|The Dalesway route approx. 81/82 miles in length|
|Me and Dave at the start in Ilkley minutes before set off|
Race Day ( well not actual a race)
|Me on the move by Loup Scar|
|Our first stop at Grassington|
We were up 40 minutes from my Schedule estimate, and we both felt good after doing the first 16-17 miles. Only problem was that Cathy Bradley was going to run with us from Grassington, but were early. Once fuelled we were off on our leg 2 and we were joined with Sid. We had our first proper climb of the day so far up onto Lea Green, which is easily runnable with fresh legs, and the nice gentle path that traverses this section quite away from the River Wharfe. Now we were above Conistone on past the well named Conistone Pie to very good running until we dropped down past Scargill House on to a small tarmac section. Which we stayed on all the way to Kettlewell, to meet the support crew in the car park and also to meet up with Cathy, who was going to run with us to Dent. A quick top up and we were off back over the wharf and to follow the river on the Left had side all the way to Buckden. In the valley floor we were treated to around 30 - 40 Oyster Catchers which was nice to see on the 1st March. This section was full of wildlife as we spotted a couple of young Deer not far from us just to the side and then there were more dear, and little further on more running towards Firth Gill. I think we counted nine in total. Passing through Buckden the sky was starting to fade and the night sky wasnt' far away. Fortunately we asked the support crew to meet us at Yockenthwaite, which was a good call as we needed our head torches to get us to the official stop, at Beckermonds. Back over the wharfe and on towards Deep dale which took us back over the wharfe on to the left hand side of the wharfe up the top end of Langstrothdale (one of my favourite areas of the dales). In front we could see the lights of Beckermonds and our foot bridge to finally leave the Wharfe behind for good to the end of leg 2. Food stop number two and around 29- 30 miles of running completed. This is where we said good bye to Sid for is company all the way from Grassington.
The next section saw the start of a climb up out of Oughtershaw to the track that leads past Nethergill and Swarthgill up to Cam Houses, including a very spooky looking end cottage which at night didn't look inviting and spurred us on to quickly do the last climb on to the Cam High road and the Highest part of the Dalesway route. Good running now on the track. The stars above were amazing, not a cloud in the sky and it was easy to make out the shapes of Penyghent and Ingleborough in the distance. The track led us towards Ribblehead, the train station with it Christmas lights on, well thats what they looked like. Up to Gearstones and a quick top up with water from our support crew and we were climbing up Winshaw and traversing over to the Black Rake road to join the tarmac road down to Dent Viaduct. The road was icy in places which made the descent interesting!
|Me, Dave and Cathy in Dent over 46 miles so far|
The night air was getting colder and it was noticeable more colder down by the rivers. Running down the next few fields we were greeted with a couple of flashes, as Rachel had pulled over to take some photos where we crossed the road back on to the river bank. It was a good job Rachel stopped here, my hands were freezing and my warmer windstopper gloves were needed.
|Me and Dave back on the path NW of Gawthrop|
Onwards and soon back on Tarmac, until we turned off back over the river and the climb up and over towards Milithrop. With good clear views of Silhouettes of Crook and Winder and the lights of Sedbergh below. We quickly turned to follow the river Rawthey to skirt Sedbergh before turning up towards Lincolns Inn Bridge and a water top up stop. We arrived and saw a sleeping Rachel in the car. A quick top up and we were away not wanting to cool down in this very chilly winters air. North following the river Lune up to the Crook of Lune bridge and turning, running south, parallel to the M6 motorway. Just over 1km and we crossed the M6 and back to more field and style hopping we crossed the railway line with the start of a Diversion on the Dalesway due to a footbridge at Thursgill that had been washed away last year. This meant over 2 miles of tarmac bashing but it only probably added a few hundred meters to the overall distance. It had now just gone 06:00 and there was light sky slowly appearing behind us. Great I had managed to do the night section without using a Caffeine gel.
We dropped down a track with the A6 in front, and as we got towards the end of the track and we could see Rachel's car parked up. This time she saw our lights and greeted us at the end of this long leg and now we had completed around 65 miles and now we could get some food down, and for me the need to get some extra layers on, it was very cold.
|Last fuel stop, Extra layers on and scoffing pizza|
Off we went over the A6 to pick up a track and now we had left the head torches behind and day light was getting brighter. It was a cracking morning, clear blue skies and very frozen ground which didn't make running easy on the frozen divots. Good ankle strengthen exercise. Closing in on us was a very large smoking factory north of Burneside and we now picked up the River Kent to follow it all the way to Stavely. On to the road towards Stavely we turned off and under the railway track to the bridge that crosses the A591 and meet up with Rachel for our last water top up before the last few miles towards the finish at Bowness.
|Dave Pushing upwards, a cracking morning nearing Bowness|
The last few miles wern't going to let us get to the finish easily, the path climbed and turned left then right etc etc and Bowness just didn't seem to arrive quickly at all. The cloud was building quite quickly and we were lucky early on to get the best weather of the day. The ground was still very hard and the air was cold after the last few styles and more path turning. Lake Windermere was getting closer then next we seem to be running parallel with the lake and then, eventually we turned back towards the lake. Rachel met us 200m from the finish and followed us to, at last, the finish of the Dalesway and a very inviting stone bench..
|Me and Dave on the last 200m of running to the finish|
Well what an outing, great company and we were lucky with the weather. It did feel very cold towards dawn but some fatigue and tiredness will have added to the lowering of our body core temperatures.
I used a Garmin Fenix watch to track the full route and it was set on 'UltraTrac' setting which laid down a GPS point every 1 minute, so there will be a percentage loss in the full distance recorded.
The statistics for this were 129km with 1697m of ascent. about 80.1 miles and 5566 feet of ascent our average pace was 6km/hour in a total time of 21:50 and with knocking the stops off 20:50 running time.
|The end of the Dalesway and a well earned sit down|
Dave suffered with a groin problem which worsened towards the last 10 miles or so, I decided to play football with a large rock which caused a very sore toe and impressive blood blister. I also had problems with swollen tendons to my right lower shin area, but this didn't really come on until I stopped running. The Salomon S Lab XA Skin packs were really good, with excellent weight distribution and comfort. It was nice to have no rub point from a running pack.
A big thanks Dave for an excellent run and for Rachel, Sandra, Cathy, Dave's Mum, and Sid for all there support and help which without there help we wouldn't have been able to complete without carrying everything for the whole route.