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.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Mick Hoffe (M65) - 06 October 18

In September I returned from the Dolomites in Italy having completed the Alta Via 2, a 12 day trek in the mountains, feeling fit and healthy. So decided the time was right, now or never, to have a go at the Joss Naylor Challenge. I decided to raise money for the North West Air Ambulance and to encourage my pacers to help me out, go for what I thought was a reasonably ambitious target of 15hrs. Wendy thought over ambitious. So a date was set, Sat Oct 6th, and pacers were contacted. A 4am start was planned so hopefully finish in daylight at 18.40pm.

At 3.55am David and I were ready to go, maps in hand, head torches on, at Pooley Bridge. Suddenly nature called and we had to dash in the opposite direction to the public toilets. So after our quick detour we finally left at 4.02am. Conditions were good, dry with a gentle northerly wind. All went pretty smoothly on this 16m section to Kirkstone Pass. We had a slight problem on High Street when I was ahead and David had to replace the batteries in his head torch so for about 10 minutes we lost touch in the dark. Fortunately after a bit of shouting and wondering around we reconnected and carried on over Thornthwaite Beacon and Stoney Cove Pike. The only other incident was when I tripped on a couple of occasions and crashed to the ground. Very concerned, each time David suggested we walk for a bit, I think he thought I’d had a mild heart attack. However, each time we decided it was safe to continue.

At Kirkstone the new pacers, Colin and Chris were sitting comfortably in the van enjoying a cup of tea and a chat. They looked a bit surprised that we had arrived on schedule and it was time to head off up Red Screes. The north wind had now increased in strength and it was quite chilly on the tops. We made good progress with Chris leading the way and Colin protecting me from the wind and generally making comments (not complementary) about my lean physique possibly to take my mind away from task in hand. Still in shorts, with the northerly wind increasing in strength, it was observed my legs were vibrating unproductively, so for the descent off Seat Sandal we stopped to don some over trousers.

Warm once again after the descent to Dunmail, and now 21 minutes ahead of schedule we met up with the support team, Nicky, and Wendy, my next pacer. Eating was proving difficult but the rice pudding and cup of tea went down well. We set off up Steel Fell with Wendy leading the way and worrying that I’d blown my chances after the last, faster than planned, section. The weather was still dry with some sunshine, but the wind still quite cold. The section from Steel Fell to Rossett Pike felt like hard work with gradual climbs and boggy, energy sapping conditions. Wendy chatted most of the way and I responded with probably about five words during the 4 hour section, two of which were “knackered and sick”, and the other three were, “yes still here”. Nevertheless in spite of my protestations and dragging my feet, Wendy picked some great lines from Rossett Pike all the way to Great End and then down the ridge to Styhead so that we arrived, again about 25 minutes ahead of schedule. She also proved very good at cadging drinks from walkers along the way, mainly, I think, because she found them more responsive than her running partner.

On arrival at Styhead the next pacers, Nicky and Graham, had not arrived, totally underestimating Wendy’s ability to drive her reluctant partner faster than schedule. After cadging a coffee off another walker she legged it off into Wasdale to find our next pacers. I sat back in the sun at the rescue box, enjoying the coffee and grateful for a bit of respite and a slightly longer stop. They arrived after 12 minutes and after some more rice pudding set off up Gable. Graham leading the way, Nicky feeding and pushing the old fella ahead. Again some great lines down Gable and off Kirk Fell down Joss's Gully. The traverse round Black Crag and on up to Pillar. After Scoat Fell and Steeple it felt home was in site. Haycock and Seatallan quickly followed and then it was just Middle Fell to go. A fast descent down here through the dying bracken and a final stagger to Greendale Bridge and the marvellous welcome from Joss himself. I turned down his suggestion that I should lie down in the beck to recover, preferring to lie in the van with a cup of tea. Again we made great time on this section and shaved another 17 minutes off the schedule. It was a brilliant end to a glorious day, running with friends, chatting to Joss, Wasdale, all peaceful and quiet in the setting sun.

We finished the run in 13hrs 49mins a great time thanks to the encouragement and support from my very talented pacers and supporters. With gift aid we also managed to raise £615 for my chosen charity, the NW Air Ambulance, so a big thank you to all the people who sent in donations.

And a final thank you to Joss Naylor who set up this traverse in the Lakeland Fells and created the opportunity to do something challenging in the company of really special friends. A grand day out!


Leg 1 – David Appleyard
Leg 2 – Colin Dulson and Chris Lumb
Leg 3 – Wendy Dodds
Leg 4 – Nicky Lavery and Graham Watson

Support crew – Nicky Lavery

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