The heavy rain in the night disturbed my sleep a bit but by dawn it was almost dry. With the flags up and my kit check done we went back to the van for breakfast. I should say at this point that the kit check for the Fellsman is one of the most rigorous I have attended- I still remember Sarah Rowell checking the studs on my shoes and the weight of my marzipan a few years ago.
With breakfast over I returned to the community centre to find friends. Andy and Nick appeared on the bus. Tony, Albert and Andy appeared and so many others to say Hi to. It was good to see Mick P again even if he wasn't running.
By 8.20 after several breaks in the gossip for the toilet we were herded outside and down the steps onto the field. It was already raining a bit and the forecast was not good, in fact Jonathon warned us of worsening conditions with a very cold evening and wind chill of minus 5. I had already made my decisions and packed kit for the worst - I was glad of this later. Runners streamed out of the sports field and onto the road leading to Ingleborough. I for once managed to keep myself from storming off too fast and kept a steadier pace even though it meant letting friends like Nigel, Martin D and Carmine go ahead. Wind, rain and poor visibility on the top meant we made a silly error and missed the path down and so did a full tour of the summit plateau. Bill J and I hoped this would not define the day!
|Tony, Albert and Andy F|
I scanned my tally and grabbed a biscuit before crossing the road and aiming for Whernside. The rain was getting worse as we headed up the farm track although we all tried to run and smile for the photographers- they must laugh as they see us perk up ready for their cameras. I hate running with my hood up and although the big waterproof inherited from one of my boys meant dry hands the hood was not a good fit. Leaving it down of course meant loads of water down my neck and wet thermals. I was disappointed to feel so tired plodding up Whernside but persuaded myself it was early days yet. I could not believe that the 30 Munros would not be good hill preparation.
The marshalls on the summit were cheerful despite the awful weather- and the camera I smiled at was used in this article
I missed the front runners but was able to see those up to 20 minutes ahead of me running down. It gave me people to chase once we were on grassy ground where I dared to run harder and I caught Mick C. I was carrying food so skipped the CP food and headed up towards Gragareth. This was a real low spot for me a couple of years ago and I was surprised how tagging in behind Bill J soon got me to the top. Here we found a lovely surprise- the marshall had pitched her tent and the CP in the lee of the wall saving us all about 800m of out and back. The slog along the very boggy wall to Great Coum was next and with wind and rain in our faces it was hard going. In the gloom we heard the radios of the marshalls and homed in. I made the mistake of thinking anyone with a GPS had the correct line and so headed a little too far east on the descent but it probably didn't lose me as much as the rutted greasy lane into Dent. Anne J encouraged me and a cheese and onion pastry perked me up... a bit. I was not enjoying being so cold and wet and thinking it was due to get worse not better. Still the next few miles are easy so plod on and try to catch Bill. Fortunately I did catch him, just before the ruin, and was able to shout 'we need to turn left' as he missed the trod out into the bog. I still do not know the best way across the bog of Little Dale Beck or even if there IS a good way. By now the rain had turned to sleet and the only bright spot was that I could see I was gaining on Andy. It was downhill from Blea Moor but the mud in Mossy Bottom was yuk. As I ran into Stonehouse dreaming of a rest, warmth and pasta I met Mick P and Anne out supporting and should apologise for being so grumpy about the weather. Once in the tent I refuelled and was pleased to have caught Tony, Albert and Andy F just on their way out. I also caught Bill and Andy Splatcher. I had hoped to keep my extra layers for later when it would be cold but knew that Anne was right when she said we needed to put it all on now.
|All meant all of this except the big mitts and the buff AND included the primaloft that is now in the wash|
Dave R stripped to near naked to replace his shorts with long tights and others were shedding layers and replacing them with dry ones. I left Stonehouse with a full stomach of pasta and tea dressed in a short sleeve top, two thermals, a primaloft jacket, waterproof jacket and thick waterproof over trousers. The latter had been zipped up for me by the RO who was there explaining we would be grouped early and encouraging us all the add layers. I persuaded Andy not to drop out but to put all his gear on and come with me. He did but only for a few yards before he decided he was far too cold and wet. Typically as I approached the Artengill viaduct the rain stopped and the sun came out. At this point I had Oz for company and we climbed together for a while. By the top I had sweat running down my back but was warmer, happier and gaining places. I did not dare to stop and take anything off though.
|Thanks Anne J|
|I ditched my camera but thanks Christopher Street|