It would be hard to find a Cumbrian more admired, loved and respected than Joss Naylor - he was, some might say, the most Cumbrian of all of us.

Tributes have poured into the well-respected sheep farmer and fell runner following his death last week. Joss Naylor MBE, died on Friday night, June 28 aged 88 surrounded by friends and family.

In 1986, at the age of 50, Joss ran all 214 Wainwrights in seven days. When he turned 60 he ran 60 Lakeland fell tops in 36 hours, and at 70 he ran 70 Lakeland fells, cementing his place as a true Lakeland legend.

Everyone has a story, a way Joss impacted them throughout their lives and inspired them to become better, reach for more and to grip the zest for life he demonstrated so well not just through his running but in his every day.

Chairman of the Cumbrian Farmer Network Adam Day paid tribute to the great man who had inspired him on cold Cumbrian day at his Wasdale Head farm.

Adam said: “One crazy cold January morning I had to meet Joss at the farm at Wasdale to sort some sheep out. It was freezing cold, snow had been on the ground, and it was frozen solid, the wind was howling.

“I had a vest, a t-shirt, a shirt, jumper, coat a hat and gloves it was bitter, bitter cold. I pulled into the yard and Joss was there in his customary checked shirt unbuttoned to the naval, working away, hard as nails and we worked through the sheep and got talking.

"He asked me how my rugby was going. I said to him, I’m struggling, it’s getting harder, and he said, ‘Adam lad let me give you a bit of advice. If you still enjoy what you’re doing, keep doing it as long as you can, because the day will come when you just can’t’. And he said to me, 'that’s why I still run'.

“I never forgot Joss’s piece of advice on that freezing cold January morning in Wasdale. ‘If you enjoy what you do, do it as long as you can because the day will come when you just can’t’, and that was Joss Naylor.”

But he wasn’t just a great Cumbrian fell runner. Joss, born in 1936 on Middle Row Farm of Wasdale Head, was a fell farmer to his core.

Talking on Joss’s impact on Cumbrian farming, Mr Day said: “Because of his legendary fell running - he literally was a Cumbrian legend wasn’t he - maybe his farming goes a bit unnoticed in that.

"But actually anybody who can farm those fell farms of the western Lake District - hard, wet, windy, cold, uncompromising farms in winter - anybody who can farm sheep in those conditions deserves recognition and Joss, the Naylor family of which there are many, and many other families don’t get the recognition they deserve for the generation of looking after the land, the environment and the sheep of West Cumbria.”

They often say, ‘they don’t make them like that anymore’, and it could be said for Joss. Through his many achievements the fell running legend became a hero to many who followed in his footsteps.

George Crayston, who farms at Thornholme Farm, Calderbridge, was a neighbour of Joss’ farm and a keen fell runner, knowing Joss ‘as a very young lad’ and further on through his life.

Joss with George Crayston following a fell raceJoss with George Crayston following a fell race (Image: Supplied)

Speaking about Joss, George said: “He was everybody’s hero, wasn’t he? I have got quite a lot of memories and one or two of them are through farming rather than fell running.

"I always remember once he turned up to help us gather. He turned up and said, 'I am a bit slow today, I stood on a hot cinder in the house with me bare feet.. you will have to bear with us'.

“I remember we set off up Caw Fell to gather these sheep and within 20 minutes he was gone [ahead]... he had left us all for dead. That was him being lame and trying to tell us he had a problem, but still left us for dead.”

George has won a number of fell races over the years, with Joss being there often to present prizes, something he said often meant more to him than winning the race itself.

Speaking of the great man, George said: “He was a character, a real character, always a practical joker.

“A real character but hard as nails as well. He was carved out of Lake District rock and that’s a great way of summing up to be honest. His achievements, they blow you away, especially if you’re a runner and you realise how tough it is.

"Some of the things he achieved and some of the things he done are just to me untouchable.”

A book was written about the life of Joss Naylor by Keith Richardson, a journalist and author who researched, wrote and published the biography 'Joss' in 2009.

Speaking following his death, Keith said: "For many people, memories of Joss Naylor will be about his endurance running. And while his achievements in that field are considerable, I sought in my biography to also focus on the man and his life in general.

"It soon became apparent that Joss Naylor was, as well as being an amazing runner, also a Cumbrian character and someone whose interests and passions far exceeded that of solely running.

"He was a passionate campaigner for all things essentially Cumbrian and especially related to shepherding, the culture of the land and the Norse heritage of the fell farms.

"The dry-stone walls, those barriers that span the fells and the generations to this day, were a particular example of his love of the fells.

"If he saw a broken-down dry-stone wall where a gap was, quite literally, fenced over or filled with a wooden pallet or similar device, he would be outraged.

"The pattern of dry-stone walls in his native Wasdale are second to none and he did all he could to maintain them where possible, including building new stretches with great care, devotion and skill.

"He was also enthusiastic about discovering ancient dwellings on the fells and giving them new life through diligent restoration.

"He was, in short, a one-man archaeologist, in many ways answerable to no one and determined to stand up for and preserve what he believed in; a way of life that he thought was fast disappearing.

"But he did not dwell in the past. Through his running and essentially kind nature he raised many thousands of pounds for charity. And his personal campaigns also highlighted the issues of pollution; acid rain and its affect the fells being one of his major concerns.

Joss Naylor, taking a break with his dog LassieJoss Naylor, taking a break with his dog Lassie (Image: Supplied)

"While I think of him always as being a very independent, solitary figure – arguably at his happiest and most content when running along the fells with only a sheepdog or two for company – if you put him in front of a big audience, armed only with a microphone (or sometimes just the power of his voice) he could talk long and entertainingly about his life, interests and views.

"There was much more to Joss Naylor than met the eye. And certainly, much more to him than an ability to run the fells, break records, set new standards and inspire legions of runners.

"Joss Naylor was Cumbrian through and through and it was a privilege to be granted the honour of writing his life story and, for a relatively short time at least, to be a part of it."

Over the centuries there has been many a Lakeland legend, and no doubt many more to come as time rolls on, but there is one who will never lose his place in the history books and that is the late, great Joss Naylor.