Josh Naylor Challenge Charity Run report

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Tom Phillips sent in this report of his Josh Naylor Challenge run during which he generously  raised funds for CAN’s Earthquake Appeal:

30 SUMMITS    48 MILES     17,000 FEET OF ASCENT     £2,400 RAISED

“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.

Start: Pooley Bridge – 7.50 am.
The forecast strong winds and heavy rain overnight had not materialised into anything too bad, and the views towards High Street suggested that things may improve as cloud levels seemed to be rising.

Along the first section to High Street we had great views across Ullswater and over to Striding Edge and Swirral Edge which were in sharp focus in the early morning night. The early cloud was clearing and the weather was improving. I dropped a couple of minutes behind schedule, but I wasn’t overly concerned as I new there would be chances to gain this back later in the day. At Kirkstone Pass I only stopped for just over a minute before starting the stiff climb of over 1,000 feet to Red Screes summit. I was met by some friends on the top and we ran along the busy paths to Fairfield in good weather but with strong winds from the West at times.

At Dunmail I was 7 minutes up on schedule after 4 hours 18 minutes of running and not far of a full marathon distance already completed. Now I was down to just one support runner, Steve Rhodes. The rough ground between Steel Fell and Rosset Pike is my least favourite section of the challenge, lots of grassy trackless and boggy sections and still that relentless schedule! Just keep plugging away and hang in there I kept thinking.

Bowfell marks the return to “proper mountains” and I was 10 minutes up on schedule with the final summit of Great End looking quite close now. Positive thoughts really are a important on challenges like this, and I was looking forward to the descent down The Band from Great End. A few weeks earlier in blizzard conditions I had nearly come to grief on this descent though, tripping on my poles I had flipped head over heels off a ledge, fallen 10 feet and cracked rib (I was lucky to land on grass not rocks!). Today though the rocks and boulders were dry and although I deviated from the path towards the bottom I battled on down poor scree and boulders and reached Sty Head 16 minutes up.

My support crew (Penny, Phil and young Joshua back again) were waiting at the stretcher box and so sitting down briefly I gulped down some energy drink and eat a few bits and pieces. I got up but my team protested saying you’ve only been here a minute, are you going already?!

So I sat down to have my photo taken with Penny’s Collie dog who was enjoying the adventure as well.
I was now lucky enough to have Dave Swift as well as Steve for support to the end. It’s a big ascent of nearly 1,500 feet up to the summit of Gable, but I felt amazingly fresh and rattled it off in 27 minutes, well ahead of schedule now! The winds were dropping and the majestic line of the next section of the route lifted my spirits further. Diving down the steep gullies to the West of Gable we whooped with joy on the superb scree descent.

More time gained over Kirkfell and Pillar before the brief detours to Scoat Fell and Steeple. Steve was tiring after is superb support from Dunmail and just running with Dave now I pointed out the last three summits, Haycock, Seatallan and Middle Fell. So close now! What a privilege it was to have a day in the mountains like this. Late afternoon sunshine illuminated the Wasdale Screes and the peaks of the central lakes.

The last short ascent of the day made me realise I didn’t have much energy left. I had judged my pace well and shook hands with Dave on the final summit before starting on the last descent to Greendale.

People have been amazingly generous with donations to the Community Action Nepal appeal – thank you”

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