Well, from last Thursday evening and over the weekend to Sunday, I managed to do a jolly fine cross-section of all things fell runny..................
On Thursday evening it was the Abbey Anniversary fell race for me and Hester (a race of the short sharp variety.... which I tend to find distinctly 'tough as arse'oles'), on Friday night/Saturday morning I navigated the second leg over the Helvellyn range for Kevin's Bob Graham Round, on Saturday daytime I didn't really do anything although me and Harry did watch Hester sprint finish across the line of the Pen y Ghent fell race (her second race in three days) and on Sunday me, Hester and Harry all went for a lovely meandery run over the Settle Hills from Settle.
The Thursday evening fell race, the Abbey Anniversary from Kettlewell and organised by Abbey Runners, is what they call in their blurb an ideal fell race for "landlubbers (which I take to mean road runners) and novices" - it doesn't go to high or too wild and in the main sticks to marked tracks - that said, it starts with a bugger of a climb and because its only 5 miles long has to be run in full on 'eye balls out' mode. In the end I finished in a smidge over 50 minutes in 20th place (out of 47) but to be honest I found myself well short of short and fast fell race practice - I was fine on the climbs but struggled to find enough speed on the descents and the flat bits. Maybe I need to do more fast races then? Hester ran brilliantly coming in as second lady and, most importantly of all, winning a bottle of wine. Oh and cracking bread and soup in the Bluebell Inn afterwards.
On Friday night Kevin was going for his Bob Graham Round and I'd (foolishly) agreed to support him on the overnight second leg (the graveyard shift) between Threlkeld and Dunmail, navigating across a dozen peaks effectively following the Helvellyn ridge line top to bottom in the process. Kevin was 15 minutes ahead of his 22 hour 45 minute planned schedule when he trotted off of Blencathra and into the carpark at Threlkeld Cricket Club at the end of leg one and we then set off from there at about 11:15pm and successfully traversed all of the necessary peaks of leg two without too much fuss at a similar fast pace (a too fast a pace maybe?), arriving at Dunmail at about 3:30 in the morning.
By which point Kev was 50 minutes up on his schedule. I then proceeded to get eaten alive by midges in the early dawn light, while we all chatted and waved Kev and his team off for his leg 3. Kevin magnificently completed his Bob Graham Round by the way but not without a few nervous moments by the sound of things - he managed to turn his 50 minute advantage after the first 2 legs into a 10 minute deficit by the end of the (gruelling) 3rd leg but soldiered on through what turned out to be a fair bit of wet weather over the final 2 legs to come home 23 hours and 43 minutes - thats almost an hour over his planned schedule but relatively comfortably within the 24 hours allowed. Well done Kevin - you didn't overcook things early doors then............ but you sure came damn close to it.
For Saturday I'd had this half arsed plan to run the Pen y Ghent fell race in the afternoon but, although I'd had a couple of cat naps, I was just completely shattered. Instead me and Harry went for a little run along the river and timed things to arrive at Horton playing fields just as the Pen y Ghent fell race was finishing. Hester ran a blinder again, against a bigger and tougher field of runners this time and in torrential rain, and romped home in 58th place and 7th lady. Conditions looked just brilliant (aka very wet and muddy) for what is a corker of a race and, come the finish, I sort of regretted not giving it a bash.
Sunday and the weather dawned sunny and me and the H's had a lovely trot out to Cleatop Wood and over to Attermire Scar and the hills above Settle. We looked for (but didn't find) a family of foxes that often hang about in that neck of the woods and generally pootled about, climbing up to a couple of caves and generally exploring and moseying about. And er... running a bit too I guess.
|The Abbey Anniversary race route|
|Hester loitering before the off|
|Me 'hammering down' the final descent|
|Hester breezing it|
|Hester gallops home|
|Friday night and its leg 2 of Kevin's BGR - for a sense of scale the lake to the right, Thirlmere, is about 6 miles long|
|Keven eating a mix of mashed potato and corned beef. Mmmmmmm.....|
|Its now well in to the wee hours and Keven reaches the cairn on Dollywaggon Pike|
|Saturday now and Hester has a sprint finish in the tank|
|The H's set off on Sunday's run|
|One of Harry's favourite places - Cleatop Wood|
|Harry bog snorkelling|
|Harry with Hester lagging far behind|
|Harry chilling in a ditch|
|Ahhhh.... there's lovely|
|No Hester isn't climbing the north face of K2 - just a grassy bank near Attermire Scar|
|Where are the Wallies? (Hester and Harry)|
|Me (in my short shorts) cave exploring|
|A friendly Wheatear (we think)|
|Hester's hair does it's own thing at times|