Archive for the ‘Feet in the Clouds’ Category

Feet in the Clouds

In Bob Graham Round, Feet in the Clouds, Keswick on October 18, 2005 at 3:38 pm

A Tale of Fell Running and Obsession
by Richard Askwith

I read this 340 page diary of one mans love for fell running and the lake district whilst on holiday in Keswick in August this year.

During a particularly wet day I spotted the book for sale in a book shop/cafe up in the Whinlatter National Forest Park . I suppose I picked it up partly because I love the hills and fells in the Lake District and also because I have always admired fell runners.

Running up and down mountains is almost an “alien concept” for someone like me from Suffolk as we don’t have any any mountains . In Suffolk we have the odd hill but no areas which you can truly describe as hilly.

True fell running is the art of running up and down trackless mountains unlike many events around the world know a days which follow well marked tracks. The book explores this issue and laments the fact that in recent years organisers of fell races are increasingly under pressure when it comes to staging events. It must be difficult to stage events which involve people hurtling down the side of unmarked mountain routes in all weather conditions at the best of times but increasingly now when there is a ‘sue culture’.

This book explores a number of themes including the history of fell running, the great fell runners such as Joss Naylor, Bill Teasdale,Kenny Stuart,Billy Bland and Helene Diamantides, the cut throat battle between the AAA and fell running associations and the authors own pursuit of one of the toughest running challenges going the Bob Graham Round.

For me the physical challenge of the Bob Graham Round is probably the best part of the book. It commences from the centre of Keswick at the Moot Hall. The objective being to traverse 42 peaks in a circular run within 24 hours arriving back at the Moot Hall in Keswick. The total distance if you don’t get lost is 72 miles which includes 27,000 feet of ascents and declines.

This is a well written book and worth a read even if you never contemplate fell running yourself.

Keswick to Threlkeld

In Bob Graham Round, Brooks, Feet in the Clouds, Keswick, running shoes, Threlkeld on August 26, 2005 at 12:27 pm

4pm 7.5miles in 1hr 1min and 5 secs.
Year to date mileage 787
Month to date 107 miles

A repeat of yesterdays run along the old Keswick to Threlkeld railway line. This really is a great walk or cycle ride for anyone visiting the area. It is pretty much all on the flat which is unusual for this area. You cross over and under many bridges. With the recent heavy rain the River Greta was in full flow. The only disappointment is when you reach Threlkeld and find your way is blocked by the very busy A66.

Running Shoes

I currently prefer the Brooks Addiction range of shoes. I have the Brooks Addiction 6 model which seem to be extra tough on the outer sole. I have high arches and seem to over pronate leading to wear on the outersoles. However the Brooks shoes seem to last longer before the outersole is worn so they suit me well even they feel a little heavy.

However I always used to swear by New Balance so when I chanced upon a New Balance factory shop in Keswick I bought a pair of 1060’s . I wore these on the run today and they seem a lot lighter though I am not sure if they will cope with my over pronation, only time will tell.

Fell Walking

I have spent most of my vacation walking in the fells rather than running. Keswick is a perfect base for exploring the Northern Fells. If you are based in Keswick you can walk up to many fells without needing to use a car. Overlooking Keswick are Latrigg (1203 feet) and Skiddaw at (3054 feet) . If you take a short boat ride on Derwentwater you can then climb up the very popular Cat bells ( 1482 feet) Maiden Moor (1837 feet) and High Spy ( 2143 feet).

A short drive to Braithwaite enables you to to undertake a lovely ridge walk climbing up Grisedale Pike and circling around over Eel Crag (2749 feet).

On 2 or 3 occasions I saw a different breed of runner out on the fells , the kind of runner that you look at in awe and wonder just how they have the nerve and strength to run up and down the side of mountains. If you lived up in the lake District and had a love for the hills then it would be natural to want to run over the fells.

I am currently reading ‘Feet in the Clouds’ a story of fell running and one mans obsession with undertaking the legendary Bob Graham Round. You can qualify to be a member of the Bob Graham Club if you can run within 24 hours a set course, up and down 42 peaks covering a distance of 72 miles. More on this another time