LDWA, Regular Irregular, and The Beast.

After a busy week despite it being the run up to Christmas, the weekend was to be welcomed with the Regular Irregular, but an incipient cold was hanging over me.

The LDWA is the Long Distance Walking Association, an organisation Claire and I are members of, and at times we run at their events. The organisation’s members run a series of walking events that are precise in terms of organisation, interesting in terms of route, and can be challenging due to distance and terrain. Some events are open to runners, predominately fell or trail, who set off after the walkers. As the name suggests routes are long and are a great way of building up the running mileage. One thing about the LDWA is the food and drink laid on at checkpoints and race start/finish locations; varied, hot and cold, and loads of cake - I like cake.

Saturday saw the The Irregulars, one of the LDWA groups put on the Regular Irregular event starting at Brockholes Village Hall.

The event saw myself and Stu Hutchinson aka “The Beast” run as a pair. To run the total event you complete three loops, with your choosing your order. The goal being to run as many loops as possible… Loops are 11.6 miles, 7.2 miles and 4.2 miles (18.5km, 11.5km or 6.7km). So a total of 23 miles if all three are completed. The common approach is to run 11.6, then 7.2, then the 4.2 miles. Stu and I being pushed for time elected to run 11.6 and 4.2 miles and viewed the event as a means of getting miles in our legs. The other Saddleworth Runners chose to run all three loops.

The weather was cool, windy, with a foreboding of rain as we started at 8.30am. We’d registered and had a brew so were happy. I had the start of a cold that came on the night before and was a bit tired and with aches. As we progressed the wind picked up considerably making running difficult at times.

The company was good as Stu and I chatted. Half way into the long loop the weather saw sheets of dizzle and gusts, but then improved toward the end as we headed back to Brockholes with the sun saying hello and it getting warm enough for coats to be taken off. We’d printed off the maps and route description but we were relying on GPX files I’d downloaded for each route. Navigation was a combination of following people, chatting, and using the Garmin Fenix. The loop saw a combination of bridleway, path, tarmac, wood, and was quite varied with approximately 1.8k of cumulative climb: STRAVA. The ground at times was muddy underfoot due to rainfall and my Inov-8 Rocklites did not have much purchase. Water courses were clearly in flood.

On getting back to HQ I was delighted at the sheer selection of food and proceeded to trough and I mean really trough.

Mr Piggy eventually filled his boots and we headed out for the short loop, and this time had a third Musketeer in the guise of Jenny from Rochdale Harriers & AC who’d asked if she could join The Beast and I on the short loop. We did point out we had not dug the map or description out, actually we could not be arsed and explained we were relying on my Garmin Fenix and the GPX. We covered ourselves by explaining a “monkey” was in charge of the Garmin.

Off we plodded and being a shorter route saw changes in the route that were quite precise and not easily read off a Fenix watch. First error led us down a road for about 300 metres to then head back. The second spectacular error saw us head into a forest following a path when in fact we should have continued on down a farm track. After buggering about climbing through bramble and hawthorn and farmer’s field we were back on track. Jenny was polite, The Beast had dug map out and had his head in it. We made it back and correct to Brockholes and managed to add on 0.6 of a mile due to errors: STRAVA.

We chilled out at the HQ and proceeded to eat, or more accurately gobble the food down (me). The highlight for me was hot custard drowning a big slice of Swiss Roll while nattering with Kate Saville, a fellow Saddleworth Runnner. The Beast was meanwhile putting his Sunday Best on.

The cold I’d picked up was by now chipping in and I was tired and aching. It was also clear that I am out of form for longs, and not good with The Trigger and The Hebden coming up in January; additionally my left bum cheek (glute) was wrecking me on the last tarmac stretch back on the long loop.

As we headed back home the weather really opened up and it was raining by the bucket load as we drove over the Isle of Skye road (local name for the Greenfield/Holmfirth Road) with the wind driving rain drops sideward. We thought of and felt sorry for the runners and especially walkers still out there.

Worthwhile, but it has brought home the fact I have to get my arse out and cover some mileage.

Lee Mill Fell Relays (with okay weather?!?!?)

Well, that time of year again when I run in the Lee Mill Fell Relays at Bacup. This year the Saddleworth Runners fielded two teams.

Team Sausage R1: John Haigh, R2: Christopher Roberts, R3: Adrian Sell, R4: Peter Cobley.

Bits and Bob R1: Bridget Lancashire, R2: Kevin Jones, R3: James Sheard, R4: Nick Haynes.

The Lee Mill Fell Relays is a cracking event run across the quarries (now MTB sites) and moors above Bacup, and is notorious for the weather being atrocious on the course and making for challenging running over the 6 mile course and it’s 1.3k feet of climb. It can be boggy in places and capable of swallowing runners whole. It’s a great atmosphere of a race with plenty of clubs participating from local and not so local.

A team is made of four runners and can be mixed and all are usually from the same club, sometimes brave souls run twice! Runnner A sets of, then hands over to B, and so on. The combined times of the four teammates decides who wins, the competition; naturally the fastest.

The event is legendary for the weather being harsh during November on exposed moorland and in past events runners have needed to be rescued or carted off to hospital with hypothermia. So, the new runners to the race were pleased that a cold overcast day was classed as positively tropical when compared to previous years. Below is a photo and video collage from 2015 when the weather was bad, very bad, and I was running. I can be seen 10 minutes into the video approaching the highest point of the course, the trig pojnt at Top of Leach (see the OS map).

We all had a great time and a relay is a good way to meet club members. Legs? Tired…

FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/12D1Wj

STRAVA: https://www.strava.com/activities/1984325813


Broken after a Peak District MTB Ride

Ben Newton led the way on today’s adventure from just outside of Castleton, involving Messrs Andy Poole, Michael Gradwell, and Andy Tromans. 24 miles, 3.4k feet climb and a number of falls from yours truly.

For someone who has not really been out on a mountain bike for four years since taking up fell running it was interesting. Well in fact it was tough beyond belief with other seasoned mountain bikers. Most of the route was off road, using bridleways, tracks, and paths that were new to a number of us. With the weather improving by the minute the sun came out in the afternoon as we sat beneath Win Hill taking in the views. This was different from the morning when we’d layered up from the start.

To say I fell off in spectacular fashion on a few occasions would be an understatement; one notable one led Mr Poole to describe my having used an ejector seat. It was wet and slippy underfoot, with the muddy sections offering no purchase, and the bike is old. It’s serviced and a lovely bike but old. On the mud it fish tailed all over the show and was hard to control. But being honest, I am older since last riding four years ago and the route had some quite technical sections like The Beast, so there was plenty of bottling it and putting feet down, but I am glad I did it (with support) as it has proverbially got me back in the saddle.

Having Ben in charge was a blessing as he’s a MTB instructor, coach, and guide and when en route gave some really useful advice on pedal position for balance and clearance, across to looking and scanning ahead properly so you know the best line to take. Things that came back to me and proved useful. I’d strongly advise using Ben if you want to improve your MTB style.

FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/m9rS86

STRAVA: https://www.strava.com/activities/1982657165/overview



A trot in the dark.

Tuesday saw one of the night runs kindly led by Irish Alice from the Standedge Tunnel visitor centre. Head torches galore we trotted off into the cold night.

Park Horse Bridge, Marsden

The route ended up being about 4 miles, and for me was interesting as it utilised paths I am not too familiar with up to and around the March Haigh Reservoir. The Strava details can be read as to route, but an OS map screen grab paints a clearer picture.

Full Flickr photos are here.

There is also something compelling and captivating about the long stream of head torches in the night on the run.

Penmaenmawr fell race and Rhoscolyn Beach...

The weekend just gone saw Peter and Claire from Found Us racing in the Penmaenmawr fell race near Conwyn; third time in a row, and never ceases to amaze…

Rhoscolyn Beach at sunset

The Saddleworth Runners piled over to an old favourite venue, Outdoor Alternative, next to Rhoscolyn beach on Holy Island, next to Anglesey, organised by Howard and Jo chambers, and also their way of saying goodbye before they relocate to Greece to live. It was poignant, but good fun, and I think a nice way for Jo and Howard to wrap things up with everyone; it is not a goodbye by any means.

Outdoor Alternative

The Penmaenmawr fell race is a 10 mile endeavour with 1.7k feet of cumulative climb. It is a special race for the Saddleworth Runners who run it every year traditionally in fancy dress to a theme, with this year being cops and robbers. There is a long climb to Penmaen Mawr (a quarried hill overlooking the A55 and sea) from the beautiful village of Capelulo, then a lovely run across the tops to beneath Foel Lwyd, and a lengthy fast undulating grassy run back to the village. There were 152 runners (bit low on previous years) and I finished 30th overall, and 12th in my age category - so very happy, as I had some “juice” left in the legs and had not pushed it to the limit. I was roughly two minutes up on the time last year as well, which was good as we all faced a strong headwind over the tops, that certainly would have affected times.

After the race it was back to the outdoor centre at Rhoscolyn for good company, a trip to the pub via the wonderful beach, then food. Early night for me as I was shattered by 10pm.

The White Eagle at Rhoscolyn

The morning saw a fine 5 mile run along the coastal path to the north of Rhoscolyn with wonderful views, then a clean up, and back home to Mossley.

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.

google+-profile-pic.jpg

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.

IMG_9688.jpeg

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.

IMG_9528.jpeg

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.

IMG_9679.jpeg

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.

ROC scores.jpg

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.

IMG_8954.jpg


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…)

IMG_8787.jpg

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.

Padfield Scamper.JPG

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.

IMG_7687.jpg

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.

IMG_7608.JPG

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.

IMG_7448.JPG

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.

IMG_7473.JPG

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.

IMG_7578.JPG

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.

IMG_7611.JPG

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.

IMG_7320.jpeg

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.

IMG_7339.jpeg

 

(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