Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Dragons back

In an attempt to beat the weather we left Chesterfield early, our plan to walk some rather shapely hills in the white peak. We planned too walk over Chrome Hill and Parkhouse hill near Earl Sterndale. It's a limestone ridge shaped rather like the back of a dragon (thank's Mike Harding).

We started from Glutton Grange (GR 085671) not far from Earl Sterndale and at the end of a pretty little dale (Glutton Dale). A public footpath from here heads towards Parkhouse hill. Our 4 mile route is shown below (a more detailed map is on open street map Link to interactive map on open street map).

This is not picturesque, but it fascinated Keisha and Louis reminding us all of one of the Harry Potter films with the flying car that got smashed up by the whomping willow, oh yes so proud of my Harry Potter trivia!
It was quite cool but perfect for walking, a nice bright day making it quite pleasant.
This area is a special site of scientific interest because of its variety of flowers we stopped to study these along with odd kestrel hovering in search of its prey.

We all enjoyed the first ridge of Parkhouse hill it was not too challenging to gain this. The descent was rather steep, muddy and slippy this worn path provided the best way down, the challenge seemed to be not to get too muddy, we all relished this! Concern here as one of my companions does not entirely approve of bog trotting... as you might read a later later this is somewhat contradictory. I am relieved to say!

There was a lot of love on this walk!

The views looking back along the ridge were fantastic!

We all had a lot of fun posing, including myself!

Although my map had the borders of open country marked correctly it did not show the paths or rights of way. We had walked over permissive and public footpaths over Chrome Hill and Parkhouse hill, however our return route via Swallow brook required us to connect with a track, this connection was a challenge that I would not recommend. The recommended route is to continue from Chrome Hill to Tor rock and stoop farm. There is a number of possibilities to go over Hollins Hill (which looks nice) towards the village of Hollinsclough.

Testing our new walking boots.... yes rather waterproof until the water goes over the top of the boot! Louis looked on disapprovingly!

A GPX file on Open Street Map shows the full route.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Castle Mountaineering Club 50th Anniversary Challenges

I've been a member of the Castle Mountaineering club (CMC) for many years, I've had many great times and I have lots of good friends. It was the CMC that has encouraged a love of the peak district, introduced me to the delights of Rock Climbing, Munro Bagging and mountaineering.

As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations the CMC has organised some 50th anniversary challenges. These include walking, cycling and climbing challenges.

Keisha climbing crack and corner... very stylish! Dave Pendlebury belaying.

The Castle Mountaineering Club was founded in 1967 and to celebrate the 50th anniversary year in  2017, a number of special events and activities will be held. 
A grand anniversary reunion and dinner will be held on the 21st of October 2017. The dinner will be part of a 50th Anniversary Reunion and Celebration Weekend – 20-22 October 2017. There is a Sheffield Star article, dated 19 May 2017.

I'd intended completing 50 hills in the lake district as part of my training for the lakeland ultra.  By completing legs of the Bob Graham Round. I will have completed at least 42, time constraints  it'll be a struggle to do the full fifty.

It has been great to participate in the cycle challenge and the climbing challenge. For the cycle challenge I completed a mini tour of the peak district. A 58.5 mile bike ride going into Sheffield, heading out to Bamford, Bakewell and Baslow before returning home to Chesterfield.  Annoyingly I couldn't participate in the walk challenge because I had to spend time recovering from the Lake District Ultimate Trail race which I ran on the 1st July.

Timing for the climbing challenge was perfect, schools had broken up and I took a couple of days off with Keisha and Louis. For the climbing challenge we climbed Trafalgar Crack at Birchen, Keisha and Louis selected rather a pleasent slab at Baslow edge we enjoyed a family sunday trip out. Our visit to Harborough rocks was interesting we arrived in time to meet the CMC and to complete a short route near the trident buttress. By the time it was Louis turn the heavens opened Louis climbed skillfully in the rain on wet limestone and arrived at the top with teeth chattering.

The following day Saturday 29th July was forecast to be good and we took advantage by joining the CMC at the Stanage Popular End. We had a great day attempting a wonderful collection of routes.

Heather Wall(great fun a got a top rop off Dave Pendlebury)
Crack and Corner (Keisha got a top rope)
The Middle of Button Wall

Keisha and Louis are doing really well with the climbing they are becoming familiar now with the processes of lead climbing. Keisha is learning how to set up anchors and how to belay safely, of course I only attempt very easy routes, supporting your dad's weight is challenging and beyond the call of duty!  With the CMC around it was nice to try more challenging routes we are all feeling very enthused by our Castle Climbing Club meet!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Big Weekend

 The Lakeland Ultimate trail race was a beautiful route with a great mix of scenery and terrain. Because of the time of day, duration of the run and the variation in height running conditions were also quite varied. Comradery on the route was really good with people working as a team to encourage one another along the route.
After months of training the big day arrived and I was ready to run the Lake District 110km Ultimate Trail Challenge. This weekend was very special for our family many events were taking place. Before we could head up to the Lake district on the Friday afternoon Amanda had to goto work to receive a prestigious Daisy Foundation award. This award was received for extraordinary compassionate and skillfull care. When Amanda returned from work a reading of the commendation brought tears to your eyes. Unless you work in that area for many years it is difficult to comprehend the effort and drive to deliver that level of care. For me this was an excellent start to be inspired by a true hero. There will be more news about this in a later post. The route of the 110km trail challenge is shown on the map below.

After a magical ascent of the Gairburn pass and the Nan-Bield pass we dropped down to Mardale head. It was wonderful to see the trail of headtorches up and down the fell. The people looking after the checkpoints were amazing  the early morning checkpoint at Mardale head was very quick we were moved swiftly on by the midges. The people at that checkpoint were true heroes coping with those conditions and looking after us runners. People went out of their way to be so helpful.

I didn't try and run any hills because I new it would take a lot out of me later in the afternoon. I ran most of the time (even on the easier hills). I had breakfast of noodles at 0515 breakfast at Bampton hall. It was nice to visit Howtown bobbin mill and to run over Boredale Hause. There was a little confusion on this leg and team effort was used to work out where we should run. We arrived into Glenridding at 0830, halfway now hooray. It was great to meet Amanda, Keisha and Louis, they fed me fruit salad and I had some protein milk.

The weather brightened up now it was quite hot as we made our way upto Lantys Tarn it was a glorious summer day. Continuing steadily up Grisedale to Grisedale tarn it was very cool. I've spent a fair amount of time in the mountains so I'm not surprised by these temperature changes, even so it still quite an amazing experience.  I had a good chat with a Polish gentleman at this point an experienced Ultra Runner from Derby. As we dropped down to higher temperatures and sunshine on Dunmail Raise the flying Turk came past, he had a great downhill technique.

The weather was a really interesting mixture and the temperature variation between the valley and the tops was a repeating cycle making you realise just how much you climb and descend. At 40 miles my calves and feet started cramping so I had to take it really easy felt like I was going to strain something not good. Also the drop in temperature didn't help. At the next CPs I took on loads of additional isotonic drinks that really helped. Obviously I was trying to drink plenty but I'm still not surprised at the dehydration. I'd been using and enrgy drink called tailwind, this provided most of my needs for the day, of course for variation I sample fruit, noodles and other goodies that the well packed checkpoints had to offer. Once I fixed the dehydration issue I was OK also had a fresh pair of shoes (my family sorted me out they were a great help). Amanda slapped sun tan cream on me this seemed to give my legs a boost, I was ready to go... again!
I saw a familiar face  who was 10 minutes ahead of me. Running through Borrowdale, along Langstrath, up over the Stake pass and down into Langdale felt great. I caught up with one of my new found running buddies, we encouraged one another and even had a sprint finish at the end (probably looked more like a stagger, I was probably hallucinating about how great it was lol). I'd been wearing the sensor that registers you through the checkpoints around my wrist I had to sweep it on the mat as we crossed the finish line. The commentator sounded quite excitable when I appeared to fall to the ground in worhshipful homage to the finishline.

I finished just before the rain started and completed the route in a time of 16:54:25 I came 47th and I was 4th in the male over 50 category.  The measured distance turned out to be around 65 miles and 14000 feet of ascent.

We raised £405 for the University of Sheffield Big Walk appeal for the PET-MRI scanner. I think this is amazing and I'm so grateful for the donations and the  motivating comments I received from sponsors it gives you an incredible boost. I can't wait for the next ultra!




Start-Rothay Park, AmblesideSat 00:04:41
CP1-Kentmere Village Institute (NY456041)Sat 01:50:031:45:22
CP2-Mardale Head (NY469107)Sat 03:39:391:49:36
CP3-Bampton Memorial Hall (NY517182) Sat 05:15:051:35:26
CP4-Howtown Bobbin Mill (NY444196)Sat 06:55:411:40:36
CP5-Glenridding Parish Hall, Glenridding (NY385169) Sat 08:31:051:35:24
CP6-Steel End Car Park (NY320130)Sat 10:49:292:18:24
CP7-Borrowdale Institute, Rosthwaite (NY258148)Sat 12:47:121:57:43
CP8-Stake Pass (NY265088)Sat 14:22:071:34:55
CP9-Langdale Primary School (NY321053)Sat 15:49:381:27:31
Finish-Rothay Park, AmblesideSat 16:59:061:09:28

To prepare for this ultra I used Hal Koerners 100 mile training plan. This seemed to work but I found it quite tough. I've also being doing a lot of rolling for the different muscle groups. I've also taken advantage of sports massage from Chell at Triwell massage therapy she practices at  the Brampton therapy centre on Chatsworth road in Chesterfield.

I finished this ultra just in time! We had to return to Chesterfield so that Keisha could attend the National Cheerleading Competition at the Genting arena in Birmingham on Sunday. Louis was going to run North Derbyshire running clubs spire ultra fun run. Our weekend was far from over!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Spire Ultra

This weekend my training for the 110km Lakeland Trail race culminated in what will be the most intense part of training. This was a 36 mile run on the first day and followed on the next day with a 21 miler. It was potentially a problem because this weekend I was supposed to do a 20 mile run on each day the 36+21 mile weekend was supposed to be next week. My body has adapted to the intense mileage but I've experienced over use issues with my Illio tibial band this has responded to reduced mileage, rollering and exercises. It was a risk to do the 36/21 mile session this weekend.

The previous weekend I'd run the spire ultra this was a wonderful race organised by members of the North Derbyshire running club, Jamie and Claire Glaizebrook.

The map above shows the route around Chesterfield the route recces were enjoyable social runs I really should have paid attention to the route. Although it's well signed the recce was very helpful and I picked up some great tips from everyone. The route  has opened up many opportunities for new running routes. Full details are provided in the links below.

Race day was great the week had been rather hot and I must say that the idea of a 6 hour run with high levels of heat filled me with some concern. We were fortunate the day started cool and rain was forecast. It was pleasant to run under the trees in the cooling rain. The remainder of the run was bright, sunny and hot a fab day with excellent support from NDRC club members marshalling along the route. I completed the 34 mile route in 6 hours 34 minutes.

The 36 mile route I attempted the following weekend was very satisfying I ran the route of the Grindelford gallop and extended it by running along Stanage edge and up to High Neb. I ran back via Bamford and ran along the path running alongside the river Derwent to Grindelford. The route is shown below.

 Getting out the following day was difficult but I managed it. It was OK once I got going. I completed one of the most challenging weeks of my training plan. Now to taper the effort and prepare for the actual race!



Monday, May 1, 2017

Bank Holiday Hunt for the Dovedale Ninja

The grumpy old sat-nav refused to operate this morning, as we headed out of Milldale navigation skills had to be used. Rather than drop into Hall dale we headed across the fields skirting around the village of Stanshope and going towards  Ilam.

Ilam Rock
Dovedale has so many wonderful limestone features Ilam Rock, Tissington spires, the apostles, Reynards cave and more [1]. It's hard to think that this was part of a tropical ocean, until you study the fossils of shells embedded in the limestone.

We had car trouble today and had to drop Amanda at work at ridiculous oclock. Today an early start did not seem so beneficial as there was a lot of rain and the skies were dark. Undeterred we made our way from Nottingham to the picturesque Dovedale village of Milldale.

Our route started with a walk across the fields towards and Stanshope, we headed towards Ilam walking along Ilam moor Lane. We contoured around the side of Bunster hill before heading down to the Izaak Walton hotel and the start of Dovedale. Our walk took us along Dovedale and returning us to Milldale.

A GPX with our route is available below, a link to an interactive map from open street map is also provided (users might need to have an account on open street map).

gpx file

Interactive Map

I'm a strong supporter of the open philosophy and this now includes OpenMapping. The interactive map with OpenStreetMap has a great number of features including a variety of mapping standards (OS, Bartholomew, satellite imagery), editing tools and sharing of mapping. Maps showing the outline of our map our featured below.

Looking Towards Ilam from the Side of Bunster Hill

As we walked across the fields, the weather had eased off, in their state of excitement it's possible that Keisha and Louis figured out where they were on the map and were able to recognise some of the valley features from the contour shapes.On our rainy walk along Ilam moor lane we spotted the big flat stone tables used to stand milk churns ready for collection.

By the time we had arrived at Dovedale, it had brightened up quite nicely lots of people were also now turning up at the main car park. We had a quick lunch stop.

Dovedale Stepping Stones

The Twelve Apostles

We wandered along the dale coming across the stepping stones and the rock features known as the twelve apostles. A walk up the steps to lovers leap provided a good view.

Reynards Cave

Passing the Tissington spires we arrived at Reynards cave, we climbed to the cave on the eastern side of the gorge. After a scramble around on the rocks (the squigly bit on the GPX trace) we discovered the deadly Dovedale ninja.
Ilam Rock


Glitter-ball queen and neon Diamond on the Viators bridge at Milldale
We finally arrived at the Viators bridge in Milldale, originally this pack horse bridge would not have sides so that wide loaded pack horses could pass with ease.  This seven mile route is wonderful and highly recommended  the delights of Dovedale  are always a joy to view and explore. Clearly 7  miles is not far enough my two youngsters are full of beans!