Monday 22 September 2008

Dalehead Fell Race

21st September 2008
7.9km with 725 metres of ascent

Results | Photos from Borrowdale Fell Runners

My legs felt fine after the Three Shires, so I thought I'd give the much more low-key Dalehead race at Borrowdale Show a bash on the Sunday. The show had been cancelled due to water-logged fields, but the hill race still went ahead with about 66 runners.

Jonny Bland won the race for the umpteenth time, which follows more or less the exact same route as the final descent of Borrowdale Fell Race, but as a straight up and down. I trailed along in the second group of runners with Keswick's Mark Denham-Smith providing entertainment by constantly swearing at himself the whole way up the climb. I waited for Mark at the summit cairn to let him show me a good way off, avoiding any nasty rocky bits, then followed him all the way back to the river crossing before nipping in front for the sprint to the finish to grab 1st V40 in 6th place overall. Managed a PB of 54:10, despite the route being a bit longer than usual.

Race Route Climbing through the quarry Descending through the quarry Descending through the quarry

Saturday 20 September 2008

Three Shires Fell Race

20th September 2008
18km with 1480 metres of ascent


4 Westies ventured south of the border for this classic Lakes race - myself, Keith Adams, Jason and John Hamer. At 18km, or 11.2 miles, this is the shortest and most enjoyable of the Lakes Classic series. Car parking at Hodge Close quarry made for a social pre-race amble to the Three Shires Inn where the race starts. A massive turnout of 334 runners made for a slightly delayed start.

Once the race was underway, to avoid getting trampled I lead the field for the first 800 metres or so, down to the bridge crossing, before letting Ricky Lightfoot take over to win the race for the 2nd year in a row, in a time of 1:57. I had a reasonable climbs up the first couple of hills - Wetherlam and Swirl How - before getting caught by Mike Robinson, Janet McIver, Alan Smith and Steve Birkinshaw. After the next hill - Pike o'Blisco - I managed to follow Alan and Steve across to Blea Tarn and up Lingmoor without dropping any more places, despite Mike Johnson of Bowland and Dave Birch of Keswick getting close to my heels. I finished in a 5 minute PB of 2:11:34 in about 15th position I'd guess.

Race Route Near the finish
Race Profile against Time Race Profile against Distance

Friday 12 September 2008

Simon Triger (1977 - 2008)

Tributes to Simon

Photo tribute to Simon

Reports: Chamonet | Daily Mail | The Herald

I have just received the terrible news that our good friend Simon Triger has died on Mont Blanc, aged 31. It is hard to believe the loss of Simon. He was such a genuine larger than life character who lit up the world with his infectious laughter and enthusiam.

Simon passed away on 10th September 2008.

Kilpatricks 2008 Dumgoyne Handicap 2008 Red Moss 2008 Kilpatricks 2008 Arrochar Alps 2008 Dumgoyne Handicap 2008 Glen Feshie 2008 Glen Feshie 2008 Glen Feshie 2008 Ben Lomond 2008 Manor Water 2007 Maddy Moss 2008

Sunday 7 September 2008

Glasgow Half Marathon

7th September 2008

Results | Photos

The legs, mind and body were sore after yesterday's Ben Nevis race, so I just jogged down into towm and watched the Glasgow Half Marathon, which I never seen before.

Two Westies were running - David Riach who allegedly clocked 1:17:45 for 57th place, although David doesn't wear a watch, and wasn't wearing his ankle-strap chip, so we only have his word for that, and Stuart Burns who ran 1:39:14 for 1005th place.

I find it strange for a race that's so expensive and high profile, they don't bother publishing proper results. None of the runners have club or country against their name, or even what gender or age group they belong to.

David on St Vincent Street Race winner Emmanuel Mutai at mile 11 David approaching the finish Stuart Burns

Saturday 6 September 2008

Ben Nevis Race

6th September 2008
14km with 1360 metres of ascent

Results | Photos | More Photos

My 5th time at the Ben Nevis Race, and 2nd fastest time in 1:52:35, although 6½ minutes slower than last year, mainly due to being 5 minutes slower to the summit. Ellie managed 2:17:38 in her first attempt at the race, despite taking some nasty falls.

Race route Race profile Ellie on the climb On the descent Entering the finishing field Ellie at the finish

Monday 1 September 2008

2 weeks in the Pyrenees

8th to 23rd August

Ellie and I went to the central and eastern Pyrenees for 2 weeks of hiking and dossing around. We started off by flying from Prestwick to Girona on Friday 8th August, then picking up a hire and trying to drive as far as possible towards the hills on Friday night. We made it far as Graus before it was too late and dark to carry on, checked into a basic hostal above a bar and found somewhere to eat.

9th August - Graus to Torla
We followed narrow tortuous roads for a few hours before finally arriving in Torla at the entrance to Ordesa National Park. We pitched the tent and wandered up the River Ara for a swim. Later we hatched a plan for the next few days that would involve the GR11 and GR10, Cirque de Garvanie and the might Ordesa Canyon.

10th August - Torla to Baños de Panticosa
We got up early and packed our rucksacks with sleeping bags, tent, gas, stove, food, etc. for a 4 or 5 trip. We headed north up the road out of Torla until we could strike left into the forest on the GR11 trail running up the Ara valley to Bujaruelo. It was pretty hot and crowded when we reached Bujaruelo. After a brief rest and drink we carried on, quickly leaving the crowds behind, as we headed into the remote and stunning upper Valle del Ara. The head of the valley appears hemmed in on all sides, but the GR11 climbs into a rocky lochan-filled basin before crossing the Collado del Brazato, 2550m. Beyond this col was rough descent to the gleaming Embalse del Brazato reservoir, and then an even rougher descent down endless rocky zig-zags until we popped out at the bizarre Baños de Panticosa spa village. Bizarre because it looks like some sort of futuristic architecture competition, mixed in with a handful of scruffy old original buildings. We downed a couple of well-earned beers before heading to the Casa de Piedra bunkhouse.

11th August - Baños de Panticosa to Pont d'Espagne
Lying fast asleep at 5am, a massive thunderclap jolted me to life and I lay there listening to the rain hammering down, wondering what on earth we would do today. Luckily by 8am the storm had abated, so we departed with some trepidation climbing slowly up the wet greasy path into dank cold misty hills. Bit by bit we gained height on the GR11 to the Embalse de Bachimaña reservoirs, and then climbed higher to cross the Puerto de Panticosa col at 2541m, and then dropped north into France descending to the Wallon Refuge for some lunch, and continued to the Chalet du Clot where we stayed the night. We arrived early so went for a swim and visited the tourist trap of Pont d'Espagne for a couple of beers.

12th August - Pont d'Espagne to Gavarnie
We made an early start on the GR10 from Pont d'Espagne up to Lac de Gaube, then followed an easy trail with the mighty Vignemale looming in front, as far as the Refuge des Oulettes. The weather was rather cool, windy and grey for the 600m climb to the Hourquette d'Ossoue 2734m. We didn't bother making the short steep detour to the Petit Vignemale but carried straight on, dropping to the Refuge Bayssellance for a quick lunch, then carrying on down the valley towards Gavarnie. We stopped at the Refuge les Granges de Holle just overlooking Gavarnie, then dropped into town for a mooch around and to buy some provisions.

13th August - Gavarnie to Torla via Cirque de Gavarnie and Ordesa Canyon
This was without doubt the biggest longest and most exciting day of the holiday that included donkey rides, glacier crossings, walls of death with metal spikes for footholds, massive 5 hour detours to the Goriz Hut and down the entire length of the Ordesa Canyon, and finally catching the last bus from Pradera to Torla with 5 minutes to spare after a 13 hour day on the hill. The beer at the campsite tasted good on this evening.

The rest of the story plus photo galleries will get added when I get round to it. At present I'm finding it difficult to summon the necessary time and enthusiasm to update this blog...