‘Well done lad’

Joss Naylor praises John Muir Award Cumbria Manager Graham Watson at the end of his arduous Lakeland Challenge to fundraise for the Trust

Lakeland challenge  joss naylor and graham watson 2019 detail

Huge congratulations to Graham Watson, our John Muir Award Cumbria Manager, for completing the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge. The 48 mile (77km) route entails traversing 30 summits and a total ascent of 17,000 feet (5192m) between Pooley Bridge and Wasdale in the Lake District.

Chris Brasher, of no mean pedigree himself (Olympic Gold Medalist, pace-setter for the first ever sub-four-minute mile, founder of the first London Marathon in 1981, and of course instrumental in the founding of the Trust and purchasing our first area of wild land, on Knoydart) famously described Joss Naylor (pictured above with Graham) as “The greatest of them all.”

Joss devised and completed this Lake District crossing when he was 50, to be open only to those over 50, to complete within a set time limit (and raise at least £100 for charity). The reward? A great day on the fells, and the prized engraved pewter tankard presented to successful completers.

Graham, aged 56, completed the challenge in 14 hours 42 minutes – well within the 15 hour time limit for his age category. Recovering after a day that started at 3.15am Sunday morning and ended at midnight, Graham said: “I think it may be the hardest thing I've ever done.

“The Lake District was at its very best, the 10 friends and pacers involved were superb. I was privileged to meet Joss up on Kirk Fell (still on the fells at aged 83!) and at the finish at Greendale Bridge. It was worth every step to deserve that handshake and ‘Well done lad’ from Joss.”

 Graham Watson Lakeland Challenge 2019

Graham and a member of his support team at the 30th summit of his challenge (the only one he stood still at).

A fundraising page initially set up by Graham to raise £100 in sponsorship for the John Muir Trust has now reached a total of over £700 – a real boost to the Trust’s coffers and fitting way to give back and support the wild places that provide such joy to those who explore them.  

Anyone inspired to take on their own challenge can find out more by visiting our fundraising pages.

Photo at the top shows Joss Naylor, now aged 83, meeting Graham at the end of his run.