The Land of Giants


“In the Land of Giants” – never have I felt more humbled than meeting a great bunch of guys and girls, from all walks of life, “Doing EPIC SH*T!” The calibre of each and every runner on this weekend of adventure was inspiring to say the least! Thanks for sharing some of your stories…! I gotta pull my ‘trail’ socks up, to keep up!!!  Huge thanks to The Trail Running Team for the opportunity!!

What a weekend and where to begin…

…some would say at the beginning, but that would have to include my ‘short’ detour into the wrong valley and finding myself in my own scene of ‘Deliverance!’ – spot the tourist!!! 😉


Seconds through the door of the Hostel and I’m receiving a warm welcome from the Freestak team. As warm a welcome as this was, I have to admit to being slightly more drawn to the ‘free-stockpile’ of burgers and chips, that I had ‘locked in on’ and kept in the corner of my eye. My stomach was reminding me that at 8pm, dinner was well overdue.

Having sat down to devour my burger I managed to crash in on the Freestak dinner table – “Don’t mind me!” 😉 And got chatting to Simon and the team. It wasn’t long when we were discussing the launch of Simon and Juile’s new publication venture ‘Like the wind”. As Simon was describing the thought process behind this magazine, it sounded very similar to a magazine that really captured my interest, by it’s use of inspiring short stories, anecdotes, poetry and yes, photography. This magazine was ‘Ride’, a magazine for the more thought provoking of us cyclists out there. Full of inspiring articles that really captured a moment in someone’s ‘journey’ big or small. I was so taken by one of these articles that I ‘converted’ it to being focused on ‘running’ rather than ‘cycling’. I always thought it would be great to have this slant of a magazine to be produced for the ‘runner’ in us all  – and to now hear that Simon and Julie had done just that, well I just had to have myself a copy! 😀

The evening quickly flew by and I had to force myself to make a move to the van, for the night. A few of us had arranged for an early ‘fat burn’ morning run, before breakfast at 8am, so we were out for 7am enjoying some new trails for us all…

With breakfast done, along with a few other meets ‘n’ greets, I found out about the misfortune that one of the other ‘hopefuls’ had the previous night. Andrew had made the late night move back to his bed, and clambered up to enjoy a good nights rest, only to find out that there was someone else keeping it ‘warm’ for him…! A slight mix up with the rooms saw Andrew quickly getting a room and bed elsewhere. After all, what jokes would there have been if everyone knew about the ‘Cornwall’ man jumping into bed with the ‘Welshman’!?! 😉

Next it was registration, photos – of my erm ‘good-side’ 😉 a welcome from Simon and the sponsor presentations.

These were delivered by:



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Ben from TORQ delivered a fantastic ‘scientific’ view to the brand I knew as ‘Biking TORQ’ – Learning about the TORQ fueling system, along with the nutritional factors, this has left me looking forward to putting some of the freebies and the ‘science’ into some adventurous ‘practice’. – with the Transvulcania just over a week away, I’ll see how it all goes… Quote of the day from Ben “Higher intensity bonking – Fuel today for tomorrow!” 😉

David from the Berghaus Team also put on an inspiring presentation. Temptations from their new product developments to “The Adventure List” – featuring married couple Philippe and Anna Gatta’s epic Himalayan adventure challenge. 


A challenge that has them attempting to run the length of the Great Himalayan Trail: This coverage complimented the previous product presentation, as they were developed with the intention of them aiding in this challenge, offering the latest in lightweight and high performance clothing. We were handed a sample of the Hyper Smock Jacket and it did feel unbelievably featherlight but for me, the highlight was theMen’s VapourLight Hypertherm Reversible Jacket – The World’s Lightest and Most Versatile Midlayer Jacket. Why this one for me? Well I’m looking for a possible midlayer top that is capable of keeping me warm as well as packable for the UTMB later this year. Here’s the details below:

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The Men’s VapourLight Hypertherm Reversible Jacket is the ideal insulation piece for the highly active trail sport enthusiast. It can be worn in two ways, offering two distinct styles but also two levels of adaptable insulation performance.

One side is to be used when the conditions are cold, a highly wind resistant outer stops cool winds from penetrating the jacket and keeps the body heat in. Reverse it, and the other side is to be used when the conditions are good or during periods of high exertion. The air permeable fabric is now on the outer, reducing the amount of body heat trapped and offering great breathability.

LED Lensor were the other sponsors of the weekend and had offered a headtorch for the raffle, but it would have been much better if they had supplied a few for testing on some night runs and see how they performed on some of the more technical terrain of The Lakes. From all account though, these bad boys will blind you from 100yrds! *:o)

A quick lunch break then saw us being introduced to Steve Birkinshaw – a legend of the mountains! With a trail running cv as long as you arm, he left us all a little awestruck, with his previous adventures as well as the one he was currently planning… …an attempt to break the record time for the fastest run/navigation of all of the 214 Wainwrights!!!! – THIS MAN CAN RUN! Now I love mapping and studying various routes but the ‘man size’ map that Steve pulled out to show us his intended route was just plain crazy! This man didn’t just educate and inform with his talk, he most definitely inspired and made you believe that in following others, things become more believable and with that, more achievable! – Best piece of ‘mindset’ that I took from the weekend!

Following Steve was Helene Whitaker – Another elite distance runner, winning races such as the Dragon’s Back against some of the world’s elite runners as well as a rumoured team from the SAS, both physically and tactically! “Are you tough enough!?!”

Later that afternoon we got to see both of these elite athletes in action, watching the Dragon’s Back Race, witnessing how ordinary, family based people have managed to become and achieve a status of elite athlete, through dedication, hard work and personal belief.  With a bit of hard graft, where quality is more key than quantity, goals can be attainable for anyone. – best quote throughout the movie “How far ahead is Steve?” 😉 Best single quote taken from the movie “It’s far more harmful to be inactive, than active” – Wendy Dodds, 61 years young and a Dragons Back Finisher!!!!!

We all headed out for a gentle run, Saturday afternoon and boy what a fantastic run it was! The route was a short hill session up to the Red Tarn and back again, with a few promo shots taken for the event. The weather was great and just added to the atmosphere and of course my chance for a ‘few’ more photos… 😉


Sunday saw us all heading out to the Tarn once more but then splitting up into ‘speed’ groups, where the fastest could head of with Steve, another at a slightly more ‘comfortable’ pace and the third a power hike. As Steve had mentioned that he was hoping to recce some of the trail routes for his up and coming Wainwrights attempt, I thought it best to stick to the middle group as I had planned on hitting Helvellyn and taking any opportunity that I could to capture the Red Tarn and both ridges – Swirral Edge and Striding Edge. It was a great wee session, not too long but had some climb to it as well as some fantastic panoramic visibility. We were out for just under the 3hr mark and back in time for a shower and beef stew! 🙂

This just left me to thank everyone in the lunch hall and then head back up the road for home. The journey flew by as I was still buzzing from the multi-packed adventure weekend. A great bunch of new trail buddies made and I’m sure we’ll catch up for yet another ‘dirty weekend!’ 😉





2 responses to “The Land of Giants

  1. Quite envious of your weekend…I love trail running up there but its so far away for me!

  2. Pingback: Berghaus Trail Running Team 2014 Selection Days | Berghaus Outdoor Community·

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