Monday, 30 November 2009


A few extra pictures from our run

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, cmon Im bored. Badger is never happy when we stop for a minute. I think he sees his role in life is to tire me out. When we stop you get that cmon cmon look.

A nice view down from Wildboar Clough to the reservoir

The dramatic outflow run off at Woodhead Dam

God knows how much water was being discharged. Millions of gallons I suppose.

Id say the water was doing at least 50mph coming down the slope. Bet it would be good for hill reps in dry weather.

The main outflow at the base of the structure. There was actually a Cormorant fishing in this bit. Surely fish cant swim in that speed of water.

There are loads of run offs and pipes that feed into the Reservoirs. After all the rain we have had they were all working a full bore.

Todays Run

Right todays run saw Badger and myself have a quick run up to Bleaklow Head from Crowden.
First off cross the road and straight on to the sign and stile. Take the left turn up to the dam( Dont go straight forward and right as this is the longer way around to the lower dam wall and takes you around to Reaps Farm.
Anyway we head left and run along with the concrete culvert on our left heading up to the upper dam( but not along it). After a few minutes you reach the steps that take you up and over the outflow structure that discharges water in high flood.

Turn left after crossing the road, go through the gate and head up to the upper dam structure.
After the gate run along with the culvert on your left hand side. After a few minutes you reach the steps

Water discharge outflow structure on your right just as you reach the steps.

Climb up the steps and head right over the outflow. Run over this then head up the track to the road crossing.

As you cross over the structure you can see the main water run off in the distance. Dont run left up to this but just carry straight on and up to the road. The run off was in full flow today and made for some impressive pictures.

100yds after the structure and you head up to the road. A metal gate has to be gone through. Go straight forward,( Dont turn left or right on the ROAD).

Cross the road then an identical gate leads you left up an incline for 30yds. Your going left now but at the top you meet the Longdendale Trail. Turn right signposted TORSIDE. Head down the trail and dont stop until you meet the sign that says Wildboar Clough to the left. Turn left and make your way over the stile and start the climb up to the foot of the Clough.
The Longdendale Trail, take the Torside Car Park sign. Dont turn left for Woodhead Upper Dam

The sign post showing left to Wildboar Clough. Follow this or you will end up at Reaps Farm.
30yds after the sign head up over this stile.

Head over the stile and follow the well marked track that takes you up through the trees and onto the base of Wildboar Clough. Its well trodden and you cannot go wrong.
The path as you start to gain height

After a few minutes climbing you reach another stile. Head over this and just keep gaining height. The path is very straight forward as you approach Wildboar Clough.
After a bit of climbing you have to cross from the right hand side of the Clough over to the left. The path crosses the stream and you just climb up the bank on the opposite side up to the fence. Just carry on up with the fence on your left for a few yards and make your way up the Clough which remember is now on your right. Your now about half way up the Clough.
Carry on up the path which is a bit fainter now as your in quite a few stones. You meet a Waterfall on your right. As you climb dont drop low into the Clough itself , just keep climbing and eventually you will meet the path that comes around from Lawrence edge.

Waterfall about half way up the Clough. Keep climbing. The path is faint but keep the Clough on your right and you cant go wrong.
This is what your heading for. A little snowy today and it felt chilly in shorts. As you near the top of the Clough you get onto the more trodden path. You just keep climbing and eventually meet the path that goes left which takes you up to Bleaklow Head. Its still a fair way when you reach the top of the Clough so just keep plodding and you will get there quick enough.

Result. The stake at Bleaklow Head soon comes into view. A quick kiss from Badger and we head back down the way we come. It was very cold on top today. You wouldnt have wanted to hang around for more than a few minutes. My feet were like blocks of ice but the view was clear. It started sleeting as we ran off the top to head back down Wildboar Clough. By the time we got back to Crowden the sun was shining again.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


Now really this is the time of year that running can test your mind. Ive lost count of runners that have said to me. " Daz when winter comes I just give up ". I really empathise with these people as it does become hard to continue training when the dark nights come along and especially when we have had a fortnight of rain.
I think I have five pairs of wet fell shoes hanging on nails in the shed at the moment.
But to continue with races the training must be done and even though the races become less frequent at this time of year Ive managed to keep at nearly 50miles a week for the last four weeks. Much of this training has been over the muddy and boggy hills trailing behind badger with his flashing red collar and one of those fancy L.E.D cycle lights that you can now get. All in the murky dark.
The first few weeks of running with your headtorch on are a novelty and you can get away with lets say trespassing over a few areas that you just cannot do when its light.
But that's passed now and it becomes a continual effort to trudge night after night over that terrain.
I broke last weeks running up by doing a 9 mile ROAD, argggggggggggggh yes road run( Badger wasn't impressed with this as he cannot come with me).
But the darkness is hard. The only time I get really eager to go out is when its a full moon. I'm not sure why but full moon training runs are special.

Taken whilst having a rest on a 12mile night run with badger over the hills.

The relays have finished and now the races are less and less frequent

This time of year is hard and a rest is needed but not too much.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Dunnerdale Fell Race

The Dunnerdale Fell Race is a gem. Coming near the end of the fellrunning season ( is there one !!). It takes in the summits of The Knott, Ravens Crag, Stickle Pike and finally Great Stickle before plunging back down to the village.
Now I set off with great intent, alas on the descent from Ravens Crag I had a nasty fall and banged my left knee on a rock and pulled a tendon in my right foot on the inside of the arch. It was hard work getting to the finish and I was mighty please to enter the finish funnel and stop running. Conditions underfoot were very slippy.
My shoe selection wasn't great but hey ho no matter. The summit of Stickle Pike is lovely but with only one week since doing the Roaches Fell Race I was feeling it a little by that point in the race.
A nice meat and potato pie at the finish made it all worthwhile though
I will be back to try and get round without the acrobatics.
Stickle Pike summit and Race route map

With a team mate at my side we start the climb to Stickle Pike

Climbing up is the hard part and Im very happy to be running off the top heading for the finish

Not many races left this year now but Im happy with what Ive achieved. Not sure yet were I came in the field in this race as the results have yet to come out. We will see but I dont really care. One of the beautiful things about fell racing is that you dont have to worry about positions and times too much. Its just great to be able to run in these amazing mountains.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Nearly the end

Well the demolition team are now in full swing. They have exposed the inner plant at the Pipeworks even more and if all goes to schedule Id say the building hasn't got long to live. They have stripped out most of the outer shell and sometime soon they will be pushing the large Wellman cranes off the rails that they travel up and down on.

The inner workings are now clear for all to see. The girder steelwork is slowly being chewed away by the large shearers that the demolition company have on site.
All that will be left soon will be piles of rubble

This picture shows the last remaining part of the Hallam Casting Plant being stripped away. The Hallam Plant was an add on to the melting plant. This part of the works produced the large 1600mm diameter pipes.

I managed to snap this crane just before they pushed it down and cut it up for scrap.
The shearer busy at work chopping the scrap steel into manageable chunks ready for the trucks to take away.

Here the shearer is at full reach taking off the roof. These machines enable the building to be demolished safely without anyone having to be in the work area.
Badger seems fed up now with my picture taking of the demolition.

The roof totally gone now. It was a lovely clear day when I took this picture and the steelwork shone in the sun.

The pumphouse once used to cool the plant has gone and just the inlet pipes remain. The sun was nice this morning and lit up the whole area. This picture gives an idea just how large the CMP plant area was. Only the very last part of the plant is left standing

The cranes massive hooks can clearly be seen hanging down in there final resting position. I wonder what will be on this site in ten years time. With the current economic climate I can see it being just a wasteland. I really want this site to be turned into a nature reserve, but I doubt that will happen. I suppose the land is to valuable

So onto the final pictures that I have taken. We are now down to the bare bones. A lovely day again and you can just make out the two hills I have just run from. Bramcote Trig point sits on the right hill of the two.

So the next pictures will most certainly be the last ones for sure. Id like to film the cranes coming down but time is a problem and now that the dark nights are here I cant easily take pictures after work.

Roaches Fell Race

Sunday enabled me to run in one of my favourite places. The Roaches in Staffordshire is an amazing place and each year a couple of Fell races take place in the area. I ran the Passing Clouds race a couple of weeks prior to Sunday with a really bad cough and plodded in unable to breathe so with fitness and health restored it was time to try and race at full speed again.
This race is about 15miles and climbs a lot. You basically run all the way to Shuttlingsloe and back. Starting at Meerbrook near Tittesworth reservoir.
This was also a Pennine championship so that inspired me to run a little harder. Its always difficult to judge your pace when you race for the first time since having illness or injury and at first I thought I had gone off to quick but soon seemed to get into my stride. The climbs seemed tough but I flew down the technical descents over the rocks and boulders. I was very glad to get the climb up to Shuttlingsloe summit out of the way and then again the trig point on the Roaches after that. With all the climbing done it was just a matter of crossing a few boggy fields and run into the finish straight.
A nice wash in the brook at the end and a celebration cup of coffee. It was nice to see so many Pennine runners attending.
I had ran well and that had been 50miles for the week even with 2 rest days thrown in before the race which im now convinced is very important. A tip passed on to me by a very very famous fellrunner from Cumbria.
So with my racing legs back working and a good placing in the race I feel a lot better.
But the hardest run is always the first training run after a race. Everything aches and Badger always gives me that cmon cmon look. Im dying whilst he is racing up the hills.
A fantastic race and one of those that has a little bit of everything thrown in.

Crossing the riverheading out. This gives you a chance to clean down all the muck thats on your legs. You get chance to re clean them on the way back before getting absolutley covered again in the boggy fields and farm yard near the end. If you want to finish a race clean dont do the Roaches.
The trig point is a nice sight on the way back as it means all the climbing on the race is done. Its a long hard pull up to the trig as you head out but I had company with the first lady right behind me breathing down my neck.

The Roaches in Staffordshire are an amazing thing. Unique how they just rise up from nothing. I love running here. The rock formation is a sight to behold.

Not long after the start and that Im never going to finish this race is etched on my face. This is dig in time for everyone who runs these fell races

Friday, 6 November 2009

On schedule

Most weeks see me heading down to London to inspect various jobs. It might be looking at a grab on the River Thames at a Wharf or a structure thats required on a site. It can be anything and everything. On Thursday I arrived for an appointment a bit early and I decided to have a look at the Olympic site to check on the progress.

I had visited this site in the early stages to look at some jobs but it amazes me how fast they are building the Olympic site. It seems well on shedule. I took these pictures of the stadium and had a walk along the Old River Lea

The cranes have erected lots of the steelwork and the main stadium frame is in place. I can remeber a time when steelwork erected in shapes like this would be unthinkable. Everything is curvy nowadays. All designed on a computer to fit perfectly on site. And it does to within a millimetre. Brilliant
A crane awaiting its operator to climb up to the cab and start work.

The stadium can clearly be seen. Its a pity the sun wasnt a bit stronger and I had a better camera as the light was fantastic and my camera set on scenery doesnt really do it justice.

6.00am and the site is just starting to wake up and come to life

I think Robert Mcalpine's are the main contractor on site. My dad worked for them contracting on the tower cranes thirty odd years ago. I had a few years erecting cranes and did actually operate the odd one. But its a very lonely life sat up there on your own talking to yourself.

H Foreman & Sons, the famous Salmon smokers that have featured regulary on TV. One of the companies that have been relocated to make way for the olympic village.

Other parts of the site are being started with even more cranes building more of the village. Not sure what this part is but its going to be big

Now this part is interesting as its the entrance of the Old River Lea to the construction site. This is where they have shipped some of the materials into the job. They have built a new lock and literally re invented the River. Cleaning it up and providing a better enviroment.

The frame of the stadium is massive.

This pictures gives a better indication of the size of the main stadium frame. There were loads of workers entering the site and clocking on and giving me strange looks as I took the pictures

I have tried to use the sunlight to make the objects dark as I think it gives them a better contrast. Here the cranes and road sign mark the start of a new day over East London.

Another job I remember visiting years ago was the Millenium Dome now known as the O2. I remember attending site before the structure was even built.

Canary Wharf in the background. This was another site I visited regulary.
It astounds me at the pace that the skyline over London has changed over the last few years. Even in a recession year down there it seems another world. A concrete jungle world that never stops. Only two hours away but it really is a different Great Britain. Money seems no object and the city demands more and more. The costs of the Olympics are a very controversial topic but no matter what, they are being built and the billions are being spent to provide them.