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.

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.    

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