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Bowland Fell Runners News: 2010

News: 2010

My Dad has been doing the boxing day run now for well over 30 years and has only missed the event twice. As you all know over the last few years it has changed only in that is has been adopted by Bowland as a yearly event. The mince pies and sherry are still supplied by my Dad (my Mum cooks the pies the week before...maturing them to perfection for the run!) and there are always a few left-overs from the Christmas night buffet, greedily consumed after the run! Last year the run was cut short by the weather (I'm sure you all remember the snow that arrived just before Christmas) after we all managed to get to near Carwags. This year, although there was a little snow on the ground, conditions were perfect and the views were lovely.

I think the confirmed number of runners was 24, a great turnout that I sort of expected from the keenness of members to turn out on frosty, slippy nights at Carwags! The run, as always, was slow and stodge burning, with lots of chat and only a little 'racing' towards the end! The near total absence of running in my life at the moment was sufficient to leave me a bit worried before the run but, as it turned out, all was well and the event was thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part. My Dad reflected on another year completed (he's now 71) and reckons that the run should keep him free of heart attacks for at least another year!!


Part of the 'Great Turnout'


Written by Lee Dowthwaite

Posted: Thu 30th Dec 2010


SOLSTICE RUN 21st December 

After fears of The Venue being inaccessible due to snow we were pleasantly surprised that most of the lanes around Chipping were quite passable even to tractionally challenged 2WD cars. A decent initial group of 7 bats parked up and set off up the hill at 6:30pm, climbing straight up D***'s trod to the summit. Conditions were snowy but not too icy so my metal dobs were not really required, and Alan Heaton's Katoola Microspikes, which he had with him, were never donned. There was a slight but biting wind blowing and this kept us moving quite effectively...
Keith had joined us at The Venue on his cyclo-cross bike and he had set off directly up the tourist path (we thought). When we arrived on the top we couldn't see him (even though we back tracked a short way to look for him). We ran down to the saddle and met Steve Cox (who had arrived late) and shortly after this I spotted Keith's light behind. It later turned out he had gone round the western flanking path. I had to stop briefly as we approached the higher fence and Alan Heaton went past with no head torch on (he seems to favour running without illumination).
At the top, we regrouped and Duncan fired off a solstice rocket and we then set off immediately back down - it was far too cold for hanging about! On the way down we met Les Orr ascending (good to see him out again after the best part of 3 years recovering from a motorbike accident) and a final surge over the last hill brought us back to The venue in just about an hour.
After changing we drove down to a very crowded pub for a pint and some of Curley's excellent Fish and Chips. Despite the front room being taken over by mountain bikers and Preston oiks.... ahem.. we managed to esconse ourselves comfortably in the corner of the back room for a grand bat natter and a good time was had by all.

FARLETON FELL 23rd December

Given the timing, with most people embroiled in pre Christmas preparations, I wasn’t exactly expecting a huge turnout for this run, despite it’s proximity to a large centre of Bowland population called Lancaster, and so it proved. After negotiating the only lightly snow covered lanes near Farleton I arrived to find just a bloke from Lytham and one from the distant lands of St Helens, many miles south of the Ribble. Yep, it was just me and the Walshes again!
We set off onto the fell, running on a perfect layer of thin floury snow, and were soon clambering up the steep climb overlooking the M6. I had been a bit apprehensive that this might be in ‘crampon’ condition but it just had a thin layer of snow on it and finding good footing was not a problem. In fact, conditions for the whole run were fantastic, with just enough snow to provide a bit of cushioning of the hard frozen ground and white-encrusted trees making the section through the Hutton Roof shrubbery look like Santa’s grotto. We almost took wrong turnings a couple of times but I noticed the errors immediately and got back on track without any real detours.
With the three of us all running strongly, we kept up a fairly brisk pace and we were back to the cars in 1:20 – some 17 minutes faster than last year (although that run did involve some er, tribulations).
We retired to the Smithy Inn in Holme for a pint of excellent beer and I accepted the default golden baton from Martin… If it continues like this, with just the three of us attending each Thursday, it will become a fairly pointless passing of the baton from me to Martin and back again… psst, want some easy extra points? Just be the fourth runner on the next Thursday run.


Once again, there was only a minimal turnout for this run, with many people probably training in daylight rather than waiting for darkness to run round Beacon Fell. The conditions (thawing slushy snow with some icy remnants) were not conducive to good running and most people just had a slither round then headed off to the pub.
Happy new year – see you in 2011!  
Posted: Thu 30th Dec 2010

Reports on this week's runs are below. Updated Bat League and Carwags Speed League tables are also now on the respective pages (apologies for the small size of the images - you may need to experiment with the zoom control) 

Tuesday 14th December - Carwags

In contrast to last week, Beacon Fell was virtually ice free and benign (just one small slippery patch had survived near quarry wood car park). Despite this it was a slightly reduced cloud of 14 bats who turned up at Carwags for a flutter through the trees.
Most settled for a steady run round the fig of 8 but Declan arrived ready to make a bid at the Duathlon time of 1:05.40 set by Steve Cox. Aided by a fast changeover from bike to run (just throw the bike in the bushes and leg it) he successfully sliced 1.36 from Steves time, recording a very rapid 1:04.04 and commenting that that's the advantage of having a bike that isn't worth much...
I ran round with Phil Martin who, although he's done the circuit before, admitted he wasn't completely familiar with it. On the way round, Phil realised that he had innocently taken a couple of sizeable short cuts on his previous time trial, making his time void, but he kept up the effort all the way round this time with a very strong finish resulting in a time (46.34) which was only 28 seconds slower. This was a good effort and results in his position and category on the Speed League being unchanged.
After my waxing lyrical about the Nightsearcher headtorch after last Thursday's run, KD found one (new) on eBay and managed to get it for £30. He was well impressed with it last night and agrees that it's much better than a Myo XP. In fact, a quick comparison in the car park showed that it compared well with Ian Cookson's Hope Vision1 so it's a bargain at the price!  Build quality even seems up to scratch, with no impression of it being a cheap piece of kit.
Next Tuesday's run is NOT AT CARWAGS. It is a Solstice run from 'the other venue'  (6:30 start) and is a special 4 pointer (no golden baton though as it's a Tuesday).

Thursday 16th December - Fountains Fell 

After a fairly easy drive up, with only the final lanes from Langcliffe being at all icy, I arrived at Tennent Gill at 6:45 to find it deserted. Oh well, if it was to be a solo run, so be it.. I got changed in the van with the Propex heater going full blast, putting on all my extra warm gear apart from my warmest running tights (which I'd left at home - d'ohh). I also put metal dob orienteering shoes on expecting lots of ice on the hill, then stepped out into a bitterly cold wind. I was still dog-sitting Gill's little border terrier, Rosa, who doesn't seem to feel the cold at all. Despite that, I still put her little waxed cotton coat on.
We were just about to set off when a pair of headlights appeared coming over the moor in the distance. I waited to see if this was the expected arrival of the Walsh brothers and indeed it was, a slight miscalculation of the journey time explaining their tardiness. I jumped back into the van whilst they got ready and then we set off (at about 7:15pm) along the crunchy ice of the farm lane.
As we climbed up the fell I was surprised how much snow was still lying, some of it an annoying wind-slab that sometimes supported your weight but occasionally crunched through to soft powder. Despite this we made good progress and as we got higher, long sections of the path had been blown clear to bare gravel, making things easier, though a touch crunchy with metal dobs on...
My lower parts (ahem) were suffering in the biting headwind (should have put my Helly Hansen windstopper undies on!) and I was glad when we made the turn off the Pennine Way path towards the summit and were no longer taking the wind head on. The boggy section along here was not yet fully frozen but with careful foot-placement we managed to get along without sinking through into icy water. A short stretch of icy path then took us to the summit cairn (48 mins).
Paul chose this juncture to get out a very cheap back up head-torch he'd bought, just to see if it really could give 300 lumens from 3 AAA batteries. It certainly seemed bright (at least as bright as my Nightsearcher) but the wind was cutting through us like a knife so it was not a night for liesurely appraisal of headtorch performance and we soon set off back down. Meanwhile, the dog was trotting about sniffing at this and that and showing no sign of feeling the cold. That little waxed cotton coat must be excellent... either that or the shaggy natural coat she's got.
The descent was a pleasant dog-trot, having the wind on our backs obviously helped, and a steady consistent pace had us back to the vehicles after a total of 1:21. After a quick change we drove (very steadily) down to Malham for a pint in the very warm and cosy Listers Arms.
Since there were only three of us, and I had the golden baton from last week, and Paul (as Grand Bat) is not eligible, goldeness was bestowed on Martin. Although this was another "getting it by default" situation, I pointed out that you had to be here to get it and only the three of us had made it! As is the case with the bat league generally, it may seem easy to "just turn up and get points" but it obviously isn't. Winter nights throw some very uninviting conditions at us and only the most determined and committed bats end up at the top of the league table. Which is exactly as it should be.... Another thing we all agreed on was that, no matter how uninviting the conditions seem, you never regret making the effort.
An updated Bat League is on the Bat Runs page; Paul and Martin are now streaking ahead at the top of affairs. Looks like the bat league is under a double Walshie assault! :-)
Bat Central

Posted: Fri 17th Dec 2010


Tuesday Dec 7th - Carwags

Well, after returning from a week in Gran Canaria, where the temperature was in the high 20s (the kind of weather where you look for shady routes and hope for a breeze when out running) Carwags came as a bit of a shock last night! The course was in fact in the iciest condition any of us could remember, with long sections of sheet ice and some sections of path quite lethal, especially near the Visitor Centre. Despite this, 15 bats turned out to try their hand at staying upright on a surface best suited to skating.
Some set off a bit early to do their own thing, including Keith on his cyclo-cross bike (!), and others settled for a very cautious circuit of the fig of eight. No time trials were expected but Matt Gallagher was brave enough to record 41.25 - a very creditable time in the conditions.
Two brand new bats in the form of Ruth and Shaun Turner appeared; Shaun was guided by Paul Walsh and Ruth was guided by Pam, with Gill and I completing the group. The passage of the Bleasdale side - the "North Face of Beacon Fell" - rather unnerved Gill and she settled for returning to Carwags from Black Tiger after the first loop. Pam and Ruth had meanwhile forged ahead, despite Ruth managing with a headtorch from Poundland..
After Gill had branched off, I did a solo second loop at a faster pace, enjoying the grip of having Jalas orienteering shoes from Finland - with metal dobs! It takes a while to gain enough confidence to blithely run over sheet ice but once you have it's quite addictive. The shoes do move and scratch slightly but you eventually realise that your feet won't move far and begin to run as if on dry gravel. Recommended!

Thursday Dec 9th - Pendle   

After the recent big freeze I was expecting some challenging mountaineering type conditions on Pendle. I even wondered whether climbing "ski sunday" might require crampons! In the event, milder weather had arrived during the day resulting in rapid thawing of the snow and also a dank mist which settled over Pendle as darkness fell.
The car park at the top of the Nick of Pendle was still just a big slab of sheet ice (I was glad of metal dobs when I got out of the van!) but once on the hill the icy patches were fairly minimal and soft slushy snow was the order of the day...er night.
Only three stalwart bats left the car park at 7pm, Paul Walsh, Andy Crook and me, but I can't say I blame those who were not inspired by the conditions - it was not inviting. Once into our stride though, conditions underfoot were not so bad and the mist not impossibly thick so we began to enjoy ourselves. We ran up over Apronful Hill in a cutting wind and continued on to spot the big cairn which marked our departure point for the descent into a more sheltered Ogden Clough.
I was trying out a new headtorch which I had on loan from work - a 191-lumen 'Nightsearcher +191' (www.nightsearcher.co.uk) and I was very impressed with it. It had a flip on diffuser like the latest Petzl lamps but unlike them it actually threw a decent beam with the diffuser in place. Without the diffuser a long pencil beam enabled objects a long way away to be picked out. I have no info on the price of them at the moment but the performance is definitely a step up from a Petzl Myo XP, maybe similar to a Hope Vision 1.
After a slithery descent into Ogden Clough we enjoyed a sloshy run through soft wet snow down to the foot of the 'ski sunday' climb. Just by the wall, Paul found a patch of hard ice and did some spectacular gymnastics, thankfully escaping without harm, and we were soon plodding up the climb, which was mainly covered in old wet snow and soft, disintegrating ice. At the top of the climb I swapped back to my 14LED Petzl Duo headtorch, just for a comparison. I found that the Duo gives a good flood at your feet (which is why I've continued to use it for the past 6 years) but as soon as you lift your head to look further ahead the lack of distant penetration is apparent. The Nightsearcher is definitely better.
We now ran across the moor towards Churn Clough and soon encountered a light coming the other way. It turned out to be Martin, who had arrived late and had been exploring the hill in the hope of meeting up with us. These unexpected after dark hilltop encounters are always a source of mild merriment and it was a happy bunch who swooped (in a stumbly way) down to the shores of Churn Clough Reservoir. An easy run back along an increasingly icy path took us to the final climb back up to the Nick, where we arrived after a surprisingly pleasant 1:20 run.
After groping our foggy way down to Pendleton we retired to the Swan With Two Necks (correct spelling this time), where Paul unexpectedly bestowed the golden baton upon me for guiding the group round the misty hill safely! We enjoyed a couple of pints and a long natter in front of the fire before heading off home, well satisfied again.
See you next week for another Carwags run on Tuesday and then Fountains Fell on Thursday.
Bat Central   

Posted: Fri 10th Dec 2010

Reports for bat runs 10 and 12 are below (thanks Paul and Chris). The report for bat run 11 (Winter Wicker Man) has been self sensored by Duncan....
Bat Run 10 Anglezarke (by Paul Walsh)

 On a still, cold and starry night, Five Bowland Bats (John Wade, Andy & Pam Farmer [plus dog], Martin and myself, joined Adrian Hope and the Lostock contingent at White Coppice.
 Following some discussion, it was agreed that we would all follow the same route and Adrian led us off up towards Coppice Stile. At the top of the first climb it was clear that John was with a lead group and we four remaining Bowland Bats formed a slower group. This proved to be of little consequence as the faster runners regularly waited for us all to re-group.

Almost from crossing the Goit, at the start of the run, the ground underfoot was frozen solid and when we contoured by the wall around Heapey Moor, the track was uncharacteristically dry; only Pam managed to put her foot through the ice into the bog.

The run up to Drinkwaters was very pleasant and here Andy showed us ‘Joe’s Cup’, set in the wall. On the final climb to Great Hill however, we were exposed to a keen wind. Martin’s assistance was required for me to don my pertex top which was billowing like a spinnaker.

From the top of Great Hill the view was spectacular and we paused to chat and take in the sights. John was able to identify and point out various landmarks, including individual streets in the surrounding towns. We all posed for photographs taken by Ian from Lostock before starting our descent. The various options for the return to White Coppice were discussed and although a two route strategy was considered, we agreed to return via the Dean Black Brook as one group. When we re-grouped at the Goit crossing, it was generally agreed that the return route was one not to have missed.

As Golden Bat, Martin passed the baton to Andy in recognition of his steely and determined run, undertaken in spite of his injured knee.

A small group of us retired to the Dresser’s Arms where John recommended a fine beer which was being sold at a discounted price. Unfortunately, it transpired that he had bought the last pint.


Bat Run 12 Clougha Pike (by Paul Walsh)

A timely e-mail from Chris Reade, kindly forwarded by Ian Roberts, advised that Rigg Lane was iced over and that we should meet at Quernmore crossroads. However, when Martin and I arrived at Quernmore, Rigg Lane appeared clear of ice so we decided to press on. The single track section of Rigg Lane was less clear but appeared passable so we continued to the Parking area.

At approximately 7.15, three lights were seen approaching and Ian R and Rowena arrived. They were accompanied by a ninja clad individual who introduced himself as Steve, a new runner from Preston. Ian advised that he and Rowena were setting off early to tackle a separate route and when I suggested to Steve that he should perhaps try to tag along with Ian and Rowena, he had to reveal himself as Keith. Shortly after this we were joined by Chris and Andy C.

Chris led the ascent to Clougha Pike through some good snow and steady progress was made. Unfortunately, Chris’ batteries failed after ten minutes and he completed the remaining run either through memory, starlight or the loom of Andy’s light. Given the speed that Chris normally moves across the ground, it was commendable that he was able to set a pace which more or less suited everyone.

Though the night was clearly cold it was not as apparent as, even on the top of Clougha, there was little if any wind.

We left Clougha Pike and, to my surprise, we were soon climbing again. Soon we were at the summit cairn on Grit Fell. Keith commented that he had tired legs and thought we were heading for White Coppice!

We struck off the top of Grit Fell, across the heather, with a view to intersect the shooting track that we would follow back. The snow covering was such that there were few protruding rocks and it was possible to run on the tops of the heathers without them collapsing. So, we made good progress.

We diverted to make the ritual pilgrimage up to Andy Goldsworthy’s installation and then picked up Ian and Rowena’s fresh tracks heading down. They must have been travelling quite fast because we were unable to close them down. They were waiting for us in the parking area when we returned.

As Andy Farmer was not with us and there was no Golden Bat nominee, I awarded the Golden Baton to Chris for leading a great night out and for completing most of it ‘in the dark’. It occurred to me later that Ian could have been a worthy recipient to mark his return to bat ‘running’ following injury.

Martin and I were out for 1hour 25mins whereas the intrepids who had run from the crossroads and back were out for 1hour 50mins.

Andy, Keith, Martin and I called at the Fleece on the way home; where the landlord had just tapped a new barrel of Guzzlers.

Paul Walsh

And, from Chris....

Attendee's were Ian Roberts and Rowena who had a low key run up the shooters track from Crag Cottage. Keith Denver, Andy Crook and I set off from the agreed meeting place and picked up the Walsh brothers at Rigg Lane car park, having gone for the shorter option. A short way up the path from Rigg Lane my new rechargeable batteries started to fail, must have been their cheapo £5 at Asda bargain status, or needing recharging before use. My spare headtorch wasn't much better so I became reliant on Andy's Hope headlight which at the right angles gave more than enough light for both of us.

We headed over Clougha Pike and Grit fell, weather cold but clear and then we hooked a left to the shooters track, and the Goldsworthy sculptures before racing down the track and back via the aqueduct to Rigg Lane where we eventually met up with Ian and Rowena. There was mention of me getting the golden baton, but no baton materialised. I assume it is some mythical creation (like the bat cave).

It was a good evening's running, 2 hrs in all and I gather a posse headed off to the Fleece for some liquid refreshments.

Chris Reade.

Posted: Fri 10th Dec 2010

A gallery with some pics from the TT race have now been added to the gallery section of the website.



Posted: Thu 9th Dec 2010
With so many people milling about, setting off on their runs at various times, and then in some cases disappearing quickly thereafter (ie not appearing in the pub) it was difficult to identify everyone who was at Carwags last night. Via various sources I've pieced together a list of 21bats. If you've been missed please let me know but if you want bat points for these runs you really need to make sure you make yourself known to me before during or after the run.
Good clear moonlit conditions and not too wet underfoot made it a night for setting times and 12 of the 21 did just that. These are the headlines...
In the Turbobat category, Declan O'Duffy shaved another 39 seconds off his time to record 33:41, closely followed by Steve Harling who posted a 33:58 even after a navigational blunder in Queens Wood. Paul Johnson also posted his first time of the season - 34.04 - after a "steady" run...!
In Speedybats, Andy Verden returned to the bat league after injury, immediately jumping to the head of the Speedybats with an impressive 35.23 and Stewart Forsyth also returned from injury to post a 37.34. As for me, I had a steadyish start then gradually worked up to max effort. I had to stop to tie a shoelace (bl**dy Inov8s) on the descent, which probably only cost a few seconds but was reet annoying... I initially miscalculated my time (being unable to use the stopwatch function of my watch - you need two hands!) but I left the car park at 6:28.42 and returned at 7:06.37 so the time was actually 37.55 - which is quite encouraging.
Among the Sportybats, Debbie Cooper continues to improve, this week slicing another 2.18 off her time to record 42.18. She'll be knocking on the door of the Speedybat category before long. Another new Sportybat joined the league in the form of Phil Martin, who posted a 46.06.
Gill Ponsford, brave enough to post a time in the Trundlerbat category, has taken a large stride towards the Sportybats this week. Aided and abetted by Pam Farmer and Beverley Wilkinson, she sliced 6.01 from her previous time to record 53.59. A spectacular and encouraging improvement.
Three bats had a go at the duathlon; Alasdair Harrison and Andrew Knowles went round together (using MTBs) and recorded 1:11.0 and Keith Denver had a go on his cyclo-cross bike, recording 1:24.02 after having some problems. He was unsure of some of the bike variations and lost time figuring them out, and twice he was dazzled by oncoming headtorches and crashed headlong into the undergrowth! John Wade (on MTB) was with Keith part of the time and was highly impressed by his commitment on the descents. Keith also had problems with runners dodging into his path and has some misgivings about the safety of bikes mixing with runners. I think it should be OK provided everyone remembers to keep left when meeting or being overtaken by bikes.
I was surprised on Larch Avenue to catch up with Alan Heaton, running without a head torch... "proper bat runners learn to see in the dark" he said! I know there was a big moon but it was still pretty black under the trees. Maybe we need a new speed league category - Blindbats.  ...only kidding :-)
Bat Central           
Posted: Wed 24th Nov 2010


Tuesday 16th November - Carwags

A bumper crop of 24 bats turned out for bat run no7 and a bumper crop of five new times were posted on the speed league; Pam and Beverley went out for a fast circuit with the aim of getting Pam round in under 50 mins (Sportybat), an objective they achieved in style with a clocking of 48.33. Well done girls!
Steve Cox posted the first bat duathlon time (1:05.40) using the bike route suggested last week combined with the standard run route. Now that a time has been set, this will be the standard acceptable format for the duathlon, including as Steve puts it, 'self sufficiency at the transition' (ie no assistance allowed when changing from bike to run).
Alasdair and John Wade were also out on bikes, just 'testing the water'. Al made an extra suggestion for the bike route but I think now that Steve has posted his time we will stick to the current routes.
Debbie Cooper, now confident of knowing her way round, also had an excellent run, getting round in 44.36 - and that's just a starting point; there's more to come for sure.
John McHugh continues to chip away at his time, this week clocking 38 12 and sneaking past Paul Walsh amongst the ranks of Speedybats.
I did an easy first loop with Gill then pressed on from the Black Tiger junction (LM9). I had a good second loop, covering the section from Black Tiger back to Carwags in 14.10. This bodes well for a time in the Speedybat category when I do my next full time trial. On the descent through Tarn Wood I caught up with Martin and he noticeably speeded up, making it quite difficult to overtake him. I got past near Black Tiger and then pressed on back to Carwags. Martin said this little 'push' helped him to set a new PB of 39.11 - a nice little present on his birthday!
There were a few people running quite strongly on the route but no one else has posted a time as yet. Obviously keeping powder dry for now...

Thursday 18th November - Whernside

It was a misty murky night that greeted the 4 bats who made the long trek to Ribblehead for the now classic Whernside bat run. When I arrived at about 6:40 there was only Martin Walsh's Audi Allroad in the Station Hotel car park and there was to be just the three of us (Martin had given brother Paul a lift) for most of the run. More of this later.
Setting off at 7pm we jogged through the viaduct to Gunnerfleet Farm then set sail across the tricky fields to Ivescar. We did OK, only missing the shortcut across the final field and we then joined a better defined route towards Broadrake. This didn't prevent us from immediately taking a wrong turn out of the farm yard (corrected within 20 yards luckily) and we soon approached "Stew's bridge", where our fellow bat of that name once took a spectacular tumble. This was also the place where we went quite badly astray last year but this time we were ready for it and made sure we took the slight right turn to stay on the faint path in the turf.
Soon, we were past Broadrake and on our way up the skirts of Whernside. Martin forged a lonely line to our left up here but Paul and I stuck to the main path, which now seems to have aquired even more flags and paved sections. As we climbed we entered a thick mist. There was little wind and we commented on how warm it was, all three of us having dressed for rather more chilly conditions.
Eventually, the ridge wall loomed up ten feet to our left (this was about the limit of visibility) and we continued plodding up the blazed path along the ridge, each of us contained in our own little smoking pool of light. As usual, this section seemed everlasting but at length we came to the last gate and were then on the final stretch to the summit. Paul startled me along here by mentioning that he had never been on Whernside before.. well he's been on the summit now but he still hasn't seen much of it! Approaching the top I was scanning to my left with the headtorch all the time so that we didn't blunder past the summit shelter without seeing it but it soon loomed up out of the murk.
We had been going for 1:04 by Martin's watch and after a quick check over the wall to make sure the trig was still there and hadn't been painted yellow or something (!) we set off further along the ridge en route for our descent to Grain Head. The mist seemed to close in even more on this section and it sometimes felt like we were running in a cave, the mist seeming to form a tight envelope around us at the limit of our torchlight. We lost Paul a couple of times down here as he was having considerable difficulty seeing his feet! I tried the torch on the 'max' setting a couple of times but it didn't help and I reverted to 'optimum'. Martin seemed to fare slightly better with his Hope Vision 2 and I had to concentrate quite hard to hang onto him as he sped over the rocks and slabs.

After what seemed like eons of groping our way over the terrain we arrived at the junction with the Craven Wold path and began the descent to Bleamoor Tunnel. Along here I told the others that last week's golden baton holder Pam had nominated me to pass on the baton (since she couldn't be here) and, since Paul was ineligible as the current incumbent Grand Bat, goldenness was going Martin's way. Martin was happy to accept the honour, with a hint of chagrin at getting it "by default" but I said any one of us could have deserved the baton after a long grope (ahem) like we'd just had.
On the aqueduct at the Bleamoor Tunnel entrance we spotted a bright light descending behind us at high speed and formed the opinion that it was someone on a bike. We fully expected to be caught as we trotted along by Bleamoor Sidings but in the event the light arrived back at the Station Hotel just after us (we had taken 2 hours). Spotting Alasdair's Land-Rover in the car park told us who it was but we were surprised when he trotted up to the pub on foot, Hope Vision 4 blazing away like a car headlight! He had arrived 5 mins after the 7pm start and had had some navigational adventures (see below) in his attempts to catch us up, an effort that may have attracted the golden baton if Martin didn't already have an iron grip on it...
A pleasant natter over a pint in the Station rounded off a bizarrely pleasurable evening and after a long drive back I finally collapsed into bed, well satisfied, at midnight.
Lets do something similar again next week eh?
Bat Central

Al's Remixed run - report

Top tip; don’t be late for the start of a run if you’re not 100% sure of the route.  Since I did my own run, I thought I’d do a quick report too!

I set off legging it to try and catch the speedy bats then I got lost at 1.5miles where I realised I was going way too far back on myself because I could see the railway station ahead. So I did a u turn and went the opposite way for a bit which went swimmingly for a while.  Then at 2.75miles the road and paths vanished which obviously gave me time to have a quick sunbathe but was eating into valuable pub time.

After a pleasant wade through a bog I found a steep tussock ridden slope in the general direction of up so I wandered up that.  It eventually lead to the path just before the steep bit so to celebrate I took my hat off and pottered up the steps. Singing some power ballads kept me busy for a good half hour along the top where I couldn’t see much further than my feet and nearly missed high fiving the trig on the other side of the wall.  It crossed my mind that only a nincompoop would forget a spare torch so I turned mine off for a bit to see if I could cope without.  Tentative.

The path down is like the M6 so I was regretting not dragging the MTB up the hill but probably would have been daft because I always seem to fall off lately.  I could see the team up ahead when the mist cleared but my efforts to catch them was futile because I’m too lazy. We met up back at the cars and went for a deserved scoop after an enjoyable yet bleak run.

Here’s where I went…


About 8.3miles and 1360ft climb.


Posted: Fri 19th Nov 2010

Tuesday Nov 9th - Carwags

There was another good turnout of bats (18) at Carwags, with most having a run round the figure of  8 (Fo8). A trio of ladys (Gill, Pam and Beverley) set off a few mins early and ran round together, whilst the main group started in dribs and drabs at around 6:30. Alasdair (on bike) and Duncan did a recce of some slight variations to be used by bikes (see below).
After running with John G, John McH and Ray P initially, I speeded up and joined Keith D and bat league leader Ian C in Black Tiger Wood. Ian then pushed on up the climb and I went with him, KD still being tired from Sunday's efforts and also saving himself for the Whinlatter Duathlon this weekend. Cookie and I then ran together for much of the route (he was setting a perfect pace for me!). Unfortunately an urgent need for a pee eventually forced me to stop, just near the visitor centre, and I then lost touch with Ian.
When I set off again, I briefly ran with Duncan and Alastair on the Dew Pond climb but then pressed on at a much harder pace, almost catching Ian again as we arrived back at Carwags. See the Carwags Speed League update for the latest times. I'll be joining the Speedybats very soon!
Thursday's run is again at Carwags but with a 7pm start. We will be running through to Bleasedale Church on a Remembrance Day pilgrimage (bring a poppy to leave at the church). This is another special 4 point run so current golden baton holder (Ian Cookson) will be bestowing a massive 8 points on the bat he considers most golden...    
Bikebat Variations:
After discussions on bike circuits and duathlons at Carwags, some variations for bikes have been agreed to minimise the risk of collisions and to protect a couple of bits of the course that could be seen as 'sensitive'. These variations are as follows:
From the start to landmark 2 (Black Tiger junction) bikes should go up the road rather than the narrow path through Loud Gate Wood. At the first road junction, turn right and cross the runners route at landmark 1 (wall gap), continuing along the road to the next fire road on the left (metal barrier) then turn left to rejoin the runners route at Black Tiger.

At landmark 5 (Quarry Wood car park), instead of going left through the "muddy snicket", continue along the tarmac for a few metres to turn left into the end of the Bleasdale Side path and rejoin the runners route towards the lizard (LM6).

After the first loop, at the bottom of the descent to Black Tiger, instead of turning right at LM9, continue and take the next right near the Black Tiger's head. This puts you on a firmer and more rideable path to rejoin the runners route at Larch Avenue.

After Larch Avenue, instead of bearing right across soft wet grass to the stone post (LM11) continue down the path to pass the Visitor Centre buildings and join the Beacon Fell perimeter road. Turn right and follow the road into Starling Wood, rejoining the runners route at the car park barrier (LM12).

On the final descent through Black Tiger, continue straight ahead to the perimeter road, reversing the first variation and arriving back at Carwags via the road instead of the narrow path through Loud Gate Wood.

Thursday Nov 11th - Remembrance day Run

A select band of 8 bats arrived at Carwags last night for the Remembrance Day run. The wild windy weather may have put a few off but surprisingly not the 'weather wimp' Duncan, who was one of the 8.
Pam, AndyF, and Ian R took a headstart and the main group (Dunc, Andy C, Ian C, Paul W and I) set off at 7pm to give chase. Duncan set an initially brisk pace and it was soon apparent that despite the wind it was very mild as we all started boiling up in too many clothes. We skirted round the north side of Beacon Fell then dropped down across sodden fields to Heatherway and onto the farm track. A short stretch of road, then we turned left at Wickins onto fields that were even more sodden. Only Paul and I were wimpish enough to have Sealskinz on, prompting various comments of 'big girls blouses' etc.. but Paul and I responded with 'So glad I put the old Sealskinz on, what?" "Yes, I can't imagine what it would be like running across here without them.."
Back onto the road at Bleasedale we turned right and headed up towards the church. The headstart trio met us outside (Lottie welcoming us with her customary bark-bark greeting) and we all went in to pay our respects and/or sign the visitors book.
Andy Pam and Ian again took a headstart for the return leg and we stumbled back out into the wind, which came as a shock after the calm of the church interior, and set off in pursuit. A steady run brought us up to them at Heatherway and the climb up the back of Beacon Fell (by a Dunc Direttissima) was taken at a strong pace. We all turned lights off on the summit (Paul somewhat reluctantly) and let our eyes get used to the night. It was very dark, with not much moon, so no glorious moonlit landscape to view this time and we instead watched the lights of the others approaching before suddenly turning ours back on in unison and shouting "surprise!".
A quick visit to the wicker deer in Tarn Wood then we were off back to Carwags. The pace gradually wound up as we descended and when Paul and I took a different path after the Black Tiger I took my chance and zoomed off, leaving the others to give chase. I was surprised  to find my old turn of speed has returned in some measure and I was able to ease up on the final bit, having gained a significant lead... Blimey. :-o
Golden Bat Ian C bestowed the baton on Pam for turning out to run with the boys on a challenging night and this moves her up to third overall, with Ian still holding onto the lead.
A small band of us returned to the Tillies for a natter about website censorship, Bowland conservation, next weeks Whernside run, and the not very effective installation of a drain in the field near Heatherway some years ago...
Bat Central   

Posted: Fri 12th Nov 2010

Results and race report from the weekend's race are on the Club Championship 2010 page. It is looking like a three horse race for the title, but will the V40 prevail over the V50's ?



Posted: Tue 9th Nov 2010

We're sorry that Bowland failed to get an entry to Calderdale in time. That event was full by the 2nd of October. We have entered 3 teams (vet, open and mixed) for the Pennine Bridleway Relay (Mary Towneley Loop) on the 31st of January. We're not sure which is the A team yet because that will depend on who is not available. Opting in is assumed. Opting out is REQUIRED. Chris and Jenn will organise teams. Please email Jenn if you are definitely unavailable to run in the relay as she'll keep the master list.  (email Jenn here)

The next and final Bowland championship race will be Bolton By Bowland. As there were no Vet 60's or women running in our Fell Foot TT race  today there is room for discussion as to whether these categories should run over 2 races, ie 3 Shires and Bolton by Bowland. A discussion you can have between you.

Finally, it looks like we will have a CLUB DO after the Bleasdale Circle race with food and a ceilidh -  so keep the date free.

Posted by Jenn & Chris


Posted: Mon 8th Nov 2010

Tuesday 2nd November: Carwags

The second Carwags run attracted a smaller colony of 17 bats - still a good turnout considering the wind and rain that had been lashing the area all afternoon. Despite the poor conditions there were three new times added to the Speed League. Well done Beverley, John, and Stewart.
The 2nd guided tour went off swimmingly (almost literally) this time with a nice little group of 7 trotting round very easily in the refreshing (?) rain and stopping to regroup at each of the 16 landmarks. I think most people know the route now so future guided groups will only happen by special request, though I may be available to guide individuals round the course from time to time if you ask nicely... ;-)  I should have maps of the route available any Tuesday from now on.
I was ably assisted in my guiding duties by Ian Roberts and Paul Walsh and we were joined en-route by Chris Towers, a collegue of John McHugh, then by Keith Denver, then towards the end by Declan and John McHugh.
Keith has inaugurated a new category for the speed league; a bat duathlon (or batathlon) as he referred to it. This entails a full circuit of the Fig of 8 on a bike, followed immediately by a circuit on foot. He was just testing this out last night but it won't be long before a time is posted. For future attempts - I think it may be a good idea to do the bike circuit early (before the pedestrian bats get on the route at 6:30) to minimise the risk to runners from flying bikes! I think it might also be a good idea to adopt a 'keep left' rule when meeting oncoming traffic or being passed by faster traffic, so that everyone knows which way to dodge...  

Thursday 4th November: The Bonfire Burnup.      

The 'Bonfire Burnup' took place on a night of the most appalling weather, yet still attracted 14 bats.
The arrangement was for Duncan, Alasdair and perhaps a couple of others to set off early to get the fire going, with the rest of the group going, as billed, at 7pm but it didn't quite work out like that. When I arrived at about 6:50 there were lots of empty cars and it was only Paul Walsh, Ian Cookson and I who left, just after 7, to rendezvous with the rest of the party on the fell. We skirted round to the saddle and came upon some of the party standing behind the wall guarding an unlit fire, with Alasdair's Clayton-le-Moors guy sitting atop, awaiting a fiery fate. They had decided to make the fire here on account of the strong wind blowing over the fell but Duncan and a party of others had gone off further up the fell to keep warm.
We three 7 o'clockers decided we'd visit the summit then return in time to see the fire and we thus set off towards the top. Up to now the weather had been merely windy, with thick mist, but as we rambled around on the top looking for the trig, then the cairn, in visibility of about 6ft, we were ambushed by sluicing rain. Somewhere between the trig and the cairn we met up with Martin and the four of us then set off back through a heaving miasma of mist wind and lashing rain.
Arriving back at the saddle we found (unsurprisingly) no sign of fire or the rest of the group so we hurried on down Duncan's trod back to the vehicles. We had been out for just over an hour. It was not a night for social bonfiery merriment; even a shouted conversation with your immediate running companion was difficult enough, but Duncan tells me a burning did take place (his report is below).
Since I was one of the 7 o'clock trio and had little interaction with the 'other group' on the fell, I have awarded the golden baton to Ian Cookson, partly for being a stalwart, unflappable running companion on our little summit adventure but also for turning out on a foul night and THEN going to work a night shift. Impressive bat dedication Ian!
This 8 point fillip has rocketed Ian to the top of the bat league, with only 6 runners now having a 100% record of attendance. Will anyone do all 44 runs??
Bat Central

Bonfire Burnup; Chief Arsonbat's report:

We set off up the hill in a wind ripe for cosmetic surgery. Alasdair had hurt his knee so brought his bike along. In his pack he had a flat pack Guy. Andy Crook and Duncan had sacks full of wood and Andy Farmer had brought a pet to burn - A trained ‘sniffer’ dog! (see below).

As we climbed the fell I told Josh that tonight the history of stupidity would be rewritten. These young lads deserve the encouragement!
Once on the contouring trod we waited for the bike carrier to reach us and set off into the gale. There was very little rain and we were soon at the saddle. It was going to be too windy to start the fire on the summit so we chose a spot close to the wall out of the wind. So as not to jeopardise any local races by damaging the fell we carefully constructed a platform of stones beside the wall. It was soon dubbed ‘The Arson Altar’ but we won’t say which well known author and arsonist thought of that one.
We carefully positioned the Guy by the wall and waited. It soon became apparent that the 7 pm starters were not going to appear quickly so some of us went for a run up to the end of the wall keeping to the east and protecting ourselves from the Beaufort battering! When we returned to the saddle Yiannis had appeared and the others told us that the late starters had carried on to the summit.
The fire was then lit using petrol and paraffin and Keith’s boiler man skills. Once ablaze the Guy was burnt and Pam got out the sparklers. Lottie was particularly keen to prove that these cause the most injuries by sniffing one. Any burglars visiting the Farmers abode with a sparkler will be easily apprehended, especially if they stop to administer first aid to cauterised canine noses! I realise that this must have taken years of training! (Up Helly Aa may present a problem here!)

As the fire began to die down I set off a couple of rockets and then gave Josh a very helpful talk on the skills of arson. Never to use just petrol and why. The boy is learning fast!

Andy Crook, Dunc and Alasdair then buried the fire under the stones and set off over the hill back to the cars. As we reached the summit the heavens opened and a ‘Wrath of God’ rain descended. Unfortunately this coincided with Alasdair descending the first section on his bike and he fell off -the open wound on his knee was not helped. Finally Andy and I watched in trepidation as Alasdair descended some steep slippery flags down to the foot of the hill. He survived and we jogged back to the cars saturated.

Somehow on a foul night we had defied the elements and had a bonfire when a lot of weirdoes would have just spent the evening watching telly!


The latest Bat League table will be posted shortly... Watch this space

Posted: Mon 8th Nov 2010

Congratulations to Emma Gregory and Yiannis Tridimas on their very successful OMM in Dartmoor at the weekend. They won the first mixed team prize as well as the veterans handicap in Class B.


Yianni's report below;


OMM 30-31 October 2010, Dartmoor
This year the OMM was staged in Dartmoor, an area I had never visited before. The event centre was an army training camp. On the map Dartmoor Forest appears as a circular area of hills with army bunkers, shooting ranges and tors. The highest hills rise to just over 600m and the ground is covered by grass, tussocks, some heather and bogs.
My partner was Emma Gregory, who was doing her second mountain marathon and her first OMM. We had entered the B class, which, although not the most demanding classes, offers a substantial challenge in distance and climb and is good value for money. We chose a linear class as opposed to a score one, as this requires less planning and strategy and it would give Emma a good chance to practice her navigation. We both are fairly competitive and hoped to do well and contest the mixed team category. With a combined age above 90 years, 102 to be precise, we also had a claim to the veterans’ handicap (Emma is not even 40 yet!).
We travelled to Dartmoor on Friday afternoon and pitched a tent at the event centre. After registering and the usual socialising we had food and settled down for the night. The weather was fairly mild and mainly dry. There were to be two starts on Saturday, one from the event centre at the north end of Dartmoor and one some distance to the south. This was done in order to reduce the impact of a few thousand runners starting from the same point. From very early on Saturday morning, coaches were ferrying teams nearly an hour’s drive away to the SW end of Dartmoor. We were given a late, almost midday, start. This concerned us a bit since at best the most favourable spots at the overnight camp would have been taken by the time we arrived and at worse we could end up finishing in the dark.
And so we were off. The weather was dry and mild. A strong south westerly breeze was helping us along and we were covering the distance quickly. Navigation was not a problem in clear conditions and the gentle slopes meant that almost the whole course was runnable. On the way to the first checkpoint we had an encounter with an angry cow, which was protecting two very small calves. There were large numbers of ponies and horses about. Emma, who in the previous 24 hours was showing symptoms of a cold, was galloping along in the front, overtaking just about everything that was moving and I had to try hard to keep up. Setting off late as we did had one beneficial effect for us: There were runners’ trods in the many stretches of tussocky grass and we made maximum use of them wherever possible. The early part of the course had plenty of good streams for drinking but later on the water was quite murky and we both suffered dehydration.
We arrived at the overnight camp in good spirits well before dark. It was not the best of places to pitch a tent but at least it was dry and although quite windy it was not cold. Small lightweight tents, such as our Terra Nova laser, offer little comfort but they do keep the wind and the rain out. We rested and fed ourselves and pondered as to what our day 1 result might be. While Emma took a rest, I went to find out. We lay in 18th position out of around 200 teams in our class and much to my delight we were first mixed team by 7 minutes and a very close second on the vets handicap. Emma was pleased to hear the good news. We had a target for day 2: to defend our position. I promised to run faster on Sunday than I did on Saturday, something that I always do in mountain marathons anyway.
With the clocks going back Saturday night is a very long night in the tent. The weather had turned wild. Gale force winds and heavy rain pounded and shook the tent all night long. Despite that, we were very warm in our sleeping bags. I had quite a good sleep, Emma didn’t.
The rain stayed off while we were preparing for the day 2 start but the rest of the day was very wet and we were heading into a strong wind most of the time. The ground was waterlogged and the streams in spate. Visibility was clear to start with but later on the land was covered by a blanket of thick mist. I prefer this condition as it slows down the field and calls for careful navigation. We kept up a good pace and finished day 2 in 11th position, a considerable improvement on day 1. This gave us an overall 14th position, first mixed team and first vets. And we were delighted. In our previous mountain marathon, the Lowe Alpine, we came close to the prizes but a bad day 2 decision and lack of fitness prevented us getting the result we had hoped for. This good result came as a partial compensation to Emma, who had recently lost most of her outdoor gear in a burglary. We left Dartmoor with happy memories and looking forward to the next marathon.
Yiannis Tridimas                     4th November 2010


Posted: Mon 1st Nov 2010


Carwags: October 26th...

 The Bat League kick off saw a record number of bats (29) at Carwags. There is a pleasing increase in the numbers of ladies and youngsters this year which shows that, against the odds, bat running is gaining a wide appeal! The Carwags car park was like a big miners party, with so many people in headtorches milling about. Rumour had it that Stew (Blackfoot bat) Forsyth had forgotten his head torch (!) but it eventually turned up in his trusty builders bucket...
My first attempt at providing a guiding service for slower or new bats who did not know the route was not a success. Unfortunately, the group was infiltrated by some runners who really had no intention of having a slow run and the result was an almost immediate stringing out and then break up of the group. It was impossible for me to keep the group together and some people consequently found themselves in no-mans-land, guideless and not knowing which way to go, which is not nice on a murky night. Gill and I ended up going round on our own in exactly the time I'd said it would take (60 minutes).
A plea: If a slower guided group is arranged again, please don't join it unless you really want to learn the route, you don't mind running at the pace of the slowest and you are willing to stay together in a group. If you want to try your hand at doing a time or hanging onto other faster runners please start at 6:30 and take your chances with the main group.
The intention at the Carwags bat runs is to encourage both the faster runners who want to do a time (as some did last night, starting at 6:30), and also make this a run that welcomes slower runners and newcomers who need to learn the intricacies of the route.
Next bat run is at Stang Yule on Thursday at 7pm and will be up to the 'bat cave' and Hazlehurst Fell and back. The Grand Bat will be awarding the first Golden Baton of the winter.

The Bat Cave: October 28th.. 

The bat cave run attracted 15 runners - a record for this run - including at least half a dozen bat cave newcomers. The small quarry parking soon filled up and Clive Davis had to park the 'mothership' further up the road.
Ian Roberts and Tom Whittam took an early start as they were walking and another large group of 'slower' runners set off at 6:48, taking Clive (perhaps inadvertently) with them. At 7pm on the dot, the 'main' group, consisting of Keith Denver, Paul Walsh, Chris Reade, Ian Cookson and I set off in pursuit. A gentlish start along the mile of road followed by a strong but steady climb over the flank of Hazlehurst Fell brought us up to the bat cave in half an hour, to find the slower group waiting.
As usual, the cave provided immense disappointment, er I mean enjoyment, to the newcomers and I personally witnessed the ritual through-passage of cave virgins Ian C and Chris R. I can't speak for the other newbies, who's bat initiation may not be complete...
Leaving the awesome delights of the bat cave, we all set off to the summit of Hazlehurst Fell, finding the trig point very easily this time in the absence of the thick clag which often seems to afflict this top. On this occasion, we could see the lights of the whole of the Fylde coast spread across the horizon. Suitably impressed and invigorated we set off for the descent, taking the slightly more roundabout but much less rough line south-east back to the track, rather than the direct shortcut southwards. I settled into a steady trot for the descent and Keith, Clive and Chris soon forged ahead and, as it transpired, into the unknown!
It was a straggling and ragtag group that made it's way off the fell at Stang Yule, Paul and I waiting to regroup with the last few before heading down the mile of road back to the vehicles. Young Luke, seeming as fresh as a daisy, skipped off ahead along here, the occasional flash of his headtorch giving away the fact that he kept looking back to see what was keeping th'old folk!
As we approached the parking we passed Clive's empty vehicle and when we got back we found Keith's and Chris's both unoccupied. ...Uh oh....  A full 15 minutes passed before their headtorches appeared over the brow and they were soon regaling us with tales of their "scenic detour" to Bleasedale Tower and beyond. "We thought we'd have a look at Parlick" said Keith. The Davis/Reade/Denver group were out a full 1:30, the rest of us somewhat less...
A good time was had by all, but only 5 of us retired to the Kenliss Arms (which had rubbish beer) where Grand Bat Paul awarded me the honour of the Golden Baton, simply for my organisation of the bat league. Thank ee kindlee.
Next Tuesday is Carwags as usual and then Thursday's run is Duncan's Bonfire Burnup. Dunc would like to make it a rule that you must bring a firework or fuel (wood) to get points but Bat Central is not quite so draconian... This is a special run so there are 4 points available for all (preferably fuel-bearing) participants and I will be bestowing a massive 8 points on the lucky Golden Bat!
Bat Central 
Posted: Fri 29th Oct 2010

The Winter Planner (Bat Planner) is now posted on the Bat Runs Page. More info to follow...

Bat Central

Posted: Tue 19th Oct 2010

The list of Bat League Rules is now posted on the Bat Runs page as a PDF file. Although seasoned bats will be aware of the rules, this is the first time they have been written down. The idea is to clarify the 'terms of engagement' and save confusion or potential dispute.

The Bat Planner and the Bat League table are now in final preparation and will be posted soon, so watch this space...

Bat Central  

Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010

This is a rather late reminder (apologies) but there will be a gathering at the Baysbrown campsite at Chapel Stile after the Langdale Horseshoe race this Saturday (9th October). Everyone welcome!

The weather forecast is good but, this being a chilly time of year, most people will probably be found in the Wainwright Inn by about 7:30pm... A great place to have a beer and natter endlessly about the days heroic doings.

Posted: Thu 7th Oct 2010

The relay this year is on Sunday 12th December and we have two teams entered - Open and Mixed.

Team Captains are;

OPEN : Chris Reade

MIXED: Jenn Hutton

If you are interested in running for the MIXED team then please EMAIL JENN

Posted: Tue 5th Oct 2010

Congratulations to both Bowland teams in yesterdays event.

The Open team came a very respectable 8th overall after a flying start from Steve Swarbrick and Richard Mellon. The mixed team finished in 41st position (7th Mixed team) overall on a wet course.

Full results are available from SPORTIDENT HERE.

Jenn's report for the mixed team:  The Bowland mixed team thoroughly enjoyed its first assault on the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay on Sunday. Despite very cloudy and wet conditions a strong performance by Rowena and new club member Karen Gay on the first Leg set Nick Hewitt and Ali Welsh up for a cracking run on Leg 2. Their superb navigation and fast descending saw them complete Leg 2 only 3 minutes and 12 seconds slower than Bowland’s open team.  Soon after the Leg 3 takeover at Hartsop, Jenn Hutton found herself working very hard to keep Jo Taylor in sight on the steep ascent.  A blast down the wet rocky path and across the Patterdale playing fields, and in less than an hour Jo & Jenn handed over to Leigh Warburton and Neil Shepherd for the final and most difficult Leg. Leigh and Neil came storming into the finish an impressive hour and 32 minutes later, just 2 seconds behind Chorley’s mixed team and 41st overall (out of 66 teams). Thanks to everyone who came out for this excellent event!

Posted: Mon 4th Oct 2010

 The OPEN team for Sundays relay is;

Team Captain : Chris Reade

Leg 1 : Richard Mellon & Steve Swarbrick
Leg 2 : Oliver Wild & Mike Johnson  
Leg 3 : Clive Davis & Steve Sweeney
Leg 4 : Chris Reade & Mark Saunders 

Remember the start is earlier this year - 9.30

Posted: Fri 1st Oct 2010

A reminder to all;

Arenig Fawr fell race, Sunday 3rd October at 1pm.

Organiser Yiannis Tridimas.

Map and other details in http://yiannistridimas.tripod.com/

Posted: Thu 30th Sep 2010

The 2nd Club Championship race (the FFTT) will be held on Sunday November 7th, starting at 1pm. This will be an 'honesty' race, with mainly unmanned checkpoints. The course is now well known to many Bowland members but details are available from me if required.

The figures are 3.5 miles and 1850ft (Cat AS).

Andy Walmsley


Posted: Wed 29th Sep 2010

Bowland results from the Three Shires Race (and first Club Champs race) were;

Mike Johnson V50 02:06:47
Chris Reade V40 02:10:11
Mark Chippendale V40 02:14:32
Paul Nield   02:15:58
Clive Davis V40 02:23:03
Leigh Warburton V50 02:24:20
Alan Lucker V40 02:32:45
Huw Price V40 02:33:26
Rowena Brown LV40 02:41:11
William Houghton V40 02:53:24
John Taylor  V60 02:54:13
Jo Taylor  LV40 02:58:25
Mike Gibson V40 03:10:29
Paul Walsh V50 03:27:27


Posted: Mon 27th Sep 2010

As some of you will be aware, the heroes at Three Shires were not any of the club runners, but two regular members of the Bowland support team, Ian Roberts and Andy Farmer.  They were in the vicinity of Three Shires Stone when we all came through, handing out the normal encouragement and supplies.  (I had one of Ian’s new potatoes for the first time and actually enjoyed it).  Soon after that they got involved in a serious accident, involving the last runner through in the race.  He had fallen on the final part of the descent from Wet Side Edge and broken both his tibia and fibula.  Our heroes were alerted by the guy’s screaming.  Needless to say, Andy arrived on the scene before Ian and having realised the seriousness of the injury rushed back to the pass to pick up a mobile phone to call out the emergency services. He then had to climb quite high before successfully obtaining a mobile signal.  Meantime Ian and the Mountain Goddess (?) had reached the victim and started to attend to his needs.  They all stayed with him until the air ambulance arrived, around an hour or so later.  At around 5 o’clock, Jo and I saw Ian at Hodge Close.  As we all know, Ian likes a project and he had offered his services to drive the victim’s car from Hodge Close back to the Three Shires.  You should have seen the look on Ian’s face, when he realised that the car in question was a top-of-the-range Range Rover.  By coincidence, a Kanku 4x4 convoy had just arrived in the car park.  We left Ian deciding whether to follow the convoy or to take the short cut back to the Shires via the ford at Tilberthwaite.  I am sure that he will provide us with a suitably embellished account.  Later in the evening Jo and I bumped into Selwyn Wright and he told us what a great job Ian and Andy had done.  So very well done the two of you – your efforts were greatly appreciated.

Posted by John Taylor

Posted: Mon 20th Sep 2010

Steve Swarbrick had an excellent run at The Ben this year, just finishing outside the top ten. Club results were;

11th   Steven Swarbrick     1:48:21
250th Emma Gregory        2:26:42
457th Paul Walsh               3:07:10


Photos courtesy of Darian Bridge on the Borrowdale website.

A link to his photo’s can be found here

Emma Gregory posted the following report;

The Ben Race
Whilst the majority of Bowlanders were battling it out at Shelf Moor and others orienteering at The  Capricorn, 3 hardy souls made it over the border to Scotland to haul themselves up (and back down) the Ben.
I did this race last year for the first time and wondered if it would still hold the same appeal?  I don’t know what it is about it but it draws you back and doesn’t disappoint , well for me anyway but then maybe I’m easily pleased?  It’s one of the most expensive races in the calendar and weighs in at a hefty £17 entry fee which gets you a miniature bottle of whiskey, numbers, tags and safety pins – not a sniff of a t-shirt!  Added to that is the fuel bill for a 650 mile round trip, the 7 hours sat on your backside getting there and of course the Starbucks bill on top of that, so it would have to be pretty special!

For those that haven’t done it before it’s all very simple, no map needed and no worry that the luminous vest is being used as a target!  The weather was indeed spectacular this year, in fact there was the concern it would be just a bit too hot a complete contradiction to last year’s minus 25 on the summit and 80mph winds. Registration is in Claggan park which is always a hive of activity, Pete Blands van, burger vans, various tents and stalls, not to mention the caleigh type music coming through the tannoy,  a real bru ha ha with this year the added attraction of the BBC cameras.  Not being selected for a personal interview (harrumph!!) I went to pick up my envelope from the nice ladies with their very strict and efficient system!  Envelope number 53 contained 2 race numbers, to be worn front and back, 8 safety pins, a summit tag to wear around the neck and handed to the marshal at the err, well, summit, a race card to be carried in the bum bag at all times and  finally a red tag to get into the starters pen, a far cry from filling in a scrap of paper with a dodgy biro and handing over £3!

A quick introduction with Stephen and a chat with Paul the 3 of us took our places in the midst of the 400 or so other runners at the near corner of Claggan Park to be piped round to the starters pen by bagpipes and drums, there’s no denying this doesn’t happen very often and certainly gives the race that extra special je ne c'est quoi? At 1pm the claxon goes and it’s a mad dash around the perimeter of the field to then funnel out of a gates width gap at the top, inevitably leading to a bottleneck.  With a long way still to go and the knowledge of what was to come I duly took my place at the back.  Last year my time was 2:36 and the only agenda I had was to try and beat it this year I reckoned not getting caught up in the carnage was the way to go!

As I say, there is nothing to this race other than to run 5 miles with 4450ft up, turn then come back  5 miles with 4450ft down.  The road section in and out to the foot of the tourist path isn’t exactly welcome it’s over a mile long I think and I don’t suppose there would be many at all that actually enjoy it?  On the way out it seems to go on for a while but it sorts out a lot of the pecking order, on the way back though, it goes on forever! 

The climb up the summit was as straightforward as it could be, I got stuck in quite a lot of traffic, for the most part it’s pretty single track stuff and overtaking can be quite difficult therefore starting nearer to the front could be a better option after all?  There are cut offs at both the red burn and the summit but they are relatively generous although the strict race rule of not making it back in 3:15 meaning you can’t enter again sure plays on the mind and helps you get a move on!
After the burn the climb gets more interesting as it veers away from the tourist path and heads vertically up the grassy back, hands on ground grabbing at the ground style.  This is followed with a long and steep rocky/scree section and it’s at this point the leaders are starting to come back down. The really DO come back down with what appears reckless abandon – must be something to do with the gravity?!  It wasn’t long before I saw Stephen, clearly having a fabulous run as he was right up at the business end whilst we ‘also ran’s were still slogging it out trying to get to the top – which I am sure is further away than I remember?!

Summit bagged it’s a blast on the way back, scree, rocks, grass the lot down, down, and more down.  I looked at my watch and to be honest had no idea whatsoever if I was on for a pb, it was looking at the watch though that caused the first tumble, right on my backside – ouch.  I saw Paul not too far behind and gave him a shout although I think he was concentrating?!

The rest of the journey off the mountain was pretty uneventful until the last 50 yards or so of the path before hitting the road where I came a right cropper , tripping on a stone with wobbly and tired legs.  It was the full somersault even turning the air blue, the run on the road was difficult enough but this time there were bloodied knees and elbows and a swollen leg to take the mind off it? Still, determined to get the illusive sub 2:30 I ran as fast as my little legs could take me however, as if the road isn’t enough, the race doesn’t end and the clock doesn’t stop until you have completed a full circuit of the park.

Steven had a fabulous race and finished 11th overall although he thought he was 12th I managed the sub 2:30 I’d hoped for and Paul looked like he’d enjoyed himself too – although I have made a mental note not to fetch him anything other than water in future!
A fabulous atmosphere and a race that really doesn’t disappoint and one that I will be continue to do and possibly be the only one I make SURE I do – only another 19 to go to get the plaque!

Results can be found here
11th Steven Swarbrick     1:48:21
250th Emma Gregory     2:26:42
457th Paul Walsh    3:07:10

Emma G

Posted: Mon 13th Sep 2010

Bowland now has the new English V50 Champion in our midst (or usually out in front) - Mike secured the title at Shelf Moor last weekend by coming 32nd in the race overall.

Posted: Fri 10th Sep 2010

On a recent BAFTA to Hawthornthwaite Fell, it was observed that the trig pillar has fallen over. As one of the most unusual landmarks on the Bowland hills the fallen trig pillar deserves an obituary on the website. Rob Woodall (a known trig point bagger) commented " It was up on 27 April and down by 8 August (we triggers can be quite pedantic) and while mentioning that there was some speculation (by others) on the activities of trig-climbing baggers in hastening its demise, I don't advance that view myself - to do so would be more than my life is worth!"


Posted by Yiannis

Before and after photos - thanks to Crispin and Emma

                                                   The Fallen Pillar

Posted: Fri 10th Sep 2010

Emma Gregory has inaugurated a new Bowland group and a page on the website - view the activities of the BAFTA's on the "Club Activities" section or CLICK HERE.

Posted: Fri 10th Sep 2010

Congratulations to "Bowland Junior" Matthew Sweeney, surely a star of the future! Competing in fell races for the first time this season he raced in all six of the English Junior Championship rounds and finished the series a fabulous 4th place overall in the U12's just two  points off a bronze medal.  His best finish was an excellent 2nd at Clougha Pike demonstrating his true Bowland pedigree! Obviously being dragged round to watch his ageing/slowing dad over the years had encouraged him to have a go and hopefully Matt and others will keep the Bowland flag flying!!!

Posted: Wed 1st Sep 2010

The coming weekend sees Mike Johnson's 'all to play for' final race at Shelf Moor in the English Championship 2010. Steve Oldfield of Calder Valley will undoubtedly vie with Mike for the trophy in this short race. Hopefully Mike can regain the form he showed on the Clougha Pike race this year, good luck!

Posted: Wed 1st Sep 2010

Pendle Forest Orienteers are organising an event from Barley Village Hall on Saturday 4th September. CLICK HERE TO SEE THEIR FLIER.

Posted: Mon 23rd Aug 2010

The penultimate English championship race of the year was the 17 mile/4000 ft mudbath of Holme Moss. The wind blew, the rain rained, the mud stuck - so much for the famous drought of 2010. The twisty, turny, uppy, downy, muddy bogs of Yorkshire didn’t really suit any of us, despite a close resemblance to the wetter and gloopier parts of Bowland, and the mood at the end amongst the five Bowlanders was not one of great elation. Mike J finished in 2 hours 50 mins in 36th place and 3rd V50, followed by Leigh Warbie, Nick H, Declan O’D and new member Adrian Lowery. This leaves Mike needing a good result in the final English championship race of 2010 at Shelf Moor on 5th September. Lets get out there to support him.

Posted by Nick Hewitt

Posted: Mon 23rd Aug 2010

Building on successes at Duddon, Jura and Ennerdale earlier in the summer, Bowland had a great day at Wasdale 2010. In difficult misty, wet and windy conditions, Jo Taylor was 1st FV45, Chris Reade 1st MV45, Leigh Warburton 1st MV50, Nick Hewitt 1st MV55 and John Taylor 2nd MV60. However, in the true spirit of the club, several members selflessly decided to engage in some exploratory activities as well as aiming for the prize list.

On the descent from the first checkpoint at Whin Rigg, the grassy slopes and well marked path were not good enough for John and he took to exploring Greathall Gill instead. Apparently a rope was not essential. At Greendale, Jenn Hutton confirmed that continuous rain and spectacles are not a good combination for fell running, decided discretion was the better part of valour and saved her legs for another day. After crossing the Pots of Ashness, Leigh took time out to check that Haystacks was still in its correct position in the mist and Nick did the same with Scoat Fell. On leaving Scafell Pike, the attractions of Piers Gill seduced Richard Mellon and he went downhill in a dubious direction, but still managed a top-twenty position at the finish.

Meanwhile Declan O’Duffy, Sarah Massey and Hugh Price convened the first meeting of the club’s new Lakeland Exploration Group, concentrating their efforts on possible descents off Scafell Pike. They explored several options, including lower Eskdale. LEG’s chief navigator Declan O’Duffy is reported as saying that Mickledore is a very nice place to visit on a wet July evening. He discovered several ways in which a Silva compass can aid fell running (opening energy bar wrappers, removing stones from shoes etc), but none utilising its magnetic properties. It was generally agreed that it would be better if the next outing of the Lakeland Exploration Group is not held in the middle of a race and John has helpfully suggested that taxi fares are a mandatory item of kit for LEG-ers in the future.

Wayne Walsh and Mike Johnson were missing from the club’s roster of Lakeland long distance specialists, but the Farmer ground support team were in attendance, which was universally thought to be beyond the call of duty, given the horrible weather. 

Posted by Nick Hewitt

Posted: Tue 13th Jul 2010

As you will see, many of the photos are from the old website and I'm not that good with a camera. Could any club members who would like their good recent photos to go on the website email them to Richard Mellon please? Several people have asked about a page on the website to allow them to share photos - I think a Picassa album with a club login would be better for this and keep the website in a more manageable state. 

Posted: Sun 4th Jul 2010

The results of the recent Clougha Pike Fell Race and the races from the English Junior Championship are now on the race page.  Click here to view.



Posted: Fri 25th Jun 2010

A good turnout at the latest English Championship race saw Mike Johnson maintain his challenge for the V50 title and come 21st overall with Chris Reade not far behind.


21        Mike Johnson         Bowland FR      MV50      04:07:59
37        Chris Reade           Bowland FR      MV45      04:20:17
60        Leigh Warburton    Bowland FR      MV50      04:35:41
101      Huw Price               Bowland FR      MV45      04:59:17
110      Nick Hewitt             Bowland FR      MV55      05:02:36
144      Declan O'Duffy      Bowland FR      MV50      05:16:55
145      Sarah Massey      Bowland FR     L                05:17:02
179      Jo Taylor                Bowland FR      LV45        05:32:03
185      John Taylor            Bowland FR      MV60      05:33:22
196      Richard Davies      Bowland FR      MV50      05:38:22
259      Jennifer Hutton     Bowland FR      L             06:27:09
271      Wayne Walsh      Bowland FR      MV50      06:58:19

Posted: Wed 23rd Jun 2010

The new website is still in its infancy but over the next week I'll be starting to add information to the pages and contact those who have agreed to be responsible for the updating of certain pages. Bowland (and non-Bowland) members can add themselves to the email list if you want to be kept up to date with the news section of the site. Please email Richard Mellon if you have any views.

Posted: Wed 23rd Jun 2010