Some Stuff About Me ......

I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan, but my heart truly belongs in the fells of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ....

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Back In The Groove Again

We returned from our sojourn in Lanzarote little more than a week ago and I have to say it's depressing that all that nice sun and lazing about is now just a distant memory.  We hit the ground running upon our return, landing at 0230 on the Monday morning, home at about 0400 then work at 0830. The rest of the week passed in a blur, it's little wonder I felt knackered by the end of it.

We didn't have much opportunity to get our breath back, on Saturday morning we were off to the Lakes to do the Langdale Horseshoe, this is the last of the Lakeland Classics and is a tough race over a terrific course. I was really looking forward to it and it didn't disappoint. Weather was a bit iffy to start with and as we toiled up Stickle Ghyll and the side of Pavey Ark, there was not much of a view and there was a good layer of cloud above us. However, as we crossed Thunacar Knott and Martcrag Moor the clag lifted and blue sky was visible, before long we had a magnificent, sun-dappled panorama around us with thin wisps of cloud floating in front of the crags, quite magical. Helen and I ran pretty much together and I suppose we pushed each other along a bit. The climbs weren't too bad, but the ground was very wet - much more so than last year - and the traverse under Esk Pike was truly horrible, slipping and sliding all the bloody place. We got a good line up to Bowfell (where there was snow!), but conversely what felt like a rotten descent off the summit and down to Crinkle Crags, however I think that's just because it was so wet and slippery. I'm sorry to say that we messed up the Crinkles, this was our first return to them since last year's race and we allowed ourself to do the Sheep Thing and be led astray. And we knew better. We took a wide line to the West and over the little col rather than directly over the tops, this would have been OK if we'd immediately traversed East and not lost too much height .... but we didn't and the result was a very steep climb up to the summit of Long Top and we missed it even then, having to double back about 50 metres to the checkpoint. Thankfully, there was no dramas at the Bad Step and we scooted around the side with no problem, followed by a very hard stomp down to the foot of Pike O' Blisco and an equally hard climb up it.  The descent down Wrynose Fell to Langdale was necessarily cautious - everyone was really sliding around - but we made up several places and in the end finished a few minutes faster than last year, so I don't think we can complain.

Up to Keswick afterwards to our B & B, a quick mud-removal exercise and then out to the pub to meet DT & Stef who had been having several restorative drinks since finishing the Four Lakeland Passes LDWA event that day. A swift couple of beers were followed by an excellent curry in the Lakeland Spice, truly delicious and I enjoyed the evening hugely.

Next day saw the four of us head down to Ambleside and up onto the Fairfield Horseshoe. Must admit that I wasn't in the finest of fettles, I do believe I had a bit of a baggy head going on.  In any event, we weren't rushing and we made easy progress up to the area of Hart Crag where, very sadly, Darren Holloway from Pennine Fell Runners died last weekend. DT and Stef knew Darren and we helped build up the little cairn that his family and friends had started there. Stef had some white roses to place in the centre and by the time we left it was looking more substantial. It's a good place for a memorial to a terrific fell runner, right at the head of the Horseshoe with commanding views all over the Lake District.

Down to Rydal Hall afterwards in some glorious autumnal sunshine for a cuppa and a pretty enormous slice of carrot cake, it was a cracking end to a great day out, even if it was tinged with sadness. It's weekends like this that make me glad to be alive and doing what I do.