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, 5 February 2020

Chris Lumb (60) - 17 August 2019

A Grand Day Out

An attempt at my 3rd Joss Naylor Challenge crossing and I’d not learned my lesson! My 2nd crossing was completed with only 12 days to spare before my 60th birthday. This one, less than a month before my 65th. And on my eldest daughter’s due date for our second grandchild……a few days before my son (and leg 3/4 support) was heading back to China ….. and a forecast of stormy weather with lightning….so no pressure!

Jim very kindly organised my support team of him, Daz and Richard for the first couple of legs. Jim also got me out on my longest training run for the JNC - a 5.5hr recce of the 1st leg to Thornthwaite Beacon and back via Place Fell. Mmmh - a distinct feeling of being unprepared!

Colin very kindly agreed to support on the last 2 legs from Dunmail Raise. My son, Jono, also took no persuasion to join us for support from Dunmail.

Our little WhatsApp group correspondence rapidly filled with updated weather forecasts, from our own favourite sources. As the Saturday got closer, the Mountain Weather Information Service (my favourite) gave us the following:

Wind SW 20-30mph (gusting up to 40mph)
Showers from the W, some heavy and becoming frequent - patches of sun mainly E
Hill fog am but cloud base at or above tops in pm
Temp 8-10C but will feel like 4-5C

NO lightning - we’re on!

Another, in the dark start - but this time, no fumbling around to feed money or credit cards into the LDNP car park by the river - no car park, washed away in Storm Desmond - no Leigh Warburton, appearing out of the dark, having driven up from Preston, unannounced but most welcome, to support me on a previous JNC. Dropped off by Viv, we made a spot on time start from the bridge. A brief and luxurious visit to Park Foot loos and we were onto a very wet underfoot fell - a good decision to wear my Sealskin socks. Good progress made along the ridge, into a fresh headwind or sidewind, with only one, heavy, shower. I’d treated myself to 2 new Harvey 1:25,000 maps of the route and, whilst the wind didn’t seem to trouble the running, it certainly caused me problems when re-folding and re-stuffing the map into its waterproof bag - luckily I managed to hang on to it. In fact, Leg 1 seemed to fly along, a combination of great support and a very engaging tutorial in pharmacology by Jim - who shared the research on heart disease that he’d been doing as part of his continuous professional disease. Fascinating….and then we were at Kirkstone Pass, via a neat little line below Raven Crag.

A quick mouthful of food, a big thanks to Daz and Viv, and Jim and I were off. A more leisurely scramble up Red Screes than my usual Sunday morning outing and sub-20 minute ascents. Couldn’t find a decent trod below Dove Crag but good lines and running up Hart Crag and Fairfield. A steady climb up Seat Sandal and a careful, good descent to Dunmail Raise. Very nice to see Rainer Burchett here, a veteran of 2 JNC crossings I think, kindly come to offer his support to us. Big mistake here in not taking, or being able to take, on board more food - only managed a cuppa and a piece of flapjack. Great to see Richard, Colin and Jono waiting for me.

Steel Fell taken gently - probably the first time Steel Fell and gently have appeared together in the same sentence - anyway Colin and I lagged well behind Richard and Jono as they chatted away, introducing themselves. Felt strange, in addition to tired, to then not to navigate to Calf Crag, which has been my standard BG support leg. Good lines up to High Raise and Rossett Pike. Bowfell ascent went well, claggy on top and rocks wet and slippy but a very familiar route and always a very welcome waymark. Esk Pike visited and followed the path off it, not risking trying to find Yiannis Tridimas’ shortcut. Found the good route up Great End in the clag but the descent was trickier. Very wet and slippy and difficult to pick up the cairns and faint, broken trod. Care definitely the order of the descent. And we didn’t inadvertently end up on the Corridor Route as we did on my previous crossing. All in all, very pleased. At Styhead, we said thanks and goodbye to Richard, who left us to run down to a lift waiting at Seathwaite.

Colin, Jono and I then started the long haul up Great Gable. It was then that my inability to take on board food really started to take effect. The carefully created tuna sandwiches, on M&S soft brown malted loaf, with yoghurt, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and pepper, which have fuelled me and companions on manly longer runs, failed me. So were my favourite M&S cheese and onion rolls, not a favourite this day. Jono doing his best to feed me jelly babies and mixed nuts, me quietly stuffing them into a jacket pocket (and which almost ended up in the washing machine that night). So I focussed on deep breathing, to keep my legs working aerobically, with regular stops to take 3, always 3, a strange but effective habit of mine, swigs of water. My legs kept working, albeit slowly, and I kept hydrated, so no complaints. Great Gable seemed higher than last time I climbed it, though. And so did Kirk Fell. Descents of both were taken carefully, not least to avoid filling shoes with stones from the screes, successfully accomplished.

The wind was more noticeable on the climb up Pillar, in some places sheltered, others a strong crosswind. Where the path was wide enough, Colin and Jono, both taller and broader than me, did their best to provide some shelter for me from the wind. Scoat Fell in the clag but a good view of Steeple as we ran over to it. Haycock seemed to take a long time to reach and to climb and, along with Pillar, good summits to get under the belt. We had a good bearing and route-finding off Haycock and picked up the good path to Seatallan. Seatallan……a hard climb on the Wasdale and an even harder climb on tired legs on the JNC. More deep breathing and stops for 3 swigs of water, up and up on the grassy steps. Great relief on making the trig point - and on the compass bearing that ensured we made the correct choice of several trods off the summit. Middlefell at last. Slow up and slow down, legs on their last, to finish rather than against the clock. Great to see Viv waiting for us, and joining us on Greendale Bridge. Well knackered. Great support from Colin and Jono, neither of who had been doing lots of training beforehand, and most if not all of the summits were firsts for Jono - so well done and thanks to both. No Joss to meet us this time, he was tied up elsewhere and had sent his best wishes and apologies. Another very memorable crossing, with great friends and family, and a big thanks again to Joss (and Colin) for creating the Challenge.

Now to get some proper training in - to attempt a 4th crossing, well before I’m 70, in a faster time if I can - and to help me do that, sort out my eating on longer runs.

Time allowed : M60-65 18hrs (15hr schedule). Time taken: 14hrs 20min

With special thanks to:

Viv Lumb for providing vehicle, catering and morale support at Kirkstone Pass, Dunmail Raise and Greendale Bridge - and for stress caused by planning the crossing on our daughter’s due date.

Daz Moore (main) & Jim Louden for support on Leg 1 Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass

Jim Louden for support on Leg 2: Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise

Richard Holliday, Colin Dulson & Jono Lumb for support on Leg 3: Dunmail Raise to Styhead

Colin Dulson & Jono Lumb for support on Leg 4: Styhead to Greendale

Ian Charters, Peter Ferris-Naylor & Rainer Burchett for their very appreciated JNC support.

Colin, Rob Blyth, Jim & Jono for their always fun company and encouragement on the fells (and mountains in China, Jono) in training for this and enjoying life in general.