Sunday, 23 May 2010

LLetty Fell Race ( thirsty work 2)

Well the LLetty Fell Race was a tough one. 9miles and nearly 3000ft of climb and easily the hottest day of the year so far. I don't like racing in the heat but the experience of running for my county Derbyshire lifted me. I didn't do to badly. Taking in the summits of Moel Arthur and Moel Famau it certainly packed in plenty of upping.
My first time running for my county and I was amazed at some of the class of runners that took part. Lots of top class elites but also plenty like me who were just glad to be taking part. With the temp hitting 26 degrees I decided to carry a bottle from the off and It served me well. The sting in the tale was the final climb. One of thse just about runnable things that are really tough at the end of the race.
A great experience but very hot

The runners string out up the climb of Moel Arthur.

Not more up The run down to the finish.

I came 58th in the race and Derbyshire came 9th team. A good achievement that I will never forget.

Friday, 21 May 2010

thirsty work

This week the temperature has risen dramatically. That means more cooling down and drink stops on our daily runs. Badger has a medium coat for a border collie and he gets hot. Luckily we have got loads of ponds, streams, canals, and troughs on our routes.
He cannot go past this cow drink without having a swim. It never dries out and is a godsend in the hot weather.
This stream does dry out, and in a few weeks we will have to seek alternative water which is a slight detour off our normal run.

We have three canals. The Erewash, The Nottingham and the Old Stanton Canal

So at this time of the year and through the summer its time to slow up a bit and let Badger take on as much water as he needs.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Burbage Skyline Fell Race

Midweek was the Burbage Skyline race which I have never done before. I am always trying to fit in new races each year but there are so many in the FRA calendar that its always going to be impossible to do them all. This one Ive missed for various reasons. The course is very technical and really suits me. Ive ran parts of the course many times going up and around Higger Tor but never the full route.
There must have been over a hundred Dark Peakers at the race. Us Pennine were heavily outnumbered.

The start was slightly delayed but fair play to the organisers for how they sorted 340 odd entries. I think that was the most they had ever had. So it made for a very hectic start but I managed to slot in near the front row and get away quickly. It was a very chilly night but as usual my vest didn't stay on for to long and by the time I had reached Higger Tor it was stuffed down the back of my shorts. Only one comical moment came when my vest snagged on a tree and I had to go back 20yds to retrieve it.
The run in was perfect for me, very similar to the run off the Roaches. Lots of grit stone boulders to negotiate. A flat path at the end but I had just enough left in the tank for a little sprint finish.
Upper Burbage Bridge

A frantic start, note the yellow flag which was the start line.
Typical Boulder formations that are found in this area of the Peak District

A bit blurry but its a fast finish. A lovely sunset and I did manage a few glimpses whilst trudging up Higger Tor. It doesn't get better than that.
A quick drink of water then a little run with Badger and off home.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Cressbrook Crawl Fell Race

Now these White Peak District Fell Races that are run slightly further south than the Dark peak races are a true delight. Often run in and around the Derbyshire Dales they are tougher than a lot of people think.

The Cressbrook Fell Race is one such race. It starts in the village and if my maths are correct takes in parts of Cressbrook Dale, Millers Dale, High Dale, Taddington Dale, Monsal Dale and Upperdale. There is a very good friend of mine who is an exceptional blogger and photographer who likes her Dales and I think this would be her perfect race.
Well its a pretty fast race and knowing that it would all be over in just over three quarters of an hour doesn't make it any easier as I know I'm in for very quick 45minutes or so. These races start quick and carry on quick until the finish. No let up and it really is a push out the pain kind of experience.
One problem with this race is the uphill finish. All road which is unusual for a fell race and about 600ft in a mile. I have good company with me, A Dark Peak fellrunner ( see results) who Ive battled with many times and after swapping positions all race he just beats me to the finish. We shake hands and congratulate each other. One minute your battling away full on, the next your best of friends. We both achieve another top ten and we have helped each other to get there.
A magic feeling as I drive away and head home.
I love this part of the world and its on my doorstep. ( why are houses so expensive here)

The fell race route, look at the void on the map. Huge steep sided gorges that make this part of the country pretty unique. They are called Dales and there are dozens of them

Taken from near Monsal Head

Breathtaking, the fell race doesnt go over it but you can see it on the way home to the finish.

Friday, 7 May 2010


Heage windmill down here in Derbyshire is a working windmill thats open to the public. Its worth a look if your passing. You can get flour from here and the views are great. There are not many of these left. We have one close by at Kirk Hallam but that doesnt work anymore.

The Windmill was refurbished a few years ago which cost approx £400,000. Not cheap but the dedication of a lot of people has made the windmill come back to life

Inner workings

The mill stone which is a spare waiting


bran, this can go in your breakfast cereal

So if your passing just call in. Its only open at weekends and bank holidays I think. The Windmill was working when I visited and making flour.

Alport Stone

Alport Heights is a nice place to visit. It has good points and bad
The bad part is the ghastly masts that are there and the trig point is FENCED OFF, whats that about.
But the good part is Alport Stone and the amazing views to be had. One other odd thing is the cairn on the top has a plate pointing out all the POWER STATIONS on the horizon.

Badger lying near the Stone

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Crowden Horseshoe

A quick trip up to Crowden for the annual Horseshoe that Des Gibbons puts on. A great race and a bit of everything. Lots of technical parts which I love. Give me some rocks and Im away.
I can run uphill and descend very fast on rock but I am not so fast on the grassy dowhill bits. Thats just how it is.
Anyway I pushed on a bit up to Laddow Rocks and round to the Soldiers Lump knowing that the first part of the return journey I would be a bit slower. It was a strange run really and I think I passed three people but apart from that I was in no mans land. The finish of the race is quite steep and I ploughed down that and came 9th.
So I was happy at that.

A typical welcome to the fell race sign

The start and finish of the Crowden race. The activity centre is just behind the tree.

Just passed the Soldiers Lump after the bogs and its flat out all the way to the finish

Last bit needs a touch of concentration
I didn't realise until I was told that I was first Derbyshire back and this being Derby Champs Race made me Derbyshire Champion. Well I will take that, It did make me smile.
One thing that pleased me was to get under 1hr 10mins. Very pleased with that.