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 March 2018

Kevin Bray (M55) - 17 June 2017

I guess that if you are reading this you already know about the JNC in terms of its history, ethos, route and schedules.
I had helped a good friend, Susan Davis on her successful journey back in 2015 I had really enjoyed completing three legs of the route on that day.
After a 2016 where I lost some people from my life whom I had loved and valued it gave me the spur to raise some money for three charities, Cancer Research UK, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team.
The JNC seemed the perfect challenge to take on.
I am a long way from being any kind of ‘elite’ fell runner but I never turn down an opportunity to get out on the hills and part of this whole experience has been the enjoyment of doing the training and the reccy’s over this absolutely brilliant route! Some memorable days in all sorts of weather with great company learning the way, exploring options, finding new lines and just taking it all in!
I have been truly humbled by the support I’ve had for my attempt both in terms of sponsorship (I’ve raised over £3,000, more than I ever imagined) and on the hill and at the roadside on the big day.
There is quite a group of North East based fell runners interested in this type of challenge and I had was fortunate to have some ‘old’ (literally!) hands with me as well as some youngster’s!
The weather on the day was beautiful when I set off at 07.00, though it was going to get very hot later in the day especially when I got to Dunmail where it was absolutely baking at 12.24! Until then I had trundled along Leg 1 & 2 gaining time on my 14.40 schedule but I started to feel the heat on the ‘1,000’’ staircase to Steel Fell. The journey across to High Raise turned into a slog because I really was dehydrated and my two pacers Paul Appleby and Nick Spencer kept me going. At one point I said to Nick ‘it’s not going to happen today’ but you know what – it did. I thought about the sponsorship and all the people who had turned out for me and that was the motivator that kept me going.
When Paul told me we had only lost 9 minutes getting to High Raise it was such a boost! I was expecting him to say 20 – reverse psychology I guess!
Anyway that was the bad patch over. The heat was tempered by a good breeze and I picked up and started to pull back time on that fantastic section of the route between Rossett Pike and Styhead. We got the descent from Great End to Styhead absolutely spot on and at Styhead my team had brought up plenty of food and drink for refuelling.

Climbing Great Gable (Allon Welsh)

We departed there at 16.52, 20 minutes up on schedule and ticked off the remaining tops on an absolutely beautiful evening. The views across to the Scafells in the warm evening light were stunning.
I reached Greendale at 21.25, 35 minutes inside my 15 hour target and the icing on the cake was to shake ‘The Shepherds Hand’! Joss was there and what a top man he is – genuinely interested in how the journey had gone. He and Mary chatting away with all of us – we must have been there for half an hour, despite the midgies! Some great pictures and Sandra saying to the man ‘I can’t believe it I’m standing next to a legend’!!

With Joss (Graham Dalgleish)

I had told everybody involved beforehand that I wanted it to be a memorable day for everyone – it certainly was and that to me is what the JNC is all about!
Many thanks to all my sponsors and particularly to my pacer’s and supporters, Gwenda & Les Cavill, John Telfer, Dave Hall, Peter Moralee, Nick Spencer, Paul Appleby, Allon & Sally Welsh, Tina Jackson, Peter Reed, Geoff & Susan Davis, Mick & Sandra Curry, Dave Rickaby, Graham Daglish, Elaine Cowie, and finally to Linda, my wife, no1 supporter, driver, car park attendant, pit stop manager and organiser! It wouldn’t have happened without you!
Greendale Bridge (Mary Naylor)

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Peter Crompton (M60) - 10 June 2017

Turning 60! Sixty is old, right? 

But wait, I’m not old. I’m a fellrunner. So prove it then. But what to do in this my sixty first year?

Pooley Bridge: 05:57 a.m. all was quiet apart from a strangely clanking bridge. Three addicts went through the fell runners’ rituals of stretching, warming up, adjusting laces, checking watches, killing the minutes before the self-declared “official” starting time. My two pacers and navigators are both Winter BG graduates, so I knew I was in the best of company.

Are you ok with this pace” said Paul, “it feels a bit quick”.

Feels good to me” I replied, and thought privately, that’s a good sign.

However, we were still two minutes down on our “Vet 60 record” schedule at the first of our 30 peaks, Arthur’s Pike. This did not bother me as I knew from previous outings that the later peaks tended to fall below the scheduled times.

As we approached the slightly higher Loadpot Hill the weather was closing in, Mario said “and that’s it, into the cloud, it’s the last you will see for the next 12 hours”. 

How right he was! But it was a great adventure that still lay ahead. We were battered and “car washed” on our way to High Street. Somewhere around there I had a real face planting trip, leaving me flat out in a puddle. Mario scraped me up and, with only a broken watch and a bloody hand as damage, we were off again to Kirkstone Pass. 

After a quick cup of home-made potato soup (millions of calories and previously patented for my BG challenge) we zipped up Red Screes and onto the long misty wander to Hart Crag. Except that Paul and Mario’s brilliant navigation and shepherding kept me from wandering too far. Several times I heard booming through the mist from behind me “Peter, a bit to the left – follow Mario”. Thank goodness for skilful navigators. Fairfield appeared through the clag quite quickly. The summit is confusing, I have previously gone astray up here in mist, so we quickly scanned the dripping, mist-shrouded cairns and turned left for Seat Sandal, the wind doing its best to knock us off our feet. This was the first climb that my legs had noticed and I reminded myself that there was still a very long way to go and that mental strength and a clear focus might be needed later.

A great time saving line down Seat Sandal could be shared with prospective BG and JNC contenders on payment to CFR or my “Just Giving” WaterAid account

This brought us to within earshot of welcoming car horns and happy, rainswept faces at Dunmail Raise, not to mention the calorie-dense rice pudding slurped straight from the can - looks disgusting but it’s quick. It really was good to see Kate, Rhiannon, Stu and Heather here. Heather quickly dispensing water bottles, flapjack and chocolate. After 4 minutes of taking the “combine harvester” approach to food I shouted into the rain “ready guys? We need to go”.

Hooray, it’s more steep climbing. 

Straight up Steel Fell in 20 minutes and off across the long wet trog to High Raise. Andy Beaty, tough rival of many races and Paul Jennings orienteer, fell runner and possessor of photographic memory for the shapes of trods and hillsides, joined me for this leg to Styhead. There are a myriad of streams and boggy bits up here but streams turn into life threatening torrents on days like this. We stopped and hesitated to judge one such flooded stream. Paul went first, slipped and was soon upended and soaked from head to toe. I honestly thought he was in danger of being swept away. I stood gawping whilst Andy hauled him out and with hardly a blink or a flip of the fins, we were on our way again. We were all soaked to the skin prior to this, so, as Paul said, his brief swim didn’t make that much difference. If you ever contemplate doing an event like this, in this kind of weather, make sure you have a good navigator, preferably one who can swim.

On the top of Bowfell we met some walkers who thought they were on Scafell Pike. I know the visibility was bad, but there are limits! Fortunately, Paul and Andy both managed to make polite offers of help, something I was not capable of by this time.

Eating was becoming more difficult, as is sometimes the case on these longer jaunts. The legs were saying “feed me” but the guts were saying “don’t you dare”. Boiled potatoes went down better than the infamous peanut butter sandwiches. Chocolate bars provided short but fast sugar fixes.

The greasy boulder areas of these three peaks, Bowfell, Esk Pike and Great End slowed us down considerably as we did our best not to crack a shin or worse, take a tumble into a bone-breaking hole. I remember down-climbing on all fours over rough ground that I would normally have skipped over. The descent off Great End was both a navigational and an agility challenge, but with mutual support and concentration we made it to the stretcher box at Styhead. Here we said goodbye and thank you to Andy as he descended to Borrowdale as planned. Beside the stretcher box we found a cold wet Bill who was waiting to “take us home” to Greendale. Only 12 miles to go. Bill knows the Wasdale fells like the back of his hand and took us along this section in thick mist and increasing winds without ever looking at a map. How do these people do it?

I had in mind that there were only the 3 big climbs of Gable, Kirk and Pillar to go before getting to the three little ones at the end. At the top of Pillar it hit me like a wet blanket, a heavy wet blanket, that there were five to go not three. The mental strength alluded to before was needed here. “focus, focus, focus” I repeated. Positive images were drawn from the depths, teeth clenched and feelings of fatigue banished. Steeple was short and fun but Seatallan was a bloody long way. 

Bill said, “Middle Fell is easy”. He lied! 

But I knew we were very close now. Having not thought much about the time all day, I now began, with the record in mind, to ask Paul for “clock time” as opposed to split time – and repeated the annoying question every 5 minutes. At the top of Middle Fell we had 25 minutes to reach the end and hit our target.

Can we do it in 25”? I asked Bill.

Lets do it in 15” he said.

Right, Go!” I replied, and we did. 

Tearing down the hillside, soft turf a blessing underfoot. A few rocks, a trod here, a fast grassy bit there, Joss’ house was soon appearing through the mist. We dodged left on the track through the last of the bracken. At last the wall, Joss’ house, the tarmac, the bridge. 

We had done it! Great fun. A hug from my wife Heather. A handshake from Joss. A handshake from David. 

Big grins all round. 

What a day! 

Paul, from the first half, had travelled all the way from Cockermouth to see us finish. I gave him a celebratory punch on the arm and said “we did it, we took over half an hour off the old record”. 

We were grinning like mad dogs. But then …

Joss said, “Aye, a lad last week, he did it in eleven hours”.


Is this a windup? I thought. 

I stared into Joss’s blue eyes in vain hope of a mocking smile, but no! Apparently not. Oh what the hell! 

We had had a Grand Day Out. We had smashed our own ambitious target in appalling weather and for a few seconds at least, we believed we were the new record holders. 

Isn’t fell running just wonderful?

Peter Crompton.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

David Waide (M60) - 03 June 2017

Andy and I trotted away from Pooley Bridge in the clear morning light. A few campers stirred as we ran quietly through the campsite and up onto the fell. The air was fresh and I felt the warmth of the sun balance the cool breeze as we climbed the ridge leading to Arthurs Pike. Ranks of fells progressively appeared as we climbed the long ridge to High Street. The mountains looked magnificent in the sun with clouds slowly building, creating dappled shades on the surrounding hills. The pace felt good and I stayed within plus or minus a couple of minutes of schedule all the way to Kirkstone.
I had a very brief stop, grabbed a banana, and chomped my way up the start of Red Screes. Andy swapped empty energy drink bottles for full, and climbed rapidly after me. Leg 2 went very smoothly, landing spot on the planned contour round Dove Crag. I lost a couple of minutes on the Leg and arrived at Dunmail 4 hours 37 minutes after setting out, and five minutes behind my challenging schedule.
Another brief stop, banana grab and hello/goodbye to the support team, saw me climbing steadily up the pronounced trod to Steel Fell. Stewart followed a couple of minutes later having collected the spare gear from Andy. Clouds now filled most of the sky but only kissed the highest summits. Clearly little rain had fallen for some weeks and only the wettest areas were still squelchy underfoot. I still felt good but could feel the fatigue starting to build and having caught back a few minutes to High Raise I lost them again on the climb to Bowfell. The weather stayed dry all day, giving the great benefit of dry rock and helping to regain valuable minutes on each rocky descent through to Scoat Fell. The convoluted descent off Great End was exciting as I was using a five year old memory and a Rob Woodall GPX track. The combination worked well and I gained another minute arriving at Sty Head still five minutes behind schedule.
We then had four minutes of panic. Chris was not to be seen and I had almost finished the energy drink. We started down the path to Wasdale, met Rucha who had walked up to meet Stewart, raided her supplies, and set off up Great Gable stopping to collect more water. It transpired that Yvette had had a very slow road journey and had not managed to rendezvous with Chris. Chris eventually managed to get phone signal and agreed to set off with what food he had. He managed to catch us on the climb up Gable, bringing some of his own energy drink and sustenance. To complete a fantastic recovery by the support team, when Andy arrived at Wasdale Head with Yvette, he set off again, carrying more supplies. He went up Black Sail pass and arrived in time to see us ascending Pillar, heroically catching us by Scoat Fell.
My energy dropped a little more on Leg 4, though I largely compensated by pushing harder with Greendale bridge in mental sight. The conditions continued to be near perfect with only moderate wind, good visibility with the cloud drifting off each summit in turn as we arrived. Compared to 5 years earlier, I lost 4 minutes to Haycock and caught 3 back to Greendale arriving in 11 hours 8 minutes, just 10 minutes slower than in 2012.
Yvette and Rucha were waiting with Joss and we had a great chat, then finished a fabulous mountain day with a pub meal with the brilliant support team.
Enormous thanks to Andy, Stewart, Chris, Rucha and Yvette.
David Waide

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Ray Maynard (M60) - 20 May 2017

It all started about 20 years ago after I had completed the Bob Graham Round, people asking “what next?” I had heard about the Joss Naylor Challenge of course, but… I was 10 years too young so it was pencilled in for when I was fifty, however, due to continuous running related injuries I was unable to do it then. Fast forward to 2017, my 60th year. Finishing work gave me more flexibility and allowed me to manage my training more effectively. So it looked like it was on.

With the training getting done without too many setbacks I set the date and started to assemble the team. My family were all very keen to be involved as well as my running friends from Sunderland Strollers. A few other generous folk, who were familiar with the route were also drafted in – thanks Ken.

Following the 18 hour schedule the aim was to do the first two legs, at or just ahead of time and if I felt OK to push on a little. And so it was.
After a brief photo shoot on the bridge we set off at exactly 5.00am. Mal, Steve, Sally, Max the spaniel and myself. Mal missing the turning straight after the bridge – well he did say he didn’t want to navigate! The weather was dry and bright, which was better than the forecast indicated, but we could see clouds shrouding the tops beyond Ullswater. I had recced part of this section during the week before in very strong winds and heavy rain, thinking if the weather’s like this it will be nigh on impossible to get round.

Good progress was made and the first few tops as far as Raven Howe were ticked off more or less on schedule. Climbing up to High Raise we encountered cloud, but visibility wasn’t too bad at this point. As we progressed though the weather deteriorated. Between Thornthwaite Beacon and Stoney Cove Pike we got separated and had to shout to keep in touch. Just after the summit heavy rain and hail came in so it was waterproofs on. We made decent time to Pike Howe and Kirkstone after that, being 26 minutes up.

The crew – Maria, Lauren & Karen were there in the rain to meet us along with Carly, Sean and Molly the cockerpoo - the ‘official’ photographers.

They had set up earlier but had to dismantle it all when the wind and rain came in, then one mad dash to set up again as we emerged almost unseen out of the mist and lashing rain. Porridge and coffee were enjoyed, I had been looking forward to that all morning. After some clothing adjustments we were ready for the off when someone tipped the umbrella I was under, pouring water down the back of my neck – thanks Ken.
Mal, Sally and Max were leaving us at this point, being replaced by Matt who had had to do some last minute hill training (not easy in London) for the event and Paddy who is getting the miles in prior to doing the Lakeland 50 in July. The rain was easing off as we went up Red Screes at the start of this short but relatively tough leg. It was misty again higher up and we had to be careful with the navigation. We took some good lines and kept ahead of schedule. In the Fairfield area there was an organised walk in full swing with lots of participants all over the place. Some moving quite well, others struggling and being assisted by their colleagues. Over Seat Sandal and down the steep descent to Dunmail Raise I was able to push on a little, getting to the road 48 minutes up.

The crew were there to feed and water us. The layby was really busy – obviously something else going on, it turned out to be a BGR attempt by the USA’s Meghan Hicks. Pork pies and soup were on the menu here, then a quick change of shoes for the rocky ground ahead. Steve, Matt and Paddy had all done their bit and were replaced by Ken, Dale, Chris and Ashleigh.

This is the leg where I was going to push on if I felt up to it and that’s what we did. It was slow going up Steel Fell but with Dale knowing the best lines we made good progress thereafter. Going towards Rossett Pike we were running alongside competitors on the Old Counties Tops Race. A good route up Bowfell followed and the next couple of tops were ticked off comfortably. Ken and myself descended Great End quickly arriving at Sty Head 2hrs 10 minutes up.

A different support crew here, Bob and Malcolm had come up from the valley with supplies of food and drink and they were getting cold waiting about so they were glad to see us and get on their way. Chris returned to Borrowdale with them. Paul and Jenna who were running the last leg, had started up Great Gable before we arrived, again because of the cold. We expected to meet up with them on the summit but there was no sign of them in the mist so we pushed on quickly down the scree to Beck Head, Dale cutting his hand on the descent. Jenna and Paul were on their way up Kirkfell in the distance, then they disappeared into the mist, thankfully we all met up near the summit.

Paul and I had recced this leg previously and had descended by the ‘path’ following the fence line, which was not very pleasant. So we used Red Gully as an alternative, which I had forgotten about and not used since my BGR attempt. Descending Red Gully my knees started to give me bother so the going was a lot slower than I would have liked. Once at the col I got my walking poles out and was fed some pain killers. It was slow going to the top but we got there in the end and then on to Scoat Fell. Jenna came to steeple with me – another Wainwright for her, while the others got a bit of a rest watching us go out and back. Haycock was done, but after that I was really struggling with my knees on the steep descents where I would normally expect to get down quickly (the annoying thing is that the injuries I had been having have been in my calves not my knees). It did not feel like it at the time but we were still chipping away at the scheduled times. Neil was waiting for us with tea and food on the climb up Seatallan, a very welcome sight and an excuse for a short break. Onwards and upwards again to the top. Just one more to go. Down into the col and then the climb up to Middle Fell, the last one; bagged it!

Now for the ‘easy’ run down to Greendale Bridge. Ken and Dale ahead, Paul with me, and the others following on we made slow progress due to my knees. A run into the finish to a brilliant welcoming committee of family and friends.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you, without your help and support it wouldn’t have happened. Route completed in 15 hours 14 minutes. No sign of Joss at the finish though - he was attending a presentation in Windermere, not to worry though, hopefully I will get to shake his hand at the presentation and thank him for a great day out.

I would also like to thank those people who encouraged and supported me, but were not present at the weekend (including Jim and Charlotte who were there, but I didn’t see them). And thanks very much to all who donated sponsor money – we raised £450 for the Alzheimers Society.

Gan Canny. Ray.