Of Evil Witches & Warlocks

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When I was younger, my family and I spent a lot of time in the Lake District visiting, well more family, out walking on the fells and round the lake / waters of that beautiful part of the world. As we walked we obviously passed others on our route and with our cousins we always played a very simple game.

  • When we met someone coming the opposite direction we always said hello. 
  • If they said hello back, they (or we) were safe – they were just your everyday humans.
  • If they didn’t reply, they weren’t just rude, they were evil witches and warlocks.
View Off Latrigg (Ed Pratt, 2019)

I’m happy to report that usually we met more of the former than the latter and this post is not meant to offend the good witches and warlocks out there, it was just a game after all.

Ever since, whenever out walking or running, I try to say hello when passing people out on the paths and trails. Granted I live in the country and not a big city, so probably don’t pass as many people as others will. It is, I think, better to smile and say hello than to put your head down and rush by.

During this period of lockdown and the accompanying sunny weather, it has been great to see so many people getting out running. It seems that there’s more than ever, but this maybe because they previously ran at the gym (which is now closed) or on their lunch break at work (which they can no longer go to). Similarly, all the families out on their one walk out of the house that they can take a day. 

All I hope, in these worrying and uncertain times, is that you stay safe, follow the advice regarding social distancing and of course – don’t be an evil witch or warlock, say hello to people you meet along the way.

Best wishes


Ullswater Trail Race – What to wear?!

So the weekend saw me at Ullswater for the finale of the Lakeland Trails Series, a 14km race from Howtown to Glenridding. Due to moving house my training had been a bit disrupted, but speaking to the people I was running with, we all seemed to be in the same boat. Looking at the course profile (below) earlier in the week, didn’t really inspire confidence, but the reality was a lot more pleasant.


The weather reports had predicted rain all afternoon, but waiting for the ferry and on the crossing over there were some flashes of sunshine in the stunning Lake District countryside. Disembarking from the ferry there was time for a quick pitstop then we were off! After a very brief road section we were onto the trails, heading along a very greasy / slippery course along the lakeshore. The route itself was beautiful in both its variety and its surroundings, changing from rocky single track to hardcore path to rocky scramble.


What to wear had been a topic of debate in the build up to the run with two main choices: carry the required kit or wear it! On the day I chose to wear it and ended up tying my Saucony Vortex jacket round my waist, it had easily done its work keeping me dry before we set off. On my feet I wore Inov-8 Terrafly’s which kept my feet wonderfully dry until the deeper streams later on, in hindsight I would have sacrificed dry feet for a bit more grip and worn my Inov-8 Mudrocs.

All in all it was a great race, with very good weather for the time of year. Well done to my cousin Max who won our little group race and all of us finished in under 01:30:00. Thanks must go to the organisers and Patterdale Mountain Rescue for looking after everyone, with such a rocky course there were inevitably a few tumbles and injuries (yours truly included, only bruised my ego and backside!) and I hope no one was seriously injured.