A 50th, A broken bike and ride, The C-Bomb. (And the PIG!)

An eclectic weekend in my humble opinion that saw bike purchases, tiredness, a broken chain, a cinema to ourselves, and great usage of the C-Bomb, not to mention a great 50th for a lovely fella (even if he is a grump.)

Olivia Coleman

Saturday saw an early start with a Ted walk and breakfast followed by a trip to Evans Cycles and Decathlon for swimming and cycling gear at the National Cycling Centre. Some great bargains at the Evans and we picked up some nice clothing, and I’m very happy with my Fox long sleeved top with a perforated fabric; reckon it will double up for running. One highlight was watching the nutters on the BMX track, which I’ve never seen, practice starts. It was amazing to see the fluidity with which they cycled.

BMX bandits!

We retreated home for a sleep and then put the glad rags on for the occasion of the weekend. The 50th birthday bash of Nick Gregory, aka Grumpy. A longstanding and ex-member of Macclesfield Round Table, great Dad to Tom and Will (speaking of Tom, how tall is he now?!?!) and hubby to the ace Rebecca. Affectionately known by those in the know as “Grumpy”.

Flickr photos

A rare occasion of smiling when giving a sermon to the Great Unwashed.

A genuinely lovely fella and what a great bash with local band, Monkey Harris, belting out some smashing Madchester Indie tunes for the 40/50 somethings, which sent The Boss into dance mode with others and note you youngsters all the “shapes” that were being made.

Sunday saw what we call in the trade, a “non-bike ride” as The Boss and I headed off in miserable weather for a long bike ride. On nearly reaching Grains Bar about 4/5 miles in my road chain blew up and yours truly was stranded in freezing wind. The Boss shot of to get Pierre the Peugeot for recovery whilst I walked and free wheeled to the Roebuck pub, which he’d never been into. And what a lovely pub that is dog friendly and clearly serves nice food. A coffee was ordered whilst waiting and to thaw out, with The Boss eventually joining for a cup of tea. Back home for chores and then back out again to return clothing at Blacks on Deansgate, and the purchase of 10 speed (idiot boy managed to purchase a 11 speed) chain, followed by food at My Thai, and then the Print Works for a showing of The Favourite.

My Thai on John Dalton Street (some Scottish Bird)

Now, onto The Favourite. Firstly we got to Vue at the Print Works to have a whole screen to ourselves. The film was great and recommended, and you can surely read up on it. This point was and is the use of the C-Bomb which was both impressive and astounding. I may go back and watch the film solo just to count how many times it was used…

The C-Bomb seating.

One thing also worthy of mention was the fact it was Chinese New Year celebrations on Sunday, officially Tuesday was new year, and celebrations kicked off Thursday. We were greeted after the Thai food to an explosion of fireworks and I reminisced about my Pig encounter in St Anne’s Square on Friday. Long live The Pig!

Lancaster Management School, Mentoring, Orange Chocolate Pudding.

Today saw me drive up a rain lashed M6 to my alma mater, i.e. Lancaster University, to offer advice to the very clever Arienne, one of the Management School students who I am mentoring as part of working with the Management School.

It is a leading establishment for MBAs (Wikipedia) and well respected. Doubt I’d get in, despite having got a degree in Law from the university eons ago…

Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster University

Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster University

Point 1. It stopped raining by the time I got here.

Point 2. Good chat with Arienne as she seeks a third year industry placement in marketing/advertising.

Point 3. I have tried to explain to Arienne that she ought to run for the hills rather than get a career in my business; look at me for example. She smiled politely.

Point 4. It is nice to give something back and get a fuzzy warm feeling.

On a more serious note, I play an important role in helping out at the Management School and really enjoy it. I genuinely do. It is nice to help people with advice and years of experience having worked in offline and online media; and for people who want to listen and learn, with their enthusiasm rubbing off one me. One thing though… why do they all look so young? Sigh…

(Please note, I did enjoy the chocolate and orange pudding, with chocolate orange custard in the hotel.)

A rather busy weekend, BUT no fell running!

The weekend just gone was action packed in that we were out in the great outdoors in the snow. But no fell running… Due to a fall on ice.

Stanage Edge

Friday was a retreat to bed tired after a hard week and aching on my right side. Wednesday night I’d been walking Ted and went over very hard on black ice on a local path. My feet went under me and I landed on my back, luckily I was wearing my Rab thick down coat and it cushioned a lot of the impact and prevented my head cracking the Tarmac; it could have been very bad. Since then my ribs on my right side have prevented me running with moving, especially sleeping, painful indeed.

Saturday saw us gather but not run (me with bashed ribs, Claire with plantar fasciitis) the annual Gerry’s Castleshaw Canter from Delph, renamed in honour of Gerry who sadly passed away recently, a much loved elder statesman of the club. Ted, Claire, and I watched the start, then parked above Delph to watch the runners come in across Ox Hey Top/Broad Lane. We missed out on the running, but what a day for a walk, and for the runners.

Leading the pack was V60 (yes, V60) Mr Chris Davies, with first lady back being Gaynor Keane. Impressive in the terrain, and tricky underfoot snow.

The run was followed by tea and home baked cake at the Torr’s in Delph in their beautiful house, with donations to the club charity. I stuffed my face, not sure about the wife, but Ted is always partial to lemon drizzle cake.

Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmxSm6S4

And we must not forget Super Ted had a belting time in the snow; running about like a young pup, bearing in mind he’s 12 years old.

Later on that evening was the annual Saddleworth Runners presentation bash at the lovely Saddleworth Golf Club. The event sees club prizes awarded (we picked up second male and Claire second female - boom), nice food, drink, and company both old and new. And of course the Wooden Spoon award for the best failure of the last year, won by my wife for missing my by two hours at the Snake Pass summit when supporting me on the 24 mile Marsden to Edale Trigger fell race, and also forgetting my bag of fresh clothes to change into! Matters were made worse by the fact I’d won the spoon the year before and Claire wanted to see the back of it.

Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmv4e8fh

With my side still hurting like heck and playing up on the Saturday night as I laughed I was glad for a nice walk with “The Pigs” on Sunday from Hathersage across Stanage Edge. Whilst bitterly cold at times, it was well worth the effort just to lap up the views.

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

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2122430117

It was good to be out with Claire, Ted, Gavin, Steve, and especially Andy who I’d not seen for a while.

Tigger Tor with John Haigh

Sunday was a bit of an adventure running the Tigger Tor, a pun on Higger Tor that sits above Hathersage in the Peak District. Tigger because the 34th race starts from the grounds of Sheffield Tigers RUFC and their mascot is a tiger, or Tigger.

Carl Wark, fort, on Hathersage Moor.

Totley AC, a great club for races and who also put on the excellent Exterminator race, are behind the race which takes in 9.7 miles and 1.6k feet of climb across Hathersage and Burbage Moors. There were 378 runners so a big field for the 34th race.

On arriving after an 8am start from Saddleworth John Haigh and I managed to bag one of the last places at a garden centre walking distance to the rugby club. It was absolutely freezing as we walked over for registration. The kit check was thorough with full kit required and helpers checking right down to your taped seams.

Kit check with a tiger.

We bumped into a cheerful Chris Davies as we registered, only to see him again at the finish.

Chris Davies and John Haigh.

The race started off from the club around 10.20am, so twenty minutes late whilst people were checked, traffic halted. By now we were cold as we waited.

Waiting in the cold.

We got going and soon warmed up as you begin quite a long broken climb up to the summit of Burbage Moor. The wind was howling and it was very cold. All through the race I kept my Alpkit beanie on, unusual for me. You need to be at the front as the race bottlenecks from the start on entering Hathersage Road, then on leaving Hathersage Road a kissing gate onto the fields holds all up. To make it even more tricky when you do get onto the moor you are running in single file trods through dense heather making it very hard to pass people.

Flickr Photos: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/h957wb

But John and I had decided to enjoy the day and not race. That said it is a tough race, maybe more so in the wintry conditions. The pace was fast and it was hard going in the heather trods, not to mention muddy with some quite boggy and leg sapping areas. There are a few climbs up and down rocky spots on the moors and these were short and sharp and again sapped legs. I honestly felt that the climb was double what we were actually doing. But the views made up for it all, with a clear blue day yielding unparalleled views over the moors.

We ran it back together to get a time of 1 hour 42 and positions 145/6 out of 378 runners, so respectable for the run and conditions.

Results: http://www.totleyac.org.uk/2019Series/docs/Tigger_r.htm?fbclid=IwAR3JcZmP3PsWBP_MqFjVQxLJhstjdPJIMv_kySuls_6fdX_NzYtzwGbMbRE

I was also more than happy as we had not made a recce of the route and did not know what to expect.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2106533592

The Hebden 22, Saturday 19th January 2019

A write up on the Hebden 22 fell race from Mytholmroyd, which saw a number of Saddleworth Runners entering the fray.

Chris, Peter, and Jonny after the race.

It was an early start with the alarm going off at 5.30am and a then a car journey at 6.30am to make sure I was at race HQ for around twenty past seven as cut off for registration was quarter to eight with an eight o’clock start.

On arriving parking was straight forward at a local business park, and it soon became clear the organisers had really put a lot of time into pre-race preparation. Race HQ was the community hall, nice and warm with tea, coffee, and toast freely available.

By the time I arrived the hall was already busy with people registering and getting themselves sorted.

Christobel and Jill.

Just before eight we gathered at the car park for the Good Shepherd Church. It was dark and people were all chatty before the start.

On the right, Monica and Fiona.

And we were off on the adventure. The race is basically a loop from Mytholmroyd around Hebden and taking in Stoodley Pike. The race is varied in the terrain it covers over the 22 miles and 5k feet of cumulative climb.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2088790345

There is a wide variety of scenery and history in the area, especially in old houses dating from the Elizabethan period to former mills at Hard Castle Crags. I think the race challenging as you cannot really get into a pace for most of the route due to all the changes of navigation, the up and down, and the hard work underfoot in today’s conditions. A lot of rain has made the ground sodden and muddy, and snow had come down more heavily that we realised on the high ground.

Stoodley Pike.

I had great company running with Jonny Ullett, Chris Roberts. Well done on Jonnny shaving off an hour from when he last ran the race, and for Chris running his first long fell race with such climb incorporated.

The route does need a recce before hand as it chops and changes over the scenery, and some people did get lost or take a wrong turn. Thankfully I managed to remember the recce of the route from before Christmas with Andy Poole.

Chris and I ploughed on and we left Jonny on the climb to Stoodley Pike, where realised we were making good time and decided to try and go for sub 4 hours just missing it by two and a half minutes. A good effort mind you as we pushed quite hard in what at times were treacherous conditions.

I did manage to get the usual photos: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/07dx68

We got back to the community hall to hot pies, mushy peas and tea, followed by apple pie and custard. A credit to the organisers who also had well manned checkpoints where they checked on the safety of competitors and cheered you on.

A highly recommended race.

Prostate Cancer UK, A Talk, Tony Collier.

Yesterday night, which was Tuesday night, was the normal club training night for the Saddleworth Runners but also saw a speech after the running given by fellow runner Tony Collier on prostate cancer.

A speech by Tony Collier.

I did not run last night as I was recovering from the Trigger fell race, but wanted to catch Tony’s talk and I am glad I did.

Tony Collier

Tony is an inspirational runner and a founder of Styal Running Club, who to date has run 20 marathons across the world, whilst running his own accountancy business.

He is also suffering from incurable prostate cancer and gave a very informative presentation on this form of cancer that afflicts men and is much more common than people really realise, a silent killer, and not oft spoken about by men.

Prostate Cancer UK is the charity Tony was speaking on behalf on.

  • It is the most common form of cancer in men.

  • In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will suffer from this cancer.

  • The number of men dying from prostate cancer every year has for the first time overtaken the number of women dying from breast cancer making it the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, official statistics reveal. Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/health/prostate-breast-cancer-third-biggest-killer/

The big thing for me is how common prostate problems are and become in men as they get older. Tony was trying to emphasise that the goal for the charity is to raise awareness and strive for a screening test, as the big issue is there is no effective screening for this common cancer. It slips past people and is sinister.

Worth reading about! I would strongly advise any male to make sure they do as my eyes were fully opened.

Trigger 2019

The Trigger 2019. Rain, and drizzle, and wind, and clag, and wet, and sodden, and 24 miles, and 5k feet of climb, and Gareth Evans.

Looking back yesterday’s race was challenging and I’m pleased to have completed it. The overall weather was pants to be honest, with drizzle most of the way, clag creating limited visibility, and a very sodden ground underfoot making for hard going, with rivers also in flood.

Marsden Cricket Club Start

The hardest element was the wind which may have been 50/60mph in places, and for a lot of the running was completely in your face. The climb out of Red Clough to the Kinder Plateau was one of the hardest climbs ever for me as the wind pushed you back with footwork on the trods being all over the show as you were buffeted by gusts.

The weather overall was strange, for the most part awful, but interspersed with moments of clarity (see photo below) to then soon be lost to clag.

Navigation was important after Lawrence Edge with the Bleaklow Plain being a right old fug. Visibility must have been down to 20 metres in what is a bugger to navigate in clear weather. Compass in hand we aimed for the Pennine Way, which would take us to the Wain Stones, and from there to High Shelf Stones Trig on Shelf Moor. Leap frogging had to be used and we were pleased as Punch to be bang on with the Nav’. It is at this point I’d like to say a big thank you to the poor sods of Glossop Mountain Rescue manning checkpoints and turning points such as Wain Stones, in blistering wind and rain - they must have been frozen. There were some other hardy (foolhardy?) folks also up there as we passed people heading north completing the Spine race; you really did feel for them.

“Hairdryer” wind climbing out of Red Clough

At the Downfall I have seen the waterfall many times blown backwards up the river, but never with such ferocity as yesterday; if you were not wet by then you certainly were at this point as you became drenched by the spray from the waterfall being funneled by wind.

I'd decided to run with Gareth Evans for some company and am very glad I did as we pushed each other along and kept each other company. Meeting us part way round with encouragement was Ryan Townrow armed with Poppy at the Snake Pass crossing.

(I initially saw Ryan hanging out of van on the Holmfirth Road at “Snoopy’s” yelling “Cobbers” adorned with a superb mustache. I’ve now renamed him Magnum in homage to Tom Selleck from childhood days.)

Ryan and Poppy offering support at the Snake Pass

At the finish we were met by Gareth’s family to cheers, which brought a close a tough old day. Would I do it again? Yes, and I can see why people like the race and it sells out. It is a classic fell race. Beautiful scenery with you pitted against the elements; it challenges you to the point of being proud when you have finished.

Trigger finish after 24.7 miles in Edale

A Wonderful Christmas.

Christmas was very pleasant with Mother over for dinner on the day, then Boxing Day saw us head up to Hamilton with the in-laws. 28th December saw us fly out to NYC to visit Brian my friend, with a return on the 3rd January.

There is a lot to cram in about the trip to NYC, and not enough space for words; suffice to say that Brian did us proud in terms of hospitality in Congers and when in the city. Highlights started straight away with a Christmas performance by the Rockettes at the marvellous Art Deco Radio City Music Hall just off the Rockeffella Centre.

New Year’s Eve saw us stay overnight in the historic Gramercy Park Hotel in preparation for the Midnight Run in Central Park.

Central Park


Plenty of food was consumed, photographs taken and laughs had. I even managed to squeeze a trail run in the State Parks above Rockland Lake and the Hudson River.

Nyack from Hook Mountain State Park

Nyack from Hook Mountain State Park

A recce of The Hebden fell race.

Today was a recce of The Hebden fell race with Andy Poole, another Saddleworth Runner. Something we assumed would be straight forward, something that was not.

The fell race covers 22 miles and takes in 5k of cumulative climb in a loop around Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd with plenty of up and down, rarely trod paths within cloughs, on hills, through forest, and fields.

We set off from Mytholmroyd around 11am and cheerfully thought we’d be finished between 4-5 hours even with the run being a non-race and recce. How wrong we were, which led to finishing in the dark, using phone torches for guidance. The total time on our feet ended up being nearly double at approximately 7 hours.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2028450721

The route definitely needs running before racing as it is complex in terms of navigation and very varied making it hard on the runner, not just the 22 miles. The scenery changes frequently to encompass different types of terrain, from grassy fields to rocky steep downhill paths. The running varies from technical to straightforward and does change suddenly. What was most interesting about the whole route lies in not being able to open up and settle into a pace over a distance, you are instead almost stopping and starting. The only real opportunity for getting into a pace was a mile or so running down from Stoodley Pike across the slabs and moorland. It’s hard when it’s like this, plus it is draining. Conditions underfoot were wet and slippy due to the rain and I had borderline grip using a pair of Inov-8 Rocklites. With the route dodging through quite enclosed places, a lot of which are rocky I certainly would not run if a freeze occurred as it would be treacherous.

We were both tired by the time we finished back in Mytholmroyd, it had been nearly 7 hours on our feet with changeable weather conditions, deteriorating toward the end and in the dark with rain starting to come down.

All in all it was a hard recce and I think the race will be hard as well, especially if the weather is not great.

A weekend in Hawes.

The pervious weekend saw us head to Stone House Hotel just outside Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales to celebrate mother’s birthday meal.

On arriving Saturday we checked into the hotel and caught up with Mother. The house commands a dominating position above Hawes, one that the family owners have turned into a beautiful and unique hotel with simple yet atmospheric gardens. By the time we arrived in the afternoon the weather had turned dark, cold, freezing rain. It was 3 degrees C when we left and not far from the hotel had reached minus 1. Snow was forecast.

We headed out for a walk in windy, wet, freezing conditions. We needed to get out of the hotel otherwise cabin fever would have set in, or Mother would have set us off. And Ted can only stand for sold long being grappled with the accompanying sent of Estee Lauder Youth Drew. So off we set with Ted, who wanted to turn back due to the weather, but mostly due to the sound of shotguns in the valley. It was a pleasant walk but cold as we headed to Hardraw, just down the road passing from field to field. By now water droplets were freezing in the wind. Ted’s coat by this point as had clothing become quite wet. We made it to Hardraw’s Green Dragon Inn, took shelter and had a drink whilst drying out clothing on fire guard for the wood burning range, chatting to locals with a sense of fun in the conversation; as usual Ted was the centre piece.

We headed off, despite a local offering us a lift, across the fields with it now dark, the weather deteriorating, Ted struggling on the frozen grass. He had to be picked up about half a mile away from the hotel shivering hard. On making it back safely we dried out by the log fire in the hotel lounge with mother, to then retreat to the room for a rest before changing for dinner. A challenge popped up. We discovered that Chairman Ted of Found Us fame was not able to make dinner in the restaurant, no dogs. Should I try the “Siberian Hampster” ruse?

We ended up leaving Ted in the suite we had, Ted obliged by shouting the house down. He’s not one to be left out when he’s wearing a Harris Tweed bowtie collar. This was a predicament bearing in mind the two suites above us. A compromise was reached. On eating each course I headed over ice frozen and treacherous pebbles to check on him and feed him lamb across to pheasant. He woofed it down, and eventually settled.

The morning saw a rather “pucker” full English with Mr Woof sadly banished to the suite and checked upon by The Boss. After breakfast we all headed of to Hardraw with a view to seeing the famous Hardraw Force. And we were not disappointed when we got there, with the heavy rain having created a great flow of water over the waterfall. The spray immense and drenching, the noise deafening.

After a right proper dousing aad ignoring the signs saying don't go behind the waterfall we headed to Hawes for the Wensleydale Creamery for cheese buying and shopping.

Shopping involved Claire getting her foot stuck in a boot she tried on with her having to be extricated by myself and the shop owner, the purchase of two sets of ladies’ shoes, one lady’s gillet, a men’s checked winter shirt, and a gift from Mum of a lovely Jacobean replica companion set for the fire, hand made by Belltrees Forge and at the reasonable price of £345 - we went for a sit down brew and cake… It was then off home, sad to say goodbye, but happy in a great weekend.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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