A walk to Pots and Pans on Remembrance Sunday in Saddleworth

Yesterday saw the centenary of the end of the first world war with a walk up to Pots and Pans to the Cenotaph overlooking the Parish.

It was somber weather with our fully kitted out with waterproof gear, and this year we did not run to the Cenotaph as Claire’s foot is injured and is being rested. We parked on the road below the traditional route to the memorial and trudged up with Ted the Terrier. Yet the mood was nhappy, with children chirping cheerfully and dogs galore. This was thanks, a celebration and not a time in which to be sad. A time to remember a generation, people we have no connection with at all, and a war I don’t think we can rationalise and a way of life we have absolutely no understanding of or connection with.

Pots and Pans is the local name for a rock formation that sits above the ancient Parish and where the Cenotaph sits. It can be both bleak and stunning in its location high on moorland and a bit of a trek to get to. But a windswept place in which to clear the mind as you think of local lads who never came back.

After the service we headed to Broadstones, a cluster of rocks that contains a trig point marked on the OS map as “Syke’s Pillar” and about one and half miles from Pots and Pans. Traditionally the Saddleworth Runners trot to the Cenotaph for the service and then to “Syke’s Pillar” for 12 noon to toast lost friends, including the war dead with whisky and food. The trig point is named “Sykes” in memory of one of the founders of the fell running club. By this point the weather was poor and Ted had been uncomfortable with the sound of shotguns clay pigeon shooting in the vicinity; yes, on the centenary of the end of the first world war… So yours truly scarpered to later be caught up Claire and others as we headed to Jo and Bren’s, friends who live beneath the memorial, for bacon and sausage butties, tea and cake.

FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/3506WG

STRAVA: https://www.strava.com/activities/1958611796

Found Us after the Half Term Break, and The Highlands.

Well it back in the driving seat after a break in Arisaig in The Highlands. Team Found Us enjoyed the spell away; Claire, Ted, and myself crammed in a mixture of work and pleasure. So, there were calls and e-mails blended with fell running, beach wandering, exploring, eating and drinking. All of which under the gaze of wonderfully unique, and remote scenery.

Chairman Ted of Found Us

Moving into Christmas we are focusing on client side roles and client side candidates, one of the specialist areas in media and advertising we work in. It is an area we are successful in possessing strong experience of offline and online media.

We are also cultivating our expertise in sales and commercial work as consultants with our looking to expand on work with clients to enhance their sales practice and results.

The mentoring and senior training side continues apace working with our partners.

Recruitment is and shall always be a funny old game, but this is what we like - the challenge of working with people, helping them, taking the rough with the smooth, and we still keep going after four and a half years of business.

The website? We work in senior search and selection and don’t post all our roles or candidates, so it is always worth contacting us to find out more. The approach we take is one to one and so can’t be encapsulated in a website.

So, if you fancy giving us a try, then please don’t hesitate to contact Peter Cobley. We work with Sales and Marketing Directors across to Heads of PPC.

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A week to remember in Arisaig.

Arisaig is a wonderful place on the North West coast of Scotland in The Highlands, with Eigg and Rum just across the sea. It was the host of the Cobley and Wright clans for the October half term.

View toward Arisaig

Claire, Ted, and I headed up to Hamilton on the Friday before half term to stay over with Claire’s folks before the trek up to the holiday home in Arisaig. We arrived in the dark on a Saturday night to discover the holiday home had not been cleaned with unmade beds and towels left over from the last people; thankfully they had kept the place clean. Fraught phone calls to the owner, who was sort of helpful but we had a feeling he’d been caught out as well. Time dragged on. Cottages.com who took the booking (actually they were closed so it was the Hoeseasons office) could not have been more helpful out of hours. We were advised to check into a hotel. Booking.com provided a list of dog friendly hotels, and we contacted the West Highland Hotel in Mallaig who could kindly accommodate us, all of this at short notice. Re-pack car and off we went. On arrival the lovely staff took pity on us and upgraded Claire, Ted, and I, Ronnie and Josie to luxury double rooms overlooking the town and sea, breakfast included. Dog friendly as well!

We headed back Saturday morning after a brief spell in Mallaig; fishing town, ferry terminus for the islands, and final destination for the West Highland train all the way from Glasgow (it also calls at Oban) and popular with the Harry Potter fans as it crosses he famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, often seen carrying the Hogwarts Express in the films.

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The rather huge and modern house, four bedrooms, large lounge, had been cleaned and so we settled in. Cottages.com explained in the morning that the home owner would need to pick up the bill for the unforeseen hotel stay.

The stay over the week was much needed and whilst the weather overall was not great, cold and rain, the stunning scenery made up for it all. Claire and I ran in the local hills and were privileged to see deer, birds of prey, a multitude of Autumnal colours, spectacular sights, and a sense of remoteness, of being alone. We all stayed local and enjoyed the comfort of the house, Arisaig, Morar, Mallaig, the beaches, runs, walks including one along along Scotland’s deepest loch, Morar.

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Strava Runs:

Monday 22nd October: https://www.strava.com/activities/1920550223

Tuesday 23rd October: https://www.strava.com/activities/1922579143

Wednesday 24th October: https://www.strava.com/activities/1924510081

Friday 26th October: https://www.strava.com/activities/1928906048

The runs were just stunning…

We ate in and we ate out, with the Arisaig Hotel and it’s great Crofter’s Bar and Lounge with artists jamming and dog friendly. Wood burner heating the open area, great food and drink, with welcoming staff.

And last but not least we got to spend time with two special people, Ronnie and Josie Wright.

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Wandering about on the ROC Mountain Marathon

Well the people at the ROC have released the GPX files for Saturday and Sunday.

ROC Mountain Marathon home page

Tracing your route on the Saturday and Sunday is always interesting. And this week the people at the ROC allowed you to download your route details from the GPS tracker you carry, basically for safety and to check you don’t head into out of bounds areas and get disqualified.

Day 1 saw 16.88 miles and 3,260 feet of climb.

Day 2 saw 12.08 miles and 2,947 feet of climb.


A half recce of the Landgale Horsehoe; wet, windy, and cold to boot.

As everyone is talking football I’ll describe today’s recce of the Langdale horseshoe with Suzanne, Sean, and Claire as follows. First half involved a pleasant two hour journey up to The Lakes, or specifically the Old Dungeon Ghyll in what was overcast but fine weather. Well it was fine at the start…

We used the official race map from Harveys, a GPX from a fellow runner, and off we went. By the time we reached Ore Gap the Weather was gusting at 50 plus mph with rain, and a wind chill we estimated around 3 degrees C. This was the start of the second half of the "match” and the weather was playing dirty, with yours truly clearly giving it the red card. Basically it was horrific, and a prompt decision was made to head back down as soon as was possible via Rossett Gill and the Cumbria Way. By now the wind was driving the rain hard into our faces and we were all sodden, really sodden. It would have been fool hardy to have headed up to Bow Fell and continued the rest of the route across Crinkle Crags and onto Pike of Blisco, especially as the route would take in “Bad Step”.

We thankfully made it back to Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel as drowned rats and changed into fresh clothing if but to shake off the chill. Food was had and we slowly warmed up. A great adventure, but not one to be repeated. And if the race next Saturday has the same weather conditions, then?

The post match interview with the Saddleworth team and the Weather over the score of Weather 1, Saddleworth Runners 0, led to the conclusion the weather should have been Yellow carded. But hey that’s football…

FLICKR: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmtpgyxA

STRAVA: https://www.strava.com/activities/1890951680

Cycling in Llandegla Wales with Alice and Andy.

Yesterday was a super fun, fast and furious bash at Llandegla with Alice and Andy from the Saddleworth Runners. Back in the saddle after a four to five year hiatus since starting fell running.

So, I organised a mountain bike soiree from https://oneplanetadventure.com/ for the Saddleworth Runners, and was a tad nervous not having been on a mountain bike, let alone Llandegla and black routes for quite a while. The last time ( (I think) I was on a mountain bike was 2014/13, an eon ago. That said I did got out on trails when in Portugal last month, but it certainly was not the same as this. Alice and Andy from the Saddleowrth Runners were able to come along for the adventure.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1887549482

Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHskKb7h4E

Alice and Andy were certainly fast and nimble on the bikes and very impressive, with me tagging along at the rear as I strove to keep up. Alice is the Irish demon on a bike, let alone being a demon fell runner, and insisted Andy and I only do the black routes and “encouraged” us over challenging obstacles. I was pleased at not braining myself, and amusingly came off only the once whilst at the start of a black run after clipping myself in to my SPDs. Clipped in fell over sideward. This was witnessed by three mountain bikers behind me, who later confessed to this being “amusing”.

The ROC Mountain Marathon 2018 (as in ROCK HARD)

It’s Monday and typing away in Belong on Kennedy Avenue in Macclesfield after a late lunch and a load of work in pleasant surroundings using the wifi; soon to head to mother to pick up Ted. A poignant moment prior to lunch as I met with the lovely Martin Holden from the local estate agents over the disposal of Dad’s maisonette.

Well the weekend saw The Boss and I run as a pair in the Short Score Event at the ROC. For the non-initiated, or those who are not plain stupid enough to do the ROC, the format is as follows. “The ROC Mountain Marathon™ is a two-day fell running and navigation challenge for solos and pairs with an overnight camp.” That’s the blurb from the official website, which makes it sound charming. It can actually be summed up as follows. It was around 1pm yesterday and The Boss and I were on a steep, craggy hillside (White Hause to be exact), in horizontal freezing rain trying to find a checkpoint with the clag having come down, whilst trying not to fall to our deaths and have a divorce at the same time. Apart from that all was fine, including the 20 minute pelt off road to the finish to luckily be only a minute late and lose one point.

To be precise the ROC is two days of fell running with navigation with an overnight camp; demanding with different types of course you can enter, as solo or pair, you can use the event as a 2018 British Mountain Marathon Championship ranking (The ROC is 1 of just 3 Mountain Marathons eligible).

For details see: http://www.rocmountainmarathon.com/details/

Seriously though it is a great challenge and good fun. A combination of fitness, navigation, and brains. We ran the short score which basically means as a pair we have 6 hours on Saturday, and 5 hours on Sunday to get as many checkpoints as possible (you choose) with points for the harder ones. Sounds easy? Well see the maps below. And you have to carry tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, food etc. for an overnight camp somewhere…

ROC DAY 1 SHORT SCORE

ROC DAY 2 SHORT SCORE

It was the Northern Lakes this year with a start next to Brassenthwaite village, only announced last minute so you can’t practice. Also, NO GPS, with phones etc. all sealed up in security bags.

  • I could not take photos, as I did not take a camera for weight purposes. Sulk (only three taken before the phone was confiscated.)

  • Claire was happy at my not having my phone. I sulked, she was happy.

You can see the routes we took as follows. We were Short Score event, pair, surname Cobley.

One of you wears a GPS tracker, which you can trigger in an emergency. Gulp…

Day 1: http://live.opentracking.co.uk/rocmm2018d1/

Day 2: http://live.opentracking.co.uk/rocmm2018d2/

Considering we were not racing it, using it for practice, and Claire had an injured ankle from rolling it Wednesday night, we did well.

Results for the ROC 2018.

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Over the two days we came 53rd out of 107 teams, some of which are the best in the country and the continent. So very happy. What’s it like? Highly recommended if you are a fell or mountain runner who has never done one. Throw yourself into it as a personal ordeal with stunning scenery and a real chance to lose yourself.

Footnote: Mr Paul Taylor. Next time you are in your tent like a cute caterpillar at the half way camp, if you wear your glasses then you won’t think you are haranguing complete strangers.

A Park Run, Macclesfield, The Utterley Butterley, and Gerard Campbell.

Considering Sunday’s sunshine and heat, yesterday was positively frigid, with a morning temperature of 3 degrees C. Today being Tuesday is sunny with a crisp feel to the air.

 Huddersfield Canal, Uppermill, Monday 24th September with the walking garbage disposal unit.

Huddersfield Canal, Uppermill, Monday 24th September with the walking garbage disposal unit.

So it was Monday and now Tuesday whilst I have been typing away. Monday in Mother’s place in Macclesfield and now Starbucks on the Manchester bound side of the M62 at the Hartshead Moor Services. It was cold outside yesterday, and cold inside as Mum’s combi boiler was leaking water when the heating was put on. Something somewhere has gone very wrong in its innards. Typing fast did not seem to be working as a means of generating heat. Found Us candidates and clients would be most impressed at my fortitude. I now shelter on Tuesday afternoon after meetings in Leeds in Starbucks and it’s warm.

It was a good running weekend all in told. Saturday saw the Park Run at Hyde Park as one of the races for the Saddleworth Runners Club Championship. Never ran this Park Run before, and never really been a Park Run person. Anyway, printed off the barcode, found the venue and off we went. The cunning plan was to follow Kevin Jones (“Bearded Bullet”) or at least keep up with him. In a nutshell this cunning plan failed at the point where I went the wrong way, not having pre-run the route, which led to burning off a lot of puff when pulling back places I’d lost. Not the best finish, one of those things really, but certainly impressed with the new Inov-8 Rocklites. It has encouraged me to do some more Park Runs as they do help with the old running.

Onto Sunday and the Utterley Butterley fell race. A very fast race, more of a trail race that starts from the dam of the Butterley Reservoir then into the moorland by Black Moss and Swellands Reservoirs then back to a finish by Pule Hill. 5 miles with 850 feet of climb and it is fast. Great fun mind you and organised by two of the Saddleworth Runners, Jane and Martyn Hodgson, in order to raise money for the Scouts locally. There were over 100 runners from various clubs and we even bumped into a runner from Hull of all places, over visiting his lad in Manchester. The race is highly recommended, and left yours truly feeing cheerful after Saturday’s Park Run performance. I ran strong despite being tired, kept Bridget Lancashire off, but did not manage to pip Stu Hutchison and Andy Poole, but close to these two fine runners. Overall I came in 21st out of 138 runners with a time of 38.17. Age wise I was 9th.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1860689758

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/petercobley/albums/72157695847102680

Yesterday (Monday 24th) I headed to Macclesfield for two sad events. One was to sign the paperwork with the solicitor as part of concluding he Probate process for father, the second was to then attend the memorial service for Gerard Campbell, one of my old A-Level teachers. A rebel from the LSE who dragged me through History and Economics. Gone, but not forgotten. A great teacher who’s end result, with others, was my getting a Law degree at Lancaster - wonders never cease… An inspiration who also produced three wonderful sons, in the form of Simon, Leon, and Duncan.

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A Portuguese Extravaganza.

Typing here in the Limekiln cafe with Mr Ted on my lap. Overcast and it looks like it is going to pour down Biblical fashion. (Now at home and it is peeing it down…)

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Well, back into it in terms of Found Us, the fell running, and the weather bearing in mind it got to 33 degrees C in Portugal; more on that below. I was out last night on the Tuesday night session with the Saddleworth Runners and toward the end the rain at Broadstones (Sykes Pillar) was coming in horizontally, thankfully it was not cold.

I’d arrived back from Portugal with Karl in the early hours of Monday having spent four days at his parent’s place at the village of Figueirinha in the hills about an hour from Faro. Remote, hilly, local, spectacular, and all importantly quiet and far from the madding crowds. It was something Karl had suggested and I needed at the Wake for my father. I’d also not seen James and Di his parents in a while, and that appealed.

There were no plans, and it simply became four days comprising a bit of work, relaxation, swimming in the pool, running, and venturing out in the hire car. Notably was a jaunt out on mountain bikes which is something that I’d not done in a while across the tracks crisscrossing the hills. It was much needed. Me, a break from it all, time to have reflection and down time, and a simple break for Carl with his running a business and having a family of four children.

The area is interesting for the simply reason that it holds a barren ruggedness in the the eye of the visitor with its expanse of pine, eucalyptus, and Medronho trees from which a liqueur is made. Temperature? Hot and dry. Best example is the solo run I took on Sunday with the intention of running 10 miles. This was sacked off at 6 miles even before 11am in the morning in a day that saw the heat rise to 33 degrees C.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1850635223

Flickr Figueirinha photos.

Di and James were on good form and great hosts, and so pleased for them with the house they had built by an artistically led architect. It was a risk, a real risk, but Cristina Rodriquez has delivered.

It was fascinating to see the local way of life which revolves around community and self sufficiency with people literally living off the land as they grow crops, tend bee hives, or hunt wild boar; a way of life James and Di have adopted.

Padfield Plum Fair Scamper...

Many fell races are routed in history, old and wizened, and sometimes linked to older events. The race run yesterday on Sunday just gone being an example of a fell run originating from a fair in an old part of Derbyshire where plums were picked. The sign I photographed at the community field explains all. Sadly the Plum Fair ceased in 2013.

In the 19th Century plum trees grew in the Etherow Valley and when the mills closed during Wakes in early September, millworkers and visitors would come to harvest the plums and enjoy themselves. There was also the popular bag of coal race up steep Redgate between coal merchants, which again has sadly ended with time.

Padfield Village Website: http://www.padfieldvillage.btck.co.uk/PlumFair

The Scamper? A 5.5 mile race taking in a thousand feet of climb as you head on a fast pelt to the Cock Hill Trig Point above the village then back again. The route can be found at: https://sites.google.com/a/sheffield.ac.uk/plumfairscamper/page-1. It is a great route with broad views of Glossop and the surrounding hills, and certainly one to do again. After the race it was back home for a shower and to rescue Ted, then to the Reclamation Rooms in Uppermill for food and a brew.

The race is run clockwise.

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The average pace from my Strava was just over 8 minutes per mile, but a slow 2nd mile on the climb up the track to the spot height of 481 metres. I assume this is tired legs from all the running last week.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1829507812

 

A lot of fell running, and a trip to Bulgaria.

It's been a few days since the last post, and mostly because it has been a busy time after Dad's funeral on the 23rd August. Saturday 25th August saw us fly to Sofia, and then by taxi onto Borovets in the Rila Mountains of Bulgaria, where I last was ten years ago with Gavin Bose, Steve Baker, and Joe Sharples. A much needed break after the loss of Dad, and at least some semblance of a holiday whilst Claire was off on school holidays, our having had to cancel our GR20 Corsica and Sardinia trip. The trip to Borovets brought us Bulgaria's oldest ski resort and a place where we could fell run in the mountains and ascend Musala, the Balkans highest peak at 2,925 metres. Plenty of marked paths and tracks, with good quality refuges. Highly recommended. Borovets, whilst a created ski resort, is a pleasant place with a variety of bars and restaurants to choose from. But I was determined to also get us to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second city and somewhere I had been ten years ago and always wanted to go return to. In a nutshell it is an ancient city having been inhabited from the 6th millennium BC, and a wondrous place to explore with ruins from antiquity and later.

Bulgaria Flickr Photos.

Fell running? Well we ran up in the Rila Mountains, and it is good training and difficult to do bearing in mind the altitude. I can see why mountain runners do well from living at such height. On returning on the 1st we decided to complete the Exterminator Fell Race on Sunday the 2nd September, my birthday. A strange desire; 16 miles of fell running in the peak district around Hathersage. A hot humid day for gallivanting around the moors and was delighted to have come in at 2 hours, 57 minutes, and 30 seconds; under three hours and a half hour improvement from when I ran it with Claire in 2016. 47th out of 137 runners, and 12th in my age category.

Exterminator Flickr Photos.

That did not stop the momentum and on Thursday 6th I ran in the Hades Hill race from Whitworth, beautiful old location in the Moors above Rochdale and a competitive club and Run The Moors Championships race. A fast pelt there and back from Hades Hill, and lots of up and down. Highly enjoyable, with a number of "Sadds" in attendance and in a old place with a central pub surrounded by stone church and houses, blue historic plaques dotted about; 32nd out of 152 runners.

Hades Hill Flickr Photos.

We are a Man down... Anthony Cobley.

Well, typing away with less than five hours before a flight to Sofia in Bulgaria and then taxi transfer to Borovets in the Rila Mountains.

As I type I know it is the end of an era, and that it has not sunk in properly.

"Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'."

On  the 26th July my father Anthony, Tony, went to hospital not well with an infection. He was poorly as it was, and we were concerned. Sadly he deteriorated, and on the 5th August he passed away in Macclesfield hospital. Thankfully he led his life to the end independent, living on his own, on his terms.

"He was my North, my South, my East and West," And he was for me. But I am not sad, not poignant, not heartbroken, no tears, no tearing of clothes or wailing. I am fine and I suppose feel numb, but I know it was time for him to go, and maybe he knew that; possibly. We had some fine times together and that is what counts.

I think I have learnt from him that you can bear life's challenges with fortitude and not with gripes, that life has to go on, and that you ought to be happy with your lot and appreciate it, and be cheerful. Don't take it all too seriously.

What did he say? There are not pockets in a shroud. It's not a dress rehearsal. And he meant it. He had his highs and lows, but he got through them and loved life even though not perfect.

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Dad's funeral on the 23rd August, less than 48 hours ago. It was not a sad affair for me, it was something to look forward to as it marked closure for him and for me. I had no sadness, only happiness if honest. But that does not feel strange for me. I feel as though it is natural, a progression, an evolution. It meant the family could catch up with each other, and there has not been a gathering of its kind in a while, if at all. The photo is at the Waters Green Tavern where we held the wake. Brian had kindly put the food on and we drank and ate to his memory, with family and friends, discussing him and each other. I enjoyed watching, listening, and reflecting.

People parted, went their ways, and we headed back to Saddleworth for a Chinese takeaway. Myself, Uncle Michael, Sarah Cobley, John Cobley, and Claire Cobley. It was nice, genuine, and family.

Dad was family and still is.

 

Longlands, Cartmel, Turner Landscape, Grange-over-Sands.

Well we are now in Scotland loving the hospitality of Claire's parents in Hamilton after travelling up from Cartmel, after a morning breakfast in rainy Grange-over-Sands.

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Friday saw us head up to Cartmel for a last minute booking via Sykes Cottages at an undiscovered gem called Longlands, walking distance from the village, where we stayed for three nights in the old Coach House. A much needed break after a hectic week which saw Claire and I start to sort Dad's affairs, me work on the business, and Claire help out.

Cartmel is mostly famous for its racecourse and races, and despite this the village does offer a place to wander via curiosity and vintage shops, see the medieval priory, and hark back to an older Lakeland England of narrow streets, cobbles, tea and scones, and not really giving a fig as to the outside world.

Friday night we bedded in and had a relaxed meal at The Pheasant in Allithwaite; highly recommended and Ted friendly, with lovely staff. Saturday was race day for Claire at the Turner Landscape Fell Race from Turner Hall Farm in the Duddon Valley. A Lakeland classic and in the English Champs calendar for 2018, and thus over 300 runners. Roughly 11 miles and 3k feet of cumulative climb on what was a warm day with little breeze. Claire, Sandrine, Monica, Tanya, and Chris all competing from the Saddleworth Runners.

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The girls delivered a sterling effort for team Saddleworth whilst Ted and I dragged ourselves up a long Walna Scar Road to watch from Dow Crag, and it was a climb and a half with us both not realising it is over 2k feet climb from Turner Hall Farm to Dow Crag over 3 miles. That said we sat down and enjoyed the runners trotting by, to then make our way back down.

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Dinner was fish and chips in an absolutely rain drowned Grange-over-Sands, nice mind you, and then back to the cottage for sleepy Claire to rest her head in the four poster bed that we decided was "indoors camping".

Sunday was relaxed and we commenced a walk to the top Hampsfell that Longlands sits directly under, aiming for the Hospice that was build years ago by one of the previous estate inhabitants. It's a tower with a view, and shelter with a heath for weary walkers and on top you can use the equivalent of a compass to see all the major fells as you look into The Lakes. Cartmel technically sits outside of The Lakes, situated close to the sea and out of the fells. A potter then occurred, with a brief interlude to hide from the rain as we headed for Cartmel to sample the shops and a visiting antiques fair, with a bite to eat and coffee. A cross country walk back across fields saw us back at the cottage with only one incident involved Ted being chased by a cow protecting its calves; it was noteworthy to see how fast Ted can shift when he wants to, mind you it was one big cow that had taken a dislike, and unusually for Ted he did not query or ignore size in this clearly one sided instance.

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A dinner at the cottage then saw us bed down for the night, before the drive to Scotland, first taking in breakfast and then a wander in Grange-over-Sands at the rather (but dog friendly, as long as you observe the rules) posh Hazelmere. The wander was good as Ted and I escaped The Boss to bimble off onto the Salt Marshes, chatting to a local, well he comes originally from Milnrow, about the sands and the tides. He explained he was waiting to watch tidal bore and so we waited with him transfixed at what was to come; while all of this was going on (in the rain, but armed with a brolly) we watched as his female collie decided Ted was a sheep that needed herding. Ted was not happy.

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The tidal bore, whilst not wild or high, was frighteningly relentless as it moved toward Arnside. A huge volume of water, faster than a man can run engulfed the sands and you would not have stood a chance if out there as the sea would have consumed you or trapped you with its vicious currents. It was fascinating to watch but chilling. It is true what they say about the sands of Morcambe Bay, they are lethal.

Flickr photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgMez9j

 

Recce of Saddleworth Round, Navigational Jinx, and the Cracken Edge Fell Race

Last week saw some action packed running antics, Monday 30th July was a recce of the Saddleworth Round fell race, Tuesday was a navigational race with club members, and Wednesday saw the Cracken Fell Race from Hayfield.

Monday, Claire and I ventured out on what was a hot day, hot with a bit of cloud, to recce the Saddleworth Round, a new fell race being organised by the Saddleworth Runners. We started off above Uppermill and Diggle at Running Hill Gate and Running Hill Lane, and made our way to the summit of Alderman above Dove Stone Reservoir, dropped to Dove Stone, then up Ashway Gap which was hot and humid to then head for Fox Stone, with a fast run down to Dove Stone. Weather still good. The climb up to Chew Reservoir took a while, and so we began to cross to Laddow Rocks, at this point the heavens opened with driving rain, that changeable, which required cags to keep warm. It's a long old drag to Black Hill, and then a long run down from Black Hill via the old Pennine Way route to the Holmfirth Road. You then cross to pick up the Cotton Famine Road to head back, which proved to be quite a long drag on tired legs as the race is over 16 miles with 3k of cumulative climb. A good experience and recce before the race on Sunday.

Tuesday was the traditional club night with a difference. Jim Butt kindly organised an orienteering event around Dove Stone (back there again) utilising the fixed orienteering locations. All in all good fun, but if honest I was out of practice, running solo, and rushing too much which led to some terrible navigation and thus timekeeping within a 1.5 hour allowance, suffice to say I ended up mid-way down the scoring. But had a good run. Matters became complicated on realising as I headed back to the finish that I had lost my mobile phone when taking a tumble at a checkpoint above Dove Stone in ridiculously deep tussocks and grass (note to self, where were the sheep?) I borrowed Ron Gilmour's iPhone to find the exact location and off I ran with fading light leaving the others behind. On getting back to the tussocks it became apparent that whilst I might be in the right location, finding the phone was the proverbial needle in a haystack... Thankfully I remembered my Garmin watch is able to get the iPhone to make a noise. So after wandering about to Bluetooth connect both, I pinged the phone and luckily found it buried in a tussock - very lucky indeed.

Wednesday Ted and I went on an adventure to head back to the same site, with my having lost a Staedtler pen when trying to find the phone; a comedy of errors. No pen could be found and Ted had an ordeal in the grass.

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Wednesday, having the taste for running led me to head for the Cracken Edge Fell Race over in Hayfield at 7.30pm in the evening and run by the Kinder Mountain Rescue Team as a fund raiser. I arrived there later than planned and was the last runner to sign up, with a dash to the start, of which I had no clue; by the time I arrived the runners were formed, over 200 of them. I was a good 50 metres away when the horn sounded... I was literally the last runner. There was no choice in stiflingly hot weather but to leg it past runners up an initially tight track. Plenty of "excuse me" and darting between bodies. I ended up finishing 86th out of 220 runners, so I managed to pass 134 runners, all in all quite pleased in tough conditions on a fast race, but I won't be repeating that again. The race is 7 miles with 1.5k feet of climb and as I said fast.

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(Whilst all of this was going on, in the background was the knowledge that my father had been in hospital since 23rd August, having picked up a serious infection.)

 

 

Inglebrough fell race, Gareth Evans, and a dog bike ride. Swallows and Amazons Cobley style

Whilst the Cat is away, the Mice will play... El Dude brothers had a smashing weekend whilst Claire Cobley is in Scotland.

So, we reminisce over a rather busy weekend. Saturday started prompt and early with a car trip from Mossley to Ingleton, with Stu Hutchison, Brenda Roberts, and Jon Comyn-Platt as passengers. Lovely trip up, with setting off early getting us to the venue early and thus parking, minimal "faffage", and token stress. It was a party atmosphere as the village green was full of festival goings on including a open ambulance and fire engine. (Sadly more on this to come.)

After munching food and arranging kit, and aggressively being stamped for a £2 entrance fee by the Women's Institute, we made our way to the field of "glory", soon to be "gory" as it was notably warm and close, or as my Nana would have said "clammy".

It was quite an assembled field with runners sporting a number of club colours. It was at this point that the race was delayed as the fire engine and ambulance upped sticks and shot off like a bat out of hell.

The festival organisers run the race as part of the festival and it was clear it was going to be minimal when adhering to fell running etiquette, with for example the start being a prompt ten second count down after runners were told "we are now getting on with it."

How was the start? Everyone went off like the fire engine and ambulance, i.e. like a bat out of hell. It was a fast dash up the high street to dodge startled tourists and shoppers, with need of the pavement at times. I knew it would be fast as the "Gradwell Gopher" had shot off. I have walked many times up Inglebough from Ingleton using the route of the race, the common ascent to Ingleborough North West from Ingleton, via A Pennine Journey, an unusual and pleasantly named route.

Well, fell running the route up was not pleasant at a "hoofing it" pace, in what soon became very close heat, with strangely Ingleborough summit shrouded in clag. It was only going to get hotter, and thankfully I'd changed from an Ultimate vest to my old faithful, the Pete Bland bum bag.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1718338995

It's fast paced due to the terrain, with you reaching nearly 2k feet at the summit over a three mile pelt. About half way into the climb, Stu Hutchison the "Hurricane", caught up with me and "cheerfully" said it's hot. Yours truly was mulling over how in the space of a month he was climbing hard over distance in humid heat, having not long run the Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit race on the Isle of Man. At this point Stu soldiered on and the little monkey pulled away ever so slightly, refusing to walk up Ingleborough which then starts to slowly, surreptitiously, and cheekily climb up, with about three false summits. Near the top the Gopher cheerily bobbed down at quite a speed on what is tough rocky terrain with your not being able to use the path due to later runners climbing up. I caught Stu as we turned at the Trig point, with the summit clag bound and very cool indeed, soothing and needed, as we'd not really had a breeze, but all in all strange Yorkshire weather conditions. It was at this point that I took the eye off the ball whilst watching "Hurricane", caught a stone, flew, and ended up in a heap scratched and battered on a leg and arm. It was then a very very fast downhill to chase Stu and other runners with the initial phase very steep and rocky as you avoided runners ascending the summit. A few "hellos" on the way down and it became warm again. Toward the end and about a mile or more from Ingleton I developed a stich from hell and began to drop back, with a slight recovery to pelt it back to the village field, with no sight of Stu; turns out he was a minute ahead, and Gopher a full seven minutes.

The race in looking back was excellent and fun, but not to be underestimated at 6.8 miles. The festival a real taste of England in the sun. The camaraderie good as we waited and cooled down for other runners. The prize giving and results "interesting" from non-fell runners, and certainly had a taste of Monty Python as they were read out to the over powering noise from the DJ tent of the latest "youth" beats. We therefore decided to bugger off home. Sadly we had to take a diversion off the A65 due to an incident, to re-join below Ingleton to see the aftermath of a truly awful road crash between two vehicles, which looked like a head on collision. This must have explained the rapid departure of the ambulance and fire engine earlier...

On returning home, there was food, some work, a shower, and then off out to support Gareth Evan's 2.5 loops of the Oldham Ultra at 100 miles, with 10k feet of climb. Around 3.30am I met Gareth, Mark, Chris, and some French Bird that would not leave Ted alone. The support ended being around five hours with a walk/run to Hartshead Pike before saying goodbye to the lads and heading home. Ted and I had walked 15 miles in the early hours of Sunday.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1719206910

If you can support Gareth Evans, then please do, as the Oldham Ultra challenge is one of a few as he raises money for Mind, the mental health charity. See https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gareth-evans5in5

To finish off the weekend's fun, Ted and I took a leisurely ten mile bike ride to collect the car utilising the "Tedmobile" with sausages at Daisy Nook café for fuel.

PHOTOS: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmoPyrsf

Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit Fell Race on the Isle of Man.

A write up after an amazing time over the weekend at the Isle of Man, with Claire Cobley, Ruth, Stu and Findlay Hutchison, Sean Willis and Suzanne Darke.

Saturday 14th July saw the Kate Burge fell race in memory of Kate who was sadly killed whilst cycling home from work on the Isle of Man in 2014. It was also an English Championships race in the 2018 fell running calendar. It starts in Laxey on the east cost of the island and climbs to Snaefell, the highest point of the island. It's a one way route of 8.5 miles and a staggering 3.8k feet of cumulative climb, across this distance and rough moorland terrain on climbing out of Laxey. The first three miles see a solid climb from the promenade to Sileau Roy at 396 metres above sea level, so a solid 1,500 feet climb from sea level right at the start. It's hard, and it's called the Sea to Summit for a reason. Saturday? Solid sunlight, with temperatures around 25 degree C, which made for tricky conditions on the first climb. There are three very hard climbs in the race: Clagh Ouyr, Mullagh Ouyr (the hardest due to tired legs and horrific heat), and the last climb to the summit of Snaefell.

Saddleworth Runners fielded three ladies: Claire Cobley, Ruth Hutchison, and Suzanne Darke. Three men: Peter Cobley, Chris Davies, and Sean Willis. The rest of the pack? Some of the best fell runners in the UK... gulp.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1701913733

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/d4w28X

Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit: http://www.katesrace.co.uk/ and Results for 2018.

All had a cracking weekend initially arriving late on Friday from the catamaran ferry from Liverpool into Douglas at the B&B outside Peel around 11.15pm. Stu, Ruth, Finlay, and myself in one car, with Suzanne and Sean on foot camping outside Douglas. The B&B is a working farm called Knockaloe Beg Farm, that also has people visiting to see the animals and play; see the footage of me on the self-propelled go karts! It was and is a fantastic place in which to relax with excellent facilities, warmth and comfort, and lovely owners. We could not have asked more from Fiona.

Saturday was taken up with the race and the food and music festival after the race laid on for the runners in Laxey on a blazing summer evening. Finlay Hutchison was the small star of the proceedings and went with the flow of being shuttled about in a mostly graceful manner. We delighted in hearing him say "no" or "more"! It was also nice to unexpectedly bump into Chris Davies and his wife; as ever he was on good form.

One highlight was waiting for the tram back from Snaefell with lots of fell runners, bewildered tourists, and then a nice walk back to the promenade in Laxey.

Running Leg 3 of the Bob Graham Round as support, and Kilian Jornet.

The weekend just gone was amazing for a variety of reasons. The weather, the location, the running, the history being made.

 

Many, unless a fell runner, won't necessarily know about the Bob Graham Round, or the Bob Graham Club. Let me explain... Back in 1932 a Keswick Hotelier, with support from two friends, broke the Lakeland Fell record by traversing 42 fells in The Lake District in 24 hours. He was called Bob Graham, hence the name of the Round. It is classed as the pinnacle of fell running in the UK. Since then over 2,000 people have completed the Round, with many attempts failing. The route is a 66 mile circuit from the Keswick Moot Hall and back again, normally completed clockwise, climbing the 42 names fells, with 27,000 feet of cumulative climb - it is hard, in fact it is a super human feat.

Over the years the route has been refined and developed, with people able to run with support teams, GPS, known routes and so forth. But it is still a severe challenge. The route is broken into five distinct legs (Chris and Des's running support in brackets.)

It is highly planned with support crews meeting the runners at the change of legs. Food is taken on board, shoes changed, with minimum amount of time expended. Cars and people need to be shipped all over the place. Normally a runner on each leg as an absolute minimum will have one person navigating, and another carrying water, food, and kit - the "donkey".

Leg 1: Keswick to Threlkeld. (Richard Mackey, Nick Haynes, Sean Willis, Ed Steele)

Leg 2: Threlkeld to Dunmail. (Richard Mackey, Simon Jump, Ryan Townrow)

Leg 3: Dunamail to Wasdale. (Paul Taylor, Peter Cobley, and Gaynor Keane)

Leg 4: Wasdale to Honister. (Ozzy Kershaw, Scott Newburn, Ed Steele)

Leg 5: Honister to Keswick. (Martyn Hodgson, Monica Boland, Sandrine Fraisse, Jill Davies)

(I've not mentioned all the people who supported in between legs, drove, and provided moral support. It was and is a huge effort. Just look at the Flickr photos.)

The fastest run to date (until the weekend) had been by a famous fell runner called Billy Bland at 13 hours 53 minutes and stood from 1982; yes, that time over that distance and climb, and that's fell runners for you. Unassuming, never heard of, amateur, get on with it. The women's record is currently that set by Jasmin Paris in 2016 at 15 hours 24 minutes.

Over the weekend, Chris Smith and Des Thorpe attempted the Bob Graham Round, setting off from Keswick Moot Hall at 7pm on Friday 7th July. They are members of the Saddleworth Runners, the fell running club I run for. They had 24 hours in which to complete the leg. I myself was running Leg 3 in support. At 6am on Saturday 8th July a person called Kilian Jornet set off with support - he's a famous mountain runner in our circles. More on him to come.

Myself and Leg 3

I was over the moon and nervous after my wife said I'd run as a Donkey on Leg 3. This particular leg is viewed as the hardest due to length and climb, approximately 17 miles and 7,000 feet of cumulative climb, taking in Steel Fell, Bow Fell, Scafell Pike, and Sca Fell.

We arrived at the handover point of Legs 2 and 3 at Dunmail Raise at 2.45am Saturday morning, and saw support crews gathered and headtorches coming off Seat Sandal as others were also attempting the Round.

We picked up the lads and were then off, straight up Steel Fell. It was already hot by 7.15am and this made the running hard, oh so hard. I'll let the pictures tell the story, but it was magical, with a clear day giving unbridled views of The Lakes at their best.

It was an honour to run with Des and Chris as support on Leg 3. Paul Taylor's navigation was "bob on", with Gaynor and I as "Donkey's". The packs were heavy: I myself carried gloves, hat, waterproof top and bottoms, bivvy bag, head torch, emergency food (plus the runner's food) and 4 litres of water, 3 with electrolyte. The heat meant the water was near enough consumed when we hit Wasdale.

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/KJaNc7

My Strava for Leg 3: https://www.strava.com/activities/1687428523

The End?

After tough running in extreme heat with temperatures in excess of 25 degrees C, they did it! Both Chris and Des coming in to the Moot Hall at 22 hours and 55 minutes!

Kilian Jornet?

It was an experience to chill out around Keswick on Sunday and to monitor what had been kept a top secret event - less fuss that way. He was supported by some of the UK's top fell and mountain runners. Both Claire and I were lucky to make it to the square outside the Moot Hall to see a 36 year old record broken as he came in at an amazing 12 hours 52 minutes. To greet him was Billy Bland, the legend. Was Jornet tired? Yes. Is he super human? Yes. Is he modest? Yes. Look him up!

But let's not take away from Des and Chris. They spent a year planning and building up to this. That is what it genuinely takes. Well done lads. You deserve it!

A rather HOT Saunders Mountain Marathon 2018

The 2018 Saunders Mountain Marathon started Saturday morning just gone from Grassmere in The Lakes and saw a number of paired and solo runners take on the two day adventure of fell running and navigation.

A regular for Claire and I, we ran as a team on the Fairfield course, which is a score event. To the newbie to fell running, this is where you are given a map on Saturday with checkpoints and you choose which to "nail", with the hardest to get yielding the most points. Fitness and navigation a must, as is your route choice whilst up against some cracking fell runners. You run for day one and carry all your kit for an overnight camp, then run again day two. If late you lose points. You have seven hours for day one, and five hours for day two.

From the Saddleworth Runners, were Stu Hutchison and Lee Bowden, Tanya Haynes and Sandrine Fraisse running as a pair on the Fairfield course, with Paul Taylor running solo on the same course. A great, but very tough two days with the heat being at least 25 degrees C and no cloud cover. Great company and chat at the halfway camp in a beautiful location at Borrowdale.

Strava Day 1: https://www.strava.com/activities/1673800283

Strava Day 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/1673804508