Monday, 21 March 2011

BG Leg 1 Recce - 18/03/2011

This was another new experience for me - going long (ish) on big hills at night. And what a perfect night for it: cool but not desparately cold, and strongly moonlit.

I ran leg one with Ste, a friend of Owen (the contender we're all supporting). We met at Dunmail just after seven, and Ste gave me a lift to the start via a gear stashing session at Threlkeld.

We got a little misplaced at the start, going over the Greta via the roadbridge at the east end of Fitz Park, rather than the recently repaired footbridge. From here on to the top of Skiddaw, the navigation's straightforward though, and we walked up, enjoying the moonlight and the view back to the lake. Progress was fairly quick, and jogging the flatter bits on Latrigg would have seen us well inside the 23 hr schedule.

We found a trod off the north col of Skiddaw, but not the promised quad bike tracks. This got us down onto the heather above the Caldew / Dash Beck col, where things got rough. I caught my ankle in a drainage channel but there seemed to be no damage, so we pressed on across the boggy col and onto the Dash Falls - Skiddaw House path. A quick look at the map confirmed we were east of Dead Beck, so we jogged down the path 200m to the stream.

From here a trod goes initially up the stream then east onto the south ridge of Great Calva. This was fairly good going and we reached the top of Calva fairly quickly.

Another very heathery section followed descending south east to the Caldew. I started this running, but was slowed lower down as cramp was getting into my left hamstring, just as it had after the really rough bit of the Kinder Trial a couple of months ago.

By the time we set off up onto Mungrisedale Common heading for Blencathra, I was struggling a bit. We missed the wee cairn on the ridge, and contoured on tussocky grass (more cramp problems) above Sinen and the Roughten Gills to reach the blue scree under Foule Crag. This was slippery but easily graded and we were soon jogging along the ridge to the top of Hall's Fell.

It all went wrong again about 200m down the ridge as we missed the turn to the left and ended up going down a spur towards Gate Gill. By now the leg 2 team were waiting at Threlkeld and wondering why we were not in the right place. We spent 20 minutes or so contouring back onto the ridge to the path, and finished about 40-50 minutes down on schedule.

I thought I might hold the others up on the next leg so opted to jog back to Dunmail along the road and wait at the car for them. The excitement wasn't over when I got there though; as I got a call from Owen asking me to relocate to Thirlspot - they'd lost a dog and were coming down from Raise / Whiteside area.

I moved the car and waited as the moon set and then the first light of dawn came into the sky. The guys headtorches soon appeared by Fisher Gill, and I put the stove on so the brew was ready when they got down. The dog was still AWOL, so I helped with the car shuffling so Gav could get off home and a couple of the guys could walk up from Glenridding meeting the rest on top to look for the doggie, then I headed off home.

I got a text later on saying doggie had been found and everyone was down.

In the end I ran 21 miles and climbed 5,700' including the road section. I was a bit disappointed with my performance, but I've had a few really good runs on the trot, and I guess this is much rougher terrain than I usually train on. A few days on I'm not feeling so bad about it now.

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