Joss Naylor heads a line of supporters on the descent into Patterdale. Photo: Scott Umpleby/Brathay Trust

Joss Naylor heads a line of supporters on the descent into Patterdale. Photo: Scott Umpleby/Brathay Trust

A fellrunning legend returned to the Lakeland mountains at the weekend to address unfinished business.

Joss Naylor completed part of the Lake District Mountain Trial that he failed to finish 57 years ago.

The runner, now aged 83, set off from the Kirkstone Pass to tackle the 12½-mile route to Patterdale, via Stoney Cove Pike, Thornthwaite Crag and High Street. Heavy mist cloaked the fells initially but conditions improved as he ran the final section.

In September 1962 severe weather, and cramp, forced him to retire early from the trial. Out of the 55 who entered the Lake District Mountain Trial only one finished: George Brass.

Naylor said: “I’ve now completed 51 Mountain Trials, but 1962 is the only year I started and didn’t finish.

“On that day the weather was dreadful, with a storm coming through as the race got underway. Most of the field retired early on it was that rough. It was cramp that got me and I dropped down off Dollywagon with George Rhodes and John Disley.”

Joss Naylor secured his first Lake District Mountain Trials win in 1966 and has won the title 10 times.

He has taken part in the Short Trial since 2007 as a male veteran aged 70-plus and is entered again in this year’s event. At the peak of his fellrunning in the 1970s, Naylor broke the Lake District 24-hour record three times, won the Ennerdale Horseshoe fell race for a ninth consecutive time and ran the fastest known times on the Three Peaks, Welsh 3,000ers and Pennine Way.

In 1976, he was also appointed an MBE for his work with sport and charity.

He returned to the route to remember George Brass and to raise awareness and funds for the Lake District charity Brathay Trust. Naylor is an active supporter and patron of its annual 10 marathons in 10 days challenge. He has raised more than £50,000 to help change the lives of the disadvantaged young people they help.

Brathay’s head of fundraising Scott Umpleby, who joined Naylor on Saturday, said: “Joss is still an inspiration to us and this time it was for tackling incredibly challenging terrain in his 80s.

“Not only was it steep on the ascent and descent but he kept up the same brisk pace regardless of conditions underfoot, from very uneven surfaces to heather and loose stone.

“It took him six hours and 20 minutes, including a stop for a sandwich and we ended the day in the local pub where Joss enjoyed a Guinness. It was also great to see so many people turn out to support him including his contemporaries Peter Hall, Peter Nelson and Ken Ledward.”

Donations can be made via Joss Naylor’s JustGiving page.

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