Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The First Bob Graham Recce.

A definite change in the weather this week, which required some adjustments, mostly mental.

Monday, I'd planned to do some hill reps, but in the end I couldn't persuade myself out into the continual freezing wind blown rain (snow higher up). The half of me that said another rest day was OK won over the one that said I was being lazy and ought to get my arse in gear.

Anyways Tuesday I got out. A steady run out to the foot of Mount Famine. The first ascent and descent I did was up the steepest route possible, which in theory was a good idea, in practice I kept on slipping on the steep tussocks, which may be in part that the Walshes I was wearing have little tread left on them. So once at the bottom I headed up the valley a little towards Dimpus Clough. The climbout of which gave an average gradient of 10% less to the summit. Still 450 feet in 0.4 of a mile (green line on the pic).

Only a short run but I made it out of the house. Also glad to have found a nice line for future reps.

Wednesday when not working, spent eyeing the weather forecast and packing lots of warm clothes for Thursday. More than a moment spent hoping I could keep up with the guys whom I was going to be running with. The forecast of blizzards and 100mph gusts not the weather to be travelling slowly in.

5:19 on Thursday morning I leave the warmth of my bed, and by 6am we're in the car and on our way to the Lakes. Driving is interesting with the heavy rain and winds. My wife informs me I am mental for even considering going for a run in this weather. She is probably right.

I get to the Moot Hall in good time, and by 9:06 we (Bill, Jim and Dave) are off. It soon becomes apparent that I am the one everyone else will be waiting for today. Rather than cane myself to keep up which would hae resulted in implosion, I settle for my pace.

Once above the Skiddaw car park, the wind makes its presence known. It seems the weather forecasters got it right. At the top of Skiddaw, forget running along the ridge, I struggle to stay on my feet.

Thankfully as we descend towards Hare Crag the wind doesn't come with us. There's good visibilty, and route finding is easy, but Bill kindly explains how to find the trod when the clag is down. On to Great Calva and then down to the River Caldew. Bill goes on his own with the water up to his thighs. The rest of us find somewhere slightly less deep and together form a group wedge, and shuffle our way gingerly across. That water was cold.
A steady plod up to Blencathra was spent chatting to Jim about his forthcoming winter round.
At the top we check out the various options for descent, opting for the Doddick Fell route.
The wind nearly had me over a couple of times on the way down, still by the time we get to Threlkeld we were only 15 minutes behind schedule, which considering the weather was OK.

Over the A66 and on to Clough Head. Rain, hail, and wind did not detract from what is a fierce climb. Head down, plod plod plod. With a bit of interest kicking steps in snow to make the summit ridge.

Once at the summit the wind was really doing its thing again. We shold have been able to run from the top, but instead had to make do with staggering at an angle to the oncoming wind to the col. Wild.

Decision time 3pm iirc. A couple more hours of daylight left. Carrying on was an option, though we decide to do the sensible thing. I've been on Helvellyn on less windy days and been blown over, and have heard of others who've been permanently blown away.

So after Calfhow Pike we traverse the hillside to Castle Rock and then down to the A591. A mile or so on the road and onto the King's Head at Thirlspot. 20 miles, 7000' and 2 pints of Hobgoblin.

Ann kindly drove back whilst I slumbered. Once home I ate, and then I ate some more. I'd eaten during the day, but obviously not enough.

Friday a day of rest. I was knackered after Thursday's efforts.

Saturday. My 45th Birthday.
Glorious weather. 8 steady miles briefly visiting the Kinder plateau, still feeling Thursday's day out.

Sunday feeling better a much faster run than usual over 8 miles.

So in spite of a shaky start not a bad week. 42 miles, and well over 12,000 feet of hills. Thursday was fun, and informative as to the actual route, though I think I'll forego epic weather days when checking the route in future. I'll certainly not be embarking on the Bob Graham round in such weather.

I'll probably leave recces up there until spring now. Lots of good stuff to do nearer to home.
Having said that I will be heading up to the Lakes in December for the Tour de Helvellyn which will be a good long day out.

I shall try and resist the temptation to ramp up the mileage and hills much for the next couple of weeks. Consolidation first me thinks.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, just reading that has left me knackered Rich! Thursday sounds pretty epic. Well done :)