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Bowland Fell Runners News: May 2012

News: May 2012

There was a successful completion of the Meirionnydd Round on Friday-Saturday, 25th/26th May by Carwyn Phillips. This was the second completion and the first sub 24-hour one since the round was introduced by myself in 1998. There was a significant Bowland presence, which contributed to the successful outcome: Wynn was in charge of logistics and road support. Alan Lucker, Alan Duncan, Ian Roberts, Bill Williamson and myself helped with pacing, transport and other duties. 

by Yiannis

Posted: Thu 31st May 2012

This years Scottish Islands Peaks Race was amazing! If you like your running in the most stunning scenery with a bit of sailing thrown in for good measure, then this is the one for you. 5 monohulls and their runners battled it out for 44 hours with all 5 teams running on Arran in the dark of Sunday morning before the final short sail to the finish line at Troon.

Dave Ward (Pennine) and I were the runners for the boat "Sea Fever" a luxurious beast chartered for the occasion by Simon Coppock and Ross Crook of Budworth Sailing Club. To be honest, my initial thoughts were that the boat was too heavy and big to be a serious competitor, but then I found out that it holds the record for the Jura to Arran leg! Arriving in Oban on Thursday night (along with Muir Morton and Adam Perry (Moby J) and Rees Finlay-Robinson and Will Spain (Clockwork) all stuffed into a Peugeot 206) the indicators were good when Ross was wanting to empty the water tanks to reduce weight and offload two of the three anchors on board - he was here to compete!! The skippers were talking about a very close race this year between Sea Fever, Dorothea (Robbie Simpson and Joe Symonds running), Clockwork (Rees and Will), Moby J (Mur and Adam) and Bequia (Stuart Malcolm and Alex Monroe - two hardy scots!) and how right they were.


Friday at Noon saw us heading off for the Oban short run before the mad row out to the awaiting yachts all vying for position near the start line. We all watched Joe and Robbie disappear into the distance whilst the rest of us settled in, conscious of the 24 miler on Mull later that day.


We all got away cleanly from the harbour and with a good NE wind whizzed up the Sound of Mull with the wind on the beam. We were screaming along at over 9 knots when the trimaran who won the overall race, Obedient, came zipping by doing at least 15 or 16 knots!


Sea Fever held her own in the race up to Mull and overtook Dorothea but Clockwork, Moby J and Bequia were faster so with us only minutes between us the Mull run was going to be crucial. It has a nasty 6 mile run on road to begin and end with, a few miles on track round the loch and then the big shlep up and down Ben More. Dave and I were settled into a strong pace at 7 minute miles when Robbie and Joe came blasting past on their way to setting a new record for the leg (beating Jebbie's by over 14 minutes! - 3h 12min) and promoting Dorothea from 5th in class to 1st. We steadily overtook Muir and Adam, then Rees and an unhappy Will but Bequia maintained their 2 minutes or so advantage to the summit. A perfectly clear evening on top of a scottish mountain with all the islands around is always an incredible sight, but no time for piccies as we tried to excape the following teams with a crafty line ... it worked, and we caught up Bequia and left Moby J pondering the best route! The run round the side of Ben More took us through lots of plane wreckage (must look that one up) and the Bequia boys knew the ground well so we hung onto them, but they were tough laddies and pulled away on the steep descent back into the glen. Dave and I stopped on the track to put on trainers, ready for the road section but spotting Moby J close behind, had to make a dash for it. "The road is long..." was playing in my head all the way back to Salen but we ran strongly (4h 11), even taking some time out of the scots infront. So for the monohulls it was to be Dorothea, Bequia, Sea Fever, Moby J, Clockwork in that order as we left Mull, stuffed pasta down our necks and crashed out in the bunks


Our sailors worked hard through the night to navigate unfamiliar waters, strong tides and several hazards all in the dark. Dave and I tried to sleep through the crashing and banging but at 4am we were out in the dingy, rowing furiously towards Craighouse. Bequia and Dorothea were still ahead and we had all been overtaken by Clockwork so now in 4th. It was a superb morning with red skies and clear paps on the island - magical!!  The Jura leg covers the middle 3 paps and with some route choice out, Dave led off through the graveyard in an effort to catch Bequia who were about 10 minutes ahead. Spying them off to the right, our direct line to the first pap saw us nip infront and by the time they spotted us we were well away! Following the usual Jura route was fantastic, and we were even joined for a bit by Grant (the only islander to run the race currently ... "I was out at a wee house party 'til 2 and thought I'd come and see how youse were getting on"). The legs felt tired going up the final pap - about 40 miles into the race -and the bog from hell back to 3 arches bridge was a bit of a trial but once on the road, we had our sights set on under 4 hours and came in at 3h 59m so well pleased! No whisky glass for this one though but kept ahead of Penine rivals Moby J. By 8:15 we were under sail again off south, around the Mull of Kintyre and it looking like a night run on Arran.


This was to be the longest leg of the race and with strong tides around Kintyre, tactics were needed. With the spinnaker up in the strong initial winds Sea Fever raced along and Dorothea and Bequia were caught  in a couple of hours, but as the winds dropped, our heavier boat started to slip back and we could see Clockwork and Moby J (behind) heading off east towards the coastline -  a cunning tactic which would put them in slack waters where they could use their oars better. With no oars, we had to take our chances further out but as the wind dropped to virtually nought, and with the tide against us, we struggled to make any ground and soon watched Clockwork rowing away around the point and off for a clear lead- gutted! Dorothea and Bequia were in the same situation as us - heavier - and as we limped to the point, Dorothea got too close to the cliffs and stopped dead for about 20 minutes. When the winds picked up again, as we rounded the point, Bequia got them first and surged ahead, with Sea Fever next, thenDorothea and Moby J behind. The lighter boats continued to make ground and it was just after midnight on a starry night when we arrived in Lamlash bay, about 30 minutes behind Clockwork, 15 minutes behind Bequia, 10 behind Moby J and 15 infront of Dorothea - the race was on!!

Some cunning "in town" navigation by Wardy again helped us and as we popped out of the golf course at Brodick, we met Moby J coming in the opposite direction so all set off together up Goat Fell ... 870m from sea level. We could see Bequia (going up) and Clockwork (coming down) by their torches but knew that Dorothea would soon overtake us and lo ... here they come ... and they're running!! It takes strength to still be running up hills like that after the previous 36 hours so hats off to Symonds and Simpson. We met Bequia about 100m below the top, so we were back in 4th position but I was struggling by now with an infected big toe so the descent down the path off Goat Fell was pure grimness. With Moby J now not far behind, Dave urged me on so they couldn't follow our golf course route and when we hit the flat section it was torches off. Back through Brodick and over to Lamlash, we could see Bequia infront but had no strength to make up the ground but were pleased with having overtaken Moby J once more. A swift row and it was all over for us as we collapsed onto the deck for the short trip to Troon.

Unfortunately, there was virtually no wind in Lamlash bay and we could see Dorothea and Bequia struggling to go anywhere. Clockwork had again employed the oars and then Muir and Adam arrived back to Moby J and they too started rowing out of the bay ... foiled again!! When we finally made it into some wind Clockwork was long gone, Bequia and Moby J were close, and Dorothea had opted to go for a more southerly route. The sailing now was into the wind so all teams were tacking furiously and it became a race for second between Bequia and Moby J. Dorothea's route choice did not pay off and all we could do was watch as the two infront were battling only minutes apart after 44 hours ... fantastic to watch!

In the end it was Clockwork, Bequia, Moby J, Sea Fever then Dorothea - almost the opposite ranking to the total running times I think but just goes to show you that a few minutes on land are worth nothing when you get out to sea. It was a magical weekend and a thrilling race to be in - the full results will be out when all the boats finish, which will probably be sometime tomorrow!

Posted: Mon 21st May 2012

A fantastic sight on Saturday to see so many Bowland vests on the start line - 22 in all - for this classic Lakeland horseshoe in perfect weather.  I think it is a new record for us and the cheers for the Bowlanders collecting their prizes at the end were definitely the loudest!

At the front of the field, the club honours this time went to Mike J who, having scanned the start list for the British Champs in Ireland and realising that Mark Roberts was on the boat, "went for it" and drifted almost effortlessly through the field on the long haul up to Fairfield to arrive in the summit in 8th place. He continued his superb run to finish 10th overall and 1st MV50 by almost 10 minutes. If he can maintain this form throughout the season, he'll be hard to get close to, let alone beat. Emma continued her strong form this season to come in as 5th lady and it looks like being a good battle for the Ladys title this year with Emma and Sarah Sarginson vying to topple Rowena. 

The club results were;

10 Mike Johnson V50 1:26:40
14 Richard Mellon V40 1:28:03
19 Chris Reade


71 Jim Rhodes V40 1:42:57
78 Declan O'Duffy V50 1:43:53
87 Andy Knowles V40 1:45:11
94 Leigh Warburton V50 1:46:51
113 Emma Gregory L 1:50:32
130 Ian Cookson V60 1:54:25
143 Colin Whittaker V40 1:56:18
170 Sarah Sherratt LV40 1:58:54
173 Mike Gibbison V40 1:59:30
177 Ian France V40 2:00:18
188 John Taylor V60 2:02:14
194 Mark Midgeley V40 2:02:50
212 Andy Farmer V50 2:07:09
226 Alan Heaton V50 2:10:11
227 Ray Pickett V60 2:10:14
234 Martin Walsh V60 2:12:12
249 Paul Walsh V60 2:18:42
270 Jo Taylor LV40 2:24:09
277 George James V60 2:27:09

 Well done to all those who raced - looking forward to hearing individual stories ... did anyone manage to avoid the knee deep slurry???

I'll put these onto the Club Champs page when I get time!

Rich M

Posted: Sun 13th May 2012

On May 1st-2nd I completed solo a round  of all 13 Corbetts that form a circuit around Glen Lyon, in 22 hours and 42 minutes. This is most likely a record number of Corbetts visited under 24 hours. It was my second visit to the area. Last year I had done 12 of those Corbetts under 24 hours and this year I revised and improved the route. The statistics of the challenge are: 60 miles and 20,000 feet of climb. Only the 13 Corbetts and no other hills are visited. The area is remote and beautiful. I rate this challenge as one of my favourites. Details will be published in the Fellrunner.


Posted: Thu 10th May 2012