Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Running the Tour of Mt Blanc

Running the Tour of Mount Blanc

A few years ago I was lucky enough to be able to buy a bike and get out with some good mates from Bolton CTC and Lancashire Road Club nearly every week.

                                        I even get a mention for an Omnium trophy I won a long time ago.
We had a few other stars who helped inspire and had a few laughs with Jeremy Hunt went on to become a pro rider. Craig Battresby went onto elite cycling as an amateur. Clive Burke and Bobhat (Ian Roberts ) were stalwarts and other names pictured left at York Rally wher Clive bought a brand new Tri suit. 

Clive, Bobhat and I decide that we should climb Mt Blanc one year we decided on early June. To cut a multitude of epics short (please ask about all the stories) we had to turn around and come back down. Sadly on this snowy descent Bobhat slipped and fell and was killed. 
The last picture of him is with me top left of this collage. 

I decided to honour my friends memory and after being inspired into further lightweight adventures by the Crane brothers, cousins of Nick Crane running the length of the Himalaya in 100 days. Click Here
I had five days off work and ran from home to the train station in Bolton to get to Manchester Airport. I took one KIMM  bag 7kg in total no tent, stove etc just a cup, spoon, sleeping bag and minimal kit. 

I set off from Chamonix in mid-June to run the famous Tour De Mount Blanc. This was in the days before UTMB points dictated the run that we choose to do. I just wanted to be in the mountains and reasonably close, to lay a few to ghosts to rest, to a friend of mine. I recently read Heather Dawe Book, cunningly called Adventures In Mindwhere she tells of a similar tail. 
I travelled as far as I could each day as a solo experience. For pictures I ran forward balanced my (film) camera set the self timer and ran back PDQ to then head back to the camera. So did more than the official route and time I should of done. 

Note the plastic bread bags on my feet to keep out the snows of the passes. My feet went green for weeks after as the dye came out of my Walshes Fell running shoes
Kit was a cotton T shirt, Oakley Factory Pilots frames as worn by Greg Lemond, Ron Hill Tracksters over Freedom Shorts. Spare T shirt, Cotton neck scarf, sleeping bag, Karrimat, Spoon and Mug, one extra pair of undies/ socks.
I managed to run round the route in 40hrs. I lost my money in Italy after buying a small bag of biscuits, I just ran away from it as I left it on a bench. On my return to France I managed to change £5 to buy tywo bottles of wine so had something to do at least. I found a park to sleep under the ping pong tables but was rescued by a runner from Somerset who let me sleep in his car. 

I had a great adventure and it stemmed a lot more. Do not be constrained by perceptions, remember friends and loved one's and enjoy every step of your journey.

I feel its time to get back to Mt Blanc soon along with a few more Adventures that I have in Mind.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

OS and Silva Navigation App

OS and Silva two of the worlds renowned names in Navigation have teamed up with an App and Map approach to Mountain Safety. I was shown the app at Keswick Mountain Festival and when it came out on Android I downloaded it to test it out. Its very simple and works well. I was out on a Navigation training course yesterday in a very wet Langdale vally with James and Kathryn from Dorset. We were looking at traditional map and compass techniques and I showed them this app to help compliment their new skills.

We had a great day out in the warm rain in the Langdale Valley and James and Kathryn helped me to realise what I take for granted in my work as an International Mountain Leader whilst working in our fantastic scenery in the Lakes. They took lots of photos and were awed by the landscape and will hopefully come back to the lakes. We finished off with a liquid debrief at the National Trust run Stickle Barn Tavern in the sunshine. 

Google Play link

Itunes link

It is worth noting that the App is there to back up Map and Compass skills not to replace it.  Map and compass skills need to be practised 

If you wanting to get out and practice Navigation get in touch. 1:1 and groups are easily accommodated You cant not learn something from it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Responsible Outdoors Folk

I have spent some of my weekend on an event wombling. Please dispose of your litter responsibly. Its part of the rules of being in an event to follow the country code. Why not take a cup on a run with you and save the road runner mentality of using plastic cups at every checkpoint. Gel bars and Banana skins seem to be the biggest culprit. Folk think its ok to chuck these. Bananas should be eaten before or after an event not during.

They also take a long time to biodegrade. 2years in an upland area

Be the sort of outdoors person you would like to see. Cheers