Tag Archive: l100


A recce of two halves…..

Sunday 14th April saw a very early start to meet the rest of the crew at Hawes which we only just made. After a near head on collision with a VW Golf coming toward us  very much on the wrong side of the road was maybe just a sign of things to come……well read on.

We met the boys and ditched the motor at Hawes and made our way to Horton-In-Ribblesdale. The Cumbrian collective at this point were amazed at the value for money car parking charges being only £3.50 for the day.  Half the price than in the Lakes!!! #yorkshire #yorkshire #yorkshire

Upon our arrival at Horton the weather was overcast with a breeze and all was looking good. More astonishment at the car park charges, this time £4.00, but more still more than agreeable for a good day out and a bit like a buy one get one free but across the border.

So which way, amazingly the 1st place we went was to the pub, well the car park of the Crown to where we picked up the Pennine Way. These were to be out first tentative footsteps of what will be our 108 mile epic in January 2014.

We made or way along the Pennine Way and the route which is well signposted and good underfoot all the way to Birkwith Moor and the edge of the forests. We crossed a stream or two and despite having waterproof socks on I was ridiculed for leaping these to ensure I kept my feet dry.

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We’d been doing some good map reading tests along the way following our navigation session with Charlie Sproson, Director of The Outdoor Warehouse, to ensure we knew where we were and paying much needed attention of our surroundings, height and picking up locations across the valley to make sure we worked our timing out from point to point.

We could see the snow capped iconic Yorkshire 3 Peaks, Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside. We were also able to see the weather that was chasing us along our route, it didn’t look good.

Our pace was good and Crossing Sike Moor to join with the Dales Way we made great progress up Oughtershaw Side and on toward Dodd Fell. It was here the Cumbrians made good decisions and donned full waterproofs.

THE SECOND HALF

I was sporting a couple of base layers and my new Montane Minimus Smock (review to follow), full length A400 Skins, waterproof socks with Injini liners and my Inov8 295’s. Despite the fact that the wind had whipped up to what felt like gale force and the rain had started I was still toasty warm and didn’t feel I needed my waterproof trousers which were in my pack.

As we followed the track under the summit of Dodd Fell we had to negotiate to snow drifts that were covering the track. In places we were knee deep and underneath was either ice trying to bring us down or deep freezing puddles.

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I had my Kahtoola spikes in my pack but these wouldn’t have been much use as they would have clogged up with the snow being very wet as now the rain which was near horizontal was turning to hail and was making things pretty miserable.

A couple of slips on the ice jarred a few muscles trying to stay upright, much to the amusement of the rest of the boys, and battling our way through the drifts was using all our muscles. This went on for around 2/3 miles!

Working our way along the track towards Ten End seemed to take and age only to be made much much worse by my lace loops snapping causing my shoe to start working loose. I had spare laces in my 1st aid kit and also as a lanyard for my compass (just in case) but on this occasion this wasn’t the issue and the only thing that would have worked was duct taping my shoe to my foot had it got any worse. Note to self wrap some around my bottle just in case!!!

So the rain, which had now got even harder and colder had run down my jacket sleeves and soaked my gloves, it was also so loud on my hood despite my hat that we were unable to hear one another over the noise.

As we topped out at Ten End and crossed Sleddale Pasture I stopped to put on my Berghaus Vapour Storm jacket. For once id acted before I needed to, more as prevention on this occasion, as I was still quite warm but there was zero let up in the rain and I wanted to make sure I didn’t start to get cold. Wayne reminded me to eat here and I popped another chunk of Chris’s amazing Granola! 

What id noticed was that despite my waterproof socks my feet felt very wet. What I hadn’t noticed is that the fierce rain/hail had saturated my skins and was running down my legs, into my socks and in turn was filling them up! Even worse tho was I had bloody cankles!

Now this is an ongoing discussion amongst the Ultramadness team and I was happy to be proved wrong in saying that the waterproof socks/shoes are great, until you get water in them! Water can get in from crossing a river and going over the top of the socks and it being unable to escape, this can cause all sorts of issues if this is for a period of time.

So now I was running in a loose shoe and  waterproof socks with a pint of water in each that had run down my saturated skins! BRILLIANT!!!

Now had I put my waterproof trousers on there would have been no issue at all but as I wasn’t anywhere near cold I simply didn’t feel the need. Even when I stopped to put my GORE-TEX jacket on putting on my over trousers hadn’t even crossed my mind!

Never would I have thought my socks were going to fill with water in such a fashion so less an error more something to think on for next time!

So on we went descending into Hawes. The pasture was very wet and extremely slippery. Normally a fun trot down but my loose shoe was causing my foot to move in my wet sock and cause an issue. I knew we had maybe 3km to go at this point so we cracked on but any longer would be an issue for sure.

Chris had hit the deck 3 times coming down the descent. Fortunately he was able to control these and not aggravate his dislocated shoulder from a trot in the Lakes earlier in the year where he’d slipped on the ice coming down Red Pike above Buttermere in January!

We hit the road and the slipping in the shoe was starting to takes its toll and I felt some blisters forming. Having run down the hill with less coordination than usual had also started to worsen a lower back issue, thankfully only a dull ache was to be the issue! A trip to my Chiropractor to line me back up before our training starts proper is likely required to make sure this doesn’t get any worse, especially as we’ll be carrying so much more weight on the Spine!

We made it back to the car and changed into some warm clothes. My socks were emptied and a ridiculous amount of water was in them. Jury’s still out on this one boys but ill be giving them another go but im really not sure!

This recce had been really valuable for a number of reasons. My base layers, a Rab AEON  ls t-shirt, Montane Bionic t-shirt and Montane Minimus Smock had worked brilliantly with gloves and hat. I’ve been happy with my Skins and shorts for a while now but I’ve still to sort my socks out yet!

I made a sensible decision in putting on my GORE-TEX jacket before I’d needed too and the rain running into my socks was something id never ad even thought about so this had been a valuable lesson! Would anyone else have expected this?

I also had a spare thermal base layer in my pack had I needed it and my RAB Generator insulated smock so things are looking good as to finalising my kit for the Spine Challenge proper! Spare gloves, waterproof, and a spare hat and im pretty good to go in the clothes department.

We’ve a recce from Edale – Wessenden Head planned for the end of April so more fine tuning im sure but all in all a very eventful but invaluable first recce.

Next time we’re on this leg we hope to be finishing the Spine Challenge. It will be very dark, likely we’ll be ridiculously tired, and I suspect very emotional and willing our bodies the last 14 miles to Hawes!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/297840807

 

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The famous 5………

Well it’s a little later than planned but finally here is the update following what turned out to be a hard slog of a recce from Coniston to Buttermere……

8:30am (ish) we actually started from the Walna Scar Car Park to miss out the Coppermines section we know quite well and also hope not to get lost on when we don’t he event proper. If were out of touch of the group by then in the event then we should quite simply turn round and go home!!!

So of we headed up and over the Walna Scar Rd to Seathwaite. We’d already deposited a car at Buttermere the night before (cheers Glyn) so this gave us little option but good incentive to make it all the way along the now 24ish miles via Seathwaite, Boot, Wasdale, Black Sail to Check Point 4 of the Lakeland 100 course in Buttermere! This was the 1st outing of us all together this year and it was to be a test in terms of where we were in fitness and to address the required training etc for the Lakeland 50 in July, the Spine Challenge in Jan and then onto the Lakeland 100 in July 14′

It was a reasonable pull to the top of Walna Scar and we were pleased to see the descent down toward Seathwaite. It was nice to get some proper running in and stretch the legs too. We all made pretty good progress following Long House Gill down to where the track met the road which we then followed to Seathwaite Church. Chris had a touch of the old jelly legs coming down and having refuelled was ready for the next leg to Boot.

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It was interesting as at this point we’d done less than 7 miles and taken it steady up to the top of the Road and id also purposefully taken it steady down the other side too. Reason being is my quadriceps tend to get smashed pretty quickly and today sadly wasn’t to be an exception despite my cautious descent. This is a big issue for me as on my 2nd attempt at The Lakeland 50 I’d been able to get round in a reasonable time (15:40) even with this issue but for bigger, longer races ill really struggle and not really stand a chance! THIS NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED……..

So back to the recce and of we went toward Boot. There are some great recce videos from a chap Call John Knayston,  these videos have proved very useful in giving a few pointers and when he referenced the tight squeeze through the stile he wasn’t joking.

Thankfully all our hard work on the weigh-ins had so far proved to be very valuable!!!

We made our way up and over toward Boot, taking in the boggy section after the very noisy dogs and up through the plantation and down toward Penny Hill farm via the steep descent between the rocky knowles. This section would certainly be interesting and advantageous to be thru well before it got dark!  A couple of tumbles had been had by Wayne and Glyn but nothing too serious.

The weather was glorious and the views around us only further reminded us why we love to be out in the mountains and all day we had barely seen a soul!

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We made it to Boot and decided to stop and refuel in the local pub. The landlady looked oddly at me when she asked where we’d come from and were headed for and more to the fact we weren’t on bikes but running!!! Still she was happy to take a ridiculous £15 for 5 cokes and a packet of crisps!!!

So after our ‘refuel’ it was over to Sam for the navving as he’d done this section earlier this year in the snow. No pressure then!!!

We headed up and out of Boot onto the moor taking in Burnmoor Tarn before headed onward and down into the Wadsale valley via the Brackenclose Climbing Hut. We had planned to stop at Wasdale and grab a quick beer en route but our progress hadn’t been super quick so we decided to crack straight on. This was purely a celebratory drink you understand in light of my new daughter Isabelle, Glyn’s new Son Will and Waynes new daughter Eleanor who arrived within just 4 months of one another!

So on we went headed up and over Black Sail Pass, slowly. Well I was for sure and Chris was on my heels. Glyn and Sam went off like trains with Wayne in ‘warm’ pursuit. Its a long climb and makes Gatesgarth out of Mardale Head look like a speed bump. That said once at the top we knew it was down to Black Sail YH, Scarth Gap then we were home, simple eh! WRONG!!!

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The descent to Black Sail YH was awful, granted the snow that remained didn’t help but all I could think of was we’d be doing this in the dark for sure doesn’t fill me with joy only made worse as my quads were now shot to pieces!

We took 5 at the Youth Hostel before what seemed a very tame ascent up over and down Scarth Gap Pass, along Buttermere Lake through Burtness Wood to the finish at Buttermere.

It was here we finally had our celebratory pint and raised a well earned glass to our wonderful newborns!

Fair to say it was another great day out and gave us a good idea of where we are moreover what needs to be done between now and July for the Lakeland 50.

All that was left was for Glyn (aka Statham) to drive us back to Coniston and then home…cheers boys, till next time!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/280527546 (watched stopped)

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