Introduction

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, 30 November 2018

Bryan Carr (M55) - 14 April 2018


I had wanted to do a JNLC since supporting over legs 3/4 in 2011. Having lost all interest in competitive running from my late 40`s, with absence of racing and speed sessions all pace went, so now I can only muster a sedate plod. A sub 12 hr completion as a V50 I felt to be unachievable which meant hanging on until 55. This belief was reinforced by friend and companion on many adventures in the hills Jon Whilock`s 11 hours 20 minutes completion as a V50 in 2017. 2018 marked my 55th year, thus gaining the extra vital 3 hours. April 14th was picked as the day. I stepped up my miles from January but the Winter weather made big hill training difficult. A trip out for the HPM was torpedoed by the Beast from the East. A planned recce weekend coincided with the arrival of Beast from the East 2. The first day we did legs 1 and 2 in conditions that were simply dangerous. Not having learnt any lessons, and with a further sprinkling of snow during the night the next day we went up to Styhead with the idea of recceing the descent from Great End. Just gazing up at it, whilst trying to stand up in the gale with skin and eyeballs freezing told us it would be suicidal. Undeterred, Great Gable became the target. 10 steps of ascent later, trying to balance on the sheet ice on the flags whilst battered by hurricane laid bare our stupidity so down we came. With 10 days to go I acquired infection with the small round virus at work. The gastrointestinal upset settled within 24 hours but I was left feeling washed out and knackered. Walking the dog was trial. The whole thing looked in jeopardy. With 3 days to go I was feeling almost better, so it was game on.
There was no schedule as such. I knew the peril of schedules (Simon Reed`s Ramsay Round) so just had a rough plan to be at Dunmail within 6 hours and Styhead within 10, leaving 5 for the big beasts at the end. The plan was aided by my watch battery having run out 2 days before so I had no idea what time it was anyway. At 04.48 with Jon, Bryan Lomas, and Todd Coxhead it was off. As we climbed, we entered thick clag which was to persist all the way to Steel Fell. The combination of dark, clag, and very wet going underfoot made for slow progress. By Loadpot Hill the headtorches were off, but the clag made navigation challenging. Jon`s nav was faultless so steady progress was continued. By Kidsty Pike a biting easterly wind necessitated donning of cags, hats and gloves. Jon`s route choice to Kirkstone was spot on, and Dave Harrison was waiting in his van to offer encouragement as we passed through. The route choices through leg 2 were spot on, and spirits in the group remained high. As we dropped out of the clag in the descent to Dunmail, we could see Steel Fell rising like a colossus into the mist on the other side of the valley.
Bryan and Todd handed over to Pete Carvell, Keith Covell, and Ant Bethell whilst Jon carried on. In anticipation of better weather to come spare fleece and overtrousers were ditched to reduce baggage. As we passed Steel Fell summit, the clag began to break, and sunlight burst through the cloud above. The cloud melted away, and thereafter the day was perfect, and we were treated to the stunning vista of hills we had previously been denied. We met Dave just below the drop off cairn for the descent from Great End, and we could see Andy Swift in day-glo kit waiting what seemed a huge distance below. There was some debate as to the best route choice of either direct drop off versus retracing steps to Esk Hause to get to Styhead as we descended. I suspect the best way is the way you aren`t going. Jon had cut off from below Rossit Pike to Styhead, and was waiting with words of encouragement at the stretcher shelter. Keith called it a day, and descended with Jon for a well earned pint in the pub. We plodded on. From Great Gable summit my wheels began to fall off, reflecting lack of hill training. Eating and drinking had become a real chore. Dave`s orienteering background showed in flawless line choice. Ant demonstrated his descending prowess in the scree run off Gable dropping like a peregrine as we tried our best to emulate his speed. The descent from the gully from Kirk Fell was made more interesting by a huge patch of snow at its entrance, with a drop into the abyss on the right. 
Leg 4 - photo: Ant Bethell

A slip would have resulted in serious consequences. Pete called it a day and dropped down to Wasdale. My flagging morale was maintained by the group banter, and stunning views of Wasdale and the coast. The hills appeared even more beautiful as the sun lowered. After the drop-off from Seatallan Ant suddenly spotted he had lost his GPS. There were no volunteers to accompany him in his quest back to find it, so he retraced our steps alone.
 Middle Fell summit soon came, and the fantastic descent to Greendale Bridge where the team were waiting. What a relief to finish, at 17.41, 12 hours and 53 minutes after starting. By the time I had begun to feel vaguely human again Ant had returned, reunited with his missing kit. Perfect end to a perfect day! Sorry to Todd and Bry who saw nothing on the hills apart from the clag!
Many thanks to Carrie for road support, and Bryan Lomas and Pete Carvell (Congleton Harriers, my club), Todd Coxhead, Keith Covell and Andy Swift (Rolls Royce Harriers), Jon Whilock (Staffordshire Moorlands AC), Ant Bethel (Eyri Harriers), and Dave Harrison (Dark Peak FR) for support in the hills.

No comments:

Post a Comment