And just like that the work is done. From the initial drunken May deposit through fleeting fitness and sugar binges (those Mcvities dark choc thins are soooo good – 700cal per packet: that’s how I roll)!
|Week 10: 29 Apr – 5 May 19
|Mileage: 53.7 miles
|Ascent: 4,184 m
|Rest: Mon, Wed, Fri
I ran Easy on Tue after work for 30 min around the woods. I was clearly still tired after the three peaks. I went climbing on Wednesday, taking DS2’s place at DS1’s birthday party! On Thursday I ran to vote at lunch for 20 min and then got 30 min in around the bluebells of Whippendell woods while DS1 was at the scout site.
Work is manic right now but I managed to get away in time to get to Pooley Bridge by 2000 for the Great Lakeland 3 Day Mountain Marathon. I got the tent up and I could feel the temperature dropping. I collected my pre-ordered food and watched some inspirational outdoor theatre which include a father and son paddle board adventure, Scottish skiing and a piece called Slaydies about some climbers’ holiday in Spain. I slept well but it was very cold and chibbly – in May!
I was awake at dawn (0500) and from 0530 sorted my kit. I still had to pack as I was close to the weight limit and had struggled to close the dry bag. I left a ton of kit but decided to wear my buffalo jacket – I don’t regret that! I saw Sabrina Verjee had posted in the DBR group reminding people to go easy; I kept weighing up the pros and cons but eventually decided on the middle length – 37km, 23 miles for day 1. Three decent days are far more important than one long day. The GL3D is an inclusive gentrified mountain adventure including navigation and hills. Pick your own adventure- you can run/walk a different length course each day but you won’t be included in the overall results which are just for fun anyway. I am glad I didn’t do the long course which was nearly 50km. I don’t need to prove I can do that distance 2 weeks out from the biggest adventure I’ve dared to attempt.
The race is long but in the end it’s only against yourself (and the cut offs).
The route was really nice and the chibbly-clear start showed off the Lakeland hills. I wished I had had a Wainwright quote for the moment – I’ve included some later to make amends. From Pooley Bridge we cut across Askham fell then up and along the High Raise to High Street ridge before dropping down to the pub at Kirkstone Pass. From there it was straight up (and then down) Red Screes leading to Hartcrag and descent to Patterdale camping via Hartsop above How. I had a delicious Lakeland ice cream from Patterdale post office before finishing in 5:40. This ended up being a nominal 8th place. A great day in the hills topped off by getting cake and drink on arrival! I then met lots of Dragons in Training and former Dragons including Chris, John K, Paul and legend Joe F. I chatted with fellow hill folk and discussed the day while enjoying food from the luxury food vans (cheesy chips)!
I slept really well on my 2 mats with down jacket on. I was surprised to wake without stiff legs. I got sorted and had porridge with choc & peanut butter and a coffee before setting off at 0800. I had a great day. We climbed steeply out up towards St. Sunday Crag. I used my poles and made good time. The CP was on an eastern Wainwright rather St. SC. I contoured round under the summit saving height and time. The zigzag climb up Dollywaggon is steep but I poled straight up. It was quite cold but noticeably warmer than Saturday. I chose to wear just a base layer and running jacket with tights. The next section bagged Helvellyn and then along to Stybarrow Dodd. I saved more time by not visiting Raise. From Stybarrow Dodd we dropped off the ridge and across open moorland towards Gowbarrow Fell. The view point of Yew Crag gave a great panorama of Ullswater. We followed the Ullswater trail back to camp via Aria Force and Glenridding Dodd. I was second back but that’s meaningless as people can start when they like – I only just made it back AFTER the finish opened 5 hrs after I started. I had a great day – 1st and 12 min faster than 2nd moving me to 3rd overall and an ice cream away from the lead! It is just for fun with no prizes but nice to compare.
I enjoyed a lie in on Monday. While others got ready I stayed in the warmth of my sleeping bag knowing an early start would see me finish before it was open!
I set off at 0815 at 4:30 min/km pace along the roads to Patterdale to Place Fell. From there we set off across Angle Tarn Pikes (Lakes 5 Day Orienteering 2018 Day 2) and then to Beda Fell. I’d chosen to run in a base layer and shorts today which was liberating. Hallin Fell was a pleasant peak with good views across Ullswater but the direct, full frontal assault up Bonscale Pike was Whernside-esque! 4 points of contact!
Anyway, I finished, before 1200 so I had some time added to my finish (3:37 for 15 miles). 3rd on the day and 2nd overall, an ice cream off the lead. An excellent event which bodes well for the Dragon. I was so pleased with how quickly I recovered and feel like I’ve lost more weight. 13 sleeps to go. Now it’s time to pack and take care of my feet.
Here’s some Wainwright quotes:
Why does a man climb mountains? Why has he forced his tired and sweating body up here when he might instead have been sitting at his ease in a deckchair at the seaside, looking at girls in bikinis, or fast asleep, or sucking ice-cream, according to his fancy. On the face of it the thing doesn’t make sense.
Yet more and more people are turning to the hills; they find something in these wild places that can be found nowhere else. It may be solace for some, satisfaction for others: the joy of exercising muscles that modern ways of living have cramped, perhaps; or a balm for jangled nerves in the solitude and silence of the peaks; or escape from the clamour and tumult of everyday existence. It may have something to do with man’s subconscious search for beauty, growing keener as so much in the world grows uglier. It may be a need to re-adjust his sights, to get out of his narrow groove and climb above it to see wider horizons and truer perspectives. In a few cases, it may even be a curiousity inspired by A Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides. Or it may be, and for most walkers it will be, quite simply, a deep love of the hills, a love that has grown over the years, whatever motive first took them there: a feeling that these hills are friends, tried and trusted friends, always there when needed.
It is a question every man must answer for himself.
Do take the children on the hills early, in a rucksack on your shoulders if they can’t yet walk. Children are born scramblers and don’t hurt easily: it’s yourself you want to watch, not them. They will be in the seventh heaven of delight. They don’t fear the elements or the mountains or monstrous apparitions in gas capes. Fear only comes with age. It always pleases me to see a family party on a mountain track. There, I think, goes a good father and an even better mother. They have the right idea. They want their children to know and love the quiet places before the noisy world offers less desirable outlets for juvenile enthusiasm and energy and enterprise. A child forgets many incidents of child had, but he will always remember the day his old dad took him along the Climbers Traverse on Bowfell and up the Great Slab. There are red letter days in infancy, too.