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Bowland Fell Runners News: May 2013

News: May 2013

Another amazing weekend on the Isle of Jura with cool, sunny, dry conditions conducive to fast times on this classic race.

Having not been able to escape work on the Friday this week, Helen and I drove up to Tayvallich, kipped in the back of the car and caught the 8am fast rib across the Sound of Jura on a stunning, pancake flat morning – what a way to arrive at a race! The campsite was chokka but we soon found the Bowlanders - Leigh, Declan, Steve, Yiannis and Ian applying the suncream and generally enjoying the spectacle. As this was the 40th anniversary of the inaugural race, the organiser Graham had an A-list team to set the scene and after words from the first ever winner, Joss appeared and wished us all a great day on the mountains. The piper piped and we were off ... can there be a more atmospheric start to a race?


Once up the first few “pips” the Paps appear and the gruelling climbs begin but with the reasonably dry ground and cool breeze it was clear this was a day for good times so better get a shift on. I knew I was going well as I could still see Ian Holmes climbing ahead and picked off a couple of Carnethy runners too. The gnarly descents were rough but dry, such a contrast to last week and much more enjoyable. On the climb up the third Pap I’d gained on the small group with Tom Brunt and Stewart Whitlie infront and could still see the red vest of Ian up towards the top. A struggler was picked off, fading badly and suddenly there was Ian Roberts on top, water ready – what fantastic support! Now for the ace card  ... got to get the line right off Beinn Shiantaidh. With the others all further left in  the boulders I dropped straight down to the better scree and whizzed along the trod hoping to sneak below them ... but  they popped down onto it just infront of me, shame. We were all close together on the climb of the last “pip” and I made the effort to catch them up on the run to 3 arch bridge, my nemesis from last week.

 What I suspected would then happened, did and  I watched first Tom disappear off (probably 6 minute mileing!) then Stewart respond to my vague threat. The support on the road was incredible but even Helen’s jellied snakes couldn’t revive my weary legs.  The piper piped each runner individually as we crossed the line ... for over several hours! What an ending, what a day, what a race. I’d got a PB by over 9 minutes, Tom got 2nd V40 having zipped along the road, Stewart broke his previous V50 record by more than 6 minutes (and infront of Joss) but none of us had been close to the overall winner, Hector Haines in 3 hrs 18 minutes.


We lounged in the sunshine cheering everyone home and ate lots of cakes and pies before all cramming back into the distillery for the prizegiving. Then off to the pub to eat even more and catch up on the rest of the stories from the day. Steve was at his mischievous best and with the craic still going strong well past midnight I head for the tent.


Sunday morning was a slow start, but somehow Steve managed to get all the cyclists in his van for an early lift back to the mainland. We headed out for a long day to the other side of the island and some stunning views in the sunshine, swimming in the pools behind the paps. By the time we got back to Craighouse the campsite was virtually empty but we had another great night in the pub with Yiannis and Cath.

Monday morning was a reminder how lucky we were – the rain returned and with the waves bigger than the rib we crawled back to the mainland. Helen even managed to get one on the head despite being inside the canopy. 

Penine had this one in their club champs this year and had 25 runners on the start line ... about 10% ot the field. I think many more Bowland folk would enjoy this one so maybe next year ......



Posted: Wed 29th May 2013

by Rich

After the epic adventure of the 2012 race (see news May 2012) could this years one live up to it?

Dave Ward and I had been recruited this year by Peter Foulds, skipper of the yacht Clockwork who'd won last years Class 2 "Racers" race and looking at the entry list it seemed that we'd be up against the same competition again in Bequia (Gordon and Stuart who we'd been neck and neck with last year) and Moby J (Adam Perry and Ian Phillips - 1st and 2nd at the Fellsman) but with the addition of Nunatak too (Paul Aitken and David White of Helm Hill). On paper Moby J had the running advantage but the Bequia lads were strong and Nunatak was a very similar speed sailing to Clockwork so it should be a close race. All of us would likely be chasing Obedient, the huge Class 1 catamaran (last years overall winners with Dan Gay and Donald Naylor running again) and Blue Chip (Sam Hesling and Mathew Sulivan) the racing trimaran. Having done the Fred Whitton the weekend before and not a huge amount of running this year, Wardy was looking a bit anxious but Peter had shown the previous year that his boat was more than capable of making up for time lost on the runs so long as we kept him in touch.


38 boats had their dingies ready on the shoreline, the sun was shining and we were off for the 4 mile "prologue" round Oban to split the field up. We finished in 6th I think not having pushed too hard and were soon rowed out and quickly picked up by Peter and his crew, both called Dave, so names weren't going to be a problem for me! It's a spectacular sight to see the whole fleet tacking out of the harbour and of course it's at that time that the Calmac ferry appears to cause even more chaos. 


On the sail up the Sound of Mull, Clockwork soon caught Bequia and Moby J and we were deposited at a sunny Salen in 2nd place overall at about 5pm. With faster runners behind, we did our best to limit our losses and still hadn't been caught after the long road and track section out to Ben More. By the summit though, we'd been caught by the Bequia lads and Adam and Ian were not too far behind. It was a stunning evening though with all the isles floating on the haze but no time to dwell. As we feared, the faster pairs pulled away steadily once we hit the track and we had to hang on the the 6 or so miles of tarmac back to Salen. Both Bequia and Moby J were still in sight so we'd limited our losses as planned. Over to the sailors!


Knackered, Dave and I stuffed the pasta (made by crew Dave 1) down and tried to rest but they were sailing hard to catch up and down below was like lying inside a soundbox with all the banging and crashing. The wind picked up as we sailed into the night and it was clear the weather was on the turn. "Sleep" is not the correct term to use and as we picked up speed in the rising wind the noise only seemed to increase. It seemed like ages but in the darkness time warped I think and by 5am we were approaching Craighouse, again back up to 2nd place overall behind the catamaran Obedient. Peter and the Daves had again given us a good headstart on the run but we knew the Bequia lads were not too far behind. The weather though was grim and on the long row in to shore it was clear that the Paps were going to be a battle.

Clockwork in full flow, about to launch us into the dingy at Salen

The boggy run out sapped the legs but with no sight of the others we were doing ok until the drop off the first Pap when there they were! Gordon and Stuart looking strong, better get a move on. We knew from last year that they didn't know these tops as well as we did and with the lashing rain, strong wind and clag, was it possible for us to do a disappearing act? We tried, making it up over the 2nd Pap before them but we heard them below us on the climb up the third. Time for a gamble - neither of us fancied the rocky "Jura fell race" descent as it would be slippery hell so we chose to go for the longer, grassier "Holmes" route (although neither of us had done it before). We ran back down past the Bequia lads, hopefully confusing them a bit and then relied on instinct to find the route. We hit it spot on luckily and whooped down, anxiously looking back into the clag for our pursuers. The deer track down to 3 Arch Bridge was sheer bog hell but our route choice had given us the advantage and it wasn't until we were rowing back to Clockwork that we spied them running down the road. We were chuffed to have held 2nd place but now for the longest sail, through the roughest seas, great!

The next 12 hours or so were horrendous for the sailors - continuous icy rain driven by a northerly wind, then the wind disappeared as we tried to go round the Mull of Kintyre but the rain didn't, the sea got very lumpy, then the rain really lashed and so on. Wardy and I were mostly down below trying to eat, sleep and recover but I had to pop out on deck occasionally when the sickness appeared. Peter and the two Daves did an incredible job to stave off the hypothermia whilst managing to get Clockwork to plough her way through the conditions by continually tweaking both course and sails. As Saturday night fell, we were beating once more into the wind up the eastern side of Arran heading for Lamlash.

 When we finally arrived at around 11:30pm only Obedient was in the bay so we knew that we had a decent headstart on Bequia, Moby J and the rest of our class. The run round the coast to Brodick felt slow and as we started up Goat Fell we were helped by the flags that were still out from the fell race during the day. We should have seen Obedient's runners but maybe they took a different route through the town? The clag set in properly about halfway up and by the top we were struggling to stay on the path despite the flags as our torches could not penetrate the gloom. With no sound of runners behind we reached the top but then on the rocky descent we lost the path, disorientated in the boulders that would lead us straight to the final checkpoint. An anxious 10 minutes were lost as we tracked back and forth in our puddles of light before we finally found it and headed for the lights of Brodick. We weren't quick but with every step the pressure decreased and it wasn't until we were descending into Lamlash that we passed the Bequia lads heading up. Clockwork had sailed the last leg about 4 hours faster somehow!

With no wind now, the crew Daves rowed us out of the bay and into the beginning of Sunday morning where the light winds found us. The secretive "code zero" was raised and we zipped along at 6 knots back to Troon, finishing 1st in our class and 2nd overall at about 9:30am. We'd run slower than last year but then the conditions on Jura and Arran were much worse and the rough crossings had meant we were less rested. Peter and the Daves had sailed Clockwork fantastically and had gained so much time on the competition on every leg.

Finishing up the pontoon in Troon to the applause and cheers from Obedient we were awarded a bottle of champagne, a long hot shower and a hearty scottish breakfast! Well deserved I thought. The winds though continued to drop on Sunday morning and those behind suffered a tortuous crossing from Arran with much rowing. It was not until mid afternoon I think that Bequia finally made it into Troon in 3rd place and even later when Moby J and Nunatak had a sprint finish, literally, up the pontoon 9 seconds apart after 50+ hours of competition. By that time we were on the motorway and in the end it felt like an anticlimax not being around to share our stories with them all. Till next year!

Posted: Wed 22nd May 2013

By Rowena Browne

This is the second time I have travelled to this race when it has been a club championship counter. It would appear to be popular with Bowland and you can see why. Many members regularly train on Pendle on Tuesday evenings so this was just a Pendle run from a different starting point! While it is a bit further from Lancaster, I was surprised that no others ventured so far south for this race.
The evening was cool but dry so ideal for running. More runners than expected made for a congested start along the road with a slight change in route around the first field. Then it was a steady climb through the woods and up onto the fell for the steep bit. It was on this bit that I eyed Steve Cox's Bowland vest spurring me on to catch him but as I overtook he seemed to do so at the same time so it was almost at the summit before I finally overhauled him only for him to come past shortly after. There followed a short sharp descent and soon we were at the finish.
The best bit about this race though is the pasta meal which is provided after in the pub ensuring that people hang around and socialise. It was worth the wait and when we had satisfied ourselves, Geoff got on with the prize giving. He had thought the Fairfield race the previous Saturday would have kept numbers down but many present had also turned out at Fairfield. There were plenty of prizes and indeed it seemed that most people who had stayed ended up with something, particularly the ladies. However it became apparent that the ladies trophy was missing as last years winner had not made it, and who was this person? It transpires it is Emma Gregory who is presumably injured.
Well done to Steve Swarbrick, first back for Bowland in 4th place with Sean also in the top 10 and also now a V40. Declan and Leigh had another tussle with Declan coming out on top this time. Colin Whitaker was a couple of minutes ahead of me
compared to the 4 seconds at Fairfield. Well done to Rachel Somerville who got a prize as 5th lady in her first fell race. All in all nearly 1/5 of the field were Bowlanders so great turnout from the club.
4 Steve Swarbrick MV40 33:06
9 Sean Bolland MV40 36:31
13 Declan O'Duffy MV50 37:49
15 Leigh Warburton MV50 38:21
21 Simon Sarginson MV50 39:02
33 Mark Irving M 40:16
36 Steven Cox MV40 40:30
39 Colin Whitaker MV50 40:52
49 Rowena Browne FV50 42:33
53 Mike Gibbison MV40 43:29
54 Ian Cookson MV60 43:31
61 Mark Midgley MV40 45:11
63 Stuart Hayton MV40 45:42
68 Sarah Sherratt FV40 46:29
70 Shaun Turner MV40 47:07
79 Rachel Sommerville FV40 47:59
89 Andrew Farmer MV50 51:23
91 Paul Walsh MV60 51:40
93 Martin Walsh MV60 52:29
104 Ruth Turner FV50 59:28
Posted: Tue 21st May 2013

Two new peat-digging long-distance routes have been inaugurated by that indefatigable Bowlandologist, Duncan E. See the updated Dig The Peat page for details.. 

Posted: Mon 13th May 2013

Results from Saturday's Fairfield English Champs race; It was a tough run - cold, into the wind on the cllimb and a slippery descent, but Martin Hurst had another excellent run and is moving steadily through the ranks!


    Time Position  
Richard Mellon MV40 1.28.48 43  
Martin Hurst MSEN 1.35.20 87  
Leigh Warburton MV55 1.41.55 128 6th MV55
Declan O'Duffy MV55 1.42.04 131 7th MV55
Steven Bamber MV50 1.43.28 147  
Christopher Reade MV45 1.45.27 171  
Ali Welsh MV50 1.49.52 199  
Colin Whitaker MV50 1.53.56 230  
Rowena Browne LV50 1.54.00 231 5th LV50
Phil Martin MV70 3.21.36 406  

Our next Club Championship race is on TOMORROW ... MEARLEY CLOUGH - 7:15 start from the Calf's Head in Worston. See you there

Posted: Mon 13th May 2013

 Through the miracle of STRAVA it's great to keep up with what Bowlanders get up to at a weekend.

From those enjoying the clag at the Coniston Fell Race, to those training for Keswick Triathlons, running in the Dales or plotting zig-zag lines up and down Mt. Ventoux, the diversity is great. 

Next Saturday sees the Fairfield Horseshoe, a championship race - fully booked but look out for the following from the club;

Ali Welsh Bowland Fellrunners MV50
Emma Gregory Bowland Fellrunners LV40
Richard Mellon Bowland Fellrunners MV40
Clive Davis Bowland Fellrunners MV45
Declan O'Duffy Bowland Fellrunners MV55
Rowena Browne Bowland Fellrunners LV50
Leigh Warburton Bowland Fellrunners MV55
Martin Hurst Bowland Fellrunners MSEN
Steven Bamber Bowland Fellrunners MV50
Phil Martin Bowland Fellrunners MV70
Jimmy Rhodes Bowland Fellrunners MV45
Colin Whitaker Bowland Fellrunners MV50
Christopher Reade Bowland Fellrunners MV45
John Taylor Bowland Fellrunners MV60
Andrew Knowles Bowland Fellrunners MV45

Posted: Sun 5th May 2013