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Showing posts from 2016

Small moments of joy!

This post is a very brief celebration of the unexpected delights in life. Today, until I opened the fridge to get some cheese for a sandwich, I'd completely forgotten I had leftover lasagne for lunch.This completely changed my attitude to the day, from feeling sick of looking for a job, tired and grumpy about doing a hill session later, to positive and excited about both!So there we go.

Runners against Rubbish

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Good morning friends,

This moring is an exciting one - it sees the launch of my charity, Runners against Rubbish.

When out running, I am often disappointed at the amount of rubbish I see discarded. Some of it is general rubbish, but some is clearly dropped by those of us out enjoying the hills (Gel tops are a classic example). In an effort to try and do something about this, I have founded RaR.

We hope that runners will sign up and take our three-point pledge:

1. I will never drop any rubbish and will always take my rubbish to a bin
2. I will encourage others not to drop rubbish
3. I will pick up rubbish when I see it and am able to do so

Of course, the vast majority of runners are conscientious and would never drop rubbish, so this pledge is nothing new, but it's all about raising awareness, and eventually making it so socially unacepptable that even those who currently do drop rubbish can be reached.

The way we propose to do this is through the tried and tested medium of... Stickers! …

Back in the DPFR

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First some other stuff, then the Dark Peaks 30 Ultra...
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Part 1: Other stuff.

We arrived back from France about a month ago now, and via a weekend in Wales (including a fun run up and around Sugarloaf Mountain) spent the next fortnight with family in Herefordshire. After the Portes du Soleil, the Wye valley was a bit of a shock - undoubtedly beautiful, but very FLAT.

After a couple of weeks down there we moved another step closer to a final return to Sheffield, and we're now living in the village of Litton in the "White" side of the Peak District (i.e. the Limestone side, rather than the Gritstone of the Dark Peak). Returning to the Peak District has reminded me how much I do love it, and after recent events has made me feel even more proud than usual to be a member of Dark Peak Fell Runners. The club has had an incredible 40th anniversary year, with achievements like Nicky's dou…

A fantastic last few days

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So, it's time to leave Chatel. In fact, it's time to leave the alps, and even time to leave France. Over the last few days I've frantically tried to fit in all the little bits of running I haven't quite managed to tick off yet... And I nearly did it! Two summits on my map remain unvisited, but they are relative piddlers out here (1808m and 1627m) and I'm not as annoyed as I thought I might be not to tick off the lot. It's been a fantastic season, and Friday and Saturday cemented that fact as I undertook an overnight trip up to the Refuge Dent D'Oche (via another five "ticks" on the way).

The weather was pretty rubbish during the day and by the time I reached the refuge at 11pm, having started much later than planned, I was quite damp. However, the rain stopped just before the top and the view of Lac Leman and Lausanne was stunning. Unfortunately the refuge was closed - I knew it was "sans guardian" but I thought there would be a room ope…

Racing... and the unthinkable!

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We're coming to the end of our time in the Alps now, and after the busy French school holidays in August, Chatel is now a very quiet place... Things are reaching a close: I have a tourist map on the bathroom wall with maybe 40 summits on it, about 35 of which now have ticks against them, and with a bit more time on Saturdays I was able to travel to Switzerland and race for the first time since the Trail des Cretes du Chablais.

The race was the Trail de Bellevue, a 40km trail race with about 2500m of ascent. The majority of the ascent comes straight off the startline as the race climbs from the start in the village of Collombey to the summit of the Pointe de Bellevue. It was a beautiful day, and after some debate at the start about the kit requirements (basically there was no requirement, but you HAD to carry a backpack... no bumbags allowed!) we were off starting to climb.

There were quickly a group of five of us at the front, including two brothers in full Salomon kit. Reading th…

Il n'a pas les jambes aujourd'hui

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Living out here in the Alps, we've been watching the coverage of this fantastic summer of sport in French. Watching TV with subtitles is a great way to try and learn a language, and "il n'a pas les jambes aujourd'hui" is a phrase I saw during the coverage of the Tour de France. It translates directly to the English phrase "He just hasn't got the legs today", and as I climbed Mont de la Grange yesterday I felt it summed up my day.

I was attempting the so-called Chatel 3 Peaks. I'm sure this has been tried by lots of people, but I heard about it from a chap called Darren, who made a little video. The idea is to climb the three largest and most famous peaks in the Chatel area as quickly as possible. The three mountains are Dent D'Oche (2221m), Cornettes du Bise (2432m) and Mont de la Grange (also 2432m). Darren and those before him started from various places near the first summit, but I decided to try to run the route as a loop from Chatel. He…

The teeth of noon

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Since we arrived in Chatel, every time I've driven, run or walked either down the valley towards Lac Leman or over into Switzerland I have been hit in the face by the view of a stunning line of mountains - the Dents du Midi.

The Dents du Midi are a line of seven "teeth of noon" - from east to west (left to right in the photo) Cime de l'Est, La Fortresse, La Cathedral, La Eperon, Dent Jaune, Les Doigts and Haute Cime ranging in height from 3114m to 3259m. Fortunately, the tallest is Haute Cime, which has a convenient ridge running off to the west which allows it to be climbed without the need for full alpinism.

Once I realised this a plan formed and I decided to try to run from Chatel to the little campsite at Grand Paradis, near Champery, where the climb begins, then climb the mountain and return in a day. The climb is normally attempted either in a day from Grand Paradis, or in two days using the Refuge de Susanfe as a stopover.

On Monday I put my plan into action..…