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.

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.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Paul Cornforth (M50) – 27 June 2015

 

My life has been quite busy over the last year with work commitments and family illness so when you spot a window of opportunity you have to seize it. It was Thursday night when I spotted this one and so quickly formulated a plan, the Joss Naylor Challenge. But it was only a half plan because I didn’t know if I was fit enough to do a really long run. After Scoffer and Chris Hope agreed to help I just needed a couple more runners. Thankfully fell running legends, Gavin Bland and Morgan Donnelly called me on Friday morning to offer their support so it was game on.

I was completely unorganised and getting the right nutrition before and during the run is crucial. Unfortunately throughout the day on Friday I was ill and never off the toilet so my energy reserves were not going to be where they should have been and I seriously thought of cancelling the whole thing, but as I had pacers organised I decided to go ahead.

I stayed in my van at Pooley Bridge on Friday night and set my alarm for 5.30. I awoke to a beautiful clear morning looking down on Ullswater and set about getting prepared for the day. Morgz rang me at about 6.15 to let me know he had slept in and might be late so I packed a bag of essential supplies for him to carry. As it was Morgz turned up at 6.40 so everything was fine and we set off as planned at 7am from Pooley Bridge. I was really conscious of not going too fast on this leg, I’d done it a couple of times in training and keeping to the schedule seemed quite hard. I was prepared to lose some time off the schedule and try to make it up later on, as it was we arrived at Kirkstone bang on 9.30 and sure enough there was Gavin waiting.

My stomach still felt a bit delicate from the day before so the only food I’d had on leg 1 was a nibble on some Mountain Fuel pancakes and some energy drink and as we climbed Red Screes I could feel cramp like twinges in both calves and knew I needed to get some more food down my neck. I had a banana and immediately felt the benefit. Leg 2 is pretty similar to the 3rd leg of the Ian Hodgson Relay and running down the tussocky grass off the back of Red Screes I mused at the difference in my speed today compared to the break neck speed you descend in the relay. But still we were moving pretty well and there was a long way to go.

On the climb to Fairfield Gavin produced a white finger roll with a mixture of Philadelphia cheese and jam, “This is one of Joss’s favourite sarnies”, said Gav, “Only he has his with a bit of tomato to moisten it up a bit, it’s not too dry is it?”

“No its fine thanks”, I replied. I still had half the sandwich stuffed in my cheek climbing Seat Sandel!

My wife Kerry met me on the top and we jogged down to Dunmail together. I felt in pretty high spirits and as Dunmail came into view I saw that it was looking very busy with cars and people, surely they haven’t all turned out to see me I thought. No they hadn’t, there seemed to be a series of events all crossing at this point and it all seemed pretty chaotic. I didn’t hang around; I had two spoonful of rice pudding and cracked on up Steel fell with a banana in one hand and another one of Gav’s speciality sandwiches in the other. Scoffer took over the support at this point and Dave Nuttall who happened to be at Dunmail and was going out for a run joined us too.

Things went a little bit pear shaped after Steel Fell, I felt hungry, empty and sick all at the same time and we got the line slightly wrong climbing up onto High Raise. I was tripping up in bogs and felt dizzy, disorientated and weak. I needed something to give me a boost but it materialised that we didn’t have too much food and all of the Mountain Fuel flapjack, pancakes and energy sachets for drinks had been left at Dunmail. Scoffer had some jelly beans but said that he didn’t really want to give me them as they were expensive and he wanted them for himself. Dave produced a gel and although it tasted disgusting it perked me up enough to keep me going and we were soon standing on Rossett Pike. From here to Styhead is all a bit of a blur and I was definitely just surviving on my reserves. Scoffer had reluctantly submitted to giving me some jelly beans, but apart from that we were pretty much out of food. We just hoped that Chris had brought plenty to Sty Head. I needn’t have worried as soon as I got there he handed me a drink of Lucozade that tasted like nectar and a ham sandwich. We did a quick calculation on time and progress and it was announced that I probably wouldn’t be breaking any records today but we should be ok for the 12 hour schedule. At that point I would be just pleased to complete the round so I was happy that we were still on schedule. About 10 minutes later there was another announcement,

“No I’ve got that wrong, we’ve got another hour, bloody hell you CAN still break the record, come on let’s get going.”

From this point Chris Hope, a veteran of many adventure races and long distance challenges and knowing the importance of nutrition, kept plying me with regular nibbles of chocolaty, oaty bars and fluids and I started to feel much stronger.

Each hill we summited we shaved time off the schedule and from Bowfell to Pillar we were 43 minutes faster. Scoffer starting shouting encouragement at me more often and part of me started to believe that I could do it. Scoffer waited on Scoat fell whilst Chris and I dipped in and out of Steeple and in the swirling mist I could hear Scoffer shouting,

“Get your finger out Corny, don’t you want this record?”.

It seemed a long way down and out to Haycock, the mist had completely descended now and the skies had darkened. From Haycock it was compasses out and a bearing down to the Pots of Ashness where we picked up the reverse route of the Wasdale Fell race line to Seatallan. The climb up Seatallan seemed to go on for ages. I calculated that if I could be at the summit in 10 minutes, descend to Greendale Tarn in 10 minutes and then climb Middlefell in 10 minutes I should be ok for the record, but in the mist it would be very easy to go wrong and that would be it. Perfect navigation from Chris and Scoffer took us to the tarn then it was just a case of digging in for one final climb of the day. I had never been up Middlefell before and it seemed bigger than I expected but even so we were on the summit at 5.19pm, a quick quad killer to finish the day on the descent to Greendale is just what was required after 47 miles and 17,000m feet and we arrived at Greendale Bridge at 5.35pm feeling very pleased. I then did something that I have never done before and probably never will again; I put my arm around Scoffer!

So in total I did 10.35 for the challenge, the record was 10.47. In an amazing coincidence as Chris was waiting at Sty Head for me, a guy came over to ask what he was doing.

“Just waiting for Corny, he’s having a crack at breaking the record for the Joss Naylor Challenge”, said Chris.

The guy was Leigh Warburton, the record holder…

A big thanks to my support runners, Morgan Donnelly, Gavin Bland, Andrew Scoffer Schofield, Dave Nuttall, Chris Hope and of course my lovely wife Kerry.

 

At Dunmail Raise

20150627_001_MS_JNC-76Kerry & Paul

 

20150627_002_MS_JNC-79Paul Leaving for Sty Head

 

 

20150627_003_MS_JNC-82Support and Scoffer Following