Settle Wolftracks

Settle Wolftracks

Walks, Navigation Training and Outdoor Adventure for all ages

I hope there's something here that inspires you, whether you're looking for ideas for a family outing, first hand experience of a competitive event, or simply just fancy a virtual tour of some place new! Comments & questions welcome!

Kendal Winter League Fell race at Whitestones

EventsPosted by Jo Wulf Mon, February 09, 2015 19:20:30

Whitestones… hmmm. That video clip on the Helm Hill Runners website was the first thing that put me off. And then I had heard runners get lost up there, and that it’s single file. and then you print the map off and the map key actually has the words MAN EATING bog in it! What else might put you off? Ah yes, the weather! So we were all winners weren’t we? Just for getting to the start line.

The seniors start was a furious pounding and rustling as runners ploughed through the bracken to gain a good position on the path before the flat-ish path narrowed into an ever steepening, muddy and rocky incline. Jan shouted, “come on - get that waterproof off and get running!” (I was finding I could walk as fast as the runners on this steep section - the terrain controlled the pace here, so I took advice and got my coat off while I could). As we started topping out, I managed to gain a few places by running over the brow. Now for the flat bit - this is better… or is it? Ankle deep bog, then knee deep, then you see runners stumbling right in! Oh, and this wasn’t the man-eating bit yet. There were some interesting little craggy bits to negotiate and some streams, gullies and wider bits of bog to leap over - the terrain was hard work even though it was flat. Fog, driving rain, first in one earhole, then the other, the intense pace never really let up as we followed the well flagged single NOT track, but muddy little line through the heathery bog, until finally you had that steep descent to the finish line ahead of you. It was an exhilarating way to finish, with a slight uphill sprint to the finish funnel if you had it left in you! Trays of chocolate cake being offered round in the rain was a bizarre sight, but I declined and said a quick good bye to all the Harriers - well done everyone! Brian Kennedy was top of the Settle Harrier charts this time, with Steve Proctor, Andy Evans and Steve Moore to follow. Judy Marshall was first Harrier lady home, then Sally Handforth - (Richard also ran a good race), and myself and Sabrina had our own little race going on to come in 3rd and 4th Harrier lady respectively. Well done any juniors who ran - see you at Birkrigg next week - I am looking forward to that, as I grew up in Ulverston! I hope the weather will be as nice as it looks in that race’s video clip!

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Kendal Winter League Fell race at Fairmile Feb 2015

EventsPosted by Jo Wulf Mon, February 09, 2015 19:14:33

So, that’s another KWL under the belt for just a small handful of Harriers this time. Getting there was all part of the fun, navigating tiny roads in the fog. Of all the routes we could have picked, we chose the narrowest bridge we could find and all breathed in as the van crept over it with its wing mirrors turned in. We parked as best we could on the old Roman road and the kids and Jan wrapped up warm and hiked a little way up the steep trod to enjoy a picnic in the fog and support the runners as they began their struggle up hill. And what a hill! We started with a 250m ascent and it felt brutal. I hardly managed to run a step! I just concentrated on one uphill technique at a time, swapping to the next one and then the next one to keep me going… swing those arms, press down on the thighs, ok, now try a bit of running keeping your toes up.... The going uphill was oddly slippery –the short grass was so solid with the cold, that the shoes just didn’t grip at times. As we gained height we left the clouds below us, a vast, white ocean, and it was such a pity there was no time to stop and admire the spectacular sight! I managed a couple of glances over to the snowy Lakeland fells under a clear blue sky as we pushed on over the odd semi-frozen snow patch. At the first summit, we dropped down to a col and then it was another 150m up again, the sea of cloud dazzling us as we went on. Oh! A photographer! Try NOT to look exhausted… The descent was on rougher tussocky grass with better purchase but quite steep at times. I went carefully having seen an injured runner hobbling down with helpers on either side supporting her weight. Down, down into the cold murky clag again, until finally the finishing flags were in sight, earlier than I had expected!

Brian Kennedy was first Harrier home in 32:13 and well up the field in the MV50 category too. Then came the Proctor brothers, their own little race going on, with less than a minute between them! (Steve did it in 35:07 and Adam in 36:01). Judith Marshall and Steve Moore finished 40:25 and 40:50 respectively – that must have been an exciting battle for the finish line, but I was still in the clag and didn’t witness that one, coming in 3 minutes later at 43:52. Jill Gates, possibly our most dedicated Kendal Winter Leaguer so far did a respectable 51:10. The Race Organiser did a great job, and went the extra mile literally! Having already flagged the route the day before, he went up and put extra flags out because of the poor visibility, and I can tell you, this was appreciated once the line of runners thinned out on the descent!

If I found this race steep, I am in for a shock at Barbondale next week! Can someone please have a go at persuading me that it will be worth it, as I fear I won’t be able to actually RUN a single step, uphill OR down! My legs feel totally trashed today and even the stairs are a challenge. Thank you to my family for all coming to support me – there is nothing nicer than having Oscar running alongside me for a section egging me on. Kirsten’s support is usually more passive, her bottom firmly on her picnic mat but I do appreciate them coming all that way to cheer me on.

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Giggleswick Scar Navigation Event June 2014

EventsPosted by Jo Wulf Fri, June 20, 2014 13:14:41

Giggleswick Scar, Woodlands House, a Navigation Event and how it all came together to make a fantastic summer’s evening social for the Settle Harrier Running Club.

When I heard that David Sexton was hoping to host a Settle Harriers event at the Woodlands House in Giggleswick, I had been thinking it was time I set up a course too, so we joined forces and soon found ourselves recceing all the good hidey holes up on Giggleswick Scar. We picked our way up the scar, stopping every now and again to circle a feature on the map and note down a quick description of where we could hide a marker. North east edge of crag, wall corner, gate north of cattle grid and the mysteriously tucked away dew pond which had a few runners puzzled on the night of the event! More about that later!

As we approached the north end of the scar, before you start descending to Feizor, David led me up along a wall and over a gate to see Dead Man’s Cave! I had been wanting to see this cave after reading Stephen Oldfield’s blog about the caves around Feizor (His blog is called A Three Peaks Up and Under – if you ever have a free evening, check it out – you won’t be able to tear yourself away from all the magnificent local journeys Stephen takes you on!). It was thrilling to be at the cave’s impressive entrance and we crouched inside to have a look around, using my mobile phone to light the way right to the back. Hmmm a good place to plant treasure we thought, but a bit far out. We made a note and carried on, running back towards base on the western side of the Scar. Sheepfold – tick, finger post – tick, where else can we put a marker? Aha! Another Cave! Kinsey Cave this time – a short detour up a boulder bank and we were there… David already making plans involving chocolate coins and lanterns! We scrambled carefully up to the highest point on the scar, 330m and marked by a beautiful cairn – another perfect spot for a marker and superb views all around us!

So that was the recce done. All that was needed now was for me to mark up a map using Memory Map (do Harriers know that the club invested in this software, so any of you can use it if you would like to organise your own event in this area!), type up the clues/descriptions for each marker, add some safety rules and timings and send out an email to the club!

We soon had a good number of replies and 19 runners on the night, including four juniors who put on an impressive performance alongside the adult competitors! One mum and daughter team kindly took these wonderful pictures for my blog, and deserve extra points! Thanks Jill and Emily!

“Ok folks, you’ve got two hours to locate as many markers as you can in no particular order. Clues are on the back of your map, as are penalty details if you’re late back. Good luck, off you go!” Starts were staggered over an hour and runners generally paired up, though Team Marshall was a family trio and Tim Jackson was champing at the bit, so we let him go solo. Simon Cane was last to arrive on the scene, so also set off solo and was all set for a leisurely tour, still feeling his legs after his amazing Joss Naylor Challenge on the weekend!

Results were as follows:

  1. Robin Moore and newest Harrier, Mark Wildsmith cleared the course losing 8 points for being 4 mins late. Score 442.
  2. Julia Murfin & Louise Wileman – an impressive 420 points in 1hr49mins! Well done ladies!
  3. Simon Oxley and Laurence Ormerod were third, only 25 points from clearing the course, also 4 mins late, so 417. Simon’s sat-nav photo of their course showed the REAL location of the dew pond, 146m north of where I had drawn it in! I reckon they may have had 440 points if it weren’t for my error, but the top three teams were all very close indeed!
  4. Judy, Sophie and Thomas Marshall – Thomas was much focused on reaching Kinsey Cave with the promise of treasure! I loved Judy’s comment on Facebook about feeling like she was part of a Famous Five adventure full of caves and scrambles. Well done you three – you were out for bang on 2 hours, not easy to get right, but what an amazing score of 355 too!
  5. Simon Cane came in with 350 points in only 1hr40! Legs can’t have been that tired after all Simon! Well done!
  6. David and Clare were also on 350 points, leaving only 1 minute to spare at 1hr59! This sharp-eyed husband and wife team spotted (and thankfully picked up) the two markers that been lost earlier in the day whilst we were out hiding them! 10 extra points for you guys! Thanks to David who offered to help Jill and I clear the markers the following day too!
  7. Jill Gates and 11-year old Emily, who amazed her mum and me for being out for a massive 2hrs 08, and scoring a brilliant 347 points! It’s the chocolate in the cave that made you slightly late girls! Thanks for all the lovely photos!
  8. Tim Jackson - Good job you borrowed my watch Tim – you came over the line in 2hrs 03 scoring 329 points! Nice job!
  9. Annie and Helen arrived 1hr52 minutes after they set off. Well done on scoring 315 girls and I’m sorry you missed the chocolate in the cave – scared of the dark perhaps?
  10. James and Ruth Maxwell were our third junior& mum team, pulling out all the stops with their sprint finish to make it back in 1hr 59, with 300 points.

So really after the first three places, everyone else’s scores were quite close and all above 300 points! Great achievement, especially our youngsters – it was good to have you with us, and I am sure that one day it’ll be the juniors like you organising events for us oldies to have a stab at in ten years’ time! Well done everyone, and thank you so much for taking part!

As for the social, thanks everyone for arriving laden with goodies, from still warm gooseberry pie with cream (Annie!) to delicious bread and cold meats, spicy homemade dips and chilled beers. It is great that so many turned up – even those who didn’t compete came along to be part of it and it was nice to see you all (Kerry, Sandra, Jill, Edie, Connie and Sharon – thank you for all your help in making the event run smoothly).

David Sexton, you are a host beyond hosts, and Woodlands House is truly magnificent, every nook and cranny of it! Some of us were lucky enough to get a tour of all three storeys and sleeping nineteen people, it is a very unique venue for a group to book, whether it’s to have a holiday in the Dales, or simply to get the wider family together for a special occasion! David’s passion for the building shows in every beautiful piece, from vintage lamps or chandeliers, to perfectly chosen furniture that brings a sense of the past back into the house … some favourites of mine were the dining room table and chairs of banquet hall proportions, a splendid four poster bed, the luxurious Victorian-style bathrooms with their black and white tiled floors, a free standing Victorian bath with an amazing view over the Attermire and Chip, dear Chip who fits right in with the look of the place, the most elegant and gentle canine friend who let me share his favourite sofa for much of the evening whilst I waited for runners to have their fill of sunshine and fun! Thank you David, for providing this stunning venue for the event. If you haven’t yet see it, here’s a link:

Another link for you - to one of Stephen Oldfield’s tours I enjoyed (including Dead Man’s Cave), but more recently I was taken on an incredible virtual tour of Rowan Pot, complete with several videos so he’s a great guy to follow. I will be one of the first to buy his book when it comes out in August hopefully?

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