Introduction

The Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge route leaves Pooley Bridge to traverse 30 summits over a distance of 48 miles and climbs 17,000 feet (77km, 5182m).

The inaugural run from Pooley Bridge to Wasdale was made by Joss Naylor in 1990, at the age of 54; in very bad weather with heavy rain and a strong SW wind Joss completed the run to Greendale Bridge in 11 hours and 30 minutes.

Chris Brasher offered engraved pewter tankards to the first 20 runners to do so with the proviso that they raised at least £100 for a charity of their own choice. In January 1997, with 17 tankards already awarded, Chris extended his sponsorship. In 2001, with 33 tankards awarded, Joss secured on-going sponsorship for the tankards.

The challenge is offered to fell runners over the age of 50 to complete the run in set times according to their age group. The challenge is intended to be a "supported run" for individuals - each contender is to be accompanied on every leg for safety reasons and unaccompanied attempts will not be recognised. There is more information on the Challenge Details page below.

If you are interested, please have a look at the Challenge Details, download a schedule or contact me using the "Email Ian Charters" form below.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Ian Roberts (M65) - 06 August 2016

I'm still gob-smacked and utterly amazed at the loyalty and flexibility displayed by you all over Friday night and through Saturday; to bring the schedule forward by 24 hours, at just 8 hours notice and still be left with more than an adequate team of supporters.

Although it required some physical effort on my part, I'm sure that my efforts would have come to nothing without you guys around me, leading the way forward, passing up food & drink, sharing cheerie banter and often mocking "the victim".

I would normally be reluctant to mention particular individuals, in case I should cause offence to any that I don't mention; but certain incidents are just seared into my mind:-

Leg 1. In the company of 3 Bowland F.R. members (Stevie Cliff, Quentin and Neil Shepherd) all well seasoned in supporting ultra attempts, plus long standing SROC member Chris Roberts (no relation) now in his first season of fell running with Black Combe Runners (he has a family connection) and on his first stint at support. Chris just melded into the team, keeping me fed and watered as we flowed along as a unit, Steve out front leading us faultlessly along the ridge, Quentin just behind me checking compass bearings and providing regular updates as to the distance and ascent to the next top plus the occasional "Ease back Ian, regulate your breathing." And we still appeared to be making up 2 or 3 minutes on most of the splits, against the 22.5 hour schedule. Neil launched into his 5 hour repartee of Warrington truck driver's humour which had us all giggling and anaesthetised us to our efforts.

Once above the drizzle of Pooley Bridge and over Loadpot Hill we enjoyed a star-lit sky with views east down to the bright lights of Tata Steel's plant, just a mile or so from Steve's abode at Shap.

Wynn Cliff and my son Gareth were ready for us at Kirkstone. I changed from Salomon Fellraisers (they had left a bit to be desired on the descent into Threshthwaite Cove Mouth) to more aggressive Inov-8 X-Claws. I consumed a bowl of porridge + syrup + bananas, a bowl of macaroni pud and a cup of sweet tea; by which time Nick Hewitt was in headmaster mode; departing before my full rest period had expired. Excellent! My legs seize up all too easily if I lounge around; and we had made up another few minutes.

Leg 2. Nick had me easing back and regulating my breathing on the ascent of Red Screes but we still clipped 4 minutes off that split. Once across the hause of Scandale Pass, Nick's wife Jenn Hutton adopted "mother hen" mode; "bullying" me into eating and drinking more than I imagined that I ever could ..... and I'm usually the fat lad that eats all the pies! Crispin Halsall kept delving into his rucsack to produce whatever was requested, usually accompanied by some pithy comment. Having partaken of the evening meal, Chris had made his excuses and sneaked out of his family's holiday accommodation in Pooley Bridge; on his wedding anniversary weekend! I think that I might owe Val a bunch of flowers?

At the base of Hart Crag we came across a young couple who were no doubt hoping to see a good dawn. They were both well wrapped-up but attempting to share an inadequate sleeping bag; they did not look comfortable; had they been caught in the showers of the previous evening, or was it that they had been sat on cold rocks for the hours of darkness? Maybe it was just our presence, intruding into their reverie? I greeted them with "How do?" as we eased past. Chris, as tail-end Charlie, muttered some apology about 'forgiving idiot fell runners attempting to traverse the Lake District in one effort'.

At the summit of Hart Crag, Jenn was totally enthused by the beauty of the dawn. The saw tooth profile of the Northern Pennines was silhouetted against a very narrow strip of crimson sky.

Descending off Fairfield, our next objective Seat Sandal looked like a giant Christmas pudding, with golden-yellow custard flowing down its flanks as the sun rose over the high ground behind us.

Off Seat Sandal and well down towards Dunmail Raise, a darkly clad figure was ascending towards us - the unmistakable gait of the legend that is Yiannis Tridimas. A few cheerie greetings and we all descend to the road. I changed from 3/4 tights into shorts and changed into a fresh Helly Hansen shirt. More porridge, macaroni pud and sweet tea then once again Nick is in time-keeper mode and saving me a further few minutes.

Leg 3. I'm first over the style and summoning my new support crew to join me:- Ian Cookson is carrying my Leg 3 food, as he will be dropping into Wasdale Head from Styhead. Bill Williamson (CFR but longtime honorary Bowland FR) is carrying my Leg 4 food (just in case we miss the support at Styhead), as he will be going through to Greendale, as will Paul Nield who is carrying my spare clothes. Jim Turner is carrying 3 bottles of water which will have to be re-distributed when he turns back at Rossett Pike - he can't stray too far from his car as his wife Hannah is due to deliver their first child in the next couple of days.

Once again I realise that I'm in safe hands, as we chat together on the ascent of Steel Fell. Cookie and I ran together on weekday lunchtimes, 30 years ago. Paul is a really steady, calming influence; so much more mature than when he took the role of one of "The Three Children" (as Steve Sweeney christened them) on the BFR sortie to the Spelga Skyline in 2005. Bill is someone that I've shared L5 support duties with on countless BGR's. Not to mention being on his BGR, his Paddy Buckley Round and his Ramsay Round. Jim is the "youngster" of the group but with a sub 20 hour BG to his credit, not to mention a recent Ramsay with no less a character than Borrowdale's Mark Roberts tagging along.

Cookie tells me that I'm climbing ok, nothing to worry about. Paul advises that I ease off a bit. Once again we bettered the schedule by 4 minutes. Over High Raise and down to the top of Stake Pass where we collected Richard Davies who claimed to have been "beasted" up from Langdale by Chris Reade. Their banter kept us entertained to Rossett Pike where we bade 'au revoir' to Jim and Chris and Richard whinged about their new bottle carrying responsibilities. Bowfell seemed slow but the watch told us otherwise.

My big worry on this route has always been the descent off Great End. It always feels as if I'm about to repeat my antics of 27th November 2012, in Rowan Tree Gully, Fairsnape. Alas, on this occasion it almost happened. Only 20 feet or so down from the summit, my left foot wedged between two rocks. My meagre momentum plus a big chunk of gravity had me falling forward but I managed to avoid a full face plant, merely grazing my knees. Blood flowed, but I guessed it would look pretty heroic once I was down amongst the Borrowdale spectators at Styhead. I continued cautiously without losing too much time against the scheduled split.


Styhead (i)
 At Styhead we greeted one or two Bowlanders who were racing in the Borrowdale. Paul informed me that overall I was 40 minutes up on the schedule. We were amply provisioned with hot soup and tea by Ian & Pauline Charters, Graham Lund and Saira Is-Haq.


Styhead (ii)
 Leg 4. Having waved good-bye to Chris and Richard (heading back to Langdale) and Cookie (Wasdale Head, carrying the empty flasks) the rest of us pressed on towards the summit of Great Gable, with the throng of 'racing snakes' surging past us.

Pauline suggested that I use one of her walking poles ( sectional rather than telescopic ) for the descent off Gable. It certainly helped.

Descending Great Gable


At Kirkfell summit, Paul informed me that I was 58 minutes up against the schedule.


Descending Kirk Fell

By Blacksail Pass, a strong westerly wind had sprung up and even with the assistance of the walking pole I started to loose time on every split.

At Looking Stead we espied a gnome like figure sat on a rock. Yiannis had come out from Greendale to meet us, carrying soup and bread - he ensured that I sipped it until it was all consumed.

On the col below Scoat Fell I added extra clothing, my efforts causing some mirth, as did my re-arrangement of my Buff into a snood accompanied by my League of Gentlemen impression .... "This is a local shop for local people. Nothing here for the likes of you."

Having regained the main ridge after "bagging" Steeple, heavy incessant rain commenced, driven horizontally by the strong wind.

My descent off Haycock was painfully slow and by the ascent of Seat Allan I was becoming annoyed with myself. Not only were my knees hurting but I was suffering some form of spasm in my back muscles, leaning to port like "Jolly Jack Tar" in mid-Atlantic. I no longer felt capable of sustaining Nick's mantra of "Don't worry about speed; just maintain constant forward motion." The attempt was faltering.

In these vile conditions, were my support contemplating euthanasia? Then they could quickly descend to shelter and retrieve my body on a more benign day?

With several "breathers" I made the summit of Seat Allan, using both of Pauline's walking poles. I'd rate Mrs Charters as a Florence Nightingale amongst hill-goers.

The Seat Sandal descent felt better than that off Haycock and I maintained a consistent climb up Middlefell; but oh that last descent! I have on several occasions managed 16 minutes. I now took 65 minutes of stumbling, shuffling and slithering.

Leigh Warburton appeared about one third of the way down, bringing good wishes from Wendy Dodds and Mike Johnson whom he had been racing with at Borrowdale. At the top of the path through the bracken Steve and Cookie appeared, to wish me well.

Whilst descending on the narrow path through the bracken several people offered assistance - Cookie, Graham & Saira if I remember correctly. I apologise if my refusal of assistance was somewhat off-hand. In my confused and befuddled state, it appeared as if everyone was stood on that bit of the path that I wanted to stand on. I think that I managed to bite my tongue; using expressions such as, "You folk go on and I will follow". Apologies if I was anymore impolite than that.

Once the path levelled out and broadened, I was thankful for Leigh coming alongside and allowing me to brace my hand on his shoulder in order to straighten my spine whilst gaining the bridge to shake hands with Joss.



Job Done!



The overall elapsed time was 23 hours and 39 minutes.

With Grateful Thanks,

Ian Roberts.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Rob Mckeever (M65) - 18 June 2016


I have never been noted for my endurance running but I suppose a have-ago-attitude helps. This attribute coupled with a generous 24 hours time limit (v65) laid the foundations for an ‘attempt’ at The Joss Naylor Challenge. So after about 4 weeks training, including a rest week in between! And a bit of reccie-ing, a rule of thumb schedule of 18 hours 30 minutes was set
So there I was on Pooley Bridge ready to go at 3.30am. Just 48 miles and 17,000’ ahead of me.
The first leg is essentially a straightforward one and so it was, even in the mist. This leg is mainly conducted along the ridge linking Arthurs Pike to Thornthwaite Beacon. Some of the tops are a little indistinguishable but my pacers all experienced fell runners Phil Newton, Mike Berry and Mike Jewell were brilliant at picking them out and we reached Kirkstone at 7.35am, 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
After a 15 minute rest, we (Will and Sue Ross and Ian Verber) set off up Red Screes, it’s a stiff but short climb. After reaching the summit we headed towards Hart Crag just as the early morning mist was lifting. After Hart Crag, Fairfield was soon reached. Will, a veteran of endurance runs, navigated whilst Sue and Ian kept me at a steady pace, by 10.30 we had descended to Dunmail. Leg 2 done and dusted!
Now for the hard bit, Steel Fell. I had run 24 miles and then had to ascend a 1000’ stairway; well that’s what it felt like. From there High Raise and Rossett Pike were visited. From Rossett Pike; Bow Fell was an awesome sight I couldn’t find a way up on my reccie, as there is no path but I had every confidence in Peter Grayson, my confidence wasn’t misplaced we were at the summit in 46 minutes. Esk Pike and Great End were next, the decent of Great End is tricky but he knows a good route, thanks again Peter.
At Sty Head, I was on tired legs but full of spirit and it was a comfort to know I was in the capable hands of Pete and Hazel Taylor. They jammed me in-between the two of them going up Gable, what a good idea I thought with Pete leading the way Hazel can catch me if I stumble as I gingerly put one shaky leg before the other. As ever, at the summit of Great Gable there was a crowd, we noticed someone on the last legs of his Bob. Pete knew him well (Lee Proctor of Helm Hill?) and shouted some encouraging words, he acknowledged Pete, smiling away, he looked remarkably fresh to me, almost enjoying himself, having a good time even (ever felt **ssed off?).
The descents of Gable and Kirk fell were a touch awkward but were navigated brilliantly by Pete. At Black Sail Pass I laid down on the grass for another mandatory forced feeding from the Taylors, they forget, unlike them I have loads of surplus reserves to draw on, but of course they were right, so a few more hundred calories were digested. I knew at Pillar it would be virtually all over but I had to get there first, my schedule was slipping so off we went. 
Pillar is not that steep of an ascent but a drag, a long drag, at the time a never ending long drag on the way I said to Hazel 
"I hate Pillar, I am not coming up here again, ever!" 
Yet when I did this with Peter G 2 weeks ago, it was oh so easy. We reached the summit at 19.25 the views were fantastic, it was a beautiful evening the sun was setting and the full moon was rising. Pete and Haze thanked me for such a good night out, Sorry but don’t I owe you?
It was now all plain sailing we contoured Black Crag and jogged to Stepple via Scoat Fell, then onto Haycock, circumvented High Pikehow to Seatallan. Plain sailing did I say! (steep) Seatallan, a cruel Naylor trick introduced at the peak of his powers (I mentioned this to him at the end nae lad I went up it 103 times last year..............and he was 78/79).
The best part of the Challenge for me was leaving Seatallan, on a good a path to Middle Fell from there onto an efficient descent that lead us to Greenside where we pulled back 5 minutes. And Joss was there, waiting, a diminutive figure at the bridge a man whose name is synonymous with endurance fell running, a living legend. I had just completed HIS challenge and HE was there to meet ME, did I feel good, as high as a kite you might say + steroids x 2 to the power of 10.
Karen my wife had also been waiting patiently for over an hour and after we had a good exchange with Joss, she drove us to the pub to celebrate. Oh I nearly forgot 18 hours 49 minutes just outside my schedule, a great day and with good weather.
I am in debt to all that helped me; all my pacers were supportive, encouraging and understanding. Thanks to Keith and Karen for their help on logistics. Without the support of my helpers this would never have happened. I would be happy to return the favour sometime.

Descending Kirk Fell
(photo: Pete Taylor)


(photo: Pete Taylor) 



(photo: Hazel Taylor) 

Greendale Bridge
(photo - Karen Mckeever)




Monday, 24 October 2016

Rod Sutcliffe (M65) - 14 August 2016

I had avoided this challenge for 15 years but on reaching 65 I joined Pete Simpsons regular 5 yearly traverse. Unfortunately Colin Brookes back and knee problems defeated us at Bowfell as darkness descended. John Minta (a young 48) offered to support me on a repeat attempt for a good day out on the hills. With Paul Frechette providing transport and road support and Tony Wimbush for company to Dunmail Raise we set off 10 days later at 10pm with the M65 schedule of just under 23 hours.

After early cloud a bright gibbous moon lit our way to Kirkstone pass, which we reached half an hour up on our schedule with only short delays in identifying one or two minor summits. A rich pink streak across the horizon heralded the breaking dawn as we approached Hart Crag. Uncharted lakes were revealed in the valleys, turning into beautiful cloud inversions as the light grew. Fairfield and Seat Sandal went up and down in full morning light and Dunmail Raise came an hour early, but Paul was ready with humour, coffee, food and fresh clothes in that order.

From Steel Fell it began to feel tough, but John was forever positive, cheery, encouraging and supportive, with only occasional bare knuckle fights over his Garmin route versus my map route, which he eventually solved by saying I was getting slow, taking my bag off me and telling me to buck up, in the nicest possible way. I focussed just on keeping going. The scheduled split times seemed more generous from here on and we continued to make progress against the schedule. We found a good route up Bowfell, but I remember mad craggy descents off Great End and Great Gable. Pillar, Scoat Fell and Steeple passed quickly in the warm afternoon but, from Haycock, Seatallan felt to be a long way and its steep grassy slope never ending. I dont know how the sheep got up there. The descent was not much better but the last summit, Middle Fell was in sight.


With the steep descents I was getting footsore, but thought I could take my time on the last one with 31 minutes allowed on the schedule. John was having none of this and said I had 21 minutes to get down for a sub-20 hour time. I set off, but railed against this for a while, particularly when the finish came into view in the valley and it looked miles away. I know 20 is a round number, but its perfectly arbitrary as well. Reluctantly overcoming wimpiness I valiantly raced down to the bridge to finish in 19 hours 57 minutes just before 6pm. Instant relief from a footbath in the waters of Greendale Gill. Thanks, John.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Michael Burgess (M55) - 29 May 2016



Introduction

The JNLC is a traverse of 30 summits over a distance of 48 miles and climbing 17,000 feet from Pooley Bridge (GR NY 470 244) to Greendale Bridge (GR NY 143 056).
Joss Naylor’s inaugural run was in 1990. The challenge was created with Chris Brasher offering engraved pewter tankards to successful contenders with the rules being that the attempts are validated and signed with at least £100 being provided to a charity. After 30 odd tankards were awarded in the first 10 years Joss secured on-going sponsorship for the tankards.

Preparation

I asked for and got a great team of experienced navigators, pacers and logistical support lined up. I then practiced a few legs, worked out my schedule and logged my attempt with Ian Charters the JNLC Coordinator.
On the day of the attempt I got up at dawn had breakfast and strolled down from Park Foot Campsite along Ullswater with Verna, Nigel, Jane and Steve to meet John on the new Pooley Bridge.

Pooley Bridge


Leg 1 – Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass


We set off in crisp clear conditions, reaching Arthur’s Pike 8 mins under the schedule. This gave confidence as Leg 1 requires quite fast running to meet the schedule. For the first and only time we encountered cloud, on the summit of Loadpot Hill but this was gone as we raced past the derelict Lowther House. Raced, because we encountered and had to run through a rabbled cloud of crane flies that wanted to investigate our clothes, mouths and ears.

We soon reached familiar Hodgeson Mountain Relay route territory where we then detoured to Pike How and were able to miss out St Raven’s Edge getting to Kirkstone Pass.

Leg One



Leg 2 – Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise

Did you know that Kirkstone Pass is named after a nearby stone that has a silhouette that resembles a church steeple? Anyway the plan was to have a hobbit style second breakfast of porridge aside the 3rd highest pub in England (the others being Tan Hill in Yorkshire and the Cat and Fiddle in the Peak District.) The plan failed as the logistics crew hadn’t allowed for me being 30 minutes up on schedule. So it was off up Red Screes, where we passed Verna, Jane and Kirsty.

Alan led Steve and I on some great HMR lines to Scandale Pass and across to Hart Crag with breath-taking views coming off of Fairfield. Grisedale Tarn was a disturbingly dark black.

Support Team on Fairfield


I knew I was doing well as on the climb to Seat Sandal, Steve was behind me. Whereas during team events or mountain marathons Steve is invariably ahead on me seemingly strolling on climbs with hands clasped behind his back whilst I bring up the rear, often on all fours. So running into Dunmail was great and I was now almost an hour ahead of schedule.

Dunmail Raise


Leg 3 – Dunmail to Styhead Pass

After a few spoonfuls of porridge I set off with Ross and Simon up Steel Fell. Andy was a few minutes late so climbed to the summit in 17 minutes to catch us up.

Leg Three Start


With an hour in hand all I wanted to do was keep exactly to the schedule so it was running, taking in view across the Langdale Pikes and more running until the rocky climbs up Bowfell, Esk Pike and Great End. Simon led the way brilliantly off of Great End and suggested stopping to bathe in Styhead Tarn. Instead we ran into a crowd of supporters in party atmosphere at Styhead Pass with my hour still in hand.

Styhead Pass


Leg 4 – Styhead to Greendale Bridge

Leg Four Start



There were some steep climbs in short order on this leg and Great Gable didn’t disappoint. The support crew strolled to Wasdale, had a picnic and a pint of cool beer at the pub before heading towards Greendale. Still we more or less met the summit schedule all the way to Scoat Fell. Simon and Andy took a rest here to fuel themselves on more rolls and jelly babies to my occasional dextrose tablet taken on the move. Ross and I nipped across the col to Steeple as crossing a drawbridge to a Tintagel like Castle, thrilling route with great views.

Alan met us at the summit of Haycock and then led us to Seatallon. This allowed Andy and me to catch Ross and Simon, not least because they had the water. This is where I missed Kevin Harding and Rick Ansell as I daydream of them pushing me up this penultimate hill.
However, the daydream turned into calculating that I had time to walk the rest of the way and still be successful, so there was an air of celebration. Celebration became real 14 hours and 22 minutes from the start as we arrived at the finish to all our supporters waving and cheering. The boys held back to let me run in alone, but I wanted none of that. It was important to me to run in together not least because for me the support is not only needed but part of the fun.

The final run in off Middle Fell, nearly there! 

Final Run In


Joss was also waiting for us, so a quick shake of the hands, a photo on the Bridge and a sit down in the stream was the order of the day. Well that was a nice long day out in the hills!



SUPPORT TEAM – Thank you




My chosen charity is SSAFA (The Armed Forces Charity)

Friday, 9 September 2016

Barry Edwards (M55) - 25th June 2016


I recall thinking in 2015 as I was made redundant that I would be able to do a bit more running in the fells. I live in the flat lands of Beverley in East Yorkshire so running in the Lakes always takes a lot of time travel and effort. Whilst perusing the Gofar web site I saw the JNC. I knew nothing about it and didn’t really take any notice of the distance and schedules before I was declaring my intention of running it to anyone who would listen.

Being a man and once committed I thought that I had better read the “instruction book” and what a shock I got. This was much bigger than anything I had done before and little did I know that the biggest challenge was to jack-up the supporters for each leg. I don’t belong to a club so I had to rely on my son Tom, daughter Sarah along with Tom’s friends who were recruited (bribed) from all over the country. The support did include some Lakeland professionals Nick Barber, Rhys Findlay-Robinson and his sister Rachael.

The preparation was much harder than the actual event. I started serious recces in January and February sometimes in awful conditions including snow drifts and wicked wind/rain. The camper van is cold in February. I recced each leg at least three times. Jackie had to travel many miles in support because of the roads closed as a consequence of December’s storms.



Pooley Bridge - Ready to go


On the day Lady Luck was with me from the start with an ace team in place and the weather better than forecast although due to get worse as the day went on.  Pooley Bridge at 5.00am and away with helpers Ed and Rachael. Everyone in bed on the campsite as we looked up to Arthurs Pike in the distance. The best thing was that despite the timings being tight on leg 1 I hit the split times all the way across to High Street enjoying the beautiful views all the way.

The road team were surprised as I hit Kirkstone Pass ahead of time. Great flurry of activity and 5 mins later with new helpers Andy and Sarah, I ascended Red Screes. Felt good and relied totally on Sarah for navigation on this leg across to Dunmail Raise. This leg has a good number of route options and Sarah’s choice was sublime.

On arrival at Dunmail Raise I was 22 minutes up, waiting for me were Rhys and Steve Worthington to guide me on the most difficult leg. I had not done more than two legs at a time before, so I was into new territory. The support of an experienced team was absolutely essential for me, giving me the required confidence. Rhys was of course top-flight on the Navigation and Steve gently coached me to eat and drink whilst wrestling with my walking poles that I kept tossing back to him as running opportunities arose or the terrain was too steep for them. Nausea and stomach trouble was creeping in due to gels and other sugary food exacerbated by the exertion. Great climb up Bowfell buttress on the terraces which were dry making all the difference. Bowfell summit as ever was in cloud as was Esk Pike and Great End. I had recced the descent of Great End a number of different ways but Rhys trumped them all and identified a great way off. The potential for trouble was brewing though because I was now 40 mins ahead of time and I had to rely on the leg 4 team being at Styhead. Fortunately Tom and Pete arrived 30 secs before us although Nick B did miss the handover. Nick was due to run with Adam Perry on his monumental 24 hr challenge along with Rhys later in the day.

On Seatallan with Haycock in the mist beyond (Photo: Tom Edwards)


Great Gable in the cloud does not allow for an easy descent and I was taking more and more care as the day wore on. The weather was beginning to brew up in the north and we expected some serious downpours before Seatallen but again Lady Luck kept the rain off until I hit Middle Fell.

Greendale Bridge - Job Done!



Route completed in 13.39 a very satisfactory performance. I make no apologies for repeating the old cliché that without the team (including the road crew) Ricard, Jane and Jackie none of this would have happened. I was humbled by the support of people on the team I had never met before.

Celebrating with Joss (Photo: IWCharters)



Despite having just completed his 80th birthday challenge only a few minutes after my arrival Joss met me for a chat for which I will be eternally grateful.    


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Ian Cookson (M65) - 14 May 2016



It was certainly a memorable day, with the Lakeland weather at its very best – perfect for following in the footsteps of the renowned Joss Naylor.

With great trepidation, I stood on Pooley Bridge at 3am on the morning of Saturday May 14th 2016. Within an hour and a half of a frosty early morning start through a sleeping campsite, the sun came up to reveal mountains bathed in sunshine, which remained with me throughout the day.

To have Steve Cliff leading the way over the High Street and up to Thornthwaite Beacon in the peace and tranquillity, was the best possible way to settle my nerves and focus on the challenge ahead! Dropping down to Kirkstone 20 mins ahead of schedule, legs feeling good and porridge waiting in Wynn’s campervan – could it get any better?

I was handed over into the capable hands of Duncan Elliott and Richard Davies who took over the supporting role for leg 2. After the steep ascent of Red Screes, the long pull to Fairfield and taking in Seat Sandal, we made the descent to Dunmail, comfortably on schedule. This leg passed quickly, helped by jelly babies and friendly banter between the support team.

Quick refreshment stop, change of socks and Leigh Warburton and Andy Crook were my Sherpas for leg 3! Climbing up Steel Fell was a testing start, and an indication of the rougher terrain which was to follow. Excellent navigation guided me over High Raise and Rossett Pike. The tougher climb up Bowfell went according to schedule, and Andy’s cheese butties ensured I had the fuel to reach Great End, before dropping down to Sty Head within my allocated time.

Here the size of my team swelled to seven. The formidable gang of Bill Williamson, Martin Walsh, Chris Reade, Nick Hewitt & Jen Hutton and Ian Roberts took me up Great Gable on the first ascent of the fourth leg. Stunning scenery along the way, particularly around Steeple, towards Ennerdale and the coast, put a spring in my step as I neared home. Just as we began the climb up Seatallan, we were met by Yiannis Tridimas , who joined us for the last two climbs. The atmosphere was jovial with Bill’s stunning photography and Martin never far from my side ensuring I was not going to have any mishaps in the closing stages!


by Bill Williamson


With breathtaking views of Wasdale in our sight, the descent to Greendale from Middle Fell signalled the end of my challenge, a respectable 17 hours 12 mins, comfortably within my schedule.

Descending Haycock (by Bill Williamson)



A welcome party on the bridge led by Joss cheered me to the finish. I was privileged to have an amazing team, not just support runners, but also the road support including Wynn Cliff, Andy Farmer and my family Mary, Lyndsey & Mick.


With Joss on Greendale Bridge (photo: Mick Hayes)


48 miles, 16,000 feet of climbing, 30 mountain tops – DONE!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Elise Milnes (W55) – 05 September 2015



5am September 5th at Pooley Bridge on a quite cold and clear morning.  I’m meeting my navigator Geoff Cox for the first time.  The rest of my support team are Carol Morgan, Simon Franklin and Paul Calderbank.

Not only were the weather Gods smiling on us, but on the drive over we had seen a badger in the road, a live one which was a first for me, we took this as a good omen – I was going to survive the day!

The sunrise was beautiful with just the odd cloud kissing a summit, my favourite time of the day in my favourite place.

Leg 1 went to schedule.  Carol and Paul made sure I ate and drank plenty which set me up for the whole day.  The navigation was perfect and we started to gain a few minutes.  For me the Leg felt relaxed and organised and the chat made time fly by.

We descended into Kirkstone to some very loud cheering from my road support, mainly Issy.  My husband Graham and Clare Harris fed and watered everyone.  There were lots of hugs and we were off, up Red Screes on Leg 2 with a new team, Tom Phillips navigating, Linda Murgatroyd and Steve Foster as timekeeper and pacer.  Also joining us was Louise Stunell, a total newbie to these mountains and the Lake District and what a day to show it off, blue sky, warm sunshine and views that take your breath away – or maybe that was the march up Red Screes!

This Leg also flew by, gaining time on nearly every summit, Tom knows the best lines!  At Seat Sandal Nick Harris joined us and the descent into Dunmail was deafening, thanks again to Issy.  I was worried, this was not Lake District behaviour, we could be barred!  It was very up lifting and I felt the smile over take my face.

Same crew for Leg 3 minus Louise and (sorry if this is getting boring) text book perfect, gaining more time as we were going, I was well looked after and ate well.  Much to Tom’s bewilderment, Linda and I never stopped talking, only to eat!  Great Gable crept into the conversation, it was too far away, I didn’t want to know, so it was pointed out even more!  From High Raise, the second one, we could see that something was on top of it which looked like a giant sheep, it was a helicopter, shame I liked the idea of a giant sheep!

At Great End we were met by Phil and Jackie Scarf and got to Sty Head in good time where Graham and Clare were waiting, quiet here, no Issy!  My final team, Peter McNulty and Mick Bull navigating and pacers Sheila McNulty, Jackie and Phil Scarf.  The plan was to finish in daylight, we pressed on, I still felt strong.  But Seatallan was looming, it’s a monstrous climb that seemed to take longer than the whole round, my legs said No!  I did think I should have a word with Joss about this hill, so near the end, it’s cruelty!  I made it to the summit and on to Middle Fell to be met by Graham and Clare with the news that Joss was waiting on the bridge.  There was still life in my legs and I descended at full pace – it seemed fast to me!!  15 hours and 14 minutes and in daylight!


It was truly a magical, enjoyable day which I will cherish forever and made possible by my fantastic supporters – thank you.  

A special thanks to Clare Harris who suggested I had a go at the JNC and organised everything.