Monday, 15 April 2013

Ultimate Trails 100k

Been really busy so far this year working on a few new projects. I'm working as the Course Director on a very exciting new event, Ultimate Trails 100k, which will be held on the 14th September. The event is the brainchild of Graham Patten of Lakeland Trails fame and promises to be a fantastic weekend of trail running in the Lakes.

The route is quite simply stunning, 100k in one day, taking in 6 mountain passes with almost 14,000 feet of ascent; it delivers views well worth the pain in your quads...There's also a 50k option to get you in the mood,  which covers the last section of the 100k route, although don't be fooled by the shorter distance as the last 50k is the toughest!

This past week was a tough one in the office as the lovely, very funny and quite potty Mr Patten and I covered the whole 100k route over 3 days fine tuning the route and working out the bad weather options. What a fantastic 3 days of running, laughing, race tales and loud singing in the fells; Graham taught me the 'Mickey Mouse Yomp' and I taught Graham the 'Pom Pom' song - you probably needed to be there!

The race website is now live at with the route being released any day, but here's a few tasters...

As it was my birthday this Saturday, Dave and I went for a run out on The Grand Tour of Skiddaw route. Another fabulous day with 8 hours of running bringing my weekly mileage to 95 miles on the fells with 21440 ft of ascent. Thanks to Marcus Scotney, who not only runs for GB but is a dab hand at sports massage, I've had no calf twinges so looks like some proper training can begin!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Grand Tour of Skiddaw

Exciting stuff - I've been working on this new event for a while now, wanting to organise an ultra race in the beautiful Northern Lakes. We've recently moved to this part of the Lakes and have been exploring the trails and fells, and pubs. Caldbeck Common feels really remote and has some stunning views, although you're only about 30 mins from Keswick.

So, The Grand Tour of Skiddaw (named by The Fairy) took shape last November. The race website is now live at with the online entries open HERE.
The race starts and finishes at Lime House School near Dalston, which has loads of parking, and camping available on the school field. There's a huge school hall for Registration, Kit Check, Prize Presentation etc and catering/showers/loos on site. The race will take place on Saturday 24th/Sunday 25th August, with camping available all weekend, Friday - Sunday. As it's a Bank Holiday the runners can stay over till Monday for an extra £5, and bust some moves at the Post Race Party on Sunday night!

I realise that there's another small ultra going on that weekend somewhere in Europe, but well, not everyone will get in, and we had to fit around the Summer School at Lime House!

Wintery route, it'll be lovely and sunny in August, honest.
The route will be unmarked so will require a basic level of navigation although the runners will be given a written route description, marked map and the route will be available to download as a gpx file. There'll be 3 checkpoints with snacks/drinks on the route at Caldbeck, Latrigg car park and again at Caldbeck, and hot food at the Finish. The runners will be able to leave dropbags at the Start which will be taken to Latrigg for any 'special' emergency foods/plasters/favourite teddy...
Spotted this whilst out on the route writing the route notes the other day, ummm, 'continue straight on past the bear, quiet'

So, really looking forward to this event, it has the potential to be a great weekend in the Lakes; 44 miles of beautiful trails, working out the route (I love that bit), climb up the mighty Skiddaw at the approx halfway point (just for a laugh), party and beer - coming to join us?! 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

New Year, with lots of new stuff...

Well, 2013 is looking busy, busy so far. I didn't get a place in the WS so I have my eye on a couple of races to do, if I can sort out my protesting calf. I'm working on a few new events and re vamping my existing ones, starting with The Beast. As well as the usual Beast on 24th February and The Summer Beast on 15th September, I've added a Northern Beast on 17th March at a fabulous venue in Cheshire! Check out the new Beast website at which has all the race details and online entry...

New Skeleton Run website to follow shortly, but there's going to be the usual, and brilliant, Skeleton Run on 25th October with a new northern version on 2nd November at the beautiful Whinlatter Forest, just outside of Keswick.

Get your trainers on...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

West Highland Wahay (or how to get to Fort William by river)

To say I was worried about the West Highland Way would be an understatement. What with months of recurring calf injuries, spraining my ankle and then having food poisoning which lasted a week, 2 weeks before the race, I wasn't feeling exactly 'prepared' to run 95 miles, and more importantly do it justice.

The race is one of the qualifying races for the Western States in 2013, so in theory all I had to do was finish in under 35 hours. So, if it all went Pete Tong, I could walk I told myself.

Dave is working on the Olympics, so Ant and Fairy had agreed to be my support crew. I picked them up around 10am on Friday, with Ant packing his violin and then Fairy packing her ukulele! They threatened to start playing if I stopped for longer than 4 mins. Jeez, I'm being crewed by the cast of Deliverance I thought, and vowed to keep moving. Ant had given both Fairy and I copies of Unbreakable to get us in the mood, so Fairy watched the movie on the drive up with me wanting to save it for the return trip. We arrived in Milngavie around 3pm, after driving through pretty much constant rain and then thunder and lightening; it wasn't looking good!

I went to pick up part of my crew's 'Thanks for looking after/putting up with me' pressie; I'd ordered a box of 45 cakes from a cafe in Milngavie. Should keep them busy/awake!
We attempted to get some sleep, failed, so went down to register around 9pm, meeting John Kynaston who gave me a big hug, which was nice!

Back to the hotel, more sleep failure, so Fairy plaited my hair into the tightest 'go faster' plaits ever, talk about a facelift! At midnight, Rob and his trusty crew, Niki (Mrs Rob) and Mary (Rob's sister) turned up so we all headed for the pre race brief and 1am start.
Milling around Fairy and I were trying to find Terry Conway to wish him luck. The Irish had tipped us off that Terry was going for the long standing course record, so we were all excited! 1am came and we were off.
Heading through the woods, everyone was running in small groups, dodging the big puddles. I settled into my running, just hoping that I'd get further than 50 miles before the wheels fell off and I had to walk. After the Beech Tree Inn I slotted behind a tall chap, it was just me and him, or Jim, for a while and I was glad of the company not only cos it was pitch black but as he opened all the gates! It had started to really rain now, but wasn't cold, so I focused on his shoes (red soles, mmm Louboutins, there's a thought) and tucked behind him. We chatted through Drymen, then I went ahead through the woods before Conic Hill, meeting up with another chap (sorry but I can't remember his name for the life of me). As we approached the car park a lady spectator, I think, said someone was hurt ahead so could we get their number and call the safety officer. We ran on and came across 2 people standing in the path, are you ok, we asked. A grumpy yes reply, so we carried on. I didn't realise it at first but it was Mimi Anderson who'd fallen and hurt her ankle.

Up Conic Hill which was a river, pretty pointless dodging the puddles now! At one point I did have a 'Vicar of Dibley' moment falling knee deep in what I thought was an ankle deep puddle.Carefully down the other side, with various whoops and yells from the group I was in as we all slipped; we're like dominoes declared the girl next to me! Through Balmaha, and there was Fairy and Ant waiting with a bag of goodies.
Re fuelling on the hoof
Quick Slimfast shake and off. I don't really like the next section but actually it went ok. I stopped for a 'comfort stop' next to the beach in the undergrowth, trying to find some cover but a chap followed me, is this the track, he asked! I ran for a while with Fionna Ross, who was going well, and we arrived at Rowardennan together. It really was tipping it down but still not too cold.
Poor Fairy got a bit soggy waiting around for me
Running straight through again, I was on my own. Fairy had said I was 1st Lady at this point but I was sure that a girl with plaits (Rosie Bell) and a girl with a red top on were ahead of me. I kept catching glimpses of red through the trees, so decided that I was right, and I was 3rd. Annoyingly I had some 80's dance track on repeat in my head so trundled on singing what's she gonna look like with a chimney on her! Along the Lochside the usual streams were raging torrents and there were some pretty impressive waterfalls coming off the hills. Into Inversnaid, the very cheery marshals told me I was 1st lady, so quick stop and off.
Along the next section Fionna caught me up and we had a good run into Beinglas, chatting away. John Kynaston, Mr Blogtastic, was waiting at Beinglas with a big cheer, he sorted out my dropbag really quickly, I grabbed some crisps and was off, leaving Fionna at the checkpoint. The next section is a bit rollercoasty hills, but being used to running in the Lakes I'd decided to run all the hills as far as I could; hell I'll be walking soon anyway! I was really enjoying the run so far, trying to keep to the sub 20hr splits I'd cobbled together (as if that was going to happen, but if you don't try...) and just doing my thing. 

As I approached Auchtertyre I spotted Ant. The wind had picked up by now and I was getting cold; I really hate being cold. My only diva moment, I think, as I demanded that they go shopping in Tyndrum and get some soup, or oxo cubes, or marmite, anything savoury and salty. Running into the checkpoint was great, people everywhere cheering and someone madly ringing a cow bell. This turned out to be a very smiley Lucy Colquhoun, the long standing Ladies course record holder, how nice was that! Quickly weighed and out, with Fairy chasing me down the path with supplies including a hot bacon roll, brilliant!

Unable to frown with my go faster/botox plaits!
It was really pouring and cold, I was glad I'd packed my Gor tex mitts which look like oven gloves but work. It's the same for everyone I kept telling myself. A mile or so out of Bridge of Orchy 2 runners were fast approaching; come on Gaynor they whooped! It was Sharon Law and Debbie Martin-Consani looking immaculate compared to my drowned rat impression. Really cheered me up! Into the CP with Ant waiting with a walkie talkie, she wants soup and a change of clothes, 10-4! 
I sat in the van and changed my top half of clothes, even put on a fleece and thick gloves. Had the best cup o' soup in the world, made them promise that we'd get drunk in Fort William and left, feeling a bit better. I trudged up the hill thinking this is where Murdo waits with his flag, and soon enough there he was! A gangly man dancing about in the rain, are you Murdo? Yes, who are you? Ah, Gaynor Prior, he sang, 1st Lady, la la la! Had a soggy jelly baby off him and was off. I don't mind Rannoch Moor but I had real 'belly issues' here, finally giving in and going although there's no cover.
Ant was waiting again with the radio, pasta and cake 10-4! I'd been getting updates from my crew all day about Rob and Terry, which was great, we were all excited about Terry's run, he's so strong. Glencoe was freezing, 2nd Lady was 27 mins behind apparently. Ant timed the stops, and when he shouted 4 mins, I was off! No violins today!

Just past Kingshouse I officially lost my marbles. Completely and utterly. I couldn't remember how far along the road the gate was so convinced myself that I'd missed it. Instead of backtracking along the road I thought it was a brilliant idea to climb the barbed wire fence and stagger about in what can only be described as a bog looking for the path! I did this for about 15 mins, until my brain started to function again - the WHW is a massive path so why are you looking for a sheep trod, you stupid cow (or words to that effect). I staggered back to the fence, saw the MASSIVE path and rejoined the race, furious! At the bottom of the Devils Staircase Fairy came running towards me, 2nd Lady is 9 mins behind, just giving you a heads up, so get a shift on! There wasn't a lot of gear shifting going on in my legs so I trudged up the hill and amazed that I felt ok had a great run down the rougher trail to the road; my favourite bit of the whole day.

Rosie (plait girl) caught me on the road into Kinlochleven, are you ok I asked. Now, either Rosie has a very strong Scottish accent or my brain had stopped working again, but I only got, pain, Rannoch Moor, chiropractor. So I guessed that her back was hurting. She was off anyway, I made my way to the CP with Ant meeting me on the road. Quickly weighed, checked with the marshals that I could have a pacer (thanks Terry for finishing so quickly!) and Fairy and I set off, me eating chips. Rosie turned left out of the CP and then right through the houses, even her crew shouted at her, but she was gone. We followed the road and then up the hill with Fairy trying to get me to run, it's not over yet she declared! My lack of consistent training was kicking in big time, just felt dead, not really in any pain, feet and legs were ok, just numb from being wet for hours. I just had nothing in me. Fairy was brilliant, dancing about, making me run the hills - come on we'll run to that rock, ok?! She's such a strong runner and as fit as hell at the moment, she was almost running on the spot next to me! Don't shout or moan, she's trying to help you I thought. Past the smiley marshals on Lairig Mor, trying to keep running. Just speed up a bit Fairy tried, I think I'll pass out if I go any faster. I was feeling very dizzy, just all over the place. I think this is where I stopped talking altogether, just grunting, nodding or giving a thumbs up to Fairy's questions. Don't shout or moan, she's trying to help you.

Through Lundavra, this could be a long 7 miles I thought. Then in the distance a lolloping figure was approaching. Is that Ant, and has he got a dress on? Ant came storming down the path hollering, in Hokas and a kilt! It's not far, come on! Down the trail into Braveheart, I'd turned into Sweary Mary, a foul mouthed rant about how I'd really like this lovely jog to finish really quite soonish. Along the road, more ranting, then cheering at the roundabout, it was Debbie and Sharon again! Into the leisure centre and finished, 20:51:45, 2nd Lady, 14th overall.

Rob finished in 5th place in 18:54:05, brilliant run, and the mighty Terry was 1st in 15:39:15, new course record in horrendous weather conditions! Back to the campsite, quite a painful shower with my newly discovered chafed bits, Fairy had put up loads of pink balloons with disco lights in around the tent and was wearing a fetching pink wig! I think she was anyway...Ant and Fairy decided that they'd get up at 6.30am and run up Ben Nevis so I set my alarm as Ant's useless at getting up. 6.30am came, I texted them to get up (I was in the van) and not hearing any noises thought, lazy sods were all talk last night, they're still asleep! All the food etc was in the tent and I was starving but didn't want to wake them so I waited till I heard voices, around 10am and got up, ravenous. There they were in full running gear, soaking wet and madly smiling having run up and down Ben Nevis! Mental.

Off to the prize giving, meeting Rob (who'd had to surgically remove his underwear from his boy bits, which were 'shredded'!) and lovely Terry and Annie. John Kynaston gave me another big hug, which was nice! We said hello to Caroline who we'd met on our recce run, who finished in 31:40:30, who looked so glam!
Fairy and Ant - the best crew ever! 43 cakes eaten...

A Hairy hug from Rob

Terry - Running Royalty

Prizes and Balloons!
So, I can't thank Ant and the Fairy enough for all they did, I will return the favour a hundred fold in July. Thank you to Ian, Sean, John, Murdo and all the marshals/helpers who were just so smiley and helpful in bloody awful conditions. What a weekend! Wasn't expecting much but came home with a lot...

So, roll on November when I can try to enter WS!! Yeeeeehaaaaa!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Irish

I agreed to help as support crew for Paul Tierney's, aka the Irish, Bob Graham Round attempt after he posted on the L100 facebook page. We hadn't met but I was free that weekend and thought it would be interesting as he was going for a very fast time. Fairy joined in, and we talked a few friends into helping out as pacers.

Lots of emails followed! We finally organised who was running which leg and who was picking up/dropping off various pacers, so armed with clipboards, stop watches, laminated timing sheets, spare sets of everything, and Albert, we headed for Keswick.

Fairy and I met up with The Irish and his mate Barry Murray, who is a nutritionist specialising in sport and performance related nutrition. Barry also runs for the Irish Ultramarathon Team with Paul, so not bad at running either! Barry was mixing up a batch of his famous 'Baz Balls' which kept The Irish going and provided us with much mirth over the weekend.
We tried, in vain, to sleep, and so at 1.30am ish we drove down into Keswick, with Stuart and then meeting Bruce, who were going to act as pacers on Leg 1. 
2am, and they were off! Fairy and I went back to Mrs Um, had a cup of tea, cracked some glow sticks (we'd planned on covering the van with them at Threlkeld) and waited whilst drunken folk staggered home, all a bit surreal. Back to the campsite around 4am to collect Big Jon Whilock who was the only pacer for Leg 2. Ant was meant to be there but he had terrible food poisoning and needed to stay near to his own bathroom!

Over to Threlkeld and we went into 'Crew Mode'. The Fairy and I had split our duties, she was in charge of making sure the pacers had all the right rations for the Irish and sorting out his clothes/shoes. I was to feed him and make sure he had his 'special' coffee ready. We'd been instructed by Barry on how to make the 'special' coffee; 4 teaspoons and 3/4 full, after I ensured him that I knew how to work a cafetiere! Hilarious. I timed the stop, kicking them out after 5 mins. The Irish had decided on a 17.5 hour schedule, although he'd never actually been on any of the route before, just thought that sounded ok! He left Leg 1 6 mins down.
We dropped off Bruce back in Keswick and Stuart at the campsite and then headed to Dunmail Raise, the finish of Leg 2, where we meeting Laura, who was covering the support in Wasdale, to give her food/clothing for The Irish. Fairy then drove Jon's car to collect Raj, Leg 3 pacer, from Keswick. I set up and prepped the special coffee, carefully measuring it out. The Irish is sponsored by Team Inov-8 and Adrian and Matt from Inov-8 turned up to cheer him on, which was great. Gary, another pacer turned up and we waited anxiously. Bang on schedule tiny running figures appeared at the top of Seat Sandal and flew down towards us.
Jon had done a great job and had got The Irish back on time. We took over, feeding, clothing, forcing special coffee down his throat and then after 5 mins kicking him out to tackle the horror that is Steel Fell. 
Albert, on the other hand, took it all in his stride.
Jon drove back to Staffs to go to work! We headed back to the campsite in Keswick to try to get some sleep. 3 hours later we were up, with me, Fairy and Stuart making a load of sarnies and fruit bread for the pacers after Leg 4. Stuart is quite a brilliant runner having completed an 18hr something BG previously plus The Fellsman and is going for UTMB this year; he's only 24 but looks around 11! We then headed off to Honister to meet up again around 5pm. Laura had driven round from Wasdale with Gary and Raj. I took Albert for a wander, the lady from the cafe took a shine to him and fed him sausage rolls out of the kitchen window!
The Irish appeared with Barry, Bill and Alan as pacers, 35 mins down after having a tired Leg 4 (what do you expect!) where he had a small hissy fit! We were all ready to go with Fairy, Stuart and Raj joining in on the last leg. I couldn't find a spoon to measure out the special coffee so thought sod it and just tipped loads into the cafetiere and hoped for the best. The Irish couldn't stomach anymore but Barry drank it, declaring it the best coffee and that we'd obviously stuck to the 4 teaspoons rule. Urm, sort of. 4 mins 40 secs later they were off, whooping up the first ascent. I chucked everything, literally, into Mrs Um and made my way steadily towards Newlands up what's called 'the stupid roads' in our house cos they're steep, narrow and surely only for sheep.
Newlands church
I set up and promptly received millions of texts and voicemails wanting updates. I waited on the bridge jumping up and down shouting come on to nobody in particular, watched a chap take the tight turn onto the bridge completely wrong and scrape down the side of his posh car. He then reversed and did it again! Fairy, Stuart, Barry and The Irish appeared at 7.18pm and carried straight on with Barry grabbing some chocolate. As I drove after them to get back to Keswick I realised we were a man down; where was Raj?! I drove back to the carpark thinking if he's not there I can't wait around but thankfully there was Raj wandering up the road. A manic drive back with Raj saying that The Irish really wanted some lucozade. We hurtled into town (ok maybe not hurtled but definitely speeding) as a policeman gave me a 'look'. Heh, we need lucozade I yelled. Just enough time to park up, get to the shop and get to Moot Hall where quite a welcoming commitee were gathered. Dave had driven up from Birmingham after work and had bumped into a couple from Keswick who'd picked up on the attempt on twitter and had come down to see The Irish in, just cos it was so fast! Andy Mouncey and the guys from Apine-Oasis were there, and some of The Irish's friends. Then suddenly there they were, storming up the high street! Paul finished in 17:59:24, quite brilliant! Champagne (and Lucozade) and cheering and lots of smiling, even Albert woofed! 
Happy happy Irish

The next day Barry and Fairy went off for a run (getting lost in Keswick, with a map!) and The Irish and I went for a run/mtb with lots of swearing and wincing from Paul. We'd been invited to Terry and Annie Conway's post wedding bash that night, unbeknown to me and The Fairy so we made a mad shopping trip to Ambleside, accompanied by a very sleepy Stuart, who'd spent the night helping out on another BG attempt, like you do when you're 24/11. We ran round the shops panicking! Sprayed ourselves with testers in Boots, tried on shoes and clothes with Stuart sitting there saying yes that's nice, fighting to keep his eyes open! 
What a fantastic weekend watching quite a fantastic runner do his thing. It helped that The Irish and Barry turned out to be a couple of the nicest people I've ever met. Lots of laughs, beer and cake (supplied by Paul's Mum) and not a lot of sleep, what more do you want?

Paul's brilliant account of his BG can be found here it's well worth a read with some stunning photos.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Scottish Shenanigans

Weekend adventure no 3...Dave, Ant, the Fairy and me travelled up to bonny Scotland planning on recceing the West Highland Way in 2, maybe 3 days. The weather had other plans...

Arrived in Milngavie, Dave and Ant hit the pub, Fairy and I hit the charity shops! We stayed in a campsite just outside the town all ready for a 5am start the next morning.

Carb loading?
Fairy and Ant are my support crew for the WHW race on 23rd June so while Fairy and I ran Dave showed Ant where to meet us. My ankle was still hurting and Fairy had a strangely swollen knee/lower leg from running a marathon the week before so we were both the running wounded.
Approaching the Beech Tree Inn
The run went well, Fairy's knee was hurting but she'd taken some 'super duper' painkillers so we carried on along the loch to Rowardennan.
Ant snoozing at Balmaha

Ant joined us from here with Dave driving to Beinglas Farm. I had to be really cautious landing on my left foot which really slowed me down along the rough track by the Loch, which was annoying as this is my favourite bit of the route. We spotted 2 runners ahead who we were catching. It shows you how spooky the internet can be as I recognised them, knew their names, but we'd never met! I've been reading John Kynaston's blog (Mr Blogtastic) almost daily since 2008, when I first entered the WHW. It's full of really useful and interesting info and well worth a visit. Anyway the runners were Katrina, John's wife and their friend Caroline. After introductions Fairy and I headed off, with me doing my usual spectacular headlong fall (nice black knee) meeting Dave at Beinglas.
As we approached Derrydaroch I spied another familiar figure, it was Mr Blogtastic himself! More introductions, John headed back to meet Caroline and we carried on to Carmyle Cottage to meet Dave.
Cow Poo Corner
We played leapfrog along the route with John and Caroline till just before Crianlarich woods when I stopped and had a chat with them and Fairy pushed on to Auchtertyre, where we were stopping. Ant had run ahead so we all finally met up at Straithfillian Wigwams, where we'd booked a wigwam! The wigwam was really cool, we headed over to the Real Food cafe in Tyndrum to eat, then back for a party with lots of beer, dancing (yes after 50 miles of running!) and a huge fire!
Trouser Socks!
The next day we'd planned to run as far as possible towards Fort William and then finish it off the following day. We awoke to a howling gale! Dave and I ran to Tyndrum and then gave up whilst Ant was itching for a run so we kicked him out of the van at Bridge of Orchy and made him run across Rannoch Moor to Glencoe. As we drove along the A82 to meet him the wind got worse, we saw a motorbike and a big camper van blown off the road, and there were police and fire engines along the road. Sitting in Mrs Um in Glencoe carpark with the rain lashing down and the wind trying it's best to tip the van over we got a bit worried about Ant. Just a bit. 

He appeared finally, thank god, and sitting in the van we decided to head home just as there was a loud banging crash and the front and rear windows of Mrs Um smashed with the wind! That was it, we headed south!

Another adventure ticked off...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Birthday Bruises

We planned a trip to Coniston around my birthday in April, so I worked in the morning and then drove up, Dave and Albertless. Dave was working in Wales and caught the train (or many trains) to Windermere that evening. I ran from Coniston to Tilberthwaite and back in the afternoon, on my own, stopping just before the descent to Coniston just to look about and smile. No one in sight, just me. It was perfect.

Picked up Dave and had a few birthday beers in Windermere, happy days.

The next day Dave and I planned to run from Coniston to Wasdale and back. Ant and the Fairy had come up and were running from Ambleside to Coniston and back, recceing the L50 route, so we were all meeting later. That was the plan...

Had a lovely run down into Seathwaite, talking about the Western States 100, my new OBSESSION. I need to complete a qualifying race in the UK (luckily the WHW) and then enter the race in November, although it's a ballot so I might not get a place this year. In which case I'd just run another qualifier and keep applying; I think if you don't get a place in the first 2 years then you will get a place in the 3rd year of trying!
Stopped off for a spot of bouldering in Seathwaite
Took it really easy, having an impromptu picnic at one point and just enjoying the day. Jogging along the river path into Boot I tripped and fell headlong, twisting my left foot underneath me. Lots of swearing and shaking later, realised I couldn't run on it but could walk if I kept my foot straight, so we headed to the pub, obviously! I left messages with Ant and Fairy telling them where we'd be and we decided to walk; seemed like a good idea at the time.

Knowing the L100 route backwards I hadn't brought a map (1st mistake) so we guessed at the right way to go via the roads. All good, Ant called, they were still running but would head out and look for us when they finished. So on we hobbled! It got colder so I put on everything I had with me, luckily the fashion police weren't on patrol...
Looking a bit of a jumble sale
Coming to a T junction, I thought we should go right but it was a long way back to Coniston, whilst Dave's iphone said, no go left, it's the quickest way. So left it was (2nd mistake). Back into Seathwaite! Still in good spirits, although we had started to ration jelly babies.
Beautiful Limousin Bull in Seathwaite
Headed up Wrynose Pass, with me really limping now, miserable as sin, and no one stopped to help. I got a phone signal at the stop and who should ring but Andy Mouncey, wanting to know where we were meeting the next day. Just hearing a nice, happy voice set me off, full on trembling bottom lip and wailing moment. Lordy, good job we're mates Mounce! Finally got through to Ant and the Fairy, who were desperately trying to find us as a lovely couple stopped and asked if we needed some help! So we cadged a lift with them (it was her birthday too) till we saw Ant's car and were rescued.

Straight to the pub in Coniston, after 2 pints and a massive lamb dinner I didn't care that my foot was swelling nicely. Back in the campsite Ant and the Fairy produced a chocolate birthday cake and homemade blueberry cheesecakes, pink fizz and pressies! The Fairy had bought me some fabulous red and white stripey knee socks that I'd been hankering over in Ambleside; they're sooo long, or rather my legs are sooo short they were christened the Trouser Socks. Ant gave me 10 raffle tickets for a WS entry! I have very nice friends...

We left a drunken Fairy alone in the tent with the chocolate cake (3rd mistake). She stuffed it in her face, went to the loo in the middle of the night, said a polite hello to an elderly lady in the loos till she realised she had chocolate cake ALL over her face, classic.

Woke to a horribly swollen, black foot which has taken weeks to get better, although I can still feel it when running on rough trails. Bugger.