News: November 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?
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.
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...
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...
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 ?
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
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??
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
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;