John o Groats to Lands End

After two long days of running on tarmac, I was relieved to see the start of a trail path I would take. The B7078 snakes its way down through southern Scotland criss crossing the M74 every now and again. I stepped onto the stony trail and smiled to myself. There is nothing like that feeling of being all alone on a trail, jogging along at your own pace, enjoying nature. After 33km that day, I had another 7km to run on this path, then 7km on the road until my campsite. Life was good.

The path was wide and comfortable to run on. To my right was a forrest of densely packed trees and to my left small mounds of grass, with occasional clearings you could pitch a tent on if you needed to.

Peaceful trail path in southern Scotland

I came to a section of the path that had been taken over by a wide stream. There were no stones to cross over on and it was deeper than my trainers. The sun was shining so I took off my shoes and socks and paddled across, enjoying the feel of the cold water on my feet as I made my way to the other side.

Setting off again I was looking for a cross roads of the paths ahead. The direct path ahead was called Old Road. It was marked clearly on my watch but also on google maps. I came to the junction and there was nothing straight ahead of me but trees. Lots and lots of trees.

To my right was a path which I tried out in case it led somewhere useful. It ended after just 200 metres with a pile of rubble and a digger. Ah, not too useful then.

To my left was another path. I couldn’t see the top of the path or where it went but I could hear cars in the distance. I had two choices. Go back 7km or go up the unknown path towards the sounds of the cars. I chose the latter. It was a steep climb but my frustration at potentially losing time meant that I jogged uphill. This was unusual on this trip as the 12kg backpack normally meant this was not worth the effort.

Reaching the top, sweating profusely, I found myself on the quietest A road I’d seen since the highlands. There was a recently mowed grass verge on the right to walk on but with hardly any cars about, I ran on the road, only stepping off onto the verge when I needed to.

I reset my route and my watch told me I had 9km left. Phew, the alternate route hadn’t added too much mileage then. After a few km I saw a viewing point on the other side of the road. Crossing to take photos of the views I realised this was the Devils Beeftub I was looking at. It was utterly stunning. As I carried on down the hill, I enjoyed beautiful views to my left as I jogged. Even when my jog turned into a painful hobble for the last few km, I was thankful for the missing road earlier on. If the road had been there, I would have missed out on these views – these moments. I was happy. I exhaled slowly and breathed in the views, the feeling of being here, being at peace, being content.

The Devils Beeftub
The Devils Beeftub

The idea of running JOGLE was in my head and my dreams for many years. The idea of running via the 3 mountains came about just two years before I set off. It was also around this time that work agreed I could take the time off and I set about finding the right coach for me.

Although I wanted my adventure to feel free and not too overly planned there was still a lot of planning that had to be done in the time up to the run. A rough plan of the route, an idea of timing, ensuring training and handover at work, practicing with kit and of course the actual physical training, running, walking, strength work and cross training. Thinking back I’m glad I did this over such a long period of time (1.5 years).

I set off on 3rd September from John O Groats with my husband there to wave me off. I didn’t want to let him go. The confidence I’d previously had, left me completely in the last hour and I found myself clinging to him tightly. So many doubts set in. What was I doing? Could I do this? Wild camping alone on my first night? I had very few places to get water or food for the first 3 days. I was carrying my water filtration kit and a lot of camping food and snacks. My kit weighed in at 12kg and boy could I feel it on that first day.

A nervous smile at the start

I finally let go of my husband, turned and ran without looking back. I couldn’t look. I had to just think forwards, onwards. Perhaps it was this mindset that meant I ran well or rather too fast on that first day.

I paid the price for going too fast and getting too giddy in the afternoon of Day 1. My stomach started to cramp and I found myself constantly eyeing up fields left and right for somewhere to take a rest stop.

I managed 47km on the first day and found somewhere perfect to wild camp. Snuggling up in my sleeping bag on that first night I felt my nerves gradually ease away. I’d done my first day. I was alone and felt completely safe and happy. I knew I had to find water the next day but for now I was relaxed and lay with my kindle reading Jenny’s Tough’s Solo; finally drifting off into a contented sleep under the stars.

My journey from John o Groats to Lands End took me through the remote highlands down to the Great Glen Way and onto Fort William. I met up with my husband there as we were going to climb Ben Nevis together. Unfortunately my feet had other ideas and struggling to walk at this point the idea of climbing mountains was abandoned. Instead I took a rest day, hobbled about Fort William and purchased a new waterproof poncho to go over me and my rucksack for the rest of the journey.

I was, and still am gutted about the mountains, but my feet were such a mess I was struggling to walk. At the time I thought it was the mileage. I later found out it was the trainers I was wearing. Unfortunately I found this out too late. I did, however, decide to keep the route of going via the mountains. I wanted this adventure to be unique – to be my own version of JOGLE.

I said goodbye to my husband in Fort William and set off to run the West Highland Way (which I can highly recommend) in new trainers. My feet slowly recovered (although I put this down to the trail paths at the time). Like the Great Glen Way it was utterly stunning and this definitely made the mileage and hills easier. In fact I preferred the hilly days as you were rewarded with beautiful views.

Happy on the Westhighland Way

From the West Highland Way I made my way down to Glasgow and faced a new difficulty. The urban jungle. So many large roads and roundabouts, multiple pedestrian crossings. Lots of people and lots of noise.

Southern Scotland down into England was possibly the least exciting part of my journey. This was by choice. There are some very beautiful places you can run but I chose the shortest and least interesting route. It did make for swift progress to England though. Once south of the border I was excited as I was now going to head into the Lake District and over to Buttermere to meet my husband. Meeting up there on a Saturday morning in gorgeous sunshine, we climbed Scarth Gap and Blacksails Pass together heading for Wasdale Head where we both enjoyed a rest day together.

Together again going up Scarth Gap

The day of leaving Wasdale Head was a difficult one for many reasons. I had to part with my husband again and get back into solo mode. I had to walk over Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass, which are incredibly steep (33% in some sections). I was back in the same trainers I’d worn in the first 9 days and realised after only a few km they were the source of my pain. At the end of this difficult day of hobbling, I made it to Ambleside where I walked into a hiking shop, bought some new trainers and threw the old trainers in the bin as I left. Goodbye instruments of torture!

The next week was one of the hardest of the journey. I covered high mileage every day and spent my evenings working on routing and finding places to stay/sleep. This would be a combination of camping, hostels and B&Bs. For the latter I was constantly contacting them and asking for discounts where possible. I had almost no rest time so would make the most of the running/walking time, when I could just let my mind wander and not think about route planning and admin.

After reaching Chester I knew I had some slightly shorter days ahead but I was now going to have to turn right and head around the coast of Wales. Part of me wanted to just go directly south as I could finish JOGLE in two weeks from this point. But I’d promised myself that climbing mountains or not I wanted my JOGLE to be unique. I still had to head around Wales to circumnavigate Snowdon.

My first day running along the coastal trails of North Wales was very very very wet. It was also really windy and my black poncho would fly up every few minutes. I’d lift my arms out, grab the flying poncho and yank it back over my backpack to keep everything dry.

On my first night in Wales, my brother and mum came out to meet me in Trelogan and took me out for a meal. It was so lovely to see them. My brother made me some make shift shoes out of plastic bags to where to the pub as my trainers were soaking wet.

How to go the pub when your trainers are wet!

This was essentially my fourth ‘support point’. My fifth point was near Snowdon where my PT/friend Emma was coming over to pick me up and take me to Anglesey for the night at her cabin. She dropped me off the next day at the same point. Other than my 5 support/kit exchange points on the journey I did the whole thing self supported. (Self Supported is where you may carry your own kit but also supplement this with getting food/water/accommodation en route. It can only be sourced in a way that is available to anyone taking on the adventure. In other words strangers can help you but a friend bringing you kit is classed as support).

Me and Emma. She looked after me and took me to her cabin in Anglesey for the night.

The run through the rest of Wales was largely wet and hilly. That’s a reasonable summary of how it felt :-). It was, however, also so so beautiful. Most memorable was the mountain paths to Llandiloes from Machynlleth and from Llandrindod Wells to Talgarth. The sun came out on that second day and there were breathtaking views the whole day.

Leaving Wales and heading to England via the incredibly long Severn Bridge was so exciting. I’d had a great day so far that day. The sun was shining, I’d had lunch with Abichal from Ultrarunning World in Chepstow and I was finally going to be back in England for the last stretch to Lands End. It felt like the end was in sight.

The last 12 days took me through Monmouth, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. I had a day walking with my son, who came out to meet me. I was thrilled to hear him say that I’d inspired him to do something like this one day. What else could a mum want?

There are a lot of hills in Devon and Cornwall. I’d been warned about this so it came as no surprise. None the less my Achilles started to complain in the last week and I took to walking backwards up some of the hills.

On the last morning, I woke up in Penzance feeling giddy with excitement. I wasn’t sure what time to set off. I’d told my husband who was meeting me at Lands End that I’d get there at 12 lunch and not before. I didn’t know though if my legs would be tired knowing they would be stopping soon or if I’d have more energy than ever before. In the end I set off at a time that allowed me to make it not long after 12 if I was slow and I’d simply walk a little if I was too fast.

8km into my my mere 19km I realised I was going too fast. I allowed myself to walk for a time and enjoy the feeling of this being the last day. This is the last time you will ever have this moment. Enjoy it Lorna.

With 3km to go I found myself on the last stretch of the A30 heading for the end of my journey. I couldn’t believe it. How had I made it here? Obviously I knew the answer to this, but it just didn’t seem real.

In the last hundred metres I could see my husband on the finishing line. Standing near him was my son. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was supposed to be up north at our house this weekend. I pointed at him and promptly started crying. Just as I started crying, I noticed my brother pop out from behind a wall on the left. I was so shocked and emotional. I ran over the finishing line grabbing my brother in a big bear hug, sobbing on his shoulder. Reaching out I gave my son a big hug and then hugged and kissed my husband.

The last hour of my adventure was filled with congratulations, photos at the signpost and a lovely mug of tea and cake in the cafe. I felt elated, happy and in a state of shock all at once. It has taken time for it all to sink in. I’m not sure it fully has yet.

Elated at Lands End after completing 1855km, 26066m of ascent in 49.5 days 😁

There are so many photos and moments to share I couldn’t include them all above here. I’ve included a number of other favourite photos and moments below.

My makeshift waterproof cover (bin bag) for my skort
The Shin Falls where I saw a salmon jumping upstream
The top of the Devils Staircase
This tunnel was so low I had to bear crawl under it
Happy snuggly times in my tent (with breakfast)
Out to dinner with my mum and brother
Emma cooking me pasta
Rob came out to see me near Abergavenny
Karen came to see me in Tiverton
My much loved stove
The mining trails in Cornwall
Reaching the sea near Marazion
My brother in the foreground and my husband on the left
My son on the left – my emotional cup runneth over
After the signpost photos. My son Tom (left), my husband Chris (middle) and me right.
After I finished we went for a walk in Penzance. Enjoying the views and fresh air before we all went for a meal and some celebratory drinks.

John o Groats to Lands End run starts Saturday

I (probably) won’t be writing blogs whilst doing my run (unless I get blotto on whiskeys and start rambling) but we (hubby or myself) will be updating Twitter or the Facebook page see below. If you wish to follow my ups and downs (eek) then take a look there. I also have a tracker which goes live on Saturday 3rd Sept. I’ll post this separately but it can also be found on https://lornatri.com/under JOGLE tracker 😄🙏

Twitter: @lornarunsjogle

Facebook: Lorna runs 3 peaks JOGLE

Views on our way — already so stunning

Tracker has arrived! – 8 days to go

With just 8 days to go my tracker arrived this week and today I’ve been testing it out. The tracker will be used when I do my run so that anyone can follow me and see where I’m up to in the journey (see JOGLE tracker in the menu).

The tracker will go officially live on 3rd September. For now its in test mode (when I switch it on).

Today I’ve been out and about in the car and also walking here and there. Below a screen shot after I visited some shops.

You’ll see the tracker also has a donate button which links directly to the fundraising pages for Mind and the Menopause Charities.

Tracker location updates every few minutes.

When I start you can go to lornatri.com, find JOGLE on the menu and JOGLE tracker on the submenu. Click on the link there and you will be able to follow me as I go on my adventure.

3 weeks and 6 days to go!!

The start of my JOGLE adventure is approaching fast. I have moments of ooh I cant wait and moments of ‘have I got everything’? Am I ready? And these last two weeks I’ve even had moments of ‘oh god will it even happen’?

The last thought was brought on by the need to sort out a mini medical thing (nothing serious) but something that none the less had to be sorted out preferably before JOGLE. I’ve been on the edge of my seat for days and finally I’ve got a date to have it sorted out mid August. I’ll need a week to two weeks to recover before running and thats literally all I’m getting before I need to head up to Scotland. Tight timing but what’s an adventure without a bit of excitement before hand?!! 😬

Since my Lake District weekend I had an easy week and a busier training week this last week. I’ve run or hiked 70km this week and had beautiful weather for most of it. I definitely feel a lot fitter. I covered some of this with my JOGLE weighted backpack and some with my smaller Salomon pack.

My coach’s advice for the remaining weeks is to focus on strength and nutrition. I’m to build a body that is more resistant to getting ill or weak basically. This has always been important but its now more important than cardio for the remaining time before I go. As he rightly points out I will continue to improve my cardio as I go along my journey but I will get tired, lose sleep, not get enough to eat and I need to be as strong as I can to minimise the impact of that.

I like the advice I should eat well over the last weeks and I’m happily going out for a curry tonight 😁. I don’t think thats what he meant though. I will need to eat lots but also well. I will try I promise.

My practice weekends were a reminder of how incredibly long the days can get and how tired I might feel. They were also a nice realisation that I end up a bit hobbly in the evenings. Sleep is magical though and I would wake up in the morning with new legs.

I will do a kit layout next weekend. There’s a last minute change as my water bladder broke this morning but other than that I’m all set to go.

In other news I’ve written another article for Ultrarunningworld.co.uk and I’ve been asked to do a talk at the Bristol running show in November. Just need to do it now!!

Oh and a lovely chap on WordPress and from Wasdale Mountain Rescue has offered to escort us up Scafell Pike. How nice is that 😁.

Below some photos of my runs/walks this week. Top ones are up on Jacobs Ladder/Kinder Scout and last few are up by Mellor Cross.

JOGLE practice weekend 1 – walking through fields of tufty bits la la la….

So I’ve just back from my first John o Groats to lands end practice weekend. 105km over 3 days and all in all it went really well. I definitely learnt a lot though about what works and what doesn’t work, which will prove really useful.

Day 1: Home to Chelford: On Thursday I set off just after lunch and ran 30km to my first campsite. It was insanely hot 🥵 and despite suncream I did get a bit sunburned.

At the beginning I didn’t really know what pace to go at. My bag plus waist bag weighted 9kg so it was always going to be slow but what should my jog/walk ratio be? For the first 2 hours I managed about 80% jogging and felt really comfortable with that.

Along the canal

On the way by the canal, I stopped for some lucozade at a pop up shop. There I got speaking to this couple. She asked me where I was going etc and I told her about JOGLE. She said ooh thats amazing and asked for the facebook page details. I’ve just checked today and she’s made a donation to Mind. It says ‘from Janet – the lady at the cafe on the canal’. How nice is that?! Awesome.

Happy in the sun

After that excitement, my run slowed considerably. I started to cross fields that were overgrown and where the footpath signs were a bit hit and miss……this became a walk.

Just diverting into the fields

After an hour or so of field meandering I rerouted and found a nice easy road to follow to a pub for tea. This added a few km but it was worth it. Full of a delicious salad and haloumi I walk/jogged onto my campsite for the night.

The campsite and facilities were fantastic. I had a field to myself with my own shower/toilet block that no one else appeared to be using – awesome! The people that ran the place were weird though. When I arrived the man in the reception area told me that he didn’t deal with campers and bookings. I would need to speak to his wife. Where is your wife? Oh she is driving that tractor over there. You’ll have to go over and speak to her. She was two fields away so I trotted off to chase down the tractor………

Once caught up we had this really bizarre conversation where I really felt I was inconveniencing her for wanting to check my booking, find a pitch and know where the facilities were. Tres tres odd!

Immaculate shower block and toilets just for moi

None the less I slept well in my lonely field and got up ready to run my longest day of 41km.

Day 2: Chelford to Wincle via Astbury

Delightfully, annoyingly my first 20km of the day were field, field, field, field….you get the picture. I’ve learnt that when you carry 9kg jogging on tufty, bumpy fields and navigating Styals and gates is very tricky. In fact I had to walk a lot of this as jogging was just proving a waste of energy versus the speed you could attain. This is a shame as this is normally the terrain I prefer but I guess its horses for courses and it’s really useful to know this now.

Another set of fields – pretty though huh

After this I found some lovely quiet runnable paths into Astbury (fun times). I ran through/past this huge house where the owner was out tending his garden. It was a public footpath I swear. We started a conversation and it turned out his stepson had run the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland doing 2 marathons a day. Yikes says I. I couldn’t imagine doing two a day. One was enough! Hats off to him. We had a lovely chat for a while and I continued on my way.

I stopped for a really nice lunch in Astbury and got to charge up my devices and cool down with an ice Coca Cola.

Nom nom nom

After lunch I went onto a canal for a while and got really excited as this was great running ground. Unfortunately I’ve learnt the hard way now that jogging immediately after a large focaccia cheese melt with chips is not a good idea. Ask no questions but lets just say the trowel on the back of my rucksack is handy.

The last 15km of the day started to go uphill and through woods. It was beautiful and shady. I really enjoyed this bit although jogging was impossible due to the elevation and tree roots everywhere. Still worth it for the views though.

Up in the forest

Finally I made it to the pub where I was camping in the field behind. I was so excited to have made it and thought I’d done about 44km but couldn’t be sure as there was no internet or Wi-Fi. I enjoyed another dehydrated meal. Yummy daal with spinach and went into the pub for a pint of Bosley Cloud (at least I think thats what it was called). Very very nice. Beer does taste even better after a run.

Yes! I’ve arrived – a pint please 🍺

Day 3: The Wild Boar Inn Wincle to Home

I got up excited knowing I was going to be running home today. I was also going to meet my husband for brunch so had an incentive to get a shift on. After the first 1km of field trudgery I discovered I had 4G and decided to replot my route to avoid fields.

More fields…. Beautiful day

Hurrah!! I felt elated after that – running well for 2 hours to meet my husband at Waterside Cafe in Bollington. I think I had pancakes but its hard to say for sure since I inhaled them 😋.

Back on the canal
Hubby arrivee! Time for brunch 😋

The last 16km was an easy flat run along a canal and local trail. My energy felt good, the bag felt fine too. My blisters were starting to become an issue so I need to look into how to avoid these/manage these better for next time.

I’m now looking forward to a well earned chippy tea with a beer. What else could a girl want? 😀

Other pictures from the weekend below:

Gorgeous views at Wincle
The start of the climb into the woods
Breakfast. Vanilla shake and coffee. The ‘shake’ was revolting 😂. I ended up having a few nuts for breaky.
Nearly at the Wild Boar Inn – just another 10% to go…
Ok so I’ve been really mean to fields. Here is a perfect one with a lovely runnable path and everything – bliss 😁☀️

The Cleveland Way – the Yellow Brick Road

Last week we walked the Cleveland Way. Well, technically the Cleveland Way stretches from Helmsley to Filey but we only had a timeline of one week and decided to cover the stretch from Sutton Bank to Scarborough in that time. This was first and foremost a holiday but had the advantage of being great training for JOGLE as we would carry everything we needed on our backs and camp along the way.

We started in Sutton Bank bottom left. This is just a few miles outside of Thirsk.

We set off on a Thursday after work for Thirsk and stayed over in a really nice Wetherspoons hotel/pub. I have to say I’d recommend these. Really good value. We slept well and ate well for very little cost.

Day 1 – Sutton Bank to Ingleby (23.55km – 543m of ascent)

On Friday morning we set off at a respectable 9am in a taxi from Thirsk heading for Sutton Bank. The starting point for us (and for most people would be Day 2 of the complete walk) is high up on a hill. The taxi ramped up the 25% winding hill to the top where we got out at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre for our start.

We started following the signs for the Cleveland Way but also had the route on our Fenix watches. It’s incredibly easy to follow and there are regular signs with little acorns on. The weather was initially quite sunny but it did cloud over as the day went on. It made for a very pleasant walking temperature.

Excited we are on our way!

After a few km we came across a little cafe (High Paradise Farm) in the middle of nowhere (or so it felt). There, we were able to get some coffees and cake and make a fuss of the resident dog which came to visit each table.

The views were spectacular and although there was some gentle undulation, the majority of this day was spent high up on a plateau, taking in the views for miles and miles underneath rolling clouds and blue skies.

We followed the path which was nearly always a sandstone path, which wound its way along the plateau and which you could see for a mile or more into the distance. It looked like the yellow brick road. Follow, follow, follow…..

An hour or so into our walk we got hungry and decided to squat down in front of a stone wall to hide from the strong wind, so we could get out our stoves and cook up some noodles. We followed this up with a nice brew each and then set off again on our way.

I should add at this point that we both carried all our own stuff. I took my JOGLE bag. It’s 30litres. I also have a 3litre waist bag. I’ll do a separate post on my kit at a later point but I can fit everything I need to survive in these bags. Chris had a much larger bag but essentially had the same stuff. He had two additional things for comfort, but mostly had a much more organised bag with things wrapped up separately for ease of use. My bag was more ‘stuff it all in’. It’s simply a choice of functionality versus weight/size and I decided to go with the exact kit I will be taking for JOGLE.

We eventually started to descend towards Osmotherley and found a lovely cafe where we had toasted sandwiches and some cold drinks. There was yet another ‘live in’ dog who came round and made loving eyes at us with his favourite toy in his mouth. Aww.

After Osmortherley there was a climb upwards again and we started to walk though woodland past the first of many fields of bluebells. Finally we descended quite sharply through the wood and navigated a very narrow path through the trees and over muddy ditches. This bit was ‘off’ the Cleveland Way and was simply to get us to our campsite for the night. It was at this point that Chris stepped down into a ditch that was much deeper than anticipated. There was much swearing. Being behind him I was able to find a different way but then had to scramble up a bank and tripped over some sort of sharp plant entrails. I adorned the long scratches across my shins for the rest of the trip.

A km on and we made it to the Bluebell pub where we were camping in the garden. As we arrived we heard a cuckoo nearby making that distinctive sound. After some dinner and beers in the pub we retired early to our tents to read and get an early night.

Day 2: Ingleby to Chopgate (20km – 846m ascent)

In the morning we took advantage of breakfast at the pub and then set off to rejoin the Cleveland Way.

Back on the yellow brick road

Day 2 was probably the hardest. It started off straight up a hill and was steep enough for a mini scramble at the top. Once up, the day proceeded to continue with many ascents/descents, four of which were steep up/down. Many of the downs were man made stone steps, which I find not only scary but also quite difficult as they never make the steps deep enough for a full foot. So you find yourself stepping down sideways then shuffle over, then a few more sideways steps, negotiate a bigger drop, grab something (oh yeah there isn’t anything) and so on. For me this was mentally harder than physically. I had to stop and pause now and again just to get on top of my breathing (due to feeling uncomfortable with the drops).

One of the peaks

The views on this day were astonishingly beautiful though. This is often the way. The best views are achieved by making the scariest ascents and descents. In one particular valley en route we stopped off at a lovely cafe (Lordstones) and parked our bums in the shade as it was an incredibly hot day. The food and drinks were much appreciated as was the brief respite from the up/down day.

Closer to Chop Gate we saw a sign that pointed to the village and decided to follow this rather than our original route to get there. We think it saved us 1-2km. On arriving at Chop Gate we found the Buck Inn pub where we were staying and put up our tents in the back garden, Wolfgang and his staff are excellent and very helpful. There was only us camping there but there were other people walking the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast staying in rooms in the pub.

Camping in the garden

We had access to a shower room and toilet and loved staying here. There was a peahen (we think) living in the garden. He made a noise that sounded like one of those foot driven pumps you blow up a paddling pool with 😂. Eee’errr, eee’errrr. We called him Mr Squeaky.

We had both dinner and breakfast in the pub and the food was excellent. There was also a choice of German foods and German music playing in the background, whilst we ate.

Day 3: Chop Gate to Kildale (17.6km – 440m of ascent)

Waving goodbye to Mr Squeaky, we set off on what became the easiest day of hiking. The weather was warm but there was a constant breeze all day that made it perfect for walking. There was just one up at the beginning and one down at the end. We spent the rest of the walk up on a plateau with beautiful views all around, surrounded by moorland and the yellow brick road. There were no cafes en route so we stopped and shared an adventure meal of mashed potatoes and vegetables around midday.

Up on the plateau you can see Roseberry Topping in the distance (the hill with the little peak).

Arriving at Kildale we were both pretty tired. On reflection the previous day had caught up with us and we probably hadn’t eaten enough.

We arrived at Kildale camping barn farm and found that the owners were away on holiday. There were some people there doing an archeological dig and they showed us where the kitchen, showers (although these required money which we didn’t have) and toilets were. They didn’t know anything about us camping though. We went ahead and camped there for the night in the camping garden and were the only ones there. It was great to have the kitchen to ourselves and we cooked ourselves some more adventure food. Unfortunately we’d run out of snacks and I admit we went to bed a bit hungry.

There was a bit of a storm in the night and the tents shook but they stayed in place as they should do. Despite this, we slept incredibly well and got up to make our one and only adventure food breakfasts (chocolate muesli). It was gorgeous so I’ll definitely be getting more of those. We met the owners son before we left who checked in to make sure we’d made ourselves at home. Yes we did!

Still feeling a bit peckish we set off on our way.

Day 4: Kildale to Saltburn (24.74km – 611m ascent)

We knew today was a long day but we also knew it would end with a stay at a B&B in Saltburn and I was looking forward to a decent shower. Chris was looking forward to chips by the sea.

I set off on this day in a bit of a low mood. I think it was just lack of food on the previous day combined with the knowledge we would be walking 25km, our longest day to date. Fortunately a few km into our walk my mood picked up. This walk was probably my favourite day. It was very undulating but I don’t mind ascents and the descents were much more Lorna friendly. We passed many beautiful view points and walked through Forests and moorland.

We stopped en route for some noodles but it wasnt enough and by the time we found a cafe at 16km we were incredibly hungry. We both inhaled some toasties, cake, coffees and soft drinks. The Chase cafe was lovely and played 40/50’s music and had pictures of 40’s/50’s stars on the walls.

Arriving in Saltburn we eventually found our B&B and immediately unpacked all our stuff all over the room to dry out our tents and air sleeping bags etc.

The shower was unfortunately not the best but I managed to clean myself, my hair and my top with hand soap. (I only took two tops which I switched daily and washed when it was possible).

Saltburn was very picturesque and we went to a chippy cafe overlooking the beach and had chips with curry.. sauce/gravy and I had the battered fish. It was all delicious.

Day 5: Saltburn to Hinderwell (17.64km – 459m of ascent)

Day 5 was a special day as it was the first day of walking along the coast line. I was nervous it would be all ups and downs (well worried about steep downs) but it was a fairly easy day made even easier by beautiful weather and stunning views.

Between Skinningrove and Staithes there is a sculpture by Artist Katie Ventress celebrating 50-years of mining at Boulby. The miner in the photo below is sat at a ‘bait’ table, where miners sit to take a break and eat lunch.

We stopped in the picturesque village of Staithes and had teacakes and ice cream.

The descent into Staithes
First ice cream of many

We arrived at the campsite in Hinderwell early due to it being a shorter days walk.

Serenity campsite has to be the nicest, plushest campsite I’ve ever been to. It had a shower/toilet block which was posher than the one we’d had at the B&B. I still only had hand soap to wash my hair (but hey it works). There was also a great kitchen and another lounge type cabin which had Wi-Fi where we spent the evening reading our books.

We went to The Badger Hounds pub across the road for dinner. It was easily the tastiest food I’ve had in a long time. I would give it 5*. You know when you just keeping saying mmmm. This just finished off a perfect day and one of my favourite days of the trip.

Day 6: Hinderwell to Robin Hoods Bay (27.11km – 609m of ascent)

We set off early as we had a long day ahead of 27km. We set off from Hinderwell, rejoined the Cleveland Way and dropped down into Runswick Bay. From there we had a tough climb out of the bay climbing many steps.

The I like the climbing bit face

This was the start of a day that encompassed a series of steps down and back up again out of small ravines as you went along the coast line.

We stoppped along the way in Witsends Cafe in Sandsend and I had huge toasted teacakes with jam and Chris had a vegan sausage butty.

Under the trees is another ravine. You go down another set of steps under the tree line where and then up again.

After many ups and downs we finally walked through a small tunnel and could see Whitby town through the clearing.

We dropped down and down into the main streets where we saw more people than we had for the entire trip so far. An ice cream, a stop at some shops for food to carry and we quickly left as it was simply too busy. We climbed the steps that up to the Abbey on the hill and from there left Whitby behind.

After Whitby there were more ravines and steps….utterly beautiful and I was getting used to them by this point.

In the last few kilometres my feet started to feel really sore. This made the going tough and I was glad to arrive at our campsite at the top of Robin Hoods Bay. It was yet another great campsite with shower block/toilets and a kitchen facilities. After a quick wash we headed down the fields to a pub for dinner and some beers. 😀

Robin Hoods Bay in the early evening

Day 7: Robin Hoods Bay to Scarborough (25.84km – 654m of ascent

This was the hardest day for me. I had already experienced quite a bit of foot pain the day before and had put it down to my boots and socks. I had then stupidly washed two pairs of socks the night before leaving myself with only one dry pair (which were too thin and inadequate for my boots and discomfort). I fashioned two mini extra socks out of some tubing which I cut with my penknife. However, it wasnt enough and i had to keep stopping because of the pain/discomfort. Finally my husband pointed out he had a pair of clean spare socks, which I immediately donned.

It was like magic and the pain eased significantly. This significantly improved my mood for a while. I was able to continue on and we walked 6km and found a lovely cafe in Ravenscar for breakfast. When we left, however, I suddenly got sharp pains in my right ankle and couldn’t understand what was causing it. I figured it must be just the boot chafing. I walked on through the the pain and thought maybe if I blank it out it will start to ease off. It seemed to work and I was able to cover another 6-10km in this way.

On the way I was helpfully distracted by the sight of two peacocks. One of them put on a beautiful show for us and we were able to catch this in a photo.

Eventually however, it caught up with me again and the pain went from a manageable 5/10 to an eye watering 9/10. At this point I was hobbling along and my husband pointed out that maybe we should go off the trail and find a bus to Scarborough. Noooooooo. I really didn’t want to do that. I made the decision to carry on as it felt like a test of my mental strength, something I will have to do for JOGLE.

After a dose of ibuprofen however, it started to become easier and I was able to walk the rest of the way to Scarborough and enjoy the views and the sense of accomplishment of being nearly at the finish. The sun was out as we walked along the promenade into Scarborough and we enjoyed the views and set about looking for our hotel for the night.

We did it!

Our final night was spent in the lovely Raincliffe Hotel in Scarborough. The room was great, they had a bar and a pool table and the pub where we got our dinner was shuffling distance. – perfect.

101 Life Lessons

One of my 60 before I’m 60 bucket list items was to write 101 life lessons. I’m no Oracle. Some are useful titbits, most are lessons learnt as a result of me doing something stupid. Here are the first 10.

1. If you are decorating your house and have put the painting tray on the floor, remember where you put it! It’s all too easy to step backwards into your tray of very purple paint. If you get this wrong, you may need to hop all the way to the bathroom (and save the carpet from purple foot prints).

2. Always keep spare underwear in your swimming bag. You will inevitably forget them at some point and having a spare stash is incredibly handy. Particularly if you dressed that day in something flimsy, white or both.

3. Beware of trying on complicated clothing you don’t understand in a small shop cubicle. You ladies know what I mean, we’ve all been there. That top with too many holes where you cant quite work out which one you put your head through or that dress that has too many straps and maybe a tad small. If you aren’t sure put it down and step away from the garment.

If you fail to make this decision you may find yourself standing there with a large unrecognisable lump of material wrapped around your neck and face, one strap over your left ear and another in your left armpit.

The next decision is vital. Do you A) risk ripping it by pulling it off quickly? B) risk cutting off the blood supply by wiggling it slowly back off, nearly dislocating your shoulder in the process, or C) humiliate yourself by calling the assistant to come and help you, who will then of course gleefully tell their friends later in the pub in hideous detail. This decision could live with you for a while, so make it wisely.

4. If you’re avoiding cows milk for any reason, soya milk splits in hot coffee, oat milk does not. You’re welcome.

5. If you really need to pee outside when you are out for a walk make sure to do this far from the prying eyes of people on paths. Whilst dog owners may possess the tact to ‘pretend’ to ignore you when you squatting behind a tree that is clearly too close and too thin…., dogs do not possess the same tact. Being snarled at by a large dog up close and personal does not enhance the peeing experience.

6. Never ever put the washing in your washing machine wearing a sweatshirt with long toggles hanging from the neck. Better said, never ever switch the machine on if one of your toggles gets caught in the door……..thankfully for me I clicked the off button in time.

7. If you are fond of long distance trail running become acquainted with Vaseline. Your toe nails will thank you later.

8. Multi-tasking is a load of nonsense. All it means for me is forgetting I left laundry in the dryer and burning the dinner.

9. When someone waves at you in the street who you don’t recognise, look behind you first before you make a complete pillock of yourself.

10. White wine really does remove a red wine stain from the carpet.

Landmark moments! Countdown to my big run begins!; 2.5 months coached training; longest run since the face planting episode and first time drinking river water using a mini filter system 😀

2.5 months of coached training 😀

So its 2.5 months since I started training with North Endurance and it’s going really well. A few niggly Achilles twinges asides its been pretty smooth sailing. I’m still enjoying following a plan which is posted for me on the training peaks App. I generally get about a months worth of sessions in advance, although he sometimes tweaks bits here and there so you need to keep checking.

There is a comments box where you can say on the App how a session went and the coach will add his comments after that. It can be anything from the more general ‘you’re doing really well’ to the more specific ‘you need to eat more when running/cycling, increase your carbohydrates to XX grams an hour’. I take all these comments on board. I think I’m a good student 😁. To my mind; there isn’t any point in paying someone for advice if you aren’t going to take it on board. In addition to this, we have a call once a month to go over the previous month and what he expects from the next month from me.

The Grand Skiddaw Ultra

We went to stay in the North Lakes this weekend. The original plan was to run the Grand Skiddaw Ultra, which is 44 hilly miles including the climbing of Skiddaw (unsurprisingly). Unfortunately due to my ‘mishap’ earlier in the year we had to pull out. We decided to keep our booking at the lovely Thornfield glamping cabins, however, and enjoyed a lovely weekend there in the sunshine.

On Saturday we pottered over to a spot on a small rise, just 0.5km from the finishing line. We stayed for an hour ish, so we could clap and support the people finishing the Ultra. As you can see from the photo below my husband is looking and waiting to spy the next runner coming. It was really rewarding to be able to encourage people up that the last little hill, tell them they were nearly there and clap them as they went past. My husband also went up to the next gate and held it open for them. We always appreciate Marshalls and people watching and clapping when we run races, so its nice to give back a little.

They all did amazingly well running 44 hilly miles on a really hot day. There were some tired faces going past and some looked surprisingly fresh like the lady in third place who went past us smiling and seemingly with energy to spare.

Longest run since the big comedy fall

My husband and I ran 24km on the Cumbria Way yesterday. This is a stunning trail route that runs from Dalton to Caldeck. In fact it starts just before this picture above and aligns with the first part of the Ultra. We did an out and back on this run. Normally out and back routes are not my favourite but this route was so beautiful we didn’t mind at all. We didn’t take as many photos as we’d intended, but I include some nice ones below (along with general ones from the holiday).

Our mini glamping pod with the rather lovely hot tub addition
Enjoying a gin in the hot tub with a lovely fire nearby
The start of our run through the hayfields
How to maximise attractiveness wearing a backpack under your T-shirt whilst inhaling a cream scone (in Caldeck)
Running selfie on the return leg
Idyllic surroundings near the River
Husband showing his hay leaping prowess

The Sawyer mini water filtration system

In preparation for my long run next year, I’m starting to assemble some of the kit I will need to take with me. I will be doing some ‘practice’ long weekends where I run from A to B to C carrying my backpack and kit. One of the things I will need to take is a water filter so that I can drink from rivers rather than having to wait until you see the next shop/cafe.

Following a lot of reading and reviews I decided to buy the Sawyer mini water filter system. The system offers 99.99% elimination of all bacteria and is very light to carry. It doesn’t filter viruses or heavy metals or chemicals, however, I’ve read that viruses in the UK are not really an issue (in the water) and I guess I just won’t take water close to factories. So on our long run on Sunday I took the mini filter with me and filtered some of the water from the river in Caldbeck to drink on my return leg.

Honestly speaking it was the least risky test, since the water looked very clean to start with but you have to start somewhere. Apparently it will filter even dirty puddles, however, I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to try that one out!

Easy to use – you simply fill up the bag (shown in photo below), screw on your filter and turn it upside down to let nature take its course (you can lightly squeeze the bag too) and watch as your lovely clean water comes out the end. I filtered mine into my Salamon soft bottles to to put back in my backpack.

Happy with my new filter. As a follow up I should add I survived after drinking it too! 🙂

One year till the big run!

The clock has started ticking. Just one year to go until my run. Cover has been discussed at work. Kit is being assembled. I’ve started plotting a rough route. The training is just beginning really. A lot, lot of running still to do but it’s starting to feel real.