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Bowland Fell Runners News: 2011

News: 2011

After the success of the 2011 club do following the Bleasdale Circle race, do we want to do the same again on 25th February 2012?

Les has booked the Parish Hall for the full day so if everyone is in agreement then we can go ahead and enjoy the night as we did last year.

Please could we have more club volunteers though with regards to the organising of the do (if we do go ahead) as last year it was all left to just one or two of us??


 AND and

Posted: Tue 22nd Nov 2011

Saturday's Tour saw it's largest number on the start line since the race began, lured to Barley by warm sunny weather no doubt. Kieran Carr again put on an excellent race although with no navigational challenges this year, the front runners were easy to spot and Carl Bell continued his excellent form this season to take the trophy.

10 bowlanders ran (and will proudly be displaying their lime green t-shirts at forthcoming events) with Coxes major and minor and Emma in support.

See the Club Champs page for the full report and latest update.

Posted: Sun 20th Nov 2011

Because of the lack of available women on the day of the relay I have (with advice from the key team leaders) entered a Vets and Open team in the Pennine Bridleway Relay next February. Because we will concentrate our efforts on a vets team there should be room in the open team for members who don't get to run in the club teams very often. Please announce your availability to one or all of the following.....

Chris Reade (chrisreade@tiscali.co.uk)
Quentin Harding (sueandq@escowbeck.wanadoo.co.uk)
Richard Mellon (rmellon@lrgs.org.uk)
Clive Davis (clivedavis1@hotmail.co.uk)
Mike Johnson (mikejohnsonab@btinternet.com)

I look forward to seeing the line-ups in due course..............Lee

Posted: Wed 9th Nov 2011

The Bowland Bat League kicked off on the 1st of November, with 23 Bats descending on Carwags for the first Bat meeting of the season. 

The Winter Planner is now posted on the Bat Runs page and the Carwags Winter Challenges page has been updated with details of this season's 6 challenges.

Bat Central


Posted: Thu 3rd Nov 2011

I had an email from Gavin Burt, an osteopath from London, who has devised a way to accurately diagnose injuries and give some professional advice as well as recovery plans. If you click on the image above you will be taken to the website where you will find a whole list of possible explanations for your own personal injury! Give it a go....it's pretty self-explanatory but if you need further help then click here for more info on how to use the site. It didn't explain my injury by the way!


Posted: Tue 18th Oct 2011

Knowing that several club members have problems with their feet, the following may interest you;

On Saturday, October 22; The Foot Centre are offering free consultations all day, to people who are concerned about poor posture, blisters, cold or sore feet or frequent and persistent injuries or for people who are on their feet all day or need to improve mobility!




Fell shoes and trainers can now be custom fitted to the individual. They offer support for the endurance/fell runner or those held back via injury. The tailor-made insoles are available for multi-sport and cycle shoes, and, as they are custom fit are low profile for all sports use, keeping you on your feet for longer and could help improve performance over time.
Using ‘state of the art’ equipment, the Foot Centre can build a 3D map of your feet, leading to the creation of high quality, thermo-moulded insoles 100% specifically tailored to each individual foot, on site, within the hour. £5 off, for all club members.
Also, in-store on the day will be Stuart Reynolds, resident Sports Physiotherapist to offer muscular, neurological or skeletal advice and Louise Goddard, Nutritional Advisor to discuss any weight, digestive or performance concerns; also Tracey Benson, Massage Therapist; offering a free taster session.  
No appointment is necessary, come in and see us on the day, The Foot Centre is within the Runners Centre, 10 King’s Arcade, Lancaster LA1 1JZ. Please call 07766 856543 for more information.
‘The Foot Centre; reconnecting you with your feet, your shoes and your body’
Posted: Mon 17th Oct 2011

A flurry of activity throughout the week culminated with a few late applications for exemptions from running in the relay, most as usual rejected but Leigh Warburton pulled out due to illness and was replaced by the ever keen Yiannis Tridimas. Those discussions at Bill’s funeral on the Friday were cemented and the open team was reformed.


The journey to Kettlewell was most scenic travelling through the picturesque Yorkshire villages such as Kilnsey – fab places, book a holiday. At Kettlewell the whole place was bathed in glorious sunshine and made for a fabulous setting. The relay was well organised and appeared to involve an inordinate number of marshals and helpers.


Once the Sean’s were located we were set for the off. Mild panic at a few late arrivals was soon allayed and the teams were all in place. Great runs were had by all and all 3 teams coped with the difficult terrain, tussocks, bogs, rough tracks and came home in good order. The navigation leg was excellent and the controls well hidden necessitating careful and accurate navigation over hard terrain. Well done Quentin for taking on all the nav responsibility for our leg – makes my life a bit easier not having to think about that map reading business.


The race was won by Dark Peak 3.5 mins ahead of Borrowdale.

26th Bowland Vets, Shaun Livesey, Ali Welsh & Dave Wilson, Chris Reade & Quentin Harding, Mike Johnson.   5th Vet team

47th Sean Bolland, Richard Mellon & Oliver Wilde, Mark Saunders & Martin Hurst, Yiannis Tridimas.

126th – Jen Hutton, Rowena Brown & Sophie Fosker, Sue Harding & Sarah Sarginson, Emma Gregory. 18th Ladies team, (I think).

182 teams finished. Results and splits on Sportident website.

Chris Reade


Posted: Sun 16th Oct 2011

Bowland has 3 teams entered for this years relay on Saturday 15th October based in Kettlewell;


Leg 1: Sean Bolland

Leg 2: Richard Mellon & Oliver Wild

Leg 3: Mark Saunders & Martin Hurst

Leg 4: Leigh Warburton

Reserve - Paddy Walsh


Leg 1: Jenn Hutton

Leg 2: Rowena Browne & Sophie Fosker

Leg 3: Sue Harding & Sarah Sarginson

Leg 4: Emma Gregory


Leg 1: Shaun Livesey

Leg 2: Dave Wilson & Ali Welsh

Leg 3: Quentin Harding & Chris Reade

Leg 4: Mike Johnson

More details can be found at http://www.relay.bingleyharriers.org.uk/index.html if you want to come along and support.


Posted: Thu 13th Oct 2011

October 2nd 2011

A fantastic performance by both Open and Mixed teams in the IHMR - with the clag down, the compass was out on legs 2, 3 and 4 and no major errors were made, unlike Dark Peak and Clayton to mention a few. The Open team were 8th overall and the Mixed team were 4th in category. See the new BOWLAND BLOG for some first hand accounts.
















Mike, Mark, Richard, Chris and Quentin

For the Open Team:
Leg 1  Sean Bolland  Shaun Livesey 00:40:20
Leg 2  Richard Mellon  Mark Chippendale 01:15:17
Leg 3  Mike Johnson  Steve Swarbrick 00:56:03
Leg 4  Chris Reade  Quentin Harding 01:16:45

Total 04:08:25 (8th overall)

Sophie, Rowena, Alan, Ali and Emma

Sophie, Rowena, Alan, Ali and Emma

For the Mixed Team
Leg 1  Sophie Fosker   Sarah Sarginson  00:48:47
Leg 2  Clive Davis  Leigh Warburton  01:20:44 27
Leg 3  Emma Gregory  Rowena Browne  01:15:50 36
Leg 4  Alan Lucker  Ali Welsh  01:27:28

Total 04:52:49  (4th Mixed Team and 30th overall)


Posted: Mon 3rd Oct 2011


Tue 13th September 2011 - SEE THE PHOTO GALLERY OF THE EVENT

The first Bowland Up-Down Relay was a great success with all participants having a blast! It was not without its dramas though... First, with only hours to go to the start, the 'Dunc'Em' team (Duncan Elliott and Emma Gregory) received, literally, a serious blow when Emma banged her head on the garage door and was concussed. A visit to casualty was needed and Em was strictly instructed not to run, leaving Dunc with no partner and no time to recruit another. In typically irrepressible Duncan style, he decided to run both the up and the down leg himself - not strictly within the rules but in the circumstances I thought a bit of flexibility was in order, and it was unlikely to give him an unfair advantage anyway! Hope the head is better now Emma.
Last minute entries came in from Ray Picket and Ian Roberts (calling themselves the "Taking it Easy Boys" now that they are both retired), and Alan Lucker and Will Houghton ("The Big 3 Boys") and the total number of teams making the start was 12, which turned out to be just about a perfect number.
The car park at Downham was a thrum of excitement as people arrived, dodged the vicious rain showers and began preparing (happily, it eventually stayed dry for most of the race). I introduced Joe Smith to Paddy Walsh ("The Young Ones") who had never met before and we discussed some options for finding a team mate for Duncan, though in the end it came to nought and Dunc had to run as a soloiste. There was some anxiety as Stewart Forsyth, one of my stalwart helpers, didn't arrive until almost 6pm and when the group of downhillers set off fror the changeover there was still no sign of Declan O’Duffy, leaving Richard Davies wondering if the "Dic & Dec" team would be complete or not.
Leaving Stew capably in charge of the start/finish arrangements, I set off with Joe for the changeover following a string of other downhillers (plus Roy Rigby, the changeover marshall) who were making their way up the course. A steady walk brought us onto the upper incline as the start time passed and it was not long before we saw the first runners on the lower slopes. There were two figures close together and we knew one of them would be Clive Davis but we were not sure who would be up there with him. We would soon find out.
It was flippin' chilly on the top, with a strong wind gusting around but we didn't have to wait too long before the first figures appeared over the edge of the hill. To our slight surprise it was Alan Lucker in the lead, with Clive a short way adrift of him, both of these had taken well under 20 minutes! This caught Will completely unawares as he was sheltering in a hollow of the fell in full waterproofs! Dashing to the changeover gate, he was helped to struggle out of his weather gear but this allowed Clive, with a final surge, to make up the gap as he handed over to Lee Dowthwaite. Will and Lee actually left almost together but Lee soon stamped his descending authority on proceedings and "The Inbetweeners" established themselves in the lead as we'd always expected.
Next into view was Andrew Knowles, my "Handy Andys" team mate (gulp) closely followed by Declan (much to Richard's relief I'm sure). I headed off down the incline with Richard in pursuit and I managed to stay in front until the flatter boggier bit when my legs began to to say (what kind of stupid pace is THIS??)... Just after the latched gate, Richard eased past but we were both then simultaneously overtaken by a flying Joe Smith, who had taken over from Paddy Walsh in 5th place, 40 seconds behind Richard and 51 seconds behind me! I couldn't live with the pace from here but Richard gave chase and Joe apparently weakened in the final field and "The Young Ones" were pipped to the finish by the strong-finishing "Dic & Dec". Joe still did the fastest descent of the night though, his 8.35 beating even Lee's rapid 8.44.
Meanwhile, "Dunc'Em" (minus Em) had reached the top in 6th place and turned for the descent. He had a 30-second gap over "The Singlespeeders" (Julia Richardson and Graham Lund) but Graham made up the gap and more as he came down in 9:46 while Dunc's tired legs could only manage an 11.38. His combined up and down time was still impressive though.
For the "Little & Large" team John Wade was champing at the bit as he awaited Andy Farmer's arrival but he had to watch "The Lost Causes" (Debbie Cooper/Phil Martin) and "The Walsh 2-Lads" (Martin and Paul) changeover before he could let fly on his descent. He posted the 4th fastest descent of the night, passing Phil and Paul en route to a 9.41, whilst Paul made up a 36 second defecit on Phil to regain 9th overall.
"The Lantern Rouge Chicks" lived up to their name, with Pam Farmer reaching the top in 11th spot (but still only 13 secs outside the 30 minute barrier) and handing over to Gill Ponsford who was running in her first ever fell race. Pam had to break the news to Ian that his team mate Ray had dropped out on the climb with (I think) a calf injury, so Ian was able to keep Gill company on her descent, and he even held open the awkward latched gate for her. What a Gent. Gill struggled a bit with the wet and slippery conditions but despite a fall she arrived back with a time not TOO far outside the 16 mins she recently managed on a recce run.
The jovial bunch at the finish stayed until everyone was down, Richard taking some pics which are now on the gallery page, then dashed for the shelter of nearby trees as a torrential rain shower came on. Lee gave a little vote of thanks speech (I was very pleased that it had gone off so well and everybody had enjoyed themselves) and we then jogged back to Downham as a big chattering group. Excellent club spirit!
The Assheton Arms was closed but the Calf’s Head at Worston was a more than agreeable substitute and we took over a big corner of the pub for a brilliant post race natter to round off what had been a cracking night.
My sincere thanks must go to Stewart and Roy for their help with marshalling and timekeeping (Roy burned the midnight oil to compile the results the same night!) and to everyone who entered and joined in the spirit of what might now become an annual event.
Andy Walmsley

Posted: Thu 15th Sep 2011

Jubilee Tower by Chris Reade

13 dedicated runners turned out to race this inaugural circuit in blustery and menacing conditions. Thankfully the worst of the weather didn’t show itself until Mike and Richard were returning from the Fleece Inn later in the evening. I arrived somewhat last minute to find most people ready to run, a quick briefing and they were off, most of the runners that is.

Quentin, Richard and Mike Johnson were held back 5 minutes to provide some sport and entertainment later on in the race and in the event they only caught Clive and Dave Wilson in the final run in off the fell, (well Richard and Quentin did anyway).
Everyone came in looking like they had  worked hard and although not the most picturesque of routes was definitely  a challenge on this poor evening, (weatherwise).

The route went from Jubilee Tower cross country to Clougha Trig, via an array of lines, some runners not believing there was a stile across the fence, which indicated a wide variety of route choice to me. Then it was Right on a track across Grit Fell to the near Trig of Wardstone, then about turn and into the wind back to Grit Fell and down the R side of the fence back to Jubilee Tower. The winning time was  1 hr 3 mins and 12 seconds for this 12.15Km and 350m of climb challenge.  The race was run as an Honesty Race without marshals relying on people to touch the trig points and the stile.

Below are the actual times, with the 5 minutes knocked off for Richard, Quentin and Mike.

1st Richard Mellon 1.03.12 Open 
2 Quentin Harding 1.03 17 V40 
3 Mike Johnson 1.03 51 V40 / V50 
4 Clive Davis 1.08 20 V40 
5 Dave Wilson 1.08.37 V40 
6 Richard Davis 1.11.05 V40 / V50 
7  Crispin Halsall 1.11.25 V40 
8 Declan O’Duffy 1.12.42 V40 / V50 
9 John Elliot 1.21.00 V40 
10 Tim Whiteley 1.21.36 V40 
11 Rowena Brown 1.22.14 Lady V40 
12 Alan Heaton 1.29.36 V40/V50 
13 Ian Cookson 1.36.38 V40 V50 / V60 

Many thanks to everyone for turning up and to Andy, Pam, Andy and Ian for supporting / supervising on the hill and to anyone else who I’ve missed but was out. Interestingly whilst we were waiting for the Reverend to return there was a light on Clougha top so wonder whether we lost anyone or whether there are other bats around whom we don’t know about.

See the Club Champs page for the latest table

Posted: Thu 8th Sep 2011

The Club Championship page has now been updated with race reports after Wasdale and Kentmere - Richard, Rowena, Leigh, John Wade and Cookie are the ones to beat in Open, Ladies, V40, V50 and V60 respectively. Both races were a swag-fest for Bowland ... look out for some new kit soon!

Posted: Mon 18th Jul 2011

The latest club championship race at Kentmere saw Bowland gain both team prizes - not sure if this has happened in a non-local race before? Rich, Paul N and Mike J for the men and Rowena, Sophie and Jo T for the ladies.  Results for the last two champs races will appear on the club champs page when the official results appear on line.

Posted: Sun 17th Jul 2011

Chris Reade did a fine job organising the English Junior Fell Running event alongside the Clougha Pike race on Saturday.The RESULTS are on the CLOUGHA PIKE page of the website and I'll add some of the photos soon ... but in the meantime this was emailed to me by a parent this morning ... these kids torment me all week at school and as you can see, I can't even shake them off at the weekend!

Posted by Richard

Posted: Mon 20th Jun 2011

Congratulations to Andy on his successful BG round last weekend - his article about the day is on the Bob Graham page of our website.

Posted: Mon 20th Jun 2011

Ennerdale was a very popular race this year with about 100 runners despite the English Championship clash at Duddon. 8 Bowlanders made the long drive and conditions, according to Leigh, were "a bit warm" once the wind dropped in time for the second half of the race. With all the championship contenders at Duddon it was quite a gentle pace to begin with and times were a little slower than usual.  With Sarah 4th lady, Richard 5th, Mark 4th V40, Huw 9th V40, Dave 21st V40, Leigh 2nd V50, Ian 7th V50 and Wayne 11th V50 there was something for everyone in addition to the good points for the Lakeland Classics.

Images courtesy of http://www.sharpimagesuk.com/ennerdale_horseshoe_2011/

Posted: Thu 9th Jun 2011

Five Bowland members (and an honorary Selwyn Wright) made the long journey to Jura for this years fell race. With somewhat blustery, wet weather in the preceeding days the race was run on the best day weatherwise in almost a fortnight, albeit with very strong winds and sodden ground. Navigation was consequently not an issue this year but the heavy ground and strong winds made for an exciting time on the paps. Richard managed to get round in a sub-4 time with Chris pleased at only 10 minutes slower than last year given his lack of racing recently. Nick nursed his injury round and John was very pleased with his first Jura . For Selwyn however, this was his 21st Jura - a remarkable achievement. The heavens opened during the evening festivities in the pub and the journey back was pure en-Jura-nce with gale force winds making cycling difficult and preventing some ferries from running. However, Mick's camper was warm and comfortable ... a message to all aspirant Jurans?


Posted: Thu 9th Jun 2011

Read all about Duncan's latest attempt at the Paddy Buckley Round on the new Paddy Buckley page of the Bowland website. CLICK HERE to see it. 

Posted: Thu 12th May 2011

Saturday's Buttermere race was run in "proper" conditions with most of the field donning tops in the maelstrom on Causey Pike. 10 Bowlanders braved the elements with a debut from new member Sophie - rumour has it her new "dayglo" club vest was spotted from as far away as Keswick! The club championship page has the race report and the updated table. Bowland results were;

7 Richard Mellon  M 01:37:39
22 Mark Chippendale  MV40 01:49:18
24 Leigh Warburton  MV50 01:49:23
48 David Wilson   MV40 02:03:18
52 Alan Lucker  M 02:04:18
58 John Wade   MV40 02:04:57
61 Rowena Brown   LV40 02:07:36
79 Ian Cookson   MV60 02:13:03
80 Sophie Fosker  L 02:13:53
95 John Taylor   MV60 02:20:29

Posted by Webmaster

Posted: Tue 10th May 2011

Five Bowland members ran the Three Peaks at the weekend to come in as 8th team in the overall standings - two places higher than the road runners from Clayton!! Well done to all for a solid team performance.

26 Richard Mellon M 03:23:45
68 Mark Chippendale MV40 03:39:26
87 Ali Welsh MV40 03:45:14
119 Paul Neild M 03:53:20
188 James Rhodes MV40 04:03:41


Posted: Tue 3rd May 2011

Free on a Thursday evening?  Have a look at the Summer Street Orienteering League in Preston in June - click on the link below to see the flyer for the series.



Posted: Tue 26th Apr 2011
Due to late changes to the course (because of new fences), the club championship race which was scheduled for Tuesday April 12th has been POSTPONED. A new date will be chosen and announced soon.
Posted: Wed 6th Apr 2011

The final Bat League and Carwags Speed League documents are now posted on the website. The Summer Planner will follow shortly.



Posted: Wed 30th Mar 2011

March 3rd – Trough Skyline

 The now-classic, but rather gnarly, Trough Skyline run attracted 10 bats including one newcomer, Sophie Fosker, taking the total number of scorers on this year's league to 72, and the return of Grand Bat Paul Walsh, who's Achilles injury seems to have cleared up. Ian R and Sophie took a 20 min head start to avoid the 'cavalry charge' and Ian has penned the following report of the run from his perspective...
(I made) "A very heavy legged start; despite a steady jog up the track, once on to the fell the quads turned to mahogany, probably due to going into anaerobic oxygen debt / lactic build up. Sophie was obviously straining at the leash and once we had angled across to the fence, I suggested that she could jog up ahead and return to me as she pleased, using the fence as a handrail. She disappeared up that fence-line like greased lightning and it was a good 5 minutes later before I spotted the pin-prick of light from her Tikka, returning towards me afar off. Made me feel like a very inadequate old man. This was repeated all the way to the fence junction, when she gleefully returned to report that she had found the kissing gate some 100 yards ahead.
We stuck together at a brisk walk over the actual Top o' Blaze Moss and Sophie fell in behind me for the descent, claiming that she was cautious on descents. Once across the Trough she came past me, but I managed to hold station about 50 yards behind her until we crossed the fence at the wicket gate, where I took her well R of the fence and picked up the quad track that avoids all the hags and groughs along the fence. Once again she was running ahead then returning until we climbed into the really thick clag and she found the Tikka inadequate for picking up sketchy points of the track. We soon came alongside the fence again, but the easy angle indicated that the quad track had cut well inside the fence junction and we were now on the final couple of hundred yards to the summit. I was rather non-plussed to come across a kissing gate in the fence, I remember that it used to be a proper farm gate, and wondered if maybe we were still below the fence junction? A few seconds later, I glanced left and spotted the trig looming out of the clag, across the fence. We climbed the fence to touch the trig then re-crossed and followed the trod along the RHS of the fence.
My idea was that as Sophie was cautious in descent, it would be better if we maintained our lead and kept going. There was always the danger that I might get swept along on a cavalry charge descent and leave Sophie detached on the fell. Now hand holding the headtorches to cut through the clag, we hugged the fence all the way to the Ouster Rake gate before swinging R on the bridleway, which was not that easy to see in a few places but we always managed to relocate to it. Once through the Trough House ruins, Sophie's Tikka all but gave up the ghost and she swapped it for my AlpKit Gamma which she enthused about. As we set off again, a rear ward glance confirmed that the cavalry charge was on its way and we set forth with a will, making use of the field shortcuts across the loops of the track. At the road, no following lights could be seen and I switched off the Vision 2. We had a steady run down the road by the light of the Gamma and arrived at the vehicles still with no pursuing lights visible. IDR."
Meanwhile, the rest (initially 7) of us set off at 7pm and ran up the waterworks road before branching off up the rushy fell to pick up a fence climbing to Blaze Moss. A front group pressed on ahead, while Martin Walsh, John McHugh and I took a steadier climb, regrouping at the watershed fence. A light approaching from behind proved to be Steve Cox, once again arriving late and chasing (he loves it!). A stumbling traverse of the Top was followed by a brisk descent, dodging the bits of fencing wire that menace much of this run, and we were soon across the Trough road and on our way up Whins Brow. My recent statistical email brought accusations of anorak-hood from some quarters on this climb, but the accusers then donned their own cycling anoraks and started talking about videos of 'indexing your deraillieur' on YouTube... This was only interrupted when I made an unsuccessful attempt to surmount a peat hag and fell backwards, to be caught by Andy C, who then had to endure allegations of being a fell fondler in the mould of a certain other member of our club (initials DE) who is given to this sort of thing. AND, John Wade was once again on hand to witness the indiscretion. An uncanny nose for a whiff of scandal or what..?
Putting this slight discomfiture behind me, I pressed on for the top where we all arrived in about 56 mins. No sign of Ian and Sophie but they had been going for some 75 mins by this time and were probably already well down the descent. 
It was misty on the summit and as Steve led off on the descent we hugged the fence, reluctant to commit ourselves to the maze of peat groughs that would have enabled us to cut the corner. It was very juicy along here and cold wet feet were the order of the day, even with Sealskinz on. At the point where we finally decided to make the short cut, a regrouping stop was called for as some had got left behind and when we resumed there was a small amount of er, disorientation, resulting in us reaching the Ouster Rake path almost right at the top, so we missed the short cut completely. As Ian mentions above, the path is a bit indistinct on this top section, but we managed to stay on it fairly easily and we soon dropped down to the fell gate where the charge down the lower tracks began. Since I was nursing a slightly sore calf muscle, I had promised myself that I would not do a mad finish this time (having made a habit of it over recent years) and I successfully kept to an easy trot all the way down to the road, at which point my headtorch began to begave strangely - switching itself off at random. Selecting the lower power setting seemed to solve it so I resorted to that.
By Sykes, my calf was developing a bit of a knot so I elected to walk in from there and was joined by Paul and Martin for a very relaxed finish!
We all retired to the Parkers Arms in Newton for a well-earned pint and we were joined in there by Gill, who was returning from Yorkshire and couldn't resist joining in the bat natter. Martin had the task of passing on the golden baton and elected to give it to Andy Crook, not for anything particular he'd done tonight but simply because Martin recalled other nights when he would have given the baton to Andy, if he'd been awarding it. A perfectly acceptable reason.
As usual, Adrian was a very genial host and, as usual, it was Martin, Gill and I who were last to depart for home. Another excellent bat night!

March 8th – Carwags Batbecue

Tuesday night's activities attracted 20 bats, who enjoyed a "normal" Carwags run plus a 'Batbecue' ably organised by Pam, who worked wonders in providing a veritable feast, with sausage butties (including veggie option), fried onions, cheesy jacket potatoes and cakes, all in quite blustery conditions. She's a miracle worker!
It being Shrove Tuesday, there had been a plan to have flambe pancakes (flambe? Yes, it was Duncan's idea...) but the man himself was absent on domestic duties so this didn't happen, even though Pam did have pancake mix with her and I had brought whiskey...  
The runs produced a few new times, including a 33.55 from Richard Davies, a 34.44 from John McHugh (chipping off a few more seconds), a 43.51 from Sara Farmer, and a rapid duathlon in 65.55 from John Wade, despite being quite fatigued from his run at Black Combe on Saturday.
I was also still fatigued after suffering a mega hunger-bonk at Black Combe and just settled for an easy circuit with Gill. Shaun and Ruth Turner were with us initially but they gradually got ahead and we settled for an easy jog back to Carwags.
Once we were changed we joined the lively group feasting in the barbecue pit. The barbie was glowing merrily and there was a lively chatter going on and much food being consumed for a while but conditions were threatening. A cold blustery wind made it less than comfortable and when rain, (initially sleety!) gradually set in we all set about a rapid and efficient clear up then dived for the vehicles. I suppose you could say we just about got away with it!
There are now only two opportunities to reduce your Carwags time before the 2010/2011 league is archived for posterity.

March 10th Jubilee Tower

The Jubilee Tower run attracted a total of 12 bats but the need to accommodate a wide range of abilities and preferences resulted in three different starting points! The main group (just 4 of them - Andy Crook, Paul and Martin Walsh and Shaun Turner) set off as planned at 7pm and their route went via Grit Fell, Goldsworthy's installations, and Clougha Pike, returning across Hare Appletree Fell to Jubilee Tower. A rough and gnarly run of just over 5 miles.
Ian Roberts and Sophie Fosker elected to start from Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead, as Ian was unsure about parking at Higher Lee, and the rest of us (Pam and Andy Farmer, Sue Jones, Ruth Turner, Gill and I) drove down to Higher Lee and decided to risk parking in the entrance to the farm lane. There was plenty of room but we thought it might be slightly naughty. We had banked on a 15 minute head start but by the time we set off it was 6:55 so we knew we would not be making our planned rendezvous with the main group at the Goldsworthy sculptures.
As we set off, a car was coming out of the driveway of Higher Lee, and as the driver was closing the gate, Andy F approached her and using his best PR skills managed to get her permission for us to leave the vehicles where they were. I knew the skills aquired from years of wooing the Fiendsdale landowners would pay off in the end... ;-)
Our route was to be up the long shooting track to Cabin Flat, then round to the "installations" returning the same way. Runningahead.com makes this 6.7 miles (with an extra 1.7 miles for Ian and Sophie's start at Abbeystead). This makes the route look tougher than the main group's route but this is misleading. Their route is rough in complete contrast to the easy tracks of our route.
We set off up the track in cold windy conditions, with stars twinkling overhead, and made good steady progress up to Cabin Flat, by which time it was obvious the faster group would be long gone, then continued towards the installations. By this time, Sophie (though not Ian) had caught us and the enlarged group went on a short way before Gill and Andy F decided to return, having had a surfeit of good things. I pressed on with the girls to the objective, which everyone seemed suitably unimpressed with before turning and setting off back. It had taken us about 57mins to get here and we learned later that the faster group had been there about ten mins ahead of us.
Seeing our lights returning, Ian turned around and we were soon all back together, whereupon Ian suggested that Sophie and I went on ahead. This proved a good suggestion as I was aware that Gill would get back before me and would have no keys for the van so it was important to press on. We came down the long shooting track at a good pace, though chatting all the way (Sophie will have no trouble joining the fast group on future runs) and we were soon back down at Higher Lee (we'd been out for about 1:28). 5 mins later, Ian, Pam, Ruth and Sue returned and Gill and I then gave Ruth and Sue a lift back up to Jubilee Tower to meet Shaun, whilst Ian and Sophie continued to Abbeystead.
We all eventually got together in the Fleece at Dolphinolme where Andy Crook reported a disturbing event during their run. Paul had apparently tripped whilst running a few feet behind him and in falling forward had generated enough momentum to almost achieve a "debagging" of Andy. For once, John Wade was not on hand to witness this unsavoury incident but Shaun was. However, he showed commendable decorum in not making a fuss about it and for this display of courteousness, Andy has awarded him the golden baton and the attendant double points! This has carried Shaun above Ian R in the bat league.

March 15th – Carwags

A grey, misty, murky evening saw a slightly reduced turnout at Carwags (17) but the lengthening evenings now mean that darkness does not arrive until almost 7pm so most times set now will be treated as dusk times, not true purist bat times.... I can't blame people for wanting to get going and not hang about but a distinction must be drawn, even though the last of the light (probably without a torch on) can be the worst visibility of all. I've settled for letting the times stand in the bat categories but simply adding a note - 'dusk' - denoting that some glims of daylight were still available.
The challenge of the duathlon remains popular, with Steve C, Andrew K, John W and perhaps others I didn't see, all having another go at it. There certainly seemed to be a few bikes about in the twilight. John had a frustrating run, going wrong in the misty trees in Dewpond Wood (easily done) and so didn't improve on last week's time (64.10), but Steve and Andrew had storming runs, with times of 59.46 and 60.41 respectively. This makes Steve the first ever 'super-duo' bat (sub 1 hour). Well done Steve! Also, I think Andrew and Steve were both under 25 mins for the bike circuit, which beats the previous MTB "record" of 25.48, set last winter by Alasdair Harrison. Declan is now demoted to third in the duathlon league but you can never count him out... watch this space next week.
Speaking of Declan, he currently has a slight niggling injury and turned up at Carwags with his road bike. He did a road circuit in the local lanes but also included a timed blast around the one-way Beacon Fell perimeter road in 6.52. I will have to measure the distance but this seems a fast time for what is a short but quite hilly circuit. Perhaps this will become yet another speed challenge for Tuesday nights at Carwags!
Of the runners (remember them?!), Sara Farmer took yet another chunk off her time, reporting a 43.14, some 40 secs better. In doing this, she burned off her dad, though Andy still has a faster time from earlier in the winter (only 41 secs in it now though). Ruth took the opportunity (with a nudge from Gill) to run with husband Shaun and set a 50.10, her first posted time of the winter. She may yet take the odd seconds off this next week and join the Sportybats too.
It was Ian Cookson's <<censored>> birthday last night and he had a steady run to celebrate. He did casually mention that he had done an unreported 37.55 last week though, so I have added this into the league as it lifts Ian to his rightful place in the Speedybat category. Many happy returns Ian, I never realised you were such an, er..  elderly gent ;-)
As for me, I have ambitions to get under 37 before the end of the winter but going out to lunch and drinking two pints of beer put paid to my energy for having a crack at it on this occasion so I settled for a steady run round a slightly reduced circuit with Gill. Well, with Pam absent due to a school governer's meeting (though she did appear in the pub later for a social point) and Ruth time trialling, she would have been on her own...
So, there is now only one more chance to set a Carwags time for this winter, before it's back to Fell Foot Wednesday's and its altogether tougher time trial course!
Details of summer activities will be appearing soon. 
Martin Walsh retains his stranglehold on the bat league leadership so we could now address him as 'Grand Bat Elect'. Pam is uncatchable as Grand Bat Chick but she still has ambition of overtaking current Grand Bat Paul Walsh for third overall. She would need a golden baton to do that though, provided Paul attends the last three runs, which seems very likely.

March17th – Roddlesworth

A pleasant, clear, moonlit but chilly night greeted the 15 bats who turned out to run the paths and tracks of Roddlesworth Woods and Darwen Moor. As well as the regular Bowland contingent, we were joined by new and occasional bats Adrian Hope, Paul Murray, Jason Tonge and (new Bowland member) Ian Charters. Pam Farmer and Gill Ponsford formed a second group who devised a route around the Roddlesworth reservoirs, whilst the rest of us did a six mile circuit, partly in the woods and partly over the moor.
Martin Walsh arrived uncharacteristically late, which surprised me as he'd been behind me on the Belmont road but then inexplicably went straight on when I turned left, ending up in Belmont village before returning. An attack of brain fade perhaps...  
Setting off at 7pm, I led a downhill start into the woods and onto the Roddlesworth paths. We quickly dropped Martin and Paul W, which I found puzzling but when we regrouped Paul explained he'd had battery trouble and had to stop to swap head-torches. All, back together we headed over to Earnsdale Reservoir and then the waterworks roads led us up to the climb to Darwen Tower, which was taken steadily with some walking (it was for me anyway). Andy Crook and John McHugh particularly were going well and the group inevitably kept stringing out and having to regroup but it all worked perfectly fine and no-one was left behind.
From the tower, more good fast paths led across the edge of the moor towards Cartridge Hill and we were very soon at the gate and once again overlooking Roddlesworth woods. After regrouping, I anticipated a short bit of proper fellrunning on the descent and set off with glee, only to miss the rougher fell path which caused me to go galumphing over the tussocks to rejoin the group. Easy running then brought us down to the road at Slipper Lowe Car Park. This was our originally planned start point but the closed and locked barrier had put paid to that idea.
From here the rough descent of a stony track took us down into Tockholes No3 Plantation and then back up to the Royal after a very enjoyable 1:08 run.
Arriving back, we caught up with the girls, who's plan had gone slightly awry in the vicinity of Rake Brook Reservoir (the lowest of the three). They had run down to the Hare & Hounds pub OK but got confused after crossing the reservoir spillway and ended up returning by their outward route. Still a decent outing but not quite what they had planned. More reccying required!
After changing we retired to the cosy confines of the Royal Arms (complete with roaring fire!) and were joined by Andy Farmer, who had been unable to make it back (from Aldershot!) in time for the run but was determined to partake in the apre run social. For this he gets the now-accepted one point. Surprisingly, only the Bowland contingent appeared in the pub but it was a lively group of 12 who were rewarded with good beer from local breweries and two big bowls of chips (with dips), generously provided gratis by the landlord. We shall return to this venue!
The passing of the golden baton was the duty of Shaun Turner and he awarded it to Stewart (Blackfoot) Forsyth, a) because Stew had introduced him to BFR, and b) because, after his injury troubles, Stew needed the extra points! So, Stew now has the honour of awarding the last golden baton of the winter at next week's Fell Foot Finale. Tactics may enter into it....

March 22nd – The Final Carwags

It was another eventful night at Carwags, with a flurry of activity over the time trial courses. 20 bats turned out, with a fair few of them having a go at setting a final time and 5 succeeding. These were Gill Ponsford, Steve Harling, Declan O'Duffy, John McHugh and Matt Gallagher. Gill knocked almost half a minute off her previous time after being paced around the route by Pam and Ruth; she was actually 5 mins up at the first time over the crossroads but struggled thereafter. There is obviously more to come off the time next winter though, with slightly more even pacing! Steve Harling, having been seen running fast round the fell almost every Tuesday, finally decided to post a new time and took 35 seconds off his previous effort. Declan, having swapped the duathlon record with Steve Cox a few times already, timed his final effort to perfection and clocked a startling 58.34, to take back the record by 50secs and become the second 'super-duo bat'. His splits were impressive: 25.36 on the bike and 32.58 for the run. John McHugh (32.13) and Matt Gallagher (35.04) also clocked impressive run times but they were both returning to Carwags as I was heading out at about 6:45, still in twilight, so these must be considered daylight runs.....      
The Dark/Dusk/Daylight Question The first thing to say about this is that the whole speed-league thing is just a bit of fun, but since it is a bat league thing, with bat categories, the runs should ideally be done in darkness. Obviously, at this time of year, pesky daylight starts creeping back and makes true bat runs difficult. Therefore, I've had to apply some standards: A bat run takes place in full darkness and goes straight into the speed league categories. A dusk run may start in twilight but ends up in darkness. These go into the league but have the word 'dusk' added by the side of them. A daylight run may take place in twilight but never encounters full darkness (headtorch not essential). These are added to the league document but only as a footnote. Having said all this, the Carwags course is perfectly runnable in the dark, so there's not a lot of evidence that daylight (and especially twilight) is any advantage at all.
Of the other runners, some were seen checking their watches at the end of their runs but not posting times (it's not always possible to go faster!). I set off feeling quite good (under 9 mins to the summit fairly easily) but tired legs from the weekend soon caused me to ease off rather than pushing it for a PB. I was still well under 40 mins for what ended up a reasonably comfortable run for most of the route so I'm encouraged by that. 
So, it's farewell to Carwags for another winter. It's been perhaps the most successful season of Tuesday runs ever, especially with regard to the time trials, the success of the duathlon etc. The Grand Tour has been completely neglected but Martin Walsh has inaugurated a new longer challenge that he calls his "figure of 88" - basically a double figure of 8, apart from not returning to Carwags in the middle. More details of this before next winter but Martin clocked about 1:08 for the route last night so a sub one hour challenge might be on the cards for some people. Also, there has been much talk of a challenge for road bikers, since Declan's 6.52 lap of the fell road. Steve Cox's suggestion is a challenge based on how many laps can be done in an hour. More details of this before the dark nights return. But first, the summer..!
The summer planner will be out shortly, and watch this space for details of an additional time trial challenge for Fell Foot Wednesdays.
Meanwhile, there is one more bat run left - the Fell Foot Finale on Thursday at 7pm. It's a 4-point special (8 points for the lucky Golden Bat). 

March 24th – The Fell Foot Finale

It's all over! The 2010/2011 Bat League drew to a close on March 24th with 15 bats having a straightforward run in 'the homeland' of Parlick and Fairsnape Fells. Some just had a simple run up to Paddy's and back, whilst a group extended the run via 1707 and Saddle Fell. It was a perfect evening, mild and clear, with pretty much dry underfoot conditions. I was one of those who returned early and it was great to look back and see the lines of headtorches descending Parlick in the darkness. 
On return to the cars, Pam produced a surprise; a batch of Bat Cakes, some of them personally decorated for individual, prominent bats. So, the leading Bat Chicks got a cake with a very glam looking feminine bat on it,  Ian R (the 'Bishop of Bowland) had one with an ecclesiastical theme, Bat Central got one with "HQ" on it, Martin Walsh, the newly crowned Grand Bat was presented with one bearing a crown, and Stewart recieved a suspiciously large cake depicting a bat carrying a golden baton... talk about bribery...   It had the desired effect though, with Stew unable to resist awarding the final golden baton to Pam. This would have had the effect of lifting Pam above Paul Walsh in the final standings but wasn't actually needed as Paul was surprisingly absent on this occasion.  
A bunch of bats returned to the Tillies for refreshments but the Bat League trophy presentation will now take place next Wednesday after the first Fell Foot summer run.
This has been the most popular Bat League ever, with a total of 628 individual scores. It shares the largest number of runs (44) with last year but last year's total number of scores was only 509. The number of different people scoring this time (75) is also a record, beating last year's 68. So it could be said that the league continues to go from strength to strength.
A particularly encouraging thing about this year's league is the increase in participation by women. 14 scored on the league this time, easily beating the previous record of 10, and it was more competitive too, Pam Farmer scoring 100 points (the first woman to reach double figures) and finishing 3rd overall (the highest ever) to win the Bat Chick title. Gill Ponsford made a very good fist of her first season of taking part in what can be a daunting and eccentric activity (well, what else would you call winter night fellrunning), achieving an excellent 7th overall and Bat Chick runner up, and Ruth Turner's recent consistent attendance was rewarded by her sneaking past Beverley Wilkinson in the final week to take the third Bat Chick spot.
As previously mentioned, Martin Walsh achieved the Grand Bat title after a brilliantly committed and consistent winter, taking over from his brother Paul, who was cruelly hampered by a mid-season injury, and of course his ineligibility for golden bat points, being the sitting Grand Bat. Meanwhile Bat Central, as befits his office, was close (4 points) behind Martin. Only his fondness for sunning himself in the Canaries for a week every November torpedoed his challenge for top spot.
New bat John McHugh had a great first season to finish 5th overall and he set a string of startling new PBs on the Carwags Speed League en-route. Andy Farmer was hampered by injury (and work!) and finished 2 points behind John in 6th place. Behind Gill in 7th, Ian Cookson quietly amassed points all season to finish 8th, and the top ten was completed by John Wade and Keith Denver who are always there or thereabouts.
Of the other, part time bats (ahem), special mention must go to Shaun and Ruth Turner, who made a late start but have been very consistent in the second half of the season. Shaun finished in 15th place, level on points and runs with declining-bat Duncan (only failing to overtake the club's chief arsonist because of the vagaries of the alphabet) and Ruth overtook Beverley to climb into the top 20. Lee Dowthwaite also deserves a special mention; our illustrious club official, previously a very occasional bat, suddenly caught the Carwags bug and was a very consistent attendee on Tuesdays in the second half of the winter, finally ending up in 21st position - as he said, his highest ever position in the league!
It is difficult to know who else to mention, there have been so many highlights this winter; Declan O'Duffy and Steve Cox for their competitive swapping of the Carwags duathlon record, with Andrew Knowles running them close much of the time, Debbie Cooper, for her rapid improvement on the Figure of 8 (first woman under 40 mins), Marc Laithwaite, for becoming the first to break the 30 minute barrier, and Luke Gregson and Josh Wilkinson, for proving that there is a new generation of bats coming through.
Next winter, new challenges we are planning will add even more facets to the vibrant, competitive yet social marvel that is the Bowland Bat League!
This is Bat Central, signing off until the darkness returns...
Posted: Wed 30th Mar 2011

Causey Pike on Saturday saw a great turnout of 11 Bowlanders for the first Champs race of the season (and FAB) with additional support on the hill from the Farmers. Tom Addison set the pace up the road but Rob Jebb soon pulled away on the climb, obviously benefitting from his warm up cycle from Staveley (the Lancaster contingent might try this strategy next year!) and was a comfortable winner ahead of a raft of Borrowdale runners. RIch and Chris both had good runs under 39 mins. Leigh and Declan obviously had a good tussle with Leigh finishing only 20 seconds ahead then Ian appeared with a bloody nose swiftly followed by Rowena .. not sure if the two events were linked as he claimed to have got too close to the feet infront in the steep ascent. John Wade was running incognito so should be docked half his Champs points - but at least he'd found a pair of shorts this week and was running well without the three sweaters on. The V50 battle continued behind with Andy W comfortably ahed of the Denver brothers (Glyn getting the best of the family rivalry) and Wayne looking like he'd given it his all. The Club Championship page has been updated.

A good little race which certainly packed a punch and despite the long journey for a short race was well worth the effort. For FULL RESULTS CLICK HERE with the Bowland contingent;

8 MELLON Richard 37:24 M
14 READE Chris 38:50 MV45
32 WARBURTON Leigh 42:21 MV50
34 O'DUFFY Declan 42:42 MV50
56 HUTCHINSON Ian 46:27 MV45
57 BROWNE Rowena 46:31 LV40
65 WADE John 47:45 MV45
107 WALMSLEY Andy 52:07 MV50
116 DENVER Glyn 53:10 MV50
119 DENVER Keith 53:34 MV50
133 WALSH Wayne 56:31 MV50

The image and others available to purchase is from Steve Agnus at ATHLETES IN ACTION

In other news, the Fiendsdale results are now posted on the webage ... a belated report to follow from the organiser soon.

Posted by Webmaster


Posted: Sun 27th Mar 2011

Just a quick reminder that the first race of the 2011 CLUB CHAMPS is on SAT 26th MARCH @ CAUSEY PIKE.

See you all there I hope.


Posted: Tue 22nd Mar 2011

Wynn Cliff needs some extra marshalls for the
races on 23rd April. If you can help out then please let her know

It's always a great day and I think that
anyone helping out gets a bit of breakfast if you are there early

Posted: Fri 18th Mar 2011

The High Peak Marathon is an unusual race. It’s long, it’s run in early March at night and takes place in the Peak District, which is notorious for its peat bogs. Despite all that it has a strong following. The limit of 50 teams means that many applicants are left disappointed. Against that there is a good chance that one can find a place in a team as a substitute in the last days before the event, as team members become injured or fall ill, a likely possibility in teams of four.

I have lost count of how many times I have done the event but last year I decided it was the last time I organised a team. I had not lost my appetite for the event, I just wanted a change. I decided I would join a team as a substitute if there was a chance. The last few days before the race date the FRA forum was getting busy with requests for new team members. I had entered a score event on the Sunday and was not seriously thinking of the HPM until Thursday when it appeared that the weather was going to be quite good – dry, no snow and some hill fog. This was much better weather than what we had in some previous years with a soft snow overlay on top of the soft bogs of the Peak. A couple of partner requests appeared from some of the top teams – no good for me, they wouldn’t have me anyway. Then on Thursday evening there was a posting from a girls’ team from the Sheffield University orienteering club. One team member was injured and they were after anyone who could volunteer to join them. I contacted them and said I would join them if they could not find another female team member and if they did not mind changing to a ‘mixed’ team. The reply soon came back positive. They were very young and had no experience of such challenges. They hoped to get round in about 14 hours, which is quite a bit longer than what I had done before even in heavy snow. I did not mind that, I was looking forward to a more relaxed event than usual.

And so, on Friday night I met up with Sarah, Naomi and Liz at the Edale village hall and went through the usual checking of clothing and food. The combined age of the three of them was about the same as my 66 years!  We set off at 23:03 and made good and steady progress. The girls seem to be enjoying themselves and I was careful to keep a pace which they were all happy with. The first feeding stop at Moscar went to plan, we grabbed some food and refilled the bottles and headed up Derwent Edge. There things changed. Liz started suffering from stomach cramps and nausea. We walked and made sure she was kept warm. At Lost Lad she sat down by the checkpoint and contemplated retiring. She looked pale. There was no time to sit around on top of a breezy hill so we made our way to the next checkpoint at Sheepfold Clough where we decided to walk to the rescue point at Slippery Stones, some distance away. There we left her in safety and the three of us made our way to the Cut Gate checkpoint and continued the course.  It was dark and misty and apart from a couple of other teams we did not see anyone else for a while. Traversing the desolate wilderness of the Howden Moors in the small hours in a cold and misty morning is challenge enough for hardened mountaineers, let alone my two young companions but the perseverance of Sarah and Naomi impressed me. At the second feeding station at Snake we were joined by a lone member of another retired team and made our way over Kinder to Edale. It had taken us 14 hours and 5 minutes to get round. The detour to Slippery Stones probably added over an hour to our time.

This HPM was a new experience for me. I had been used to doing the event with a team of experienced veteran men and had won the vets trophy a number of times. This time we were not after a trophy. My ambition was to use my experience and make sure my young companions had a good race. I think they all enjoyed the occasion. As for me, the lack of competitive motive made me drop my guard and go off course two or three times in the limited visibility. But these were small errors balanced out by taking the best shortcuts where possible.

Yiannis Tridimas  06.03.11

HPM 2011

Posted: Tue 8th Mar 2011

The 9 races for this years Club Championship have been decided - click to see the CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP 2011 page for full details. This years races are a mixture of established events and "home grown" races including, for the first time, a BAT event.

The first race is Causey Pike on March 26th......short and steep to kick off the league!  See you there.


Posted: Sun 6th Mar 2011

15th Feb – Tolkien Trail

Another great turnout of 19 bats appeared at Hurst Green for the 'Orc run' round the Tolkien Trail (about 7 miles). The plan was for a slower group to set off about 6:10, with the faster group leaving at 6:30 but Pam and Andy Farmer had some issues with their van on the ascent of Jeffrey Hill, which compelled them to return home and swap to the car. This meant that Pam arrived later than intended and by the time they had waited for Phil Martin to prepare (he'd elected to go with the slower group) it was after 6:20 - not much of a head start. Shortly after the slower group had left, Andy F led an "inbetweeners" group away. This group took a slightly different start, which is probably a bit quicker as it has more road and track and less muddy field and this resulted in them catching up with Pam,Gill and Ruth very quickly.
The faster group (of 9 bats) were champing at the bit by 6:30 and when we set off the pace was immediately hot. I was tailed off the back by the second field (not helped by the fiendish mud trying to suck my Inov-8 Mudclaws off at the heel) and I had to work quite hard to regain contact. It was obvious that keeping this bunch together would not be easy and it was no surprise when we caught the girls near Hodder Place that Gill was already having a struggle and really not enjoying herself at all... There was still a lot of fast riverbank running ahead of us and Gill elected to bail out and continue up the road from Lower Hodder Bridge, directly back to Hurst Green. A shame but she had a decent run and realises that she is making a significant step up to run with the Bowland Bats. She's determined to continue her recent improvement though, so that she has that little bit of comfort in reserve for these runs.  
Gill assured me she was fine returning up the road and I decided to continue and complete the route. At this point I'd abandoned any idea of a social run though and just decided on a 'proper training' run back to Hurst Green. Up ahead, the various breakaway groups were doing occasional, partial, regrouping but I just ran on, eventually catching up with Duncan's group opposite Hacking Hall just as they were about to indulge in the essential rituals. Over to Duncan for an acount of this...
"As we ran along the banks of the Ribble approaching the confluence with the Calder the Bat Central sped past muttering something incomprehensible in orcish.Whether he had caught a whiff of the fuel I was carrying I don’t know but we soon assembled on the river bank opposite Hacking Hall. As all Tolkien readers will know this is the site of the old ferry where Frodo and the hobbits escape the Black Riders. So out came the wooden raft and there was surprise that WD 40 can be ignited, as Dunc soaked a piece of rag in it attached to the raft. Once alight he tried to launch. The winds from east soon extinguished the flame and a firework was launched instead. By this time Bat central was probably back at Hurst Green fondling a fire extinguisher!
The hobbits escape celebrated how to commemorate Nirvana day -the death of the Buddha. Ian was nowhere to be seen! Fortunately reincarnation was at hand and the Buddha had come back as mud! The last field in particular was a fitting reincarnation of the biggest fattest mud bath we have met on the run and attempted to remove our shoes in reverence. Dunc reckoned later that his shoes could claim a milk quota! Then it was back to Whalley to the Trishna. There was much talk of a missing Reverend and reference to 'a certain 'Guest go Gram’ picture!"
Yes... I did run on to Hurst Green but no fire extinguishers were fondled.. I was much too knackered after fighting my way up the last climb through that 'biggest fattest mudbath'. Even Mudclaws couldn't get any purchase on that horrible stuff and it was all I could do to keep them on my feet through the worst bits!
Back at the van, the others arrived in dribs and drabs and 13 of us (plus Mike Gibbi's wife Glenys) eventually headed off to the Trishna Indian restaurant in Whalley to 'consume the fires of Mordor', and a good time was had by all. A small group elected to escape the fires of Mordor and go back to the Bayliss Arms for the traditional pint and natter instead - nowt wrong wi that.
Finally, as Gill and I were driving out of Hurst Green, we passed Ian Cookson running up the road. He'd obviously done one of his (rapidly becoming famous) alternative starts/routes/runs but I have given him the 4 bat points as he obviously had some sort of contact with the group, even if it was only being seen by two of us...

17th Feb – Wards Stone

This straightforward run to Bowland's highest hill and back attracted 9 bats; 5 in the faster group and 4 in the slower group. Andy Verden and John Rodgers turned up, meaning the faster group were not short of local knowledge, and I led the slower group, planning to go only as far as the Luncheon Hut and back. On arrival, Andy V suggested a circular route taking in Tarnbrook - obviously thinking the straight up and down route was not very inspirational. He's right, but I was reluctant to change the plans I had for the slower group as Gill and Pam didn't have much knowledge of the area. I left it up to Andy and the fast group as to whether they added a variation.
My plan was to get away at 6:45 but trouble with the $%&* laces on my Mudrocs meant I had to resort to my emergency Asics trail shoes and we finally departed at about 6:50 in pleasant conditions - dry, slightly chilly and fairly clear. There was cloud about but a bright moon kept a small amount of light in the sky. 
The run out via Higher Lee and up the gravel shooting track went easily enough, with Andy F and I doing a few loops where we ran off ahead then returned to the girls and we were almost at the uppermost gate when the fast group reeled us in. They stopped at the gate to regroup and only eventually overtook us on the final section up towards the Luncheon Hut. A leading trio of Andy Crook, Andy Verden and John Rodgers were pressing on strongly at the front, with John McHugh gamely hanging on just a few yards behind and Martin Walsh keeping it steady a bit further back. At this point, Andy Farmer was a bit further ahead and he got swept along by the leaders as they caught him up. By the time the bat chicks and I approached the Luncheon Hut, AF was well on his way to Cabin Flat. This worried Pam a bit as she knew Andy had a bad knee and didn't intend to go all the way to the top so I said I'd chase the group up onto Cabin Flat to see if I coud 'retrieve' him... The girls continued up a bit further but then turned round and began their descent when they saw our lights returning.
I had pressed on up the steep track above the hut but soon met Andy on his way back and we then ran down and caught up with Pam and Gill, saying that our little extra had extended our run to a nice round 6 miles. A pleasant run down the long descending track now followed and Gill and I got ahead lower down as she was enjoying the good running and Andy and Pam were slowed by troublesome injuries. We all regrouped at the last gate above Higher Lee then trotted back to Abbeystead, arriving there after an enjoyable run of about 1:20. We thought the fast group would take 1:45 to 1:50 ish but they actually returned after 1:40 and that was even after including a rougher variation on the return.
Post run refreshments were taken in the Fleece at Dolphinolme (Coniston Bluebird...mmmm) and in the absence of golden baton-holder Steve Cox, AND Grand Bat Paul Walsh it was down to me to hand over the golden baton and the double points that go with it. Martin had made a strong bid for it by retrieving Gill's running shoes from where she'd left them by the side of the car when we drove off but after much deliberation I gave it to John McHugh for gamely running with the fast pace of the leading group despite his lack of local knowledge of the route. Well, Martin is already streaking away with the Bat League and said "I don't need any extra points..."

22nd Feb – Carwags

Despite half-term holidays keeping many away, there were 16 bats out at Carwags. The bat chicks (Pam, Gill, Beverley and Ruth) took an early start and had a very pleasant chatting run round the route in about an hour and the main bunch set off at 6:30 ish, with some doing a pre run warm up prior to going for a time. There were also two duathletes out; Keith Denver and Steve Cox. Keith, on his cross bike, did 74.59, shaving another 1.12 off his previous time, despite having to dodge the bat chicks (who forgot to keep left) at one point, and Steve managed to overthrow Declan's record time of 64.04 with a new best of 62.09 (over 3 mins better than his previous time), helped by a faster changeover from bike to run. Even though he carefully stowed the bike back in the van and locked it before setting off on the run, I timed his transition at 55 seconds.
Amongst the runners, lone Superbat Marc Laithwaite continued to improve the benchmark, with another blistering run in 29.16 (a 30 second improvement) and Lee Dowthwaite is now starting to find a bit of form; he went round in 32-odd, knocking around 3 mins off his PB (exact time to be confirmed) and can surely threaten the Superbat category with a bit more quality training (and fingers crossed for the calf holding up OK). Steve Harling had said he was going for a time but I hear he had head torch trouble and had to abort, which is a pity. Meanwhile, Martin Walsh continues to improve his time - he is now consistently under 40 mins and this time shaved off another 14 seconds, posting a 38.29. Good stuff from the Grand Bat elect...
Neither John McHugh nor I were feeling particularly sparkling; I followed John at a distance most of the way round, running at a solid but not exactly scintillating pace which would probably have been just outside 40 mins but on the final climb up to the crossroads I decided to add an extra loop and turned right, down to the Visitor Centre and round to do the Dew Pond climb a third time. I pushed hard on this extra loop and this resulted in me catching up with the girls for the second time on the run in to Carwags. I slowed down to their speed, just in time for Pam to put in her sprint finish, wherupon they dashed off and left me gasping.... hmph.
The latest bat league table is attached. Martin has now reached the 100-point mark with me one point adrift on 99. Grand Bat Paul's incapacity due to an Achilles injury has resulted in his secure third place being eroded so much that he is now only one point ahead of Pam. John McHugh and Andy Farmer are close together in 5th and 6th and the remainder of the top ten is made up by Ian Cookson, Keith Denver, Gill Ponsford (2nd bat chick) and Duncan Elliott, who was absent on this occasion. Steve Cox, Shaun & Ruth Turner, and Lee Dowthwaite continue to make steady upward progress, whilst previous stalwarts such as Ian Roberts and Stew Forsyth continue to slip down, due I think to injuries and other commitments.

24th Feb – Settle Loop

Probably partly due to half-term holidays and it having been a lovely sunny day, only four dedicated bats turned out for this run, which took place on a lovely mild evening - a complete contrast to conditions encountered last year!
Martin Walsh, John McHugh and I (all top-five bats) were joined by Chris Towers and as 7pm approached it was obvious no one else ws going to arrive so we set off. We decided to do the loop clockwise, partly just for a change but also because I wanted to get the long stretch of gravel bridleway over with early on. Mindful of the hard surface I chose to wear Mizuno trail shoes of the cushty road shoe variety (Wave Mount Hood)  which was a mixed blessing once we got onto the muddy bits.
Our start was up a turf path and was supposed to be easy but the gradient soon got the circulation going (ahem) and I confess I was quite glad when we got onto the level track heading towards Malham Tarn. We settled into a steady but purposeful speed - conversation speed but only just - and this took us right across to the descending track near Langscar Gate, where we turned right and climbed up on turf paths again to Nappa Cross, in the area where the great navigational confusion occurred (in deep snow!) last year. From here we descended a stony limestone path to the road near Stockdale farm. This short stretch of road was a lot easier in the downhill direction, even with a couple of oncoming mountain bikes dazzling us with their super-bright headlights,  and we soon reached a gate on the right, where we turned off, back into fields, towards Attermire and I told the others to "prepare for mud"!
There was no chance of dry feet across here, and no chance of grip without studs, and conversation inevitably turned to discussing the grippiest of fell shoes. Chris was very satisfied with his Mudclaws, which were fresh out of the box tonight, but they were already unrecognisable under a couple of pounds of glutinous mud. If we thought this was bad, there was worse to come... After a short respite of nice turf we reached the traversing path below Victoria Cave and entered a veritable Somme. Smooth running was out of the question aong here and we simply stumbled and slipped along as best we could. I don't know why but I found myself internally humming various appropriate songs: 'Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud', 'Slip Sliding Away' and 'Skating Away'.. On the last descent of this section, as I slowed down for a gate, John and Chris bore down on me from behind and only succeeded in stopping by crashing into the wall.
Now back on the bridleway near Jubilee Cave, all that remained was a pleasant jog back down our outward route to the vehicles. Surprisingly, we had covered the Loop in 1:34, which is faster than expected, and we were soon in the Golden Lion in Settle, where we were met by Gill, who was en route from her house in Yeadon to mine in Blackburn and took a detour just to join in the bat natter. I have given her one point for this bat-spiritedness and in the interests if consistency I have done the same for Andy Crook (for Tuesday) Declan, who had a similar situation on an earlier Carwags night when he had been out doing reps on Parlick, and Andy Farmer, who has also done at least one visit to the Tillies when unable to run. Bat points are all about fostering the bat community after all.
John McHugh had the task of awarding the golden baton and it went deservingly to Martin (despite his protests). It could have gone to Martin for the distance he travels to attend these bat runs (from St Helens!) despite the fact that he could have trained earlier in the sunshine, or it could have gone to Martin for his sheer consistency in the pursuit of the bat cause, but John said (tongue in cheek) it went to Martin because he'd once again turned in a very solid performance when "at his age he should be having trouble walking"....

1st March – Carwags

24 bats turned out at Carwags last night, 4 of them on bikes (setting duathlon times) and some good performances were posted. We have now reached that time of year when it is not fully dark at 6:30pm on a clear evening and as it is normal for duathletes to set off early on their bike leg it is obvious that the early part of these outings took place in twilight. Therefore, all times set with a pre-6:30 start have had a note ("dusk") placed against them, though they have been included in the league tables. There may be a couple of anomalies here - I can't keep tabs on everyone - but if you want to avoid the "dusk" word appearing next to your time, you may need to wait until full darkness has fallen. By the end of March, this may mean a 7pm start.

Anyway, the times... Three duathletes were on the course together, and Andrew Knowles has provided the following info;

"After being stuck in the first two fields of the Bleasdale Fell Race for what felt like most of Saturday afternoon, I was determined to gain a moral boosting reasonable time at the Carwags Duathalon. Setting off with Declan at a fair pace (Steve Cox having missed the start time) we crested the trig in minutes At the foot of the Dew Pond climb for the second time Declan missed a gear so I pressed on with Steve Cox entering the circuit from my left on his first lap some 30 yards behind and splitting Declan and myself. So I was the carrot hoping I remembered the way, I’ll own up now I gave it some welly back to the carpark (in the vain hope of holding Declan off for as long as possible). A decent transition (chucked the bike in a bush) and away glancing left to see Declan flying down the road I estimated I had close to a minute lead, the legs felt terrible but gradually came to life. Over the trig, no Declan but at the bottom of the Dew Pond climb I suffered ‘mechanical failure’ with my laces and stopped to tie them, Declan swept past never to be seen again. A great three way tussle with decent times as follows.

 Andrew Knowles   62mins 15secs , Steve Cox   61mins 40  Declan O'Duffy    60mins  44
 " (time corrected from 60.55 by Bat Central as I saw Declan's stop watch!)

So, Declan regains the duathlon 'record' from Steve and a "Superduobat" title beckons for the first to knock off the 45 secs and get under the hour.

Meanwhile, Keith Denver was busy slicing another 2 minutes plus from his cyclo-cross duathlon time, posting a 72.15 and he reckons he could still take another couple of minutes off this.

Among the runners, Ian France and Shaun Turner ran round close together to post times of 38.37 and 38.39 (independently reported), and newly-established Turbobat Lee Dowthwaite and perennial Turbobat Clive Davis swept round together in just over the 33 minute mark - good running! Martin Walsh also improved his time -yet again - to under 38 minutes.
Debbie Cooper paced Phil Martin to a new PB of 43.57 while Sara Farmer did a great individual effort to knock about half a minute off her previous time only to realise a short way into the run that she hadn't set her stopwatch. So the old time still stands. D'oh.
I delayed my start until almost 6:40 then set off, lightly clad (in shorts!), to see if I could better my 37.55, which was set rather half-heartedly before Christmas. I felt good until the first time up Dew Pond but had obviously set off too fast as I suffered on every climb thereafter. As I laboured up to the top of Larch Avenue, I spied a light catching me from behind. It was Declan, on his Duathlon run and actually on his way to recording 33.14 for the run leg (his fastest run time of the winter). Despite a couple of spells of legless walking on the second time up Dew Pond I managed to stay ahead of Declan until the crossroads when he swept by. I made a couple of big efforts on the descent and narrowed the gap each time but I couldn't keep up the required pace and arrived back at Carwags 30 or 40 yards adrift but with a new season's best of 37.10. Damn good training too!!!
I think that's all the times that were reported to me. There are still a couple more opportunities to reduce your posted time before the bat league ends.
Pam is now up to 3rd in the Bat League with Gill in 8th. This is the first time we have ever had a bat chick in the top three and only the second time we have had two in the top ten. Good stuff girls!
Bat Central
Posted: Wed 2nd Mar 2011

Wednesday 2nd Feb - Candlemas

 I'm not really well positioned to write this report as I didn't play a full part in the night's proceedings, completely missing the druidic rituals at Bleasdale Circle. We need a supplement by "Druid Dunc"... Anyway, this is my bit of it...
11 of us arrived at Carwags for the run, and a slower group of six set off about 6 or 7 minutes early as a safeguard against getting dropped. This slower goup consisted of newcomers Dave and Sue J (welcome!), Stuart and Ruth T, Pam F and Gill P. I intended to go off with them but was slow getting ready and I actually ended up setting off with the faster group (Duncan, Ian C, John McH and Martin W) at 6:30. Paul W was a conspicuous absentee - he is suffering with an Achilles injury.
We set off on the same route as a Tuesday Figure of 8 run but then branched off past the tarn and onto the Bleasdale Side path. After leading for a while, I had need to stop and relieve myself and never regained contact with the faster group. I pushed on down the descent from Beacon Fell and caught the slower group at the end of the Heatherway drive then stayed with them to Bleasdale. My big toe joint was still sore and squelching across the sodden fields near Wickins Barn did it no favours at all. I was really starting to think I shouldn't be running on it.
We regrouped with the faster lads outside Bleasdale Village Hall and they then set off to Bleasdale Circle for the performing of various pagan and druidic rituals. Unfortunately, I have no info to impart regarding these shadowy goings on because I decided to return directly to Carwags and soak my toe in a bath of Piroxicam anti-inflammatory gel. Gill accompanied me as she was feeling a bit tired and overstretched and the two of us just made a gentle return to Beacon Fell. As we approached the fell perimeter road, I was surprised not to see the light of the druids pursuing us, and even after we had got back to the car park there was no sign of our companions. We drove round the perimeter road on the off chance we'd see them (but didn't) then went off to the Tillotsons.
Some time passed in the pub before Martin appeared, talking of various initiation ceremonies, burnings etc... Everyone else went directly home so it was just the three of us who kept Curly and Jules company in a very quiet pub.

Thursday 3rd Feb - Langden

Despite the wet and windy weather, 8 bats turned out to run the Hareden/Bleadale/Langden circuit. Or at least 5 of them did. I opted for the shorter run up to Langden Castle and back in deference to my sore toe (which is now improving!) and I was joined by Pam and Gill. Because our run was so much shorter, we didn't need to set off early and were able to check a few route details with Andy C, who had stepped in to lead the main group, before they departed.
John R had turned up for his second bat run of the winter and the main group was completed by Chris T, John Mc and league-leader Martin W. They left at just after 7pm and headed off to cross the ridge of Miry Ellis into Hareden, where they would follow a long shooting track up onto the moor before making a crossing of the watershed (slightly tricky navigationally) then dropping into the headwaters of Bleadale for the descent to Langden Castle. Their return would then be along the man track in the Langden valley. This route is about 5.5 miles/1600ft and I estimated they would take about 1:15.
Leaving at about 7:05, we could see the lights of the main group climbing over Miry Ellis as we headed up into Langden. I was amazed to find that the initial section of track was in a mess as part of it had been washed away by the brook in flood and work was ongoing with earth moving machines to repair it. Getting past this section, the rest of the track was easy and we had a pleasant little jog up to the "castle" (merely a semi-ruinous barn) Wandering around the building we disturbed a hen harrier which was nesting within and were treated to a close up of the bird as it flew out and hovered just above us, obviously deciding whether the dog was something to attack or flee from. After a few seconds it decided on flight...
The time was only just after  7:30 so there was no sign of the main group approaching and we set off back down the track, arriving back after a total of 57 mins. Our route was just under 4 miles and almost 1400ft
The main group arrived back at about 8:20, after only minor navigational travails and we were soon all in the Parkers Arms at Newton, where we were joined by Andy F, who had driven up from a work trip to London in time to join the social group. Thats what I call proper bat spiritedness!
As Andy C's 50th birthday is approaching, Pam had brought a cake and candles, along with a previously-signed card from us all, and much good natured banter was exchanged. Pam had been nominated to pass on the golden baton and awarded it to Andy C, partly for his sterling leadership of the main run, and partly because it was almost his birthday. I also decided that Andy F's bat commitment in joining us in the pub after a 5 hour drive merited an honourary bat point, despite him not getting a run in.

Tuesday 8th Feb - Carwags

This Carwags meeting produced record times in both the male and the female categories. Debbie C went round in 38.55 and became the first female Speedybat, and Marc L did what we suspected he was capable of and became the very first Superbat, clocking a blistering 29.46!
Other times included Ian F's 38.41, Martin W's 38.43 (a new PB), and Sara F's 44.59, which takes her past Beverley W (by 5 seconds) in the Sportybat league. Beverley is sure to respond with another time trial so we might soon have a bit of competition for who is going to be the second Speedybat chick...
Lee D, still well below full fitness, recorded a 35.29 – still not up to his standards but progress nevertheless.
No other times have been reported but there were 24 bats doing various flutters around the fell so the popularity of the venue remains undiminished. There are now only 4 standard Carwags sessions left so anyone planning a time trial (like me!) needs to get their act together quite soon.

Thursday 10th Feb – Whelpstone Gnarly. 

A fantastic (for a Thursday) turnout of 16 bats were out for the Whelpstone Gnarly, so named because it involved exploration of the Gisburn Forest MTB tracks, which are ...well, gnarly.
When I arrived at the start point, Steve C and John W were already out on their bikes, but the plan was for them to return to run with the main group at 7pm. After a bit of discussion with Ian R and others who were to form a more 'relaxed' group I decided to run initially with them and we duly set off at about 6:50 and ran up the initial forest road to the point where the first MTB track branched off. a break quickly formed in the group as Ian, Beverley, Ian F and Shaun's pace was a bit too quick for Gill, Ruth and Pam. I hung back to make sure no-one went astray. The track meandered its way up through the forest in it's knobbly way and we eventually found ourselves in more open terrain where we could see the breakaway group approaching the crag ahead.
When we arrived below the summit, Gill decided to wait whilst Pam, Ruth and I clambered over the fence and up to the summit to regroup with Ian R et al. It was a clear night and Ian was pointing out the lights of towns in the Aire gap etc to the others. Descending we spotted the lights of the fast group fast approaching, so we set off down into the forest, or that was the intention. We actually ended up meandering around a network of lower paths in some confusion (entirely my fault) before clambering back up towards the lights of the fast group, which were now dropping down below the summit.
Back on the right track, we swooped down a nice "cresta run" section of path but Gill and I were soon tailed off the back as the fast lads lived up to their name and set a fast pace. Our woes were not helped by Gill going over on her ankle and I was a bit relieved when we arrived on the next forest road to find Pam and Ruth (plus Declan) waiting for us. The girls now elected to return by the more direct forest road, whilst Declan and I set off on a mission to regain contact with the front group. We swept down the exhilarating (black graded) swoops and berms of 'Hully Gully' and rejoined the others as the route exited onto another forest road. A fast section along here soon had me puffing and blowing and when Steve, John and some others decided to add another section of red graded MTB track, I pressed on for a direct run back along the forestry road. Unbeknown to me, others followed my lead but I had the bit between my teeth now and was on my own all the way back. I couldn't believe how much the forest road went uphill on that final stretch and it was a good anaerobic workout - the first I'd had for a few weeks thanks to my still-niggling big toe joint.
All regrouped back at the vehicles, we decided to go back to the Hark to Bounty (the Dog and Partridge being disappointingly closed) and the crowd of us commandeered a big table in there for some very enjoyable banter and bonhomie. Andy C awarded golden bat to Steve C for bringing a bit of comedy to the evening when he'd apparently spent quite a lot of time trying to get into Ian R's almost identical van to put away his bike before the run! Ian pointed out that his has 'Peugeot' on the back door whereas Steve's is a Fiat....
The run on Tuesday 15th is not at Carwags.It will be a run round the Tolkein Trail from Hurst Green at 6:30. Meet by the war memorial, across from the Shireburn Arms. Duncan has arranged for the 'Fires of Mordor' to be consumed at the Trishna Indian restaurant in Whalley! 
Bat Central              
Posted: Mon 14th Feb 2011


Up Haggis Aa – 25th Jan

Only a short report for this one. Despite the combination of Up Helly Aa, and Burns night, with all the fire and haggis that promises, the occasion passed off relatively quietly. There was a very good turnout of 22 bats but the groups were fairly well scattered all over the fell and only two,  Declan and Duncan (the "Guizer Jarl") had actually made the effort to make fire torches - a far cry from previous occasions when a phalanx of fire was conjoured up. We must try harder next year - the Guizer Jarl has decreed it!
I think everyone went up to the summit of the fell, haggis was consumed and fireworks let off, and a good group returned to the Tillies for a social get together. We were surprised when John Wade turned up, having mistakenly been to Carwags... Need to keep a copy of the planner handy John. We took the decision to award him half points, despite calls for a ten point fine from some quarters.
A more comprehensive report may follow in the Guizer Jarl's inimitable style.

The Shivering Ginnel – 27th Jan

The Shivering Ginnel.... It has a certain ring to it. It is one of those names that catches your eye on the map and it obviously caught Duncan Elliott's a few years ago when he identified it as an objective for a BEG (Bowland Exploration Group) run. In fact it is merely an old, walled drove road, leading up to the open fell near Beacon Hill (a good viewpoint for the Ribble Valley and Pendle Hill) but it has become a minor classic and one of our standard runs, both in Summer and in Winter.
A total of nine bats thought it a worthy objective and turned out on a chilly but perfect clear dry evening. We split into two groups, with the slower group of Pam and Andy Farmer, Beverley Wilkinson and me, setting off at about 6:50pm, leaving Steve Cox, Andy Crook, John McHugh, Martin and Paul Walsh to pursue at 7pm.
Squelching across the initial boggy section, we followed the wall across Bradford Fell towards the cairns of Old Ned and The Wife, then crossed the wall (on a new wooden stile) to join the main track heading downhill towards Pinewood (not the film studio, a remote cottage). This section passed very pleasantly as we trotted along, chatting easily about head torches, trail shoes and recent performances on the Carwags time trial. We were soon past Pinewood ond onto a tarmac road, which we followed for two or three hundred yards before turning over a stile into the woods. Andy F and I regrouped with the girls here and we could see the lights of the pursuing hounds strung out along the track. We thought we might still make it to the Beacon Hill trig before we were caught.
Climbing up through the forest we joined the Shivering Ginnel path and followed it up the Ginnel to open fell then made a beeline for the trig. Arriving there, we quickly took in the view, which was very clear, with the outline of Pendle clearly visible against the sky, then set off back. The hounds were just emerging from the Ginnel as we entered it, an advance group of three - Steve, Andy and John - being just ahead, and we continued on to meet Paul and Martin. Paul was having trouble with his Achilles and decided to turn round and return with us. Pam had a minor tumble along here, giving rise to some mischevious comments (mostly from her husband it must be said) about the soft parts of her anatomy her fall might have been cushioned by...  
We kept to a more northerly path on the return leg, passing to the north west of Pinewood and climbing a long track up through Grindleton Plantation, where the faster group gradually overhauled us then left us behind. We met some mountain bikers coming the other way along this stretch - bit naughty as it's purely a footpath - but we were soon back out onto the open ground of Easington Fell. A bit of undulating path, with squelchy sections, took us back to the new wooden stile near The Wife but we then continued along the main path to reach the road at Walloper Well, 200yds from the parking place. I was running with Beverley along here, and we had an interesting chat; I bemoaned the difficulty of maintaining enthusiasm and motivation for training after 25 years in the sport and against a background of the loss of fitness due to ageing, and she enthused about the joys of her newly-discovered running and the buzz of rapidly increasing fitness. An interesting contrast but also a timely reminder of how great it is to be a runner - and especially a fellrunner!
After changing, seven of us retired to the Waddington Arms for a pint (Beverley and Andy C having to get back to children). Pam, after much deliberation, passed the golden baton onto Beverley for keeping her company in the slower group and (I could also add) for her fresh enthusiasm for running, which is a welcome bit of inspiration for us slightly jaded old hands.. Keep it up B.

Carwags – 1st Feb

 By my reckoning, there were 23 bats out for this one, each indulging in their own particular brand of batting. There was a group speeding round on bikes (though no times have been posted as yet) and a group setting some fast times on foot, as well as those who were just out for a steady run.
Relative newcomer Marc Laithwaite knocked 2 minutes and 49 seconds off his previous time, recording an impressive 31.50 and he was chased round by Paddy Walsh who also posted a good Turbobat time of 32.34. It can only be a mattter of time before we have our first Superbat (sub 30 mins)! Among the Sportybats, Beverley Wilkinson took 3 mins 15 sec off her previous time to record 45.04. If she keeps up this rate of improvement, Debbie Cooper might have a rival for becoming the first Speedybat Chick...
Martin Walsh broke 40 mins again but didn't improve on his 39.11 and Andy Farmer posted a 40.33 (well outside his best from last year) just for the sake of getting a time on the board.
I think most others just did a steady run and, since I STILL have a bad toe joint, I joined Pam and Gill for a nice jog round the fig of 8 in 57mins.
A Bat League Update will be posted on the site shortly; the same three mad bats are still out in front, and Pam is still secure as leading Bat Chick in 4th overall (29 points ahead of her nearest Bat Chick Rival, Gill) but changes are occurring lower down. A surprising slider is Ian Roberts, who is now down to 13th, only one point ahead of a newly resurgent Beverley and a recent streak of regular batting has seen John Wade and John McHugh move up into the top ten.
Don't forget, there's an extra 4 point bat run tonight (2nd of Feb) from Carwags at 6:30. We will be running to Bleasedale Circle and Bleasedale Church (a 6 mile round trip) to celebrate Candlemas and Imbolc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc ). It's a Duncan promotion so is sure to be entertaining...         
Also, Thursday is the Hareden/Bleadale/Langden circuit from Langden Intakes (GR.632512) at 7pm, where Beverley will be passing on the golden baton, along with double points. A slower group will also be there (perhaps including me - the toe-cripple) and they will do a lesser route, so if you are not sure about the full circuit there will be an alternative.
Bat Central
Posted: Wed 2nd Feb 2011

With the last change to the team completed on Saturday (a big thanks to Tim Whiteley for stepping in at the last moment!) it was with relief that both Bowland teams turned out the full compliment of runners on Sunday, although some were ever so slightly late for a changeover due to an extended warmup - or was that extra BG training Dec?

OPEN team report.

Quentin showed new member Adam Lackey the ropes on Leg 1 and at the top of the final climb Adam looked like he was regretting his membership. They came in a respectable 12th position just behind Rossendale Vets and Clayton Open giving Steve and Rich something to chase at the start of Leg 2. Rossendale were quickly despatched and Clayton hauled in on the long climb up to Widdop but with no sign of Borrowdale and Sale A ahead they kept the pace up around the rezzies. Steve began to suffer on the climbs but always caught up on the descents and with the blinkers on they were surprised to be passed by a Preston duo including Gethin Butler setting the second fastest leg time. It became clear that Borrowdale and Sale had gone wandering when they arrived at the end of the leg in 9th place but unfortunately Leigh and Declan were no where to be seen! Leg 3

When they eventually arrived, Clayton and Borrowdale weren't far behind and put them under pressure but Leigh cannily let them through knowing they'd go the wrong way somewhere on the leg. True to form, both teams missed the final turn down off the moor allowing the Bowland pair to come in 10th place, having been overtaken by Eden.  Steve Bamber and Tim Whiteley were immediately under pressure on Leg 4 and Tim dug deep to give Mark and Paul a chance of picking up a few places on Leg 5.

Leg 4

A fantastic effort on the final leg saw them reel in Clayton for the 2nd time that day and in the final few hundred yards, Mark burst past the Eden pair leaving Paul to reap the benefit of all those hours on the track and time his sprint to perfection, nipping past the last Eden runner just before the finish. There needs to be a stewards enquiry though as some dubious dibbing from the officials led to Bowland being behind by 2 secs!! 

Thanks to all those who turned out, ran, supported and drove us around. Full results on the PENNINE BRIDLEWAY WEBSITE.

Posted by Rich

Posted: Mon 31st Jan 2011

Mary Towneley Loop - Sunday 30th January

The CONFIRMED OPEN team (TEAM 13) for Sunday is;

1.  Quentin & Mike J

2.  Steve Swarbrick & Richard

3.  Leigh Warburton and Declan

4.  Steve Bamber and Adam

5.  Mark Chippendale and Paul Neild


The MIXED team (TEAM 14) is;

1.  Rowena Browne & Sue Harding

2.  Ian Hutchinson & Nick Hewitt

3.  John McHugh & Debbie Cooper

4.  Sarah Keats & Jenn Hutton

5.  Steve Harling & Andy Crook

Pairs needing to check the route descriptions, leg maps, changeovers, times  etc click for thePENNINE BRIDLEWAYwebsite.

The only change I think this year is that each pair must register at the start of their leg to receive the team number.

Richard is team captain for OPEN and Jenn for the MIXED

Posted: Thu 27th Jan 2011

Carwags Jan 18th

A clear dry night with a bright moon saw a bumper turnout of bats (26 - including three making their first appearance) and a bumper crop of new times on the Carwags Speed League. There were a few small satellite groups but a big crowd left the car park at 6:30 and it was immediately obvious that there were some at the front who were out to set times. A trio, comprising newcomer Marc Laithwaite, Andrew Knowles and Warren Smith got round in an excellent 34.39, jumping straight into the Turbobat category and John McHugh had a cracking run to also squeak into the category with a 34.59 clocking - all very good times on the fairly soft going. John Rodgers, a long-standing Bowland member but a newcomer at Carwags, ran round in a very respectable 36.12 and Lee Dowthwaite knocked almost another minute off his time, clocking 36.21, despite suffering cramp in his calf on many of the climbs, resulting in a jogging finish. Chris Towers recorded a time of 40.01 - tantalisingly close to the Speedybats.
Among the 'bat chicks' Sara Farmer, paced by her dad, achieved a solid 46.24 clocking while Debbie Cooper - ever improving - is now also poised to break into the Speedybats with an excellent 40.11, running alone most of the way. With a bit of a competitive 'tow' on a future run she can surely knock off those 11 seconds.
Declan O'Duffy, John Wade and Keith Denver all had a crack at the duathlon; Declan suffered all manner of mishaps en-route so declined to post a time, while John recorded a very promising 68.09, roughly broken down as a 29 minute ride followed by a 39 minute run. Keith continues to knock lumps off his cyclo-cross duathlon time, this week recording 76.11. Up to now, the cyclo-cross bike seems significantly slower than the mountain bikes but if Mike Johnson had a go on his cyclo crosser a different picture might emerge... Or maybe we should invite Rob Jebb.
Another newcomer was Paddy Walsh, who had cycled up from Preston (!) having only just passed his driving test and not yet having a car. Understandably, this gave him some issues on the run; I had set off at the back intending to jog round nursing a sore big toe joint but caught up with Paddy when he was at the side of the path in Tarn Wood, stretching a painfully tight hamstring. He continued after a minute and we then had a run round the route together which was a mixture of quite brisk running punctuated by stops for hamstring stretching. We still got round in about 41 mins and it's obvious that Paddy has plenty of speed to employ when he's ready for a proper time trial.
Back in the car park, John Wade kindly offered Paddy a lift to the pub, since he had the bike rack on his van and there were actually about 20 of us in the Tillotsons making it a great social get together, with Marc Laithwaite bringing his very cute puppy into the pub to meet everyone.

Ingleborough Jan 20th 

 Another magical evening greeted the 12 bats who turned out for the Ingleborough run, with a huge yellow moon casting it's unearthly glow across the fells and a starry sky twinkling overhead. Initial fears of slippery frost and ice proved to be unfounded as the paths and slabs were almost completely dry and with little if any wind conditions were almost as good as they can get at this time of year.
A conspicuous absentee was Grand Bat Paul Walsh, who was kept away by a combination of a calf injury and his wife's illness (reportedly a bout of swine flu), and this now means that no-one has a perfect record. Paul has still done the greatest number of runs though.
A slower group, consisting of Pam and Andy Farmer, Ian Roberts, Gill Ponsford, John McHugh and me (still nursing a gouty toe) set off at 6:50 and had a steady climb up to the foot of the Swine Tail escarpment where we were caught by the first of the faster group, Steve Cox, Nick Hewitt, Mike Meadowcroft (with bat dog Bracken) and John Wade. It was good to see ex Grand Bat Mike making an appearance after being fairly inactive on the bat league front for a while now. A little way behind these we could see the lights of  Jenn Hutton and Martin Walsh.
Gill, who still finds the idea of visiting the high fell tops on midwinter nights a little daunting, decided that a steadyish decent from here would give her a total run time of over an hour so she turned back whilst I continued up to the summit with Mike and Nick. As the group reformed at the top the view was being contemplated but I decided to set off straight back down to minimise the amount of time Gill was left on her own.
The rough loose stones on the plateau were a trial for my big toe joint but once I was on the firmer pitched stones and slabs of the descent I was moving well, with minimal pain from the toe. I realised that being up ahead would make me a hare for some of the hounds behind to chase and a determination to get back before I was caught siezed me. I could see pursuing lights dropping off the plateau as I descended from the Swine Tail but the dry slabs allowed fast running and I got back to the road well clear, despite being like a punctured baloon as I wheezed across the final fields.
Back at the car, engulfed in a cloud of my own steam, a string of white lights was visible all down the hill but we were all soon safely back and changed and a group of 9 of us retired to the Marton Arms for food and drinks. Gill awarded Pam the golden baton for being brave enough to turn out on a seriously feral bat run and for providing the impetus for Gill herself to do the same. Martin, Gill and I were the most enduring natterers and we didn't leave the pub until after ten but it was another great night, enjoyed by all participants I'm sure!
After Paul's absence, Martin now leads the bat league, with Pam's double points consolidating her position as leading bat chick (4th overall).
Next Tuesday's run is NOT FROM CARWAGS. It is the combined Burns night and Up Helly Aa run from the other venue. Fire torches and haggis are not compulsory but they do add to the atmosphere... being Tuesday there is no golden bat but 4 big fat bat points are available as this is one of the 'special' bat runs. Start time is 6:30pm.
Posted: Fri 21st Jan 2011

This year's presentation evening will take place after the Bleasdale Circle Fell Race on the 26th of Feb 2011.

It will be held in the Parish Hall. 7.30pm

Cost - £10 per person payable in advance please. Cheques payable to "Bowland Fell Runners" - Hazelhurst Cottage, Bleasdale, Preston PR3 1UY

We welcome all members of the club and partners to come to what will be a fun evening, with first a hot Buffet served by a local Catering company, with a choice for vegetarians. Plus some great live music from a local Folk Band and maybe some musical club members.

We ask that if you are attending, that you phone or email Les Orr or Pam Farmer so that numbers can be catered for.

Please do let us know now -

Les Orr - 01995 678118 or Les@bowlandenergy.co.uk

Pam Farmer - 01995 678111

Posted: Thu 20th Jan 2011

Carwags 11th January

 There were 19 bats out for this run at Carwags (the first 9 in the league all being present). There were three new scorers in the shape of Lee Dowthwaite (!), Sarah Farmer and Warren Smith. The bat league now has a total of 62 scorers, with only one of them (Grand Bat Paul Walsh) having done all the 22 runs so far.
There were some early starts, late starts and alternative routes (I ran an invented 30 minute route in deference to some form of lurgy I seem to have picked up) but a nuclear group ran the fig of eight, with John Wade posting 36 mins dead - his first declared time of this winter - despite the fairly soft underfoot conditions. A short way behind, and not really (by his own admission) in shape to try for a time, Lee recorded a still very respectable 37.17. I have no other info on times as yet, apart from a new duathlon time for the cyclo-cross category; Keith Denver knocked over 5 mins from his previous time to record 78.51.
On arrival back at the car park I heard a shout from the undergrowth and investigation revealed Duncan hanging upside down from a branch in the manner made famous by a certain Greek member of our illustrious club. Inverted Dunc informed us that the branch was now inaugurated as the 'Bat Branch'. Any other bats wishing to emulate Yiannis and Dunc and enjoy the ultimate back stretching exercise/risk serious injury can avail themselves of the Bat Branch facility. I will NOT be producing a risk assessment....

Nicky Nook – 13th January

The Nicky Nook bat run saw a total of 14 bats turn up - a great turnout for a Thursday run, though Ian Roberts was surprisingly the only participant from Lancaster, despite the run being within a stones throw (ish) of our fair county town... However, Gill Ponsford was being quite brave, turning out for her first 'feral' bat run despite "not being a fellrunner" and Lee Dowthwaite arrived, making his second bat appearance in a week!
We decided to split into a slower and a faster group, with Ian leading the former and I the latter. The plan being for the slower group to take a slightly shorter route, missing out some of the climbing, and hopefully meet up with the faster group at some points en-route. This worked out well, with everyone getting a good run and all arriving back at the same time.
Leading off from Grizedale Bridge down the valley of Grizedale Brook, I took the faster group round to the northeastern flank of Nicky Nook Fell, from where we made a long grassy ascent to the trig point. From here we descended southeasterly back into the Grize Dale valley, passing the slower group coming the other way as we ran down from the trig. A steep stepped path brought us back down to the main track by the reservoir, where we turned right and ran down towards the site of an old syphon well, en route for a climb back up to the Queens Jubilee Memorial cairn on the top edge of the fell, overlooking the M6.
Running up a side track, we passed the syphon well and then joined a scratch of a path, making a traversing climb towards the fell top. John Wade and Richard Davies were forging ahead up here and we eventually reached a point where I thought we'd gone too far and should have struck directly up the fell to our right. In the end though, the traversing path brought us onto the top of the fell, close to the memorial cairn and we were soon standing on the edge of the slope, admiring the view over the lights of Scorton and the Fylde Coast, with the M6 rushing past below. Looking back the other way we could see the lights of the slower group over near the trig point but our route involved visiting The Tarn (locally 'the duck pit') so we headed off down into the marshy hollow where it is located.
After making sure our feet were well and truly soaked and having reached the shore of the tarn, we turned and set off to make a 'direttissima' back up to the trig point. Within a few yards I found myself on the more roundabout path and since my legs were still feeling a bit lurgy-ridden I decided to stick with it whilst the others forged on across the tussocks on the direct route. We all regrouped on the summit and then set off on a fast descent by our outward route. Part way down we met Ian Cookson on his way up. He'd mistakenly gone to Scorton thinking the run started from there for some reason and had been rambling round the fell, spending some time with the slower group in the hope he'd bump into us at some point.
Once back in the valley, a steady run brought us up to the slower group just before they arrived back at Grizedale Bridge - ideal timing!
The whole group went back to Stouts Bar for a pint and a natter (with the exception of Ian C, who had to go off to work a night shift!). Even Pam on this occasion eschewed any form of coiffure behaviour and braved the pub with her hair in the post run condition (I actually think the damp curls are quite attractive..). A big group enjoyed the beer and the fire in Stouts and Ian R held court, explaining how he'd had to agonise over who to pass the golden baton on to, because there were so many worthy recipients, before finally awarding it to Gill for being brave enough to travel over from Uzbekistan (well, Yeadon anyway) to run in the dark with a bunch of mad fellrunners. Gill is well pleased with her extra 3 golden points (which lifts her to 12th in the league) and would like to thank all those in the slower group, who looked after her so well. However, she thinks Ingleborough next Thursday may be a little too ambitious so has nominated the Grand Bat, Paul Walsh, to pass on the baton next week on her behalf.
We are now just past the halfway point in the Bat League, with 21 runs now remaining, and apart from Ingleborough, the Settle Loop, and Roddlesworth, all the remaining runs are in and around Bowland and five of them are special 4-pointers so there are plenty of juicy points still up for grabs!
Bat Central       
Posted: Fri 14th Jan 2011

Apologies for not posting this in December ... too much snow to play in!

Chris ReadeRich Mellon

The final race in the club championship saw a fast race in the snows of Bolton by Bowland and a turnout of 9 hardy Bowlanders, most of whom enjoyed the prize list. Richard Mellon led the team home but the main action was happening behind him with the fight for the 2010 title. For full results click HERE.

The ever youthful Chris Reade secured his ?fourth club championship and V40 trophy by holding off the challenge of Mike Johnson who takes the V50 trophy.  The full table of results is available on the Club Championship page.

Posted: Mon 10th Jan 2011


Carwags – January 4th

 It seemed quietish at Carwags last night but totting up the attendees reveals that there were 13 bats out, which is actually not bad for the time of year. Conditions were chilly but above freezing, with slushy snow underfoot so most people settled for a quiet run round. That was too sedate for Matt Gallagher though, he wizzed round the Fig of 8 in 38.23, taking 3.02 off his previous time and entering the ranks of Speedybats. Nice one Matt!
Conditions didn't really demand any special footwear but Declan and Paul Johnson were seen to be trying out a set of Yaktrax (a milder alternative to the Kahtoola Microspikes) and Gill was wearing her Icebugs, just for the extra confidence they instill. I meanwhile was back to wearing my Mudclaws, which were fine on the mainly slushy snow.
Thursday's run is the now classic Penyghent from Helwith Bridge Inn and we may actually make the top this time in the absence of the three foot of snow we've had the last two years!

Penyghent – January 6th

 This run is now an established fixture on the Bowland Bats winter programme. We have had some very varied conditions, from the ordinary mild and wet, through odd temperature inversions (colder in the valley than on the summit) to huge drifts of powder snow (2009 and 2010) which prevented us from reaching the summit. This year was different again. Most places have been experiencing a general thaw since Christmas with snow disappearing completely from most valleys. However, this thaw has made only a half-hearted visit to Penyghent...
There were 6 bats out on this occasion; Ian R, armed with his microspikes, set off 15 mins before the rest of us and the remaining 5 (Paul and Martin Walsh, Steve Cox, John Wade and I) departed at about 7:05pm. It was a bit chilly and we were all well wrapped up as we headed up Long Lane. I decided metal dobs were not needed so left my Jalas Champions behind in favour of ordinary Mudclaws but I was experimenting with a thin pair of Kalenji (Decathlon) socks under my Sealskinz. This proved to be a godsend.
We encountered the first snow at less than 1000ft altitude and we also noticed that trickling water on the track was in the process of freezing (mental note to be cautious on the descent) but progress was pretty easy really, with only a couple of inches of crunchy snow to slow us down. This increased to 3 or 4 inches as we rose onto the open moorland of Dub Cote Scar Pasture and some sections of the track were flooded with a horrible sloppy mixture of water and melting snow, with a thin crust of ice on top. Not nice to run through - even with Sealskinz on. The section down to Churn Milk Hole was particularly unpleasant but the going improved once we were on the climb towards Gavel Rigg; even the duckboards had a nice crunchy layer of middle-aged snow on them.
John and Steve had forged ahead up here and I could see their lights approaching the foot of the southern crags, with the white pinprick of Ian's lamp also visible part way up the first rock step. Once I reached the clambering section it was obvious that this would be a bit of nice winter mountaineering. It was classic Alpine mixed ground, with occasionally dry rocks protruding through a coating of semi-consolidated snow and a bit of verglas here and there. For the first time on the run I wondered whether I should have put the Jalas shoes on! Passing the first step easily enough I pressed on through sugary snow to the foot of the second step, where I caught up with Ian, who was making steady but secure progress with his microspikes on. The verglassed upper step required a little care but we were all soon regrouped at the summit trigpoint. Woo hoo, we made it!
After a little chatting and gazing at the stars with lights turned off, we set off on the descent. Ian had set off ahead of us but we caught and passed him at the top of the rock steps. A few cautious steps saw us onto the sugary snow and the party then strung out as Steve, accompanied by Martin set a cracking pace. I was soon adrift of the leading few and delayed further by stopping a few times to look back and see that Ian was safely down off the steep section. After a nice run down over the snow-covered duck-boards I caught up with Paul and John, who were toddling slowly along, presumably waiting for me. John later dropped back even further to accompany Ian down, whilst Paul and I then ran together down a now slightly treacherous Long Lane back to Helwith Bridge Inn. We were out for 1:42
The temperature was now dropping fast and there was much scraping of ice required after our bat natter in the pub, before the vehicles could be driven but with two fleeces on and the heater blasting out hot air I had a very pleasant and traffic-free drive back down the Ribble Valley, arriving home well satisfied at 11:15pm.
I passed the golden baton on to Ian for his fortitude in turning out with a bunch of faster runners on what is a fairly tough run and for setting us a good example by being properly equipped for the underfoot conditions! Ian will pass the baton on next Thursday at Nicky Nook. The double points have lifted him back up to a good position in the bat league but those three lunatics at the front are well clear of everyone else now...
Updated Bat League and Speed League tables will be posted early next week when I've converted them to PDF format.
Bat Central
Posted: Fri 7th Jan 2011