed I thought that I had better read the “instruction book” and what a shock I got. This was much bigger than anything I had done before and little did I know that the biggest challenge was to jack-up the supporters for each leg. I don’t belong to a club so I had to rely on my son Tom, daughter Sarah along with Tom’s friends who were recruited (bribed) from all over the country. The support did include some Lakeland professionals Nick Barber, Rhys Findlay-Robinson and his sister Rachael.

The preparation was much harder than the actual event. I started serious recces in January and February sometimes in awful conditions including snow drifts and wicked wind/rain. The camper van is cold in February. I recced each leg at least three times. Jackie had to travel many miles in support because of the roads closed as a consequence of December’s storms.

Pooley Bridge - Ready to go

On the day Lady Luck was with me from the start with an ace team in place and the weather better than forecast although due to get worse as the day went on.  Pooley Bridge at 5.00am and away with helpers Ed and Rachael. Everyone in bed on the campsite as we looked up to Arthurs Pike in the distance. The best thing was that despite the timings being tight on leg 1 I hit the split times all the way across to High Street enjoying the beautiful views all the way.

The road team were surprised as I hit Kirkstone Pass ahead of time. Great flurry of activity and 5 mins later with new helpers Andy and Sarah, I ascended Red Screes. Felt good and relied totally on Sarah for navigation on this leg across to Dunmail Raise. This leg has a good number of route options and Sarah’s choice was sublime.

On arrival at Dunmail Raise I was 22 minutes up, waiting for me were Rhys and Steve Worthington to guide me on the most difficult leg. I had not done more than two legs at a time before, so I was into new territory. The support of an experienced team was absolutely essential for me, giving me the required confidence. Rhys was of course top-flight on the Navigation and Steve gently coached me to eat and drink whilst wrestling with my walking poles that I kept tossing back to him as running opportunities arose or the terrain was too steep for them. Nausea and stomach trouble was creeping in due to gels and other sugary food exacerbated by the exertion. Great climb up Bowfell buttress on the terraces which were dry making all the difference. Bowfell summit as ever was in cloud as was Esk Pike and Great End. I had recced the descent of Great End a number of different ways but Rhys trumped them all and identified a great way off. The potential for trouble was brewing though because I was now 40 mins ahead of time and I had to rely on the leg 4 team being at Styhead. Fortunately Tom and Pete arrived 30 secs before us although Nick B did miss the handover. Nick was due to run with Adam Perry on his monumental 24 hr challenge along with Rhys later in the day.

On Seatallan with Haycock in the mist beyond (Photo: Tom Edwards)

Great Gable in the cloud does not allow for an easy descent and I was taking more and more care as the day wore on. The weather was beginning to brew up in the north and we expected some serious downpours before Seatallen but again Lady Luck kept the rain off until I hit Middle Fell.

Greendale Bridge - Job Done!

Route completed in 13.39 a very satisfactory performance. I make no apologies for repeating the old cliché that without the team (including the road crew) Ricard, Jane and Jackie none of this would have happened. I was humbled by the support of people on the team I had never met before.

Celebrating with Joss (Photo: IWCharters)

Despite having just completed his 80th birthday challenge only a few minutes after my arrival Joss met me for a chat for which I will be eternally grateful.