Helvellyn

This weekend i traveled to the Lake District and stopped over for a few nights. I stopped over in Windermere, but didn’t really get into Windermere this time as the main reason for going up was to go up Helvellyn via Swirral Edge. This was the first chance for a while i could get the crampons on and ice axe out.

I don’t think i could have wished for a more perfect day, the snow was amazing, the sky was clear with blue skies and the sun shining. I hit one patch of cloud just as i reached the summit, but this soon passed. And to be honest it made it a little more cooler to reach the top and be engulfed by cloud!

The sun then came back out and i had a bit of food on the top, there was barely any wind. There was the odd gust, which dropped the temperatures down to around -13c, the temperature out of the wind was about -5c. But this didn’t feel bad at all, bit bad on the hands when eating a sandwich. I actually took my coat off and just had a base-layer, t-shirt and an Arc’teryx hoodie on.

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It was an awesome day out, and on the way back down i made a detour to Catstye Cam. I think it took me about 5 hours, 16km and about 900m of elevation. The weather defiantly made the day, it a couple of weeks i’ll be going back to the Lakes to go up Skiddaw and blencathra. Hoping the snow is still there for some epic adventures.

I would defiantly recommend taking a visit to Helvellyn, whether this is in the winter or summer. It’s an easy hike from Ullswater, about 4miles there and back (14km). And theres a few pubs in Ullswater to grab a beer when you’ve done.

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Christmas in Sydney

It seems a bit late, but here goes.

So for Christmas and New Year we went to Sydney, Australia. Two years ago my best friend moved out there, so we decided to visit, spend some time with him and some time touring Sydney. We didn’t really have time to venture any further than Sydney as we only had two weeks. Turns out two weeks in Sydney is pretty much perfect.

We spent the first few days in Long Jetty, about an hour out of Sydney, and where my friend and his family live. Long Jetty is an awesome place, its a small village, at one side is a Lake with two, wait for it, ‘Long Jetty’s’. And the other side is the beach and surf!

The BBQ is where we cooked Christmas Dinner 😉

From Long Jetty we ventured into Hunters Valley to try some wine! This is about 1 hour 30mins from Long Jetty and is defiantly worth the drive. We stopped in an awesome place that is a golf/spa resort. We then did a day of touring some of the vineyards or cellar doors as they kept saying! This was an organised tour, we weren’t drink driving in Oz!!

We then went into Sydney itself. We had 5 days in an Air B&B in the centre. We all had New Years Eve together, with my friend and his wife driving into Sydney and staying in our AirB&B. We also met up with another friend, she’s lived in Oz for about 10 years. So it was nice to catch up and spend New Years Eve with them. We managed to find an empty pub with views of the bridge and fireworks! always a bonus knowing folk who live close.

From there we moved onto Manly for 3 days, we also visited Bondi Beach, but in my opinion Manly is soooo much better. The last time i went to Bondi was quite a few years ago and i kinda remembered that there wasn’t much there, which was part of the decision to stay at Manly. Manly has good shopping, pubs and restaurants. The beach is really good, and a little walk away is Shelly Beach. Plus they have a Patagonia shop, that sells Patagonia Manly t-shirts!! of course i bought one.

From Manly we went back into Sydney and had the last few days in the Four Seasons hotel, which over looks the harbour. Although our room overlooked the city, which was a cool view at night, looked like i was living in Blade Runner in 2019!!! Plus its amazing how much hotels drop their prices after New Year in Sydney. The Four Seasons went from around $500 a night before New Year and $150 after!

So we got to explore Sydney quite a bit, The Rocks area behind the Harbour Bridge is amazing, especially the pubs, a lot of them also have roof terraces that have amazing views. We went to Darling Harbour a couple of times, walked across the bridge to the North side. Had a little walk around Luna Park. the ferries they use to get the Manly, Bondi etc are awesome for the views when leaving Sydney too.

Also……….

As a bonus, our flight was delayed for 4 hours in Sydney, which meant we missed our connecting flight back to the UK! Which meant Emirates gave us a free hotel and 24 hours in Dubai, which also turns out to be pretty much all the time you need in Dubai, if you’re like me, that is. managed to do the Dubai Mall, indoor aquarium and underwater zoo! Who knew you could have an aquarium and zoo in a Mall!! Saw the big buildings, fountains, had food etc.

Next years running events & plans

 

FB4C417E-F055-4ABB-9A0E-6B381C395CE2I finished the last race of the year with the South Yorkshire Cross Country. It was a good race, and with plenty of mud! which is always a plus on a cross country. I really enjoyed these races and will defiantly be doing them next year.

 

 

 

I have managed to book the races i want to do next year, i will probably add on a few more but these will be little club runs for fun.

My first event is the Hardmoors 50 in March. This is a 50 mile race through the North Yorkshire moors, and one i’m looking forward to.

The second race is the Great Lakeland 3 day event, this is in May. A mountain marathon in the Lake District. The rules are more relaxed than a normal mountain marathon and it makes for a good bank holiday weekend. You camp over each night, wake up and start running. Your camping equipment is transported for you, so all you need is your running gear and race vest.

I then have a 55km Ultra in the Lake District, this starts at Ambleside and is in June. It looks like an awesome route, but then again where isn’t there a good route in the Lake District?

So my plan with these two races, and a few other training runs and hikes is to complete all the Wainwrights next year (for people who don’t know, check this out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wainwrights ). The 3 day event should bag me quit a few, and the 55km should get me some too. I plan to start ‘collecting these’ in February, with another trip up in March & April. So i’m hoping to have got the rest of them done by the end of 2019. There is 214 in total and i have already bagged about 20 so far.

81CQw79NJBL._SY606_I have already bought myself a poster for completion of these!!

So… if i can get through the 50miler and can do the 3-day event, doing the elite category. And i survive. My aim is to enter the Cape Wrath for 2020, which is a 400km, 8 day supported race. The Cape Wrath is a trail around the top of Scotland, and looks amazing. The attractive part of doing this race is that it is fully supported.

I also have an 83mile trail event in August, this takes in the whole of the Dales Way, and goes from Windermere in the Lakes to Ickley in Yorkshire. This has a very generous cut off of 36 hours. So in effect, it is walkable in that time frame, or run and have some naps 😉

Thats pretty much it for events i have got booked in, i have entered Stafford half Ironman. But i’m not classing this as one of my main races.

So after August, i’m race free! but i’m seriously considering the Montane Cheviot Goat in December. This is in the Cheviots on the border of England and Scotland, and is pretty much the most remote place in England. Pretty harsh landscape and hills/mountains plus the cold! Sounds good!!

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But first, before any of this, its Christmas and New Year! Which i’m spending in Sydney, Australia. The last time i was there i was 22! Looking forward to going back.

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I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year!

Helsinki trip…..

Went to Helsinki with my mate Bo, same guy i went to Norway with last year. The trip started for me in London, where Bo lives. He lives in the Queens Head, a pub in Piccadilly. He owns the pub, just to clarify that. Spent the day/night in London then headed to Heathrow to catch the plane.

Leaving London, and arriving Helsinki!

We had a day/night in Helsinki to start, we had an Air BnB in the city, which was a really nice apartment and about a 5 mins walk from the main city centre. The city is not really that old, its around 200 years old, but then there was a fire, so most old buildings are around 150 years old. So in city terms its quite modern!

The city is quite, well compared to the likes of London or Paris its quite. Which is good, they have everything you’d expect a European capital to have, its just easier to walk around, get a table etc. They have a metro, which has one line! can’t get it wrong, they have trams running through all parts of the city and the trains are fast and cheap! As we didn’t really have much time on the first day, i dragged Bo into Hard Rock cafe Helsinki, on the basis he’s never been to Hard Rock Cafe. And taking him their made me laugh!

The next day we were picked up to be taken to a hotel we were staying at about 30mins form the city centre. the hotel was awesome, hidden in the trees, and right on the lake. All wood and glass! was brill. We started our Kayaking from there. Around Helsinki is 100’s of islands, so we kayaked the Baltic, around some islands and then got off and had a walk around an Island.

After the Kayak we went back to the hotel, and had a swim in the baltic. The sea was an amazing 25 degrees (Celsius). Finland also has an extraordinary amount of Saunas. Population 5.5m people, Saunas 3m!! they like saunas. So we embraced this and had a sauna, after 10 mins in the sauna, jumped in the Baltic and repeat. Ok the desired effect doesn’t really work when the fucking sea is 25 degrees!

The day after the Kayaking we went bike through the forest and along the coast line. In winter you can actually bike on the sea as its frozen!

 

After these activities we went back to Helsinki and had a few days there. We went to the 1952 Olympic swimming stadium, and had a swim. 50m pool too which was a novelty to swim in. It’s also outdoors, so i can only imagine they use it for 3 months of the year.

We went on a boat tour around the islands which was good, we also went on the stupid red tourist buses and did some exploring. We found some good bars and nice restaurants. One of which we had Reindeer, well worth it if anyone ever comes across it, very nice. They have a few bars that have outdoor swimming pool areas, and surprisingly saunas. One bar on the harbour had a sauna, and little jetty so after the sauna you could jump in the sea! then grab a beer! We somehow managed to walk into Helsinki’s football clubs ground, and there training pitch, while they were training! We went paddle boarding twice! as paddle boarding for two hours is cheaper than a beer! From where you start paddle boarding you can make your way into the Baltic sea! I’d highly recommend doing that!

Helsinki is a awesome city, and if you like outdoors and outdoor activities you should defiantly go. If you want to go for the night life and beer, don’t bother, there isn’t much and the beer isn’t cheap. Apparently the locals get a ferry to Estonia, as its cheaper. Its also pretty much crime free.

Running Adventures

So….. my plan of updating this thing every week properly backfired! about once every 3 months currently!

Anyway, lets say I started the Hardmoors 55, seems better than saying i did it, as ‘did it’ would imply a finish! Which i didn’t do. It was my first DNF, thought i would feel a lot worse for having a DNF. It bugged the shit out of me at the time, felt like a failure and that maybe i had overreached  “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” Arthur C. Clarke

So i beat myself up a little bit (the exact same way i do when i start a sentence with ‘so’), realised that i just need to slap myself, have another go and train smarter! I think the training is the area i need to improve. I dropped out at around mile 30, just before the 3 sisters. My hip started hurting around mile 15, which didn’t bother me too much until about mile 25. I must have been compensating for my left hip on my right side, as my right hamstring and glute started hurting. I just thought dropping out was the most sensible option, to not get too drastically injured and still be able to do the other events i’ve entered. I also pretty much decided the moment i’d quit that i was going back next year. To fucking smash it 😉

Now the weather was bad, with snow, sideways sleet and wind. But i had the right gear and never felt cold or wet, i can’t even blame the weather for sucking!

So the positives and lessons learnt are that, i did 30miles, no small feat in itself. The course is worth running more than once, and i’ll get to! The weather makes the adventure. Fucking stay over, getting up at 3 in morning to run 55 miles is fucking dumb. My flexibility and mobility is zero, i need to work on this. Just because on a training run you can comfortable do 20miles, does not mean you can do 55miles, and doing 40-50 miles per week is not enough. One long run a month of a marathon or more is on the cards when in training for an Ultra.

 

The above stories are a huge over reaction and absolute bollocks. Whoever Bethany Lodge and Graeme Hetherignton are maybe they should have asked the runners, or got off their lazy arses and run it themselves to find out. Useless twats, being good at you job and having some integrity would help.

Last weekend i did the Great Lakeland 3Day event, this is a Mountain Marathon event 3 different classes (as with most mountain marathons). The event is 3 days in the Lake District, Run/Hike camp everyday. You get given a map and have to navigate to the check in points, these are just electronic markers, no people. There is no aid stations so you have to be self sufficient on the Hills/Mountains.  The event was brilliant, on day 1 i did the the Elite class, 30 miles with 3,000 metres of elevation. Day 2 and 3 i dropped down to the lowest class, covering 20 miles on day 2 and 10 miles on day 3. I’ve been to the Lake District before, but not like this weekend. This was up in the Western Lakes, a place i’ve  never been before. It’s part of the Lakes that isn’t really busy compared to Windermere or Keswick way out. There is basically no one on the hills. We started from Ennerdale, went up Hen Comb, down to Crummock Water, up on to Dodd and then up again onto Whiteside running the ridge past Hopegill Head onto Grisdale Pike, back down and then up to Barrow, from their along the ridge onto Scar Crags and Sail, then a steep down and up to Knott Rigg. Down from there all the way over to Dale Head, over to Hindscarth and onto Robinson. Finishing at Buttermere, the new camp site. Second day was backup to Hindscarth along to Dale Head, and down into Little Town, where i had Soup and a roll 😉 From there up back onto Knott Rigg and back down to Buttermere. The 3rd day i just walked it back from Buttermere to Ennerdale. I would defiantly recommend the Great Lakeland 3Day, the adventure and exploring is amazing.

 

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Now it’s onto some triathlons…………