>Gun-Ho on Loughrigg Fell

>“If you could avoid running for at least another 6 weeks as well as anything that involves ascent or descent.”

If there was a sentence which was sure to send shivers down the spine of someone who likes wandering up and down mountains and fell running, this was surely it. The Doctor was quite certain that the knee he was twisting and pulling was not behaving as it should and despite having some empathy with the frustrated fell runner lying in front of him, was firmly of the opinion that there was a time to say no.


I chatted with him about past tales of running big distances over big mountains, about aspirations to win classes in mountain marathons and complete the Bob Graham and my imminent plans of climbing in the Alps.

“Oh, dont worry about the Bob Graham. You can train for that on your road-bike…unless of course…..”

He looked inquisitively at me.

“….Unless your one of those fast types…..Oh I suppose you’re one of those elite lot”

For the record, I am, officially, not yet one of those elite lot but my response got the message across. I had little intention of being resigned to my roadbike indefinitely. But the outcome was the same, No Alps, No running.

The good news, if there were any to be salvaged from this latest attempt to fathom out what exactly is the problem with my unreliable leg was that fundamentally, in the doctors opinion, I had very good knee’s. And that after some gentle coercion he would refer me to a specialist consultant.

“I dont normally send anyone to this place. They deal alot with premiership footballers. The main guy there is a bit of a whizz kid with this kind of thing…..i’ll be interested to see what he says”

Thank-god for that I thought. I too would be interested to hear what he says. And so I am off to the Wrightington Institute near Wigan, a specialist in orthopaedics. Finally after some 8 months I may be able to start getting back to fitness.

And so this weekend, with the persistent cycle of rain, sunny spells and more rain along with two over-enthusiastic nephews keen to climb their first mountain, Steph and I readied for our expedition over Loughrigg Fell. Easy enough I thought, a nice rolling fell for some fresh air and enough height to make a four and eight year old suitably excited and bearing a passing resemblence to the picture of Everest with which they had become fixated with adorning the wall of my lounge.

What I had failed to take into account was the fact that they were four and eight and that, given a challenge, I am not very good at saying no. And so with four year Oliver sat on my shoulders (having decided that he had enough of walking up the hill), thinking that he was a cowboy and I was his trusty horse, I was co-erced into running up the second half of Loughrigg Fell with my new training aid cheering me on from on high.

If you have never tried training for fell running by using a four year relative sat on your shoulders, I heartily recommend it. My calves were burning and lungs a little worn out by the time we reached the trig point. Would it have been recommended by my Doctor? No, probably not.

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About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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