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Bowland Fell Runners News: January 2011

News: January 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