>A new year beckons

>After a week of rapid thaw (in terms of snow cover at least), the first day of 2011 dawned distinctly colder again and ended with me having completed my longest post-op run yet. More importantly I have reached my objective of completing what used to be my regular 14km training route. A massive and psychologically important milestone.


Snow still clinging onto the central fells

The days following Christmas saw a steady rise in temperatures, particularly at higher elevations and so despite a slow thaw at lower levels, the snow cover both in the valleys and on the mountains was quickly stripped. Luckily before the thaw kicked in there was time to celebrate Boxing Day with a quick ascent of Low Water Beck (III) including the less often in condition direct finish (IV). It was surprisingly quiet with only one other team of climbers and a lone solo climber late in the afternoon.


An optical illusion as water covers the main ice sheet beneath Levers Water

On Friday, with friend Ed visiting, we made the most of a gloomy day with an amble around and over Wetherlam. Despite the rise in temperature, it was damp and on the tops felt bitterly cold, the tarns remained mostly frozen albeit with a shallow layer of water overlaying the ice beneath.


Ed near Levers Water


Steph running on Potter Fell



 9 months after knee surgery and back to the old training ground en route to Potter Fell



And so 2010 came and went, a year that has tested my optimism to the full and the sanity of everyone else around me to the maximum in the house of a grumpy injured runner. Thankfully 2011 has started with such promise, my long awaited ambition to get back, at the very least, to running the round up to and over Potter Fell has been achieved, a run which not such a long time ago seemed so effortless and simply part of greater things but one that throughout 2010 and most of 2009 was a distant dream. 


In need of a training aid? Get yourself a Sheepdog – Seren having a moments rest



Six months ago I told myself that if I could be running properly on the lower fells by the winter I would be happy, at times it hasn’t felt like a certainty and even now I have my fingers crossed every time my feet make contact with the heathery tussocks underfoot. I also said it would be great if Seren, our households true fell runner could actually come running and for the first time she joined me on a proper run and managed not to be of any mechanical assistance – only pulling when she saw her favourite fell dish – Herdwick sheep.

So we can start the new year looking forward. Keith sent me a text from his High Altitude training camp in Switzerland (aka nice two bedroomed flat somewhere in the mountains) to remind me that the mountain marathon season starts in little more than 3 months time and this year it could be a long one, long runs still seem an awful long way off but at least we’re now on the move again.

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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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