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One Windy Day

The Paddy Buckley Round is a long distance fell running challenge in Snowdonia. The route is a circuit of just over 100 km long taking in some 47 summits. On Saturday June 10th Peter Taylor made an attempt to complete the round with friend Jim O’Hara. Here is his account of the experience. PBR shot

One Windy Day

While still fresh, I thought I’d breeze through my recollections of this weekend’s experience.

‘Masochistic’ and ‘perverse joy’ are social media phrases used following my Paddy Buckley Round attempt. It seems that my friends, like me, took pleasure from battling the storm. Several people have suggested that we should have delayed the start, but the wind was unrelenting at the end as it had been at the start, and the rain wasn’t such an issue. Should we have started at all? Probably not, but we had the support of our friends that weekend and no backup plan.

For me, the adventure ended in Llamberis after 17 hours. How Jim O’Hara continued for another 12 hours 40 minutes is beyond belief. Hats off to you mate. Calling it a day was the right decision for me. I was slowing and becoming a liability, potentially putting myself and others at risk.

Interestingly, my legs are not trashed today, one full day later. At least, my quads are not as sore as after my Bob Graham Round, suggesting that I had the remaining 3,000m climbing in me. But my knees, ankles and wrists are sore, and I was drained. This is unsurprising given the unrelenting gale.

Jim, four loyal supporters and I ran off Moel Siabod leaning heavily into the wind to remain upright. I opted for poles and my winter waterproof, which was fully zipped and the hood tightened to snorkel mode. The rain belted off our jackets for the first six hours. With everyone working hard to keep themselves functioning and communications tricky, I took on navigation duties. Apart from having to nip back 100 m to nab a missed summit, we were doing OK. After missing the summit, I gave my waterproof map to Max Wainwright and asked him to take a lead.

Nick Holmes battled through waist-deep bog traps and high winds to Moel Druman, about 20 km in, where he had intended to meet, and depart with, Steve and Sarah Hammond. Steve and Sarah found the featureless summit. Not being a day for waiting about and with virtually no chance of finding us in the clag, they leant the other way into the wind and retreated to Croesor. Meanwhile, Nick and Chris Jackson descended to Blaenau Ffestiniog where they shivered and looked sorry enough for themselves to blag a lift. Mark Smith and Dave Sykes came up from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the quarries to cheer and as a warm up for later supporting duties, but didn’t see us or the others.

Simon Ellis was now overloaded with kit. He and Max continued, but Jim and I dropped them climbing Moel Ddu. With hindsight, we should have waited and made a plan, but we didn’t. The next section is a loop and has corners to cut and I thought we’d meet again at the quarries. The Moelwyns part went well with one hairy moment for me when a slip didn’t stop. I seemed no worse for my 10m mud slide, although I now see that a rock had its say and I have a striking tramline on one bum cheek.

Without a map or compass, we came off Moelwyn Mawr a few degrees off line and ended up returning to the quarries from an unorthodox direction. We hoped to find Simon and Max sheltering in the ruins, but all we could see was mist and all we could hear was the wind.

So, no map, no compass, no visibility and no path, and the most difficult part to navigate. No food too, but water, water everywhere! (Had we been in possession of a board, it’d have shrunk.) Jim hadn’t reccied this part, but I knew it well, so we didn’t panic. We bobbed about in the mist and gale, over and round heathery hummocks. “Find a small lake then another with a dam, and then steeply up to Cnicht,” I said. “Does this look right,” repeated Jim. It all looked the same. Fortunately, we found a path. From its gradient and the general absence of paths, I knew it was the northeast ridge of Cnicht. Simon later told me that the reservoir was cascading over the dam, rendering it and the outflow un-crossable. When Simon and Max found the dam, they were forced to retreat down valley to Croesor, so not finding it may have been lucky.

The run to Nantmor was uneventful. Despite only having the food in our pockets to chew on in three hours, we were happily trading song lyrics with each other and the gale.

There were lots of folk at Nantmor, including Rudy Miller, a founder member of Tattenhall Runners who now lives locally. Sharon Basford and Sue Ellis were brilliant at the changeover. I stripped off my wet clothes behind the camper van, naked except for my socks and shoes. It felt great to pull on a dry merino wool thermal.

Off we went. Jim, Rob Chambers, Simon Duckett, Chris Collins and I. Off up Bryn Banog, Moel Hebog and their comrades. The rain stopped but the wind was unrelenting. At least now we were not battling into it.

I was feeling a little sick. In the confusion of the gales, I’d drunk more electrolytes, rather than straight water, than I wanted to. Whatever the reason, I was finding eating difficult, but munched slowly onward.

This is the leg I’d reccied the most, and Simon and Rob had both been over it, in a heat wave, a few weeks before. We had one navigational blip, but were otherwise good.

Again Sharon and Sue were set up to receive us. There were others too – apologies for not mentioning everyone by name. Warm food and off again, this time into gathering gloom. The only full moon anyone saw was my arse at the first changeover.

I told Mark I wasn’t feeling good. I didn’t need to say anything more. He paced me up Craig Wen, Yr Aran and beyond, constantly attending to my needs. Rob and Simon continued. Supporting two legs is no mean feat and a testament to their strength.

The wind on Yr Aran was as ferocious as it had been on the first leg. Only I know the route off Yr Aran and up Snowdon. It was meant to be on good, moonlit paths, but losing the path was as easy as slipping on wet slate. We each had a halo of mist reflected back at us and could see little else.

Rain started again on Garnedd Ugain. I adjusted my hood and pulled the jack-plug out of my head torch. Normally, this would not be a problem, but I was cold, tired and plunged into blackness and didn’t know why the light had suddenly failed. I watched four halos fading fast. I yelled into the wind until they came back. We continued with a spare torch in service. Careful navigation from Mark got us onto the path. The GPS trace says it all!

By this point I was slowing. 75 kms of wind was taking its toll. Jim was faring better. He wouldn’t leave me. Mark told me not to make any decisions until we reached Llanberis, but I had decided. We had two supporters between us for the next leg, but I wouldn’t have gone on even if we had enough support to split. At this point, sub-24-hours still looked possible for Jim and I didn’t want me slowing him into Llanberis. Jim knew the route off Moel Elio, which is the same as the race he’d run a month before, so I insisted that he go on. But racing isn’t reccying! After faffing about at the summit and following the wrong fence down, Jim, Rob and Simon made it into Llanberis and were off just before Mark and I arrived.

Sharon and the ever-present and ever-cheerful Charlie Eldred greeted us. It was over for me. 80 km with 5,300 m climbing, and no lull in the storm. I didn’t feel disappointed, but tired, happy and relieved. It had been a great experience, an adventure, a discovery.

Jim was now right on the 24-hour schedule, with no slack, but the wind caught up with him too. His wind-battered body slowed. Remarkably, he had the willpower to drag himself over another 35 km with 3,000 m climbing. He was out for nearly 30 hours!

We’ve learned a lot for Simon Duckett’s 2018 round.


TV Appearance for Club Members


Alternative careers could now lie ahead for a few Tattenhall Runners after appearing on TV with Julia Bradbury in the latest episode of “Britain’s Best Walks”!  There was no sign of stage fright in the exchange of banter between our club representatives and the experienced presenter, as they emerged at the top of the infamous railway on Bulkeley Hill, providing some good publicity for our annual Tough Team Race.

See for yourself on the ITV hub –


Tattenhall Runners Autumn Duathlon

duathlonWeather conditions were perfect for Tattenhall Runners Club Duathlon on Sunday 30th October. Tattenhall Runners were joined by a number of guests from neighbouring clubs,  on a 5k run followed by a challenging two lap cycle route of 18 miles, before tired legs set about a final 5k run to the finish.

Overall winner , Iain Wood (Chester Tri), won with  a time of 1hr 45m 6s , closely followed by Martin Durrant , (Tattenhall Runners), in 1h 45m 40s. Fenella Higgins (Buckley Runners) was First Lady home in 2h 6m 30s.

Grundy Goes for Gold!

Tattenhall Runners member Alli Grundy represented Great Britain in the World Duathlon Championships, held in Avilles in Spain.  Alli qualified to compete in the sprint discipline, which consists of a 5K run, a 20km bike leg, and a final 2.5km run.  After some drama leading up to the race due the airline losing her baggage, Alli’s running pedigree and a storming bike section lead to a finishing place of 41st out of 187 ladies, and 8th place in her age category.  Reflecting after the race, Alli commented, “It was a brilliant event, and anyone who runs and has a bike should give the sport a go.”  Alli is now concentrating on qualifying for next year’s European Championships, which are being held in Austria in June.

Alli Spain1

Well done to our very own international athlete!

North Wales XC League: the final showdown

It all came down to this last race at Oswestry, the final fixture of the 2015/16 North Wales Cross Country League season.  As the wind and rain taunted us, most members of Tattenhall Runners team were debating what kit to wear to keep out the elements.  Would it be warm enough just to wear the club vest?  Vest and gloves?  T-shirt underneath?  Two of our finest runners stood apart unconcerned with the elements, Peter Taylor and Ali McNay, both proud Scotsmen; if they had it their way they would be running bare chested through the mud.  A rivalry had developed, and it all came down to this last race, whoever finished first would take the crown of Tattenhall Men’s Cross Country Champion.  As they sprinted off for the first lap they were neck and neck, then Peter took the lead following the first of the fence-crossings.  Ali was undeterred, however, and gradually clawed his way back before pushing on to take victory in his final race for Tattenhall Runners, as he heads back up to Scotland next month.  Well done Ali, the club with certainly miss you, and best of luck for the future.

Ali and Peter XC

Ali & Peter battle in out over one of the four fence crossings on the course

In total 9 men and 4 ladies competed in this final race, a good turnout once again, and as the courses have got muddier Tattenhall have proved how much we love the wet stuff following our slow start to the season.  Our ladies team pulled it out of the bag, led home as ever by Alice Robinson, and finished 3rd overall in Division 2, whilst the men did just enough the avoid relegation from Division 1 (we think).  In the individual competitions Ali McNay was 5th overall in the men’s competition, and 2nd in the Vet 40 category.  Simon Ellis was joint winner of the Vet 50 category, whilst Mike Whiteside was 3rd V65.  Well done everyone, as ever there was a brilliant, friendly atmosphere, roll on next season!

Club Championships Update

The three club championships have been progressing since the summer, so here’s an update of the results so far.

Club Championships Update January 2016

In the fell championships we decided to put more of a focus this year on the ever-popular summer evening races, and we’ve had 24 runners complete at least one race.  With one race to go (Carding Mill Canter on 12th March) Kate Lightfoot and Peter Taylor have built up unassailable leads but it’s all to fight for in the minor places.

We are at the mid point of the Cross Country season with 3 races out of 5, and last year’s men’s champion Ali McNay is looking good for another victory, unless Peter Taylor can pull something out of the bag in the last two races.  In the ladies competition it’s shaping up for a battle between Alice Robinson and Simone Norris for the queen of the mud title.

We’ve still got for 4 races to go in the road championship, and the ladies competition is wide open, with Laura Ashford, Jen Chambers and Grace Hart all scoring maximum points in one of the first 3 races.  In the men’s competition Rod Jones has completed all of the races so far, but Andy Sudlow has scored a couple of victories, but will his impending trip to Australia scupper his chances to retain his trophy?  The counter in the championship is the Abergele Borders League on 24th January so here’s to a good Tattenhall turnout for that.

A Group Winter Training

We are back on the roads for winter training. The A Group winter training plan starts on Tuesday 29th September, and is a progressive plan focusing on speed work on Tuesdays, and endurance on Thursdays, with a range of different sessions designed to help runners improve through the winter months. There are time trials once a month to help to measure progress.

For full details of the training plan see the training nights page.

Club Fell Championships Update

With the summer evening short fell races now behind us it’s time to see how the competition is shaping in the 2015/16 club fell championships. The table linked below shows the points won in the first 4 races. There will be 7 races in total and it’s the best 4 performances that count for each runner (in comparison with other Tattenhall members).

Congratulations to Sharon on being the only runner with a 100% attendance record so far. It means that her current total of 15 points gives a target for all the other ladies to aim at! In the men’s competition both Peter and Simon have  a perfect 2 points from 2 races but Lee and Martin are also looking good, each with 3 races already notched up.




Peak Skyrace & Rise Above Sportive

Alli and I have finally completed  our endurance challenges, raising money for the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer.  We took part in the Peak Skyrace on Sunday 2nd August, a tough 30 mile trail run in the Peak District, along with fellow Tattenhall Runner Simon Duckett, finishing in a time of 6 hours 22 minutes.  On Sunday 9th August we then took on the 115 mile Rise Above Sportive, a hilly road bike venturing into North Wales, finishing in 9 hours 36 minutes.  After 3000m of climbing we were spent but it was a truly incredible day.

Visit our JustGiving page for the story behind these challenges and to donate.

Photo 2Finish


Welcome to Tattenhall Runners

Welcome to our relaunched website for Tattenhall Runners, which aims to provide information for both existing members and those interested in joining this great club.

There are details on our training nights, races and social get-togethers.  I think you’ll find we’re a friendly bunch who don’t take things too seriously.

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact us on

Rob Arden, Club Chairman