Tributes paid after legendary Cumbrian fell-runner Joss Naylor dies aged 88

Scafell Pike and Wastwater in the Lake District (PA)
Scafell Pike and Wastwater in the Lake District (PA)

Tributes have been paid to the legendary Cumbrian fell-runner Joss Naylor MBE who has died aged 88.

The Lake District farmer and supreme amateur athlete died on Friday evening “in the company of friends and family”, according to a social media post from the Climbers Shop in Ambleside.

Farmer and writer James Rebanks said Naylor “had a lovely sensible and quiet way with him. “A proper Cumbrian - no hype and BS, just got on and did his thing, and hard as nails.”

Broadcaster Terry Abraham, who filmed Naylor for a Lake District documentary, said: “The word legend is often used too lightly nowadays.

“RIP JOSS NAYLOR MBE You REALLY were and always will be a legend. I’ve no doubt he’s running about in the heavens looking down upon his ancestral home of Wasdale. RIP friend.”

Naylor started running as a young man and was still running across his beloved fells, as the mountains in the Lake District are known locally, in his 80s.

Aged 50 he ran all 214 peaks, listed by writer Alfred Wainwright, in a week and ran 70 of them again aged 70.

He once ran up and down Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, in just 47 minutes - a feat that saw him compared to a mountain goat.

Dubbed the King of the Fells, Mr Naylor was awarded an MBE for services to sport and charity in 2007.

Asked about his legacy in 2021 by his local newspaper, the News & Star, the record-breaking runner said: “I just want to be remembered as Joss Naylor. Nothing bloody fancy.”