Bowland 100k- Event Report

I think it was when my foot disappeared up to my knee in peaty water for the third time within five minutes that I first accepted that this challenge wasn’t going to be achievable. I stopped and surveyed the scene- peat bogs and slippery mud as far as I could see. A hundred yards away Sue was having her own struggles, forging a path through tangled heather roots in an attempt to avoid the worst of it. It started raining again- heavy, persistent rain, and I began to wonder if we would ever make it off the fell let alone to the end…

In hindsight, it was always going to be ambitious- 100k (62 miles) over the fells of the Forest of Bowland in March. Persuaded by Sue to enter, I was slightly apprehensive as I have walked on these fells and know how boggy they can be.

I had arranged to stay with my sister and brother-in-law, who live fairly near to the start at Slaidburn, and they kindly drove me there. Prior to the event we had received very little information from the organisers, Pure Challenge, regarding the route, checkpoints etc. In response to several Facebook queries they had supplied a list of checkpoints with some rough distances between and assurances that there would be hot food at the ‘half way’ point at Dunsop Bridge. We were not given a map or route description but were assured that the route would be marked.

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Just a little training walk…

Phew- I have not done an event for some time that trashed me as completely as the Millennium Ultra did last weekend! I almost felt incapable of taking care of myself… I could hardly move my legs, couldn’t get up without pulling myself up on something, had to crawl up and down the stairs… I couldn’t walk properly until Wednesday.

Luckily I had last week off work as I had intended to take my mum to Limoges in France for a couple of days, but thanks to the French baggage handlers strike our flights were cancelled and our trip was off. Determined to still take a break, we booked into a spa hotel and made a proper holiday of it, visiting the Denby pottery centre and having a short walk along the cliffs above Matlock Bath before checking in.

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forest of bowlandI was staying with my sister in Blackpool for a few days, in preparation for the Manchester to Blackpool Cycle Ride, and after spending a day in the Lakes I decided that I’d love to see more of the Forest of Bowland, which is virtually on their door step.

We have walked over Nicky Nook Fell many a time, but I had a hankering to explore a bit further afield, and picked out a walk up Grit Fell and Clougha Pike- a fell overshadowing the City of Lancaster.

Now, don’t expect lots of photos of trees because although the Forest of Bowland is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it isn’t actually a forest, but ‘forest’ in the traditional sense of Royal Hunting Land. It is a wild Pennine landscape of heather, sweeping moorland and rocky outcrops not unlike the Dark Peak. But forest it ain’t.

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On My Bike…

Cycling

Yes- that is me!

I am fed up with having silly little niggly injuries. You know, the kind that kick in just as you think you are progressing with your training… and then send you straight back to square zero.

Mine has been a niggly knee thing so I have slowed up on the running in favour of walking. And sadly I haven’t been doing too much of that…

I went up to stay with my sister in Blackpool a couple of weekends ago; she and my brother-in-law love to be active so it’s all good. However they are really, REALLY into cycling in a big way… and I’m not. Well, mainly as I don’t own a bike…

I did agree to go out on a bike ride with my sister, despite being on a bike once in the last few years, and borrowed a bike and helmet from her. We set out on a route she takes with her cycling group every week into the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. We varied this a little to ride through Garstang, so I could try my legs up some lovely hills… the cycling groups always have a lunch break stop at the Apple Store café in the beautiful Wyresdale Park and we had arranged to meet my brother-in-law and his Mum there.

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