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, 9 November 2016

Rob Mckeever (M65) - 18 June 2016

I have never been noted for my endurance running but I suppose a have-ago-attitude helps. This attribute coupled with a generous 24 hours time limit (v65) laid the foundations for an ‘attempt’ at The Joss Naylor Challenge. So after about 4 weeks training, including a rest week in between! And a bit of reccie-ing, a rule of thumb schedule of 18 hours 30 minutes was set
So there I was on Pooley Bridge ready to go at 3.30am. Just 48 miles and 17,000’ ahead of me.
The first leg is essentially a straightforward one and so it was, even in the mist. This leg is mainly conducted along the ridge linking Arthurs Pike to Thornthwaite Beacon. Some of the tops are a little indistinguishable but my pacers all experienced fell runners Phil Newton, Mike Berry and Mike Jewell were brilliant at picking them out and we reached Kirkstone at 7.35am, 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
After a 15 minute rest, we (Will and Sue Ross and Ian Verber) set off up Red Screes, it’s a stiff but short climb. After reaching the summit we headed towards Hart Crag just as the early morning mist was lifting. After Hart Crag, Fairfield was soon reached. Will, a veteran of endurance runs, navigated whilst Sue and Ian kept me at a steady pace, by 10.30 we had descended to Dunmail. Leg 2 done and dusted!
Now for the hard bit, Steel Fell. I had run 24 miles and then had to ascend a 1000’ stairway; well that’s what it felt like. From there High Raise and Rossett Pike were visited. From Rossett Pike; Bow Fell was an awesome sight I couldn’t find a way up on my reccie, as there is no path but I had every confidence in Peter Grayson, my confidence wasn’t misplaced we were at the summit in 46 minutes. Esk Pike and Great End were next, the decent of Great End is tricky but he knows a good route, thanks again Peter.
At Sty Head, I was on tired legs but full of spirit and it was a comfort to know I was in the capable hands of Pete and Hazel Taylor. They jammed me in-between the two of them going up Gable, what a good idea I thought with Pete leading the way Hazel can catch me if I stumble as I gingerly put one shaky leg before the other. As ever, at the summit of Great Gable there was a crowd, we noticed someone on the last legs of his Bob. Pete knew him well (Lee Proctor of Helm Hill?) and shouted some encouraging words, he acknowledged Pete, smiling away, he looked remarkably fresh to me, almost enjoying himself, having a good time even (ever felt **ssed off?).
The descents of Gable and Kirk fell were a touch awkward but were navigated brilliantly by Pete. At Black Sail Pass I laid down on the grass for another mandatory forced feeding from the Taylors, they forget, unlike them I have loads of surplus reserves to draw on, but of course they were right, so a few more hundred calories were digested. I knew at Pillar it would be virtually all over but I had to get there first, my schedule was slipping so off we went. 
Pillar is not that steep of an ascent but a drag, a long drag, at the time a never ending long drag on the way I said to Hazel 
"I hate Pillar, I am not coming up here again, ever!" 
Yet when I did this with Peter G 2 weeks ago, it was oh so easy. We reached the summit at 19.25 the views were fantastic, it was a beautiful evening the sun was setting and the full moon was rising. Pete and Haze thanked me for such a good night out, Sorry but don’t I owe you?
It was now all plain sailing we contoured Black Crag and jogged to Stepple via Scoat Fell, then onto Haycock, circumvented High Pikehow to Seatallan. Plain sailing did I say! (steep) Seatallan, a cruel Naylor trick introduced at the peak of his powers (I mentioned this to him at the end nae lad I went up it 103 times last year..............and he was 78/79).
The best part of the Challenge for me was leaving Seatallan, on a good a path to Middle Fell from there onto an efficient descent that lead us to Greenside where we pulled back 5 minutes. And Joss was there, waiting, a diminutive figure at the bridge a man whose name is synonymous with endurance fell running, a living legend. I had just completed HIS challenge and HE was there to meet ME, did I feel good, as high as a kite you might say + steroids x 2 to the power of 10.
Karen my wife had also been waiting patiently for over an hour and after we had a good exchange with Joss, she drove us to the pub to celebrate. Oh I nearly forgot 18 hours 49 minutes just outside my schedule, a great day and with good weather.
I am in debt to all that helped me; all my pacers were supportive, encouraging and understanding. Thanks to Keith and Karen for their help on logistics. Without the support of my helpers this would never have happened. I would be happy to return the favour sometime.

Descending Kirk Fell
(photo: Pete Taylor)

(photo: Pete Taylor) 

(photo: Hazel Taylor) 

Greendale Bridge
(photo - Karen Mckeever)

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