Sunday 27 March 2011

Saturday 26th March - Legs 1 and 2

I met Paul at Dunmail and left my car behind and drove up to Keswick in Paul's car. We parked at Bria Rigg where the route joins the Bridleway over the A66.
The weather was good, the sun was out the tops were clear of cloud but the wind was slightly chilly. Setting off we kept a good steady pace and quickly passed under Skiddaw Little Man and up onto Skiddaw Summit in 1 hour 15 Min's. Not stopping we carried on off the summit in a northerly direction to where we crossed the fence (as per the directions on the Bob G map) and then followed a good worn path down and over Hare Crag and to a small bridge where the bridleway track goes to Skiddaw House. The path is still well marked (some posts, and well worn) all the way to Great Calva summit in 1 hour 54mins. The pace wasn't rushed and it felt about right for my Bob G attempt. Again; following the instructions off the Bob G map we followed the fence (again a well worn path) down to the sheep fold and down and over the river Caldew. There was no track for the ascent of Mungrisdale common but once over the summit we picked up a well worn path to take us up on to the ridge and the summit of Blencathra. The descent off Halls ridge was steady and we arrived at Threlkeld in 3 hours 33 min's for a quick break and fuel stop.

We started Leg 2 and the ascent up onto Clough Head. On the run to the Dodds Paul was having trouble with his knee on the downhills, fortunately I had some Ibuprofen which he took. Continuing maybe a little slower than we would have liked I then started to have trouble with my right leg on the descents. It seemed to be seizing up and I felt I could only run in slow motion on the downhills! Once we had made the rest of the summits towards Dollywaggon we decided to carry on down direct to Dunmail, missing out Fairfield and Seat Sandal. My leg was still suffering on the descent to Dunmail. Back to the car in a total run time of 7 hours and 14 minutes.

The total distance was 24 miles with ascent of 9667 feet. A good day out just a shame about us both having some sort of leg trouble and plus Paul was still suffering from a cold. But in all a fantastic day out on the fell.

The photos are- Paul and Me on the Summit of Blencathra and me ascending Stybarrow Dodd

Friday 25 March 2011

Saturday 26th March 2011

Sorry this is late!!
This Saturdays plans are to run leg 1 and leg 2 of the Bob G. I am meeting Paul at Dunmail at 09:00 and then getting picked up and driven to Keswick to start the run.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Saturday 19th March 2011

Not sure what to call this!!
Raise three times in one day- or
The Curse of Billy Bland - or
One man and his NO dogs.. read on

We arrived at Threlkeld by the industrial estate just before midnight. There were no signs of head torches descending off Blencathra. The night was bright thanks to the nearly 100% full moon, but there was more cloud about than when we left Skipton. The rest of the leg runners had arrived then we saw our first sighting of head torches descending on to Halls fell. Something didn't look quite right as the head torched looked to be dropping off into the very steep valley off to the right. This came apparent when they eventually got to us at Threlkeld at around 00:50.
A car was leaving one of the factories and pulled along side of us, and the window wound down and this women asked us 'Are you doing the Bob Graham' and we explained that we were just doing some Recce training. she said 'Oh good, my brother holds the Record for the Bob Graham' and we all shouted 'Billy Bland' in unison.
After a very good and clear ascent onto Skiddaw the cloud came in and made navigation allot difficult and after coming off Halls too early they had to back track and zig-zag to regain the path to descend to us. After they had a quick brew we set off on Leg 2. One of the leg 1 runners(Jim) dropped out and was going to follow the road back to Dunmail to his car and wait for us there.

A good steady pace up the road to Newsham and on towards the Old Coach road and then onwards and upwards to Clough Head in 57 Min's.The winds chill was very cold and now we were in the cloud. The ground in places was frozen and the cloud was now thickening. The brightness of our LED lights just bouncing off and straight back in your face which added to the difficulty of navigating at night. We found that covering your hand over the light intermittently let you see the silhouette (thanks to he bright moon) and make out features like the cairn of Great Dodd. The paths between the Dodds are well defined and combination of compass and Matt who just led us straight to each top with no problems. Once the Dodds were past we had the nice descent down to Sticks Pass and the ascent up on to Raise passing round the patch of snow up to the summit (noticing a dusting of fresh powder snow). We came off Raise down to the South West, slightly below the path. At this point we herd distant barking and the two dogs Henry and Jasper had taken off, not sure if they had spotted something and taken chase. We spread out and with lots of shouting and we back tracked towards the rocks of Raise. Then out of the cloud Henry had returned. More shouting and no sign of Jasper. We layered up as the biting wind ripping through us, it was seriously cold up there. After some time we mad the decision to drop off down to the Hotel at Thirlspot. Owen managed to get a signal and Phone Jim who was now back at the cars at Dunmail to drive down and meet us at the Hotel.
Now the cloud was clearing quickly and now we had a very good view of the landscape thanks to the very bright moon. Still no sign of Jasper.
Arriving at the Hotel Jim was parked up with boot open and was brewing up for us. That was a good moral boost and then the decision was made that Myself, Steve and Owen will back track up the side of Fisher Gill and Sticks Gill up to Sticks pass. While Matt and Alex were to pick up their car from Honister, drive round to the Glenridding Youth Hostel and run up to meet us on Sticks pass and searching that side of mountain on route.
Dawn soon broke and the head torches were redundant, at last I could feel my body warming up and I could take my extra layers off. Soon into Sticks Gill watching as we ascended, shouting out for the lost dog we eventually made Sticks pass and the views were brilliant. Not one cloud in the sky, the Langdales looked very inviting.( Why I didn't have a camera with us) Dropping off Sticks pass out of the wind we enjoyed the heat from the sun. We decided we might as well go to the top of Raise and have a look about while we waited for Alex and Matt. Quickly at the top we looked about when Owen called out and in his arms he had a very cold Jasper in his arms. We dropped off back down to Sticks pass some food was given to Jasper and we tied on some string to his collar (not loosing him again) we set off down towards Glenridding when after only 5 minutes we were all re-united including owner and two dogs. We decided it would be mad not to make something of the day and so continued back up to Raise ( yes ascent number three) and on to White Side. What was amazing was from within an hour of seeing the langdales it was now covered in cloud and the whole sky was now full of cloud building up. Onwards with good running on very hard frozen ground to Lower Helvellyn and to the summit of Helvellyn to be met by an Orange tent (maybe Jasper stayed the night here) Not to hang around in the cold wind we dropped off on to Swirral Edge. Having to tread carefully on the first part as we were descending on Steps of Ice and snow!
As we dropped off the temperature improved and we were quickly on Catstycam and what a descent that was (fast ans very sporting). We were soon down on the Track from Red Tarn and quickly down to the footbridge above the Youth Hostel passing scores of walkers/ climbers starting their day as we were finishing ours.

The plan went out of the window and a happy ending was we were all OK and the dogs Jasper and Henry were safe and back with owner and completed the rest of our new route. Only around 18 miles with about 2302 (7552') of ascent. A good day out.
This was my first run at night starting near to mid night, tiredness first hit me just after the break at Thirlspot ascending back up to Sticks Gill. Once daylight came I felt much better and never had any more feelings of tiredness the rest of the run. A brew was a big boost and they will be very welcome at Threlkeld, Dunmail, Wasdale and Honister.
Another thing to think about his that I need to get as much sleep as possible on the Friday before my Bob G attempt.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Saturday 19th March

The plan for this Saturday is to join Owen on one of his training runs. This is to leave Threlkeld at midnight and to run to Dumail for arrival time 04:15- 04:30. Suppose it depends of conditions, cloud visibility etc. A break at Dunmail then to continue leg 3 as far as Great End and then down to Sty head and up to Great Gable,and the last part of Leg 4 to Honister.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Saturday 12th March 2011

Unfortunately this week I started with a cold, but I managed to get out for three local runs during the week. It was good to see Mark and Matt back out running this Wednesday after Injuries etc.

Not letting the cold take over my enthusiasm, I decided to run from Dunmail over Leg three. This was a late start not setting off from Dunmail until 12:15. The weather was appalling and visibility was not good even at the road side at Dunmail.
I set off up what can be described as a steep ascent! I took the advice of the Bob G map and went up the left gully and this seemed allot easier than the other week following the fence line. I took it really steady and still managed to reach the summit of Steel fell in 23 minutes. Visibility was down to 20 meters and sometimes worse with rain blowing across the fell this was going to be a good navigation practice. Calf Crag was soon reached and then onwards to join the metal fences that run up parallel with mere beck, my choice of ascending to Sergeant Man before High raise. This was my first navigation mistake! Instead of following the left hand branch of Merebeck and following a compass bearing to the summit of Sergeant Man, I cut up the middle branch which put me on open fell. I knew straight away what I had done, even though i couldn't see that i was in between Sergeant Man and High Raise. I decided to keep on the bearing as I should hit the track in between the two summits. Bingo! I did and out of the cloud the track and the noticeable summit of High Raise was reached. I decided not to back track to Sergeant Man and carried on to Thunacar Knott, Harrison Sickle and Pike of Sickle.
Today I decided to run in my Mudclaws to give me extra grip on the wet grass but these are deadly on wet rock and some of the rocky descents were dangerousily slippy.
I got as far Martcrag Moor and given the time of day and weather conditions It was time to make my way back to Dunmail. I took a bearing to land me on the track in between Thunacar Knott and High Raise so as not to over shoot the summit. This was a good steady climb straight into the very cold wind with a mixture of rain and sleet at times.My plan worked and I reached the track I recognised. Back along this track for a short distance and back on to High Raise. I decided to take a bearing and follow the good track to Sergeant Man. The visibility was now the worse I had all day. Head down and keep running and soon I was on Sergeant Man. I now wanted to take a bearing and follow back the route I should have come up earlier. Unfortunately I couldn't see any features and just followed the compass until I picked up the start of Mere beck.I followed It until i reached the other branch and the place I made the mistake earlier crossing the middle beck and going off course. Now it was a matter of back tracking all the way back to Dunmail. This was good running with my head down high in the grim weather. The descent down to Dunmail was fun and fast and at last the road and my car came into view.
A good day out despite the weather and not feeling 100%, just hope I haven't made it worse! Just 3 hours 56 Min's and just over 12 miles and nearly 1200m of ascent.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Saturday 5th March 2011 - Leg 4

I arrived at Honister slate mines in the morning to find the cloud base was down below the car park!
I set off as planned up the old Tramway and then to follow the path below Grey Knotts and Brandreth. Visibility was down to less than 30m/100' and was good map and compass practice. Good navigation got me into the Loft Beck valley and good descent down to the River Liza and over the foot bridge to follow the path along Sail Beck over the Black Sail pass to continue down to Wasdale head. Only 6.5 miles done in a steady 1h 45 min's with only 610m of ascent. Cloud base was lifting by now. A quick bite to eat before the start of Leg 4 of the Bob G.
The ascent of Yewbarrow was a killer and will be a real tester on the full round in June. The cloud was now touching the summit of Scafell. The path that misses Stirrup Crag was well marked with a cairn and rocky descent to pick the path up again to ascend Dore head to Red Pike. On to Scoat fell and I missed the direct path to Steeple and had to back track to the summit of Scoat fell and onwards to Steeple. Again another rocky descent to pick up a good path on to Pillar and then mixed descent down to the path Junction with Black Sail pass. I followed the old fence posts up a gulley on Blacksail buttress and was quickly on what I thought was the way to the summit of Kirk fell. I had gone 200/300m past it so had to back track to gain the summit before continuing on the route to start the ascent of Great Gable. No problems with the route continuing on to Green Gable Brandeth and Grey Knotts to the final decent straight down to Honister.
The surprise for me was the fact I didn't feel well from leaving Wasdale and felt I had made a steady and slow pace and found my legs didn't want to work round this leg, but to find I completed the 10.5 mile leg with 1847m of ascent in 4 Hours 18 Min's shaving 30 minutes off my schedule time.

So another good day out on the fell not feeling 100%, but the weather was on my side for the leg with good sunshine, very good visibility after what was looking like a not so promising start. A short day compared to last saturdays 27 mile run but 17 miles with over 2000m of ascent on another solo run.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Saturday 5th March 2011 Leg 4 run

My next run in the Lakes is Saturday 5th March 2011- My plan is to run Leg 4 of the Bob G - Wasdale to Honister. To get over the nightmare of driving in and out of Wasdale I am going to set off from Honister slate mines and run up the Old Tramway and take the path under Grey Knotts to Black Sail Pass down to Wasdale. Fuel up at Wasdale before starting Leg 4 up Yewbarrow taking in all the Peaks back to Honister. This Leg should be around 4:46 according to my 23 Hour Schedule. Obviously there will be some navigation and maybe note taking to get the best route round this Leg.
My Plan is to try and leave Honister at 08:00.
Please feel free to come and join me and let me know if you are going to join me.
Andy J