365 days of hill running wisdom: April


Day 91: ‘Every time you go for a run, take a stone from the top of Scald Law and put it on Carnethy. We only need 3 metres off one and 3 metres added to the other if that, taking into account glacial rebound and remeasurement by the OS. We can do it!’ New identity for Carnethy

Day 92: Allan Greenwood keeps up appearances: ‘Who cares how you look as you struggle over Kinder Scout covered in black glutinous mud, shoelace undone and shorts torn at the bum? By the time you reach the finish, your fellow runners are too busy making their way to the bar.’

Day 93: A misunderstood sport? ‘There are some things beyond the scope of comprehension – like quantum physics and mobile phone tariffs. And then there’s fell running. How can anyone delight in something that just looks horrible?’ Run that past me once more

Day 94: The extraordinary view from the summit of Goatfell on Arran, set to be Scotland’s most-visited hill racing summit in 2018: ‘A larger prospect no mountain in the world can show, pointing out three Kingdoms at one sight.’

Day 95: Racing in the high Pennines in February. Tights or shorts? No debate for : ‘The weather forecast had been chilling: 40kph winds on the tops and a wind-chill of -6. I even packed long tights, though of course I ran in shorts.’Rose Runs

Day 96: The evocative opening of Trailpike, a Lake District fell running film made by : ‘A dark ridge broods in the guttered night, round shoulders hunched, silent, waiting for reluctant dawn to light vague cairns and summit stones.’ Trailpike

Day 97: Things fell runners say at races versus what they actually mean, according to : ‘I struggled a bit on that final hill, means I wanted to lie down and die right there.’ Fell Run Like a Girl

Day 98: The mantra of : ‘Good views, tough terrain, long runs, satisfaction, contentment, and a pint at the end of the day.’

Day 99: Colin Smith, the hero of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, on freedom: ‘I feel like the first and last man on the world, both at once.’

Day 100: Joss Naylor on those who go to the hills: ‘There is a common purpose, whether I’ve been with a climber getting sheep off a crag, with a fell-runner, or even with walking visitors. Our bond is our love for these beautiful hills.’

Day 101: Written in 1975; applicable always. ‘Footwear – always wear your oldest, most tattered pair. This gives an impressive air of experience, and if you finish well back, you can always take your shoe off and say it fell to pieces, or that the worn soles had no grip.’

Day 102: Joe Williams contemplates the enormity of Ramsay’s Round: ‘The fear was in my stomach, but I shut it down by concentrating solely on getting up Ben Nevis, knowing that I was well prepared and acknowledging that I felt strong and rested.’ Solo on Charlie Ramsay’s Round

Day 103: From ‘fell running legs – the bare truth’: Legs of the Werewolf Kind

Advantage: no need to splash out on thermal bottoms.

Disadvantage: little children run away crying when they see ‘em.

Day 104: Dick Wall on friendship: ‘“I hardly recognise you with your clothes on,” I have quipped when meeting a fellow hill runner in other contexts. It’s a cheap joke, but hill running seems to bring out the more relaxed and pleasant parts of people.’ Farewell to Friends

Day 105: An unusual start to a Paddy Buckley Round: ‘Following a photo with a man wearing a muzzle and a rope (towel was a late addition), we left Capel Curig at midday on Saturday on a clockwise round, 15 minutes after the rain stopped.’ Paddy Buckley Round

Day 106: The question that launches Dreams of Mountains: ‘Why is it that so many people, young people nowadays, seem to be so excited by something I had always regarded as the preserve of gnarly, twisted old hill folk in the middle of nowhere?’ Dreams of Mountains

Day 107: A rallying cry against commercialism: ‘Fell running isn’t an ordinary sport, because its very nature – and the nature of the people who take part in it – is to protect it from the nicotine-stained hands of businessmen with pound-signs in their bloodshot eyes.’

Day 108: Even isn’t quite sure: ‘Fell running, sometimes known as hill running, but not to be confused with mountain running…’ Fell Running

Day 109: George Broderick, the founder of the Isle of Jura Fell Race, explains the name: ‘I chose “fell race” as in Scotland a “hill race” meant running up and down one hill… I’m afraid I don’t hold with petty nationalist sentiment that it should be called a “hill race”.’

Day 110: ‘If you’re going to do one fell race in the Lakes,’ it has been said of the Anniversary Waltz, ‘make it this one.’ Unfortunately, after tomorrow, you won’t be able to.

Day 111: John Muir was born in Dunbar 180 years ago today: ‘The mountains are calling and I must go.’

Day 112: Writing the foreword of 42 Peaks in 1982, Harry Griffin insisted: ‘The Bob Graham Round will never become a commonplace – it is far too stern a challenge for that.’

Day 113: Peter Knott’s fell running ‘principle’, dating back to 1982, published in the 2018 FRA calendar: ‘Let us spend as much time as we can afford running on the fells with a minimum of rules and regulations commensurate with safety and fair competition.’

Day 114: The ever-forthright John Blair-Fish tells Suse Coon what he thinks of documenting hill running: ‘The place for discussing races is the pub, not a book.’

Day 115: In his 10-step evolution of a first time Three Peaker, @Braveshorts knows the devil will be waiting: ‘He’ll definitely be there while you’re on all fours, in a hail storm, going up THAT grassy bank towards Whernside.’ Touching the Trig

Day 116: Most imaginative hill/fell running book titles:

‘It’s a Hill, Get Over it’

‘Feet in the Clouds’

‘Race You to the Top’

‘There is No Map in Hell’

Day 117: A fair assessment of the @TheFellsman, taking place tomorrow: ‘It’s basically 60 miles of scrambling over rocks, trudging through bogs and tripping up over the occasional perished sheep carcass, and it makes regular marathons look like a casual stroll to the fridge.’

Day 118: Will Grant’s love letter to the hills in The Call of the Pentlands: ‘The more we tramp these breezy uplands, the more friendly they become; and the more we love them, the more they give to us. Their call is unmistakable and their appeal is as varied as the April sky.’

Day 119: Revd Herbert T. Coles on the ‘awe’ of the Cuillin: ‘In what mood was Nature when she carved so riotously a gigantic cavern of holes and rents, of chimneys, gullies and caves; of such a mass of incoherent perspectives and upsetting angles.’

Day 120: ‘The Paddy Buckley Round is the toughest of three great classics,’ according to the @harveymaps blurb. Messrs Graham and Ramsay might have something to say about that.

The tweets will continue in May…

@MuirJonny

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