Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tuesday Night - 28/06/2011

Another poor one, with yet more problems, I'm afraid. I chose the route and then didn't manage to get round the whole run.

I thought we'd go round Caer Caradoc, running out along the path at the base of the west face, then up the ramp to the shoulder on the north ridge. From here we could drop down to Cwms Lane and go up onto the Bowdler Hills, drop down at Gaer Stone and see how the time was, with the option of going up Ragleth Hill to finish.

I warmed up carefully with some stretches, but it was fairly quick up Old Cardington Lane and onto the hill, coming out in lovely sunlight (a good reason for being over on the east side of the valley on these light evenings) and climbing to the kissing gate half way up to Three Fingers Rock. We contoured around the nice singletrack at the base of the fell quickly, and then climbed up to the saddle. I think my achilles started to complain a bit on the way up.

On the way down to Cwms Lane there's a rough section and the pain got a bit worse, so at Cwms Cottage I decided to be sensible and head back into Stretton. By the time I reached the A49 I could only walk, which rather justified the decision.

The others must have made good time over the Bowdler Hills - I hadn't been at the car park long before I saw first one, then a couple and finally all 17 hitting the Hike descent from the marker stone on Ragleth Hill. The sun was still on the hillside and they all looked great floating down the hillside. Bugger!

Anyway as usual I had a nice time, and Tom bailed me out in the pub as I'd left my wallet at work - thank you!

Obviously there's still lots of work to do on the legs - I think the glutes and hamstrings exercises must be working because the problem is much more localised now to the achilles area. I'll stretch gently and ice frequently, before starting to run on fairly flat ground in a week or so. I've physio next Monday and massage on Thursday, so I've a good chance to get sorted now. And I have an excuse for not killing myself on the Callow race on Sunday. I'll see if there's any need for marshalls, but if not I'll be out on the course somewhere with the camera watching everyone else suffer...

Monday, 27 June 2011

Pennine Recovery Run - 26/06/2011

A good place to finish a fell run on a hot day...

I had a quick recovery run on the way home from the Lakes (via Leeds).

Started and finished at the layby on the A672 just above the Ripponden junction on the M62, went south over White Hill and across the next road, concentrating on very slow speed and good form. A nice soft rolling 5 miles in about an hour, with energy replenishment from the handy van shown above!

Incidentally it was warm enough to run without a top, in complete contrast to the same time the previous day when I was running in two thermals, a fleece and a cag and was still cold!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Another Amazing BG Weekend - 24-25/06/2011

Adrian climbing Bowfell, powered by Pauline's cake. Cake deliveries by me!
What a fantastic sport this is! I'm just back from an amazing weekend in the Lakes, supporting my friend Adrian's BG attempt. I didn't want to let anyone down, so had opted out of pacing / navigating to go on "resting" my various niggles. Not that this was going to stop me helping!

We all gathered at the Moot Hall just after 6pm on Friday to see Adrian off, with the two RR's, Rick and Richard pacing leg one. The weather was dry and not too cold, but the overcast was threatening worse. Another group set off a couple of minutes before Adrian's, and there was also a local group going at 7pm, all clockwise.

Richard, Adrian, and Rick ready to leave the Moot Hall

As a non-runner for the weekend I thought the best thing I could do was to head over to Langdale and hike up Rossett Gill (yes, hike - the rucsac was too heavy for running really) to camp at the top between Rossett Pike and Bowfell.

Walking up Mickleden with The Band in front
View up Mickleden to Bowfell just as the first few raindrops started to fall...

As I got to the top section at about 21:45, the rain started. I put the tent up quickly on a spot just in the lee of the ridge (Angle Tarn side), had a brew and set the alarm for 05:00 (the schedule was for 06:04 at Rossett Pike) and tried to sleep. Excitement and incresingly wild conditions outside kept me mostly awake but I got off about one, and was woken at 04:30 by the wild weather and full daylight.

Working out when Adrian would be arriving, 4:45 am.

I boiled water and filled the thermos, got dressed and went outside to try to get a mobile signal and check what the score was from the Dunmail handover. Eventually I got a text from Pauline to say Adrian was going strong but an hour down on schedule at Dunmail. Looking around, I wasn't suprised. The weather was gross, I was cold, and I'd been in a relatively sheltered tent overnight, not running along the Hellvellyn ridge.

Anyway over the next hour I got the brews sorted and then headed up to the top of Rossett Pike to see the groups come through. The local group (I think the chap was probably an Ellenborough runner from subsequent conversations) came through first, Jackie Winn was navving (I've met him before but didn't recognise him from the 3 square inces of exposed flesh under his cag hood until it was too late). Ten minutes or so later came the next group, with a lady aspirant. I'm not sure what happened to her later on.

Finally Adrian appeared, with Dale and Andy. They came from such an odd angle that I nearly missed them - I think Dale must have a trade secret line onto Rossett Pike. Anyway I got my scates on down to the tent and poured drinks for the three of them. I grabbed a couple of cakes and some sandwiches and headed up Bowfell with them for a few hundred yards, feeding Adrian and the others. After a few minutes I turned back to the camp.

By now everything was absolutely soaking, with about quarter of an inch of water on the tent floor! What had seemed a nice flat sheltered hollow had turned into a big puddle overnight. I packed up and headed down to Langdale to get the car. I was in Keswick by 1030, and while I was having a coffee I got the message from Pauline that Adrian was still looking strong, but was an hour and a half down on schedule at Wasdale - this would mean that with a 23 hour 15 minute schedule he'd be 45 minutes too late at Keswick...

I thought I'd do my best to try to help him keep going, so I headed up to Honister, where I met Val who'd be pacing leg 5. She was obviously now rather too early, but not to worry. I got some water boiling and filled the flask while I changed into my second lot of running kit, then headed off in the rain up the incline and onto the Brandreth path. When this crosses the fence you can drop down onto Moses' Trod, which cuts around the north of Great Gable to Beck Head. With some fast hiking I was there at about 13:30, ten minutes behind when Adrian should have got there and now about an hour to an hour and a half ahead of his ETA based on the timings at Wasdale. It was hammering down, and very misty and the path isn't all that clear so I was worried I'd miss the group. I was also cold, so I hiked on up to Kirk Fell.

On the way across the plateau I saw the Ellenborough group, still going well, although there was only one nav / pacer with the runner. I hunkered down in the shelter at the summit and pretty soon I heard voices, then saw Adrian. He had Oz and Tiggy, two of his ultra running mates, with him, and two others I couldn't recognise under their cags. Anyway I got a cup of coffee down Adrian (on the run), and poured a weak black tea for the pacers, which they took with them on the way up Gable. Again the navigator's lines were superb - the route of Kirk Fell was so smooth and straightforward compared with the tourist route I'd come up.

Adrian had picked up maybe 10 minutes, so was now only an hour and 20 down on his schedule or, more importantly, about 35 minutes down on the 24 hour time. I know of some amazing last leg runs, so I was still hopeful. I dashed back to Honister (a full on run) to get everyone there ready and geared up to expect Adrian maybe a little earlier than we had thought.

When he showed up they'd made good time over Gable and not lost any. He was still looking ok-ish, and he had a great set of pacers for his final leg - Andy (again), Val, his son Joe, and another chap I didn't know... Pauline told Adrain in no uncertain terms to get a wiggle on, and so he grabbed a soup and headed off into the mist up Dale Head. We all charged round to Newlands, where we waited what seemed a total age. The chap from Ellenborough came through, looking ok-ish, with plenty of time for his run in to Keswick. Very soon behind him Adrian and the team appeared. Sadly though, despite making up a load of time, there was only 35 minutes left for the five or so hilly road miles into Keswick. The team went straight through to our cheers, and we set off to follow them in.

I hared round to the Keswick side of the Portinscale bridge, parked up and changed yet again, this time into a pair of shorts (it had finally stopped chucking it down) and a Lifa. At this point one of life's surreal moments occured. I looked up and there was a bloke standing on the opposite side of the road who looked the spitting image of Billy Bland, Bob Graham superhero. I have a picture of him on my wall!

At these moments no one ever says anything sensible so my opening gambit was "You are who I think you are, aren't you?" Evidently he was, and we had a really nice chat for ten minutes or so. Billy is well into his cycling now, and it was good to see that his competitiveness is still there as he told me about his quest to get under seven hours for the Fred Whitton Ride. He was very humble, but had a few words of advice for me too. He asked about Adrian, and I was able to fill him in. Just then the Ellenborough guy appeared across the bridge. He looked pretty beat, but was clearly going to make it. Billy wished Adrian good luck; I said he'd probabl be along in fifteen minutes or so - I'd passed him on the road near Swinside.

Just as Billy turned to go, amazing Adrian and the team appeared over the bridge. He'd cut the Ellenborough guy's fifteen minute lead at Newlands to just a minute or so. I got in with the group and tried to be useful over the last mile to the Moot Hall, but sadly as we hit the track through the park the 24 hours clicked over. At that was left was to run up the main street to the Moot Hall...

Adrain put a little spurt in over the last fifty yards or so and finished his BG attempt, about 24 hours and 10 minutes after he'd started. He'd made up over 35 minutes on the final leg, but sadly it wasn't quite enough. The Ellenborough guy finished just ahead for what must have been about a 23:35 round. I didn't see any sign of either of the other groups at Honister or in Keswick so they must have cut (or been very fast).

Anyway, despite the disappointment I think Adrian can see that he is well capable of doing it - we would just need better weather or a slightly quicker second leg. Billy Bland told him that he'd cruise it on a good day after he'd finished.

The most important thing is that we all had a brilliant time, and everyone really stepped up when it counted and did everything they could. The competence of some of the guys on the hills has to be seen to be believed. Andy's speed and the ease he moves with, Dale's clever lines and knowledge of the hills, Oz and Tiggy's assuredness and teamwork, and Joe's dedication, supporting his dad physically in the last mile or two as the pain from the feet started to tell... I also admire the generousity and kindness of everyone who came to support. Above all though, it was Adrian's quiet determination and spirit in the face of 24 hours of truly horrible conditions which made it's mark with me. This is a brilliant sport, and out in those wet, cold fells I saw a lot of great people doing inspirational things.

Pontesbury Hill Race - 22/06/2011

On the easier upper section of the descent
I'm still not completely fit (I know, boring, but true), but want to have a full summer series, so after missing the Wrekin Streak and the Batch Bash, I had to do this one. I decided to run fairly conservatively, and not to get involved with racing anyone else.

The race was straightforward enough - I did it last year so knew what to expect. The second climb is a bit of a killer and it was hard to start running again straight away, especially as there's a runnable couple of hundred uphill yards to the summit from the top of the steep bit.

Crossing the stile at the top of the first climb
Both photos courtesy Al Tye -
I had a better descent than last year (but not full on) and then took it easy on the run in trying not to do any damage to my achilles.

I was pleased with my time (28:32, compared with 32:19 last year), and the 74% score was reasonable considering I wasn't running full on. Finishing 54th of 90 starters gave me a reasonable 72 points for the series too.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Midsummer Night Run - 21/06/2011

I ran on Tuesday to see if I could ease myself in for Pontesbury, and also if I was fit enough to do a BG Leg 1 support on Saturday. Answers the following morning were yes and no!

I set off with the usual Tuesday night crew, up Lightspout Hollow to Boiling Well. Up here, we parted company - I wanted some soft smoothish ground to try out on and the rest of the guys were after some climbing, so they went down Ashes and then apparently up to Barrister's Plain, straight down again and then back over Yearlet.

I went on up to the top of Pole Bank, then to Pole Cottage and on down the lovely side valley from there into Ashes. I saw some spawning trout in the gully under Yearlet, and then a heron down by the flat grassy area under Ashlet. I had a chat with another fellrunner at the bottom of the Hollow, then ran back to Church Stretton by way of the woods and Cunnery Road, arriving just after the main group had got back.

A nice steady controlled run with little pain, although I was pretty stiff on Wednesday morning. The route was about 8.7 miles and 1,400' of climbing in around an hour and a half.

Cotswold Audax Ride - 19/06/2011

I was looking for something to do to maintain my aerobic fitness and on a whim I entered this cycling event earlier in the week. For those who don't know an "Audax" ride is a tour on a pre-planned route, with minimum and maximum time limits that equate to 15 kph and 30 kph. The catch is that the times include all your stops (food, comfort, navigational cock-ups, etc.)

The route I entered was the shortest distance, 108 km (about 68 miles). The furthest I've been on my bike before this was about 25 miles!

I rode on my 1982 Holdsworth Mistral tourer, which is pretty much in original condition. I bought a handlebar bag as it seemed the easiest way to stash a bit of food, camera and spare clothes where I could get at them on the roll. The bag (Rixen Kaul, not cheap but good quality and with the right mount for my old fashioned bars) has a map case on the top which I used for the route cue sheet.

So we set off from Wythall, south of Birmingham, at 9am, on a cloudy and fairly cool Sunday morning. I deliberately took the first few miles slowly to warm up. There was a photographer about 10 miles in, so hopefully I'll be able to get hold of a couple of pics of me actually riding!

The route took us south and east through Tanworth-in-Arden (pretty), Lowsonford and Norton Lindsey to the first check point at Charlecote. I rode this section mostly with Francis, a charming chap from Stroud who was riding on a fixed gear build of a Surly Cross Check frame. I got my brevet card (it's kind of a certificate that proves you've visited all the checkpoints) stamped and had a quick loo shop, but there was a bit of a queue for food, so I pressed on.

The next section took us south of Stratford via Loxley and Alderminster. I had my first slightly rough patch pedalling on my own along a long straight uphill lane into the wind just after Newbold on Stour. The next stop was an info control at Ilmington. We had to answer a question on the brevet card - in this case the distance to a destination from a signpost. On along the northern edge of the Cotswolds, this time riding up to and then in a group as we made a steady climb to Meon Hill and then swept down into Mickleton. A lovely straightish section led down to another info control at Honeybourne, then I sat in the group and swept through Pebworth and Dorsington to the second full control at Welford-on-Avon. This was in the village hall. There must have been 50 bikes outside, all much newer than mine!

I had a nice ham roll, an apple pastry and a very welcome cup of tea, all for a bargain £3. The catering here was by a local voluntary group, I think, and was excellent. I met Francis again, and a guy called Kevin from Priorslee in Telford. We had a nice chat over food, and left the control together.

We crossed the Avon very soon after the control and climbed to Billesley and Aston Cantlow. Once I realised the guys were waiting for me at the top of each climb I asked them to go on, as I was just keen to take my time and make sure I finished. Pretty soon I was in another group of three with a gentleman and his wife on very nice Thorn Audax bikes. We both spotted slight navigational error before they became serious on the next bit, and rode together to Ullenhall, where the route card suggested there should be a final info control. There was no question on the brevet card though, so I took a photo of the signpost and my two companions, before deciding to set off for the finish ahead of them as I was starting to feel a little stiff.

The last 12km were a bit of a drag; I passed an older couple on a steepish climb between Ullenhall and the A435 and then rode solo through Portway and across the M42. The last section of 5km back to Wythall was all gently uphill, and I must have slowed a bit as the older couple caught me up and passed me about 2km before the end - I couldn't keep up with them!

Anyway I finished in good shape after about 6 elapsed hours (probably five and a half in the saddle), and got my card stamped. I ate some of the excellent free pasta, collected my water bottle memento, and had another chat with Francis and Kevin before heading home.

This was an excellent day, and I had a lot of fun with some really friendly people. I'll definitely be doing more Audax rides when I need a long day but don't want to be running...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Rodney's Pillar Race - 15/06/2011

Went for a sports massage with Dianne Spencer in Welshpool after work and then on to watch the Rodney's Pillar handicap race. Paul Jones was first senior male, despite running with three cracked ribs after his fall on Cadair Idris, and Mel Price was an impressive 4th overall, winning the ladies race.

We had juniors too.

Photos to follow.

Stiperstones Try Out - 12/06/2011

On Sunday afternoon I went to help out at the Rea Valley Environmental Network exhibition on sustainable homes in Minsterley, then had a look round a couple of houses on the tour programme. Very interesting. Afterwards I hiked (fairly quickly - it was bucketing it down) up Perkins Beach to Shepherd's Rock and then along past the Devil's Chair to Manstone Rock. I jogged a bit of this, carefully, then jogged back via the gate above the Hollies to Shepherd's again, before descending down Mytton Dingle to the pub.

Photos to follow.

Gogbatch Gallop - 08/06/2011

The Gogbatch Gallop is a race with a difference. Competitors are paired (one junior and one senior/vet), and the event is handicapped with younger and older runners receiving a bigger advantage. There's an amazing computer system thingy to work it all out.

I pitched up to help and ended up jogging round the course to check the marking half an hour before the start. The course is a mile, with about 350' of ascent (to help with the fellrunning "feel" the start is a couple of hundred feet above the finish). I had a nice jog round but pulled my b****y calf yet again just before the finish. That'll teach me for jogging when I'm not supposed to be...

During the race I manned the final turn. What an amazing experience - all those happy but determined little faces. We had more numbers than in previous years, so I think the effort with the junior races on the Summer Series is paying off...

Video to come as and when I can get it edited.

Longmynd by Bike - 07/06/2011

Still not running...

I went out to meet the Tuesday night crew, but had to content myself with cycling, not running. I left the car at the Ragleth in Little Stretton and rode over to Church Stretton. After a chat with the Tuesday night group, who were off up Ashes Hollow to Pole Bank, I left at the same time as them, and rode over to All Stretton, then up via Plush Hill to the path up past High Park. I only walked a couple of short sections on the road, but do need a better low gear if I'm going to bike on these roads regularly!

I part walked, part rode the bike up to Duckley Nap and then along the Portway to the Shooting Box. At Boiling Well I had a look to see if anyone was coming up from Ashes, but was probably a little too soon. I rode down the road to Pole Cottage and then double backed up the track to Pole Bank (rode all the way up!)

Just as I was about to set off, the running group appeared, so we had a nice natter and then headed off in convoy as far as the top of Mott's Road. I went on and then picked up the Woolstaston road, descending carefully because of all the lambs on the road. I cut back to Stretton via Jinlye for a nice round trip totalling about 20 miles and 1,200' of climbing.

Photos to follow...

Monday, 13 June 2011

Update for week ending 05/06/2011

Wow. What a frustrating week.

I missed the club run on Tuesday (a good thing - my foot was killing from the bash I gave it on Skiddaw) and went to the physio instead. I saw Rob Sharp again and he did a thorough assessment of my leg problems. Basically I should have seen it but didn't put things together... I am very tight down the back of both legs (right in particular at the moment). I've been pretty crap with stretching etc. after training or racing for several months and this might be come-uppance. I'm also realising that I've been doing an awful lot of work with my lower legs (possibly as an adaptation because of the state my heels were in after the Three Peaks). Neither of these are big or clever.

Rob did a little work on my left achilles which was giving me the most grief of all (even more than my right calf) and gave me some stretching exercises to do against a thera-band.

On Wednesday I had to stand and watch the Batch Bash race. I should have entered and walked round - Keith did this and bagged himself nearly as many series points as my fairly full-on effort at Caradoc got me. Instead I timed the junior race and had the pleasure of watching a junior win the seniors race too (albeit an England international). Kind of vindicates the new development policy really :-)

Rob asked me to go up to Lilleshall late for a longer session on Thursday, and he put me through the wringer. We went in the gym, where he got me to drop into the squat position as if weightlifting, but holding a broom handle (or something similar) above my head. I couldn't get down on my haunches due to the tightness in the back of my legs. I needed about two inches of "heels" (weights actually) under my feet to get a reasonable squat with my feet facing forward.

We went through a sequence of exercises which I've been doing fairly religously since (guess what I'm going to do when I've finished this blog entry). These are aimed at strengthening my glutes and abductors to improve my stability. I'll be back again for the next stage once I've got that nailed...

Rob then did some work on my right calf and left achilles. The achilles really hurt!

I had a short bike ride on the Saturday morning and spent the afternoon at the Hinks cutting the big hedge at the front - it grows quicker than it can be cut in the spring!

On Sunday I was working, so that's about the total of the exercise since the Lakes trip.

Steel Fell - 30/05/2011

Got chatting to John after breakfast and discovered he's
a former Mercia Fell Runner, so I reunited him with the
club vest!

On the Bank Holiday Monday I couldn't bear just to drive straight home from the Lakes, so despite some pretty iffy weather I dumped the car on the northbound verge at Dunmail and wandered up Steel Fell: now I know why people seem to be going so slowly up there on BG videos - it's flipping steep, even the bottom bit.. Mind you there's a path, which there wasn't 20 years ago when I last wandered along this way.

Looking down to Thirlmere from just west of the summit of Steel Fell

Calf Crag, with High Raise in cloud behind
I had a good mooch round on top, over towards the tarn on the way to Calf Crag, and a little way down the south slope towards Greenburn Bottom. There's a nice perched boulder of probably a couple of tonnes there.

Perched boulder with Calf Crag behind
On the way back I met three separate walkers / runners, and had a nice chat with a lady from Abbey Runners in Leeds. They were all out on recce for separate parties in June, the Abbey Runners ladies were going to have a go at the Billy Bland Relay challenge.
Another view of Thirlmere, this time from just north of the summit on the way down.

Friday, 10 June 2011

High Rigg Walk - 29/05/2011

Blencathra from the Chapel near High Rigg
We all had a bit of a lie in after Owen's problems in the early morning, so it was afternoon on the Sunday by the time anyone felt like doing much.

Ian MacBurnie (another colleague), Yol Macklin, and Paul Godbold came with me on a short sunny walk up High Rigg.

Yew Crag (left) and the Helvellyn Ridge
Yol, Iain and Paul at the top of High Rigg
We did a little scree running and I showed Yol (who's a well experienced road runner) some basic fellrunning technique on the way down. She's bought a pair of fell shoes now, so I think we might have another convert.

Nursery Slopes!
In the evening we had a party to celebrate Owen's 40th, which included a slacklining session laid on by John Wooton who had been going to dangle ropes down Broad Stand for the BG attempt. The Birthday Pie was a great idea: I'd have appreciated that for mine!

Fellrunner's Birthday Pie!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Owen's Bob Graham Mk.1 - 28/05/2011

Owen, Matt and I arrive at Threlkeld.

Sorry there have been no updates for a while, due to pressures of work, and this being the only real running I've done for a while (and most of it was really a fast walk).

I took it easy after the tweaked calf on the 24th as I'd promised to navigate my friend and colleague Owen Mills on Leg One of his 40th Birthday Bob Graham Bash. Having got up to the Lakes with no major problems and picked up Matt Dilley who was going to pace Leg One, we settled in at the bunk barn and met some of the guys who'd been on the lost dog epic recce with us in March. Notable among these are Alex Cowin, fresh from a fairly rapid OCT race and Ste Brock, who'd run a 21:58 Bob Graham in pretty poor conditions with support from Owen the week before.

Anyway 5pm came and it was off to Keswick for a 6pm start. I was struggling a bit with the calf (right one) but massaged it a bit to get it warmed up and eased, and eventually we were away, a minute or two early at 5.58pm.

Me, Owen and Matt outside the Moot Hall - Photo: Alex Cowin
We had no mistakes leaving Keswick this time, and a steady climb up the Latrigg path, jogging the flatter bits, and trying to keep Owen from going out too fast. The long grind up Jenkin Hill was mitigated by a great view back to Keswick and Derwentwater, and we were fairly soon jogging again on the flatter section bypassing Little Man. I had to try to slow Owen down again on the slope up to the summit plateau, and we were soon up there. Matt was brilliant, keeping Owen chatting while I concentrated on giving brief updates on our progress.

It was pretty windy up top and at this point I did something stupid!

When you're nursing a sore calf, jogging across a rocky summit, and trying to stay upright in the wind, it probably isn't a great idea to try to jot down the summit time (84 minutes, 1 under schedule if anyone's interested). This involves holding the pace card in one hand and the pen in the other. At this precise moment a big gust of wind blew me over a pointy rock and I stumbled, pulling the calf a bit and then really bashing the top of my right foot as I tried to recover. Idiot!

Anyway 30 seconds hard running got me caught up with Owen and we both counted down the 600 metres to the turn point. I recognise this by the strange arrangement of four fenceposts, but you need to be over to the east about 50 yards from the path to see the fence. From here with clear weather the path down to Hare Crag is really obvious. It was a little boggy on the way down. I ran because I knew I was struggling now with a lot of pain in my foot and calf, and I wanted (i) not to alarm Owen after only one summit; and (ii) to sort out the essential kit for Matt - I knew I'd be holding them back later, if not on Great Calva, then on the drag up to Mungrisedale Common.

Owen and Matt are out there 200 yds in front, past the sheep fold
So with real regret I passed Owen the map and timing sheet, compass and pen, and gave Matt the bottle of Owen's energy drink I'd been carrying. Matt seemed pretty unflapped (great for a BG newbie) and just got on with pacing Owen up Great Calva, as I set off down towards Skiddaw House. As I reached the Youth Hostel there, I saw Matt and Owen top out on Great Calva, now two minutes up.

I had a good chat with a chap staying in the hostel and then set off for Threlkeld, hobbling a bit at first, but later able to jog gently down (but in some pain).

Just beyond Skiddaw House on the way down to Threlkeld
Looking back up towards Skiddaw House and Great Calva

Blease Fell and Gategill Fell from west of Threlkeld

When I arrived in the village, the support vehicle hadn't yet arrived, so I headed up the old road as far as a path which doubles back through the fields to Gategill Farm. Here I could watch the lowest section of the Doddick Fell ridge and hopefully give some advanced warning to the road crew of Owen and Matt's arrival. The crew duly arrived and I saw the runners on Doddick pretty much simultaneously, so I headed up past the farm to the beck crossing under Hall's Fell.

I had a brief word on the way up with the lady from the farm as she fed her hens. She said there had been a bad accident in Gate Gill the night before, with the MRT called out. I later found out this was for a guy supporting another BG attempt. They'd gone down the parachute route but he'd slipped, broken a wrist and fractured his skull. He's OK thankfully - the MRT must have had a job getting him out: it's a bad place to have to be rescued from...

Gate Gill, and the phone camera was struggling for light at 21:35
Anyway, Owen and Matt appeared, still going great guns, and I ran down to the vehicle with them, arriving 8 minutes early. Owen had some pasta and tea and pretty soon was heading off into gathering darkness to tackle Clough Head. Matt and I went back in the Landie to the barn to get some sleep.

Owen fuelling up, Matt chilling, me mithering
Handing over, Matt's having a nice sit down.
Sadly Owen had some digestive problems during the night and had to pack his attempt in at Dunmail, but we will be back, possibly in August, for another go.